Digital monitoring improves student outcomes and teachable moments
Robert Sexton has worked with school-based tech for more than 15 years, so there’s not much he hasn’t seen. “Kids are pretty ingenious; keeping up with them is a challenge,” says Sexton, currently the director of technology for Olentangy Local School District, just north of Columbus, Ohio.
That challenge is mitigated by the district’s secret weapon—AristotleInsight::K12by Sergeant Laboratories, which tracks every digital move students make and alerts the district of potential problems.
“We turn them into teachable moments,” Sexton says. “If students are going to make a mistake, we want them to make it in this safe environment. Hopefully we curb unacceptable behavior and give students digital citizenship tools for use in the real world.”
As Simple as a Light Switch
In addition to providing student behavior analytics and web filtering, Aristotle equips the 22,000-student K12 district with classroom and asset management. The company’s “As Simple as a Light Switch” platform allows districts to seamlessly manage equipment and class time while ensuring student safety on all tech, including PCs, Chromebooks, Macs and cloud-ready devices. The solution can be delivered on premise, via the cloud or a combination.
These features, along with ease of use and vendor responsiveness, made Aristotle the clear choice over two other options that Olentangy Local considered, Sexton says. It’s a scenario not unfamiliar to Sexton, who’s been using Aristotle since 2002—in each of the four districts where he’s worked.
“In each district, we always demoed at least three different products,” Sexton says. “The real differentiator was Aristotle’s flexibility. If there wasn’t already a report that we needed, they would make it. And when spending taxpayer dollars, cost is always a top consideration; they always came in at a lower price than the next guy.”
With Aristotle, teachers can share their computer screens or links, see student screens, control tabs and limit access to specific websites. “Teachers love borderless classrooms,” Sexton says. “They are run more efficiently, and kids are more frequently on task.”
The new technology wasn’t an immediate hit, however. “Some teachers were concerned it was too much like Big Brother,” Sexton says. “But once they realized no one is sitting there constantly watching—Aristotle alerts us to potential issues—the staff has been very glad to know what’s happening so they can take action. Especially with issues such as cyberbullying, this way we can intervene quickly.”
Asset use and reporting
Aristotle’s advanced reporting allows the district to quickly inventory software, hardware and web applications for year-end audits and for spending analysis. Geolocation tracks devices, which provides off-campus security.
“Parents don’t always have filters, but if students use our computers, the CIPA-compliant filters are there,” Sexton says. The reminder that school-computer usage is controlled and monitored wherever the device may be, has encouraged students to behave.
For more information, visit aristotlek12.com