Category: In the News

So, You Have Some Devices You Need Fixed…

Whatever your repair strategy is, no matter who you bought your technology from, FireFly’s warranty and repairs solutions give you the support you need to keep your devices up and running.

Explore FireFly’s maintenance support options and find a solution that suits your school’s budget, schedule, and curriculum.

TIME SAVERS

Manufacturer Authorized Warranties – Your Easiest Warranty Claim… Ever!

FireFly will take care of all your extended warranties and accidental damage claims for products from Lenovo, HP, Dell, and more! FireFly is a trusted Authorized Services provider which means they can give you the same quality repairs you could get straight from the manufacturer.

The FireFly Advantage:

  • Easy online submission form/warranty lookup
  • Fast turn-around times
  • Supporting self-maintainers – get parts for repairs you want to
    handle yourself and send the rest to them

Easy RMAs – Hassle-Free Return of Merchandise Authorizations

FireFly take care of all your warranty repairs for products from Lenovo, HP, Dell and more! FireFly is a trusted Authorized Services provider which means they can give you the same quality repairs you could get straight from the manufacturer.

The FireFly Advantage:

  • Bulk online RMA submission – 1 ticket for up to 50 devices
  • Free shipping and packaging both ways w/ FireFly Smart RMA Box

BUDGET STRETCHERS

FireFly Smart Repair Program – The Convenience of a Warranty… Only Pay for what Actually Breaks

With the FireFly Smart Repair Program, you can buy credits up front that can go towards Chromebook parts and/or repairs for your entire Chromebook fleet. Cause of breakage doesn’t matter, serial numbers don’t matter, and credits are usable on any device, even if you didn’t purchase it from us! Oh yeah, and credits never expire! Unused credits roll over from year to year and can be purchased at any time.

Repair Parts – FireFlyRepairZone.com

FireFly Repair Zone makes it easy to restore your off-warranty computer equipment with helpful tools, tips, and parts to get the jobs done right. Look up your specific device model, and FireFly will point you in the direction of exactly the parts you need to get back up and running.

The FireFly Advantage:

  • Helpful Parts Manager who can help you find the part you need
  • Intuitive eStore for finding/purchasing Chromebook parts
  • Quick order processing

STUDENT REPAIR TOOLS

DIY Repair Kits – You Save. They Learn.

Never miss a learning opportunity with your school’s tech! FireFly’s Do-It-Yourself Chromebook Repair Cart extends the life of your devices with all the tools, supplies, and training needed for two people to perform almost every Chromebook Repair. You’ll empower your students with world-relevant skills, all while maintaining your entire Chromebook arsenal.

Includes $1,200 in FireFly Smart Repair™ credits for your initial parts purchase.

Student Repair Program – The FireFly Student-Led Repair Program Starter Guide

Here’s to the self-maintainers! The team at FireFly wanted to make it as easy and painless as possible for you to start a student-led repair program of your own so you can be fully self-sufficient with your Chromebook fleet. Learn the logistics, difficulties, and strategies to getting started in the guide!

FREE RESOURCES:

  • Downloadable eBook
  • Template documents
  • Demo repair video

Not seeing the right solution for you? FireFly wants to hear how to be the best partner on the market! Contact your dedicated Account Manager below!


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Marissa Kolmer
Senior Account Manager
612-808-9144
mkolmer@fireflycomputers.com

Learn More About Firefly Computers

Microsoft Teams and itslearning: How to Get Started

Original Article by itslearning

Many teachers are using live conferencing tools to create more dynamic lessons and engage students – especially in the case of remote learning.

The Microsoft Teams Meetings plugin is directly available in the toolbar of itslearning’s rich text editor.

You can add a MS Teams meeting anywhere in itslearning and Fronter 19 that has a rich text editor for instance assignments, or note. 

You can also copy and insert the meeting link in a calendar event and in Plans.  

Here’s what you need to get started:

Office 365 for Business/Education account

You cannot create a meeting with your personal account – you will get an error message if you try to do this.

A MS Teams meeting can accommodate up to 250 users.

Watch the video

Create a meeting 

Click on the Teams icon in the rich text editor

NOTE: However, if you don’t find it there, you can still add it from our App library. This can be done by the system administrator on behalf of the organization (Click this link Add MS Teams plug-in to see how it is done). It can also be done by individual teachers (if allowed by your school organization) Click on the Puzzle icon (next to the Teams icon in the image below, and browse the App library and search for ‘Microsoft Teams Meetings’, then click the ‘Include this app’ button). 

