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How a top Victorian private school embraced technology to support remote learning

Salesian College is a Melbourne independent Catholic secondary college with over 150 staff members and more than 1200 students. For over 60 years, the college has prided itself on providing its community with an inspiring and invigorating learning environment.

The school was on a path to expansion and knew that to successfully grow while maintaining its standing as a leading and innovative education provider, they needed reliable IT infrastructure and systems.

However, this was not the IT experience they were receiving.

 Failures across their infrastructure and entire IT system left them dealing with:

  • Unstable ICT network infrastructure
  • Daily critical service outages and weekly system crashes
  • Slow internet connection during peak times
  • Overwhelmed helpdesk operating without a backup
  •  Inability to implement new learning technology

The constant issues and the pervading lack of confidence in the school’s ICT network were making their IT systems virtually unusable, resulting in lost class time for students and teachers.

Then one day, Salesian College experienced a major system failure that shut down their services for nearly two weeks. They needed someone who could come in a resolve the situation quickly and to their satisfaction.

“We had a major failing which caused a loss of services for close to 2 weeks. It caused a great deal of frustration”
mark brockhus
Mark Brockhus
Principal

Setting up for IT success

Needing emergency assistance, Salesian College engaged Step Fwd IT to come in to get their services up and running again. Recognizing they needed to overhaul their entire IT service and provider, they also invited Step Fwd IT to tender for the role of ongoing provider.

At first, Salesian wasn’t sure if Step Fwd IT could deliver everything they needed – it was a big job, and they had high expectations. But Step Fwd IT’s ‘partnership’ approach and willingness to listen to their needs (rather than just tell them what to do) led to the College deciding to give them a shot.

“In the past, we would be told “you should be doing it this way”. But we wanted to do what’s best for our students and their learning, and so we wanted to work with a company who was going to listen to what we want and be able to adapt.”
Jodie FitzGerald
Deputy Principal, Learning

Step Fwd IT began with a thorough analysis of the college’s ICT infrastructure to identify the root causes of the instability and performance issues, using their findings to create a detailed analysis and action plan to resolve the system’s shortcomings.

The action plan began with eliminating service outages by removing temporary fixes implemented by the college’s previous IT provider, consolidating and simplifying existing IT infrastructure and installing new hardware as needed.

The result: Transformed IT and unprecedented capabilities

New technologies a remote learning enabled environment

By improving the network stability and the overall quality of their IT, Salesian College have been able to introduce new technology, including wireless classroom video and audio, and new programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). They also found themselves in a position to quickly adapt to remote learning environments enforced by COVID restrictions.

With remote IT support and reliable systems already in place, the entire Salesian College community were able to continue teaching and learning in a home setting, barely missing a beat.

 Improved productivity & better learning 

The multiple changes made has made a huge difference to the productivity of students and staff alike. None more than the changes to internet speed – to accommodate the college’s daily internet traffic, Step Fwd IT installed a new internet gateway device and has increased internet speeds at the college by 300%. The newfound reliability of the system has also improved the learning outcomes for students, ensuring fewer interruptions to learning and more accessible resources to support them.

Clear & timely communication

One of the biggest difference Salesian College has noticed with Step Fwd IT is the team’s great communication skills. If an issue does occur, staff get an email straight away informing them of the details, so no one is left surprised or wondering. IT discussions are also always easy to understand, with IT support and specialists able to speak to the educators on their level.

outcomes

New technologies a remote learning enabled environment
 
“Step Fwd can speak on our level. We don’t have backgrounds in IT, so it helps us understand what’s going on. And that’s really important."
Jodie FitzGerald
Deputy Principal, Learning

Proactive support

Salesian College has the benefit of a Step Fwd IT specialist on site to manage the school’s now stable system and liaise directly with the deputy principal. But on top of on-site management, Step Fwd IT also takes a proactive approach to IT. They’ve made a point to ask what the college’s future goals are, so they can help them work towards it and provide the right services.

“What’s been most impressive with Step Fwd is their ability to then ask pertinent questions about what we wanted into the future, and how they could meet those expectations.”
mark brockhus
Mark Brockhus
Principal

Additional measures, such as 24/7 system monitoring and greatly improved customer service, have helped restore confidence in the college’s ICT.

Remote Learning: Being prepared for the unknown

When the unforeseen move to remote learning happened in early 2020, the Salesian College community already had an underlying faith and trust in their IT, so they were never concerned that remote learning was going to fail. Thanks to Step Fwd IT, they had systems and services to help them manage the shift, including:

  • Hardened Remote Management & Threat Protection – to protect devices from cyber threats and ensure continuity of services.
  • Hybrid Cloud Solution – To ensure learning outcome is never compromised, regardless of where teaching occurs.
  • Dedicated eLearning Specialist – To work with teachers to develop exciting and innovate ways to incorporate technology into classrooms.
  • Teacher Training – Both formalised professional learning sessions, as well as on-going ad-hoc support, to ensure all teachers were confident with technology and tools.

A bright IT future

As the IT infrastructure continues to evolve, Salesian College is confident that with Step Fwd IT’s help, it can remain at the cutting edge of teaching and learning technologies. While the 2020 changes to education has thrown many schools for a loop, Salesian College are in a position to ‘roll with the punches’ and continue to offer a more diverse and hybrid learning environment, while also giving themselves a distinct advantage to climb the school rankings.

“Step Fwd listen to what we want and what we need, and that’s what they deliver. They have really helped us feel confident and comfortable, and the frustration is gone.”
Jodie FitzGerald
Deputy Principal, Learning

If you’re looking for an improved IT service that can understand your business, support your staff and deliver proactive IT management and support, lets talk.