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Case Study

Blazing Fast Wireless

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St Simon Peter Catholic Primary School | Wireless-as-a-Service (WaaS)

 

Over the past few years, St Simon Peter Catholic Primary School has seen an exponential increase of wireless devices within the school and as the school prepared to roll out a 1:1 device initiative, they needed to address some of their connectivity issues.

 

Struggling Under The Pressure

 

Although the school has a fast and capable internet connection, the aging wireless infrastructure paired with the growing number of devices was no longer delivering an acceptable level of connectivity. Regular OS and Application updates, and consistent access to cloud-based data meant that the network frequently ground to a halt. Whole staff Professional Development (PD) days in the main hall completely disrupted the network, leaving the staff unable to use their devices throughout the day.

 

“The network infrastructure struggled under pressure and as a result the wireless connection regularly dropped out. Put simply, too many devices and not enough access.” Ashlee Dale, Technologies Coordinator explains.

 

Solutions IT performed a wireless audit throughout the campus including RF Spectrum analysis and predictive planning based on the expected number of devices and type of usage in each area of the school. This was used to plan the correct number and placement of wireless access points in order to meet the school’s coverage and capacity requirements.

 

Blazing Fast Wireless

Within a week, the aging wireless access points were replaced with the new hardware. “The deployment was a seamless experience and now we have a network that can efficiently handle updates, downloads, steaming services and uploads, without interrupting the students’ learning experience. We have now seen a shift in the use of learning spaces and environments, with classes utilising outdoor spaces, while maintaining wireless connectivity, to enhance the students’ learning. Our two 1:1 device year levels can also enjoy the full functionality of their device in real-time.”

 

 

The WaaS Offering

 

Solutions IT’s WaaS offering proactively monitors the schools infrastructure and wireless network. In addition to this they provide useful tools such as traffic shaping and firewall inclusions. For example, if NAPLAN testing is required to be run, and the school wants to limit bandwidth usage of non-essential applications, rules can be applied to limit the amount of bandwidth given to Video/Streaming type applications, thus giving priority to those devices conducting the testing.

Should the school require specific firewall rules to block inappropriate activities such as gaming sites, this can easily be applied to ensure better utilisation of the wireless network.

 

On top of the analysis, improved security and scalability, WaaS offers schools a fixed price, low monthly payment plans, and can eliminate ongoing associated hardware and software costs.

 

For more information about Wireless as a Service (Waas) contact sales@solutionsit.com.au or 08 6241 2550

ClassVR STEM Showcase | Queen of the Apostles School

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Holly Jacob is a Year 5 teacher and Digital Technologies coordinator at Queen of the Apostles School in Riverton. ICT learning and technology is embedded throughout the school’s curriculum and is used to promote student engagement, motivation and excellence, and ClassVR plays a significant role.

The School’s STEM engineering process is modelled on Lee Crockett’s Future Focussed Learning Model using the 6Ds (defining, discovering, dreaming, designing, delivering and debriefing). To give the students an authentic experience with the process, the school looked at problems in the local environment and one of the focuses was on local bees. “The population of native bees are declining. A number of factors are contributing to this, so we used the 6Ds to explore further” says Holly.

To help the students understand the issues, Holly searched the ClassVR portal for VR videos of bees in their typical habitats. Holly explored the ‘Community Tab’ via the ClassVR platform and discovered a school in England who had uploaded a 360 degree video of the inside of a beehive. Not only does ClassVR have a plethora of classroom-ready content, but other users can create, upload and share thier own content too.

Holly was able to easily download the video to the headset for her class, “Our students were able to experience the inside of the beehive and see different roles of the bees. From there we discussed the importance of bees for pollination, the decline in numbers and the possible impacts. It was a great conversation starter.”

