Comprehensive implementation of Cloud solutions
First established 27 years ago, No 4 High School in Rybnik now offers instruction to roughly 350 students. While overseeing the school’s rapid growth over the last few years, its management has also taken great care to organize a number of programs and projects for the young people, including trips abroad or participation in prestigious competitions. Every year, the school takes part in e-Twinning, an exciting educational platform for information sharing through online meetings with partner schools all over the world. For the third time now, the school has been part of “Water Is Life”: an exciting project culminating with an international science conference to be held in Tokyo, Japan in July 2018. There, our young people will have a chance to showcase their work as the only representatives of Poland. The school team has also developed an independent project “MIT Labs: Teach Outside the Box. Motivation, Innovation, and Technology as the Key Elements in the Teaching Process” aimed at improved student motivation to study hard through employing innovative teaching techniques. “We hope to transform our school into an institution where teaching passion translates into learning passion; a place where both teachers and students develop an attitude open to and welcoming international contacts and cooperation, breaking through the language and cultural barriers; in other words, a school where teaching overcomes traditional standards”, says the Rybnik school Principal. “This novel teaching approach will produce better results at the graduation exams and thus make it easier for the student to begin adult life”.
The School primarily focuses its efforts on young people’s intellectual development by involving them in international projects and creating new opportunities, and that is why the existing IT infrastructure proved inadequate for such purposes. In their everyday work, school administration used private email addresses and phones; the teachers’ contact with students’ parents was limited to traditional correspondence and face-to-face meetings, with the electronic class register added barely five years earlier. The students worked individually, each on their own computer in the computer lab. There was no server to log in and share files. To make matters worse, the school did not have its own IT administrator, so the IT teacher had to handle all such matters. No wonder then that the Principal was looking for a solution that would not only streamline cooperation and information flow but – at the same time – not require advanced IT knowledge or experience to operate the equipment.
And here Google technology came to the rescue, ideally fitting the school’s strategy with Acer Chromebooks plus communication and cooperation tools which make up the G Suite for Education package. Gmail, integrated with Calendar and a shared disk, has made it possible for the administration personnel and the teaching staff to communicate safely and smoothly, with personal messages clearly separated from the business ones. Hangouts Meet, a novel solution for video chats and video conferencing, provides smooth, problem-free contact with their peers in other countries. New language labs have now acquired Acer Chromebooks and the mobile devices have made it possible for teachers to use them during other classes. G Suite for Education apps for creating documents and presentations have proved very handy both for the students and teachers, allowing for group work on projects and reports, while also teaching team work at the same time.
The introduction of Chromebooks and G Suite for Education tools has contributed to streamlining communication between teachers and students. It opened the student body to contacts with their peers from partner schools in other countries. Chromebooks have successfully solved the tangled problem of complicated computer administration: now, any teacher can easily do it. Google Documents, Presentations, and Forms make class or school project evaluation easy and simple while Calendar simplifies the planning of school activities, with ready access for all the users.The new technology has also provided an opportune impulse for the teaching staff to further improve their technical skills. Contacts with the students have been made easier, accompanied by a new option of remote homework and remote testing, so that students can now submit their assignments to teachers using the Google Disk. The desire to improve the performance of e-Twinning international projects and the teaching process by incorporating novel technologies was the driving force behind the implementation of the new technology. Chrome Technology and G Suite for Education have well served the purpose, allowing for successful completion of all the outlined objectives. Today, teachers and students discover new areas of the new technology application, developing their creativity and enjoying the new opportunities opening before them.