Eliminating Barriers to Access, Single Sign-On Lessons Learned from a Small District with a Big Voice
ClassLink celebrated Digital Learning Day by offering a new leadership webinar in which we heard from Joanne Najarian, Director of Digital Learning at Andover Public Schools, and Bob Chappell, ClassLink’s Vice President of Instructional Technology. Joanne offered a unique perspective on how her small district worked to eliminate barriers to access through the implementation of a single sign-on solution.
This webinar took place on February 22, 2018
Watch the presentation and download documentation here.
Andover Public Schools, located 20 minutes outside of Boston, serves nearly 6,100 students across ten schools. As digital resources started to expand in the district, students and teachers needed a streamlined point of access. In the beginning stages of exploring a single sign-on solution, this small district identified the following goals:
- Move away from the practice of bookmarking resources, for both security and efficiency reasons.
- Create a catalog of available resources, making it easy for all users to locate district-approved applications.
- Provide high schoolers with easy textbook access. As they moved to a 1to1, they experienced a full digital overhaul. With it, they discovered that students were logging into the wrong textbooks.
- Provide all users with remote access to their school-based applications and files.
After researching and piloting a “free” single sign-on solution, the district sought alternatives.
Andover Public Schools ultimately landed on ClassLink in July 2017, based on several factors. First, the technology allowed district users to access their files and apps from anywhere and any device. This feature was a massive win for productivity, as it gave students and teachers access from wherever they were, even outside of school. Second, the solution was easy-to-use for all users. Students, regardless of age and capability, would benefit from logging in just once to a dashboard of all approved resources. Lastly, and most vital, was the fact that ClassLink offered an IMS Global certified product known as Roster Server, which enables fast, secure delivery of class rosters to vendors.
Joanne went on to share a list of 84 applications currently connected with ClassLink.
Bob Chappell noted that ClassLink’s library now includes over 6,000 single sign-on applications, affirming the point that any resource a district chooses to use is likely already included. If a quick search shows that a resource is not connected, a custom single sign-on connection can be made in a matter of minutes.
Bob and Joanne discussed the ease of adding approved applications to ClassLink, both to the users’ dashboards and also to a library of available resources so users can locate and add them by themselves. This activity greatly improved communication between teachers and administrators and eliminated the need to “hunt” for teaching and learning resources.
Joanne shared her daily use of ClassLink Analytics, a simple dashboard showing what resources are being used in the district and by whom. The analytics tool is also available as a mobile app, providing access to this information on-the-go. This information has informed both renewal and professional development decisions for Andover Public School leaders.
Andover Public Schools connected their Google, OneDrive, School Network, and Office365 drives to the My Files section of ClassLink. What this allowed the district to do is seamlessly switch between drives, drag and drop files, all while accessing from any place. Joanne recalled the old process of saving files on a thumb drive, and/or simply not being able to access files outside of school. Additionally, Bob touted the time-saving ability to search across all drives based on a keyword or file name.
Andover’s focus for the 2018/19 school year, Joanne shared, is for all vendors to accept the OneRoster® standard. The district will do a deeper dive into the usage analytics and continue working on professional development and training.
ClassLink webinars are archived for future viewing. For the video presentation and a PDF of the webinar visit https://www.classlink.com/webinar. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (888) 963-7550 or complete this form to be contacted by a ClassLink representative, https://www.classlink.com/contact.