Queen Of The Apostles STEM

“ClassVR allowed us to see the bee’s living conditions and gave us great ideas for bee hotels,” says one of Holly’s Year 5 students. “As the native bees are not honey bees that live in hives, we wanted to make a safe resting place for them so they can continue to pollinate plants for us. It is very important to help them survive. We monitored our hotels daily and could see that they were becoming a home to a growing number of bees”.

The School was invited to present their learnings at the the Catholic Education WA (CEWA) STEM Showcase Day.

“We couldn’t take live bees with us so again we used ClassVR technology to demonstrate bees in their natural environment,” says Holly. “The preparation was minimal, but it had the biggest impact on the day. There were lines and lines of children wanting to see the beehive. It was a great starting point for engagement between my students and those visiting our stand. From there they could show off their bee hotels and discuss ongoing solutions. It was so lovely to listen to their conversations and see that those visiting our stand were walking away with a new consideration for bees”.

Ongoing learning is key at Queen of Apostles so the school’s next steps are to design more hotels and habitats for the bees using Minecraft EDU and upload the 3D image to the ClassVR headsets so other students can explore them in depth before creating the real thing.

Recycle and renew for Winthrop Primary School

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Katy De Caprio and Annemarie Dembo are the dynamic duo that look after ICT and resources at Winthrop Primary School.

Ethical Device Sanitisation & Disposal

Winthrop Primary School had 60 old devices, a mix of iPads and MacBook Pros, that needed to be wiped and disposed of so Katy and Annemarie had started exploring options for their disposal.

The school had an obligation to sanitise the machines prior to any disposal and also wanted to ensure that they were disposed of ethically, so Annemarie gained a number of quotes from recycling companies.

“The timing was perfect.” recalls Katy, “At a regular visit, I was talking to John about our intent to wipe and dispose of our devices and it was then that we learned about the Solutions IT Buyback program”.

Technology Buyback Program

Solutions IT’s Buyback program is a fast, simple and effective trade-in solution for old devices. Quite simply, old devices are traded in for cash. The program offers competitive market leading valuations and complete data integrity which includes a sanitation certificate.

“John did pretty much everything.” laughs Katy, “It was super easy; we gave him the list of devices with serial numbers that we simply had copied from our inventories. He came back a few days later with a price. As per our school protocol, we went to two other companies for a comparison but Solutions IT’s offer was by far the most competitive, so we accepted it.”

The pick-up process is easy and completely free, “We were given simple instructions on how to pack up the devices. Luckily, we didn’t need to clean off any sticky residue from our labels as that would have taken someone a day to clean at least. Another saving.”

“When John advised that the goods had been received and checked by the data destruction company we raised an invoice to Solutions IT. Soon after, we rece ived the funds along with a data destruction sanitisation certificate. The whole process took about 3 weeks.”

Saved Dollars & Gained Dollars

“We were delighted!” says Annemarie, “We avoided paying hundreds of dollars to a company to wipe and dispose of our old machines, and on top of that we ended up receiving enough money to fund six additional iPads! Win, win, win!”

If you would like to learn more about Solutions IT’s Buyback Program for your school, contact us today.

Safety Bay SHS

Outsourcing Support Leads To More Stable Network

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Safety Bay Senior High School is a public co-educational high school with approx. 1100 students. They use a mix of iPads, iMacs, desktops and laptops and their full-time, on-site IT technician is a Solutions IT engineer. In the past, the school had hired their own technicians to manage the day to day running of the school’s ICT, and where needed had ad-hoc support from Solutions IT for escalation purposes.

With growing school numbers and the advancement of technology, the school was challenged with recruitment when in 2014 their technician moved on. “We needed someone who understood how a large Department school worked, had vast IT experience, someone who was an effective communicator and could also help lead change within the school. It was not an easy find.” says Clint Wiltshire, Deputy Principal

Clint Wiltshire“We have always had a great working relationship with Solutions IT so we were open to explore new concepts with them. The idea that we could have one of their staff fulltime in our school, with support of the entire company behind them was very appealing. We knew the company had the experience we needed, so there wasn’t a risk in trialling the idea and we haven’t looked back since.”

