In 2006, Darren Long, Gowerton’s Teacher of ICT and ICT coordinator, had become disillusioned with the time it took to maintain the school’s existing email system. “I needed to re-license our Exchange server and really didn’t want to invest in a new server and licenses that I had to spend a vast amount of time looking after. I read an article on hosted systems and saw a way to free up my time for more valuable projects, such as how to transform the learning experience using technology,” he says.
After looking at the hosted options available, Long chose to replace the school’s existing Exchange server with Google’s cloud-based email solution, Gmail For Your Domain (now part of Google Apps for Education). Gowerton’s staff were impressed with Gmail and it soon became indispensable. Long then confidently rolled it out to students, who used it enthusiastically from the start. By using Google Apps for Education, Gowerton has also been able to cut costs significantly. It has saved at least £30,000 in licensing and server maintenance costs. This has enabled it to invest money into buying computers for teachers and students to use in and out of the classroom, including 70 Google Chromebooks.
"A lot of the time you go to an ICT lab and find that it’s all about the technology when it should be about the teaching. Chromebooks take away this barrier, they are just another tool in the pencil case. This means teachers can concentrate on what they do best – teaching.”Darren Long, Teacher of ICT and ICT coordinator, Gowerton School