A neat trick to prevent students from muting the teacher is to select ‘Only me’ under ‘Who can present’. You can do this when creating the meeting. Click on the ‘More Options’ button to change the default under Meeting Options.

This option is only available to anyone who has “Allow HTML Code Level” at less restricted or higher. What this means is that if you don’t want students to create MS Teams meetings, their HTML Code Level must be “Restricted” or lower.

When you first sign in, you need to give permissions to the plugin to create a meeting in Microsoft Teams. If this is restricted because of organization policies, the Office 365 tenant administrator needs to give consent on behalf of the organization. This can be done by clicking this link and signing in as the tenant administrator. If you don’t know who you tenant administrator is, please contact your itslearning administrator.

Once created, the meeting does not appear anywhere else in Office 365 – for example, it will not show up on Outlook. Meetings can only be joined via the provided link. 

How to join a meeting

  • Click the provided link 
  • Anyone signed into Office 365 can start the meeting. This is not restricted to the user who created the meeting.
  • By default you do not need an O365 account to join the meeting (Check with your school if this is allowed). 

Anonymous users

If anonymous users want to join a meeting, they must first fill in a name.

If users without an account have joined prior to the start of the meeting, they will need to be admitted by a logged in user. If the meeting has already started, they will be automatically admitted.

Mobile

You need to install the Microsoft Teams app to join the meeting on mobile devices. When clicking on the link, the meeting will start in the MS Teams app.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Spencer P Rubin
VP, Strategic Partnerships
347-439-4875
spencer.rubin@itslearning.com

Learn More About itslearning

Justin Libis
Account Executive
701-281-7780
justin.libis@microsoft.com

Learn More About Microsoft

Simple, Safe, and Accurate Fever Screening for Districts

JourneyEd is now offering non-contact thermal imaging via the ILTPP-JourneyEd full catalog contract. A company known as X.Labs saw a need for a product to rapidly assist districts once re-opening begins. X.Labs immediately released a new and available product is known as feevr.

COVID-19 has prompted massive changes in education; many of which were unexpected. feevr has been introduced to provide schools and districts with the ability to protect students and staff from this moment on. feevr’s mission is to assist schools in minimizing the risk of cross-contamination.

feevr creators know that a fever is an indicating symptom of infectious disease.

As staff screen students, they can quickly identify individuals with fever before actual entry. This screening is a non-invasive, zero contact fever detection solution.

feevr delivers detections at a high-throughput for faster, more efficient screening process.

This new technology is a quick and effective artificial intelligence (AI) based system for detecting individuals with elevated temperature in a crowd. Upon entry, district leaders can take a snapshot that captures and alerts automatically when an individual’s temperature reaches and/or goes above the input threshold.

feevr is user-friendly and can be setup in minutes as both a fixed or handheld solution!

Each feevr kit is equipped with a pre-configured android device. This device features a FLIR thermal imaging camera, device case, tripod, charging accessories, and a one-year manufacturer warranty.

To request a quote or learn more about CARES spending eligibility, please contact your dedicated account manager below!


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Christine McConnell
Senior Account Manager
636-349-7058
cmcconnell@journeyed.com

Learn More About JourneyEd

Remote Learning Fosters Numerous Student Security & Privacy Risks

The Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP) has explored and compiled a variety of timely security and privacy resources via the Future of Privacy Forum. ILTPP recognizes the need for better education on privacy concerns raised throughout this global state of affairs. The information listed below includes public guidance linked for the benefit of both educators and parents.

The Security and Privacy Risks Associated with Videoconferencing

During this time, relying on videoconferencing to communicate with other educational staff and your students is essential. Whether it be Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams, teachers are striving to foster active participation and engagement across the classroom while maintaining continued learning.

Videoconferencing places schools and districts in a vulnerable position with hackers making targeted cyber threats and exploiting security weaknesses. This risks students’ medical, academic, and personal records. Learn more about how to battle this ongoing threat.

Why Should Classroom Teachers Care About Student Data Privacy?

Student data consists of attendance, grades, health records, and even personal records. Access to this data has expanded from just the administrator and educator to technology vendors providing services and products to the school or district. Concerns are floating around ensuring these companies are housing the data safely and restricting their use of the data.