In the five years that the school has used this support offering, they have had 3 long-term engineers work inside their school, “during this period, based on the school’s needs, the engineers have always been a perfect fit, no exceptions. We are particularly impressed with Brennan who currently looks after our network. He understands our environment and has a vision which is supported by the wider company. It’s so beneficial that Brennan is able to strategise on our IT direction with his peers and management. This has positively impacted on our student outcomes” Clint explains. The school reports that the use of technology and infrastructure improvements have led to a more stable network, “this impacts on our ability to track attendance better and deliver engaging classrooms activities with a technology focus. Regular attendance of students has seen upward trend of 9.6% over last 3 years”.

The introduction of a ‘Helpdesk’ ticketing system has seen a quick turnaround time in providing support to staff using technology, within 48 hours, “this helps us identify patterns, trends and issues that informs our planning, directly impacting on learning in the classroom”

2018 saw two more Computer Labs built, providing 53 more desktops available to students. Catering further for increasing learning needs in accessing online VET courses, STEM Club and mandated introduction of Digital Technology classes in Year 7 & 8. All easily supported and managed.

Safety Bay SHS

The support has also seen the successful rollout of ‘Transition to NAPLAN Online Trial’ in 2018, with limited disruptions in connectivity, no reports of hardware issues and promoting confidence that when conducting NAPLAN in 2019, review, updates and reconfiguration of our network will enable 440 students to complete successfully
Clint recognises that Implementing the right technology to enable collaboration and engage students is key, “Our students not only develop their critical thinking skills but progress a range of other skills that embrace the changing world, all enabled by this support”.

 

“Prior to this support offering, integration of innovative ICT programs was much more challenging and inconsistencies with the stability of our network, was a real barrier to staff accessing training or shifting pedagogical practice. What sets Solutions IT aside from other companies is their understanding on how IT can enhance the education sector and ultimately, the real impact that has on student outcomes”.

 

See all our Support Options here

 

ClassVR Helps To Solve A Problem For The Salvation Army

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All Saints’ College, Perth is one of Australia’s leading independent Anglican coeducational schools. From Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, All Saints’ believe in creating learning environments that encourage students to pursue excellence in all they do.

As a way to foster innovative thinking, students from Yr 7 – 10 participate weekly in a program called ‘InnovatED’. The program is facilitated by a multi-disciplinary team of teachers who are working with students to co-design the curriculum so that the class draws upon students’ own interests and concerns. At the core of InnovatED sits problem-finding, collaboration, and Design Thinking.

THE PROBLEM

Earlier this term a new project was presented at InnovatED. Greg Port, Head of ICT Integration explains, “Various College service partners pitched different problems and sought input from the School to help solve them. Students chose a problem of interest and a year 8 group chose to respond to this problem from The Salvation Army:

Salvation Army

‘The Salvation Army provides a variety of education and community awareness programs. To promote these, they attend a variety of schools, fairs and community events. They need an engaging virtual reality tour of their Doorways facility in Northbridge so they can show the public what they do.’

 

 

STUDENT LED SOLUTION – CLASSVR

Having ClassVR as a school resource was integral to how the students responded to the challenge. They knew that ClassVR was not only used for consuming content in the classroom. They also understood that they could create their own content and easily upload it to the headsets to give the end user an immersive experience of their creation.
They had ability and confidence to be creative and decided to create a prototype ‘tour’ using their school.

The students split into several teams each responsible for a different part of the project, one group wrote the script for their VR walkthrough, the second researched using a 360° camera and how to effectively capture video content and present it as a POV, and the third team collaborated and discussed on how best to edit the content professionally finally settling on utilising the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. When each team was ready they pooled their resources, filmed, edited, and uploaded.

Once they were happy with their video, they simply uploaded it to the ClassCloud library within the teacher portal. When the Salvation Army were ready to view, the students dragged and dropped the video into a playlist and pushed the content out to the headsets. Simple.

