Parade College leverages Aruba Networks Mobility Defined Solution to deliver a holistic and progressive education experience for teachers & students.
Parade College in Victoria prides itself on providing a holistic education that will help students adapt and thrive in today’s dynamic and fast paced world. Since its foundation by the Christian Brothers in 1871, Parade College has a 140-year history of providing boys education that is based on traditional values, but also teaches flexibility and reflects the demands of modern society.
The all-boys Catholic school caters for students from years 7 – 10 and is spread across two campuses, Bundoora and Preston. With over 1800 students, the College offers its students traditional VCE studies, as well as VET and VCAL opportunities.
As part of Parade College’s aim to provide a balanced education where the boys can develop as well-rounded individuals with opportunities to excel academically, socially and physically, the school understands the importance technology plays in this growth.
“Our teachers recognised technology was an excellent tool to provide more dynamic learning environments,” said Daniel Caporetto, Service Delivery Manager at Parade College. “As such, in 2011 we proactively undertook a project to change our digital offering and ensure we were giving our students the best possible education.”
The school wanted to create a more tailored technology program and replace the standard computer labs with a 1:1 iPad program for all students. Parade College not only identified the opportunity to prepare students for life beyond school, with a more student-centric technology program, but also to revolutionise the way lessons were being conducted.
Partnering with Aruba – a clear winner
The implementation of a BYOD iPad program was the driving force behind Parade College’s review of its wireless network, as the legacy system was cumbersome and unreliable, with very little coverage around the school.
The iPad program coupled with Aruba’s wireless infrastructure has created a very positive learning environment at Parade College. It has provided teachers and students with a new way of thinking, integrating new teaching techniques into every lesson. We’re pleased that we chose a solution that has been rock solid, and as an IT department there are never any issues with Aruba’s solution, so everyone loves us.
Daniel Caporetto, Service Delivery Manager, Parade College
In order to successfully roll out an iPad program to students, Parade College needed a Mobility Defined Network that could support 1800 students and 250 teaching staff, with a number of devices likely to be connecting wirelessly at any one time.
“Stability was a key factor in the review process of our wireless network,” said Caporetto. “iPads are notorious for chattering on the network, even when students are not actively using them, so we needed a solution that could keep up with our connectivity demands without faulting.”
Parade College worked with MYCOM to trial a number of different wireless vendors, running tests on stability, throughput and ease of use.
“Aruba Networks was introduced by MYCOM and stood out from the other vendors trialled,” continued Caporetto. “From an IT perspective the user interface was easy to use and from all of the tests we ran, Aruba had the best throughput per access point – it was a clear winner.”
After selecting Aruba Networks in late 2011, Parade College rolled out an Aruba wireless mobility solution over the Christmas break. The school installed 125 Access Points across both its campuses to ensure a seamless roaming experience for students, no matter where they were learning around the school.
Changing the perception of wireless: cutting the cord
Once the campus-wide mobility solution was up and running,the College trialled its iPad BYOD program with teachers in the first year, with very encouraging results.
“Following the implementation of Aruba’s Wi-Fi solution, we saw a very surprising shift in behaviour – teachers now chose to connect wirelessly every single time. Even though there is a physical network point in every classroom, they have almost forgotten it exists,” said Caporetto. “With our legacy system we encouraged teachers to connect with a cable but now wireless is their primary choice, which is a testament to the stability and speed of Aruba’s offering.”
With the iPad program proving successful for teachers, the College’s staff undertook an investigation into all learning areas to determine how technology could improve their students’ learning. By the time the students received their iPads in 2013, the school had a refreshed curriculum in place to ensure they were being used effectively in every lesson in addition to a high speed and reliable mobility network to ensure constant connectivity.
The IT Department was also able to prepare for student access, by working with the Aruba support team to fine-tune rules and policies, to ensure access for both staff and students was regulated.
Revolutionising learning for students and teachers
The iPad program and campus-wide wireless network has revolutionized the students learning at Parade College. Utilising an e-learning management system called eWorkspace, Parade ensures students can access all digital tools in one place. Together, eWorkspace and the Wi-Fi solution have created a modern learning ecosystem that’s dependent on technology, to enable best teaching and learning practices.
Students no longer rely on textbooks, instead workbooks are now available as eBooks or accessible online. The iPads now also provide students and teachers with timetables and attendance records at their fingertips.
Teachers can now issue homework, assignments and classwork to students digitally, eliminating the need to print large files, and ensuring lesson resources are kept centrally in one location. The introduction of a Mobility-Defined solution has also changed the way students and teachers interact and learn on a day-to-day basis, encouraging more progressive teaching and learning methods.
The science department is an example of one faculty that has used the technology to support more collaborative and imaginative learning. Prior to Parade’s digital upgrade, students would undertake practical experiments and write their results in a workbook. If a student was away from school, he relied on a classmate’s notes to catch up on mportant work. With the introduction of iPads and Aruba’s Wi-Fi network, students now take photos or videos with their devices as they are undertaking practical tasks and present their findings in PowerPoint form, which can be easily shared with other students. Teachers can also record key aspects of each lesson, and upload videos and recordings to eWorkspace. This not only benefits students that may miss a class due to illness, but also allows the boys to reference important learning materials in their own time.
“The iPad program coupled with the wireless infrastructure has created a very positive learning environment at Parade College. It has provided teachers and students with a new way of thinking, integrating new teaching techniques into every lesson. While we don’t have specific outdoor area access points, the Wi-Fi is so strong that the students can access it from every corner of the school, keeping them mobile and connected at all times.”
Throughout the school projectors are also utilised over the Wi-Fi network, with teachers now able to show educational videos and other learning collateral quickly and easily. For parents, the digital push by Parade College has given them greater visibility and the ability to be more proactive with their child’s learning and development. Using eWorkspace, parents can log on and track attendance in real time, see what homework tasks have been assigned to their child, if the child has been submitting homework or any behavioural incidents that have occurred.
For the IT team, Aruba’s 802.11ac solution has increased efficiency and collaboration and Aruba’s AirWave solution has provided clear visibility into the mobile devices on the network, providing real-time monitoring, proactive alerts and fast, efficient troubleshooting.
“The wireless network has been flawless,” said Caporetto. “With over 1900 devices on the network at any one time, Aruba’s Wi-Fi has remained strong and stable. It has really been a case of set and forget – which is how good technology should operate.”
A cordless future with rock solid Wi-Fi
Parade College plans to continue evolving its digital offering to keep up with the latest technology and ensure staff and students are provided with a forward-thinking learning environment. The college is also reviewing different devices for students and staff and is confident Aruba’s solution will handle the onboarding of a range of new devices.
The school plans to implement Aruba’s Clearpass solution in the coming months to take advantage of its ability to leverage contextual data across the network to ensure users and devices are granted appropriate access to privileges – regardless of access method or device ownership.
The Mobility-Defined Network has become an imperative part of Parade College’s ability to provide a progressive and holistic education for every student and the school is eager to continue developing its technology offering in partnership with Aruba.
“We’re pleased that we chose a solution that has been rock solid and quite simply allows teachers to educate and students to learn in collaborative and imaginative ways. And, as an IT department there are never any issues with Aruba’s solution, so everyone loves us,” Caporetto added.