St. Hilda's School Goes Mobile


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St. Hilda's School, an all-girls day/boarding school located in Queensland, Australia is setting the bar for K-12 schools worldwide. Using mobile learning, St. Hilda's is able to engage all of its stakeholders with a more personalized approach. Students are relating better, collaborating with one another and their instructors, and staying connected to their educational experience 24/7.

St. Hilda's has dramatically increased student engagement while decreasing their carbon footprint with Blackboard Mobile Central, Blackboard Mobile Learn, and Blackboard Managed Hosting.

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St. Hilda's School Goes Mobile

  1. 1. A Very Big Adventure:750 girls, 850 iPads, Blackboard Mobile, and Managed HostingGeoff PowellDirector of Learning TechnologySt Hilda’s SchoolSouthport
  2. 2. A bit about me - last decade• Director of Computing at Geelong Grammar (Vic)• Exchange Fellow Deerfield Academy (Mass. USA)• Principal Boarding School - Yasawan Islands Fiji• Head of Unit and IT at Timbertop Campus (Vic)• Director of Learning Technologies St Hilda’s• iPad / laptop and BlackBoard LMS implementations
  3. 3. Was the move to iPads ascary experience?(before I talk about why and how we made the move, …allow me to deviate for a few minutes)In the presentation there was a film, here are some still shots
  4. 4. When do we stop enjoying theadrenaline rush of fear?How happy did the girls in the final"scary movie" clip look?ask a group of 14 year old girls what type of movie they want towatch together… …they always opt for scary ones!
  5. 5. What are they really scared of? can do some clever things
  6. 6. Teens use Google Earth to home in on cool pools for parties The Age - June 20, 2008 - 8:36PM Fancy a pool party but dont have a pool?Teenagers in Britain are using internet satellite images to locate outdoor swimming and meet upwith buddies for late-night dips and parties.The craze, known as dipping, involves people using pictures from Google Earth to identify homesthat have large outdoor pools, Britains Telegraph newspaper reports. Once a cool pool is found,teenagers use social networking sites including Facebook and Bebo to spread the word and meetup for impromptu swims and parties.Some residents had woken up to find youngsters using their pools. Others had come home fromwork to find their pools full of beer cans, police said. To avoid arrest, party goers are often told toturn up in costumes and bring bicycles so they can make a quick getaway.One boastful group of dippers said party goers had held an event on Monday that saw 16 peopleinvade two pools near Bournemouth in Dorset. The group listed a specific meeting place forbetween midnight and 3am and gave mobile telephone numbers for the organisers, the Telegraphsaid.Although there were only 16 confirmed participants at the event, invitations were sent to more than500 users on Facebook. Police said they were telling pool owners to be on the guard."We would also warn prospective swimmers that using someone elses pool is trespassing andtherefore illegal," a spokesman said AAP
  7. 7. I have to explain about whereI now live.The Gold Coast is the Aussieversion of Miami
  8. 8. St Hilda’s Girl Response tothe article on “dipping”“Why would you do that? I don’t know anyone without a pool”
  9. 9. Something to look at if you get bored A retrospective of over 1000 pieces of St Hilda’s girls art work WITH NAMES! (Galleries named after students)
  10. 10. Sowing the seeds early
  11. 11. “To swear off makingmistakes is very easy……all you have to do is swear offhaving ideas.”*Leo Burnett
  12. 12. “Never be afraid to trysomething new… …remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” *Groucho Marx
  13. 13. Our Bb Evolution from 2007 - 2011 2007 – 2009 hosted Bb locally 2010 moved to full Bb Hosted Environment 2011 moved to iPads, Mobile Learn plus the Mobile Central iPhone App
  14. 14. Lets look at Mobile CentraliStHildas - launched on July 18th
  15. 15. Lets look at our Bb Hosting
  16. 16. What did we do over the first 2 years thatled to us needing a hosted solution?We developed a culture where students and parentsexpected things to be posted on Blackboard.When parents ring asking for the Maths to be postedon Blackboard, you have turned a corner.But then things became a bit too successfulBandwidth began to kill usOur core business is education we are not an ISPplus we have 120 boarders
  17. 17. That is when I discovered hostingAt the Aussie Bb Summit in 2009 in Brisbanetwo significant events for St Hilda’sI saw Harry’s session on hosted solutionsI met Kayvon and Aaron from Mobile LearnThose two events combined serendipitously to become central toour planning for 2011I went back and “did the sums”Looked at the ramifications of Bb use increasing beyond what wewere currently generating
  18. 18. Swine Flu actually helped us!Head of School wanted a plan if we had to close The swine flu event led to solid review of our online learning policy development Could we run the school if we have to close the doors? Could 1000 users access our locally hosted Bb server simultaneously? In short the answer was no. We had to plan for growth and that meant $$$ spent somewhere
  19. 19. Hosting Cost Benefit AnalysisIt costs a bit of money, but it does offsetsubstantially against current outlays.No ongoing hardware costs No need for server replacements, this saves $$$IT staff can be redeployed or not replaced We had a DB administrator that left for a better offer, we left it open24/7/365 is a reality Pre hosting, if we went down on the Sat afternoon, it was down till Mon AM we could not afford to have our staff on call 24/7.
