Varsity College gets personal with Windows 8 roll out

Queensland’s largest school is building technology capability to provide students with personalised learning as they prepare for life in a globalised society

Sydney, Australia – 30 July, 2013 – One of Australia’s largest schools, Queensland’s Varsity College, has today announced it will be equipping its 3,200 students with a range of Windows 8 devices for the current school year and beyond as it looks to enhance its position as one of Australia’s most progressive centres of learning.

Varsity College is situated across two Gold Coast campuses that serve students from prep through to Year 12.

The college aims to accelerate mobile learning through the uptake of Windows 8 by providing each student with a Windows 8 device that will both enhance the school’s existing digital vision, and encourage students to tailor elements of the software to suit their needs. The school has chosen a range of Windows 8 devices, including tablet and Ultrabook versions, to meet the varying learning capabilities and demands of the students.

Jeff Davies, principal of the school said that Windows 8 also “offered a range of sophisticated learning apps, opening further educational and teaching opportunities to students and staff.”

“There has obviously been a huge transitional shift between teaching from a traditional format to a digital, more personalised, learning format in the past five years,” continued Davis. “We’re now entering a period where we’re seeing a shift to virtual teaching methods, ultimately allowing for teachers to work more directly with individual students to improve their skills and understanding in a more differentiated model, as students utilise the technology for every element of their curriculum.”

In addition, every Windows 8 device will have the ability to be used with digital pen technology, something that the school believes is crucial for learning, and was not offered with all competing devices that the school looked at.

“Without pen-based and touch technology, it limits subjects such as Maths, Science, Chinese and Geography, as the student just uses the device to access content and research. Even our Art department has transformed their learning paradigm to include pen-based technology as a key component of their curriculum.

“With a pen, students can make links, draw formulas and edit pictures and the whole solution becomes a multi-purpose device. Windows 8 enabled devices have far greater use than just a tablet or touch screen, as we’re able to integrate all these subjects onto one device, which could not have been achieved purely on keyboard based technology,” said Mr Davis.

As the largest school in Queensland, Varsity College needs an extremely sophisticated and effective ICT system with unprecedented access to apps and resources.

“Windows 8 enables both teachers and staff to tailor the personalised learning software, according to their needs. The individual student interfaces enables teachers to teach all students at the level that best suits their abilities and at their own pace regardless of academic sets. It enables us to differentiate and adapt the curriculum to individual learning needs, and progression stages. It presents a massive change to our teaching methods and is the main driver for rolling out Windows 8 across the college.” said Mr Davis.

“While we researched other options, Windows 8 is the clear leader in all of the areas of technology that we believe are fundamental to student learning, including application development, synchronicity with existing IT infrastructure and ease of use,” continued Mr Davis, “Having researched competitors, the decision to use Microsoft came down to quality control and the knowledge that Microsoft is the global leader of providing technology in the classroom”.

Sean Tierney, Academic Programs Manager at Microsoft said Windows 8 was designed to meet the needs of students in all aspects of their lives.

“I have kids and I know they need a device that they can take to school and it will be great for ‘doing’ and ‘creating’ and then when they get home, it’s also a great platform for them to surf the net, play with apps and talk with their friends.

“For schools, it’s about having devices that are going to integrate in with their existing IT infrastructure, ease of management and crucially, be really secure – Windows 8 ticks all of those boxes”, said Mr Tierney.


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