“ClassVR opens up a world of creative opportunities for students as it is compatible with a wide variety of online and offline tools” says Greg. “ClassVR gave our students the ability to very simply create virtual reality content”. See more here.

 

All Saints'

INNOVATION IN THE OUTCOME

Darren Reynolds, the Schools Engagement Manager for The Salvation Army was very impressed with the prototype, “the walkthrough of their school was so engaging. We got a great sense of the school, there were links to key information and overall it effectively demonstrated how we can use VR in our organisation.

 

 

We are always trying to take the students beyond the classroom and immersion works well; it demystifies the different services that we have to offer. In the past, immersion consisted of tours of homes and service centres such as the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Centre. However, due to privacy reasons we can’t always make this experience possible. The prototype has clearly demonstrated how this type of technology can allow students to see the bigger picture of what we do, no matter what the circumstances are”.

Darren was so impressed with the prototype, he has agreed for the students to film on site to produce a polished product for commercial use, and we can’t wait to see the final cut!

To organise a demo of ClassVR for your school, contact us today.

iPad

Old Devices Fund New iPads at O’Connor Primary School

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iPadLike most Principals, Stephen Delfs is constantly looking at ways to maximize the ROI that he makes for his school, O’Connor Primary.

With budgets tighter than ever, the school looked at ways of raising funds to replenish their old devices. They had 200 aging iPads to replace, so rather than selling the old devices to the community, Stephen looked at ways to be able to facilitate a quicker, bulk sale. When he went to market for a new fleet of iPads, one of the questions he asked vendors was, “are we able to exchange our 3-4-year-old iPads for credit to buy new ones?”.

Solutions IT was the only vendor that replied with a ‘YES’.

Solutions IT’s Technology Buyback Program is a fast and simple process that allows schools to exchange their old and unwanted devices for credit. All devices traded in are data wiped to factory settings, with data destruction certificates available upon request. Schools are part of a global, sustainable environment program with 98% of all equipment received refurbished and re-purposed both here in Australia and in developing nations. 2% of equipment is recycled back into usable materials, keeping harmful waste out of landfill.

Via the Buyback Program, O’Connor Primary School was able to trade in 200 iPad 2s and gain $10,000 towards brand new devices. The extra revenue received, along with Solution IT’s competitive prices, allowed the school to bump up their order and purchase the desired number of iPads without compromising budgets elsewhere.

“Understanding your options is the best way to budget effectively. Solutions IT quickly gave us an understanding of what our credit looked like and we were able to plan from there” Says Stephen.

The Technology Buyback process is simple:

  1. Create an inventory list of the equipment you would like to trade in
  2. Our buyback specialists will review the information provided and produce a buyback indicative quote
  3. Free collection from your school
  4. Fast diagnosis & payment

For more information, contact us today

 

 

How Jamf School has improved device management at Excelsior Primary School

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Excelsior Primary School is an Independent Public School located in the suburb of Canning Vale, Perth that teaches Kindergarten to Year 6. The school manages over 170 iPads. Many of these devices are shared between classes and year groups. Roschel Moore, Deputy Principal, explains how using Jamf School (formerly known as Zuludesk) has improved the management of their iPads and has allowed the school to maximise their return.

 

The Challenge

“We were implementing a 1:1 program for our Year 4s and had a fleet of iPads that were shared throughout the school. Different groups of iPads needed to be managed in different ways. Prior to Jamf School, in preparation for a class, individual apps had to be added via Apple Configurator and this was so time consuming. We had bought a number of apps for different year groups however as the iPads were shared throughout the school, keeping track both the devices and apps was tricky”

 

The Solution

After consulting with Solutions IT, Excelsior Primary School chose to implement Zuludesk to help manage their iPads

Jamf School is a powerful, cost effective Mobile Device Management System for wirelessly managing Apple Devices. Teachers and IT administrators have a convenient tool to administer devices for individual students, school classes, or even multiple institutions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this tool can do. For teachers, the feature of choice is that it can control all devices when delivering digital lessons.

