When Manteca Unified Technology Support Analyst Joshua Bowers was charged with upgrading more than 15,000 handheld devices in less than a month to have them ready for the upcoming school year, he didn’t think it was going to be possible.
But on Tuesday, Bowers showed the Manteca Unified Board of Education a video that depicts how he did exactly that – utilizing a team of 11 district interns and a cooperative effort between other district departments to make sure that every student and staff device currently in use is running the latest version of the Windows Operating System.
And the undertaking was for good reason.
According to a presentation that Bowers – who was tapped by Manteca United Information Technology Director Colby Clark to manage the project – gave to the board on Tuesday, one of the biggest problems that teachers were having with student devices in the classroom that were running versions of Windows 8 stemmed from the fact that those devices had access to any application available on the Microsoft Store. Those applications, some of which weren’t appropriate for educational settings, became a distraction in the classroom according to teachers. Lesson plans were also hampered by constant updating on devices utilized by students and teachers alike who were using Windows 8, which was released in 2012.
Both of those problems are now eliminated thanks to a cumulative updating system that will only require updates when they’re absolutely necessary instead of incrementally, and the utilization of the Windows 10-specific Windows Store for Education. Rather than allowing for anything to be added to the device, the new Education Store will only present applications that have been approved by the district’s IT Department and determined to be beneficial to the student experience within the classroom itself.
Issues with document compatibility between devices will also now be taken care of now that everything in the district is operating on the same platform – more than 30,000 devices in total
The coordinated effort – which required the acquisition and delivery of more than 15,000 individual devices, the software overhaul and the delivery back to the sites they came from – used 11 student interns who managed to upgrade roughly 800 devices every day in order to meet the deadline.
Bowers thanked the students specifically for their efforts and noted that it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve the target without their dedication and their hard work.
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