What drove three schools' ICT decisions?

August 2015

 

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Education Review asked three different schools what has influenced their approach to ICT procurement.

ICTSchools have so many decisions to make when it comes to acquiring the best technology for their various ICT needs.
An easy decision for most schools is connecting to Network for Learning (N4L) – the managed network that is costing the Government more than $200 million so that schools can have uncapped, safe and secure internet access. More than 1800 schools have been successfully connected so far, and 90 per cent of schools are expected to be connected by the end of this year.

A far more difficult decision is what approach to take when giving students access to devices. While a BYOD system might work for some school, others might favour school-supplied devices or lease-to-own schemes.

Purchasing devices can be done through signing up to an All-of-Government (AoG) IT hardware contract – something 185 schools have done on the current contract, which is due to be renewed in September this year.

On top of these decisions, schools need to consider many other aspects when it comes to meeting their ICT requirements. Here, we ask three schools to outline the best decisions they’ve made, what they would have done differently, and what their next ICT purchase will be.

Te Aroha College, Waikato, decile 4, roll: 320

Managed Network

Q Are you connected to the Managed Network (N4L)?
A: Yes.

Q What has your experience been so far?
A: Very good.

BYOD and 1:1

Q What is your school’s approximate ratio of devices to students?
A: 1:1.5.

Q What is your school’s approximate ratio of school-owned devices to students?
A: 1:1.5.

Q What percentage of your students bring their own device to school?
A: All year 9 and about 10 per cent of others.

ICT Procurement
Q Has your school purchased its technology via an All of Government (AoG) contract?
A: No.

Q Why not?
A: Get better deals and more choice direct.

Q How did your school decide what to purchase?
A: Professional advisors.

Network

Q Has your school made a decision to adhere to one particular network/operating system?
A: No.

Q What informed this decision?
A: BOT, parents and local primary schools.

General

Q What has been the best aspect of your school’s ICT set-up?
A: Office 365.

Q With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently?
A: I don’t believe with all of the stakeholders involved that anything could have been done differently.

Q What is the next major ICT procurement decision your school is considering?
A: Server.

Point England School, Tamaki, Auckland, decile 1A, roll: 620

Managed Network
Q Are you connected to the Managed Network (N4L)?
A: Yes.

Q What has your experience been so far?
A: Good.

BYOD and 1:1

Q What is your school’s approximate ratio of devices to students?
A: 1:1.

Q What is your school’s approximate ratio of school-owned devices to students?
A: Juniors (year 1–3): 1:1 school-owned (approx 300).

Q What percentage of your students bring their own device to school?
A: None: year 4–8 lease to own, school-procured and provisioned devices for $3.75/week.

Manaiakalani Education Trust holds equity and liability for micro loans.

ICT Procurement

Q Has your school purchased its technology via an All of Government (AoG) contract?
A: No.

Q Why not?
A: We can negotiate cheaper prices.

Q How did your school decide what to purchase?
A: A procurement committee tests devices and records cross-school teacher and student feedback. This committee also seeks parent feedback.

Network

Q Has your school made a decision to adhere to one particular network/operating system?
A: At present we use Mac OS, iOS and Chrome.

Q What informed this decision?
A: Pedagogy, usability and manageability.

General

Q What has been the best aspect of your school’s ICT set-up?
A: Pedagogically driven, managed choice to increase opportunity.

Q With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently?
A: Do the same, but better.

Q What is the next major ICT procurement decision your school is considering?
A: 2016 student device procurement.

Te Akau ki Papamoa School, Bay of Plenty, decile 5, roll: 580

Managed Network

Q Are you connected to the Managed Network (N4L)?
A: No.

Q Why not?
A: Waiting for bugs to be ironed out and for the Managed Network to be well embedded. Will re-evaluate in a year.

BYOD and 1:1

Q What is your school’s approximate ratio of devices to students?
A: 1:1.

Q What is your school’s approximate ratio of school-owned devices to students?
A: The school owns all other devices. We understand that a number of students have their own devices but these remain at home.

Q What percentage of your students bring their own device to school?
A: Nil, but they are welcome to. Three or four kids bring their own MacBooks to school.

ICT Procurement

Q Has your school purchased its technology via an All of Government (AoG) contract?
A: Noel Leeming is our supplier; they are part of AoG. The school is also an AoG School.

Q How did your school decide what to purchase?
A: Competitive quotes and after testing equipment. Equipment purchased fits in with long-term strategic plan/vision.

Network

Q Has your school made a decision to adhere to one particular network/operating system?
A: We use Apple hardware and some Google services. We are an Apple Distinguished School.

Q What informed this decision?
A: This is a rich and in-depth discussion that may be difficult to cover here! But we have done extensive testing and believe the Apple hardware is better value for money and wins in a cost/benefit analysis. Google services are excellent and have a place in an effective Apple school. We have incorporated 1:1 learning classrooms over a period of five years now and all decisions have been driven by needs of learners and how well the tool fits in quality teaching and learning.

General

Q What has been the best aspect of your school’s ICT set-up?
A: The way it has changed people’s teaching practice. ‘Transformative’. We have gone from strength to strength in providing quality teaching and learning whilst building teacher capacity and providing ongoing professional support and guidance.

Q With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently?
A: Invest in robust wifi earlier. Incorporate a school ICTPd facilitator/educational technologist earlier.

Q What is the next major ICT procurement decision your school is considering?
A: Maintaining current practice. Possibly looking into replacing projectors with 80-inch TVs. Investigate robotics/maker equipment. Continued evaluation of software for learning.


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