Richmond County School System in Augusta, Georgia covers 57 schools, featuring a Media and Instructional Technology Department with 3 Instructional Technology Specialists and an Information Technology Department with just 6 Technology Specialists to service the entire network. The school district provides a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets and netbooks, and strives to deliver a modern approach to digital learning, offering instructional classes and dedicated media centers.
Prior to Education Pro, Richmond County Public Schools had Netop Vision in place, used sporadically throughout the system and only in computer labs. Students would often attempt to bypass filters and become distracted from their learning, while technical staff were unable to respond to support requests or address network issues remotely. When a new Director of Media and Instructional Technology (MIT) was appointed, the MIT team began searching with the input and advice of the Information Technology Department, for a district-wide solution to facilitate effective remote support and complete network and classroom management.
The technology team soon discovered Education Pro, which was new to the US market at the time. Initially hesitant towards using a relatively unknown product, the district’s Director of Media and Instructional Technology was quickly impressed by Impero’s customer support and communication. The district looked into funding and calculated the huge cost-savings that could be realized by investing in a consolidated solution to replace its several standalone products. The software’s broad functionality, from remote control and support to classroom management and online safety, would deliver all the network management and classroom control tools to enable a safe, effective digital environment.
Education Pro was first installed at the district’s central office, then rolled out across several of the schools. Impero has continued to work closely with Richmond County Public Schools to overcome any obstacles, has advised on new ways of using the software, and has actively responded to suggestions.
Since implementing Impero Education Pro, the school district has realized several benefits. These include:
Saves time – the ability for IT staff to remotely log in to any PC across all 57 schools enables technical issues to be resolved quickly and from a single location, whilst power management allows groups of PCs to be powered on/off simultaneously at specified times.
Improves behavior – the screenshot and recording functionality captures any incidents of inappropriate online behaviour and enables each school to evidence misuse when required.
Online safety – real-time monitoring and keyword detection allows the school district to keep students safe in the online learning environment.
Focuses learning – live thumbnail view provides effective monitoring, deterring students from abusing their access privileges, whilst the ability to lock screens and send messages focuses their attention on the task at hand.
Q&A with Kimberly Stripling, Director of Media and Instructional Technology
How have staff responded to the software?
Teachers love it! They use the live thumbnail view to monitor students’ activity and even display this on the whiteboard to show the entire class that they are being watched, which proves to deter misuse. Broadcasting screens to share work has been really useful in demonstrating tasks or highlighting good work, especially to those sitting at the back of the room. The IT team once encountered some bandwidth issues at a particular school and, using Impero, were able to pinpoint which users were streaming videos during a lesson by viewing their actions step-by-step. Using this information, we then created a plan to prevent further instances of this type of behavior.
What are the next steps?
Education Pro has been incorporated into our plans for professional learning, and very soon we’ll be providing training to our Technology Trainers in Residence on how to install the software, as well as how to use the instructional tools within the product. There’s still so much functionality that we’re yet to explore, such as the print management feature, which I know could be really beneficial in preventing waste.
Describe your experience of our technical support service.
We’ve worked with a range of companies and I truly appreciate the effort that the staff at Impero take to follow up on any questions or queries. Whoever we speak to from the company offers an immediate response; if they don’t know the answer right away, they’ll investigate and get back to us with an email or phone call. Our IT department are also really pleased with the product and support they’ve received. Impero have always been extremely receptive to new ideas on how to make Education Pro more effective for schools.