East Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana had the daunting task of distributing more than 8000 iPads to its students in a five-day period. To accomplish this, EACS sought the services of a team from FileWave, which worked on-site to ensure the smooth distribution of the devices to students and teachers, as well as providing the solution necessary to deploy, update and maintain the variety of software, apps and files required by students and teachers at EACS. Each iPad had to be encoded with individual student names and ID numbers to ensure that they have access to the correct software and files for their scheduled classes.
Located in the southeastern section of Fort Wayne, the East Allen County School district is one of the largest in Indiana, including eleven elementary schools and seven secondary schools. William Diehl, the Director of Accountability and Technology at EACS, knew managing today’s technology for a district this size would be a monumental project. He and his staff reviewed many classroom models, both 1:1 and B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device). They decided on a blended learning style that combined traditional classroom learning with current technology, which allowed students to access textbooks, lessons and examinations via iPads.
In order to implement their plan, over 8000 iPads would need to be configured and associated with each individual student and distributed as efficiently as possible. Ben Byers, Systems Engineer, was entrusted with this task. “I monitored the FileWave server during the distribution and made sure all the iPads were registered correctly. With FileWave’s support, everything went smoothly...exceptionally well. They flew engineers in to make sure there were no last-minute issues at the distribution and later, they were able to remote in and kept us going.”
Once the iPads were in the hands of the students and teachers, Byers’ responsibilities included deploying and updating the innumerable apps that were utilized everyday. “With FileWave, we’re able to push a version of the app and when there’s an update, you download it and FileWave will notify the iPad that there is an update to the program. With a curriculum that is constantly changing, the ability to push something out at a moment’s notice is a big, big feature.” Another feature that Byers appreciates is distributing iBooks to students. “Within two weeks of notifying FileWave that we needed the ability to distribute iBooks, they had a Beta (version of the deployment software) in development. So they were able to send it to us and within a few days, we were distributing iBooks to all the students.”
"We knew there was a possibility for some theft and stolen devices, said William Diehl. "FileWave allows us to manage the iPads and allows us to work with Cisco (their WIFI provider). If someone calls and they are missing an iPad, we can start tracking that device - watching the iPad as it moves from AP to AP, down the hallway. You have to have a very good product, and FileWave has helped us to keep our sanity, managing that many devices.”