Lake Zurich school district enables student learning with 1:1 iPad program, powered by Oomnitza
Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95’s mission is clear: “Empower every learner to achieve personal excellence.” District 95 caters to 5,677 students as of the 2017-2018 school year. Located 38 miles northwest of Chicago, the Lake Zurich School District encompasses an area of 19.4 square miles and serves the communities of Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, unincorporated Lake County, and North Barrington.
To continually act on its mission of empowering learners, the district recently conducted a strategic planning initiative. As part of that, the district evaluated the success of its five-year-old, one-to-one iPad program, which equips every student in grades 6 to 12 and all staff with an iPad so everyone can complete coursework, lesson plans, and other essential materials on the go, wherever they are. Based on the evaluation, the district plans to make recommendations for the future.
Several things became clearer. The iPad program is logistically complex, requiring close management of more than 5,000 iPad units for students and staff. The initiative requires provisioning iPads, tracking any issues, providing loaner machines, acquiring machines from students leaving the district, and automating support tickets. The incumbent technology for Thing Management was a homegrown system that did not provide custom functionality such as integration with the district’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Active Directory (AD) systems. Neither did the homegrown asset management software integrate with Zendesk, so students and staff could not report issues from a single screen. The district knew it needed a more flexible, intuitive way to manage assets, one that could be tailored to its unique needs.
“Our homegrown software—and a few scattered spreadsheets—worked well when we had a limited number of devices, but wasn’t comprehensive enough as our program grew,,” says Melissa Gray, system engineer for the district technology office. “We needed something that would integrate with our MDM, AD, and Zendesk so we could bring all our asset management and help systems together. That’s why we began a search for an asset management system with more automated, efficient functionality.”
Gray and her team chose Oomnitza based on its easy integration capabilities, comprehensive functionality, and ease of use. They purchased Oomnitza in April 2018 and had it up and running by June 2018. “It’s a huge testament to take in more than 1,000 iPads right away for management. “Oomnitza was crucial to program refresh for the coming school year,” says Gray. “Now we have more than 5,000 iPads in Oomnitza and are ready to meet all of the program’s requirements.”
With Oomnitza, Lake Zurich’s IT team integrated users with AD and MDM systems, as well as with Zendesk. Through Zendesk integration, the district can track an asset against a Zendesk ticket to give the IT team quick and easy access to important information to get their jobs done faster. The IT team can view, search, and configure Oomnitza to track assets according to district needs. With this system in place, students and faculty can get a replacement iPad in five minutes, so learning is never interrupted.
With Oomnitza, the IT team also built a workflow that sends each student an email receipt once they receive an iPad. Students can also walk up to IT and return an iPad if it is damaged or the student is leaving the district. IT can track the action and take the appropriate steps. “We are budget conscious and work hard to get the most out of our allotted technology dollars, so we have to closely track every single device.” says Gray.
Gray can also speak to Oomnitza’s ease of use. In preparation for the upcoming school year, a team of 20 staff and student workers were using and loving Oomnitza. Gray expects that the number of Oomnitza users will be closer to 12 once school starts due to ease of use and established processes.
“Our job is to ensure students have the tools they need to be successful,” Gray says. “The 1:1 iPad program positively impacts student outcomes, but the logistics behind it are complicated and need to be invisible to users. That’s where Oomnitza comes in.”
“The 1:1 iPad program positively impacts student outcomes, but the logistics behind it are complicated and need to be invisible to users. That’s where Oomnitza comes in.”
Melissa Gray, system engineer, Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95