Neosho R-5 School District was eager to implement a 1:1 program, and they had set a goal to get the initiative up and running in a very short time frame. While some school districts allocate years to rolling out a 1:1 initiative plan, Neosho had the ambitious goal to get all 1,400 students at Neosho High School their own device in just six months.
Rodney Griffin, the district’s Chromebook Coordinator, and his team of two others were responsible for developing a plan, selecting a device, identifying management options, and communicating policies and procedures throughout the district.
After extensive research, Neosho selected the Lenovo Thinkpad X131e for their students. Because their timeframe to have devices in students’ hands was so slim, they decided to forgo an inventory management system. They didn’t have time to fully research options and weren’t yet ready to commit to a solution without knowing all their needs.
So for the first year and a half of their 1:1 program, the Neosho School District was tracking their 3,600 assets (Chromebooks and their corresponding chargers and laptop bags) using a spreadsheet.
Getting Chromebooks into the hands of their 1,400 students in such a short time was a huge accomplishment for Neosho School District. Privately, though, Griffin and his team were struggling with maintaining and tracking the influx of devices.
With several people working from the same spreadsheet of inventory details, which simply showed the student’s name and device serial number they had been assigned, there was constant risk staffers would unknowingly edit or delete information. They worked without confidence in the data and spent valuable time manually entering serial numbers into the spreadsheet.
A real life example they encountered was when a device was left behind in the cafeteria. One team member had to spend time hunting through the spreadsheet of 1,400 students to find the serial number and identify which student was assigned to that device. If the item lost or left behind was an accessory (like a laptop bag or charger), there was no way to tell whose it was. After eighteen months, the team was more than ready to spearhead the inventory management project to find a solution that allowed them to work smarter and faster
Griffin researched inventory management solutions, and selected TIPWeb-IT software as the best fit for their program. Neosho SD needed a solution that allowed them to efficiently assign equipment to buildings and individuals with oversight capabilities for multiple users responsible for maintaining inventory. Being that TIPWeb-IT is developed specifically for K-12 school districts, it was clearly the most comprehensive and best-suited model for Neosho SD.
Griffin is happy to report that the district’s 3,600 devices are now easily tracked and managed through the TIPWeb-IT program. “We can see a huge difference. It is much easier just to scan an ID (of the student) and 3 barcodes (for the laptop and each accessory) in order to check out a device as opposed to hunting down serial numbers on a spreadsheet. TIPWeb-IT has streamlined the process considerably,” said Griffin.
With a 1:1 program, there is a lot of maintenance and troubleshooting that happens. Kids come and go from Griffin’s office all day with questions and issues that come up, everything from a damaged laptop to a misplaced charger. For the times a device is damaged beyond repair, Griffin and his team are able to quickly use TIPWeb-IT to scan a replacement device out for the student. This new swap out process keeps their students in the classroom with a working device, not waiting on the IT department to perform repairs. “The best part about TIPWeb-IT is it gives students more time in the classroom. A process that used to take our team hours, is now being completed in minutes. With a quick scan, I’m able to give the student exactly what they need so they can get back to what really matters: learning.” said Griffin. To get better control over students losing 1:1 accessories, the team decided to asset tag and assign chargers and laptop bags as well for added accountability. Now when a student leaves an accessory behind, staff can quickly and easily scan the barcode to identify to whom the item is checked out. It’s another way to ensure the students have the materials they need to support their learning, without taking up a huge amount of staff time.
With more accurate and accessible inventory data, Neosho School District is able to make better decisions for their students and support the 1:1 device program that is making a difference in the classroom every day.