Uckfield Community Technology College (UCTC) is one of the very first schools to adopt EduLink One since its launch in January 2017.
UCTC in Sussex is a secondary school with over 1,700 students on roll. In the summer of 2016 the school implemented one of the biggest rollouts of Chromebooks in the UK, as part of a one-to-one computing strategy, totalling 1,500 computers!
Darren Jones, the Network Manager at UCTC explains why they have rolled out with EduLink One and what their ambitions are for using the platform across the school.
“What immediately caught our attention when initially evaluating EduLink was the user interface, which was very refreshing, eye catching and engaging. More importantly it was simple to use. As the Network Manager, when you need to convince all the stakeholders within the school to use the technology, these aspects are really important.
When trialling the system we even set homework for a number of our students to critique EduLink One.
Overwhelming they liked the software and even made suggestions for future development.
What we also really liked was that within one unified platform we had a single solution that would allow us to communicate, engage and share data with teachers, parents and students. This would help to bring the whole school community together. EduLink One can be accessed via any internet enabled device (web browser or iOS/ Android app). This was perfect for our Chromebook strategy.
Deployment was a breeze, with the rollout to 1,500 Chromebooks taking a matter of minutes.”
Darren explains his goal with using EduLink One.
“My department’s ambition is to replace our SIMS clients with EduLink in readiness for the new academic year. The drivers for this are twofold.
Firstly reducing our total cost of ownership of SIMS. For teachers, whilst they can access SIMS via the SIMS client, it is inflexible on what device you can install it on. Essentially it has to be Windows clients, with the associated cost of Microsoft licensing.
If our teachers can do all their SIMS administration via EduLink One such as registration, mark books etc, we can remove the necessity of providing them with a separate SIMS client. This significantly reduces our Microsoft licensing cost requirements, which is important with school budgets under ever increasing pressure.
Secondly this perfectly aligns to our Chromebook strategy, where our SIMS data can be easily accessed via these devices. This wasn’t possible before. Now our PE teachers can take electronic registration using these devices.
Our target once agreed with the Senior Leadership Team is to get teachers to use EduLink One for SIMS administration for the new 2017/18 academic year. We will remove access to the SIMS client.”
What immediate benefits did Darren observe with the introduction of EduLink One for students?
“An unanticipated benefit of our students using EduLink One is that they can see their cashless catering balance. Before, students had to trek halfway across the school and queue up at a kiosk to find their catering balance. Now with EduLink One, they can check it on their Chromebook any time.
Now that we have seen this, we can see other EduLink services students would find attractive. For example checking their photo copy balance, which is a frequent query we get. Overnet Data are building this feature in which is great.”
And what is happening with parents?
“We have yet to roll out to parents, but I believe EduLink One will be pivotal in fostering parental engagement. Through the app or browsers, parents will have access to unprecedented levels of data from our MIS, presented in controlled and digestible format. Plus it will allow us to streamline our communication with parents.”
As well as the software, the values of the service provider was key in making a decision on a solution. Why did UCTC choose Overnet Data above other competing solutions.
“Historically we have worked with Overnet Data for the past three years, with Overnet Data providing support for our Moodle VLE. During this time Overnet Data have always listen to our needs and more often than not, provided a rapid solution. We have confidence we can pick up a phone and speak to someone who can help immediately.”
Testimonial kindly provided by:
Darren Jones, Network Manager
Uckfield Community Technology College