Victoria-based college finds the balance between style and substance for its students
    More than 650 ultra-versatile, powerful and lightweight ASUS ZenBook Flip UX461 laptops give students at St Bede's College the best possible chance to succeed both in the classroom and at home

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    The importance for organisations to be able to function digitally has never been more apparent than during 2020, with education centres representing a crucial element of this.

    The need for students to be able to connect, learn and engage both in the classroom and at home is clear to see, yet for various reasons, schools and colleges often appear late to the game.

    St Bede's Catholic College in Victoria is one institution that has recognised this need and acted accordingly by partnering with global computer and electronics hardware company, ASUS. Since 2014, ASUS and St Bede's have worked together to deploy more than 3000 laptops to its students. Recently, together they have deployed more than 650 ASUS ZenBook Flip UX461 convertible laptops to their entire student base to ensure continuity and productivity in this fast-paced digital world.

    In the past, the college used a mix of devices coupled with up to 10 per cent of students bringing their own devices to campus. This caused a disjointed system for the college, and one that David Cracknell, Deputy Principal for ICT at St Bede,s College was keen to address:

    "Our students just weren't excited about using older style laptops and we realised that it is absolutely vital to have that student buy-in with technology devices in order to maintain engagement and productivity."

    With a project this size and budgets always a priority, St Bede,s embarked on a rigorous selection process to ensure it achieved the best value-for-money technology on offer. David added: "There,s a range of criteria that we need to meet 一 the durability factor is particularly important and having accidental damage cover with ASUS is a lifesaver. As an all-boys school, you can imagine that accidents can occur more frequently than they might at other institutions".

    "Any device needs to be able to last a school day, so battery life is key, as well as being lightweight for students to carry around and offer superb functionality along with versatility - the ZenBook Flip UX461 being able to be used as a tablet is a terrific addition."

    Ensuring that students don,t miss a beat and are as productive as possible will always be a primary focus for any school and St Bede,s with nearly 1,800 staff and students is no different.

    Deployment across all students and staff has been taking place throughout the last 18 months and the ongoing support and commitment from the ASUS sales team has made it as smooth a process as one could hope for with such a high quantity of devices.

    The ZenBook Flip UX461 is the world’s lightest convertible laptop with a powerful discrete graphics processor. The convertible 2-in-1 laptops — feature versatile touchscreen displays that fold 360-degrees, allowing them to be used as tablets.

    Its folding display has also been tested to operate reliably for at least 20,000 opening and closing cycles - so if a student opens and folds it back completely an average of four times a day, it will reliably operate for at almost 14 years.

    The powerful discrete graphics processor of the laptop allows design or video software to run more smoothly than models with integrated graphic processors -which is great for the students’ multimedia projects.

    Despite its power, the ZenBook UX461 is only 1.5 kg in weight and offers an incredible 13 hours of battery life, making it easy for students to bring it to and from school without needing to bring a charger.

    With students having the ability to operate seamlessly in both the classroom and at home, technology has paved the way for them to raise their productivity and subsequent digital skill levels - an area often found wanting in the business world.

    Total homogenisation of devices across students and staff has also significantly decreased any potential downtime with students easily able to utilise spare devices should they forget or temporarily damage their own, with an ASUS technician also available on-site to provide further support.

    "I'm seeing students operate with a far higher level of knowledge and skill on these laptops than 2-3 years ago.This calls for a『ve also noticed that when the technology is as robust and reliable as it is, both teachers and students can focus more on the actual learning side of things, which enhances everyone’s game.", said David.

    On the challenges presented by COVID-19, David commented: "The online learning situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a total reliance of the staff and students on their laptops. The laptops needed to be reliable, dependable, and have the flexibility for a vast array of learning styles and types. The ASUS laptops have fulfilled this role admirably. Coupled with the constant support from ASUS for any laptops that required service, we have been able to provide continuous and exceptional support for staff and students during a demanding time".

    As St Bede’s looks to expand further, the possibility of a further laptop deployment might not be too far away and something that could be an option for other schools in the area.

    He added:" I have noticed a steady increase of ASUS devices appearing at other schools and while being no salesman, I have spoken to peers at various functions and meetings and conveyed my satisfaction at our latest deployment."