The learning and teaching cornerstone at Assumption College is to establish an environment where students can be creative, curious people who embrace life-long learning. Jennifer Dean, Business Manager at Assumption College, says: “Everything we do is assessed against how we can better enrich our students, to ensure they achieve their potential. A driver for our analysis of technology adoption is about whether it provides greater opportunities for all.”
Assumption’s existing networking infrastructure was nearing 10 years old and it was absolutely time to upgrade. Lachlan Pollock, the College’s ICT Manager, says: “It had run its time. We were spending vast amounts of time putting bandaids on it. Our networks were no longer supported, we had no more security patches and we had reached the limits of integration – we couldn’t do really important things like visitor management.”
The Assumption team also knew that networking technologies had progressed immeasurably. With students increasingly leveraging digital content and apps, a move to Wi-Fi 6 was essential to provide faster, better access. The on-premise control was speed limiting and cloud controllers would take the brakes off. “We’re disabled without reliable access to servers and apps,” Lachlan says.
The College’s education model and technology use case would also require specific networking design work. It had to accommodate everything from the mix of school provided devices under its 1:1 policy, as well as a range of iPads, to high end notebooks brought in via the BYOD provisions within the boarding house. “The boarders are an interesting situation. We like to create a home environment, to allow them to attach personal devices to our network as other students have at home, but with the same sorts of responsible rules on firewalls and limiters,” Lachlan says.
On Assumption’s large campus – it is 1km from the maths department to the tennis courts – the new infrastructure also needed to encapsulate the entire grounds. Part of the College’s planning was to be able to offer great opportunities for outdoor learning. Another progressive aspect of the College’s approach that has an impact on technology provisioning, is that students are able to fast track their study – as an example, Year 7s may be undertaking Year 10 subjects.
“While we have strict protocols, we have to retain borderless, fluid access to all equipment, labs, rooms, open spaces and technology in general,” Jennifer says.
The new solution was to support the College for the next decade. “That required two things: we needed to establish partnerships for the long term, and we were very interested in hearing from them about what else we could do, what’s coming up of interest and how best we could future proof our decision,” she says.
The network infrastructure project had one further caveat. The transformation had to be installed, tested and cut over during the upcoming year end school break.