To protect their students, teachers need to be made aware of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to guarantee these technologies used in classrooms are being utilized in ways that follow both state and school policies. These devices include computers, mobile devices, software, apps, websites, and programs. Learn more about vetting and understanding the use of these tools with The Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy.

Best Practices of Using Social Media for Online Learning

Using social media for online learning can assist with remote learning in a lot of positive ways. However, schools should create policies regarding whether their educators may use it for remote learning. Requiring parents to be notified about information posted on these platforms and the evaluation process of their children is essential. FERPA protects students’ rights to personal and academic data, which should be taken into deep consideration when utilizing a platform created for a public, general audience. Learn more about gaining parental consent and if social media is the right route for your remote learning strategies.

Student Privacy 101 Video Series

The “Student Privacy 101” video series includes:

  • An introductory video that previews the challenges and opportunities around collecting and safeguarding student data in the digital age.
  • A short video on legal compliance, providing concise information about the requirements and role of the FERPA.
  • A brief overview of the most common privacy risks and how to avoid them.
  • A discussion on transparency, including advice on collecting community feedback, and engaging and informing parents about a school’s data collection practices.

The Autonomous Enterprise: Many Vendors, Many Choices

Original Extreme Networks Article

Since 1996, Extreme Networks has been pushing the boundaries of networking technology, driven by a vision of making it simpler and faster as well as more agile and secure. But Extreme’s higher purpose has always been helping customers connect beyond the network… strengthening their relationships with those they serve.

Autonomous Enterprise:

An industry trend that networking vendors speak to in different ways. All versions are based on or identified to leverage cognitive thinking, machine learning, and artificial intelligence capabilities to proactively detect and remediate network & security events. 

CISCOARUBAJUNIPER
Solution NameIntent-Based NetworkingExperience-Driven NetworkingSelf-Driving Network
The MessagesIntent-Based Networking captures business intent and uses analytics, machine learning, and automation to align the network continuously to changing business needs.Experience-Driven service management platform, 5 core feature sets; planning & deployment, analytics, performance, security & extensibility, to automate and optimize the delivery of network services.Self-Driving Network, similar to a self-driving car, is an autonomous network that is predictive and adaptive to its environment. Supports multi-vendor environment.
The LimitationsMultiple proprietary automation & orchestration solutions (data center, campus, SD-WAN, Cloud, etc.) that do not interwork as a single system. System-wide modifications still require multiple touches of components.Yet to clearly define their architecture or solution. Current web message – developing features and collateral to tell a story for management and operations solutions… As the content is created, they will expand on what falls into each category to solve use cases in a holistic manner.Service provider focused, trying to leverage architecture to enter enterprise market. No integrated edge to data center solution, another solution comprised of multiple silos with no single orchestration/
automation solutions.

Extreme’s Advantage:

Extreme’s software-driven network infrastructure is a foundational layer for enabling a secure, scalable, and efficient use of cloud, edge, and IoT applications. The company offers pervasive real-time visibility from its cloud to your to deliver insights and security across a broad range of infrastructure and cloud environments. With Extreme’s policy-driven closed-loop automation, the network can detect anomalous behavior from IoT devices, users, or applications, and automatically resolve issues without intervention. Unlike other vendors with proprietary solutions, Extreme offers multi-vendor support in an open and standards-based ecosystem.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Mike Fortenberry
Senior Account Executive
248-921-8670
mikfortenberry@extremenetworks.com

Learn More About Extreme Networks

Need It Yesterday? That’s ITsavvy’s Specialty.

More products. Faster delivery. Call ITsavvy.

Do you need products pronto? ITsavvy has over 1,000,000 products and more than 1,000 name brands you trust. Plus they send out 99% of in-stock items the same day as ordered. ITsavvy delivers IT products — fast.

The products you want, when you need them. 

ITsavvy knows the demands you are under. Time is critical. ITsavvy leads the industry in expedited delivery. Order it today and you’ll likely get it in 1-2 days.

Need a best-in-class IT product? ITsavvy is a vendor-neutral IT products reseller, so you’ll find all of the leading brands. Need a one-off or weirdware? If it’s not in their inventory, ITsavvy will do its best to locate it for you.

