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"By powering our online International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme courses with Microsoft technology, we brought together the tools we needed to connect students, enable learning, and enhance educational outcomes."
"When we switched from the videoconferencing system to Lync Server, I saw a dramatic improvement in my ability to interact with the students. The students started doing a lot better in class."
"After joining the e-schoolbag project, the tablet has replaced the heavy schoolbag. As the tablets are running the latest Windows 8 operating system, they are simple to use, and students can familiarize themselves with them in less than a month."
“Within one day we had 95 percent of our users taking advantage of the full capabilities of Lync.”
"Office 365 will enhance our day-to-day communication, collaboration, and monitoring of the colleges we oversee.… This will help us promote and propagate innovation across all 11,500 institutions."
"Lync Server 2013 provides us with highly reliable communications that are easy to use. We are doing a lot more videoconferencing and desktop sharing than we did in the past, and it really makes a difference in resolving issues and strengthening..."
“By building a private cloud, we saved at least 50 percent in terms of hardware, software, and power consumption costs. As a result, we achieved all our goals and satisfied the requirements of all business owners.”
“Benenden took advantage of free Lync Server 2010 licenses through the Microsoft Schools Agreement. Effectively, we gave the school a new PBX with full unified communications at no extra cost.”
"Post Microsoft Office 365, we have observed annual direct and indirect cost savings of up to INR 900,000 (U.S.$ 18,000 approximately), along with uptime reliability… Microsoft offers many more functions than Google, with anywhere, anytime access to mails
"Windows 8 ties everything together. It facilitates students’ ability to consume and create content and collaborate across multiple devices—basically to extend the learning process far beyond the classroom."
The Microsoft IT Academy is a game-changer for the entire state. It will put Washington at the forefront in helping students prepare to enter the twenty-first century workforce.
Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction,Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Windows 8 ties everything together. It facilitates students’ ability to consume and create content and collaborate across multiple devices—basically to extend the learning process far beyond the classroom.
Dr. Gabriel Esteban, President, Seton Hall University
"When you divide the cost of our Enterprise CAL Suite by the number of users who benefit from [it], … it equates to less than $5 dollars per user per year, which is a remarkable cost-benefit ratio."
Deborah Karcher Chief Information Officer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
School District Uses Technology to Promote Efficiencies and Improve Education
Florida’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools makes the most of technology to give its students the best possible education. The district has a Microsoft Enterprise Client Access License Suite agreement and the Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions license. Using these, it easily adopts technology solutions to streamline operations, increase user productivity, and conserve costs. For example, the district created a portal using Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to provide a single access point for teachers, parents, staff, and students to get course-related information from anywhere. The district is also implementing Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to reduce travel time and expenses for meetings. This smart use of technology helps the district provide individualized educational experiences for its students, better preparing them to achieve future success.
Like many public school districts in the United States, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is continually asked to do more with less. The district comprises 331 schools and over 40,000 employees, and it serves more than 340,000 students, who come from more than 100 countries. The district strives to offer innovative educational programs and other learning opportunities, but the lack of funding requires a smart use of resources in every aspect of its operations.
"The school uses all Microsoft products everyday, because it believes in them due to their proven competence."
Fiorentina Di Masi,Head Teacher, Instituto Tecnico Statale Michele Laporta
Instituto Tecnico Statale Michele Laporta
How Technology brings Excellence to Education
School of Excellence shares experiences with enhanced teaching and learning as a positive results of being part of the PIL Program.
This is a Video Only Case Study. Please be sure to view the available video for additional information.
"The university selected Office 365 over Google Apps because it gives us a robust enterprise-class platform for developing a radical new approach to collaboration and communication that goes far beyond email."
David George Chief Information Officer, University of Dundee
The University of Dundee
University Eases IT, Broadens Communications with Hosted Solution
As a leading university in the United Kingdom, the University of Dundee in Scotland enjoys a global reputation as a center for teaching and research. With approximately 22,000 students and 3,000 staff, it graduates more students into professions than any other Scottish university. Previously, it used a Novell GroupWise email system for messaging. When significant downtime and mobile limitations caused frustration for its students and staff, it evaluated hosted solutions from Google and Microsoft. The university selected Microsoft Office 365 to help improve the reliability of its messaging system and reduce IT administration and costs. By using the Office 365 online services, the university also sees an opportunity to broaden the communications and collaboration capabilities it offers to its staff and students, including students in the distance-learning program.
The University of Dundee is based in the city of Dundee on the east coast of Scotland. It ranked 140 among the world’s top 200 universities in the Times Higher Education 2010-2011 World University Rankings and rated number one in the United Kingdom in the Times Higher Education student experience survey for 2011-2012. The university is made up of four colleges: Art, Science, and Engineering; Arts and Social Sciences; Life Sciences; and Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing, and it graduates more students into professions, including law, accountancy, architecture, dentistry, education, social work, and nursing than any other Scottish university.
"Office 365 will enhance our day-to-day communication, collaboration, and monitoring of the colleges we oversee."
Dr. SS Mantha,Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education
All India Council for Technical Education
India Institute Deploys 7.5 Million Office 365 Seats to Improve Governance, Learning
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) oversees technical colleges in India. To enhance communication with its 11,500 colleges, AICTE deployed 7.5 million seats of Microsoft Office 365 for education. With the service, AICTE can provide better governance of the schools it oversees, enhance teaching and learning, and even improve the nation’s technology literacy. AICTE accomplished the massive rollout in just nine months.
A body of the Ministry of Human Resource Development in India, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is responsible for certifying, planning, establishing standards for, and coordinating technical higher education in India. AICTE serves more than 8 million students and 500,000 faculty members in 11,500 technical colleges and institutes across the country.
To effectively evaluate the curriculum quality and consistency across all 11,500 institutes, AICTE needs timely communication with the colleges, some of which are located in remote areas. However, many of the schools lacked high-end IT infrastructures. Because technical education is becoming increasingly vital to India’s economy, the Ministry authorized AICTE to deploy technology to enable electronic communication between AICTE and the colleges. Such an infrastructure should also enable curriculum sharing among faculty at different schools, to promote consistency and best practices. Additionally, it should help students communicate with one another and with professors—to improve the students’ research and familiarity with tools that they would encounter in the workplace.
Because many of the schools needed to update their IT infrastructure, AICTE sought a cloud-based solution—one hosted in a third-party data center and delivered over the Internet. AICTE reviewed solutions from many global providers and selected Microsoft Office 365 for education, a cloud-based solution that unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with the power of Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Lync Online into one connected, online solution.
"Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V gives us memory management and a manageable solution that works right out of the box."
Didier Contis Director of Technology Services, Georgia Tech
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech Students Gain Broad Access to Powerful Design Software with Virtualization
The College of Engineering from Georgia Tech sought to virtualize its computer labs’ desktops, on which it ran the massive engineering applications used by students to learn sophisticated, and compute-intensive, three-dimensional computer-aided design and manufacturing graphics software. The common solution—maintaining physical machines with graphics cards—would diminish the benefits of virtualization. Instead, Georgia Tech adopted a highly innovative solution: using new graphics capabilities in Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V, even before that software was officially released. It succeeded in giving students anytime, anywhere access to the applications, streamlined and automated much of the management burden, and even reduced some capital and operating costs.
Students at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Engineering, like students elsewhere, live in a world in which they can download just about any application they want to just about any device they have: laptop, tablet, phone, e-reader.
But that wasn’t possible with some of the software they were required to use for their engineering classes. For example, the AutoCAD 3D computer-aided design software they used was downloadable, but many of the tools they needed were incompatible with the Apple laptops that some used. Students with PC-based laptops avoided these incompatibilities, but they often didn’t want to carry their laptops with them on campus. In any case, the laptops lacked the massive graphics computing power needed to run some of the software, such as the highly sophisticated rendering software used in Autodesk Inventor. So, the college ran AutoCAD and other compute-intensive engineering applications on workstation-class computers in its labs because those were the computers powerful enough to handle them.
"By powering our online international Baccalaureate Diploma courses with Microsoft technology we enhanced educational outcomes."
Ed Lawless Principal, Pamoja Education
International Education Provider Uses Online Learning to Connect Students, Promote Better Outcomes
When Pamoja Education was founded to deliver online courses for the International Baccalaureate (IB), it needed to develop an online environment that would support students worldwide and meet rigorous IB standards. Pamoja Education worked with Desire2Learn to develop a learning management system based on Microsoft technologies that would support online IB Diploma Programme courses and comprehensive student-teacher collaboration. Since 2009, more than 200 IB World Schools in 55 countries have enrolled students in Pamoja Education online courses, and Pamoja expects to double enrollment in the 2012-2013 school year.
Founded in 2009 to help provide greater access to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, Pamoja Education works directly with IB schools to provide high-school students with an opportunity to take IB Diploma courses online. Pamoja Education needed to build an online learning environment that would support learners all over the globe and that met rigorous IB standards for both content and course delivery. “We had to design a learning experience that offered an array of tools and opportunities for direct online collaboration between students and between teachers and students,” says Darren Hughes, Head of Online Course Development at Pamoja Education.
Pamoja Education worked with Desire2Learn to develop a Learning Management System (LMS) based on Microsoft technologies that would support online IB Diploma Programme courses. All course content meets rigorous IB academic standards and the Desire2Learn® Learning Environment features discussion forums, blogs, podcasts, and wikis to connect teachers and students working asynchronously in different time zones, as well as paging, chat, voice, video, and other real-time collaboration tools. “Our students can collaborate and engage with each other anyplace on the planet,” says Hughes. “It is a unique experience when a student in the United Kingdom and a student in Costa Rica can learn and discuss global issues together from their different local perspectives.” Pamoja expects to double enrollment in the next academic year and continue to grow as it offers more courses. As it serves more IB students, Pamoja Education can also use the learning solution to collect and report information on student achievement and online engagement and then analyze the data to inform course design, track program progress, and help ensure student success.
"With Office 365, we re-created our superior residential experience in a virtual environment. The students love it!"
Bo Wandshneider CIO and Associate Vice-Principal, Queen’s University
University Improves Campus Life, Student Productivity with Online Collaboration Tools
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, replaced its email solution with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 licenses for faculty, staff, and graduate students and Microsoft Office 365 for its undergraduates. With this hybrid solution, Queen’s retained on-premises authentication, furthered its reputation for superior student services, and avoided infrastructure renewal costs that would have been at least in the high six figures. Students gained cloud-based email and integrated calendaring on their PCs, laptops, and mobile phones, boosting productivity.
In 2012, Maclean’s Magazine ranked Queen’s University as the top university in Canada for dollars spent on student services. Queen’s ITServices recognized that a quality collaborative suite of services for students is key to supporting a vibrant campus community. However, the university used an outdated version of Unix-based Java Enterprise System (JES) email for faculty, staff, and students. Faculty and staff used Oracle Calendar but this solution did not integrate with JES. ITServices used a third-party solution to sync email between faculty members’ computers and their mobile devices. Students were not provided with a calendaring service and were allotted 100 megabyte inboxes. “Students ended up forwarding Queen’s email messages to their cloud-based email accounts where they had better storage and calendaring functionality,” says Michael Smith, Senior Technical Support Specialist, ITServices at Queen’s University.
