“The use of adding posts to blogs; themes; pages; making connections with the Bunjil community via the blog. I found all that fantastic and I have used the blog as the way to get the whole school learning.”
“Thanks to New Era we achieved our goals with minimal disruption to our staff and public. We are confident New Era has provisioned us with an IT environment that is reliable, efficient and flexible enough to best meet our IT challenges.”
“Our involvement in this innovative program has provided direction for digital learning and an impetus to continue to explore a range of platforms and options to further develop our capacity as effective users of digital technology.”
Northern Health School New Zealand caters for hundreds of home/community- and hospital-based year 0-13 students with high health needs and offers students a variety of modes of service delivery. Teaching is provided through student support centres, hospital ward and classroom support, on-line learning and community home visits.
With 17 regional offices and more than 120 full- and part-time staff, it relies heavily on voice and data communications to coordinate their activities. They had employed a PBX (private branch exchange) that supported voice, FAX and internet access amongst their regional offices. However, as NHS expanded their services and footprint around the country, their telecommunications requirements became more complex.
“We knew we needed to upgrade,” Principal Richard Winder explained “Our PBX system was becoming dated and we wanted to be able to take advantage of the collaboration tools that a digital system would provide."
New Era suggested implementing a fibre-based wide area network as the backbone and Microsoft Lync as their unified communications platform. New Era’s implementation progressed in tandem with NHS’s roll out of their wide area network (WAN). “We worked closely with Spark New Zealand as they linked the regional offices with fibre,” notes Tony Gilbert, Education and Client Services Manager at New Era. “The first step was to install Lync Server 2013 at their Auckland headquarters and then connect the various regional offices as the WAN was implemented. Some of the NHS units are based at hospitals so we had to adjust for their firewalls and security protocols which provided a few challenges, but by and large the entire project progressed very smoothly.”
“Staff training was fast-tracked by the unexpected demise of our PBX partway through the roll-out,”
says Principal Winder. “New Era took it all in stride and provided immediate hands-on training for both administrators and instructors as required.
“Microsoft Lync has helped us reduce telecommunications costs by 40% and is making huge improvements in the way we communicate amongst ourselves and students. Microsoft Lync has been a game changer for us.”
St. Michael's Parish School PD
St Michael’s objective was to improve the infrastructure of the ICT department and push towards an environment that allowed for complete access to all.
St Michael’s also recognised the need to develop their staff in contemporary learning and teaching that reflects the digital spaces where their students operate in. They needed to ensure an environment of connectivity, collaboration and networking with a global perspective, which would enable the students to become autonomous and connected learners.
St Michaels and New Era worked using The Job Embedded Professional Development Model. St Michael’s ICT vision statement was devised, which was shared with all stakeholders within the school. St Michael’s chose whole school blogging, a scaffolded program was instilled and included connected class blogs, teacher blogs and Student Drive Passion based blogs. New Era also worked with a focus group of teachers training them in the use of Web 2.0 connectivity tools such as Google, video conferencing, wikis, apps and discussion boards to collectively empower their knowledge in Digital Pedagogies and create an environment that encouraged connected, self-directed student learning.
Eastern Regional Library Corp
Eastern Regional Library Corporation (ERLC) approached New Era about a complete hardware refresh. The server infrastructure, network switches, wireless network, storage and backup systems, as well as centrally managed thin clients and desktop PCs across ERLC's 18 libraries and their head office all required updating.
The objective of the refresh was to provide the IT staff at ERLC with the ability to manage the public kiosk terminals and the other IT infrastructure across the 18 remote sites seamlessly from head office, thereby decreasing the need for site visits.
New Era was contracted to design, build, configure and deliver a highly available infrastructure that makes use of Citrix delivered applications across a virtualised server environment. Supporting this new server infrastructure are a complex switching arrangement and a virtual network designed to meet ERLC's requirement for minimal downtime in the event of a critical system failure. We chose an EMC SAN using Storage Craft backup and restore software with failover and disaster recovery. This solution provides a system restore time of 10 minutes or less.
The entire project was delivered on time and under budget despite ERLC relocating their head office mid-way through.
Underdale High School
The challenge for Underdale was to move from the emergent phase to one that is transformative in its practice related to ICT use. Underdale was looking for significant cultural change within the school in order to become a leading school in the area of technology and student learning. The vision for ICT use needed to match the vision for whole school which was “To provide a personalised learning experience that engages students in a challenging and supportive environment to strive for excellence and bright futures.”
The frequent reports of technical difficulties and malfunctions generated a great deal of frustration as well as the reluctance to continue to use failing technologies was a major concern. The need for a whole school strategy for IT was needed more than ever. Therefore it was vital to involve all staff in order to provide an environment that could enable new models of learning, encourage student participation and assist structural, cultural and infrastructural changes that would best support the whole school to become transformative in ICT use.
New Era introduced the Job Embedded Professional Development Model in order to address these issues. As a part of the program, the following was undertaken:
Creation of a vision statement and roadmap for ICT - An audit was carried out leading to the creation of a road map for learning and teaching and infrastructure and leadership models. These were created by engaging with the school’s leadership team.
Implementation of a blogging program - Blogging is seen as one of the key tools that encourage contemporary learning environment. A Focus Learning Group assessed how blogging can be best used within the culture of the school and how it can provide increased engagement for the students.
Move to be a trial school using Microsoft 365 - This decision was a result of an immense amount of research, testing and trialling of other products (including GAFE) and came subsequently after high-level consultations with DEECD. This trial displays strategic and forward thinking decision allowing for the pedagogical advantages provided by a cloud based system.
Creation of a ‘Digital Technologies Learning and Teaching Committee’ - This team will bridge the gap between infrastructure, learning and teaching and encourage rapid development of the internal capacity to provide leadership, professional development and future directions in the area of ICT.
Creation of the role of coach - A nominated teacher to drive as a mentor within the school focussed on digital pedagogy.
An audit at the start and at completion of the program - Audits provided comparable metrics demonstrating the significance in the move to achieve in the ICT understanding and development.
Integration of a managed services agreement - This agreement enabled Underdale High School to focus more on the core competencies and New Era to manage their IT needs.