Reseller educates SA schools, government

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Education IT reseller Microbits held the first of a planned series of education days at its South Australian office for private and public sector schools on Wednesday, 5 November.

Education IT reseller Microbits held the first of a planned series of education days at its South Australian office for private and public sector schools on Wednesday, 5 November.

Max Mentiplay, MD at Microbits, said the education days were designed to teach educators how to use IT to benefit their pupils and institutions.

Schools started planning ICT needs for the coming year in September, October and November, buying November through January for the first day of term in the new year, he said. '[The day] went very well. We got about 100 people all up on the day,' Mentiplay said.

Representatives of the South Australian government and from various local schools and colleges came to investigate the latest technology from vendors such as Acer and Apple, and hear speakers such as Tony Carrucan, director of technology and information services for Brisbane's John-Paul College.

Mentiplay said John-Paul College had been singled out as particularly progressive in its use of technology to benefit its education programs. 'They're doing a great job that way, integrating ICT into the curriculum,' Mentiplay said.

Microbits also set up an interactive 'classroom' that suggested how classrooms in the future might look and how IT could help students learn.

It's no secret that some children have always found school boring. However, Mentiplay argued that today's crop was even less responsive to 'traditional' schooling than ever before, since many of them had grown up around computers.

'The creative application of technology is the key to changing the school operation and teaching methodologies to engage students today as well as in coming generations,' he said.

Mentiplay said the South Australian government saw particular potential in thin clients. Many education functions did not require powerful PCs, so space and money could be saved by installing thin clients instead.

He said it had been a difficult year for Microbits, but no worse than last year. Sales had shown a similar pattern, with a good first half followed by a drop of about 20 percent in the second half of the year.

Sales tended to pick up towards Christmas and as the education sector got its buying program underway, he said, predicting a pickup in sales of about 30 percent this year-end. More education days would be scheduled for next May and November, Mentiplay said.

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