Ballarat Grammar has opted to deploy 1400 Windows 8 devices, as it sets itself up for 21st century learning

Ballarat Grammar leads schools in Victoria by embracing new technologies

Sydney, AUSTRALIA – 30 July, 2013 – Ballarat Grammar has joined with schools across Australia in embracing technology that it says will better prepare its students in their future careers.

Ballarat Grammar, an independent Anglican Church school located in regional Victoria, made the decision to move to Windows 8 and Windows 8 devices in January 2013, with staff and students from years 7 and 12 being the first to be provided with the devices, with a continued roll out across all year levels taking place over the next 18 months.

With students working from laptop devices in nearly all of their academic subjects, Ballarat Grammar recognised the need to update to Windows 8 to ensure students’ learning demands and needs were reflected in the digital society. Students now have the ability to access all the information they need through generous online facilities, including an extensive SharePoint intranet, collaborative OneNote documents between staff and students and many other online resources, resulting in fewer textbooks and helping to reduce our environmental impact.

Windows 8 has proved to be a great hit with students and faculty in the school due to the efficiency, speed and prolonged battery life. Nathan Burgess, Director of Information and Communications Technology at Ballarat Grammar, said the school made a conscious decision to try to provide students with the technology for a full education experience, which only Windows 8 devices were able to offer.

“A lot of schools tend to feel pressured to go down a tablet path in order to get access to apps, but at the same time they compromise by not running traditional applications. Our students want to do both, they want to run Photoshop and Illustrator and the full-version of Microsoft Office, but they also want access to the quick, single purpose apps that are available,” Mr Burgess said.

“Students therefore have fewer resources to carry, and through a centralised server we’re able to update tablets with the latest technologies when they become available. If a student has a flair for design they’re able to use the same software that experienced graphic designers are using. By embracing the latest technologies and applications at this young age, the School is shaping a generation which is more prepared than ever for the professional world.

“Another big winner for us, is how Windows 8 represents a key ability to have a ‘no compromise’ experience for the students,” Mr Burgess continued. “By using traditional applications as well as running all of the new full-screen apps on the Windows 8 interface from the Windows App-Store, it gives our students the best of both worlds.

“Windows 8 is also going to provide our Information Technology students with an excellent development platform for their studies. They will be able to develop traditional applications, plus new App-Store apps, from a single computer. Staff and students are very excited about the possibilities this will offer into the future.”

Ballarat Grammar currently has over 1,400 students, from childcare through to year 12. On campus, it runs 900 student laptops, 150 staff laptops and 350 desktop computers, previously all running Windows 7.

“We took a very strategic approach,” Mr Burgess said. “Before we chose devices we looked at what our students actually needed. Do they simply need access to email, single use apps and do a little browsing? The answer is no: they need to be creators, to be able to do graphic design work and have the freedom to make videos without compromise. A Windows 8 device enables this”.

The school is finding, through the use of Windows 8, that students now have the ability and technological capacity to develop their own applications, as well as installing Apps relevant to their individual study needs.

Microsoft Australia’s Academic Programs Manager, Sean Tierney, said: “We are continually hearing from schools that single-use apps on tablets aren’t enough for the sort of true teaching and learning which will prepare students for their future. Windows 8 offers students the opportunity to not only consume, but create content all on the one device – an extremely exciting proposition for all students and educators.”

Following the launch of Windows 8 in October 2012, a number of leading Australian schools have adopted the Microsoft technology, which provides both a traditional operating system and a tablet experience and familiarises students on the most widely used platform in businesses today.


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