ACT schools make huge Google Apps, Chromebooks switch

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ACT schools make huge Google Apps, Chromebooks switch

Dialog IT has supported more than 20,000 students and teachers in the ACT to switch to Google in one of the vendor's biggest Australian education wins.

The ACT government announced in March that state schools would move headlong to Google services, spanning Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, email and "other modern online communication tools".

A government spokesperson told CRN that the territory was still in the "early stages of adoption" but almost 60 of the ACT's 86 public schools have adopted the platform, across more than 23,000 students and teachers.

There are 43,000 students enrolled in the 86 public schools across the ACT.

Brisbane-headquartered Dialog IT is the key Google partner driving the migration. The company has so far sold more than 1,000 Chromebook Management Console licences – one for each physical Chromebook – as part of a wide-ranging engagement that includes data migration, provisioning of users, training workshops, the rollout of Chromebooks and ongoing support.

The ACT government paid for the 1,000 Chromebooks out of a $1.5 million device allocation fund. Many more students are running Google Apps on their personal devices.

Glenn Irvine, Dialog IT's national practice manager for Google, told CRN that Chromebooks were largely replacing Windows machines.

The ACT Education project is Dialog's largest Chromebook project to date.

"Sixty percent of Dialog's clients are in the public sector, including several in the secondary and tertiary education market," said Irvine. "Dialog's Google Solutions practice provides a unique service to these sectors understanding the governance, security, privacy and other legislative constraints experienced in this market."

With the switch to cloud-enabled Chromebooks, it helps that the ACT's state school system can harness the government’s gigabit fibre broadband. The environment is supported by a $3.3 million investment in wireless infrastructure.

"Since the recent successful completion of this project, our secondary students are among the best connected in the country," said the spokesperson.

"From a technical perspective, we couldn’t be happier with the way our Google Apps environment has been configured. The combination of [subject matter experts] within our own identity access management systems, and the expertise of Dialog IT in the Google Apps environment, were key to the overall success of the project."

User and group provisioning, organisational structure and management policies, access permissions and apps are automated and synchronised with identity systems overnight, said the spokesperson. "This means that a student’s Google account and all their content will stay with them from Kindergarten to the end of Year 12, no matter which ACT public school they attend."

The growth of BYOD across Australian schools has seen teachers roped into tech support for students, taking time away from teaching. The ACT's Google switch has eased some of these tensions, said the spokesperson. "This model has most definitely simplified IT in the classroom as well as provided fantastic opportunities for collaboration, by both our teachers and students."

The project was part of the ACT government’s 'Digital Schools’ transformation, supported by a $9.2 million commitment into IT for public schools.

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