Part of embracing the very latest technology means operating in the cloud and the Department for Education's recent whitepaper on 'IT cloud computing' highlighted the inevitability of this becoming an essential management tool in schools. We explore the benefits for their students and budget.
Based in brand new, state of the art facilities in the heart of Oxfordshire, the UTC are committed to helping their students gain the qualifications and experience that their future employers will demand by combining core academic subjects with the opportunity to study and gain practical experience in specialist areas. Over the next two years the school will increase their intake to 600 pupils at capacity.
In May 2015, UTC Oxfordshire selected RM Education to provide their IT support and to help shape their ICT strategy. Here's what the Principal has to say about his journey with ICT since then…
"We've got a 3D printing suite here at the UTC and students are manufacturing and making products there and if you go in there now, right this minute, they're all whizzing away. They're all manufacturing their components and their prototypes for their engineering projects. This is a plug-and-play generation. They'll look on a YouTube clip, they'll look online and find out the instructions. They've got that confidence to go and find it, so if, as a school, we have a model which was based on 10-15 years ago, their learning and their progress will be hampered. We've got to embrace that and work with them.
This is a generation of students who've grown up around technology, and their confidence has improved and increased significantly, so much so that they're often showing the teachers how to do things.
The cloud, for us, is flexibility. It ensures that the students can learn anywhere anytime, around the UTC, in the home, in the workplace. We're using Microsoft software... OneNote - we use that extensively in our lessons - but you'll see students making notes, taking photographs, and they may do a work experience, they may do an employer-led project and you'll hear the teachers say, 'Fire up your OneNote' or 'put it on OneNote', and it's becoming a language within the UTC rather than, 'Put it in your notebook or your exercise book.' It's really transformed the way we're working.
Our photocopying bills, I would say have been reduced by 50%, maintenance, hire costs, lease purchases, all those sorts of things. I walk into our staff work area in the morning and there's not a queue of 6 or 7 people waiting for the copier.
Are we going to go to a serverless future? I would love it that we didn't have a room sitting there with three air conditioning units all using electricity, buzzing away, you know! This capacity's out there, it's up there in the cloud, it's in a warehouse somewhere. We've got a fantastic fibre-optic here, why not use that?
It's less maintenance, it's less outlay, it's less hardware cost, so that would be our aspiration to move to that in the next 4-5 years."
Owain Johns - Principal, UTC Oxfordshire
Watch the full video featuring Owain Johns and Maxine Evans, CEO of the NET Academies Trust talking about the benefits of the cloud for them:
If you would like to talk to RM Education about a bespoke ICT support solution for your school, delivered by a trusted partner, please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get in touch, or call us on 0808 172 9534.