Case Study: St Andrew’s College & Microsoft 365


This case study was first published on Microsoft Customer Stories – you can read it in full here. 

This is a case study of personal interest to me, as I used to work at St Andrew’s and so it was interesting to see how the use of technologies has changed and progressed since I left. The good news is that it has continued to evolve and improve to deliver staff and students access to world class platforms to drive better learning outcomes.

Start of Case Study Snippet:

At St Andrew’s College in New Zealand, students are supported and inspired to become confident, well-rounded young adults prepared for life in a rapidly changing world. The co-educational school has a diverse academic program and a comprehensive co-curricular program, involving a range of sporting and cultural opportunities. Technology is broadly applied to education by linking experts with collaborative learning, developing digital media, and information literacy. St Andrew’s College provides teachers, students, and administrative personnel with the right technology to empower them.

Since the College started its digital transformation in 2014, the entire school community has benefited from the wide adoption of Microsoft 365, through apps like Microsoft OneNote, Teams, Power BI, and Surface devices. So, when the college’s licensing agreement was up for renewal, Dave Hart, Director of ICT, and his team decided to take their digital journey further. “We’ve signed up for Microsoft 365 Education A5. We saw it as an opportunity to implement digital transformation across our security, enhance our already extensive use of Power BI, and get Minecraft Education Edition, too.”

Read the rest of the case study here

My Thoughts:

I  was particularly interested to see how the focus on security and protection of College content was prioritized by the school, as explained by Director of ICT Dave Hart:

We’re talking about advanced, real-time protection of mailboxes, files, online storage, and applications. That’s holistic protection in Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, and so on, which are essentially the core platforms and integral to the running of St Andrew’s College,” explains Hart. “We considered it reasonable to add extra layers of security given how much we embrace cloud services and the Office 365 environment. We’ve added security management for threat detection, enhanced control, and visibility into Office 365 usage. We’ve also added Azure Active Directory Identity Protection 2 (AADP2). We’ve recently implemented a weekly review of our security using Office 365 Secure Score. So that’s a really good way of seeing where we are from a security standpoint and what we can do to increase that score moving forward

The College has also invested in Microsoft Surface devices for all teachers and strongly encouraged students to bring devices that support digital inking. When I was still working at St Andrew’s, I blogged a number of times around the use of Digital Ink and also how teachers used the earlier versions of the Microsoft Surface Pro:

It’s gratifying to see these themes have continued, evidenced by these quotes from the blog:

Santhia Hamburg, Science Teacher at St Andrew’s, shares her experiences in the classroom. “I teach chemistry, and it involves using a lot of subscripts and superscripts. Digital inking all of that is much easier than typing. I render my lessons on OneNote. Drawing scientific diagrams, annotations, shapes, and even arrows that show where electrons move makes it visual for students. I use the pen with PowerPoint to just click through slides from any part of the classroom. It seems so simple, but it makes teaching that much easier and more fluid.”

Similarly, Wilj Dekkers, who I worked with extensively whilst at the College, noted:

“There’s also the idea of OneNote and a Surface pen versus a white board,” adds Wilj Dekkers, Head of Innovation and Information Services at St Andrew’s. “If you’re dealing with a series of numerical problems in your Mathematics class, you’re able to do that directly in OneNote while working with a small group or an individual student, or even moving around the classroom. Students can revisit those notes afterwards if there’s some homework, prep work, or study to do. They can even use the ink replay function, which has been so great. They see each stroke put in OneNote and see how a particular problem was solved one step at a time,” he explains.

There is a lot more in the detailed case study, including how Microsoft Teams and Minecraft: Education Edition are being utilized to drive student engagement and improved learning outcomes, so I do encourage you to read the full case study in full here.

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