The ‘aha’ moment for us was when we held our first IT training session for teachers. Three brave 11-year-old students volunteered to conduct the training, and we were all moved by their level of confidence and authority when talking about technology. They had thought of new ways to use Google Apps that we’d never thought of before.
DRET had to think about how to scale IT in schools with limited resources. Most schools that joined DRET had Windows-based desktops and iPads locked up in computer labs. Computing was often treated as a separate subject that was unrelated to the core curriculum, which left many teachers and students unenthused. “The challenge was finding a low-cost way to bring our students more access to technology, in a way that’s a more natural part of classroom life rather than isolated in computer labs where students might spend an hour,” says Guy Shearer, Head of IT at DRET.
After several successful pilots, Shearer and his team began setting up Google Apps accounts and Chromebooks at schools. So far, DRET has deployed 3,000 Google Apps accounts and 500 Chromebooks at 13 schools, and plans to double this by the end of the year. The Trust are now rolling out Google Apps accounts to everyone in the DRET community.