AppleTV, Chromebooks, and Windows, Oh My!

6 June 2023 | By viviedu

How Streamlining Your Tech Stack Can Save You Time 

As is often the case, all that glitters is not gold, and this is especially true in education technology. In many schools, an assortment of devices and software have been cobbled together to deliver the features teachers and students need for teaching and learning in today’s modern classroom.  

Unfortunately, while individual solutions may meet requirements on paper or work well initially, they often fall short of expectations over time. Devices and apps that once worked well together no longer do, glitches become more common, reliability suffers, and an increasing number of resources are diverted to addressing performance issues instead of optimizing usage. Eventually the tipping point is reached, usage drops significantly and return on investment suffers.  

When Mike Hastings, Instructional Technology Specialist for Grand Rapids Public Schools came into his role in 2019, he saw exactly this situation playing out across his district. In our case, we were using Apple TVs and a program called AirParrot. Our students used Chromebooks and iPads; teachers used Windows devices that were supposed to connect and allow for screen casting. That system performed poorly and was, in fact, pretty much worthless when it came to video. You’d get sound not matching the audio, and there would be a lot of buffering. It was really only good for static presentations. Coming into my role I was driven to see if there were good replacements,” he recalled. 

To meet the needs of such a large school district – Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan serves more than 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers in over 40 schools — Mike needed a system that would work well, and consistently, regardless the devices and operating systems being used. He wanted to let teachers focus on teaching and working with their students, not troubleshooting failing technology. 

When Hastings discovered Vivi, he found one system that could replace several, including both AppleTV and AirParrot, saying, “Compared to the mix of software and hardware we were using before, it’s just easier to stay in Vivi. It’s all right there for you. Consolidating things and giving teachers less [stuff to work with] and fewer places to go to accomplish their job. is a huge factor in successfully getting the teaching and learning done. Vivi is the go-to for our teachers” 

Katelin King, the Digital Learning Coach for Monroe County Schools in Kentucky, reports a similar experience after deploying Vivi in their classrooms: With other technologies we have adopted, they sometimes lose steam and end up just collecting dust in the corner. Not with Vivi. We use Vivi Central to monitor usage, and Vivi devices and technology are used in our classrooms every. single day. Teachers still have desktop computers in their rooms and the option to use them, but they choose to use the mobile station and Vivi instead. That’s makes us proud.” 

Both King and Hastings stress the importance of simplifying classroom technology tools and increasing their reliability for teachers so they can keep their focus on what matters — engaging with their students in active learning and empowering students to share and collaborate with their classmates. Vivi provides that much-needed stability and functionality that so many other systems lack – a win for tech teams and classroom leaders alike.  

Book a demo today to learn about how Vivi can streamline your tech and give you more time to make important connections with your students.