"OneNote became a key part of our one-to-one strategy. In conjunction with styluses, it empowers students to research material in multiple formats and logically arrange it. They can insert hand-written notes to capture their thoughts and comments as they go along."
Paul Carnemolla,Head of Information, St Catherine's School
St Catherine’s School
Microsoft software and slate PCs foster 21st century learning at leading independent school
Microsoft software and slate PCs foster 21st century learning at leading independent school
“This learning program gives our students the tools they need to be the best they can be, and it gives our teachers the tools they need to support them.”
Dr Julie Townsend, Headmistress, St Catherine’s School
When staff at St Catherine’s independent girls school developed their one-to-one learning strategy, they envisaged each pupil using one dedicated tablet device – at home, in the classroom and during independent study. However, they needed robust hardware that students could use intuitively, and applications that stimulated collaboration, feedback and creativity.
In 2011, IT staff trialled the newly released Samsung Series 7 Slate PC, which uses the Windows 7 operating system. With touch-screen and digital-stylus capabilities, the slate PC enables students to hand write notes, comments and equations directly into Microsoft OneNote 2010 files. By deploying Microsoft Lync onto teachers’ computers, they can monitor each other’s presence, and start instant messaging, voice and video calls with one click.
With these applications, students and teachers are pioneering innovative techniques to drive 21st century learning. They record audio tracks to OneNote homework projects that help personalise feedback, create novel audio-video recordings of science experiments to aid revision, and record class discussions to assist remote learning. As a result, learning is more enjoyable, students are more creative and teachers can stay in touch throughout the school teaching day.
Dr. Gabriel EstebanPresident, Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University
University Uses Latest Operating System to Provide Advanced Learning Opportunities
Seton Hall University wanted to advance its Mobile Computing Program, which provides incoming students with a computer for use throughout their enrollment. After comparing several technologies, it adopted the Windows 8 operating system. By incorporating Windows 8 into its operations, the school benefits from increased student productivity and tighter network security, and is better equipped to prepare students for future success.
Founded in 1856, Seton Hall University is the oldest diocesan-sponsored Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States. The leadership team at Seton Hall University has long promoted incorporating the latest technology into the classroom. “We are committed to providing students with the technology that they need to excel and to become leaders in whatever field they choose,” says Dr. Gabriel Esteban, President of Seton Hall University.
In 1995, the school’s Board of Regents approved an ambitious and forward-thinking strategic IT plan. One major outgrowth of that plan was the development of the university’s Mobile Computing Program. Since 1996, every incoming, full-time student and faculty member at Seton Hall has received a laptop computer through this program. “A major success of this initiative, and certainly one of the challenges we’ve faced in supporting it, has been our effort to keep up with the pace of change in the technology industry over the past two decades,” says Esteban.
Stephen Landry, Chief Information Officer at Seton Hall, agrees. “When we started the program, ‘mobile’ meant a laptop computer. Nowadays, students take their smartphones wherever they go and are much more accustomed to using tablet PCs. They expect a seamless experience across these different devices.”
University of Incheon
Using a Computer Lab as the Starting Point for Students' Cloud Computing Experience
With the goal of becoming one of the global top-100 universities by 2016, the University of Incheon has been expanding desktop virtualization technology to provide students with a comfortable education and work environment. The school collected all desktops placed in the computer labs used by students on liberal arts courses in early 2012, and replaced them with all-in-one thin clients. Through this, the computer lab was transformed into a neat well-organized space, and computer fan noise and heat also disappeared. All of these things were possible due to the successful establishment of desktop virtualization infrastructure based on Windows Server 2008 R2 and System Center. With its new found experience and expertise in desktop virtualization, the university plans to switch the desktop computers used by staff for academic work and administration to virtualization-based ones.
The computer laboratory opened in the first semester of 2012 by the University of Incheon is a hot topic among students. The computer lab has no desktops but only monitors, keyboards and mice on its desks. So, it appears to be a library without noise and heat. It is said that the students who visit the computer lab to take computer-related courses are surprised to see the totally different look of this particular lab. Compared to the previous one, which was filled with noise generated by computer cooling fans, heat and stuffy air, in the new lab, students are greeted by a quiet and refreshing atmosphere. This astonishing transformation of the computer lab was realized through ‘desktop virtualization.’
The University of Incheon first began considering the introduction of desktop virtualization technology at the end of 2011. Under the banner of becoming a university leading Smart Campus, the university has taken an interest in various technological areas. One of them is desktop virtualization. Although it has been known that having access to lecture or academic administration affairs through Smartphones or tablet applications is what the Smart Campus is all about, the university has been trying not just to provide various visible services, but also to establish invisible infrastructure through the Smart Campus project.
At first, the University of Incheon intended to adopt virtualization desktops to cover administrative work. However, there were concerns raised over an immediate launch of desktop virtualization without having any prior experience. While pondering how to realize desktop virtualization while eliminating trial and error, the university came up with the idea of changing one of its computer labs into a virtualization-based one. The school thought that transforming the computer lab, which had been a severe management blind spot, would provide students with a good opportunity to experience virtualization and, at the same time, would be feasible in terms of its practical benefits.
Like the computer labs of other universities, students flow in and out all day at the lab since a lot of the students who take computer-related courses use the computer lab. Given that the desktops are used by unspecified individuals, they are naturally exposed to maintenance-related problems. Speaking of this issue, an officer from Computing and Information Center at the university said that “we used to prevent glitches caused by installation of user software or changes in set up from occurring by initializing the computers when they are turned on. Nevertheless, we always found several computers were out of order due to software glitches or hardware problems.”
"Desktop-sharing on Lync really helps with that because our help desk staff can solve any user issues without having to drive to the schools."
Troy Neal Director of IT and Support Services, Yes Prep Public Schools
YES Prep Public Schools
Charter School Sees 95 Percent Adoption of Communications Solution on First Day
Yes Prep Public Schools provides a college preparatory education to 5,400 students in the Houston, Texas, area. It achieves amazing results through innovative programs and the hard work of its students, teachers, and administrators: students have a 100 percent graduation rate. The IT department supports innovation by enabling quick, easy communications and collaboration through Microsoft Lync 2010. Yes Prep takes advantage of all of the built-in capabilities like instant messaging, desktop-sharing, and voice communications and has even developed additional capabilities like integration with its paging system. Teachers can quickly seek assistance from each other on lesson plans and can use videoconferencing to bring outside experts into the classroom, while administrators can use Lync to communicate with teachers or classrooms through the paging system.
Yes Prep Public Schools is a Texas charter school system in Houston providing a free college preparatory education. The school system was founded in 1995 and now serves 5,400 students in grades 6 through 12 at ten campuses. Yes Prep has achieved amazing results as it seeks to increase the number of low-income students in Houston who graduate from a four-year college. In fact, Yes Prep has a 100 percent graduation rate, and 80 percent of its alumni have graduated from or are currently attending college.
Yes Prep has developed a unique educational model to achieve its goals. It has an extended school day and school year, along with afterschool and weekend enrichment programs. It has small schools with 140 students in each grade. It offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. It requires students to do volunteer work in the community, and it provides many avenues of support for students, including:
"We needed a platform that would enable us to standardize."
Robin Lowell High School Math Teacher, Washington State School for the Blind
Washington State School for the Blind
Extending the Reach of Valuable Teachers with Communications and Collaboration Solution
When a valuable teacher had to relocate to another city, the Washington State School for the Blind wanted to continue to use her skills. It set up a videoconferencing solution to enable her to teach from home, but the solution provided limited interaction with the students. Then the school learned about Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and deployed the technology to create a fully interactive classroom with videoconferencing, desktop sharing, chat, and file sharing. The school is upgrading to Lync Server 2013 to improve its videoconferencing capabilities and to take advantage of improvements in mobility and remote access.
The teachers at the Washington State School for the Blind are valuable resources because they have specialized skills not only in the subject matter they are covering, but also in teaching visually impaired students. The teachers use specialized instruction methods and must be fluent in Braille.
In the summer of 2009, the school faced a serious challenge. Its high school math teacher, Robin Lowell, had to move away from the campus to a different city in Washington. A great math teacher with the skills to teach visually impaired students is virtually irreplaceable. After brainstorming solutions, the school and Lowell decided to use a videoconferencing solution to enable distance learning by bringing the teacher into the classroom.
The school used the videoconferencing solution during the 2009–2010 school year. Lessons continued, but the school had challenges with the system. “I could talk to the students, but there was no interaction,” says Lowell. “We also had difficulty getting materials back and forth. We had to scan them or use the postal service.” The videoconferencing solution had a separate camera to show a whiteboard, which could be used for partially impaired students, but only one screen existed in the classroom and the students had to walk up to it to see anything. It was disruptive and didn’t allow the students to learn naturally.
"The ability to use low-cost storage is a crucial benefit of Windows Server 2012. I estimate that we’ll save $53,000 on fiber-channel storage."
Dan Smith Deputy Chief Information Officer, Marquette University
Marquette Aims to Reduce Server Costs by 50 Percent, Curb IT Hiring with Upgrade
Like many universities, Marquette University wants to get the most value from every technology dollar that it spends on both staff and equipment. That is why it is upgrading to Windows Server 2012, which supports industry-standard storage options, provides higher virtualization density, and simplifies IT management. Since testing the operating system, Marquette is moving Windows Server 2012 into production. It expects to reduce storage costs by 10 times and server costs by 50 percent. Its Windows-based server staff of four can manage 300-plus servers with far greater efficiency, leaving it more time to deliver new solutions needed by the university. Marquette also hopes to reduce its server maintenance outage windows from six hours to three hours, which will reduce interruptions to students and staff.
Marquette is a Jesuit university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with approximately 8,100 undergraduate and 3,700 graduate and professional students from across the United States and 68 countries. It also has more than 1,100 faculty members. To keep up with the faculty’s and students’ ever-changing technology needs, the university’s IT organization is always looking for new technologies that help it be more efficient. The university has more than 300 servers running the Windows operating system and only four staff members to manage them.
“My staff is responsible for keeping these servers running and also for maintaining the many Microsoft applications that run on them,” says Victor Martinez, Windows Lead at Marquette University. “Plus, we’re a very forward-looking department and are always evaluating new products. We want to focus on strategic activities, not on building, managing, and updating servers.”
"With Windows Azure, we no longer have to deploy our own resources for things like internal system uptime, maintaining firewalls, or deciding what machines to partition or what virtual instances to provision."
