A passion for digital technology
Brett Houghton, Head of Technology and Innovation at St Ignatius’ college, Riverview, explains how imaging company Canon inspired the school to embrace the latest in digital technologies.
Expanding a school’s digital offering is one that requires complex planning and the right level of support.
Two years ago, St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, decided to improve its online learning and administration portfolio. Located in the northern suburbs of Sydney, the boys school caters for Years 5-12. Brett Houghton, Head of Technology and Innovation, says the school has been improving its digital technologies since 2007, but two years ago looked to optimise its platforms and inspire students to embrace digital imaging. It led to the school rapidly expanding its photography curriculum and incorporating advanced time-lapse photography on construction projects.
In a bid to upgrade its reprographics contract, he explains the school went out to tender two years ago, replacing its printing centre with a fleet of new devices. Prior to this, the school had consistently faced a problem where hundreds of printed classroom exercises were going uncollected each year. A key component in its tender, Brett explains, was to lower the school’s printing costs and reduce its environmental impact.
Another issue, Brett says, was extensive double handling within the organisation. For years, teachers were supplying students with print out copies of their class work, while also providing a digital version. But other areas of the business such as school fees and reports were print only. The lack of a digital record often meant reports would go missing or damaged in school bags, causing teachers to have to resupply their content.
Leading imaging company Canon provided not only the solution, but went above and beyond to help the school implement its digital transition. Canon’s extensive experience working with other schools allowed the company to assess the challenges of instilling cultural change, developing a strategic plan with the school.
“Our aim is to prepare our students for the next phase of their life and we all know that is going to heavily involve digital technology, both in their work life and professional life,” Brett explains.
“Canon has really been a part of our change process within the organisation. For the last three years, we’ve been trying to change the organisation to be more digitally focused and less paper focused, but we really needed to have systems in place to enable that transition to happen.”
Representatives from Canon met with Brett to discuss the challenges of moving towards a digital only model of reports, school fee information and homework tasks. Canon outlined the benefits of its uniFLOW software, which provides an integrated print, scan and device management platform to monitor its entire fleet. It was also able to provide a layout of where the fleet would be located across the school. The entire set up was achieved with minimal downtime over a four-day period, with Canon providing a seamless transition through the provision of its service staff.
Using a combination of Canon’s multifunction devices, students now print their jobs and swipe their ID cards before the content is printed off. It means Saint Ignatius’ College has now been able to reduce its fleet of photocopiers and traditional printers from 84 devices down to 62, a win for the environment and productivity within the school.
“Just by introducing that concept alone, we’ve saved four wheelie bins per week in our student printing area of wasted, uncollected jobs a week and that’s just what the kids have access to,” Brett says.
“We also introduced a follow me print model so you can print effectively to a virtual printer and go to six devices in the school to collect the work. This has significantly improved productivity when printers aren’t available.”
Brett says that once the contract started, the school began to discuss its digital imaging curriculum with Canon, including its photography classes. Canon took a proactive step to offer its photographic experts, running a photography competition with the school each year.
“We asked Canon if they’d like to be involved, supply judges, and offer prizes to the boys.
“Their team of photography experts now come along and speak at our assemblies, and talk about the different aspects of digital life. Canon really jumped at the opportunity, they’ve really involved themselves with the boys,” Brett says.
He says Canon have continued to engage with the school’s head of digital photography on how to incorporate digital media into their classroom lesson plans.
Brett says the company’s inspiring talks led to more than 400 entries in the school’s photography competition, compared with an average of 90 beforehand.
But the company’s passion for helping schools embrace digital technology goes a step further, with Canon also supporting the school in the planning phases of their latest building project.
Canon helped the school explore time-lapse photography, providing it with five cameras which takes a still of the construction process every five minutes. The school is able to publish the videos to its social media channels, allowing parents and the community to observe the progress of the project.
“Canon’s support in the whole step of our digital transition has been an educational journey for all of us at the school. Since they started working with us, student’s interest in digital media and photography has increased significantly.”