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Acer’s Partnership with Ave Maria College: Empowering Students with Technology

Ave Maria College Case Study

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.

This whitepaper discusses Ave Maria College, its vision and how Acer has supported the College to navigate the challenges of incorporating technology into its educational environment and achieve its goal of empowering its students.

About Ave Maria 

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.

Based on its Franciscan heritage, the College upholds the values of peace, justice, care for creation and dignity for all. In the words of Jo Hammer, the Assistant Principal (Community and Growth), the school cares "very much about community, about our young people feeling like they are known and that they belong."

Nurturing a sense of belonging and community starts "right from the beginning when they enrol with us," expresses Jo.

"We get to know the families, we get to know the students, what their passions are, what their interests are, and we work to individualise the support that we give them."

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.

After 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," explains Jo.

"So, it's important for us to get them inducted into our system so that they have an understanding right from the outset."

Students also spend time familiarising themselves with the entire Microsoft 365 suite of applications, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Furthermore, the College places emphasis on ensuring students are confident in using Microsoft Teams, which proved crucial during previous lockdowns.

"It's a really good communication and collaboration tool, not only between students and teachers but also students and students," Jo comments.

"We have a really good infrastructure with our Teams environment where certain groups within the school have their own teams. So, there's a whole school community one that has a lot of our announcements about our whole school events and those sorts of activities."

In addition to receiving their TravelMate Spin P4 device in Year 7, students and their parents are made aware of the College's user agreement.

This document outlines the school's expectations for its students. Students are expected to be good digital citizens who use their devices safely and appropriately.

"Whilst there is room for individualisation and different skill levels, there's also some clarity around what's the software that we should be using and making sure that there are some systems in place for that," clarifies Jo.

"So how we use Teams, how we use our Outlook and all of those sorts of things, even to the point of having protocols around one to one chats between students and teachers in online learning and things like that. So, making sure that parents and students and teachers are all on the same page so that there's a consistent experience."

Device of Choice

Jo cites the following reasons for the College selecting 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 when 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.

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 seeks opportunities that provide additional value for the school.

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 Sydney.

This project delves into the field of data analytics as a means to enhance the individual student learning experience.

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 believes that this partnership can remain strong by continuing to deliver quality products, good service and value-add. Additionally, Acer hopes to replicate this mutually rewarding relationship with other schools across Australia.

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