MILFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS | BOSTON, MA
CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY:
Launching a Digital Initiative
Dr. Kevin McIntyre, MPS Superintendent, had a vision of creating dynamic learning environments—a vision he achieved by leveraging technology to transform the way students learn, create, and connect. His district’s journey to digital transformation began with an all-important question: what device will best support MPS’s technology goals? After careful consideration, MPS purchased Google Chromebooks for students in grades 3-9, and, after a successful first year, the initiative expanded to include students in grades 10-12. Committed to providing his students with the very best digital learning experiences, Dr. McIntyre also appointed Director of Digital Learning, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Matthew Joseph, to ensure the initiative’s ongoing success. Two years after deployment, Dr. Joseph and others at MPS, including students, commend the technology’s transformative impact. “Our students are eager to participate in the initiative and look forward to receiving their devices each year,” says Dr. Joseph. “They have told us that the Chromebooks have significantly impacted the way they learn—from how they study and take notes to how they research and collaborate.”
The Power of Visibility
After deploying its 1:1 initiative, MPS encountered this issue and struggled to monitor the hundreds of applications being used by its teachers across five schools.
“Before CatchOn, we had no evidence of usage,” says Dr. Joseph. “We relied primarily on word-of-mouth. Our IT team conducted informal, time-consuming surveys to compile a list of classroom apps, but we were unable to gauge just how often teachers were using them. We could only hope that the tools we were paying for were being used effectively, if at all.”
In just the first year of using CatchOn, MPS saved more than $6,000 and reallocated more than $14,500 into trending—but previously unbudgeted—tools, many of which had been specifically requested by teachers.
Taking the Guesswork Out of Education
Deploying CatchOn on the district’ Chromebooks was a simple process that provided district leaders with almost instant visibility into their app usage.
Today, with help from CatchOn, MPS’s leaders are quickly analyzing real-time data to identify trending applications and software and make the most of the high-performing tools they uncover. “Recently, several teachers were using the free version of a web-based product that connects English-language learners to educational audiobooks,” says Dr. Joseph.
“Thanks to CatchOn, our IT team could see that teachers and students were engaging with this tool quite often—and after some research, we found that it is a valuable resource that can benefit all learners. We deployed it district-wide, and it has been a great success so far. In this way, we’ve improved learning outcomes because we no longer have to guess about what works for our students and what doesn’t.”
Supporting Relevant Professional Development
“Having visibility into the learning applications and web tools that our teachers and students are using is, from a budgetary perspective, absolutely critical,” says Dr. Joseph. “CatchOn enables our leaders to save money by using data to create a toolbox of apps that teachers actually use.”
Safeguarding Student Privacy
The increased visibility afforded by CatchOn also empowers district leaders to be vigilant in protecting student data privacy. “Student data privacy is paramount as we introduce new technologies and applications,” says Dr. Joseph. “We appreciate that CatchOn, in addition to implementing its own student privacy policies, makes us fully aware of which apps our students have access to so that we can identify any vulnerabilities.”
When Dr. Joseph and his team become aware of a new app in the district through CatchOn’s dashboard, MPS begins working with the vendor to review privacy policies and ensure that student data is being properly handled and protected.
Data Analytics and the Future of Educational Technology
Keeping up the momentum, district leaders are looking forward to MPS’s next big initiative: increasing student voice in the classroom. Leveraging the district’s cutting-edge technology and applications, teachers and staff are empowering students to ask questions, share new ideas, and showcase skills. “Our ultimate goal with technology is to create a classroom that’s as dynamic as the world around us,” says Dr. Joseph. “We want to encourage students to play an active role in their education by providing them with the tools they need to learn and engage.”