Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) is the second-largest primary and secondary education provider in the state. They strive to empower their vibrant community of 163 schools to make a positive impact on every student and bring their vision for learning to life.
One of CEWA’s schools, Mary MacKillop Catholic Community Primary School—a mixed, K-6 school with 510 students in the Perth suburb of Ballajura—was finding it difficult to support the mix of technology in the classroom.
As new devices were introduced, the number of screen-mirroring solutions also increased. “At one stage, we had an Apple TV and a Chromecast plugged into every television,” says Steve Duncan, the IT Technician at CEWA who works with the school. “And then the Windows devices didn’t talk to either of them, so we needed to use a wired connection or add a Microsoft Display Adaptor if we wanted to project to a screen.”
The problem was compounded every time there was an update to iOS; the background security changes broke all the existing connections. Duncan had to physically reset each one to get the classroom projectors working properly again. As well as the administrative headache of fixing these issues, they caused another, larger problem: teachers stopped using them. “I’ve always found the same thing with teachers,” says Duncan, “Because they are so time poor, they have a very low threshold for troubleshooting. If a piece of technology breaks twice in a row, they usually forget about it and move onto something that’s more reliable.”
Duncan first came into contact with Vivi when the product was in its infancy. At that time, the school was running a desktop mirroring software that was already becoming cumbersome to use—but Vivi was at such an early stage of development that it was hard to commit to the cost. But what he saw back then certainly made its mark—so much so that when the school conducted a major refresh of its IT three years ago, Duncan took another look at Vivi. He was glad he did. “It had come a long way,” he says.
What the school needed was a screen mirroring solution that was device agnostic—the juniors were on iPads and the seniors on laptops—Microsoft is in use across every CEWA school, and OneNote and Teams, in particular, are heavily used. With its ability to connect to any device, Vivi ticked all the boxes. “Just knowing that I would only need to look after one solution instead of three for every room was a huge selling point,” says Duncan.
The reality was even better than expected; after implementation, the school saw the extent of the management capability Vivi affords. “I didn’t have to physically go to any classroom,” says Duncan. “I could see them all on the desktop and make setting changes if needed. It was so much easier.”
As part of the rollout, Duncan launched Vivi in just a few rooms to start with. “That allowed a few teachers to get going first,” he says. “They were actually using it and would talk about it with their peers.” He also pushed out a lot of information to teaching staff during the deployment. All of it included links to the Vivi website. “The resources on there are really good,” Duncan continues, “it helped to make staff aware of what Vivi could do before we released.”
Vivi can stream content from any device. It’s also easy to support remotely and is packed full of features that have helped teachers create excellent learning environments and saved time and money for the school.
With the help of Vivi, Mary MacKillop Catholic Community Primary School has been able to:
1. Save time on administrative tasks. Because Vivi can be managed remotely, the IT team no longer has to visit each classroom to provide support or change any settings.
2. Replace 3 screen-mirroring solutions in each classroom with just one. Because Vivi is device agnostic, it works equally well with Apple, Microsoft, and Google devices. Screen Mirroring has never been simpler.
3. Give teachers the confidence to include technology in their lesson plans. As they are time poor, teachers tend to have a low tolerance for troubleshooting. If something doesn’t work twice in a row, they quickly move on to something that does. The fact that Vivi is so reliable gives them the confidence that it will always be available to use.
Planning with Confidence
These days, most of the teachers at the school are using Vivi for four to five hours every day—it’s now a core component in the way they structure their lessons. They can plan with confidence because they don’t need to worry about whether Vivi will work or not; it’s so reliable.
“I rarely get told of any issues with people not being able to connect,” confirms Duncan. “Compared to what we had before, it needs a hundred times less technical intervention from me—Vivi has given me back time to do my job.”
Vivi has also made a huge difference to teachers’ mobility in the classroom. “They don’t have to be attached to a display at the front of the room,” says Duncan. “They can actually walk around with their laptop and still interact—it’s made them a lot more mobile in the room. Some of our teachers don’t even have a desk anymore.”
With such a high uptake and everyone comfortably building Vivi into their lessons, the next stage is to start unlocking some of the many Vivi features that are just waiting to be used. Duncan hopes to see teachers allowing students to display their screens more than they currently are and perhaps displaying multiple students’ work simultaneously. One of the great things about Vivi is that there is so much more functionality to unlock, with new features being added all the time.
“That’s another important point about Vivi,” says Duncan. “When there’s an update, things are fixed, and new functions are added. Unlike other software, features you use all the time and are comfortable with don’t suddenly disappear when there’s an update.”
While the school has no public displays, they still use Vivi’s digital signage feature to publicize important events on the classroom displays, like NAIDOC week.
“I’m sure Vivi will become more central to the way the school communicates in the future, though,” says Duncan, adding, “it’s just a case of waiting for other devices to be upgraded so we can do more with them. For example, we looked at trying to automate our emergency display capability by using Vivi, but our current system has to be operated manually. It will undoubtedly be one to look at in the future as we upgrade our existing technology.”