 

The Benefits

Roschel instantly found that Jamf School, minimised her ‘tech’ time and allowed more time to focus on the lesson, “Since deploying Jamf School, we can easily distribute an app from device to device, over the entire school. Each iPad can be assigned multiple profiles which enables seamless device sharing.”

“We can manage what functions of the device are available, for example disabling the camera. We love that we can lock the iPad to a particular app to prevent unwanted distractions and can provide a filter to block adult web content being accessed on the device.”

“I can monitor what apps are installed and used on each iPad.  If a student forgets their pass code I can reset it remotely for them, simple. Jamf School has allowed us to maximise the use of each and every device and most of all has allowed me more time to focus on the teaching and learning that this technology can enhance.”

Would you like to find our more about Jamf School for your school? Contact us today and speak to one of our Education Consultants to find out more

What primary school teachers love about using Vivi

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Advances in educational technology are opening up more and more opportunities to engage students in innovative and collaborative learning experiences. In many primary schools, this starts from the first day of Foundation, with teachers using screens and projectors to lead activities, and students navigating their way through iPad apps. For kids in the later years of primary school, the use of technology gets more sophisticated, as they start taking responsibility for their own projects and presentations, in preparation for the transition to secondary school. To better understand the role that Vivi is playing in this evolving educational landscape, we spoke to teachers at three primary schools to find out what they love about using Vivi, and how it’s changing the way they teach and the way their students learn.

 

Ease of use for teachers, tech savvy or not

According to Matt Markman, from Melbourne’s Roxburgh Homestead Primary School, Vivi’s usability and seamless screen-mirroring performance have driven greater integration of technology with everyday lessons. “Literally, you just sit down, you open up the application and cast your screen to the TV, and you can use it across any platform,” he says. The school previously used a range of different presentation systems, including interactive whiteboards, but “they were very cumbersome and very complicated for teachers to learn how to use them.” With Vivi, however, “teachers have been able to use it with pretty much zero teething problems.”

He points out that “even teachers who may not be as confident with that sort of technology are able to just pick it up. Technology is definitely being used more as a result.”

 

NatalieusingVivi

Natalie Harris from St Francis de Sales School, a Catholic school in the Sydney suburb of Wooloware, tells a similar story. “Vivi’s used across the school. If you go into another classroom it’s so easy to connect because everyone’s got the same technology.” And for Harris, this ease of use means she can be more efficient, not only saving time that was previously spent fiddling with cables and adaptors, but being able to use her device privately while Vivi is streaming a video or displaying other content to the shared screen.

“I might be wanting to get maths ready, but previously I couldn’t have because the children were using the screen for something else,” she says. “Now with Vivi, I can put a lesson up, go back to my computer and do things without the children being disrupted.”

Ease of use for students of all ages

Vivi’s intuitive design makes the app simple to use for students too, right down to the youngest kids. Harris’s Year 1 students, for example, have one-to-one iPads, and they took to Vivi straight away. “They engaged with it really well. Now I just say open up the Vivi app and they’re really good at knowing that they have to swipe up to turn Airplay on and connect to the classroom.” Markman backs this up. “It’s so easy to use, it doesn’t really discriminate between the young kids and the older kids.”

 

Teachers at St Peter’s Anglican Primary School in Campbelltown in Sydney have had a similar experience. Dean of ICT Stuart Connell helps the teachers integrate technology into their lessons, but also takes his own classes in ICT, so he’s uniquely positioned to see how kids interact with Vivi. “The young kids are like sponges,” he notes. “Vivi is just another app to them. They know where to look for the room code so all they need to do is find their classroom number and punch in the code.”

