Intel and Chandler High School’s “Proof of Capability” with ETaaS
Education Technology as a Service (“EdTech” as a Service) is a revolutionary service model that connects key aspects of deploying and supporting highly capable devices to help bridge the digital divide in education. ETaaS is considered essential in creating a more engaging, accessible, and inclusive experience for all students, teachers, and staff while maximizing school district finances and human resources. Since late 2020, Intel has partnered with Dell Technologies and Chandler Unified School District (Chandler USD) to create a “proof of capability” (POC) pilot that would bring ETaaS to Chandler High School.
The complete POC pilot is intended to help Intel analyze and understand the feasibility and scalability of a new service model—ETaaS—for K–12 schools. Should this POC be successful, Intel could potentially scale this 1:1, end-to-end solution as an ETaaS blueprint for other schools across the country.
Two Project Phases
Phase I has since been completed, and phase II is currently ongoing. The phase I goal was to transform the way school districts deploy, support, and fund highly capable devices for every student, teacher, and staff member. In phase I, Intel, Dell, and Chandler USD aimed to do the following:
- Improve 1:1 technology implementation.
- Transform K–12 EdTech usage.
- Bridge the digital divide in their community.
- Streamline deployment.
- Support teachers with professional development opportunities.
- Establish reliable manageability and security solutions for Chandler’s IT team.
- Efficiently enhance in-class and remote learning.
The projected goals for phase II are to see positive results with an end-to-end management and security system from Dell, enhance software solutions to provide value for ETaaS, and introduce the Intel® Skills for Innovation (SFI) Framework to educators.
Why Invest in New End-to-End Solutions for K–12
Intel believes this opportunity to collaborate with Dell and Chandler USD can provide a new way of enabling students and teachers with the right devices and services for teaching and learning. More specifically, Intel wants to see whether schools are able to embrace ETaaS when they are given access to the right tools, resources, expertise, and leadership.
When school districts employ cost-effective, end-to-end device management services and network security solutions in support of district IT teams—coupled with highly capable Intel-powered devices—schools can maximize their student/teacher experiences, free up staff time, and support and accelerate learning outcomes.
Our entire experience with Intel has been like a textbook definition of what collaboration looks like. They put the best practices in place and really let us serve our students.
Chandler USD’s Evolving Partnership with Intel and Dell
Chandler High School is located in Chandler, Arizona, USA. A total of 3,500 students represent a diversity of social/economic backgrounds as well as ethnicities, races, and genders. More than 50 percent of students are on free or reduced lunch programs. Of the 250 staff on campus, 179 are teachers and reflect the same diversity seen among the student population. Chandler USD was selected in particular for this POC pilot because many of their students struggled with digital equity during remote learning precipitated by the pandemic.
In November 2020, members of the Chandler school board began discussing a future-ready school framework. A representative from Intel served on the district’s Technology Planning Team; together, they strategized opportunities for Chandler USD to deploy, support, and fund highly capable devices in a 1:1 deployment model. Dell was brought into the project to explore options, creating a partnership to develop supporting solutions for the district’s future-ready school framework.
Intel and Dell have extensive backgrounds with EdTech and are each uniquely positioned to support school districts in designing student-centric learning models to develop future readiness for students of all ages. They knew their outlook and expertise on EdTech in K–12 education could help Chandler USD reach their goals while also building a blueprint for future K–12, 1:1, end-to-end solution bundles.
Chandler USD Challenges
Fundamentally, Chandler USD’s main challenges surrounded their current IT strategy, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chandler USD’s IT strategy had been historically limited to the short term because EdTech was an afterthought, and their devices weren’t setting students up for success after high school.
COVID-19 exacerbated their need to change how Chandler USD approached IT in general as well as support their understaffed and overwhelmed IT team. The pandemic also forced teachers to primarily use technology as a medium for teaching—representing both an unfamiliar skill and new teaching environment.
