The hidden educational benefits from an agile IT environment

Atwell College strives to create an environment where staff can focus on educating students instead of micro-managing day-to-day tasks and handling technology issues
Tech automation
By leveraging the Freshworks technology to automate tasks and provide immediate communication links, teachers have more time to focus on their students

The use of technology throughout a range of services and institutions has led to countless opportunities and improvements – and the education sector is no different. For schools specifically, it has provided a wide variety of advantages, including speeding up the process of admin work, such as marking attendance and grades, creating a direct line of contact between parents and teachers, or making it easier for students to access class material.

At Atwell College, we strive to create an environment where staff can focus on more important things – such as educating students – instead of micro-managing day-to-day tasks and handling technology issues. In the past 10 years, IT has become a critical behind-the-scenes player that fosters the best education imaginable, and this is an environment we’ve built up over the years.

However, staff weren’t always as well equipped as they are now. Just ten years ago, we were managing IT requests with a printed spreadsheet and clipboard – it was neither efficient nor sustainable. Since then, we’ve made many changes and invested in technology that has significantly speeded up the process, making teachers’ lives easier and giving them more time to do what they love, teach.

In 2010, when we were looking to streamline our management of IT issues we discovered Freshworks – a cloud-based software. In fact, we were Freshworks’ first customer. Prior to this discovery, Atwell College’s entire help system was managed manually. People would call and email in their issues, which the tech department would have to track in a spreadsheet. Prioritising and monitoring the progress on different tasks was difficult and messy. This process also led to a lot of double-handling and a wastage of resources.

In the education sector, timely responses are essential as technical failures can severely impact the students’ learning. For example, if a projector isn’t working in a one hour class, then that class is wasted if the IT team is unresponsive. But, with a busy school environment, comes limited resources.

With that in mind, we wanted a tool to help improve IT operations through ticketing, multi-users, mobile support and self-help tools. The Freshworks tool we’ve implemented provides us with a snapshot of exactly what is happening in the school at any given time. The prioritisation functionalities enable quick responses and the immediate communication link between the agent and the customer, helps people feel at ease.

Additionally, in the past, OH&S issues would sometimes go unreported due to cumbersome processes. When several issues are reported, Freshdesk enables timely communication and allows the team to prioritise issues leading to a positive impact on response times. With high schools becoming increasingly technology-dependent, these links give students and staff peace of mind when experiencing issues and additional confidence that someone will attend to the problem.

Over the last ten years, Atwell College has grown at a significant rate, with the number of students and staff doubling.

Furthermore, by already being ahead of the curve prior to the pandemic, we were well placed to quickly pivot when Perth went into lockdown, and set ourselves up for ongoing success. All of our teaching staff were equipped with the right tools to take on virtual teaching and we ensured that remote student evaluation was made possible through technology as well. With remote schooling likely to become more common, Freshworks has enabled us to future-proof ourselves.

Keeping this in mind, any school or education provider that is finding difficulty in efficiently managing their IT, should consider a similar cloud-based tool. It might save you time and make things a whole lot easier!