Cardinal Wiseman G Suite for Education Case Study
Switching to G Suite for Education
After a change of management in September 2017, Cardinal Wiseman secondary school began their journey to optimising the running of the school. For the new Principal, this began by working with Google partner, C-Learning. They began discussing how switching to G Suite for Education could work and what that would mean for the school.
The school recently recruited lots of new staff so needed a system that was intuitive and required very little training. Another reason the school wanted to switch was that their Windows Microsoft Citrix licenses were due to expire. The school had been using Microsoft up until this point.
It took a lot of work to manage the system and the devices that were in use were becoming tired. It was time for a change. This change had to happen fast. They had just the six week summer holiday to migrate all of their data to the new Google system, renew or replace the school’s devices, and make sure the infrastructure such as wifi network was able to support the new cloud-based system.
The new system needed to address the main problems that the school was facing. These problems included: expensive licenses, tired devices, difficulty managing the platform, and excessive administration. While working with both C-Learning and Wizkids all of the apps and features that staff were using were covered by an equivalent Google app, so they weren’t missing anything.
Costs and Admin: Savings of over £70,000!
The system that the school was previously using would have cost upwards of £25,000 to renew. The licenses would have needed upgrading which would have cost the school another £15,000. Additionally, they were paying a company to manage it, because G Suite for Education is more manageable the school can do it themselves. The money saved from moving to G Suite was largely reinvested into new devices for staff and students.
G Suite for Education also became more of a long term solution for the school. They retired some of their onsite infrastructures like the wifi network (now cloud-based) and high-end server, which costs around £12,000. Even with a user base of around 1500, there are just two staff members managing it. Previously their model for support was based on 3 members of staff managing the site and system. This meant a further cost saving of £25,000 per year.
Staff reported that the admin panel is much easier to use in comparison to Windows and they haven’t experienced any problems with roll-out or management so far. Also, by retiring servers, old devices and moving to cloud wifi, they have reduced their onsite dependency. This made transitioning to remote education a much smoother process. Which was extremely important during school closures and self-isolation due to COVID 19.
Teaching and learning: “User adoption has been fantastic”
The new changes had a positive impact on teaching and learning at Cardinal Wiseman. The students and staff alike took up the new systems with ease, thanks to the training and support they received. The school has elected Digital Champions who help make sure that all faculties are on board and making the most out of G Suite for Education and all it has to offer. Feedback from staff has been positive and any problems that they have encountered have been slight and easy to fix.
These changes have been invaluable to the school, especially during the lockdown when schools were closed. Teaching and learning continued thanks to staff and students already having access to a digital platform that can be accessed from home. The transition to remote education was smooth and reduced disruption to the school year.
Using Google Classroom teachers can set and evaluate assignments digitally, which makes engaging with students much more efficient. Staff and students can also see all of their classes and timetable online.
Devices: The switch to Chromebooks
As mentioned, the school was able to update a large proportion of their devices thanks to the large sum they saved on not renewing Microsoft licenses. They got rid of desktops and replaced them with new staff laptops. Which they take from class to class, meaning class can start more quickly and efficiently.
320 old devices came out of the school, the money from which was reinvested into new Chromebooks. They were still able to keep some of their Microsoft devices and upgrade them to support Chrome usage by using Neverware from CloudReady. This provided a smooth transition without having to get rid of every single old device. Sixth-form students at Cardinal Wiseman can now buy a Chromebook from the school to use for their studies. The school is looking to distribute Chromebooks on a 1:1 basis in the future.
Wizkids: “It is rare that we have to reach out for support because things just work”
Cardinal Wiseman has been working with Wizkids for some time now. Wizkids migrated all student users across to G Suite from the school’s MIS. As well as setting up automated sync of users and timetables so that any changes such as students leaving and joining the school, or moving to a new class are updated automatically in Google Classroom. This requires little effort from the school and saved a lot of time which would’ve been spent manually inputting the data of around 1500 users. On top of this, Wizkids has provided staff training on using G suite, especially for those that were used to Microsoft, and offers technical support whenever it is needed.
Cardinal Wiseman has been happy with the support and help that they have received from Wizkids, and their work to take away some of the manual workload. It is safe to say that Cardinal Wiseman and Wizkids have a strong working relationship.
The support that Wizkids has provided Cardinal Wiseman has been reciprocated by the school helping Wizkids improve their offering. Together they are working to allow the MIS sync to happen on Office 365 as well, which would open up so many opportunities for schools that don’t use G Suite.
The staff at Cardinal Wiseman are continuously finding ways to improve and innovate within the school. They are looking to find new training techniques for students and electing Student Champions who will be able to support digital inclusion and help others with their digital skills.