Ensuring tech-savvy for the next generation
H-FARM International School also known as H-IS is an incredibly unique enterprise, brought about by an interesting problem: why is it so hard to train adults in new technology? H-FARM, which started in 2005 as a venture incubator, kept running into the same issue: unfamiliarity with, and maybe a bit of resistance to, technology.
“Okay,” Gaia Veronese, PR at H-FARM, said to herself, “if we have to train grown people to use the digital tools, how about our children that are born in this digital world?”
So after a few years, H-FARM refocused and pivoted: they would ensure that the next generation was comfortable with and understood how people-centered technology worked and improved lives and workplaces.
Managing students, teachers, parents and enterprise employees
After offering a few classes in 2011, they established a full- time school in 2015: H-FARM International School Treviso, an International Baccalaureate School and Apple Distinguished School, that has since grown into a network of international schools from nursery school to high school.
The new H-FARM campus leverages their extensive network of former start-ups and current tech-consulting clients to provide mentorship and training opportunities and assist students in their own start-ups from idea to implementation.
With the new campus, H-IS launch an Experience Center where entrepreneurs, professionals and students can experiment with the best technologies to enable the digital transformation of companies, schools and healthcare; including the opportunity of discover a hands-on graphics, coding and Jamf experience
The campus has five new school buildings capable of welcoming up to 2,000 students from early childhood education through post-graduates.
H-FARM knew just what technology was the most cutting-edge in education and in the enterprise; the technology that would aid in teaching critical thinking and high-tech workforce skills: Apple.
Jamf Pro prepared H-FARM for pivots and expansions
And Alberto Aldrigo, IT manager at H-FARM, knew exactly how he would manage the devices of a combined school and enterprise technology consultancy: Jamf Pro
After careful consideration and comparison to other MDM providers, Aldrigo had already been using Jamf Pro to manage his fleet of Macs and iPads due to Jamf Pro’s unparalleled depth and breadth of features.
It was no surprise to him that Jamf Pro’s Apple management technology that assisted him in dealing with startups that needed swift setups and closures was also adept at running the Apple devices of an enterprise tech consulting company as well as a network of schools.
H-IS teachers embrace iPads as tools for learning
Apple is so fast, so easy to use, you can do many things than other brands do not offer.
Although Spanish teacher Raquel Carrasco had, until she started at H-FARM, never used any technology beyond a Promethean Board, she quickly found iPads managed by Jamf Pro to be an enormously important teaching tool. “This was the first school using technology I fulfilled myself — a great challenge — and believe me, everything started the day they gave me an iPad and a Mac.”
“I wouldn’t change Apple for anything in the world,” says Carrasco, “not even if the device was for free. Apple is so fast, so easy to use, you can do many things than other brands do not offer.”
Carrasco uses the iPad and an Apple Pencil to write, correct student work, and create new units. “Even my five-year-old daughter knows how to use different apps!” she says.
iPads help the students keep up with the varied education at H-FARM. Students are best able to succeed in a curriculum that emphasizes projects when they are able to use one device to study, take notes, read books, take photographs and make videos.
Teachers can focus on education and not have to think about the device or constraints or issues with technology because everything is managed centrally. So if a teacher wants a particular lesson, they can just pull it up on the entire class’s devices.
Alberto Aldrigo believes that even beyond the specific modalities students have access to using iPads, Jamf Pro and Apple can help teachers focus on what is important. “Teachers can focus on education and not have to think about the device or constraints or issues with technology because everything is managed centrally,” says Aldrigo. “So if a teacher wants a particular lesson, they can just pull it up on the entire class’s devices.”
“Thanks to Jamf,” says Aldrigo, “device enrollment guarantees us that our students will have a freshly wiped and loaded device that is immediately functional: everything they need right away at the start of each school year. That’s really important for us.
Well-prepared to teach anywhere
Covid-19 heralded the need for teaching students wherever they were. The schools’ 1-to-1 iPad program combined with Jamf Pro’s Apple device management sped switching from face-to-face instruction to all-online instruction; H-FARM made the switch in a week and a half. As a matter of fact, H-IS began 100% online learning before the Italian government requested it.
“It was quite easy for us,” says Aldrigo. “Our schools implemented digital learning more than five years ago, so we only had to redistribute iPads to the younger students who kept their devices at school and share the online lessons calendar with them.”
They managed the transition by ensuring that the school management team worked very closely with the tech team to decide the most appropriate tools use for the lessons.
“The teams took about three to four days to make a plan,” says Aldrigo, “and teachers took about a week to prepare the materials and train families (of younger students) how to use iPads. We decided to implement our system and to review it every week to decide what changes to make.”
Teacher Raquel Carrasco found quarantine a challenging time, but sees potential in her students learning anywhere moving forward, even after quarantine is lifted: “Challenges make us grow and learn new things,” she says.
Carrasco says the students took the changes in stride. “I am very lucky as my students were used to using a digital platform, and it was there that I created a place for them to find all of the exercises for each unit.”
As a matter of fact, Carrasco has found that there are some ways in which this technology being in every student’s home has actually increased the ways in which she can offer individualized assistance. Students contact her with questions, and she is planning on continuing Webex contact with students and parents even after in-person instruction begins.
“It is faster to solve problems and help them with Webex” says Carrasco. “I also like the idea of having parents’ meetings from home as you give opportunities to the ones who live far away or who cannot come to school.”
A scalable Apple device management solution
Over the years, H-FARM has grown so that Alberto Aldrigo’s team centrally manages more than 1,600 Apple devices with Jamf Pro: each with different configurations, restrictions, and privileges.
And Alberto Aldrigo knows exactly who to thank for this:
“We couldn’t have done it without Jamf.”