Planning Pays Off:
CFAUSD Carefully Charts and Completes a Chromebook 1:1 Program
When the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District (CFAUSD) decided to implement a 1:1 mobile technology initiative, the Educational Technology Department carefully charted a course to ensure a successful rollout. To avoid choosing the wrong device, which would be a very costly mistake, the department asked 30 of the most tech-savvy teachers from all grade levels and departments to assist in the process of selecting the device. They evaluated the MacBook Air® laptop, a Windows® laptop, and a Chromebook™ notebook, choosing the Chromebook because of its affordable pricing and it met their requirements.
With the chosen device, the buy-in of teachers, and administrator support, the launch began the first year by providing a Chromebook notebook to each student in the district’s 9th grade class. In the second year, the initiative extended to the entire High School. This time, because of screens cracking, the department picked a more “teenage-durable” model. However, fragile hardware was not the only problem. There were other challenges.
Initially, the district relied on the parents to supervise Internet access, but this quickly became an issue because students were using these school-supplied devices to access inappropriate content when outside of the school’s network. A number of parents requested help in getting off-network filtering implemented. At first, a free filter was provided, but many students were able bypass it; it was not designed for an enterprise level deployment such as this and still required parental involvement to make it work properly. In addition, there was no way to manage each of the devices from a console, so as more parents asked for help, it became clear that what was needed was off-network filtering with integration to the Google Management Console. The Superintendent then gave the Educational Technology Department their marching orders to make this happen.
The Educational Technology Department began their quest by initiating a Google search on the term “Chromebook Filter.” In seconds, they found Anywhere Filter™ developed by BASCOM—an Internet software company specializing in web filtering built for schools—on the Chrome Web Store at the top of the results and reached out to BASCOM. The next day, Tony Foxen, BASCOM’s Business Development Director, contacted them to arrange a 30-minute, in-depth technical demonstration—which included BASCOM’s CTO, Robert DeRosa, an expert in mobile filtering—of the Anywhere Filter Cloud™ for Chromebook filtering. The district went forward with the purchase and completed deployment within two weeks.
— Chad Burlingame, Department of Information Technology Chippewa Falls Area USD, Chippewa Falls, WI
“ As a school district that implemented a 1:1 solution using Chromebook™ notebooks at our high school, we needed a content filter for when the students were not on the district network. Anywhere Filter Cloud is the perfect solution to meet our needs. It is easy to set up and configure, allowing us to let the students access the content that they need, while preventing them from getting to the content that they shouldn’t be viewing. ”
— Chad Burlingame,
Department of Information Technology
Chippewa Falls Area USD, Chippewa Falls, WI
Anywhere Filter Cloud is very easy to use. The Educational Technology Department can now quickly manage the devices from the Google Management Console, so they are very happy. Parents are also pleased knowing that the filter is preventing access to inappropriate content without their involvement. The students are happy, too. The off-network filtering policy configured by the department is more lenient than the on-network filter, so that when the students are home, they can relax, visit social media sites, blogs and forums, and play games. Finding the Anywhere Filter Cloud was a win-win for everyone.
Each month, the Educational Technology Department provides the District Administration with a report that lists the most frequently visited sites when off-network. So far, the number one site has been docs.google.com. That is excellent proof for the community that the initiative is truly working. Anywhere Filter Cloud can also provide detailed reports for analyzing Internet use, but to date, Burlingame says that there have been no incidences to require their use.
Using a carefully crafted, strategic plan to execute the initiative has really paid off. Now, CFAUSD is quickly adopting the use of the Google Docs™ program in its curriculum and is hoping to save money with a transition from printed textbooks to significantly cheaper, online versions. Soon, the district will meet to evaluate deploying Chromebook notebooks for on-network, classroom and lab use in the Middle School. Thanks to the careful planning and execution of the mobile device program by the district, a community that at first had some hesitation about using mobile technology is now beginning to realize its enormous potential and reap its educational rewards.