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Cloud-based Educational Program for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disability

  • Published: 2014-09-24 (Revised/Updated 2016-09-23) : Author: IBM : Contact:
  • Synopsis: IBM announces it is working with Bancroft, a provider of specialized services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to manage an innovative, cloud-based educational program.

Quote: "Bancroft's use of cloud-based mobile technology is enabling growth in individuals who have been challenged to speak or write before, which is truly transformational."

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Leading Nonprofit Utilizes Mobile Management and Security Solutions for Program that Creates More Rewarding Interactions for Students with Disabilities.

Staff and students can now access a library of more than 300 educational and clinical apps via an iPad more securely.

A longtime leader in using technology to empower individuals, Bancroft recently initiated an iPad program that enables its special education team to use instructional apps to teach students basic subjects, such as math and English, and assistive technology apps to help students with disabilities overcome physical challenges. The program puts mobile apps in the hands of classroom teachers, clinical staff and school administrators to better engage with students and improve the learning experience.

Bancroft is using IBM MaaS360, a mobile management and security offering that is part of the IBM Mobile-First portfolio, to help secure and monitor the iPads and easily manage app updates. By delivering mobile apps over a flexible cloud infrastructure and into the hands of students, instead of relying on traditional paper textbooks and on-premise learning software, therapists and educators are now equipped with greater flexibility and the ability to quickly update and customize Bancroft students' curriculum. Students' families can potentially save thousands of dollars each year by using widely available and free interactive learning apps, versus expensive and traditional educational materials, such as books and PC-based software.

Additionally, Bancroft clinical staff utilize iPads to improve their ability to make decisions about the health and well being of students outside the classroom - including conducting therapy sessions and creating personalized development programs. As a result, they must adhere to the school's strict confidentiality standards and HIPAA compliance requirements. The cloud-based IBM MaaS360 offering enables Bancroft information technology (IT) staff to remotely lock and wipe data if a device is lost or compromised in any way. The school has also been able to cut the time the help desk spends managing apps by at least two days a month. "iPads and apps are truly revolutionary tools for the Bancroft community," said Beth Greer, a Bancroft Assistive & Instructional Technology specialist and special education teacher. "Given the number of apps we use, successful app management is essential to our program's success. We simply could not manage and securely deploy our iPad program without IBM."

IBM has helped Bancroft open new worlds for students, families and Bancroft staff. Greer cites an example of a five-year-old student in the school's early education program who struggled for months to pair cardboard pictures of matching objects. Using an iPad, the girl immediately matched photos. "Her teachers were in tears - they'd worked so hard with her and to see her accomplish this task was a joyful moment for them," continued Greer.

To be able to expand its iPad use over time across multiple users and student scenarios, Bancroft needed a mobile management and security solution that was easy to use for teachers, students, families and IT staff. IBM MaaS360 best met Bancroft's needs with benefits including the ability to push apps and monitor policy compliance remotely, and deliver cost savings by reducing the amount of physical IT infrastructure and necessary educational software licenses. "Bancroft's use of cloud-based mobile technology is enabling growth in individuals who have been challenged to speak or write before, which is truly transformational," said Michael King, vice president, Global Education Industry, IBM. "Through flexible, efficient and centralized iPad management, the school's staff can now focus their efforts on education and improving lives of and outcomes for students - instead of debugging computers, constantly upgrading software and solving other IT problems."

Additional information on Bancroft's innovative educational programs can be found in this case study:

Bancroft provides an innovative continuum of care, which serves all ages in a variety of environments, from schools to outpatient and residential living facilities. These services include: special education, vocational training and supported employment, structured day programs, community and campus living programs, behavioral supports and brain injury rehabilitation. For over 130 years Bancroft has been pioneering new ways of helping people with disabilities lead independent and fulfilling lives. The organization's vision is a community where every individual has a voice, a purpose and a rightful place in society. Based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, the organization serves more than 1,500 individuals annually in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. For more information, visit

IBM's 5,000 mobile experts have been at the forefront of mobile enterprise innovation. IBM has secured more than 4,300 patents in mobile, social and security, which have been incorporated into IBM Mobile-First solutions that enable enterprise clients to radically streamline and accelerate mobile adoption, help organizations engage more people and capture new markets. Through IBM's partnership with Apple, the two organizations are transforming enterprise mobility with a new class of industry specific business apps.

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