Most education institutions face the decision of whether to go BYOD or stick with school-owned devices. But there's another way: mixing the two approaches, which presents its own set of challenges.
This was the path taken at St Mark's Anglican Community school, which is located in Perth and has approximately 1580 students from kindergarten to year 12, along with close to 200 staff.
With the school's student device renewal cycle coming up, St Mark's took the opportunity to review its devices strategy, tapping MSS IT to review, develop and implement a new technology strategy to enhance its digital learning capabilities.
After conducting research and developing a proof of concept, MSS IT landed on a structure whereby students up to year 5 would use school-owned devices, while senior students adopted a new BYOD structure.
The college needed to overcome a number of challenges, including deploying technology that was robust enough to withstand the pressures of the environment, along with sustainable funding and stakeholder engagement.
Partnering with HP, MSS IT developed a technology package including support and accidental damage protection for devices, allowing the college to introduce the devices under an opex model with HP Financial Solutions.
MSS IT and HP also developed a dedicated BYOD purchasing portal for parents, which includes online and phone support. The two companies also provide a series of 20-minute introductory sessions that allows parents to use the devices first-hand, along with professional development sessions for teachers to take advantage of the new technology.
HP commercial channel director Chris Hewlett said: "What stood out was the collaborative approach MSS took to amplify HP’s education narrative and connect us with stakeholders in a way that had impact and value to them.
"Parents, students, teachers and school leadership were all brought together in different ways by MSS to help articulate HP value beyond the technology offering."
The school now has a single back-end platform for devices and a single point of contact for support, removing the onus of tech support from teachers.
"Being surrounded by a project team with expert knowledge has been invaluable to getting us to where we are today," said St Mark's head of digital learning Andrea Holloway.
"The continual support/advice and commitment that MSS IT has shown throughout the process has made the partnership a success. I feel confident that if any problems arise, we can have an open conversation and work on a timely resolution – this makes it more than a transaction."
MSS IT is a finalist in the 'Workforce Empowerment' category in the 2018 CRN Impact Awards. For a list of all finalists and further details on the awards, please head to the CRN Impact Awards hub. The awards take place during the CRN Pipeline conference. You can get more information and purchase tickets here.