As a school with a storied history of innovation – from outdoor education to technology-enabled classrooms – St Peters Lutheran College wanted to continue its technology journey by exploring new ways to modernise the student experience.
The College engaged Cloud Collective partner Antares to deploy aleX, its Adaptive Learning Experience platform, along with a suite of relevant Microsoft products to support their mathematics department. The result was a more streamlined approach to teaching, unforeseen time-savings, as well as accelerated student learnings.
About St Peters Lutheran College
Founded in 1945, St Peters Lutheran College is a K–12 school serving approximately 2,600 students across two campuses in the Brisbane suburbs of Indooroopilly and Springfield. With co-ed boarding facilities and a cohort of overseas students, St Peters is well versed in adapting to unique teaching environments.
An innovative mindset held back by legacy systems
St Peters has never been one to shy away from innovation. However, before partnering with Antares, the College’s mathematics department was mired in legacy systems and wanted to leverage the power of technology to enhance the learnings of their students. This was made even more essential after the impact of COVID-19, which forced both students and teachers away from campuses during Brisbane’s lockdowns and border closures.
For a school that was almost entirely centred on in-person education prior to coronavirus, St Peters realised the need for a solution that would support at-home learning while also bringing the faculty in the modern age of technology-enabled teaching.
“The communication tools we had in place were really just email and other internet things and web services,” says Daley Gallagher, Mathematics Teacher at St Peters Lutheran College. “We hadn’t touched Microsoft Teams as a College until aleX and COVID.”
Antares deploys the aleX platform to enhance the learning experience
With a history of partnerships mostly working with tertiary institutions, Antares understood that St Peters’ mathematics department would have different needs to a higher-education facility. After assessing their requirements, it became clear that a rollout of the aleX platform alongside Microsoft solutions would solve a number of key issues that had been plaguing the department.
“We had been using things individually,” says Michael Cujes, also a Mathematics Teacher at St Peters. “Teachers had been using things like Edmodo Online and Google Classrooms, but that’s no longer happening in our maths department. We’re all committed to using Teams and the Microsoft suite, and the way they’ve been integrated has made a massive difference.”
The concerted effort to deploy Microsoft solutions alongside the aleX platform has helped both teachers and students enhance their learnings.
“As teachers we’re all busy and we’re not always in the one staff room,” Michael says. “So it really helped with that communication. Teams has just enhanced it, and aleX has made things far more efficient – that’s the real feature of it.
“People are also less fearful about new technology and how it’s another thing to help us learn. It’s easier for the students because it’s all Microsoft products that are designed to fit together. And integrating all of the different applications has made it easier for us as teachers.”
St Peters can now provide help when it’s most needed
In addition to streamlining the way teachers help their students learn, St Peters’ mathematics department also found huge benefits from QBot, the personalised chatbot that is now part of the aleX platform.
“The main advantage of using aleX and QBot is being able to get the right help to the right student at the right time,” says Daley. “Before QBot, we could always answer an email, but we couldn’t always answer students’ questions at the exact time they needed help, such as when they were doing their maths studies remotely.
“What QBot has done is allow us to capture those quality answers that we provide so that the next student who needs help with the same problem gets that same quality help at the right time – not two hours or two days later, which can happen during the holidays.”
It’s the immediacy of QBot that the maths department finds most rewarding. For Michael, it’s also been a huge time-saver.
“We didn’t realise how many times QBot was answering questions that we weren’t even asked,” he says. “When we actually looked at the stats and saw how often that was happening, it’s a lot of time saved rather than getting the same question in 15 different emails and giving the same answer over and over again. QBot has removed that impact on our time and that’s only going to continue as our database of answers grows.
“That’s a massive benefit that you don’t necessarily see until you go into the analytics. The progress and the work that’s going on in the background, which we don’t even see anymore, is fantastic.”
A future driven by aleX
The future is looking bright for St Peters Lutheran College. While the ultimate goal is to roll out the aleX platform across the entire school, at the moment it’s all about onboarding every maths teacher and every maths class.
“We already have aleX and QBot in place for our Years 9 and 10, so we want to get every teacher feeling confident that they can walk into their classroom and teach kids how to use it, and then have those classes start using it as quickly as possible,” says Daley.
The next step is making it a complete deployment from Years 7 through 12, and then interacting with other departments to share the benefits of aleX and the broader Microsoft Suite.
“Antares had mostly worked with tertiary institutions before we started working with them, but they very quickly came to understand the differences that the secondary setting has. We felt really supported and they were very communicative with us the whole time.”Daley Gallagher, Maths Teacher at St Peters Lutheran College