The NBN will potentially impact the independent schools sector by improving the delivery of school teaching, according to Australian ICT consulting and solutions provider, Tecala Group.
In a new study conducted by the company, it found that 57 per cent of schools claimed the NBN will improve the way school lessons are delivered, while 24 per cent said it will increase both the quality of student work and the expertise of the teaching profession itself.
The survey, which polled 75 respondents at the Association of Independent Schools ICT Management and Leadership Conference, also investigated the impact of Cloud, mobility and BYOD in independent schools as well as the current pressure points currently impacting IT deployments within the sector.
It indicated that 43 per cent of respondents are shifting their budget allocation from investing in infrastructure to Cloud computing resources – 27 per cent of them are doing so as it provides a flexible, scalable, cost-effective model while 41 per cent said it eliminates the upfront financial burden of deploying new technologies.
On the other hand, 38 per cent of them said they are still challenged by restrained budgets, with 19 per cent of schools indicating that 2013 remains a tough environment for attracting skilled IT resources to support their programs.
Tecala Group sales and marketing manager, Pieter DeGunst, said the immersive nature of today’s technology encourages teachers and students to interact naturally, sharing content freely and effectively between devices, and providing students live or on demand access without compromise.
“While there's a real need for schools to focus on reducing IT cost and complexity, the NBN appears to promise an enriched learning environment with not just better education outcomes for students but opportunities for teachers to expand their learning networks,” he said.
Other findings from the study include:
- 30 per cent of schools are reviewing unified communications and collaboration technologies but are unsure as to how to reap the benefits that these technologies can bring to the education sector.
- One in five respondents support a BYOD policy but strategies are only partly in place to ensure that data on student mobile devices remains secure.
- 30 per cent stated they have all data stored centrally and conduct daily backups, but only 14 per cent have policies in place for regular password refresh.
- Physical loss of student devices remains the concern of 41 per cent of independent school IT managers with just under one in five (19 per cent) concerned about the potential for data loss.
- 32 per cent of IT managers say their strategies support various device types.
“The survey suggests that schools must be clear that when they implement a mobility or a BYOD policy, they must then ensure that their policy provides a balance between ease of use, productivity and security,” DeGunst added.