Chris Sorensen Associate Director of Reporting, University of Washington
University of Washington
University Moves Reporting Solution to Cloud for Scalability and Easier Management
Three years ago, the University of Washington (UW) developed a self-service reporting application called Michelangelo that helps users access the university’s databases and then quickly and easily create accurate reports. With the growing popularity of—and outside interest in—its application, UW met the challenge of increased demand by moving Michelangelo from an on-premises environment to Windows Azure. Now, the university can scale the application on demand to support as many users as needed, including potentially giving outside educational and other research organizations access to Michelangelo. Thanks to cloud infrastructure resources managed by Microsoft, UW is also able to reduce hardware, labor, and maintenance requirements for Michelangelo. As a result, UW can now focus more internal IT resources on other strategic, value-added activities.
With campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, the University of Washington (UW) has 16 colleges and schools, 1,800 undergraduate courses, and a world-class academic medical center. To support this preeminent academic environment, UW relies on diverse IT solutions, many of which run on Windows Server operating systems and use Microsoft SQL Server data management software. UW uses some of these solutions for analysis and reporting tasks. For example, UW often needs to create lists of alumni based on their location, degree earned, donation history, and so on, as part of the university’s fundraising efforts.
Historically, compiling lists like these at UW has been a slow (up to two weeks) manual process that includes a lot of technical steps. As a result, it has often required assistance from a database programmer or administrator. In 2008, to make this task easier, UW developed Michelangelo—a self-service reporting application that works with an ordinary web browser and requires no customized client software. Michelangelo offers an intuitive interface for accessing key organizational data, filtering the data by wide-ranging criteria, and delivering the results to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for convenient analysis. At UW, Michelangelo draws data from a third-party customer relationship management (CRM) system using SQL Server, although the application is designed to support almost any structured data source. UW created the application using the Microsoft Visual Studio development system and the Microsoft .NET Framework.
"The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School has long been committed to practicing proven innovative teaching models and providing students with quality education. We have been planning to implement e-learning for quite some time. The solutions Microsoft® provided meet our school’s needs and expectations in terms of performance and budget, enabling the school to launch e-learning without any hassle."
Shirley Duthie Principal The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School
The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School
The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School Uses Microsoft Windows 8 Tablets to Promote e-learning, Putting Innovative Teaching into Practice
Conceptualized by Professor Ruth Hayhoe, former Director of The Hong Kong Institute of Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School was established to carry out innovative education practices and provide students with a quality education.
In the past few years, The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School has been actively adopting e-learning practices, installing projectors in all classrooms, adding Microsoft PowerPoint® to classes and deploying a virtual network environment with cloud technologies. In addition, the school has created a campus-wide Wi-Fi network environment that meets all of the teachers and students’ Internet access needs for the foreseeable future.
The e-schoolbag project has also raised a great deal of interest in recent years. “Nowadays, students grow up surrounded by technology products and the Internet. They are in constant connection with state-of-the-art technology, such as smartphones and tablets, and know how to acquire information online. They are proactive in acquiring knowledge while traditional teaching methods fail to meet the needs of students today. There is room for improvement in exploring students’ potential,” said Shirley Duthie, Principal, The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School.
The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School aims to achieve several goals via the e-schoolbag project: first, to increase interaction to cultivate students’ interest in learning; second, to let students acquire more knowledge by making good use of the Internet and building their own field of knowledge; and third, to enhance the effectiveness of each lesson by making full use of the time allocated. Following the latest teaching trend, assessing for learning, the school is very concerned about evaluating how its students’ learn through e-learning. Despite the important role technology plays, Principal Duthie also believes that handwriting training should not be neglected, so she has asked it to continue alongside the launch of the e-schoolbag project.
The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School is devoted to implementing innovative teaching practices that help to seamlessly integrate The Hong Kong Institute of Education’s study, demonstrating and sharing the process of teaching and learning, as well as motivating the education industry to move forward and provide a better teaching and learning environment.
"Lync Server 2013 provides us with highly reliable communications that are easy to use."
Bas Groeneveld Chief Technology Officer, Dunamare
Dunamare Education Group
Dutch School System Uses Unified Communications Solution to Improve Collaboration
Dunamare Education Group was formed in 2007 after the merger of three secondary educational systems in and around Haarlem, Netherlands. It now has 24 secondary schools and provides high-quality education for 13,000 students. Dunamare wanted to find a way to expand its communications beyond telephones and email to help its teachers and administrators work together to solve problems in and out of the classroom. With the help of Microsoft Partner Network member Wortell, Dunamare decided to deploy Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to provide administrators and teachers with more innovative ways to communicate and collaborate in the learning environment, while also reducing telephony costs. The school has increased use of videoconferencing and desktop sharing to improve its ability to solve problems and foster deeper relationships among staff.
Headquartered in Haarlem, Netherlands, the Dunamare Education Group oversees educational programs for 24 secondary schools in 36 locations across the region. Its 1,400 teachers and administrators serve approximately 13,000 students through college preparatory and vocational programs designed to fit students’ needs. As part of the merger that formed the Dunamare Educational Group, all of the schools involved set a goal to provide an innovative and widely accessible education for students. The group knew that this goal would require it to look for ways to incorporate technology into its learning environment, and that it would require teachers to collaborate on new and innovative lesson plans.
In 2009, to help achieve its technology goals, Dunamare decided to outsource its IT environment to a local IT service provider. It chose to partner with Wortell, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with multiple Gold competencies. Wortell brings knowledge of the latest innovations and is able to ensure that IT resources at Dunamare are being managed using best practices. “Dunamare wants to be a forerunner in information technology, and we felt that a knowledgeable partner would help us do that,” says Bas Groeneveld, Chief Technology Officer at Dunamare. “Wortell really understands our needs. They are a true partner.”
"By building a private cloud, we saved at least 50 percent in terms of hardware, software, and power consumption costs. As a result, we achieved all our goals and satisfied the requirements of all business owners."
Samih Ajrouch Associate Director, IT Customer Success, American University of Beirut
American University of Beirut
By Moving to the Cloud, University Significantly Cuts Costs and Improves Customer Service
Responsible for servicing several thousand employees, students, alumni, a main office in New York as well as a medical center, the IT department at the American University of Beirut (AUB) recognized it had a growing problem on its hands.
The IT department experienced continuous requests for additional IT services. Although most of the support cases could be adequately addressed, Samih Ajrouch, who works as an Associate Director for IT Customer Success, realized that it was only a matter of time before the IT department was overwhelmed by these requests and be unable to meet the IT needs of the university.
“Although AUB has an IT infrastructure in place with two resilient data centers, we were concerned that our technology couldn’t keep up with the increasingly demanding business environment.”
The need to be able to provide specific services to their users was, likewise, proving to be a challenge at times.
“For example, if our faculty or students needed a server in order to test or develop certain applications, they would have to wait for at least two months before we could have one available from a supplier. This was simply not good enough.”
The lack of standardization was also a headache for the IT department.
“We were managing a fragmented information infrastructure, as each business unit maintained separate technologies and services, which was not ideal. This meant that we had to spend more time maintaining our IT infrastructure.”
Power consumption expenses were also a very big issue.
“Our power consumption is very high since we have a lot of equipment that needs power on campus. Furthermore, we need to ensure that critical equipment have a continuous power supply (especially those being used by our medical center). On top of that, power consumption is very expensive in Lebanon,” he adds.
In order to tackle all these issues, it became apparent to the university’s leadership that a comprehensive IT strategy was called for.
“Benenden took advantage of free Lync Server 2010 licences through the Microsoft Schools Agreement. Effectively, we gave the school a new PBX with full unified communications at no extra cost.”
Wade Nash, Head of IT Services, Benenden School
U.K. School Deploys Unified Communications Saving 40 Per Cent on Cost of New PBX
Leading United Kingdom (U.K.) girls school Benenden School needed to replace its private branch exchange (PBX) telephony system. Having considered offers from four different PBX vendors, the school chose Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Standard Edition for telephony and unified communications. The Microsoft solution cost 40 per cent less than any of the competing offerings. Plus, it is scalable, easily accommodating new accounts for staff and students.
Benenden School, founded in 1923, is one of the leading academic boarding schools for girls aged 11 to 18 years in the U.K. It ranks among its most famous alumni Anne, the Princess Royal. State-of-the-art information and communications technology are vital to the success of any school, and Benenden is no exception. Under Wade Nash, Head of IT Services, Benenden has invested in a range of Microsoft communication and collaboration technologies as well as Hyper-V virtualisation software and the Microsoft System Center suite of products.
However, one pressing challenge was to find a replacement for the existing Nortel Meridian Opt 11 PBX, which was reaching the end of its life cycle and provided 250 phones for 300 staff. With the completion of a new science building, which needed to be equipped with phones, the school had to step up its search for a suitable replacement solution.
Nash, who had previously worked in the telecommunications industry, says: “The system was no longer fit for purpose and it was difficult to acquire new licences for additional phones without upgrading the PBX. We wanted a new IP-based system that would drive the school forward for the next five to 10 years. From our research, we could see the potential additional benefits of unified communications, including presence awareness, instant messaging, and audio and videoconferencing.”
Initially, Benenden sought offers from four leading telephony vendors—Mitel, ShoreTel, Cisco, and Avaya—with the lowest quote being £115,000 (U.S.$185,000). Nash says: “We had heard that Microsoft was entering the PBX space with its Wave ‘14’ product suite as an extension of its Microsoft Office Communications Server technology. We wanted to find out more.”
Benenden took advice from Modality Systems, which specialises in custom software for unified communications and was Microsoft U.K. Lync Server Voice Partner of the Year in 2011. Nash says: “Modality Systems gave us the confidence to take the first step by carrying out a proof of concept with Microsoft Lync technology. The initial stage involved the IT department, facilities management, accounts, and the director of studies.”
After a successful pilot project, Benenden deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2010 alongside its Meridian PBX, subsequently replacing the existing system entirely. Among other supporting technologies, the solution uses Polycom and Snom phones, Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT), Network Equipment Technologies (NET) gateways, and the Quintum Tenor Analogue Gateway. Nash says: “I was surprised at how seamless the rollout was. The team worked with Modality Systems in overcoming complex issues and accommodating the specific needs of some of our users.”
Lync Server 2010 interoperates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and the Microsoft System Center suite. Benenden is also using Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway for added security.
Modality Systems ensured that during the deployment the PBX continued operating around the clock. It also played a major part in encouraging user adoption of the unified communications features in Lync Server 2010. Tom Arbuthnot, Development Team, Modality Systems, says: “The primary driver for most of the users was voice rather than new unified communications features. But the solution soon proved useful in many different ways—for example, through using Lync Server 2010 for governors’ meetings and to interview prospective new overseas staff, avoiding the need to travel.”
"Post Microsoft Office 365, we have observed annual direct and indirect cost savings of up to INR 900,000 (U.S.$ 18,000 approximately), along with uptime reliability."
