Pottsboro Independent School District, located in Pottsboro, TX strives to deliver a comprehensive educational experience to students. With a 1:1 program in place from Grades 5-12, with some laptops kept at schools and others taken home with the students, Pottsboro ISD needed a solution to help manage and control these devices throughout the district.
Pottsboro ISD are now 4 years into their 1:1 program and have tried various applications for classroom management to help support the growth and adoption of this program. Pottsboro ISD utilized DyKnow for their classroom management needs, however this solution provided only limited functionality; Pottsboro ISD needed something more robust to support their actively used learning management system, Canvas.
Pottsboro ISD first came into contact with Impero 4 or 5 years ago, but at the time Impero Education Pro was more focused on technical support functionality. Since then, Impero Education Pro has consolidated classroom management, network management and online safety into one solution, a combination that has proved hugely beneficial for Pottsboro ISD. From a technical standpoint, Impero Education Pro has helped open possibilities and combine several tools.
When it came to implementing Impero Education Pro throughout the district, Impero’s installation team were on hand via the phone to help configure and support the implementation process across Pottsboro ISD. Since implementing, Pottsboro ISD have been pleased with Impero Education Pro and pleased with the support services.
Since implementing Impero Education Pro, Pottsboro Independent School District has realized several core benefits, including:
Supporting David’s Law – Impero Education Pro provides live thumbnail view and keyword detection for myriad online dangers, including bullying. The IT team and teachers can detect these terms and pass them onto counsellors and principals as necessary. Pottsboro ISD can identify bullying at different points through monitoring access of chatrooms or school emails.
Focuses learning – Impero Education Pro provides visibility for all: teachers, counsellors and principals. Students who continually fail to stay focused can be locked down to a small number of available sites using Impero Education Pro. With keyword detection, Pottsboro ISD can identify students searching for things they shouldn’t and disciplinary action can take place.
Provides security – Tech-savvy students often use a VPN to access sites or bypass filters and, with so many available, it’s impossible to keep up blocking access to them. Using keyword detection for words such as VPN, block, and hide, the IT team are alerted and can block these sites as necessary. Prior to Impero Education Pro, Pottsboro ISD had no way to access this; it’s opened their eyes to students running sites and applications that should be restricted, providing greater control to the IT team.
Q&A with Jason Brown, Technology Coordinator & Marcus Davis, Instructional Technology
How does Impero Education Pro help keep students safe online?
Impero Education Pro has helped open our eyes to a lot of things students spend their time searching for. It’s given visibility of online dangers we couldn’t easily identify before, such as bullying, self-harm and suicide patterns. We do a lot of the monitoring in our department and we’ve set certain keywords as severe (which trigger a notification), and we look at these on a daily basis. If we come across something like self-harm or suicide, it’s not what we want to see, but it makes all our work and time implementing the software well worth it. When an issue is detected, we pass this capture to the counsellor to see if it’s legitimate e.g. a student searching a suicide hotline. The counsellor can get an understanding of why the student has searched that, where they can notify a parent and talk to the student before a situation escalates. Capturing just one incident that prevents suicide is worth the cost of the product.
How has Impero Education Pro helped create focused classrooms?
The biggest thing to note is that we’ve not been forcing the software onto the teachers, however once they’ve seen the time saving benefits, they’ve been the real advocates of the product. The biggest way they’ve been using it is to support their 1:1 situation; they’ve took initiative of adopting it and quickly took it on board. As a lot of time is spent on the learning management system, the teachers are finding the live thumbnail view invaluable. Teachers have a live view of what students are accessing from their own workspace, even those machines facing away from them, which are usually used to get in and out of sites they shouldn’t be accessing. Integration with Clever also means that teachers only see their students and class within the console at a specific time and that’s a really nice thing to have.
How has Impero Education Pro helped streamline your networks?
We’ve really been able to streamline our troubleshooting efforts. Previously we’d have to use 3 or 4 processes, or maybe access a different computer or server, but with Impero we can do it all from one tool and it really saves us time. We can provide end technology support, deploy MSI packages, run commands on multiple machines at one time; it’s very beneficial to us. These features, alongside the monitoring functionality, even without considering the classroom management functionality, is definitely worth it.
What are your next steps?
We’re excited to start utilizing the print management features of Impero Education Pro. Having visibility of the what, where and that type of thing will be beneficial down the road.
How would you sum up Impero?
The ultimate visibility!