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Milford Public Schools Leverages CatchOn to Maximize Its 1:1 Initiative



Milford Public Schools (MPS), located approximately one hour outside of Boston, Massachusetts, recently provided Chromebooks to 3,000 students in grades 3-12, making it easier for teachers to integrate a variety of educational software and applications into their curriculum. As teachers and students alike leverage mobile technologies to explore an expansive world of online resources, district leaders are utilizing CatchOn, a user-friendly data analytics and application monitoring tool, to evaluate classroom app usage, validate investments, and safeguard student data privacy.

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.”

App-Enhanced Learning

Now that its students and staff are equipped with devices, the district’s teachers are integrating educational applications into their instruction and using web-based resources to manage classroom communication. Productivity tools like G Suite for Education, Google’s suite of cloud-based products for K-12 institutions, are very popular among MPS’s staff because they enable teachers to easily facilitate collaboration and streamline classroom routines, like creating assignments and providing feedback. Many are also leveraging emerging online tools, like video discussion platforms, to reimagine student participation and engagement. Whether encouraging students to write collaboratively on Google Drive or designing fun, instructional materials online, teachers at MPS are harnessing virtual tools to build a seamless and interactive learning ecosystem.

The Power of Visibility

One of the many advantages these new, advanced classroom technologies offer is the continuous generation of real-time data. Unfortunately, it is often difficult and time-consuming for school districts to compile and convert raw data into meaningful and impactful analysis.

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.”

“Before CatchOn, we had no evidence of usage... We could only hope that the tools we were paying for were being used effectively, if at all.”

-Dr. Joseph, Milford Public Schools Tweet

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

The same goes for MPS’s professional development. Because the district can now review patterns to uncover popular apps, Dr. Joseph and his team are able to provide teacher training that is targeted, relevant, and thus more effective. “When it comes to professional development, CatchOn saves us time and resources because we can quickly pinpoint areas of need,” says Dr. Joseph. “If we have a tool that we know works but is not being utilized, we know that is an area where we need to focus our professional development efforts. Not only does this save time, but the training we provide is now more valuable because it is backed by real data.”

Data-Driven Investments

In addition to enhancing classroom instruction and informing professional development, CatchOn enables MPS leaders to make data-informed decisions about the district budget.
“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.”
Using CatchOn, Dr. Joseph and his IT team can monitor engagement levels for both low- and high-cost apps, helping the district maximize its technology funds. “If an application is free, and the usage is extremely high, we may consider purchasing licenses for students across the district—all because we have the data to demonstrate its success,” says Dr. Joseph.
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.

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

For MPS, data is now indispensable to its digital journey. “The data provided by CatchOn is a critical utility that we rely on to support our 1:1 initiative,” says Dr. Joseph. “Data analytics eliminates guesswork and, for that reason, will quickly become a cornerstone of educational technology. It has proven invaluable in building budgets, creating curriculum, and determining professional development.”

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.”

See how CatchOn can enhance your digital initiatives.

Invest Wisely

Evaluate software renewals with actual usage and financial data, not surveys.

Detect Trends

Discover what free or unknown apps are being used.

Manage Subscriptions

Manage licenses, costs, ROI, and renewals from an easy-to-access dashboard.

Inform Training

Identify gaps in usage by tool to create targeted professional development and training plans.

Student Data Privacy

Diagnose applications vulnerable to student data privacy policies.

Improve Usage

Review important classroom apps to ensure they are being used effectively.

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