Satyajit Hange, Director (Technology),Bharati Vidyapeeth
Bharati Vidyapeeth India
Educational Institution Builds a Community, Brings Collaboration and Reduces Costs
Bharati Vidyapeeth (BVP) is a prime educational institution with approximately 4,000 teachers and 80,000 students across India. It had been using an on-premise open source communication solution but due to high operating costs and limited features and functionality, it decided to move all entities within the group to Microsoft Office 365 for Education. This hosted enterprise communication and collaboration services brings students and teachers to a common platform that completely transforms how BVP students and faculty interact. With the ability now to access emails and calendars using any smart device, with a 99.99 percent service uptime and highly reliable and secure platform, the institution has seen significant productivity, collaboration and cost reduction in capital expenditure as well as in staff and administration expenses.
Founded in 1964 in Pune, India, Bharati Vidyapeeth (BVP) has one of the largest networks of educational institutions in India. The university has 15 high-tech campuses across seven cities in Maharashtra and New Delhi; over 160 educational institutes across India from pre-primary to K-12 schools, colleges and postgraduate institutions, and also a professional deemed university. The BVP group employs over 4,000 faculty members and enrolls more than 80,000 students from over 36 countries each year.
Until 2009, administrative staff and faculty members used either personal email accounts, or paper and telephonic communication. This scenario was not ideal for a progressive educational institute.
BVP was apprehensive about cloud solutions until a few years ago, as it was worried about security and confidentiality. Therefore, it chose an on-premise open source solution to collaborate and communicate with faculty members. It was also using a dedicated server at a data center. Additional costs included maintenance, cost of leased line to the data center, and firewall and other software license costs.
However, over a period of time, it realized that this solution had a number of limitations. Communication across campuses was difficult without a global address book with distribution lists to maintain hierarchies, department or management lists, etc. Finding the right resources across 4,000 faculty members was becoming a challenge.
Setting up and managing security via multiple firewalls eventually began to hinder the organization, as it would block some websites. BVP lost the flexibility and was limited by aging features such as small mailboxes, mail delivery issues, etc. “We also felt the absence of audio and video chat, IM, presence and conferencing facilities, which have become commonplace in the last four years,” says Satyajit Hange, Director (Technology), Bharati Vidyapeeth. “The solution also lacked compatibility with smart mobile devices for email access for our students and faculty – anywhere, anytime.”
In addition, the open source solution was available only for the faculty. What BVP wanted was a comprehensive, three-way communication and interaction among the faculty, administration, and students. “It is important to track the academic life cycle of each student and communicate with them regularly,” says Satyajit Hange.
"Microsoft knew it needed to have a HIPAA BAA [Business Associates Agreement] to support universities and medical schools with Office 365 for education … and it came out with a BAA that is very good."
Leo TranAssistant Vice President for IT Infrastructure,Tulane University Technology Services
Tulane University Gains HIPAA-Compliant, Disaster-Tolerant Email Infrastructure
Tulane University wanted to upgrade its aging email infrastructure, but its needs were somewhat complex. It wanted leading-edge email, collaboration, and messaging services, but it also wanted a fully redundant email infrastructure to ensure communications continuity should another major hurricane pummel New Orleans. It wanted a solution that faculty, staff, and students could access from anywhere, at any time, and from any device, but it also needed a solution designed with HIPAA compliance in mind, since the new email solution it deployed would be supporting the University’s medical school and hospital facilities. Finally, Tulane’s IT team wanted to find a way to meet all these needs without breaking the bank. The solution? Tulane moved into the cloud, using a HIPAA-compliant, disaster-tolerant solution from Microsoft: Office 365™ for education.
In the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the IT organization at Tulane University was busy putting critical university systems back in working order. It was not until late in the decade, though, that the modernization of Tulane’s email infrastructure finally arrived at the top of the IT organization’s priority list.
In some ways, it was just as well that they had not upgraded from Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 earlier. When Exchange 2007 became available, the IT organization was too busy rebuilding other systems to focus on upgrading the email system. So, by the time they began to address the challenge in earnest in 2009, the capital costs associated with a traditional upgrade from Exchange Server 2003 were enough to induce sticker shock. The University would have to:
"We are saving a lot of money. We have retired seven servers and repurposed our storage. We are saving money on hardware, administration, and data center costs."
Dutch School System Chooses Microsoft Office 365 to Reduce Costs and Improve
Because communication and collaboration are important in education, Dunamare had deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 to provide email for 14,500 staff and students. While the email solution was popular and reliable, students quickly filled up their mailbox quotas and were asking for more storage. Unwilling to invest in more storage, and looking to reduce its costs for administration, the school system began looking for alternatives. Working with Wortell, Dunamare decided to migrate its users to Microsoft Exchange Online, a service of Microsoft Office 365. Dunamare found that migrating to Microsoft Exchange Online helped it provide better service and dramatically reduce costs.
Headquartered in Haarlem, Netherlands, the Dunamare Education Group oversees educational programs for 24 secondary schools in 35 locations across the region. Its 1,550 teachers and administrators serve approximately 13,000 students through college preparatory and vocational programs designed to fit students’ needs.
Dunamare incorporates the latest technology into the learning environment to improve educational opportunities for its students. The school system has provided a messaging solution for students and staff for many years. Teachers and students use email to communicate about lesson plans and other important classroom information.
"Teachers and students just love the way they are able to access functionalities for teaching and learning activities, communication, email, and course materials all in one place."
Milena HubanovaAdministrative Manager MT & M College
MT & M College
Private Bulgarian College Surprised with Unified Learning Management Portal
MT & M College saw a need for a learning management system (LMS) to help achieve its goal of providing personalized education to students. The College deployed Microsoft Office 365, and particularly Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 as its new LMS. The deployment was well-received. Users liked the system’s flexibility, reliability, ease of use and their access to a unified solution.
Established in 1991, MT & M College is a practice-oriented, private Bulgarian college that provides an innovative, individualized approach to student education. On starting their tertiary education at MT & M College and under the guidance of teacher-mentors, students create a three-year personalized development plan that maps out the skills, competencies, and goals they seek to achieve and the courses they plan to take during their student years.
Students also benefit from teaching and learning innovations spurred by an international partnership of MT & M College with universities in the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.
"We can see uses for Configuration Manager everywhere, and we are rolling out the solution to all 35,000 desktops as fast as we can."
Claudiu BudurleanDirector of Client Computing Architecture, Apollo Group
Adult Education Pioneer Saves $250,000 Annually with Management Solution
Apollo Group is a pioneer in adult education and online learning. The IT department needed a better tool to manage more than 35,000 computers worldwide. It is deploying Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager globally by June 2012. Apollo Group expects to save US$250,000 annually in software costs and to reduce by 50 percent the amount of IT staff required to configure the desktop, saving a further $100,000 annually. IT staff can use Configuration Manager to support virtualized applications hosted at the universities so they can reduce local servers by 50 percent and avoid $1.2 million in future hardware costs. With Configuration Manager, IT staff will replace several management tools with one, simplifying their work while ensuring an optimal computing experience for staff and students and eliminating disruptions due to manual deployments.
John Sperling, founder of the Apollo Group, recognized an important change in employment demographics in the United States. Beginning in the 1970s, instead of seeking lifelong employment with a single employer, people began pursuing careers with multiple companies. Sperling founded the University of Phoenix as a response to the education needs of this new workforce. Today, the University of Phoenix operates more than 300 campuses across the United States.
Over the years, Apollo Group has developed nearly 100 business-critical, proprietary educational applications and added other subsidiaries—Apollo Global, College for Financial Planning and Institute for Professional Development—to establish itself as a leading provider of higher education programs for 450,000 people worldwide. Today, Apollo Group is in a growth phase; it has established a data center in London that supports an infrastructure of 1,200 desktops at 50 campuses across the United Kingdom, and it is in the midst of establishing new learning institutions in Mexico, Chile, and India.
The ADvTECH Group
Cloud Solution Helps Firm Reduce Complexity, Cut Costs and Improve IT Efficiency
"By deploying Windows Server 2012, we would reduce our current hardware footprint from three physical blade centers to one blade center. We would also be able to slash our power and hardware costs by about R240, 000 and R1.6 million rand a year respectively.” Steven Van Zyl, Chief Information Officer, The ADvTECH Group
With 51,200 learners studying in 57 educational sites across South Africa and serviced by 4,000 academic and administrative staff and contractors; the Group needed to ensure that their IT infrastructure would be more than sufficient to cater to the needs of the students, the academics, as well as to the rest of the business. Aside from this, the hardware at the data center needed to be renewed. One way of dealing with this issue was to reduce the Group’s pool of 400 physical servers via virtualization. Doing so would mean a great reduction in power consumption and thereby saving the company a lot of money in utility bills. This would also optimize IT efficiencies. The Group was clear that they needed a cloud solution that would cater for the following key areas:
"When informed decisions have to be made, decision-makers can now generate information themselves in seconds. Before, it would take at least a day.”
Vasilis DelisProject Manager and Deputy Chair Educational Technology Sector, Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus
Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus”
Data Warehouse Provides Business Intelligence and Data Drilling Capabilities
Officials of the Greek Ministry of Education felt they were not getting the big picture on the Greek educational system due to poor IT interoperability. Information was fragmented in various IT systems, and difficult to access and use. A centralized data warehouse, using Microsoft technologies, was developed. As a result, Greek education officials gained strong business intelligence tools, speedy access to information, integrated data and enhanced decision-making capabilities.
Officials of the Greek Ministry of Education felt they were not getting the big picture on the Greek education system. Information on 1.3 million students and 170,000 teachers in 15,000 schools was dispersed in various data systems that used different technologies and lacked interoperability. Answers to questions, for instance, on the number of students per school and their academic performance, teacher allocation and their specializations, student-teacher ratios, teaching vacancies, foreign students and their language competencies were difficult to get. As well, IT support was needed to dig into data and generate reports; ministry officials and school administrators who lacked IT technical skills could not undertake these tasks themselves. Consequently, it was not unusual to get answers a few days or even a week later. Quick access to information was not feasible.
The need to reform the Greek Ministry of Education’s information infrastructure was becoming apparent to ministry officials and school administrators. They wanted accurate and up-to-date information on the Greek education system that they could easily access and analyze themselves with no IT technical support. The information already available in various data systems, if properly tapped, could be a source of business intelligence and lead to better decision-making and policy-designs, cost-savings and efficient use of resources.
"By using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to facilitate data-driven, consistent performance management and by supporting other key processes, we are making significant progress in helping children to fulfill their promise and potential."
Max Hunsicker,Senior Director of Coaching and Learning, National Heritage Academies
National Heritage Academies
Leading Charter School Organization Uses CRM System to Facilitate Effective Learning
National Heritage Academies (NHA), one of the largest charter school organizations in the United States, makes innovative use of technology to drive student achievement and ensure that classroom activities lead to the desired educational outcomes. NHA developed an employee performance system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, introducing new levels of consistency and efficiency into performance management. Connected to student achievement data and other decision support information, the solution facilitates accountability to results and steady professional growth for teachers. NHA also uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage the outreach and communications with parents of prospective students and bring learning opportunities into communities. In addition, the organization is finding other opportunities to strengthen educational accomplishment by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM creatively.