 

Collaborative learning and student engagement

All three teachers say that Vivi has opened up new opportunities for collaborative work in the classroom. “Having students present their work to the screen allows for immediate feedback from teacher to student, but also student to peer feedback,” says Connell. “We can all collaborate on what that student’s been working on. It’s a new element to the classroom that we haven’t had before.” Markman tells a similar story, with students presenting their work and receiving feedback in real time from their teacher and their peers.

 

From Harris’s point of view, Vivi enables her class to learn together as a group in ways that were previously impossible. “When the children finish a writing task in their books, I get them to film themselves on their iPads reading their writing,” she explains. “Then we pop that up onto the screen and the rest of the class get to listen to their stories. And that’s when we can give feedback and say, that was good, you need to put a full-stop here, etc.” Harris also puts Vivi’s Capture Screenshot feature to good use. “If someone’s written a really good sentence, we use the app to capture it on each student’s iPad and I can say, ‘Can you underline the noun? The verb?’ And so on.”

 

Harris’s young students also use Vivi to lead collaborative learning themselves. In one recent example, the class was working on information reports and one boy needed to find some information about crocodiles. With his iPad connected to Vivi, he started exploring the Taronga Park Zoo website and soon several other students had gathered around the screen to take their own notes. “I didn’t lead that. He just asked if he could search for more information, we connected him to Vivi and it got the other children going, ‘Oh, I needed that too!’”

 

It’s a neat illustration of how Vivi gives students greater control over how they learn. By sharing their work, responding to their peers’ work or using interactive features like Capture Screenshot on their own devices, they become proactive rather than passive, and this helps to keep them engaged with lesson content. It builds their self-esteem too, as Harris points out: “When a child’s done well, we can put their work up on the screen and they’re proud of it, seeing their work up there.”

 

Giving teachers the freedom to move

A big change that all of the teachers have noticed is how Vivi has freed them up to move around the classroom. They can now leave the front of the room and interact with individual students without interrupting their lesson or giving up control of the screen. “Most of our teachers were so used to having their laptops set up on their desk or on a table right near the screen, because that’s the best Wi-Fi spot or it’s where the HDMI cable is,” says Connell. “It’s just been so easy, and so much better, for them to be able to walk around, have the kids interact with the iPad that the teacher’s holding or use their own devices to project to the screen.”

 

At St Francis de Sales it’s completely changed the way their classrooms function. “Gone are the days that the teacher’s behind the desk and stationary,” says Harris. “We don’t have a desk at our school anymore! We just have a device and move around the room, instead of being stuck to a desk and stuck to a hole in the wall. The only time I have to plug my laptop in is when my battery dies!”

 

It’s a far cry from the rigid old model of the teacher dictating lessons for rote-learning by passive students. In a Vivi-enabled primary school classroom, teachers can be much more flexible, responding to the needs of their students and bringing lesson content alive, with technology and with human interaction.

 

New opportunities for tech integration

Vivi’s potential for education and inspiration isn’t confined to individual classrooms. One of Vivi’s most powerful points of difference is how it brings a school’s screens and devices together as an integrated network. Vivi features, such as Digital SignageAnalytics Dashboard and Emergency Broadcast, make specific use of this. But the network can also be used for whole-school communications that bring the school community together. For example, Roxburgh Homestead use Vivi to broadcast footage of their principal reading a book to the entire school. And in a digital-age nod to Harry Potter, they’re planning regular whole-school broadcasts of their house points leaderboard!

 

Yet another Roxburgh Homestead initiative gives arguably the most exciting indication of what’s possible with Vivi – the time they connected Vivi to a drone and put on an air show! “We were able to fly a drone and give the students a bird’s-eye view of the school,” Markman explains. “All we had to do was have the iPad that was controlling the drone connected in to Vivi, and we were able to cast that to a screen. It was fantastic!” Proof then that for Vivi-enabled primary schools and creative educators, the sky really is the limit!

 

Interested to see how Vivi can offer a solution to your schools’ screen mirroring needs?