Acquisition | Feature

Stoneware, LanSchool Merge Systems

Stoneware, an Indianapolis firm that distributes cloud delivery services to the education market, has acquired LanSchool Technologies, integrating the two products' classroom management capabilities through the cloud.

Stoneware, an Indianapolis firm that distributes cloud delivery services to the education market, has acquired LanSchool Technologies of Orem, UT. LanSchool distributes management software that allows teachers to monitor and instruct students in a classroom through a centrally controlled interface, according to Jason Knutti, a LanSchool account executive.

"In a bring-your-own-device environment, as these devices come into the classroom, it makes teaching more challenging," said Greg Tan, chief marketing officer for Stoneware. "'How do I teach?' is not [something] controlled by the school anymore." He said that integrating the two products delivers classroom management capabilities through the cloud. As a result, schools will not need to install an application on each student's personal computing device. "It only runs when they are logged into the school network. Once a student logs out, the agent is no longer available," said Tan.

Chris Habecker, a LanSchool user, is campus principal of Mason High School in Mason, TX. "Using LanSchool with district equipment allowed full control of the educational experience. Would having the software on student-owned devices allow the same control?" asked Habecker.

"LanSchool software runs in the background, allowing the teacher to monitor and control the device used by the student to assure they are on task at all times," Knutti said. "The teacher is able to view live thumbnails of the students and all of their actions."

When students log onto the school's network with a personal device, "if they disconnect from or leave the school network, the device is no longer monitored or controlled by the software. [Students cannot] uninstall the software without the help of the school administrator," Knutti added.

Tan said funding individual devices is challenging for schools, and by making it easier for students to connect to the school's network with personal devices, schools can instead focus their spending on network and security infrastructure. "Typically, most students have access to some device that they can bring into the school. Because access is based on a browser and an Internet connection, you have access to resources and you lower the bar to what device a student must have," he said.

"When students bring their own devices to do assignments online, the teacher did not have the ability to see what the student is doing," said Steve Clemons, chief technology officer and assistant superintendent for the San Diego County Office of Education. "The No. 1 downfall we had--the piece we've always wanted Stoneware to do--was classroom management."

"The LanSchool piece is a great addition with Stoneware's great ability to [facilitate] student-teacher management, where students and teachers can collaborate together using applications," said Charles Symon, assistant superintendent of media and operations for preK-12 Beacon City School District in Beacon, NY. "Together with Stoneware, that's the next step up to giving students access to using small handheld devices. We're looking at the capabilities of LanSchool."

Keywords: technology in education, educational technology, K-12 technology, school technology, education information technology, cloud computing, mobile devices, classroom management, networking

About the Author

Jan Fletcher is a Spokane, WA-based freelance writer.