M.S.D. of Washington Township: Seamless Solutions
FileWave Inituitive Software Management Saves Time and Manpower for IT Staff at Washington Township
The Metropolitan School District (M.S.D.) of Washington Township, a dynamic community with broad diversity in culture, religions, ethnic groups, races and socio-economic levels, is located on the north side of Indianapolis. M.S.D. of Washington Township encompasses seven elementary schools, three middle schools, a career center, developmental preschool and a high school with one of the finest preparatory curriculum in the state of Indiana. Washington Township’s students excel in athletics, music, and especially, academics. North Central High School consistently produces the highest number of students successfully passing Advanced Placement exams, which earns these students college credit.
Guiding Washington Township’s Technology and Media department is Michael Kneebone, a true believer in FileWave since 2004. Kneebone is responsible for managing over 5000 Apple and PC desktop computers, as well as a growing number of iPads, which are presently used for special needs students. With the variety of specialty software deployed for pre-school to pre-college students, FileWave has become an integral part of Washington Township’s toolbox.
“We’ve realized savings by using FileWave in two different ways. One is using time effectively. Instead of going around and touching machines, there are back to our primary focus, which is student learning. We were also able to reduce manpower and more than cover our investment in FileWave .”
- Michael Kneebone, Director of Technology and Media Services
Washington Township, M.S.D
Photo: Left: Michael Kneebone, Director of Technology and Media Services, Washington Township, M.S.D. Right:Washington Township offices in Indianapolis, IN.
“Before we used FileWave, one of our main frustrations was the fact that we were touching every machine, every time there was an update, every time we had a new piece of software to deploy. As we prepare for the coming year, we may be visiting these machines multiple times. Samar Srour, Washington Township’s FileWave administrator agrees, “I remember going around with a stack of CDs, just trying to upgrade or install software on all the computers. Every once in a while, you’d miss a computer and then you would have to go back and reinstall all the software. This has become much easier with one click - with FileWave.”
FileWave’s ease of use was a key factor in Kneebone’s decision to partner with FileWave. “I was skeptical. I was told how easy FileWave was, how it worked well with both platforms...I heard it all many times before. So I asked to try it out for 30 days. Before we had training, we were able to get the initial filesets created and deployed to a Mac and PC lab, which were our test environments. We learned our way in a very short time. Once we saw FileWave in our own environment, the ability to push software out in minutes instead of days...it was pretty much a done deal.”
Implementing FileWave solved one of Washington Township’s biggest IT challenges, state testing for students. ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress) tests are given annually to students in third to eighth grade, as well as high school sophomores. Each year, the test banks are updated. FileWave has made it possible for the IT staff to update and install new software, recall old versions and even make last minute changes from a single admin. This has saved the department both time and manpower, For Mike Kneebone, this savings is invaluable.
“When you talk about total cost of ownership, just cutting down on tasks that used to eat up alot of time...time is money to use and we’ve more than covered our investment in FileWave.”
“Once we saw, in our own environment, the ability to push software out in minutes, instead of days...it was pretty much a done deal .”
- Michael Kneebone, speaking about the decision to invest in FileWave
Photo: Students study in Washington Township’s Media Resource Center and students work together in small group activities on iPads.
The Kiosk is a key FileWave feature that Washington Township utilizes. The Kiosk provides a pre-configured menu of apps, software and other materials. Each individual user has the ability to select which items to download on their devices. “With Kiosk, we’ll be able to empower users and give them a little freedom of choice,” says Kneebone.
Through Washington Township’s constant exploration of the latest technology, they discovered an excellent way to introduce tablets to students and faculty. This year, 300 iPads were deployed to a very specialized group that was identified as ENL (“Engllish is a New Language”) students. These students, who learn at a slower pace due to their language skills, needed more support and had been underserved in the past. iPads allowed these students to learn at their own pace by providing individualized lessons that kept them interested in learning. Kneebone is very enthusiastic about this strategy, “We’re bringing our teachers up to speed in how to use the iPads in instruction and hoping this level of intervention will help the ENL population catch up and grow at a faster rate.”
FileWave’s App Portal simplified the transition to iPads. The teachers were able to manage and control what was on the student’s devices. Samar Srour values the portal, “It can be a life-saver, if an app is accidentlly removed from the iPad. With FileWave’s self-healing feature, all apps that have been deployed to the portal are verified and rebooted by default.”
Kneebone is confident that a future transition to tablets will be an easy progression due to FileWave’s device management. “I think that FileWave will be a huge benefit to us moving forward with mobile devices, their MDM solution is something we’re very excited about. We’re deploying FileWave on all 300 of our iPads this year and I’m sure that number will grow in the next couple of years.”