And, just under one in four (24%) of schools believe the NBN will increase both the quality of student work and the expertise of the teaching profession itself.
The survey of 75 school representatives, conducted by Australian ICT consulting and solutions provider, Tecala Group, at the recent Association of Independent Schools ICT Management and Leadership Conference in Canberra, also investigated the impact of cloud, mobility and BYOD in independent schools, as well as the current pressure points currently impacting IT deployments within the sector.
The survey found that 43% of respondents are shifting their budget allocation from investing in infrastructure to cloud computing resources, and more than one in four (27% ) are doing so as it provides a flexible, scalable, cost-effective model with 41% indicating it eliminates the upfront financial burden of deploying new technologies.
DeGunst says the survey found that a third (33%) of schools are also reviewing Unified Communications and collaboration technologies, but were unsure as to “how to reap the true benefits that these technologies can bring to the education sector.”
In the area of mobility, one in five of those surveyed now support a BYOD policy, but strategies are only partly in place to ensure that data on student mobile devices remains secure. Just under one in three (30%) stated that they have all data stored centrally and conducted daily backups, and only 14% have policies in place for regular password refresh.
DeGunst said physical loss of student devices remained the concern of 41% of independent school IT managers with just under one in five (19%) concerned about the potential for data loss.
He said that, in an increasingly mobile student and teaching environment, 32% of IT managers said their strategies supported various device types.
“The immersive nature of today’s technology encourages teachers and students to interact naturally, sharing content freely and effectively between devices, and providing students live or on demand access without compromise. However, the survey suggests that schools must be clear that when they implement a mobility or a BYOD policy, they must then ensure that their policy provides a balance between ease of use, productivity and security.
“At the same time, while there's a real need for schools to focus on reducing IT cost and complexity, the NBN appears to promise an enriched learning environment with not just better education outcomes for students but opportunities for teachers to expand their learning networks.”