“Challenging each of our students to succeed, we do everything we can to ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve their goals and potential,” says Max Hunsicker, Senior Director of Coaching and Learning at National Heritage Academies (NHA). “We seek to make the best possible use of technology to fulfill our mission. We often deploy it to improve operational processes so that we can channel more resources directly into the learning environment.” Since its founding in 1995, NHA has grown into one of the largest charter school management organizations in the United States, serving more than 45,000 students, who attend 71 schools in nine states. The organization focuses on K-8, public-school education and has its headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Education
Shared Computing Solution to Significantly Reduce ICT Costs in Bahrain Schools
The Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Education (MOE) needed to cut the costs of computer implementations in schools, which were draining resources and using up limited budgets. With Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 and HP MultiSeat technology, a single computer can support multiple users simultaneously without compromising the individual user’s experience. The MOE is deploying this solution to all 210 schools across the kingdom.
The MOE governs the country’s schooling system and is responsible for its education strategy. In Bahrain, information and communications technology (ICT) is considered an essential part of the school curriculum and is integrated into as many teaching and learning processes as possible. The aim is to provide pupils with the skills to enhance their day-to-day lives, increase their employment potential, and, ultimately, support the kingdom’s economy.
Within the MOE, the Information Systems (IS) Directorate supervises the development and maintenance of information systems, with its primary objective being to improve these systems. The directorate has built a strong IT infrastructure within schools across the kingdom.
Ahmed Alhammadi, Director of Information Systems, Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Education, says: “The ministry has a limited number of technicians and they were struggling to support the large number of computers and devices across hundreds of schools. The cost of replacing hardware was also putting a huge strain on our limited budget.”
The MOE strives to ensure that technology is delivered to schools efficiently, so the IS Directorate had to find a way to reduce the number of computers without compromising the needs of pupils and teachers. Alhammadi says: “We must provide pupils with state-of-the-art technology to maintain our high standard of education. However, it was imperative that we cut the time and complexity of maintaining these systems, and the increasing costs of hardware maintenance and upgrades.”
SABIS International Schools Network
Education Provider Makes Time Savings with Automated Development System
SABIS—a global education provider with a network of 79 schools and one university—wanted a comprehensive solution to automate its software development life cycle and meet recognized international standards. It deployed Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010 and is now realizing significantly faster time to deploy products. This has led to higher satisfaction in the SABIS IT team and other stakeholders, including SABIS administrators, teachers, and students.
Established in Choueifat, Lebanon, in 1886, SABIS operates schools in 15 countries on four continents and educates more than 60,000 students. These schools implement the SABIS Educational System, which focuses on the core subjects of English, mathematics, the sciences, and languages. SABIS, with corporate offices in Lebanon and the United States, places a high value on using IT to improve the educational attainment of students, enhance the school environment, and reinforce communication.
The SABIS IT department comprises 60 IT professionals distributed among three teams: IT infrastructure, software development, and IT school operations. Each of these teams has been actively contributing to enhancing students’ academic performance and improving operational efficiency and management at the school.
Escola Secundária da Lagoa
School Uses Gaming to Encourage Students with Disabilities to Interact with Curriculum with Hands and Voice
School Uses Gaming to Encourage Students with Disabilities to Interact with Curriculum with Hands and Voice
Lagoa Secondary School, in Portugal, is enriching classroom instruction while making learning activities more accessible for students with disabilities. One creative step they took was to incorporate Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360, an advanced gesture-based gaming system, into their curriculum. This gives teachers exciting new ways to encourage learning, promote class cohesion, and empower students of all abilities to strengthen social skills and boost subject-matter proficiency—all while students learn and have fun.
Overcoming Obstacles to Learning
Located on São Miguel, part of the Azores island chain off the coast of Portugal, Lagoa Secondary School is a public school that serves students ages 12 to 18. The school has a significant proportion of students with cognitive disabilities—from autism to moderate mental retardation—who also manifest deficiencies in skills like hand-eye coordination and fine-motor dexterity. Some students were formerly only able to interact with classmates for brief periods of time before withdrawing. Others struggled with verbal communication, concentration, and memory impairments. Educators noted that many of these children became socially isolated and had difficulty keeping up with peers academically because they could not fully participate in classroom learning activities.
School administrators searched for a way to enhance traditional instruction by incorporating assistive technologies into daily routines. They sought to promote a more integrated classroom environment and improve collaboration among students of diverse learning styles and abilities. Teachers also wanted to find new ways to engage students and improve learning outcomes by creating memorable, interactive educational experiences.
"The Microsoft IT Academy is a game-changer for the entire state. It will put Washington at the forefront in helping students prepare to enter the twenty-first century workforce."
Randy DornSuperintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Washington State Ensures Equal Access to Technology Skills Training and Certifications
Charged with overseeing K-12 public education in Washington State, the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) sought a way to provide all high school students with equal access to technology skills. OSPI is now meeting this need through a statewide rollout of the Microsoft IT Academy—a subscription-based program designed to help schools provide students, faculty, and staff with access to IT skills training and certification. Students will be better-prepared to succeed after high school with knowledge and credentials that are aligned with the needs of business and industry, and teachers will have new opportunities for professional development. Just as important, such benefits will be within the reach of all students and school districts, regardless of individual economic circumstances or local budgets.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) oversees K-12 public education in Washington State. Led by Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than 1 million public school students.
When Dorn took office in January 2009, he established a set of priorities to guide his tenure. These included expanding career and technical education programs and offering clear pathways to industry-recognized certifications—something he deemed essential to helping students succeed after high school. In 2011, with Dorn’s support, the Washington State Legislature added technology literacy and fluency to the state’s definition of a basic education.
"We began this venture thinking of Windows Intune as a way to protect our computers from malware. The built-in PC management tools were bonuses that made the solution a must-have for Winchester College."
Damien DigbyICT Systems Manager, Winchester College
English College Gives Full Marks to Cloud-Based PC Management Solution
Boys have been studying at Winchester College in England for more than 600 years. Today, the college depends on reliable, technology and secure, well-managed PCs so that this tradition can continue. When IT staff members were considering the renewal of the college’s antivirus solution, they decided on a more powerful, flexible option that eliminates the need for on-premises infrastructure and works better with the college’s security network: the Windows Intune cloud-based PC-management service. With a powerful antimalware solution that detects more viruses than its previous solution and PC management services available through a web-based console, IT staff can better manage software upgrades and security updates. And for the first time, IT staff can provide remote assistance and proactive support, so that the college’s staff, Dons (teachers), and students can work more productively.
William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor to Edward III, founded Winchester College in 1382. The original foundation included a warden and ten fellows, two schoolmasters, three chaplains, seventy scholars, and sixteen quiristers (choristers). Most features of this foundation are still in place, including the quiristers, who continue to sing in the chapel. Today, in addition to 70 scholars, there are an additional 620 pupils, called commoners, and 100 full-time teachers, or Dons, living at the college.
Supporting Learning with the Latest IT
In stark contrast to its medieval buildings and grounds, the college depends today on a state-of-the-art, reliable, and secure IT infrastructure. The four-member IT department ensures that its systems, network, and applications run smoothly, supporting both the learning environment and the administrative functions of the college. This includes managing the college’s PCs: more than 90 portable computers for the Dons and 500 desktop computers for classroom labs and academic and administrative purposes. The IT department is also on hand to support more than 350 portable computers belonging to the students. Last year, the college deployed the Windows 7 Professional operating system to all of its PCs and mobile computers.
"The most important mission of Center for Administration of Information Technology is to provide students and faculty members with information services and to maintain the network for these services."
Takeshi Matsumura,Special Assignment Professor and Manager of ICT Promotion Room, Center for Administration of Information Technology, the University of Tokushima
The University of Tokushima
Running The Two Systems, Exchange Server 2010 and Office 365 for education, On a Single Domain
The University of Tokushima, a national university, set up a new section, “Information Strategy Room” for planning its overall information strategies. And, to implement these strategies, the university established “Center for Administration of Information Technology." Since then, Center for Administration of Information Technology of the university has implemented various reforms to provide better IT services for students and faculty members. In March 2012, as one of these efforts, the existing email systems were renewed with a hybrid email system of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft Office 365 for Education. This renewal enables ensured security and 24/7 operation. Focusing on developing international academic ability of its students, faculty members, and institutions, Tokushima University obtained a key communication infrastructure.
In July 2010, the university set up "Information Strategy Room," which exercises overall management of information systems under the direct control of the head of the university. In addition, to implement these strategies, the university established "Center for Administration of Information Technology" that exists for about 8,000 accounts of students and 4,000 accounts of faculty members. Takeshi Matsumura, Special Assignment Professor and Manager of ICT Promotion Room, Center for Administration of Information Technology, the University of Tokushima, explains the role of the center.
"According to that restructuring, we started to think more about our role as an IT service provider for students and faculty members, not just focusing on researches. The most important mission of Center for Administration of Information Technology is to provide students and faculty members with information services and to maintain the network for these services."
South Dartmoor Community College
Cloud-Based Mobile Solution Gives School Teachers Anywhere Access to Critical Data
South Dartmoor Community College wanted to free its teachers to work in a range of environments outside the classroom. Groupcall Emerge, an application that uses the Windows Azure platform, gives them secure access to the school’s management information system (MIS) on mobile devices. Whether they’re in the classroom or on a field trip, they can complete registration faster and contact parents quickly in an emergency.
South Dartmoor Community College, based in Devon in the United Kingdom (U.K.), is an academy with sports college status. With 1,650 pupils, the school prides itself on its outstanding academic achievement supported by innovative learning techniques.
This ethos is apparent throughout the school, with teachers and staff members welcoming new ways to enhance learning. The school places great importance on minimising administration for teachers, and providing easy access to critical resources, freeing them to teach in a variety of environments.
Shirley DuthiePrincipal The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School
The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School Uses Microsoft Windows 8 Tablets to Promote e-learning, Putting Innovative Teaching into Practice
Utilizing EES model at regional level for deployment of modern technologies at schools
Zlín region closed the EES central licensing agreement in order to enable access to modern information technologies for all secondary schools in the region. Efficient deployment of Microsoft products enabled a more interactive teaching and innovative teaching preparation. Teachers can improve their IT skills in PiL (Partners in Learning) Centers of Education and students enjoy the new style of learning much more.
