Wisconsin-based Tiffany Wilson, Technology Director at Kewaskum School District, recently shared more about the way she innovatively used the Amplified IT labs tools to solve top challenges in her district.
Tiffany Wilson has been using Google for Education tools, as both a teacher since 2002 and as an IT Administrator since 2015. Her small IT team first learned about Amplified IT at a bootcamp (now called the Amplified Admin Level 1 Certification) in northern Illinois. From there, Tiffany continued to connect with Amplified IT leaders at technical conferences and retreats and soon began using Amplified IT’s suite of products.
Gopher products help get more done with less time
Initially, Tiffany deployed Gopher for Chrome, which helped her staff save a tremendous amount of time by assigning Chromebooks in bulk due to a new shipment, new school year, or the need for Chromebooks to be in a test environment. Gopher for Gmail also helped Tiffany’s team with urgent email discovery needs, especially before they were a Google Workspace for Education Plus customer. Building on these successes, she began leveraging other Amplified IT tools to solve her top IT challenges and was quickly an Admin Labs Unlimited customer.
Little SIS innovation improves the student experience
Initially, Little SIS for Classroom helped Kewaskum School District’s IT team with bulk assignments and bulk classroom updates. From there, Little SIS was paired with Skyward, the district’s Student Information System (SIS), to auto-create classes, assign students to them, and invite parents to receive guardian summaries. Tiffany shared that “this automation saved teachers the headaches and stress of manual classroom creation. With a trimester system, 30 teachers would have to create 12 classrooms, which takes a couple of hours per task.” The time savings provided by Little SIS was first extended to high school teachers and rumors of the success and time savings reached the ears of middle school teachers, who soon turned to Little SIS for the same benefits.
Today, Kewaskum School District provides in-person and remote learning, with remote learning streaming from real-time instruction in the teacher’s classroom. Due to this, the administration wanted one landing page for all remote instruction, and for that experience to start each day with students logging into Google Classroom. Tiffany shared their solution, “we build a custom integration between the Little SIS tool and our SIS to simplify the student experience at a time of confusion and uncertainty for many students and families. That custom solution was only possible using Amplified IT’s Little SIS technology and it provided a single Google Meet link for K-5 students, despite the SIS listing individual subjects as separate courses and Classrooms. This supported student success by simplifying the process to join virtual instruction for the youngest students.” Not only was the student experience more intuitive through this integration, parents at home no longer had to navigate Google Meet alongside their young children because of the simplified student experience.
The North American Google Technical Collaborative provides support and direction
The need for Little SIS at Kewaskum School District grew after the transition to remote learning last March and at that time, the district upgraded to Google Workspace for Education Plus for video instruction and advanced Meet features, including Meet recordings. While that was the driving force for the upgrade, other features and benefits have enhanced learning since that time, including breakout rooms, advanced host controls, and more. Tiffany shares, “we were on top of uses for the advanced features due to the support of the North American Google Technical Collaborative, hosted by Amplified IT. From office hours to the online Currents community, to the deep dives and livestream updates, your team helped me guide my staff and teachers, especially as Meet changes were happening weekly during the height of remote learning.”
Tiffany made her attendance in the collaborative lifestreams a priority because “it’s so much more valuable to hear it live, take notes to check settings, and follow through on important suggestions that your team makes.” The updates helped her tech mentors prepare for changes and become early adopters before peers could even ask questions. She also enjoyed the end-user impact updates that she was able to consolidate into a video or screencast for the broader staff. Tiffany became a thought leader for her district due to the thought leadership presented to her consistently through the Collaborative. Tiffany admits to being a walking Amplified IT commercial and recognizes that “the value of Amplified IT was always strong but even more evident during the transition to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Tiffany’s district used the Google Services Offer a few years in a row to fund this technology through Chromebook leasing, which supplied them with a lot of credits. She shares “While we likely won’t qualify this year for this offer, we’ll fund the Amplified IT products anyway, because they are so instrumental to our technology architecture at Kewaskum School District.”
Tiffany reminds us the “technology supports instruction but does not drive instruction. By helping teachers remove technology barriers and frustrations, they could focus on student success.” The technology provided by Amplified IT came at a time when teachers needed to free up their bandwidth and focus to format their instruction for virtual learning and support their students during a time of instability. Having the technology backbone to focus on what teachers do best is what Amplified IT truly unlocked for this district. Tiffany added, “Amplified IT made this all possible.”
To learn more about the Amplified IT suite of tools and services, and how they can support your district, contact our team of experts. Or, learn more about getting free tools and services through the Google Services Offer.
Head of Marketing
About the Author:
Jennifer Lux, Head of Marketing, joined Amplified IT with 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, and client experience. With a degree in Neuroscience, she is passionate about the intersection of psychology and marketing. While involved in marketing efforts for educational institutions throughout her career, witnessing educators struggle to adapt to digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to join the Amplified IT team. When she isn’t studying business strategy and leadership, Jennifer is active skiing, hiking, and running with her family in the Colorado mountains.