The ITsavvy Difference

IT Products + Technology Solutions = Peace of Mind. 

Need assistance? Contact your dedicated Account Manager to learn more about ITsavvy’s products and services.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Brian Fields
Senior Director of Sales, Public Sector
630-396-6305
bfields@itsavvy.com

Learn More About ITsavvy

AGParts Education – Tips & Solutions

AGParts Education supports over 5,000 innovative 1:1 digital learning school districts across the United States with new and reclaimed Chromebook and laptop parts, device buyback, Chromebook repair, motherboard services, and more. AGParts is an authorized reseller for major Chromebook brands including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. All of the 200,000+ parts inventoried are OEM original and are backed by the Limited Lifetime Warranty. AGParts Education’s experienced Account Executives are highly knowledgeable within the parts industry. They are continually analyzing each new Chromebook model to stay ahead of leading technology, trends, and foreseeable shortages. With two locations and twelve dedicated Account Executives, AGParts Education is at the ready to deliver the highest quality service and the most cost-effective parts solutions for your school’s digital learning initiative.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager

Ken Wiltz
Sales Executive
844-706-5084 x 127
ken@agpartsworldwide.com

Learn More About AGParts Education

SHI’s Remote Cloud Solutions

In these unprecedented times, SHI knows your business is changing and you’re having to adapt faster than ever before. The SHI team is here for you today and tomorrow, helping to address your most pressing needs now while supporting your longer-term strategic goals in the weeks and months ahead.

Whether it’s continuing to enable secure, effective networking and collaboration across your remote workforce, controlling the explosion of cloud and SaaS costs, or providing effective IT asset management, SHI has you covered.

Below you’ll find information on SHI services, advice from experts, training events, and offers from trusted partners that will continue helping you support your school or district’s success in difficult times.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Kyle Thomas
SM SLED Manager
732-564-8526
Kyle_Thomas@shi.com

Learn More About SHI

Self-Paced & Teacher-Led Distance Learning with SMART

Connecting Classrooms with At-Home Learning

Leverage ready-made lessons and activities to share out with students. Learn how to easily use the content you have to engage in remote learning with SMART Learning Suite Online software.

SMART Learning Suite Online powers cloud-based classrooms enabling interactive lesson delivery, collaborative workspaces, game-based activities, formative assessments, and more on devices anywhere, anytime.

Students can complete self-paced lessons remotely and engage in teacher-led learning activities together for real-time feedback and discussion.

Integrations with familiar platforms like Google and Microsoft make it easy to leverage existing lesson content and add videos, activities, discussions, and group work.

For the dedicated teachers and students currently affected by the coronavirus outbreak, SMART is here to support you with complimentary software and resources for the rest of the school year.


Self-Paced Learning

Students complete self-paced activities remotely, using online tools with some opportunities for feedback.

Teacher-Led Learning

Students engage in learning activities at the same time, using virtual tools enabling real-time feedback and discussion.


COTG has been appointed as the SMART Certified Training Center for the state of Illinois.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Bradley Swidler
Account Manager – Education & Government
630-201-7007
bswidler@cotg.com

Learn More About COTG

FireFly – Order Chromebooks Early (If You Can)

Beat the curve on school technology purchasing

Original FireFly Article Found Here

2020 has been a year like no other. In March alone, we saw tens of thousands of Chromebooks rush-ordered by districts needing take-home devices for their students. Many schools had only a matter of days to shift entire districts to online learning, while at the same time, manufacturing disruptions in China resulted in significant availability issues. These snags in the supply chain caused many vendors, and even some manufacturers (FireFly excluded), to all-but completely run out of Chromebooks.

The initial chaos has thankfully subsided (for the most part at least), but you may be left wondering how this early and unexpected need for student devices will affect the “normal” school technology purchasing season this summer. Our FireFly Technology Experts took a look at the market and came up with some advice on how to approach your summer tech purchases. Here’s why we’re predicting that ordering your devices now will be your best bet this year:

FireFly 2020 Summer Outlook

Availability Gaps – Early demand has reduced the number of devices FireFly and other vendors have been able to stock-up on heading into the summer. Intermittent gaps in the availability of brand new models are fairly common in most years, however when new models are in short supply, you typically have other options such as buying a previous year’s model or buying from a partner like FireFly who has our own private warehouse.

