News Release

Cisco Unified Communications and Wireless Networking Transform Learning Environment at Melbourne Grammar School

Teachers, staff and students benefit from intelligent network
Jun 15, 2006

MELBOURNE, Australia - June 15, 2006 - Internet Protocol (IP)-based Unified Communications and wireless networking technology from Cisco Systems® has transformed the way students, teachers and administrative staff communicate and learn at Melbourne Grammar School, a well-known K-12 educational institution.

The end-to-end Cisco® network was installed at the school by the integrator Dimension Data and supports a Unified Communications system used by teachers and administrative staff. About 1,300 students and 200 teachers use notebook computers to connect wirelessly to Melbourne Grammar School's local area network (LAN) from any classroom, library or staff room across the school's three campuses in South Yarra and Caulfield.

Sue Lines, the school's director of information technology, said: "Migrating to a Unified Communications environment has major benefits for our school - for our students and our staff. Moreover, we believe that networking technologies are playing an increasingly important role in supporting the overall school community and in helping us provide a world's best-practice learning and teaching environment."

A combination of Cisco Unified IP Phone 7960G handsets and portable soft phones has been deployed across the campus, allowing teachers to use their notebook computers as their primary desktop telephone device. The Unified Communications system allows teachers and staff to make the most of the school's investment in notebook computers by providing access to school information in a mobile environment. With the previous private branch exchange (PBX)-based communications system, one phone was set up with multiple extensions and staff members had to share the line and take messages for each other, resulting in frustration and lower productivity. With the Cisco Unified Communications platform, staff members have individual extension numbers that go wherever they go, boosting productivity and improving the way staff communicate with each other.

About 100 Cisco wireless access points provide connectivity at Melbourne Grammar School's two South Yarra campuses. The junior school in Caulfield is connected via a point-to-point microwave bridge, and also has Cisco wireless installed for the students in years 5 and 6. Additional wireless access points are due to be rolled out in the June term break - all managed from the CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine server.

Since the integration of teachers' Microsoft Outlook e-mail accounts with the school's Unified Communications system, teachers have benefited from unprecedented flexibility in issuing and receiving communications. On or off campus, they are able to access their voicemail online via their notebooks, or as audio wave files delivered to their e-mail.

Teachers can also perform a range of daily administrative tasks on their notebooks, such as managing attendance records, tutoring groups, e-mailing, and marking students' homework submitted through the school portal. Interested parents are also able to use the portal to remotely monitor their children's academic progress.

Students use their notebooks to wirelessly access school resources such as online databases, printing facilities and the school portal, plus Internet services such as newspaper journals, e-mail and forums. Once research is complete, students can publish work electronically on the school portal, or print a hard copy, making the library or classroom a one-stop shop for assignments.

Dom Carbone, Victoria branch manager, Cisco Systems, said: "We are delighted one of Melbourne's most prestigious schools is taking full advantage of Cisco's advanced networking technologies to boost organisational efficiency, staff and student productivity, and parent-to-teacher communications."