One only needs to look at the transformative impact of VR, AR and 3D printing to see how technology is supercharging teaching and learning in schools, but for many principals, incorporating the latest and greatest innovations into their school’s curriculum is easier said than done.
Fortunately, education authorities across Australia are increasing their collaboration with various technology vendors to make this process easier for school leaders.
An example of this was seen in July when the NSW Department of Education selected computer giant Acer as an authorised vendor to supply a range of Windows desktops and notebooks, as well as a Chromebook option, to the state’s schools.
Rod Bassi, Acer’s sales director of Oceania, said this builds on the organisation’s tireless work to develop devices that are tailored to meet the needs of students and teachers, improving efficiency, streamlining processes and even facilitating live feedback.
Below, The Educator speaks to Bassi to find out about the ways in which Acer’s solutions and ongoing school-to-school collaborations are helping principals successfully tailor technology to their learning environments.
TE: Drawing from your experience with the K-12 school sector, what do you see as some of the greatest challenges for principals when it comes to tailoring technology to their learning environments?
Principals face many challenges when selecting and tailoring technology. Firstly, there is a sea of information to navigate through as the industry is moving quickly and this puts pressure on educators to keep up with the amount of resources available to them. Secondly there is the matter of working within a set budget and set requirements which can vary greatly for each school. Thirdly, the rise of BYOD has added an additional layer of complexity as schools introduce multi-brand and in some instances Operating System differences. This can create privacy and security concerns as well as considerations about the different software and hardware being implemented. There is a broad spectrum of schools with different needs and resources and Acer aims to play a consultative role together with subject matter expert partners that can offer key profiling of technology devices that are best suitable for primary and also for secondary. We help educators overcome these challenges by ensuring that the technology is accessible, secure, easily deployed across schools and used to the best of its advantage by facilitating 1:1 interaction and teamwork within the classroom and try to keep its solutions logical and easy to link to a key school profile across different states.
TE: In what ways do you feel ACER is best placed to help education departments across Australia address ed-tech challenges compared to other prospective vendors?
As a provider of computer hardware to almost every Education Department in Australia we are in a strong position to oversee what technology profiles work best for both primary and secondary. Acer has a broad palate of solutions and product offerings to cater for different department needs catering to both Windows and Google based platforms. We have the experience to understand what technology platforms work in one given state and we have the ability to offer advice and referenceablity to other department jurisdictions so they can make a considered choice.
TE: You noted that one of the key things ACER is carrying forward into 2019 is more school-to-school engagement. Can you tell us more about this?
Rod Answer: Whilst it is very important to have a strong open and transparent relationship with each of the Education departments across Australia, it is equally important to reach out to the schools so we can further learn about the experiences they’re having in the areas of fit for purpose product and overall performance. Acer is a learning organisation, so we regularly review our findings and use these to refine our service delivery and also pass on ideas and suggestions to our R&D teams.