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UW Uses CRM to Stay Connected with Students from Enrollment Through Graduation
From the time prospective students show interest in a Continuing Education (CE) program at the University of Washington to the time they decide to enroll is typically 6 to 18 months. The university needed a way to track interactions with students from the earliest stage. Clark C. Westmoreland, Assistant Vice Provost of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Washington, explains, "We were dropping a catalogue on their doorstep once a year with the hopes they would enroll." After implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the university can profile students' informational needs, deliver what they're interested in, maintain an ongoing relationship with them, and ultimately track student outcomes through graduation and beyond.
"If we can continue to provide excellent service … at a lower cost, we are doing our part to help UTSA.... We believe we can accomplish that by migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V."
David Vargas Enterprise System Administrator, University of Texas at San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)
University Reduces Costs with Streamlined Cross-Platform Virtual Machine Management
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) depended on 30 VMware servers to support its 550 virtual machines, which ran Linux and Windows operating systems. UTSA is migrating its virtualization servers from VMware to the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system with Hyper-V and is adopting Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 components. The university expects to reduce costs and improve management efficiency with the new solution.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement, and public service. This public research university strives for academic excellence in all areas and uses technology to support its scholastic efforts.
Until recently, the IT department at UTSA relied heavily on VMware ESX technology for virtualization in its data center. It had approximately 550 virtual machines (VMs), which ran a mix of Linux and Windows Server operating systems. The VMs handled more than 100 different applications and services—from websites to line-of-business applications—and were hosted on approximately 30 VMware servers. Because it used so many different technologies, the UTSA IT staff had to be well-versed in several operating system environments and had to use multiple tools for comprehensive management and monitoring.
However, the university also had a Microsoft Campus Agreement that included the Windows Server operating system with Hyper-V, which could provide similar support for VMs. “As a public institution, it is critical that we make smart use of taxpayer dollars,” says David Vargas, Enterprise System Administrator at UTSA. “We realized that, if we could migrate our VMs to Hyper-V, we could phase out VMware and stop paying extra for those VMware licenses.” In addition, UTSA wanted to migrate from the UNIX-based Solaris operating system to Linux, also virtualized using Hyper-V.
The University of Texas at San Antonio decided to explore prerelease versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 to determine whether it could eliminate VMware from its environment without affecting service for its faculty, staff, and student users. “We had limited experience working with Hyper-V, and we recognized that it would be a big shift to move away from VMware,” says Vargas. “But migrating seemed like a clear way to reduce our IT spending.”
"We needed a platform that would enable us to standardize. We have complex, distributed systems that require a more modern type of development. Going forward, we are looking to further expand the student services platform and functionality."
Lubomir Bojilov Chief Technology Officer and Executive Director, Student Information Systems and Technology University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Barbara
California University Modernizes Student Information System with Microsoft Platform
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) wanted to upgrade and modernize its complex student information system while preserving existing functionality. With help from ATERAS, UCSB converted its code and data from its suite of Software AG ADABAS-Natural applications on an IBM mainframe to a platform based on Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. As a result, UCSB has gained a more flexible foundation for implementing new technologies; eased management; and provided uninterrupted service for 75,000 new applicants each year, 23,000 students and thousands of staff and faculty.
Located approximately 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is organized into five colleges, 12 national institutes and centers, and offers 87 undergraduate and 55 graduate degrees. UCSB is ranked in the top 10 among all public universities by the U.S. News and World Report guide and its faculty includes five winners of Nobel Prizes.
While the university operated a mostly distributed IT infrastructure, the Student Information Systems and Technology department had become a central hub that handled business and academic processes for approximately 23,000 students. As requirements changed, USCB looked for a new solution that would provide better flexibility and new functionality.
The student information system, which was written using SAG Natural language programming, ran on an IBM mainframe with an ADABAS database. The system performed well, initially handling core processes such as admissions and student records. However, administration of the system became increasingly challenging as needs expanded. “The core system that was originally intended for internal use needed to provide more self-service capabilities to students, staff, and faculty including web-based and mobile access.” says Lubomir Bojilov, Chief Technology Officer and Student Information Systems and Technology Executive Director at University of California, Santa Barbara.
"Windows Azure is enabling us to keep up with the data deluge in the DNA sequencing space. We’re not only analyzing data faster, but analyzing it more intelligently."
Wu FengProfessor of Computer Science Virginia Tech
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
University Transforms Life Sciences Research with Big Data Solution in the Cloud
DNA sequencing analysis is a form of life sciences research that has the potential to lead to a wide range of medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs. However, this type of analysis requires supercomputing resources and Big Data storage that many researchers lack. Working through a grant provided by the National Science Foundation in partnership with Microsoft, a team of computer scientists at Virginia Tech addressed this challenge by developing an on-demand, cloud-computing model using the Windows Azure HDInsight Service. By moving to an on-demand cloud computing model, researchers will now have easier, more cost-effective access to DNA sequencing tools and resources, which could lead to even faster, more exciting advancements in medical research.
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech began using a network of supercomputers to locate undetected genes in a massive genome database. This and related work by other institutions has the potential to lead to exciting medical breakthroughs, including new cancer therapies and antibiotics used to combat the emergence of drug-resistant bugs.
However, as the size of genome databases grows, so has the challenge of analyzing them. And with the advent of next-generation sequencers (NGS), this growth has been exponential. “Of the estimated 2,000 DNA sequencers worldwide, they are generating 15 petabytes of genome data every year,” explains Wu Feng, Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Many life sciences institutions simply do not have access to the computational and storage resources required to work with data sets of this size. In other words, says Feng, “We’re generating data faster than we can analyze it.”
The team had already recognized the potential of high-performance cloud computing to address the resource challenge. But now they wanted to develop software that would make it even easier for scientists to take advantage of these cloud resources, which would lead to faster genome analysis. And that’s how Feng was introduced to the potential of the Windows Azure HDInsight Service running on the Windows Azure platform.
"I really appreciate Microsoft for helping The Hong Kong Polytechnic University cope with challenges in this fast changing market, solve the insufficiencies of limited mailbox size, the need to distribute large amounts of information to a large number of people and keeping us abreast of emerging mobile device trends."
Mr. Gerrit Bahlman Director of Information Technology,The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong Polytechnic University Moves 38,500 Staff and Students to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365 for Education
Migrating to Microsoft® Office 365 for Education Brings PolyU a Unified Communication and Collaboration Platform, Anywhere Access, Savings of HK$2M Per Annum and Fulfils University’s Strategic Vision of Sustainability
Located in the heart of Kowloon, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), ranks among the top 200 universities in the world. Having an illustrious history dating back to 1937, the University experienced rapid expansion in the past two decades. Since seeing an additional 33% increase in the number of undergraduate students this year alone due to the new academic structure (3-3-4), PolyU now boasts the largest student community among publicly funded universities in Hong Kong with over 32,000 students and 6,500 staff (including temporary staff).
Universities are in the business of knowledge transfer, yet often experience difficulties in organizing and sharing that knowledge effectively from an IT perspective. As part of a long-term mission to drive greater efficiency, thus saving, on a large scale and develop organizationally as knowledge managers, PolyU recognized a need to unify and streamline their information and knowledge transfer. As an example, historically PolyU had acquired four email services, which were complex and costly to manage. While their legacy email platform – Novell GroupWise – was functionally rich, it wasn’t conducive to on-boarding new staff and students as it took too long to learn, meaning a more intuitive user interface was needed. Its limited mailbox size resulted in staff having to archive their own mailboxes – one of many problems in usability.
Lacking third-party support and modern functionality such as remote access with multiple smart devices, the aging email system made access via notebooks and smartphones difficult, and retrieving archived emails daunting. There was a pressing need for the implementation of a new unified email messaging platform to replace the four systems. Adopting a common platform would bring consistency, whereby teachers and students could both enjoy the same user experience, easily share information, and benefit from flexible mobile access and security. PolyU therefore decided it was time to take the next step to enhance communication, bolster security and stay abreast of mobile market trends so that PolyU could truly foster a media savvy environment. As Novell GroupWise lacked the sought-after efficiency and scalability, they required hands-on support from a solution provider to aid them in pursuing their long term strategy of bringing greater consistency, ease of information exchange for students and faculty and flexible mobile access.
"Our mission is to use education to shape the future, so we look at SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft Big Data as a way to move ahead. The solution helps us stay at the leading edge where technology can change education."
Jeffrey TayAssociate Director of Center for Instructional Technology National University of Singapore
National University of Singapore
Singapore University Enhances Learning for 37,000 Students with Big Data Solution
The National University of Singapore (NUS), a leading research institution in Asia, wanted to enhance its learning management system but faced the challenge of having to analyze enormous volumes of multiple types of data. To gain better insight into students’ online behavior, the university implemented a Big Data solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. As a result, NUS can quickly analyse multiple terabytes of information and design more targeted applications and services. The university has cut reporting time from two weeks to less than a day with built-in business intelligence (BI) tools, and it has better support overall for advancing its innovative model of education.
With 37,000 students from more than 100 countries, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is one of Asia’s leading research institutions. Like many universities today, NUS has a significant online presence and places a strong emphasis on using technology to further education. For example, its web-based learning management system hosts 90 percent of the university’s academic modules. NUS wanted to improve the user experience for students, but to meet that goal it needed better BI tools.
The university’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) manages the learning management system, called the Integrated Virtual Learning Environment (IVLE). The center wanted to look at the click-stream data generated by students using resources such as chat rooms, discussion forums, and files, but the sheer volume of information was daunting. “Exploring the data was almost impossible with our existing tools,” says Jeffrey Tay, Associate Director of the Center for Instructional Technology at the National University of Singapore. “We’re talking about five terabytes of information and approximately two billion records.”
The center needed a Big Data solution that would not only provide insight into large data sets, but also offer easy-to-use reporting capabilities.
The Department of Education Western Australia
Cost Effective Solution To Provide Better Collaboration For Students And Teachers Within Western Australia
The Aim of the solution was to provide greater collaboration for students and teachers within Western Australia. The solution provided a cost effective and function rich communication and collaboration mechanism for 265,000 students and 45,000 teachers.
We Want To Know
Dragonbox - Test winning app for teaching students math
At Elvebakken Upper Secondary School in Norway they are fortunate enough to have Jean-Baptiste Huynh, developer of Dragonbox, on staff. Development of Dragonbox was initiated based on the need for more up-to-date education resources and the wish to reduce the number of students falling behind in math.
Dragonbox is an app for teaching equations to students in a learning centered and fun way and is proven to teach 80% of students algebra within 2 hours. The app is very visual and starts out by using animated figures for calculations and then slowly moves towards using real numbers and giving the students a real understanding of how the process goes.
The app was voted world's best serious game at the International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA).
"Integrating PeopleSoft into SharePoint is transforming our HR system of record into a system of engagement."
Matt Varney System Director of Web Services, KCTCS
Kentucky Community and Technical College System
College System Brings Its Organizations Together with Line-of-Business Integration
Despite consolidation, Kentucky Community and Technical College’s (KCTCS) 68 campuses were left with disparate cultures, systems, and business processes. Summit 7 Systems used InFlight to extend the existing line-of-business (LOB) systems into SharePoint 2013 to provide simplified access to LOB data and improve business-critical processes.
