Dr. Robert Smiley, Chief Information Officer at the School District of Janesville in southern Wisconsin, aims to make learning so engaging that when students get up in the morning, "they're excited to come to school rather than dreading it." Smiley has worked in education for over 25 years and believes personalized learning is the pathway to that level of engagement.
Generating that kind of buzz for 10,000 students is no easy feat. Smiley kicked off his efforts to personalize learning by adopting e-textbooks, digital learning resources, and initiating a districtwide 1:1 Chromebook program.
Like any new approach, there were bumps in the road. Students struggled to remember an overwhelming number of usernames and passwords. The rostering process was slow and manual, so students couldn't always access resources when they needed them.
Sometimes the district would even run out of licenses for e-textbooks, not because they didn’t have enough but because of time-consuming and problematic provisioning. Often, when a student dropped or changed a class, that license wasn't reclaimed.
Smiley decided to replace the district’s previous single sign-on vendor with ClassLink. The platform’s intuitive products supported personalized learning and solved access, rostering, and provisioning issues. He also chose ClassLink for its focus on education and reputation for reliable support.
ClassLink Roster Server connects to the district's student information system, ensuring that class rosters are always up-to-date, and adding or removing resources in LaunchPad takes just a few minutes.
Insufficient licenses are a thing of the past now that the district uses ClassLink OneSync for account provisioning. As students shift classes, accounts are reconciled in real-time so the district can reclaim those e-textbook licenses immediately. Faster provisioning also ended delays in accessing digital tools. Now, when students and staff join the district, they can start using digital resources to teach and learn that day.
Smiley sees students reaping the learning benefits.
"We are providing educational opportunities in a contemporary and modern way for all students with help from ClassLink. Together, we make it possible for every kid to access all of their resources from anywhere. And being in a 1:1 and personalized learning environment is making a difference for kids in achievement."
Although Smiley didn’t know it when he originally chose ClassLink, he’d also picked a solution that would help the districts’ 10,000 students quickly access and engage in remote learning when schools closed abruptly during the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
Access to resources from anywhere reduced confusion and helped students continue learning at home. Smiley says teachers and administrators didn’t need to worry if students could access what they needed to learn.
“Our worries about kids being at home were about them learning how to interact with a teacher on a video session [and] not seeing your teacher face to face. But it was never about the technology because ClassLink functioned flawlessly,” explains Smiley.