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Aorere College Embraces Digital Transformation with Google & New Era IT

World-class connectivity and modern tools are enabling Aorere College to transition into a digital-first model for 21st-century learning.

Aorere College has been serving its local community for over 50 years. Seeing the modern classroom as extending beyond the school and it’s timetable, they have a vision for “Globally connected leaders & learners”. As a leader in digital learning, it’s important for students to be able to access learning anywhere, anytime and on any device.

Early Challenges

Prior to 2015, connectivity issues continued to cause disruption and hindered the uptake of digital tools in the classroom. Frustration and downtime meant that staff and students no longer trusted wireless infrastructure and were underserved by new tools available for learning.

Business Manager Sandra Bisman puts it more bluntly: “I think I likened it in one meeting to a car without wheels.”

“I was getting hammered to spend lots of money on equipment and at the time our Wi-Fi wasn’t good. So I wasn’t prepared to put more equipment into the school when I was going to get more emails.” A fundamental change was needed anda  group of staff got together to do something about it. From there, Aorere Digital’s mission was born. “We started from the Wi-Fi, and from there it’s just grown.”

The Solution

Investing in Connectivity

“We’ve now got what we call Wi-Fi beyond the gate,” says Deputy Principal,  Stuart Kelly. New Era IT worked closely with the school to implement school-wide Aruba Wi-Fi. Students now have anytime, anywhere access to the internet while at school through the Network for Learning, with Internet filtering and safety provided by a FortiGate Unified threat management gateway.

“The result is that we’ve invested a lot of money providing a world-class site for students to access the New Zealand curriculum, and increase their chances of success when they leave Aorere College.”

“Obviously as Educators, we are technically reliant on those businesses which have the specific expertise, and from my experiences, I’ve found New Era to be completely transparent, objective and really supportive of where we are at as a school, and where we want to go.”

– Greg Pierce, Principal, Aorere College

Investing in the Tools for Learning

In 2015, the College encouraged students to bring a device to school that would enhance learning. “Gradually over the last couple of years, we’ve refined that to recommend a Chromebook as the device of choice for our students,” says Principal, Greg Pierce.

The Google Suite provides just what the school needs,” says Kelly. “We were looking for an education platform that our students could access that was world class and ideally, low cost or free.” At the end of 2015, the school became a Google Apps for Education Accredited Institution, enabling the school to use G-Suite and access additional resources to aid in their journey.

Investing in People

But it wasn’t all about the tools “We had the devices, we had the infrastructure but we wanted to make sure that our teachers weren’t just at ease with the G-Suite… but that they were highly efficient practitioners. ”

Pierce says investing in people was important. “Our biggest challenges are upskilling staff to the level of the Students.” As a result, a differentiated approach to Professional Development has been applied, with some staff completing The Mind Lab’s Postgraduate diploma this year, and others just beginning their digital journey.

Aorere College’s influence as a digital leader extended beyond the school’s gates when it was selected to host the 2017 EduTechTeam Google for Education summit. Hosting over 500 educators over three days, the summit was a fantastic opportunity to showcase their hard work and innovative approach to learning.

A Team Effort

Having a strong team and a clear path forward was important for the school. As the ICT partner of Aorere College, New Era IT is a core part of that team.

“Obviously as Educators, we are technically reliant on those businesses which have the specific expertise, and from my experiences, I’ve found New Era to be completely transparent, objective and really supportive of where we are at as a school, and where we want to go.”

“It’s actually been quite transformative,” says Kelly. “We have 13-year-olds building games, creating websites, Makey-Makey projects and they are our best advertisers. He says that the approach to Digital Transformation at Aorere College is about more than better grades and better learning.

“It’s about lifting a community”.

For more information about New Era IT and our ICT services for schools, visit newerait.co.nz/it-services
For more information about Aorere Digital, visit aorere.ac.nz

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At a Glance
  • Client:Aorere College
  • School Website:Visit Link
  • Solutions:Infrastructure, Managed ICT Support