Caroline Chisholm Catholic College
“Generation-e has delivered the high quality we've come to expect.” Luke Georgiou, ICT Manager.
Caroline Chisholm Catholic College is a large Catholic school in Melbourne's west, providing students from Year 7 to 12 progressive 21st century learning. With an enrolment list of over 1,500 students and 150 staff, spread over two campuses and engaged with a number of schools in Europe and Asia, the College has led the way through active adoption of Unified Communication to embrace the abundant online opportunities of today and the future.
The College is working towards adopting the "Flipped Classroom" initiative- a pedagogical model that inverts traditional teaching by delivering instruction online outside of class while moving homework into the classroom. The mandate for the ICT department was to ready its technology platform to support the vision, putting the students at the front of the classroom.
The VoIP phone system supplied by Generation-e eight years prior required replacement. The staff were accustomed to having a traditional phone on a desk so adoption to Lync was a question mark. The ICT team considered various alternatives that promised similar IM and video capabilities to Lync but cost up to five times more. Generation-e showed that since the school already owned the Microsoft licensing, Lync was the most economic option. What's more, they demonstrated a Microsoft solution would integrate better with the existing environment and would offer much more than a voice platform, using real-time collaboration modalities including, Instant Messaging, Presence, Video Conferencing, Enterprise Voice, Online Meetings and desktop/file sharing.
The school was already using Live@edu as a supplement to their on-premise Exchange 2010 environment and had looked at alternative options including Google Apps.
Generation-e listened and tailored a solution that would answer the College's needs so that it can embrace the technologies students inevitably drive. The Microsoft Certified Solution Masters (MCSM) team architected a major overhaul project. This included an upgrade to Office 365; Lync Enterprise Voice 2013, with new handsets and wireless headsets; an upgrade of 1,500 desktops to Windows 8; and finally, SkyDrive Pro, all delivering seamless integration with the existing SharePoint environment.
An essential part of the solution was the consultative approach of Generation-e, the detailed documentation left with them post-implementation and more importantly, the knowledge transfer provided to the ICT department, empowering them to support the solution afterwards.
Caroline Chisholm Catholic College was very pleased with the end result. With features such as the video recording capabilities of Lync, teachers will be able to roll out the "Flipped Classroom" initiative. That means conducting and recording lessons using real-time collaboration, pushing video, presentations, white-boarding and chat during sessions. The initiative offers further enrichment through video collaboration with overseas sister schools for LOTE programs, as well as digital excursions.
Further benefits of the Microsoft stack include:
- Increased staff productivity- heads of departments conduct online meetings; ICT staff collaborate between three campuses without having to travel or leave the support desk unattended
- 100% Lync uptake- staff have happily transitioned from desk phones to their screens
- Collaboration enabled by federating with other schools and suppliers
- Better student engagement- the use of My Site provides them with a single location to manage all their documents, content, and tasks enabling them to collaborate on group projects and present them in class
- With Windows 8, SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint, students' notes are automatically updated and saved
- Improved student efficiency- O365 enables students to access their laptops with a single login
- Increased flexibility- O365 puts students in the cloud to provide maximum storage, allowing anywhere access from their laptops
- Stronger community through social collaboration - access to discussions, newsfeeds and photo sharing on SharePoint
- While the students are now able to push their notes to any device through OneNote, this will be particularly useful once they shift from laptops to tablets