Due to administration-heavy requirements, the education sector has a huge need for networked computers and software – none more so than St Andrew’s College, a Christchurch school with more than 1,300 students. Late 2009 saw St Andrew’s College revamp their software solution, moving to a virtualised platform running Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007, Windows 7, Office 2010 and Live@Edu. This solution gave the school greater time efficiencies, more cohesive use of the Internet and email, and improved student management.
Revamping a school network
St Andrew’s College, a co-educational school situated in the heart of Christchurch, teaches more than 1,300 students ranging from year one to year 13 with 165 boarding students. Its previous software solutions included non-integrated systems requiring users to enter multiple passwords that created a communication disconnect with servers, workstations and services.
St Andrew’s was running on Novel Netware and had an email system that did not integrate with any of the other systems they ran. They required a solution that networked all equipment and software to help manage all communication and administration in the school.
In January 2010, St Andrew’s College deployed a new hosted solution which included Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Identity Lifecyle Manager 2007, Windows 7, Office 2010 and Live@Edu. Grant Saul, Director ILCT at St Andrew’s College, says the upgrade was necessary to develop an integrated solution for both students and staff to access and use on campus or at home.
“We spent a lot of time negotiating and deciding what we required – everything had to be changed and it was important that we implemented a solution that had seamless integration between the Internet, intranet, email and student management software. Staff now spend less time on administrative and management tasks because everything works as it should.”
The changing face of education
St Andrew’s College recognised more students were bringing their own devices to school – whether that was a mobile phone or laptop. While mobile learning hasn’t yet been fully integrated into the curriculum, staff understand there is a need to expand the wireless network, allowing connectivity throughout the campus.
“We are aware of the capabilities of mobile learning so have enabled these devices to access the services we offer. Expanding the wireless network also suits staff because they can now access their email on their mobile phones – and this has changed the level of communication within the school.”
Another focal point for the school is keeping in touch with past and present students. Live@Edu allows integration between Outlook, SharePoint and Windows Live to provide students to coordinate personal and school email addresses, communicate via Windows Live blogs, and use the software at home and in the classroom. “Because we pride ourselves on being a school family, remaining in touch with our past students is very important to us. With Live@Edu we have created alternate domain names so students can use their email addresses after they graduate without being recognised as a school address.”
The school currently has 20,000 current, alumni and parents on their database.
Choosing the right Partner
Grant worked with the team at Business Mechanix to implement the new solution. Deploying Live@Edu has been a significant part in the school’s goal of developing a seamless environment. Business Mechanix were able to come in and rapidly set up the staff on Live@Edu, and install and configure Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007, which made it easier to synchronise user logins between all systems.
“Working with Business Mechanix was great – we were very confident about their ability to get the job done. Their team were highly skilled and always able to support us, even though the software solution is now in the cloud,” says Grant.
Business Mechanix has been there for St Andrew's with ongoing support while the Live@Edu deployment to students was undertaken. Adding further value, the Business Mechanix Live@Edu specialists also trained the St Andrew’s team in how to use and support Live@Edu in the future.