CESA (Catholic Education South Australia) is the executive and policy implementation arm of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools (SACCS) and its Standing Committees, and cares for over 100 schools.
So, exactly how do you get a whopping 60 schools to use SharePoint?
It’s big, it’s complex. It’s not easy for just any expert to manage. In fact, CESA had been on a journey of deploying Office 365 in schools, but the SharePoint component proved to be the hardest element in school implementation.
While CESA has always sought to empower their schools with seamless, enabling technology, the sheer logistics of rolling out the cloud platform seemed to be outweighing the benefits.
The challenge was not simply a matter of user adoption, but more fundamentally, scale of deployment. The complex nature of SharePoint and the lack of onsite technical knowledge in the construction of its information architecture remained an ongoing issue for schools, consequently impeding the successful roll out of online purposeful, collaborative digital school sites.
The necessity for embracing digital pedagogies to aid in developing students’ 21st century skills is the driver for innovative, contemporary classroom teaching practices. The ubiquity of mobile technologies and its impact on the delivery of learning, demanded a sector response in supporting schools to meet the challenges – financial, technical and pedagogical – in creating a technology layer that enabled access to an online space for school, staff and student engagement.
Can it be as easy as dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas?
CESA wanted to create digital classroom templates for primary and secondary schools to customise according to their specific needs, minus the headaches and expense of complex bespoke solutions.
LiveTiles introduced CESA to its free product for K-12, LiveTiles Mosaic. An app that installs into Office 365 and gives staff a design canvas to create stunning school and class portals using a drag and drop method.
LiveTiles Mosaic was used as a flexible opportunity for teachers to easily build compelling virtual classroom designs; however, the issue of mass deployment across each separate school tenant was still present. CESA utilised LiveTiles Blueprint to resolve this mass distribution issue by blueprinting end-to-end information architecture for the SharePoint environment within schools, including tailored site areas for teachers, classes and students.
LiveTiles Mosaic used in conjunction with LiveTiles Blueprint allowed the solution to be deployed within minutes in a single school, which freed time, resources, and enabled teachers to focus on applying the technology rather than deploying the platform.
In less than a couple of hours, users were able to create an intranet for staff; teachers could design customised virtual classrooms; and students intuitively knew how to navigate the pages. CESA preloaded the site templates in each participating school’s Office 365 tenancy, enabling access permissions at relevant levels. Leadership and key teachers from each school undertook professional learning sessions with CESA’s Learning and Technology Team in supporting and building their capacity in the knowledge, understanding and skills to apply LiveTiles in the creation of purposeful, engaging learning sites for their school communities.
The utilisation of LiveTiles in the creation of virtual classrooms for learning has created an opportunity for CESA schools to design, communicate and construct engaging learning opportunities in a safe, online environment. An environment where the school, staff and students have ownership and responsibility for collaborating, creating and innovating to meet needs and purpose. CESA was able to offer the staff and student body an adaptable academic experience that transcends the physical classroom and traditional textbook learning—all from one centralised interactive window for student access across any mobile device.
The implementation of LiveTiles Mosaic and LiveTiles Blueprint has been such a success that other schools within the CESA network are now requesting the same solution, when they previously had little interest in utilising SharePoint.
CESA educators will continue to meet students in their everyday digital setting so they can learn naturally and with familiarity, anytime, anywhere— in the classroom or at home, with the support of LiveTiles Mosaic.