How Isometric makes tech part of Gladstone Primary’s every day
It’s 8.45am on a Monday morning, and like every other day, the students at Gladstone Primary are about to kick things off by watching the news. Since November 2000, Gladstone Primary has run a school news bulletin. Aired at the same time every day, Monday to Friday, GTV News is produced and presented on site by Year 6 students, and broadcast live into classrooms.
And if that wasn’t cool enough, the students are using virtual reality (VR) to improve their creative writing skills. Bruce Griffin has been working at Gladstone Primary full-time since 2003 as the communications manager. He says both IT solutions play a valuable part in the school’s teaching and learning – and would not be possible without the help of their IT company, Isometric Solutions.
Bruce explains that the best part of working with Conrad and the team at Isometric Solutions is their ability to do so much of their work remotely. Often the cost associated with IT comes when someone is needed on-site, but Bruce says this is avoided unless absolutely necessary.
“Being a school, we’re limited in how much we can regularly invest in our IT. One of the fabulous things about the company is they’ll do as much as they can remotely – unlike other IT companies that need to come on site, and who charge per hour.”
Big school made small with GTV
Gone are the days of the school bell – for many of Gladstone Primary’s students, GTV is what signals the start of a new school day.
Bruce says, “GTV is a great communications tool for the kids. We record the bulletin live on a green screen, and overlay pre-recorded videos of the students. They could be working hard on their math’s in a classroom, or singing a waiata at assembly. Being able to see what’s happening in other classrooms and schools – junior, middle or senior – helps to make a big school feel quite small.”
Isometric Solutions was instrumental in helping Bruce take GTV to the next level – by designing the connection that broadcasts the bulletin through the school’s network and beams into every classroom. The bulletin is also streamed live to the school’s YouTube channel, so parents can see their kids reading the news or what’s been happening at the school recently.
Bruce says Isometric researched what was needed to make the broadcast happen technologically, sourced a specialty part they needed, and then remotely finished the set-up.
Once the kids have finished reading the news – approximately five minutes – a mixture of clips is broadcast to a large screen in the school’s reception, including a Te Reo Māori series. Hosted by a part-time staff member and a student, they communicate in te reo, educating viewers on how to incorporate the language into their everyday lives.
VR helping kids become better writers
Nothing can really prepare you for virtual reality until you’ve experienced it – and there’s no denying VR is changing the world of education. Bruce talks about how Isometric introduced the school to the technology, and how it could be used in their teaching and learning. So, when the school was ready to implement VR, Isometric was the first – and only – choice of provider.
At the heart of the school, you’ll find the latest VR set-up in a small studio. Teachers incorporate the technology into the curriculum by using VR to help students with instant emotional recall. Bruce explains that students can become a number of different characters – think a Jedi in Star Wars, a magician mixing potions, or a fluffy snow bunny helping to stop an alien invasion – and within a few minutes, they have an instant experience they can use to write a story about.
“I remember being asked as a kid to write about something I did on the weekend – it was always so hard to remember what I’d done. But with VR, students have a recent experience they can draw on,” Bruce says.
Isometric is IT king for schools
Bruce has been working with Isometric Solutions for many years, and says like any long-term relationship, it has worked so well because of trust and honesty. But the thing he appreciates the most is their knowledge and experience in the education sector.
“I can manage changing hardware and basic IT solutions, but it’s great to have support only a phone call away. Their service is great – I can email them about anything and get a response quickly. And they’ve got extensive knowledge and experience with schools from years of working with them.”
Technology is fundamental to teaching and learning, and schools require flexible IT solutions that work for both school and student. Bruce explains Isometric Solutions are first and foremost IT professionals, meaning he trusts their advice to be of benefit to the school – and not to the company’s back pockets.
He says the company’s commitment to the school and its students – whether it be a staple piece of technology like GTV or special project like VR – is what makes it the best IT solutions company.