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Iowa’s Montezuma Community Schools Solve Data Storage and Security Challenges With Web Lockers Technology

October 14, 2008

With only three schools and 494 students, the school district serving Montezuma, IA may lack size, but it has tackled its escalating data storage and security challenges with the savvy of the nation’s most sophisticated K-12 learning institutions. This September, Montezuma Community Schools became Iowa’s first district to implement “web locker” technology, joining hundreds of other schools and districts across the U.S. in the use of a new generation of web-based file sharing, collaboration and storage tools.

According to Keith Sietstra, business education teacher and assistant to the technology coordinator for Montezuma Community Schools, the decision to adopt technology from San Diego-based School Web Lockers was an easy one. “We really needed something that would offer our faculty and students an opportunity to work more efficiently from home and to be able to transport that work back to school,” Sietstra said. “Being a smaller school district, we also needed an alternative that would help us use our budget wisely. School Web Lockers has definitely met that need.”

Through its software as a service (SaaS) platform, School Web Lockers provides each school or school district it serves with a secure, password-protected web site for file sharing and storage. Students, teachers and administrators alike are then given access to their own digital drop box, or web locker, which is available via password from the web site. Use of the system is easy: users can create work on one computer, and then stash files in their web locker for access later — either on the same computer, or on another one at home or elsewhere.

After implementing School Web Lockers, technology specialists at Montezuma found that file sharing with a web-based platform is not only more convenient, but also safer and more secure than allowing students to use portable devices such as USB drives or compact disks, which can threaten the security of district networks. Another advantage is that students access their data on a separate domain from the school network, which also addresses further security concerns.

“For us, it basically came down to two alternatives, either buy an entirely new server altogether to help meet storage demands, or purchase a thumb drive for every student in grades K-12 and try to police what is brought in and taken out on them,” said Sietstra.

Offering unlimited storage capacity for as little as $1 per student, the School Web Lockers service is a fraction of the cost of storage area networks (SANs) and other systems that traditionally support schools and school districts. An added plus is that all School Web Lockers files are backed up daily and preserved from year to year to allow students to easily create a portfolio of work.

The service also offers built-in security and safety measures, such as blocked file types, virus scanning, parental sign-in, and the ability for teachers and school administrators to monitor what students are storing. For collaboration beyond file sharing, School Web Lockers also provides teacher blogs and message boards (for school-wide or even district-wide online discussions.)

Sietstra also appreciates that School Web Lockers offers a “green” alternative by eliminating the need for paper: teachers can simply upload one file or assignment, and then post it in all student lockers electronically, instead of making multiple handout copies.

“This really speaks volumes about Montezuma’s administration and their desire and motivation to use every advantage to prepare students to be successful,” said Kelly Agrelius, manager of sales and marketing for School Web Lockers.

About School Web Lockers

School Web Lockers is a leading provider of cost-effective, web-based tools for collaboration, distance learning, one-to-one computing and online storage. Formed in 2004 as a division of San Diego-based Networld Solutions, Inc., School Web Lockers today serves hundreds of K-12 schools and school districts across the U.S. with secure, easy-to-use computing solutions for students, teachers and administrators. For more information, visit www.schoolweblockers.com or call 1-866-499-6527.

 Contact: Kelly Agrelius School Web Lockers 858-874-0464 Email Contact  Paula Johns Paula Johns Communications 760-487-1799 Email Contact

SOURCE: School Web Lockers




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