After years of technology disinvestment, the Beaverton community passed a bond in 2014 allowing a digital transformation for the learning and business functions of the district. Two critical needs were expanding on-site filtering to include protecting students anywhere they used their device, and the need to provide tools supporting student technology addiction. Addressing both needs was a priority for Steven Langford, Chief Information Officer, in order to implement a successful 1:1 program.
Beaverton School District needed a powerful cloud-based filter to ensure students were protected while at school and at home. Langford recalls, “The challenge for us was: How do we take the filtering requirements and what we want to do to protect students, and extend that from the perimeter of our district to the entire city, or beyond? We needed a filtering partner that would allow us to easily extend filtering outside of the district, into the world.”
Langford continues, “Also, when the devices went home, and of course it was exacerbated in the [COVID-19] pandemic, parents started having to deal with technology addiction. It’s wonderful our kids can learn anytime and anywhere, but the unanticipated impact of that is for some kids, they aren’t yet able to regulate. For some of our students, they need help staying focused on using technology for learning.”
In March 2020, the global pandemic challenged Berger to address these goals remotely, and success necessitated ensuring the online safety of all students and the ability to communicate with parents and guardians. “Knowing when our students were logging in, and even more importantly, when they weren’t, plus, having the ability to maintain direct communication with their parents were key,” said Berger.
Subscribing to Lightspeed Filter™ (formerly known as Relay) for online safety and security allowed Beaverton School District to extend students’ protection without disrupting the progress made towards a seamless 1:1 program. Lightspeed Filter is powered by K-12’s most comprehensive database of online content, created from two decades of web indexing, and leveraging patented agents and advanced AI to automatically block inappropriate or harmful web content regardless of where a district device is being used. The Lightspeed system is cloud-based with device-level protections that work across all devices, operating systems, and learning environments.
To help combat student technology addiction, Lightspeed Filter provides Beaverton School District the ability to access accurate data regarding student-device and app usage via the Online Activity Dashboard and gives parents the ability to establish healthy screen time limits with controls to pause web browsing on their child’s device while at home and outside of school hours with Lightspeed Parent Portal™.
Additionally, the district implemented Lightspeed Classroom Management™, which enables teachers to keep their students logged in, participating, and focused both in person and remotely. Advanced AI technology gives teachers real-time visibility and control of their students’ digital workspaces and online activity. Educators can safely message a distracted student, redirect their browser, close windows and tabs, and enable screen sharing for collaboration between students.
Teachers have felt immensely supported by the district since implementing Lightspeed Classroom Management. Teachers have reported that students are consistently on task, and it has changed the way they manage their classrooms. Soon after implementing this software, students learned what was expected of them while using a school-issued device. After analyzing the data, Langford discovered that the top 25 categories of sites that students were visiting were now learning categories. “Our students are very aware of Lightspeed, which I think helps with their learning and helps focus them—knowing that there are guiderails up.”
Beaverton had provided this visibility to parents, and in turn has seen tremendous support in the understanding that school devices are used for learning and not entertainment. “The feedback was phenomenal. Parents would write me stating how much those reports helped them understand what their kids were doing”, Langford explains. Parents expressed their gratitude to the district for giving them the ability to turn off student devices to combat student technology addiction.
Together, district officials, teachers, and parents have worked to regulate student technology usage and prevent addiction. Langford says, “The flexibility that Lightspeed has given us is the ability to, [by grade level], tailor a student experience that’s safe for students by age group, and also focus them on learning.”
Lightspeed Systems, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a leading online safety and effectiveness platform for K–12 schools. A proven partner for student safety and engagement, Lightspeed uses advanced AI to view and analyze student activity across the web. Lightspeed serves over 15 million students in 38 countries and 28,000 schools globally.