Scots College did not have good solution whereby staff and students could share information and resources. The existing situation consisted of shared network drives that could only be accessed from inside the college network.
SharePoint was introduced to enable the sharing of common staff documents and other resources. Virtual classrooms were established to enable teachers to share resources with students for use in their teaching and learning. Cloud tools have enabled common file storage able to be accessed anytime, anywhere. The College learning community is now an interactive Microsoft cloud based modern learning environment.
• 3 Schools
• 870 students
• 1449 network devices
By using the Microsoft suite and SharePoint as our intranet we have been able to deliver our pedagogy in a seamless manner. With the introduction of 1:1 computing this has become increasingly important to us and these products have enabled us to use technology efficiently and effectively in the classroom to aid teaching and learning. Our aim is to produce lifelong learners who are well prepared for their futures and our Microsoft platform underpins this.
Graeme Yule, January 2016
Microsoft and the products that have been used include SharePoint, OneDrive, OneNote Class Notebooks, and Teacher Dashboard. Together they have made it possible to move towards putting all students and staff on an equal footing.
With regards to access to the tools of ICT, the school believes equity has become significantly less because they are able to give everyone access to exactly same software and tools despite differing social and economic backgrounds. The Microsoft Pro Plus licences are distributed for free to all staff and students. The contribution that this makes to allowing everyone equal access to information, processing and education is invaluable.
The Microsoft technologies are seen to be both easy to distribute and use. They are seen to be useful and continue to evolve and improve. With SharePoint and access to their own OneDrive, everyone has a place to save to and easily keep their important documents. With OneNote and other online sharing facilities, giving everyone access to the resources they need ,the school administrators and teachers’ workflow has been made even easier.
Teacher work flows have been streamlined.
Instead of emailing resources as an attached document and then having to collate the changes after emails replies, staff now share documents and everyone works on the same one. No more collating.
Through Class Notebooks, staff now share teaching resources with students. This means everyone (even those absent or sick) have access to the same resources immediately upon it being created and enabled.
Students can now review and revise with reliable resources created by the teacher instead of having to rely on peers’ notes which may have been incorrect or incomplete.
It was noted that the Microsoft suite is comprehensive enough to allow the most complicated tasks to be achieved, Unlike some competitive options available, students don’t reach a “ceiling” to frustratingly limit their learning needs.
Scots College has just had some of the best examination and assessment results for both International Baccalaureate and L2 & L3 NCEA in their history! Whilst they do not yet claim a causal relationship, teachers and boys have embraced and embedded digital learning practises over the 2015 year. There is a strong school wide belief that teachers and students are reaping the benefits from the digital advantage we have introduced with Microsoft and its technologies.
Scots College currently has a record student roll.
The public perception of their adoption of this digital journey is very strong and growing.
Cyclone for me has been a one-stop-shop!
I can turn to them for purchasing equipment, licences, advice and professional development support. They respond virtually immediately and I can always rely on their advice to be honest, clear and trustworthy. They do not just push their own agenda. When they advise us to buy a certain product, I am certain that it is because it is the right product for us, and not just the product that will make them the most money. They are a friendly, approachable bunch and I love working with them.
Their staff are extremely knowledgeable about the Microsoft technologies and the New Zealand education sector. They know schools and how they function, and they are always willing to share their expertise and knowledge. They are also always willing to use their contacts and put our college into contact with other similar schools to benefit everyone.
Director of ICT & e-Learning, Teacher of Digital Technology
The College IT team uses the Windows mobile tools widely to manage the SharePoint site, Office 365 Pro Plus licences and the Exchange based emails for students. This enables them to be mobile around the college and still provide timely support for teachers and other staff and students.
The administration tools in the SharePoint site are considered easy to use and make the administration of the Microsoft Office technologies simple and easy.
They have found that the integration with Active Directory means that they have to complete administrative tasks only once confident that they can be sure that actions will sync to the cloud as in a timely manner.
The College has enabled the parents / caregivers to have access to the full suite of Microsoft Office products to use at home.
If a student has the license installed on his school device, it still leaves a family with 4 licences to install on other devices. This means that families are all able to reap the benefits of using core software technologies across all devices in the household.
Whilst many of Scots alumni move into tertiary education, some move directly into the workplace. The decision to embrace the Microsoft ecosystem was made easier by aligning with the school motto – Learning for life. Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications has become part of the learning culture within their current workplace, their classroom and is seen as a transferrable knowledge base.
Teachers are able to demonstrate work in class using a specific set of software and then expect their students to practice at home using the same software. No more problems with incompatible versions, or different programs or using inadequate open source software.
Teachers can also collaborate, share and view common resources in a way that they never could before. Backups are now automated and eliminating the concern about losing resources.
More than a supplier, as educators themselves, Cyclone staff have played an important role in understanding the learning outcomes that Scots College was seeking to achieve. Strategic and technical input was important to assist with planning and implementation. However, it was the unique integration of the appropriate technologies with their highly skilled professional development staff together with Scots’ teachers that has ensured that the deployment has changed the paradigm.
Like most schools, the technologies are present. Unlike many places, this implementation is making a difference to the learning outcomes because of the investment in working alongside the teachers to model exemplary digital teaching.