In 1997, the state of Kentucky made the strategic decision to consolidate all of its community and technical colleges into a single system, forming the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Needless to say, each of these disparate colleges had its own culture, systems and ways of doing business. Since consolidating, KCTCS has been engaged in an ongoing institutional transformation focused on reducing costs, driving efficiency and evolving into an organization with truly unified shared services and systems.
Department-Specific LOB Systems
KCTCS began the transformation by implementing a single production instance of PeopleSoft Financials to manage payroll and other core financial business data. Shortly thereafter KCTCS implemented PeopleSoft Human Resources (now HCM) to manage employee data, benefits, and records, and PeopleSoft Campus Solutions manages enrollment, registration, class scheduling, grades, and transcripts. Blackboard was later delivered as the institution’s learning management platform and online learning environment.
Lack of Standardized Processes
Despite these improvements, KCTCS still faced a major transformational hurdle. In terms of sharing and collaboration, KCTCS was still operating as 16 different college organizations. Intent on pushing the transformation to the next level, in 2010 KCTCS turned to Summit 7 Systems and Gartner for guidance.
Critical Data Stuck in Information Siloes
During its discovery sessions, Summit 7 Systems identified a series of pain points across the KCTCS organization. First, employees had trouble finding even the most basic and routine employee information, such as policies governing travel expenses or paid time off. Complicating matters, each of the 16 colleges had developed its own file sharing and methods of collaboration. These, it was determined, were symptomatic of a larger issue; outside of its shared LOB systems to maintain Systems of Record, there seemed to be no common approach to doing business or business process.
“At Crescent Girls’ School, we offer a student-centric holistic curriculum that develops students into ladies and leaders. Technology is naturally and pervasively incorporated into the teaching and learning processes, for deep learning, to facilitate collaboration and knowledge construction. We also adopt a spirit of community.”
Tan Chen Kee, Principal, Crescent Girls' School
Crescent Girls School
Crescent Girls’ School has had a 1:1 learning environment since 2003 where each student owns a personal learning device. Under the school’s mobile learning (m-learning) program, students use their devices across all subjects for all levels. The m-learning program is founded on the school leader’s vision and strategy around curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.
Additionally, 1:1 devices have enabled Crescent Girls’ School to create the following intra-curricular programs where technology is leveraged in unique ways:
The school constantly engages in review and redesign of its programs to deliver a technology-enabled holistic curriculum that prepares students to be leaders in the 21st century.
“We’re a boarding school, so our students’ learning doesn’t end when they leave the classroom. We believe that (when properly used) technology can enhance our students’ learning by allowing for deeper engagement with the world and providing access to online resources. For the past several years, we have been able to keep our students engaged beyond the classroom by providing opportunities to learn with technology anytime, anywhere.”
Ali Shameem, Director of Educational Technology, King’s Academy
King’s Academy 1:1 Tablet PC Program and the state-of-the-art campus infrastructure with campus-wide wireless network provides every student and faculty member with access to learning anytime, anywhere. These devices provide students with the means to engage in active learning by using the tools that they need in their current and future lives. With the tablet, many students take notes using Microsoft OneNote, and their notebooks are shared with their teachers for grading.
King’s Academy also uses cloud services and learning management systems to share course resources (reading and videos), and to collect assignments digitally. As a result, many teachers grade students’ work on their tablets, preserving the environment by reducing printing. In some classrooms, teachers also make use of the Moodle open source community-based learning management system and classroom management software, such as DyKnow, to monitor and guide students’ work by effectively using their tablets.
Personalized learning environments
At King’s Academy, each student is assigned an advisor to meet with, both formally and informally, several times a week to discuss academics and other issues. Most teachers have a small group of five advisees from whom they receive regular updates through email. They use a number of different systems to keep records of the students’ academic performance, class attendance, co-curricular participation, and evening study hall for boarding students. Reports are generated from these different systems and sent regularly through Microsoft Exchange to faculty, students, and parents. Faculty members get daily updates of attendance reports for all students in all classes, and students get an attendance letter if they are absent or tardy more than three times.
The assessment data on student progress is updated every six weeks and sent to the parents, advisor, and to the student. Many teachers provide more frequent updates on assessment data through online grade books either in the course management system or other grade book software.
Teachers also submit data on a student of concern through web forms to the Office of Academic Affairs. Once the struggling students are identified, faculty members
“Modern technology makes the learning process really personalized regardless of how many children study in school. The individualization of the construction of the educational process enables us to inspire, motivate, and encourage, and also to improve the quality of gifted and talented teaching and learning processes in school. Due to the project implemented within the framework of the Innovative Schools Program, we have become a school with an interactive informational and practically feasible environment.”
Elena Shimutina, Vice Principal, Moscow High School #548 “Tsaritsyno”
Moscow High School
Moscow High School #548 “Tsaritsyno” (Education Center 548) views learning as a lifelong process, and it is vitally important that students are given the opportunities and abilities to exert control over how and what they learn. By taking a personalized approach, students become more confident and self-assured. By learning to work collectively as a team and feel part of an educational family, all students are able to gain vital knowledge and skills from their peers in a less intimidating atmosphere. Personalized learning also gives the staff and teachers the opportunity to help and encourage under-performing students.
Additionally, students have portfolios in all subjects starting at age six, which encourages autonomy from a young age. It is only by working with and educating students, parents, and teachers that students’ future goals may be reached (the creation of a fully autonomous learning environment). It is also important to develop good social practices.
One of the biggest challenges that Education Center 548 faces is changing the mentality of teachers, parents, and students. In Russia, most people are used to a more traditional individualized teaching approach. Therefore, Education Center 548 is trying its best to research and understand the relationship between the school environment and fundamental shifts in education. This relationship is essential to creating new learning spaces and promoting personalized learning.
Project-based learning environments
Project-based learning is a learning experience that aims to provide students with the opportunity to synthesize knowledge from various areas of learning and critically and creatively apply it to real-life situations. This process, which enhances students’ knowledge, prepares them for lifelong learning and the challenges ahead. Education Center 548 uses technology in different subjects and for interdisciplinary projects. Students learn on their own, reflect on their learning, and take appropriate actions to improve it.
The learning outcomes of Project-based learning identify the key areas of learning in each subject. Four learning outcomes are the most important for the education center:
Students acquire collaborative skills by working as a team to achieve common goals. They also learn independently through self-reflection and evaluation of their own work processes. The students acquire the ability to connect different areas of knowledge and to generate, develop, and evaluate ideas and information to apply these skills to the project task.
“Ngee Ann Secondary is anchored by the usual fundamentals: supportive leaders, capable teachers, and good infrastructure. Through the Partners in Learning program and Microsoft-initiated webinars, we are able to expose our teachers to a wide range of resources and professional development opportunities. In the classroom, Microsoft solutions support the pedagogy used by our teachers.”
Adrian Lim, Principal, Ngee Ann Secondary School
Ngee Ann Secondary School
1:1 learning environments
Students at Ngee Ann Secondary purchase their own Windows 7 tablets for use in teaching and learning. The project to equip all classrooms and other rooms (e.g. labs, library, and special rooms) with wireless Internet access is on-going to support the 1:1 program. Students use their devices to search the Internet for resources, prepare presentations, use online applications, or work with special software.
Physical learning environments
To foster collaboration and change the mindset of what learning should be, Ngee Ann has constructed eight special rooms for learning that are different from the traditional “silo” desk arrangements. In all the special rooms, students are seated in groups to facilitate discussions. Most of the rooms also have walls that double as a whiteboard to allow space for articulating ideas and thoughts. Students have access to the Internet in all the rooms either through their own devices or the school’s. All the rooms are furnished either with information or work (e.g. artwork, models) that provides inspiration for students.
Professional learning communities
Ngee Ann has established Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) between departments and between schools from other countries. Every month, teachers within each department will collaborate either face-to-face or online to discuss teaching strategies or collaborate on developing a new lesson design. The school’s Math Department also has close ties with the AB Paterson College in Australia, and they have web conferences during two periods of the year to discuss Math Modeling.
“Using Microsoft technologies at School of the Future helps us fulfill our mission to bridge the digital gap that exists for many of our learners. By exposing our learners to Microsoft software, such as Office 365 with a focus on OneNote, and giving them around-the-clock access to learning activities through our one-to-one laptop program, we are able to create an innovative learning environment and push the boundaries of learning for our children and school community.”
Tim Stults, Chief Learner & Principal, School of the Future
School of the Future
School of the Future is a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and Microsoft. The school was designed to make innovative use of space, everything from the materials used to the classroom furnishings was considered with the potential for learning in mind. Key features include:
Every classroom is equipped with a Panasonic projector, Promethean interactive whiteboard, DVD player, 360-degree document camera, and Audio Enhancement sound system. The flexibility in technology in each classroom space pairs beautifully with flexibility with the physical space of the classroom.
Each learner receives a full-featured laptop running the Windows operating system and Office. Students are issued this laptop at the beginning of the year and turn it in at the end of the year. The device is not just an information resource, organizational tool, or personalized instructional tool; it is a tool used to participate in a curriculum in which educators design rich learning experiences around.
Microsoft OneNote is a major feature of the school’s approach to unit design. Many learners do not have access to the Internet at home, but with shared OneNote notebooks, content can easily be created and synced to devices during the day in order to be accessed at home. In addition to this, the school makes use of a plethora of creation-based software, such as Microsoft Expression Studio, Audacity, Steinberg Sequel, Windows Movie Maker, AutoCollage, and Photosynth.
School of the Future invests a lot of time on unit design over technology training. It believes that with the correct approach to designing learning activities, an educator will naturally seek out a variety of resources for their learners to use, including digital tools. This approach is based on 21st Century Learning Design from ITL Research.
Knowledge-based products are defined as artifacts created as a result of a learning activity where learners are asked to analyze, synthesize, interpret, and evaluate information. Having a full-featured laptop running Windows is essential for the school to execute this approach.
“We believe a school should be a place that maximizes student learning, a place of optimism, excitement, and challenge. Microsoft, through the Partners in Learning program, has enabled us to be closely connected to the rest of the world and allowed students and staff to be engaged in a global society. Without support from Microsoft, children in our community would be severely disadvantaged and disconnected from the real world. Thank you, Microsoft, for your amazing support.”
Tony Bryant, Principal, Silverton Primary School
Silverton Primary School
A strong emphasis is placed on personalizing the learning experience at Silverton Primary School so that students have a strong voice in their learning. For example, during “Discovery Time,” students aged 5-7 develop their own individual projects without any teacher influence. The process involves planning, completing projects, evaluating and presenting their work. Teachers support and monitor the learning. Students aged 8-12 develop their own research topics and use a vast range of technologies to support them. The school’s philosophy is based around the need to maximize the students’ potential and personalize their learning journeys.