Chandler USD Goals
Chandler USD had several goals as they entered phase I of this POC, with the overarching target being to approach this pilot in a cost-efficient way.
First, Chandler USD wanted to implement a 1:1 deployment system, which would bridge the digital divide within their school, and maximize IT resources for students, teachers, and staff.
Another goal was to establish EdTech as a way to create future-ready environments for students, which included providing students with fast, reliable connectivity if they didn’t have reliable, or any, internet access at home.
Chandler USD also wanted to make sure they could support teachers and IT staff with powerful, manageable devices that would also enable their IT team with enough support and training for troubleshooting.
Providing professional development to teachers was also an important objective for Chandler USD. The district believed that these resources on how to develop digital literacy would also accelerate learning outcomes for all students.
Intel Devices and Dell Services
Based on their challenges and goals, Chandler USD decided on two different devices for their students and teachers/staff.
For Chandler High School students, Chandler USD purchased 3,200 Dell 3310 Latitude 2-in-1s with Intel® Core™ i5 processors. Chandler decided on these Intel-powered devices specifically because they are purpose-built for long-term education needs. Essentially, Dell purpose-built laptops and 2-in-1s for students are rigorously tested and built to last through rugged real-world treatment scenarios, with such features as rubberized edges, rounded corners, and laser etching for an enhanced grip for fewer potential drop accidents.
At Intel, we believe deeply that high-powered laptop PCs will deepen the way teachers engage students and enhance the way students learn. To fulfill this requires innovation not just of the PC and learning services, but also every aspect of the sales, deployment, and servicing processes. We need to make it easier for schools and teachers and we are thrilled to be working on this proof of capability pilot with the Chandler Unified School District and Dell to innovate in that direction.
Prior to the physical rollout, Chandler took inventory and analyzed how students were spending their time and what device would best suit them. They also looked into the creativity applications that students and teachers were using and determined they should invest in devices that could live up to the students’ creativity standards. Thus, the district decided a 13-inch 2-in-1 with an Intel® Core™ i5 processor would be the best fit based on these specifications.
For Chandler High School staff and a select few students, Chandler USD purchased 800 Dell 5320 Latitude 2-in-1s with 11th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro® processors. Chandler USD selected the Intel vPro® platform because of its optimal performance, security, and manageability capabilities. The Intel vPro® platform is often used in enterprises, but its remote management capabilities can serve as a great tool for education IT teams. In addition, the Intel vPro® platform can provide a more robust security platform for all staff devices, which often contain sensitive personal or student data. The district also identified roughly 300 students in need of reliable connectivity at home and, thus, selected 300 of these devices to have LTE access for these students.
After Chandler USD selected these devices, they worked closely with Dell to decide that the following services would best support their teachers and IT staff:
- Etching and asset tagging. This process involves physically etching a specific number or barcode into the devices for inventory, tracking, and accountability purposes.
- Multipack deployment. Dell was able to put 10 devices into a box instead of one, expediting the physical unboxing process during rollout.
- Connectivity and configuration. Dell ensured that each device would have the ability to connect to the internet with a Wi-Fi or LTE connection.
- Annual tune-ups. Dell works with local partners to provide annual tune-up services and, per district preferences, deliver various services, which include wiping accumulated junk data, refreshing device images, running security checks, and preparing devices for optimum performance year over year.
- Four years ProSupport. Students, teachers, and IT staff would have access to Dell’s ProSupport Enterprise Suite. This proactive, predictive, and reactive support system looks after critical education-based applications and workloads.
- 200 hardware support tickets. Chandler High School received 200 support tickets to resolve any issues they may encounter with their devices’ hardware.
Just as importantly, Dell provided Chandler USD teachers and staff with resources for professional development. They offered classes and coaching on how to work collaboratively with technology, how EdTech is defined, and how EdTech is used. Additionally, Dell built a course library on what a 1:1 solution in K–12 schools looks like, along with other tools, resources, and tips on 1:1 deployment.
