Although Acer is traditionally known as a computer hardware company, it strives to provide quality service in addition to quality products. The company seeks to build stronger relationships with its clients and provide additional value. Acer's partnership with Ave Maria College is a notable example that demonstrates such efforts. In this partnership, Acer has endeavoured to understand more about the College, its mission and how Acer can assist in fulfilling this mission.
About Ave Maria College and Its Mission
Ave Maria College is a Catholic secondary school for girls located in the Melbourne suburb of Aberfeldie in Victoria. Established in 1963 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the College is home to eight hundred plus students.
In keeping with its Franciscan charism, Ave Maria College aims to nurture young people who are engaged in their learning, who can persevere through challenges and thrive in their life outside of school.
"Ultimately, what we're trying to do is develop young people who have a curiosity for learning, who are building their independent learning skills, who can be resilient," explains Jo Hammer, the Assistant Principal (Community and Growth). "So, if we look at the digital landscape, how do we help our students to become independent, to be curious and to be resilient, amongst other things?"
Digital Learning Environment
At Ave Maria College, all teachers and students use the same device, the Acer TravelMate Spin P4. The laptops are distributed to all Year 7 students in their first week of school. Upon receiving their laptops, students are taught how to use the school's learning management system, which includes learning to access their timetables, lesson plans for their classes and daily messages.
"Our Year 7 students come from anywhere between 25 and 30 different primary schools, and most of them have a very different platform to us," elucidates Jo. "So, it's important for us to get them inducted into our system so that they have an understanding right from the outset."
Device of Choice
Jo cites the following reasons for the College choosing Acer's TravelMate Spin P4 as the laptop for all their students and teachers:
- Lightweight - weighing in at approximately 1.5kg.
- Long battery life - up to 13 hours.
- Multimodal - the four modes being laptop, stand, tent and tablet, which has "real versatility for staff and students alike."
- Software compatibility - providing "scope and flexibility in the learning environment."
Moreover, having a device that complements the needs of both teachers and students has allowed Ave Maria College to reap several benefits. IT management is more manageable as all students and teachers use the same device. Additionally, the turnaround time for resolving device issues is shorter as the problems tend to be similar. More importantly, using the same laptop allows teachers and students to help each other build their knowledge and skills in utilising the device.
"The fact that everyone has the same device means that there's a real collaboration in not only how we use it, but how we also build our capacity with that device," expresses Jo.
Opportunities with an Acer Partnership
Although this partnership began as a simple supplier relationship between Acer and Ave Maria College, it has grown into something greater as Acer continues to deepen its understanding of the College and seek opportunities that provide additional value for the school.
"In the competitive landscape that Acer operates in, we are really looking for additional value-add that we can give our clients, and that's born out of building a deeper relationship," articulates Rod Bassi, the Oceanic Sales Director for Acer Computer Australia. "So, in order to achieve that, we educate ourselves on the functions of a typical environment such as Ave Maria and understand what their journey is and where they want to head and how we may be able to facilitate and assist in parts of that."
From the perspective of Ave Maria College, Jo comments: "I think it's just having had a couple of years with Acer where they understand our needs as a college, and we are really comfortable and happy with the product that that relationship has been able to grow and develop into something more than just they provide our laptops at the college."
Recently, this partnership has yielded a major collaboration with Fang Chen, Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of the Data Science Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This project delves into the field of data analytics as a means to enhance the individual student learning experience.
"We've been really fortunate to develop a bigger relationship with Acer into the area of data analytics with a joint partnership with UTS," reflects Jo. "We've been very fortunate to have that support from Acer, not only putting us in contact with UTS in the first place. But investing in the product that we're working on, which is our own customised data dashboard."
The Partnership Continues
Acer is entering its fourth year of partnership with Ave Maria College. During these few years, the relationship has evolved from Acer only supplying quality devices to the school. Through understanding more about the school's needs and nuances, Acer has provided support and resources to assist the College in its mission to empower its students. Acer hopes to replicate this mutually rewarding relationship with other schools across Australia.
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