Columba College is a 1:1 student laptop school from Years 7 to 13. On entry to the College all students from Year 7 up are expected to have a MacBook Pro 13” or MacBook Air 13” laptop with a specified software bundle.
Students and teachers actively incorporate digital technology into their learning and teaching. Through the use of digital technology, independent learning has been enhanced and new learning opportunities have been accessed such as online educational software (Language Perfect and Education Perfect to give two examples) as well as the benefits of connectivity with local and global communities.
The College has a business arrangement with Cyclone Computers to supply parents with the above laptops complete with the Columba software bundle and the Columba College laptop shoulder bag which all up makes purchasing through Cyclone Computers more attractive than through usual retail channels.
Cyclone Computers is located at:
107 Princes Street
In Term Four of each year the College provides an updated Information Sheet for parents about the Laptop options, costs and purchasing arrangements for the following year.
In the Junior School, there are 64 iPads currently available for individual student use or group work in class. The Junior School teachers operate a booking system for the iPads.
Click here to download the 2017 purchase options with Cyclone Computers.
Columba College Digital Learning Experience
Columba College aims to offer the very best educational environment possible to all its students and to provide them with the skills necessary to meet the challenges graduates will face. These days this cannot be achieved without fully integrating digital technology into education. In recent years the ability to deliver educational content digitally has improved markedly, as has the quality and capability of digital devices. This has been matched with a relative decrease in costs.
In 2010 Columba College explored a number of options around integrating digital technology more closely in teaching and learning.
With their solid metal bodies, lengthy battery life and strong performance, Apple computers met the requirements. The School also wanted a consistent experience for both staff and students, reinforcing the decision to go with Apple as a single platform.
Initially, staff and students had MacBook Pros 13”. Since 2013, the price of MacBook Airs 13” has decreased such that they are increasingly supplanting the older models, bringing advantages of much better battery life, increased robustness and greatly reduced weight.
Beginning in 2011, Columba College phased in its 1:1 laptop programme for Years 7 to 13 students. The laptops are not used in every class, as certain subjects and teaching approaches mean there must be flexibility, and Columba College encourages this. But for the majority, putting the power of a modern computer on every desk opens doors to new ways of learning and teaching. An obvious result is that the quality of student work improved, not just in presentation, but in depth of research and comprehension of subject matter.
In order to maximise the benefit of students having computers, all Years 7 to 13 students are issued with an email address, and most have their computers configured to receive email automatically. The school calendar has been fully digitised and is accessed via the laptops. This updates automatically, and can also be used by students to manage their classes and study timetable. This change relieves students from purchasing a physical diary and is one less thing they must carry. Some text-books and many loose papers have been replaced by digital equivalents, further lightening the students’ bags and offering greater flexibility in how the materials are used.
The Languages Department has found the ability of the Apple computers to speak French, German and Chinese helpful, so students can listen to unfamiliar texts even without the teacher present. As part of the educationally priced Columba College computer package, students can also use a range of excellent software from Adobe, Apple, Avid, Inspiration and Microsoft.
In Mathematics, Mathletics and Fathom are very popular. In Music, students use Sibelius and in Digital Technology and Visual Arts they have access to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more. All this software is on their laptops, so students can continue with projects and study whenever they wish.
As well, teachers publish resources digitally using various tools such as the school Wiki which enable learning materials to be delivered easily and speedily to students.
If a student is unable to attend school, she can often still access lesson materials, even from home. Teaching resources available digitally include videos, web links, quizzes, tests, reading material, audio clips and imagery. This is ideal for revision as well.
Using the latest technology, USB flashdrives have largely been superceded so that computer users can quickly exchange files wirelessly. This has been popular in class when students need a teacher to review their work. While we encourage the exchange of work in digital form whenever possible, the students can also access a number of high quality printers around the school for when hardcopy is necessary.
Also superceded are the School’s old computer labs. Now that the Years 7 to 13 students all have their own personal laptops and the Junior School pupils have access to 64 school-owned iPads, we no longer maintain fleets of desktop computers. Instead, the School provides an appropriate space for the students to work comfortably with their laptop. In certain cases, desks contain a workstation consisting of a keyboard, mouse, power supply and large monitor to which the students connect their laptops. This provides a desktop experience with the benefit that the computer is the student’s, and they don’t have to leave their work behind when they leave the lab.
Concurrent with the 1:1 laptop programme, Columba College has embarked on a broad modernisation programme of its digital infrastructure. The School has for some years had data projectors in almost every classroom and a number of interactive whiteboards. In recent years, some projectors have been replaced by 55” LCD TVs with wireless connectivity.
In late 2010 the School upgraded its WiFi to an enterprise level system, able to cope with the hundreds of laptops associated with the 1:1 programme. The School now enjoys an ultra high-speed broadband Internet connection and a powerful Xserve Apple server.
The School has added new equipment such as iPads to its resources, especially in the Junior School, where there are 64 iPads available. These have proven popular with all ages. Students are also welcome to bring their own iPads and smartphones to school and have them connected to the School’s WiFi. Boarders make good use of the School’s high speed system to keep in touch with family via Skype.
In early 2013 the School’s wired network was upgraded, further improving the digital infrastructure. While maintaining established best practices in the classroom, Columba College is committed to exploring and evaluating new technologies to ensure students enjoy the very best learning environment possible.
The School employs a full-time IT Technician who also assist with eLearning training. Students are encouraged to visit the Technician as often as necessary to ensure the smooth running of their digital devices.
Teacher professional development in eLearning and ePedagogy has been a key component in the successful implementation of our 1:1 student laptop programme. From the introduction of the 1:1 student laptop programme, teaching staff have been provided with relevant professional development, from outside experts, our own IT Technicians and the teaching staff themselves who regularly present on a selected topic to their colleagues.
For the purchase of a laptop and accessories we recommend our IT partner Cyclone Computers http://www.cycloneonline.co.nz/
Cyclone Computers is a licensed Apple Education Retailer and is using its collective relationship with other New Zealand schools to provide parents with an easy online ordering service along with the advantages of bulk buying.