In phase II, Intel will provide access to their SFI Framework, which can help enable teachers with the skills they need to educate their students using EdTech.
This ‘proof of capability’ was a testament to Intel’s collaboration because it never felt like they were just selling something. It felt like they were supporting us absolutely.
Deployment and Kickoff
Intel worked in collaboration with Chandler High School and Dell team members to develop a deployment plan based on best practices. Chandler USD also worked with other Arizona schools that had previously adopted a similar 1:1 deployment program to learn from their processes. As a united team, they made sure each device was set up according to the prescribed specs for deployment and the physical rollout during a three-day kickoff.
Each device was configured for automatic bootup for a smooth transition at kickoff. This process ensured a rapid, effective deployment process, which saved Chandler High School’s IT team approximately 640 work hours that would have otherwise been required to manually deploy devices.
Typically, large-scale device rollouts experience some logistical hurdles, but the Chandler High School pilot went smoothly. Chandler USD board members, local and state officials, and Intel and Dell representatives congregated to celebrate the kickoff launch with students, teachers, and community members. Everyone was excited to be a part of the 4,000-device deployment as well as witness the unveiling of the new Chandler High School tech center.
This tech center, which followed the same physical layout as a posh tech storefront, featured a dedicated, professional, on-site technician to help troubleshoot device issues. The technician was available daily, helped minimize downtime for students and staff, and—with a personalized touch—gave extra assurance that the program was there to support the school.
It took only three days to personally deliver devices to each student, teacher, and staff member. Device recipients were provided with log-in instructions, and they were able to connect and use their devices the same day they received them.
Immediate and Unexpected Outcomes
In the few months since the rollout, Chandler High School has seen a handful of immediate—and some unexpected—outcomes. One quick result was the significant saving on paper usage. Not only is saving paper generally beneficial for the environment, but Chandler High School saw an improvement in teachers’ preparedness because they were able to spend more time planning during their designated planning periods and less time waiting for printed copies of assignments, homework, or tests.
Since students usually had access to their devices during the day, they were more likely to turn in their homework or daily assignments. Teachers and students both reported, time and time again, how the devices’ rapid connectivity and powerful performance made it easy to access applications quickly. Some students used their 2-in-1s in a traditional laptop format, while some “tented” the device to use the touchscreen, and others used the device in tablet mode. Even on the same learning activity, students were able to personalize the device to whichever form factor worked best for them.
However, students had to make sure they brought their devices to school every day. Devices left at home meant that students weren’t always able to participate in class.
Chandler USD noticed that professional development courses have been very beneficial for the teachers. Not only were teachers collaborating more than ever and engaging with their courses and students, but they also learned more about how students interact with their own devices. For example, teachers began to pick up on how to spot students’ attempts to cheat or plagiarize.
Chandler USD’s Impression of Phase I
So far, throughout phase I, Chandler USD has reported having had a great experience with Intel and Dell. For the students, teachers, and staff, this POC pilot was more than just getting a device. It was about enabling everyone at Chandler High School to learn, grow, teach, and collaborate through EdTech. In phase I’s initial three-month period, Chandler USD saw Intel’s constant guidance as proof of their commitment to the pilot program. Intel provided myriad connections, so Chandler High School had access to the tools and resources they needed to better serve their students through appropriate technology and support.
Michael Franklin, principal at Chandler High School, stated one of the best parts of this experience was that “Intel has been receptive as well with their knowledge and expertise. They have truly made this feel like a partnership because they didn’t just come in and take things over. It was their warmness, ability to provide necessary experts, and willingness to listen that made this partnership work.”
The Future Based on This POC
Chandler High School has since been extremely satisfied partnering with Intel and Dell Technologies. They are looking forward to the next phase in their POC journey to continue providing EdTech to all students and teachers as a tangible way to bridge the digital divide in their community.