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Why a flexible SIS is a key to mobile learning success


Without a well-rounded student information system (SIS), Center Grove would need multiple software programs to manage its Mobile Minds initiative

flexible-SISExpectations for today’s school districts are higher than ever. Despite increasingly tight budgets and fewer resources, districts are required to operate efficiently and ensure streamlined communications.

The Center Grove Community School Corporation understood these challenges firsthand with the implementation of a one-to-one mobile learning program throughout the high school. When executing a successful one-to-one rollout, you cannot overlook the details.

Nowhere was that more true than on July 30, the second day of school this year. The Center Grove Technology Department deployed 2,200 iPads with a staff of 20, all before lunch. In fact, most students at Center Grove High School missed fewer than 15 minutes of instructional time collecting their iPads.

Located in Greenwood, Indiana, Center Grove Community School Corporation consists of more than 1,200 teachers and employees serving nearly 8,000 students across five elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and an online Global Campus.

The highly efficient process of deploying iPads was made possible with support of one of the district’s primary software packages, a student information system (SIS) from Skyward Inc. The Skyward Student Management Suite manages the deployment and day-to-day logistics of Center Grove’s one-to-one initiative, called “Mobile Minds.”

(Next page: How the Skyward SIS is powering Center Grove’s Mobile Minds initiative)

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The Mobile Minds initiative deploys a student-centered, personalized approach to learning in which technology is used in meaningful ways. The goal is to improve student achievement, engagement, collaboration, and communication. The Skyward SIS empowers Center Grove to…

  • Manage its mobile device inventory using the textbook tracking module and barcodes on the devices.
  • Manage device fees, insurance, and replacement fees—and collect these via online payments.
  • Track breakage and document any discipline issues.

Every device transaction is tracked within the SIS and can be communicated to parents and students through the Family Access module. In addition to logistical support, the SIS has complemented the digital learning taking place on iPads in Center Grove classrooms. Family and student access allows the district to…

  • Administer online assignments on the iPads.
  • Facilitate communication between school and home.
  • Manage student assignments via an interactive calendar.
  • Inform parents of device fees and discipline issues related to the program.
  • Collect information from parents for registration, such as BYOD waivers.

Without access to a well-rounded SIS, Center Grove would need three or four different software programs to manage its Mobile Minds initiative. In fact, when we started planning the Mobile Minds initiative, a majority of our time was spent discussing and evaluating learning management systems and mobile device managers. Ultimately, we could come to rely most on our robust SIS to facilitate the program’s success.

For more information about Center Grove’s Mobile Minds initiative, visit http://www.centergrove.k12.in.us/mobileminds.

Jason R. Taylor (@hoosiertay) serves as chief technology officer for the Center Grove Community School Corporation. Jason leads a department of 20 and serves nearly 8,000 students just south of Indianapolis. His 10-year career in education technology has focused on data integration and corporation leadership, including four years with Center Grove Community School Corporation.

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