Offering a wide variety of further education courses to over 16,000 students in the north of England requires a lot of collaboration. It’s a busy environment, with students and lecturers constantly on the go, trying to keep up with hectic schedules and multiple work deadlines. The top priority for the college’s 1,200 staff is always delivering the best quality lessons.
Many teachers at the City of Liverpool College used tablet devices to help them do this, but the variety of models used raised complications for both the staff themselves and the IT team supporting them. Ken Ryan, head of IT at the college, explains some of the issues:
“Our staff want to work as effectively as possible, and to deliver the highest-quality lessons and lectures,” explains Ryan. “But they often struggled with not having the most appropriate technology at hand.”
To help simplify and streamline processes, the College opted to purchase 600 Lenovo Tablet 2 devices, powered by the Intel Atom processor and running Microsoft Windows 8 Pro.
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Teacher tablet training
The revised tablet program implemented with support from local IT solution provider Gardner Systems, which assisted with the hardware selection and roll-out, and by Softcat, which supplied the tablets themselves.
Following distribution of the new devices,the college set up an ongoing training initiative called Lunchbytes to inspire teachers to make the most of their new resources. Internal experts work with the IT team to develop content for these sessions, which help share best practices and ideas for using the tablets from around the college.
The tablets themselves run a combination of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Lync. Document editing is now much simpler, since lecturers can update their presentations on their tablets.
This has worked so well that as a next step, the college is considering removing all teacher desktop PCs from its classrooms, replacing them with a tablet docking station and an HDMI cable to connect their tablets directly to electronic whiteboards.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in registration tracking rates in our central database as staff can now update it in real time, and the barrier of having to remember to go and do it in the staffroom later has been removed,” Ryan said. “It’s saved them a lot of time that they can now spend on working with students and preparing even better lessons.
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