From bandwidth throttling to unrestricted access to the best online educational resources, connectivity to AARNet has brought Saint Ignatius College in Drysdale to the forefront of digital teaching and learning.
Since connecting to AARNet, this Catholic secondary school in regional Victoria has implemented a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) and, for the first time, has simultaneous College-wide access to HD video streaming.
It’s a far cry from the school’s previous connection, which was inconsistent and unreliable due to contention, aging technology and the school’s distance from the exchange, explains Bernie Lowes, Director of Infrastructure and Operations.
“Schools and students in regional cities, such as Drysdale are disadvantaged by the much lower capacity and speed of their Internet connection,” said Lowes.
“Frequent drop outs and disconnections were commonplace. To cope under these conditions, we were forced to reduce individual user bandwidth, making it very difficult or unfeasible for students to use media rich or bandwidth intensive online resources.”
Limited bandwidth restricted the College’s access to the vast array of cloud-based resources that support the secondary education sector such as file storage, learning management systems and products including Google Apps for Education, Edmodo and Microsoft Office 365.
“These resources can’t be accessed without an internet pipe that has the capacity and reliability to meet their demands. Lack of reliable access ultimately makes students under-prepared for their place in a digital-enabled workforce.”
Lowe was determined to provide staff and students with the best available technologies to put the school at the forefront of digital learning, overcoming the disadvantage of being located far from the country’s metropolitan centres.
The AARNet solution
To do so, the school turned to AARNet as the only provider able to offer the scalable bandwidth to meet its needs.
With a 1G connection to AARNet, Saint Ignatius College now has access to Australia’s research and education network, which includes direct connectivity to most universities, cultural institutes and many other schools, as well as high-bandwidth access to numerous cloud-based educational resources hosted on the AARNet network.
As well as moving its LMS to a cloud-based solution, the College is now hosting and sharing large files online. The LMS, along with bandwidth intensive educational apps and streaming platforms, has become perfectly feasible for simultaneous use by everyone at the school.
Improved online experience
“Teachers have become more adventurous as they know they have reliable access to web resources. They no longer need to go to “plan B” due to the internet being down or slow.”
For the first time, online sessions and webinars are a viable option for meetings and professional development. Dramatically improved upload speed has also greatly improved the experience of parents simultaneously accessing reports and using the College portal.
The College’s IT department has also benefited from ultra-fast reliable broadband; it can now focus on improving other services and expanding its offerings; as Lowes puts it, “being proactive rather than reactive in the technology environment.”
“IT time has been freed up as we’ve had zero complaints about the internet since we switched, and we no longer need to balance services across multiple links or micro manage firewall rules.
“For the first time, we can upload large files at any time of day with no impact on other users and run true automated offsite backups of the entire school’s virtual infrastructure.”
Schools connecting to AARNet do so in the knowledge that their access can be upgraded without difficulty when needed, providing future-proofing in a sector where the movement of services online continues apace.
“The scalability of our internet infrastructure gives us peace of mind knowing there is room to grow and use more online services in the future.”