ROTORUA BOYS’ HIGH SCHOOL – INTRODUCING & LEVERAGING DIGITAL LEARNING.

Case Study | Education


The Challenge

In 2015 Rotorua Boys’ High School (RBHS) approached Mb3 for assistance to ‘plan and create a forward-looking technology platform for the school to enable e-learning,’ replacing old desktop PCs and software suites in three computer labs. The priority was to recommend a suitable on-line space in which their students could connect to in school and beyond the school gate, to enable them to learn at any time, at their own pace, in a ubiquitous learning environment.

RBHS was viewed by Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Education Trust (NPeW) as a beacon school, a guiding light in innovating leadership, teaching, and technology strategies that would show all schools in the region what is possible when technology effectively supports learning.

The Solution

RBHS’s due diligence on competing platforms included the following criteria:

  • Putting in place support mechanisms to inspire teacher confidence in the technology

  • The ability to manage the devices to support learning inside and outside of school

  • The ability to access in a safe and secure environment

  • Affordability and longevity (5 years) of the devices required to engage with the online space

They selected Mb3’s proposal for an Apple-based platform as providing the most flexible and robust technology environment. At that time, the Apple-based system was the only operating platform offering open access, enabling solutions that could move freely between software from different providers including Google, Microsoft and Apple.

The initial plan was to introduce digital learning in the school over 5 years starting with Year 9 in 2016, with every new Year 9 cohort of approximately 200 students arriving for their first day at school with a device (iPad) on hand ready for learning. In 2020 the entire student body has one-to-one iPads, with the RHBS network able to support 1200+ devices running simultaneously – the largest school, enterprise or government installation in New Zealand on one local network.

The Roll-out

Since 2015, Mb3 have provided on-going strategic planning for the RBHS’s technology platform, aligning it with the school’s strategic plan for learning, to ensure it supports their vision and mission. A key and on-going task is getting the technology out of the way of the learning, and Mb3 worked closely with Apple Education and Noel Leeming to achieve this with a structured roll-out of the technology.

Key actions for the initial rollout included:

  • A community finance model to enable all students to purchase a device.

  • Mb3 worked with Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Education Trust (NPeW) and Noel Leeming to put in place a system for financing individual ownership of devices.

  • Strategic planning for using technology in the school to achieve learning benchmarks.

  • Engaging and supporting teachers

Mb3 forged an early-adopter relationship with Apple Education, who provided an in-school Apple expert on pedagogy to work closely with the teachers on using technology, and specifically the iPad in the classroom.

The Benefits

1. An instant increase in engagement in learning inside and outside the classroom - students are using technology to leverage learning, and stay connected and engaged for longer.

2. Improved student learning opportunities and outcomes, with families more involved in their children’s learning, and a ubiquitous learning environment ensuring students aren’t disadvantaged by lack of access to internet at home.

3. Community, national & international recognition. In 2019, RBHS was awarded both the Supreme Award and Excellence in Leading Award at the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards. In 2020, RBHS had the largest intake in its history and has had to cap student numbers. In 2020, RBHS was named an Apple Distinguished School, one of only two high schools in New Zealand, and 200 worldwide.

4. Establishment of standards and best practices as a ‘Beacon School’ in the Rotorua region.


The Tech

RBHS utilizes all of Mb3’s core services and showcases several of our major achievements.


Mb3 services:

  • Initial and on-going consulting and strategic planning, coordination of software, technology and training suppliers, procurement, installation and technology support.

Devices:

  • 1200+ student iPads with all core apps and MDM pre-installed.

  • 250+ Staff iPads and MacBooks with all core apps and MDM pre-installed.

  • Apple TV teaching systems

  • All systems running under JAMF PRO - Complete end to end solution for Mac & iPad OS.

Network:

  • Currently running a high density Ruckus 802.11ac Wave 2 Access point system inside for learning

  • Designed and running a 802.11ac Wave 2 Ubiquiti open-mesh WIFI network for use outside and around campus.

  • Network supports live video streaming across the rugby sports fields and golf driving ranges

Support:

  • On-site support for teachers

  • On-site technical support

  • Off-site Zendesk support system 24/7

Further Information

Rotorua Boys’ High School: https://www.rbhs.school.nz

NPeW: https://www.npew.org