This year, those other options may not be as possible and any gaps in the availability of new models will be felt much more strongly. HP and Lenovo are aware of the increased demand and have ramped up the production of Chromebooks and other student devices. Still, some manufacturers are predicting that a few of the most popular low-cost models will only be readily available either early in the year (i.e. right about now) or towards the latter half of summer.

For those planning on ordering 1,000+ Chromebooks this year, tell us right away! Our Account Managers at FireFly have great relationships with our manufacturers, and as long as we can let them know about the details of your order early, they may be able to allocate (i.e. set aside) inventory for your order. That’s even more reason to get started sooner this year rather than later.

Price Creep – It’s tempting to assume the amount of early buying that happened this year will “flatten the curve” on the demand for student devices over the summer, but there are many indicators that this won’t be the case. Some schools that wanted devices for all their students weren’t able to buy them this spring because of budget restrictions or because they simply didn’t have enough time. Several state governments have also begun recognizing the value of 1:1 student take-home devices and are starting to set aside special funding pools that could greatly increase the number of computers and Chromebooks schools are enabled to buy this summer.

Right now, prices on Chromebooks and student laptops are fairly good. As demand rises over the summer, however, we may start to see prices increase as suppliers tighten up on discounts and rebates. There could also be periodic shortages this year on the most popular low-cost models, which means if you wait too long, you might end up having to spend a bit more money on one of the higher-end models.

Lead Times – Availability and pricing aside, the increased demand for 1:1 student devices means there could be longer-than-normal wait times this summer for our popular setup services like white glove, cart wiring, and bulk packaging, which the majority of our customers include with their Chromebook orders. We’ve made several improvements this year at FireFly which should allow us to be more efficient than ever and keep our lead times trim. These include a newly-remodeled and streamlined production area, and flex-teams that will boost our staffing up or down in various departments as needed. Still, it’s uncertain just how busy the demand on our services will be this summer. By getting your orders in right now (or as soon as you can), you’ll be first in line to have your devices setup and ready in time for the upcoming school year.

“That all sounds great, but how do I order early?”

We realize that some districts have very tight restrictions on when orders can be placed within the budget cycle, while others are more flexible. The biggest thing to remember is that communication is king. The more we know about the pressures and timelines you’re working under, the better equipped we’ll be to offer you programs, options, and solutions that you might not have known existed. Here are some ideas:

Delayed July 1 Billing – One of the easiest ways to order your devices early through FireFly is our delayed July 1 billing program. Most schools qualify, which means you can send us a purchase order now and we’ll begin processing your order. We can even ship you the devices now, but we won’t actually process your purchase order and invoice your school until July 1 when the new budget cycle begins. Ask a FireFly Account Manager for more details if you’re interested.

Leasing – Although it requires a little bit of extra paperwork, leasing can be a great way to buy early and then budget out the expenses over time. Most leasing companies can defer your initial payment for several months, which means you can place your order now and not have it show up on your financial books until FY2021.

In the past, some people have avoided leasing because they assume it will cost them more money over time in interest than buying the devices outright. That’s not always the case. FireFly has at least one leasing option available through our educational partners where a three-year Fair Market Value (FMV) lease will cost you less than actually purchasing the devices. If you really want to minimize your up-front costs, FireFly even has monthly leasing options available that will cost your school as little as $7 per Chromebook per month.

Government and Private Funding – Finally, it’s worth mentioning that in this current COVID-19 situation there have been some alternative funding resources popping up that are available to schools and educators. States, local governments, and even private businesses have rallied together to help schools purchase technology for their students through grants, donations, and forgivable loans. You may need to do a little bit of digging to find them, but right now is a great time to seek much-needed financial support resources to help you successfully engage your new remote learners.

Need to discuss these ideas about how to make early purchasing work for your school? Get in touch with a dedicated FireFly Account Manager and we’ll walk you through our best tricks and solutions for budgeting and payment.

Take-Aways

  1. Order early to lock-in pricing and availability of Chromebooks for your school.
  2. Let us know right away if you’ll be ordering 1,000+ Chromebooks this year so we can help you get them allocated with the manufacturer.
  3. Use alternative payment plans like leasing or delayed July 1 billing to help with shifting your purchasing timeline earlier.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Marissa Kolmer
Senior Account Manager
612-808-9144
mkolmer@fireflycomputers.com

Learn More About Firefly Computers