  20. 20. Hosting Cost Benefit AnalysisLoad balancing during busy times I doubt we even blip the switches of the data centre, but offsite access is as fast as the connection you have allows. 95%+ of our students have broadband. How to you put a price on your student’s time?No more planning upgrades around termbreaks Upgrades were tasks that took IT staff time planning and implementing at the expense of other tasks. We moved from 8.0 to 9.0 during hosting with zero effort. We moved to 9.1 in Jan this year with an email request.No more backup worries No need for the expense of backup hardware/media, nor the continual
  21. 21. Bb, Mobile Learn & iPads We have been developing our online curriculum via Blackboard for some 5 years We moved to a fully hosted environment in 2010• With the advent of the iPad program in 2011 we adopted the Mobile Learn Blackboard App• We also moved towards iBook / ePub distribution• Lets look at our students quantifiable levels of engagement with blackboard since 2009, and what Mobile Learn has done for student engagement
  22. 22. iPads from yr 5-12 in 2011I predicted Bb traffic would doubleWe were confident our decision tomove to hosting would allow usthe headroom for success in 2011
  23. 23. Mobile Learn & iPads for the environment• Last year 4.6 million A4 page prints• Aim for 2011 down by 1 million copies• Aim for 2012 down by another million• iPads and Bb Mobile are key to this
  24. 24. We have data to show thatBb Moblie and Hosting hassignificantly increased studentengagement
  25. 25. Bb Summit 2009
  26. 26. Bb Summit 2010Our move to hostinggreatly increased traffic Students spending much more time in the Bb courses
  27. 27. Bb World 2011Massive increase in traffic
  28. 28. Bb 2010 vs 2011 20112010 weekly average = 2011 holiday hits 2010
  29. 29. Our school day
  30. 30. 800% lift in trafficY axis 200 to 1600 Our school day
  31. 31. Year 10 English 2010 vs 2011
  32. 32. 10 fold increase in trafficrelative to 2010Weekend traffic increased from 25 hits on Sunday in 2010 to 1250 in 2011
  33. 33. How do 10 year olds use BbMobile Learn?Why not have them show you.
  34. 34. The film that was embedded in this presentation can be found at the St Hildas YouTube Channel or or Go to Then click on St Hildas Tube and then click the iPad playlist
  35. 35. How does pre-prep use Bb and MobileLearn?They dont, but Mum and Dad do.
  36. 36. How has our iBook strategy developed?How is this carbon friendly?By distributing PDF, Doc, PPT and ePub format to ouriPads via Bb, we are well on track to taking over a millionpages per year out of our print budget.Over two years, if successful, we are near cost neutral onhosting.
  37. 37. During the presentation, the following use ofschool generated iBooks was demonstrated live.For the purposes of this edited version I havesupplied screen shots of the process.Hopefully this illustrates what we are doing.
  38. 38. We moved all 60 poems into a single ePub via a Pages export.We are really pleased that the new Mobile Learn update will read and openePub formats directly into iBook Libraries. Prior to iBooks, we had 60 PDFs of war poems loaded into Bb Learn
  39. 39. The girls opened these individually as they needed them.
  40. 40. Rather than access poems individually as required, students nowdownload the ePub War Poem Anthology into iBooks.What are the advantages?We cut down network traffic, and have access to the full range of iBookfeatures.Bb Mobile Learn is the perfect distribution portal for us to achieve this.
  41. 41. This is a selection of poems in iBook format.Our year 9s call these "books on steroids"
  42. 42. You get full access to a dictionary, great for ESL students
  43. 43. You can highlight and leave yourself notes.
  44. 44. Notes are date stamped, and full sets of notes can beemailed to the staff member.
  45. 45. You can embed video and audio, so students can both readand hear the war protest songs being studied.
  46. 46. This is our year 8 Elective Subject Selection Handbook
  47. 47. It has examples of work shown by last years students.The idea is to help students make more informed decisions
  48. 48. Where are we heading with this?Our aim is to decrease printing by 1 million A4 sheets a yearMoving our existing publications to this format and distributing viaMobile Learn is key to this. The year 8 elective book alone saved over 7500 A4 pages Multiply this across the school, it adds up to big savingsWe also have deals with our publishers so our Maths, Science, Businessand a number of English books are now on the iPad. This is for all years7-12. It has taken several kilograms out of the backpack, and asubstantial amount off the booklist.You need a distribution model. Bb Mobile Learn will do this for us
  49. 49. What has influenced my thinking soheavily on all of this?We want to give a Tertiary (college) experienceThat is why we put in place Managed Hosting Mobile Central Mobile LearnEssential to this we developed a BYOD iPad model BYOD = Bring Your Own Device, the student is fully responsibleEverytime I come to a conference like this, I become more determined that what weoffer our girls is not a watered down version of a quality Tertiary (College) level program.We dont have tertiary budgets, but we can have the same desire for quality outcomes.K-12 is, I feel, the building block of a sound education. So it needs access to tertiary levelquality resources. That is what we are determined to put in place.
  50. 50. Thank You Questions?