A School's need for speed

Whangarei Boys' High School is a traditional boys' school that delivers some of the country's most innovative programmes from its ultra-modern campus of science, technology and language classrooms.

WBHS has implemented a range of cutting edge telecommunications technologies, including ultra-fast broadband to support this highly innovative approach to education. Its new network infrastructure incorporates six computer labs, utilises the 'laptop for teachers' scheme and supports a BYOD network giving students total WiFi access - however this has not always been the case.

 

The Telecommunications Challenge

In a rapidly expanding school hosting over 1100 students, 100 staff and over 300 network and internet enabled devices, the telecommunications environment was falling short of the growing demand being placed upon it. Technology had begun to play a much greater role in the high standards of work the students were producing and with the increased capacity running through the network the students were inadvertently instigating change. 

The student experience was a one dimensional engagement with the internet limited to browsing and information gathering. 

"Our students were becoming frustrated trying to access meaningful interactive content and failing."
Steve Merritt, IT Manager, Whangarei Boys High School

Teachers has also voiced their need for a more robust online offering as they discovered a wealth of online media content to help facilitate delivery of their curriculum that they were unable to utilise to its potential.

WBHS embraced change, focusing on three core aspects - cost, reliability, and most importantly, possibilities.

"We needed a platform that would allow us to move forward and to refocus our business and teaching opportunities for students and staff.

The Solution

With Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) being championed by the New Zealand Government, research began immediately into the opportunities it would present for WBHS. A number of telcos were approached and investigated, however it was Vocus who listened and offered a solution that met the three core focus points.

Vocus, an innovator in UFB, recommended a consolidated solution, utilising the UFB connection not only to deliver the fastest unlimited data available but also SIP trunking to run all voice calling over UFB. The implementation of the new telecommunications environment was a seamless transition with the focus being on minimal disruption and downtime.

"The best transition is one that is not noticed by the end user. With Vocus managing the project, staff and students were not aware of the transition, only the improvements."
Steve Merritt, IT Manager, Whangarei Boys High School

The Outcomes

"The most noticeable change in our telco environment is that we don't notice it anymore. Ultra-Fast Broadband has enabled Whangarei Boys High School to access and deliver exactly what we require seamlessly as a normal part of our operations," Merritt explains.

UFB has enriched the learning experience for WBHS students by giving them immediate access to relevant, highg-quality content and has enabled a wide variety of platforms to produce material. That students can now stream a wealth of media and archives on multiple devices, all of which was previously unattainable, is something Merritt believes is opening a whole new learning experience for WBHS students.

The most positive outcome for the students now that the frustrations have vanished, is they are focused, engaged and achieving more."

UFB has significantly changed the landscape for the staff of WBHS, both teaching and administration. Teachers are transforming the way in which learning takes place, through discovering and utilising new tools and content to facilitate the delivery of the curriculum. UFB has also brought significant bottom line savings to the school, through an entirely new level of business flexibility.

"Staff are no longer restricted by location, and can now teach in multiple areas across the school. We can host video conferencing, distance learning and provide new, exciting class work. The possibilities are endless.

By consolidating SIP trunks, voice and internet access over UFB, the school has been able to realise cost savings that can now be directed back into our most important focus - education."
Steve Merritt, IT Manager, Whangarei Boys High School

 

*Whangarei Boys' High School were originally serviced by CallPlus Business Services. In July 2017, CallPlus rebranded to Vocus Communications.