Innovative Learning and Teaching
School Design and Facilities
In Varmond’s commitment to 21st. century education, a huge investment has been made not only regarding the facilities, but in all the equipment and technological infrastructure which allows for a wireless digital environment for every member within the community.
With a committed goal to embed edge technologies and skills within every student, the IT team has developed a curriculum that provides the opportunities for every student to digitally literate and responsible, being able to express themselves, solve problems and develop their ideas through communication and information technologies. Varmond students develop skills that are very valuable in the rest of their school life.
Currently each student has a MacBook Pro and an iPad, integrating the 1:1 program, with which we integrate a full digital learning ecosystem.
We have used the full potential, robustness and simplicity that Apple provides us to develop and implement the whole network infrastructure on campus. We started installing a few Airports Extreme, and now we have 12 Airports Extreme and 5 Airports Express, which fully meet the demand for connectivity within the campus for more than 350 iPads and more than 200 computer equipment (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini Server).
The bandwidth is provided by 4 different links (DSL) which are administered and distributed by a load balancer via a gigabit ethernet network to which Airport Extreme devices are connected in bridge mode and in turn the Airport Express leverage the functionality of extending the range of the network connecting wirelessly.
Since this model can be configured, scaled and replicated easily, it has been taken as a model for many implementations in schools within the school network of Knotion®, being Varmond the pacesetter for others in new implementations technology.
Similarly, we have implemented a websense system to ensure that content accessed online by students is safe.
Each of the rooms and collaborative spaces on campus, have audiovisual projection equipment connected to Apple TV’s; these allow not only the teacher to mirror content but to create a whole digital collaborative space in which each student can share the screen with all their classmates. All this wirelessly.
The IT department provides the necessary software to all student’s computers, faculty and staff. Software updates of these teams is done easier by taking advantage of the caching service that OSX Server in 3 Mac Mini provides and in turn, serve to centralize information that can be accessed by students and teachers.
As part of improving collaboration among teachers, students and administrative staff, Google Apps platform for Education was implemented.
Students love the Apple apps; with Pages, Keynote and Numbers you can create documents, presentations and spreadsheets with a sensational finish. iMovie, iPhoto and Garage Band, enhance creativity to create unique and original content.
Finally, a mainstay in learning have been the variety of educational apps that can be used in each of the teaching lessons of the curriculum. Especially the iTunes U platform, where teachers can create their personalized courses using iBooks Author for building material and distribute content to all students in a fast, effective and simple way.