The snow-capped Beaufort mountains frame the small mill town of Port Alberni, located at the head of the Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The 12 schools in the Port Alberni public school district have a total of 3,500 students—smaller than some typical high schools. That hasn’t stopped them from becoming mighty through technology innovation.
To that end, three IT professionals manage the whole district, one of whom does so remotely. Working closely with Jack Hitchings, the Director of Learning and Technology at the Port Alberni school district, these professionals are responsible for the management and maintenance of all of Port Alberni schools’ technology infrastructure and applications, deployment and support of all user devices, software training and support, and assistive technology. And despite this lean tech staff, in the last decade, Port Alberni schools have implemented an impressive mix of educational technology, starting with Windows-equipped computers in 2007 and most recently deploying Microsoft Intune for Education to manage about 150 HP Stream and Lenovo N23 devices.
Hitchings is an educator first and an IT professional second. He’s been working at the Port Alberni school district for 15 years and has led many of its education technology efforts. He does not consider himself a tech expert, but he is driven by finding technology that will work for his students and his staff. As a small school district, Port Alberni used to spend a disproportionate amount of IT time on security issues. This constant security battle was unsustainable, and so Hitchings and his team started to investigate an alternative solution. They decided to implement Intune for Education to complement their existing Microsoft technology, manage devices, and help maintain security.