Robert Gordon’s College (RGC) is an independent school in the heart of Aberdeen, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2000. Attracting over 1,650 pupils aged between 3 and 18, it is one of the largest independent day schools in the country and has just opened the UK’s largest school teaching facility for Science and Technology.
By Going Google, students and teachers at RGC have access to a whole new way of working. Better collaboration in and out of the classroom allows teachers to give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary!) and group projects can take place across the campus, instead of side-by-side in the classroom.
Robert Gordon’s College had invested in iPads to provide their pupils with a better virtual learning environment, however integration with Microsoft Exchange had proved to be fraught with difficulties. The use of SharePoint had also proved challenging and time consuming for teachers so the initiative had stalled, leaving RGC searching for a better solution.
Cloud was a great fit with the iPad rollout and left the College with a choice between Google Apps for Education and Microsoft 365. Google took the lead with its many advantages including its collaborative philosophy, free licences, better user interface, Classroom and its fit with iOS.
Classroom has allowed teachers to create and collect coursework paperlessly from their desks, organise assignments in Google Drive and keep track of who has or hasn’t completed their work, providing direct and real-time feedback.
Refractiv, a Google for Work Premier Partner, supported RGC throughout the transition starting with a deployment and discovery day with the IT project team. When everyone was up to speed, Refractiv migrated all staff email, calendar and contacts from Exchange to Google. To underpin the migration and make sure RGC was using Google to its full potential, Refractiv delivered on-site training for all IT and support staff.
The move to Google Apps had an immediate and positive impact on the College’s internal communication. With pupils using Google Docs, teachers are able to communicate, share, and mark homework with ease.
RGC use Refractiv’s comprehensive Google Apps support package and also use two third party apps provided through Refractiv – Backupify and BetterCloud. Backupify provides an extensive archiving and restore solution, providing RGC with daily backups and a way to restore emails or files which have been accidentally or maliciously deleted; BetterCloud, the number 1 cloud management and security tool, integrates fully with Google Apps and provides the IT Department with comprehensive management and control.
The ability to collaborate in and share documents is a huge advantage for an organisation of our size and complexity. In addition, the ability to search email is far quicker and more powerful than what we had before.