A great deal of trust is displayed with students having a significant say in their education and being the creators of their learning path. Literacy and numeracy sessions are set up in workshop formats. Students are well aware of their own areas of growth and attend workshops relevant to their particular needs.
Students also get involved in global issues working with children around the world on projects such as Deforestation and “Kids Teaching Kids,” where many children from neighboring schools participate in workshops run by the students.
Silverton Primary School has been transformed into Open Flexible Learning Spaces where students of mixed ages are placed in groups ranging from 100-140 students and teachers in teams of 5-9 in each learning center. Teachers share, collaborate, team-teach, and take responsibility for all students.
The learning centers are set up with 23 various areas that cater to a variety of needs of both teachers and students. Furniture has been carefully chosen to support the needs and conditions of group learning, and a variety of Wi-Fi-enabled technologies are provided that allow for 1:1 learning with students choosing the device that best suits their needs.
“Microsoft’s latest technology has completely changed the educational paradigm at Varsity College. Pen- and touch-enabled computers are now used by all 3,200 students, and the increase in engagement and enjoyment for students involved in the learning process is incredible. Without the support of the Microsoft Partners in Learning program, this level of educational evolution could not have been achieved. Thank you, Microsoft.”
Jeff Davis, Executive Principal, Varsity College
Varsity College has incorporated 1:1 learning since 2007, supporting an environment of more than 3,000 devices.
In 2014, all of the devices will be pen-enabled, allowing for annotating, prototyping, and complex visual thinking. Pen technology is one of the most significant aspects of Varsity’s 1:1 learning program, used every day and in all subjects.
The students use Microsoft OneNote note-taking program to create their student plans, upload and store assignments, collaborate with fellow students, and receive grades and assignments from teachers. Students maintain extensive notebooks that contain all their work and assessments done throughout their 13-year school experience at Varsity. Flipped classroom ideas form the basis of learning in a new and different way at Varsity College, with students able to self-navigate their way through the learning program.
Students are able to access Community Clips and other similar software to enhance their learning and create content. The use of digital recording is becoming more and more popular as skills in digital learning are enhanced. Students also find content and tools on their own and incorporate those into their learning.
Varsity’s 1:1 program prepares students to explore new ideas and less-traditional learning techniques.
Tablets, laptops, and slates are used throughout the entire school. Varsity makes device decisions for each grade level based on the pedagogical output it is hoping to achieve. Figure 1 illustrates why pen-enabled tablet PCs were chosen for most grade levels.
Varsity College is personalizing the learning journey for each student and pushing students to take control of their experiences, which starts at the primary level and carries on throughout their education. The planning of goals and achievements is a joint action between teachers and students, particularly for students in grades 4-10.
In the primary school (grades P-6), students use Office Web Apps and other software programs to enhance the learning environment and develop critical skills in reading, writing, listening, and mathematics.
“We chose Microsoft as our technology partner because of its range of products, from cloud services to productivity tools; its technology integration; and for its commitment to education through the Partners in Learning Program. Microsoft technology gives us various options to work with our students and, for us, personalizing students’ experience is what drives our program.”
Erika Twani, CEO, Learning 1 to 1 Foundation
Colegio Fontán is a K-12 school in Colombia that has no traditional classrooms, teachers, blackboards, or exams. Technology supports everything it does. Each student brings their own device and is given a personalized learning plan.
Students from different ages and grades share large spaces called workshops where they can interact with other students. Students learn autonomously which allows educators to support their learning process on a 1:1 basis. Students come into the workshop and open their individual work plans where they decide what they will work on for that day in accordance with their yearly plan and commitments with their educators. They then work on these throughout the day between other activities, such as sports, art, and experiments.
Colegio Fontán fosters a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment and technology is fully integrated throughout the school. Students have their own laptops, which primarily run the Windows operating system. Students and educators use the Qino app developed in-house, along with other online learning resources.
Colegio Fontán uses a pedagogy model called Fontán Relational Education (FRE) that customizes learning paths at an individual level based on students’ abilities and interests. This is related to everything they learn while using technology as the platform for personalized learning.
Students are supported by individually-tailored academic guidance and a 1:1 computer system based on cloud technology that efficiently coordinates and engages students, staff, parents, and guardians. Students are evaluated at each step of the learning process, and remediation is done throughout their learning process on a 1:1 basis.
The FRE model is called “Relational” education because students move to the next topic in all subject areas only when they are able to “relate” everything they learn to their daily lives, increasing knowledge retention and their chances to succeed academically. A student can begin his or her school activities on any day of the year, complete the course at any time, and take longer or less time depending on his or her capacities (within pre-established limits.). There is considerable flexibility that takes into account the student’s home life. Students who need extra time to dedicate to personal activities, such as family, sports, or music, can do so without it seriously affecting their studies.
The Qino app runs in Windows Azure and is available through Microsoft Office 365; it was developed using Microsoft .NET technology. Students use the Qino App to:
“You really can have it all—Windows 8 tablets with touch, ink, and laptop functionality remove all constraints for educators and allow IT departments to manage, maintain, support, upgrade, and scale efficiently and effectively. There is one reason why we are a full Windows shop—our pursuit of the most powerful teaching and learning environment led us there—if there were something better, we would be using it!”
Robert Baker, Director of Technology, Cincinnati Country Day School
Cincinnati Country Day School
Cincinnati Country Day School (CCDS) was the first school in the United States to go 1:1 in grades 5-12 back in 1996. Ten years ago, the school started using tablets, which it found to be transformational. Writing, annotating, highlighting, sketching, and illustrating process are a huge part of the teaching and learning experience; tablets also facilitate the use of digital ink when that makes sense for the task at hand.
This year, CCDS deployed hybrid tablets running the Windows 8 operating system that provide all-day battery life along with a full operating system. The tablet can be removed from the keyboard when a teacher or student would rather interact with pen or touch. The technology supports all the essential tasks, such as personalized instruction, engaged learning, collaboration, and alternative forms of assessment.
Every student is equipped with a tablet PC running Windows 8. Microsoft OneNote is a huge part of CCDS, enabling the majority of classes to use no paper. Everything is done in OneNote, giving teachers access to their students’ work and progress automatically. In addition, there are networked wireless projectors in every room at CCDS.
A high-resolution tablet stylus with an active digitizer is another essential tool. In education, handwriting and sketching are part of the final product. Students take class notes and teachers mark papers and write as they present, underlining, circling, and drawing connecting lines for emphasis. Stylus use is a great complement to extensible OneNote digital pages.
Virtual learning environments
A common misconception at CCDS is that students are looking at their screens all day, every day. Much of the success of the program focuses on preserving class time by extending the classroom virtually. This is done in many different ways; a great example is “flipping the paradigm.” Tablets make it easy for teachers to create screencasts that allow students to view lectures outside of class, freeing class time for labs, debates, and more challenging work. Students who do not understand the material the first time can view a lecture again.
Shared OneNote notebooks streamline the daily workflow for teachers and students and make formative assessments another part of the normal class routine. Teachers can see how students are progressing on their homework, even as they work on it in the late afternoon or evening.
Having every student equipped with a device means that CCDS can easily take advantage of project-based learning and alternative forms of assessment, from providing feedback with digital ink to sharing audio and video seamlessly when that modality fits the task at hand. CCDS takes advantage of both synchronous and asynchronous learning; collaboration is amplified by the tablets and software.
It is important to CCDS that every device has the same ability so that no one is limited by their device. CCDS uses all of the applications in Microsoft Office, Windows Movie Maker, and many other programs to support virtual learning.
“One of St. Thomas School’s hallmarks is student leadership. Without question, technology supports and empowers students to serve as leaders, work collaboratively with others, and present their learning to the broader community. Being part of the Microsoft Innovative Schools program as a Showcase School is a tremendous opportunity to learn from others, while honing our own programs.”
Dr. Kirk Wheeler, Head of School, St. Thomas School
St. Thomas School
As part of the St. Thomas School educational journey, technology is woven into every grade and every subject. Reflecting the varying developmental needs of students from preschool through eighth grade, students are provided with access to a variety of technological tools. St. Thomas School introduced a 1:1 laptop program to its sixth-grade class more than 10 years ago. Today, with the awarding of an internal Innovation Grant, it maintains a 1:1 program for each student in second through eighth grade. The laptops are not just productivity tools to support writing assignments and presentations but are used to complete various creative projects, both independently and collaboratively, in all academic areas. Examples include:
In preparation for an effective 1:1 program, technology classes in the Elementary Center prepare students to use Microsoft Office and Windows independently. St. Thomas School also implemented a Student Portal in which each student has access to a class space where homework, rubrics, and other resources are posted
St. Thomas School is proud of its state-of-the-art LEED Gold Certified campus, which serves as the “third teacher” and was designed specifically to embrace the school’s emerging learning model.
The learning environment reflects an abundance of natural light and fresh air, elimination of background sounds, carefully selected colors to create a calm environment, and indirect lighting and neutral-colored furnishing designed to evoke a feeling of home and a sense of belonging.
Plazas throughout the school provide unique learning areas where students can work collaboratively, engage in creative exploration, and display culminating projects, papers, and presentations.
The spring garden, bio-swale, roof-top garden, and a council ring for outdoor lessons and meetings all provide rich opportunities to observe, experiment, and connect with nature. The garden-based program is expanding as a result of substantial investment in a complete redesign of an outdoor garden classroom.
The new science lab, technology center, and media production room reflects the school’s commitment to exploration, investigation, and discovery.
“Microsoft as an organization raises educational benchmarks and challenges our staff and students to work outside comfort zones, always pushing for superior outcomes. The Microsoft innovative schooling project has been an inspiration for our college and its community. It sets expectations around raising student achievement through the development of programs that give us access to skills, knowledge, and processes that are easily embedded in our curriculum. We are fortunate to have been part of the Microsoft family.”
Michel Leach, Principal, Botany Downs Secondary College
Botany Downs Secondary College
Botany Downs Secondary College (Botany Downs) is, by design, an innovative learning organization. The classrooms are built around a centralized shared space so that students can learn from a teacher, in groups, or by using technology; this supports individualized learning plans and activities. The structure encourages students to learn collaboratively and provides an environment where they can work individually or with their teacher.
For teachers, the highly visible design enhances the opportunity to share good practices and encourages professional dialogue. This supports innovative learning strategies, modelling good teaching and creating a community of support.
The Botany Downs philosophy encourages students and teachers to reflect on their actions and to set goals and targets to improve their performance. The school’s Building Learning Power Program and Mentoring Programs promote metacognition over the five years while reflection activities and goal-setting help support the academic focus.
Timetables allow students to personalize courses to their individual needs and aspirations. Teachers personalize learning for individual students by having a curriculum that enables the students to work at their own pace toward the co-constructed set of outcomes. This may involve a range of strategies including: