Revolutionizing Education: How Southeastern BOCES Fought Digital Distractions with AI
Organization: Southeastern BOCES
Grade Levels: K-12
Devices: Chromebooks, Tablets, iPads, Windows laptops and desktops
Since the overnight explosion of digital devices during the pandemic, Southeastern BOCES in Colorado has been fighting a losing battle against digital distractions.
Determined to find a better solution than category and keyword filtering, their network administrator stumbled upon Deledao, the only alternative that uses real-time AI technology. Now, his districts have a fighting chance.
With the recent proliferation of digital devices in classrooms, schools everywhere struggle to keep their students engaged in digital learning environments. This digital transformation presents a significant challenge not only for school districts but also for Educational Service Agencies like BOCES, who find this transition even more demanding.
Districts under each BOCES have their own differing policies, so how is the regional BOCES going to serve their individual districts? The regional BOCES needs to offer state-of-the-art technology solutions to solve urgent problems, such as digital distractions dragging down academic success.
During the pandemic, schools shut down overnight and implemented remote learning. 1:1 programs nearly doubled to 90% of all middle and high schools in the U.S. during the pandemic.
The rapid increase in 1:1 programs and digital devices in schools coincided with decreased academic scores. Students today are more behind than previous cohorts. In 2022, the Nation's Report Card showed that the pandemic has erased two decades of steady academic gains.
Troy Smith, the network administrator for Southeastern BOCES in Colorado, paints a familiar picture of the dilemma.
"Our reliance on internet access in education has exploded. Sixteen years ago, I could've turned off internet access for a school district, and they would've continued their day like nothing happened. Now, devices per district have increased tenfold post-COVID. Students are basically one-to-one, and teachers use more than one device."
"I was a one-man operation for eleven districts served by our BOCES for the longest time, and everyone had different problems they needed me to solve," said Troy.
"School districts have different views on internet use, which is reflected in their policies. As the network admin, I accommodate that as much as possible. Teachers and students were supposed to have different levels of internet access, but our old content filter couldn't do that.
"We've been using the same category and keyword filtering for the last thirty years. With our old solution, I would put it in place and hope it was functioning. Did it always keep us CIPA-compliant? Maybe not, but it's what we had, and a lot of districts and BOCES had the same thing."
Finding a solution
Troy knew he had to do something about it, so he actively searched for a solution. At a regional EdTech meeting, he found out about how patented real-time AI technology from Deledao can solve the challenges of digital distractions in districts served by Southeastern BOCES.
In his years of experience in IT, Troy had never seen anything like the real-time AI solution offered by Deledao. He was captivated by the possibilities.
Category and keyword filtering can finally be replaced with an AI-powered solution that can understand context, sentiment, and user intentions!
Troy decided to pilot the Deledao solution to see its AI in a live environment.
"I didn't realize how bad our previous solution was until we switched over, and we saw the impact on students right away," said Troy.
"It's been crazy to see the amount of digital distractions Deledao has alleviated. Even some administrators saw the potential Deledao can bring to our schools and opened their eyes. The student wellness piece of the Deledao solution was also huge for our school leaders.
"As the IT department, we rarely hear feedback about what goes on inside classrooms unless it's related to troubleshooting IT issues. However, I know for a fact that our students were goofing off less after implementing Deledao. I could see it in the dashboard."
For a BOCES, the management capabilities of an EdTech solution are just as important as its technological capabilities. To set up various policies for each district, the Southeastern BOCES needed a central management console. Each district approached internet use in their district differently, and Troy was determined to serve these districts as best as he could.
"Deledao is not a cookie-cutter solution. Deledao worked with me to build a multi-district management console so that at the BOCES level, I can easily set up policies for individual districts without logging into separate portals."
"I've been in IT for a long time, and I've never experienced a support team that's as phenomenal as the Deledao support team. I've never had to jump through hoops to get an answer from them.
"When we brought up the idea of a central management console to put on their product roadmap, they listened to us and understood the value this feature will bring everyone. It's a win-win situation. We can streamline management of our school districts, and Deledao now has a strong offering for other BOCES."
Troy and other leaders at Southeastern BOCES were so impressed with the positive impact of Deledao that they became a champion for Deledao within the network of the Colorado BOCES Association. Other Colorado BOCES members started to realize that they could also defeat digital distractions in their districts by taking advantage of the real-time AI capabilities of Deledao.
"Deledao is a powerful solution that I would recommend to others," said Troy. "I was intrigued the moment I saw their AI technology. We saw the difference in student productivity immediately.
"What's equally impressive is they worked with us. Since we're a regional BOCES serving eleven districts with 10,000 devices, we needed a central management console with different access levels. Deledao provided us with what we needed."
Southeastern BOCES positioned itself as a leader in the larger BOCES network by adopting a cutting-edge AI solution like Deledao.
After hearing about all the benefits Deledao brought to Southeastern BOCES, the leaders of the Colorado BOCES Association quickly realized the importance of sharing one of the latest and greatest solutions in K12 with their members. They invited an expert from Deledao to educate their BOCES members at their annual summer meeting.
Soon, multiple school districts from East Central BOCES started switching to Deledao. The superintendent at one school district was so happy with Deledao that he signed a five-year contract.