The introduction of ‘cloud technology’ provides all schools with a landmark opportunity to transform learning, increase efficiencies and reduce overheads, writes Anne Taylor.
Yes, the ‘Cloud’ can be complex but not when you have the right guidance from suppliers and partners. They’ll look after all the technical details of your cloud transformation and, once you’re in the cloud, most of your IT needs, too. You’re presented with a simple suite of software and applications, which you’ll be shown how to use, and away you go.
With so many great opportunities to leverage the cloud, it’s important to manage your school’s transition carefully, to get it right for the school, your students, teachers, and community. That’s why Microsoft has created the ‘Schools Cloud Brochure’, to help guide your school’s decision-making as you transition to the cloud. Keep an eye out for the guide arriving at your school soon along with a number of in-person seminars led by our partners and directly with Microsoft over the next few months.
Anne Taylor is Schools Manager at Microsoft New Zealand.
Cloud success stories
The transition to cloud computing has already achieved impressive outcomes for some schools – from boosting grades to improving academic achievement.
St Andrew’s College
St Andrew’s College in Christchurch began its digital transformation with the introduction of cloud services and Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. The Microsoft Education Partner transitioned them from a traditional IT setup to a cloud-based platform and equipped it with Microsoft Surface Pro devices. Starting with six devices in a pilot programme, the school quickly scaled up to include 30 classrooms and teachers in an ongoing initiative. Office 365 Education allows students to use their Surface Pros with a OneNote collaborative learning platform to work together and pick up working where they left off – at home, in the library or at school.
Marlborough Boys’ College
Marlborough Boys’ College in Blenheim used digital transformation as an opportunity to re-imagine its approach to teaching and learning. Transitioning the College to a hybrid cloud solution, it moved most servers to Azure to complement Software-as-a-Service applications. This opened the door for Office 365 Education, freeing the students to work online at school and at home. To support this increased network use, a partner also redesigned the College network to provide content filtering and firewalling as an ongoing service.
The College had significant savings by migrating to the cloud instead of opting for a ‘like-for-like’ on-premises replacement. These funds were used to fit out some PC labs with high-specification computers and projectors.
Tacoma Public Schools
After a national study dubbed its five high schools ‘dropout factories’, the Tacoma Public School district in Washington, USA, developed a radical vision. What if teachers and principals had analytical tools to predict whether or not a student was likely to drop out? This data would empower them to reverse the trend and help more students succeed. Microsoft partners provided both consulting services and a solution using Microsoft Power BI, SharePoint, Excel and Azure that delivers comprehensive student success indicators. With the help of these analytics, the schools have improved graduation rates from 55 to 82.6 per cent.
Check out what leading schools are doing with technology in the classroom. Talk to a Microsoft Showcase School at aka.ms/showcaseschool