As we say goodbye to 2023 and move into 2024, Cloudwise COOL reflects on a year of collaboration, innovation and growth. Our commitment to enhancing education with the best that technology has to offer has led to many new partnerships and innovations and we are excited to share the highlights of our journey including our joint session with the AMDSB at the OASBO ICT Conference and over 100,000 new users at school boards upgrading their security by switching to COOL Easy Login.
Solutions for Ontario School Boards
In 2023, Cloudwise COOL solidified its position as a trusted partner for Ontario School Boards by enhancing our integration capabilities. We successfully launched our sync with both Aspen-Follet and PowerSchool, two of the most widely used student information systems in Ontario. Our nightly sync saves IT staff time and ensures class lists are always up-to-date.
The SIS integration runs in addition to our updated automatic spreadsheet sync, ensuring all students,staff, admins and members of groups have access within the COOL environment.
Engagement in Ontario Education
This year we were fortunate enough to meet with CEO, CIO, Curriculum leads and IT-administrators from each of the four types of school boards in Ontario; English Public, English Catholic, French Public and French Catholic. The experience taught us about the specific needs of schools and school boards across all of Ontario. While each board was unique, they shared three common concerns;
- It takes students a long time to sign in (sometimes resulting in unused devices in the classroom)
- Student accounts are vulnerable, using passwords with little or no complexity
- Before Cloudwise COOL, there has not been a solution to address both of these concerns.
Along with individual meetings, we had the opportunity to introduce our COOL Easy Login solution at a virtual showcase facilitated by ECNO in April, as well as three in-person conferences in Ontario. The highlight for us was the OASBO ICT Conference in November. At our session with the Avon Maitland DSB on our passwordless, MFA-like solution for students we had over 100 attendees join us. We were so grateful for the number of attendees and the highly engaging Q&A session, thank you! We were happy to share in the passion for education and the desire to innovate Ontario Edtech.
Accessibility and Equity for Ontario Students
One of the themes that arose in our conversations with school boards was the need to ensure equitable access to IT for ALL students, regardless of their age or ability. This is something close to the heart of our company as our first customer was a school for students with exceptionalities in the Netherlands. This year we were excited to announce new updates in the COOL platform to accommodate and enhance the experience of students with visual impairments. Cloudwise is proudly compliant with the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) and committed to ensuring equitable access to IT for ALL students. Check out our blog for more information.
A Passwordless, MFA-like Solution for Students
While COOL Easy Login is a student centred solution, there are also many benefits to using COOL to enhance your school board cyber security. The rise of cyber security incidents on public facing institutions in Ontario has risen sharply this year. Many school boards expressed the challenges of securing the accounts of their students; finding the balance between password complexity and ability of the students to access their accounts. With Cloudwise, school boards can increase the complexity of their password policies on student accounts, knowing that the students will not need to use their password while at school. The combination of QR badge and pictures acts as a MFA-like solution for students, adding increased security to their accounts while also saving considerable time in the login process.
Looking Forward to 2024
2024 promises to be an exciting year for Cloudwise with updates and new developments to each of the COOL modules. Here are a few updates to expect this year:
COOL Easy Login for Windows Devices
COOL Easy Login for Windows devices is coming! Our development team has been hard at work with our partners at Microsoft developing and testing our COOL Easy Login solution for Windows devices. We are looking forward to launching COOL Easy Login for Windows Devices later this year.
New Login Screen for COOL Easy Login
The COOL login screen has been updated and will soon be released. The login screen now displays four login options for students; QR, Picture, Google and Microsoft. School boards can choose to use COOL QR login, Picture login, or a combination of the two to secure their student accounts while also making it easier for students to sign in. Traditional Google and Microsoft login are also available for students.
Test Providers in COOL Check
Our “Test Providers” feature In COOL Check, our secure digital exam module, has now been released. Schools can now add test providers such as EQAO, D2L or their own custom providers to COOL Check allowing digital assessments to take place in a secure environment. No need to download additional apps or extensions. Teachers can provide online resources such as a graphing calculator without students being able to navigate away from the page. Spell check and Text to Speech are also available in COOL Check. COOL Check is currently available for use on board managed Chromebooks or Windows devices.
For our COOL Check environment we are also investigating a “penalty box to make sure students can only access material demanded by the teachers and prevent any other resources used or the option to make screenshots or save anything to the clipboard. This makes COOL Check in combination with our classroom management solution COOL Focus an ideal environment in the time of AI.