Nome Public Schools (AK)
District: Nome Public Schools
Grade Levels: K-12
Covered Devices: Chromebooks and MacBooks
Jim Shreve, a forward-thinking IT Director featured in EdTech Magazine and Tech & Learning, tackles the crucial issue of keeping Nome Public Schools eligible for the federal E-Rate program that provides affordable internet for cash-strapped schools.
In 2000, Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to provide E-Rate discounts to schools and libraries that block minors from accessing inappropriate content.
Like many schools, Nome Public Schools have limited funds, and internet access is expensive, especially in Alaska. Most school districts rely on E-Rate discounts to afford internet access. Districts must be CIPA-compliant to be eligible for E-Rate.
"The previous solution really wasn't meeting my needs," said Jim Shreve, the Director of Technology at Nome Public Schools.
“Only a few students were causing problems, but they were persistent in getting through to content they shouldn't be seeing. Sometimes, the previous solution would give warnings, but it didn't stop these incidents from happening."
Director of Technology
Nome Public Schools
"Those students would look for content they shouldn't be, and other students sitting around them would be exposed to inappropriate content, too."
The previous solution used by Nome could not effectively screen through common websites used in education, such as Google Sites, YouTube, and web search engines. Other solutions Shreve tried before always had a particular shortcoming when it came to images and video.
Teachers at Nome submit many IT tickets to block or allow websites. With a 2.5-person IT team, Shreve found it hard to manually update the blocklists and allowlists to help frustrated teachers who only wanted to run their classrooms smoothly.
Even though Nome still had time left on its contract with the previous web filter, Shreve knew he needed to look for a new solution.
Finding a solution
"I've tried many other solutions before – the best ones we could find at the time," said Shreve. "We've tested all the popular ones. Unfortunately, we had to do over-blocking with all of them."
Then Shreve came across the Deledao ActiveInsights™ solution, consisting of ActiveScan™, ActiveInstruct™, and ActivePulse™. Deledao uses InstantAI™ and other proprietary real-time AI technologies to allow access to appropriate educational resources rather than over-blocking the entire website.
The AI capabilities of Deledao have been recognized by the EdTech Awards internationally, the Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence in the U.S., the Teach Secondary Awards in the U.K., and the GESS Education Awards in the Middle East.
Even before the demo, he was intrigued. Over-blocking could be a problem of the past. Excited about the possibilities, Shreve requested a demo and quickly set up a pilot.
During the pilot, he and his staff tried to sneak past the Deledao filter, ActiveScan™, using their usual tricks and found that Deledao caught all of them. Soon, they added real students to the pilot. That's when they saw the staggering amount of distractions their previous filter was letting through.
The original goal was to catch inappropriate content, but having real students on the pilot showed that digital distractions, especially online games, were the hidden problem. The IT staff knew that the legacy solutions they previously used were not as effective as they'd like, but they didn't know to which extent.
“I remember when we first implemented Deledao, we had something like 600+ attempts at going off task to play games online every week! It's been steadily decreasing over time. After a few months, we're averaging 100+ attempts every week.”
Director of Technology
Nome Public Schools
"Of course, Deledao blocked these attempts, but it shows that students learned to restrain themselves from becoming distracted."
This phenomenon of student behavior improvement is not unique to Nome.
A study of over 1,000 students participating in Deledao pilots shows that 82% of students were distracted by online games. At the end of four weeks, half of those students significantly reduced their gaming attempts, and the other half stopped trying to go off task completely!
No other solution besides Deledao uses proprietary real-time AI technologies, such as InstantAI™ and GameChanger™, to defeat digital distractions and help engage students to achieve better academic outcomes.
InstantAI™ understands context when evaluating text so it can go beyond keyword blocking. Take the keyword "snake." Search engines host the snake game directly on their results pages so users can play it without leaving that domain. While traditional solutions over-blocks using the keyword "snake," Deledao uses InstantAI™ to recognize the difference between "play snake" and "play with pet snake" to block the former and allow the latter.
The Deledao GameChanger™ AI technology identifies gameplay without keywords altogether.
GameChanger™ detects patterns of mouse and keyboard movements that signal when students are actively playing games to shut down the distracting webpage. Students can take full advantage of educational resources on Google Sites without any embedded games leading them down a rabbit hole.
When Shreve was looking for a new solution, he looked for more than just a filter. An integrated solution consolidates school vendors to help districts better manage their purchased edtech tools. Web filters naturally integrate with classroom management and student wellness detection products to help teachers and IT staff navigate the web experience for students.
The teachers at Nome found the Deledao classroom management product, ActiveInstruct™, easy to set up and use. No matter how many features a classroom management tool has, it is only as effective as its ability to redirect students back to assigned lesson content automatically. Automation enables teachers to focus on their curriculum instead of wasting time policing students.
Before implementing Deledao, frustrated teachers at Nome lacked an effective classroom management tool to help them keep students on task and on target to achieve.
Many teachers are painfully aware of how often their students are getting distracted on digital devices in their classrooms. Not only do students try to go off task to play games, but they also go off task and browse content irrelevant to their present class. For example, a student may be working on a history assignment in a math class.
An analysis of 1,600+ class sessions with Deledao ActiveInstruct™ shows that 52% of students go off task on webpages not blocked by school policies. Students waste about 100 minutes on this type of class-irrelevant content per session.
ActiveInstruct™ uses real-time distraction detection to reduce 63% of this type of wasted time by flagging these students to teachers.
By automatically redirecting students from blocked content and notifying teachers of class-irrelevant browsing, Deledao helps teachers better manage their classrooms in the digital era.
A middle school teacher at Nome finds that Deledao works well for her. She scopes her class to ensure that her students are only on subject related websites during computer time. She's happy that her students focus on learning specific class content instead of working on assignments for other subjects or getting off task in general.
The principals at Nome also use the Deledao solution. Nome uses Deledao ActivePulse™ to alert principals and the Nome IT team of students that potentially have suicidal thoughts, depression, or are involved in cyberbullying.
Shreve comments, "If we get an early warning, it's well worth it to have Deledao."
After being thoroughly impressed with how much value the Deledao instructional solution brought to Nome Public Schools, Shreve decided to commit to a multi-year deal with Deledao.
The Deledao ActiveInsights™ instructional solution benefits various teams at Nome Public Schools – the IT team, teachers, and principals.
"No one besides Deledao leverages AI to blur images and block game sites," said Shreve.
"Before, we had a few students relentlessly trying to access what they shouldn't, and that distracted the whole class. Now we keep everyone safe and learning. Students gradually cut down on trying to go off task. It's incredible!
"I heard about Deledao a few years ago. I'm very impressed with the real-time AI technologies of Deledao and wish I had gone with Deledao back then. I was probably further along with another solution, so unfortunately, I didn't ask for a demo of Deledao to see what it could offer.
“At a recent education conference, I referred Deledao to at least five other school districts. If my peers in K12 are complaining about their current solutions, I encourage them to get a demo of Deledao to see the difference."
Director of Technology
Nome Public Schools