Ringerike Municipality on steady course
When Ringerike municipality was to lay out a plan for a digitalization in schools in 2017, the choice fell on G Suite and Chromebooks for all pupils in primary school. After two days of training and assistance in setting up settings and administering in G Suite, the municipality is now on steady course according to the plan on digital skills in primary school.
Ringerike is a municipality in Viken county, Norway (formerly Buskerud county), with the administration center located in Hønefoss. Ringerike has about 30.000 inhabitants, and is among the medium-sized municipalities in Norway. Evi Mathilassi Lien works as an advisor in the municipality today, and is responsible for digitalisation and data investment in the schools. Lien has worked as a teacher, has a background from ICT and has worked with schools and IT since 1997.
Ringerike municipality made a plan for digitizing schools in 2017. According to the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, all pupils in primary school “should be able to use and navigate digital resources in and outside networks, and safeguard information and data security. Digital skills are developed through the use of resources. It involves using digital resources to acquire professional knowledge and to express one’s own competence”.
“In order to meet the curriculum goals, it was decided that all students should be given a digital device and platform. After conversations with Asker and Trondheim municipality – among others, the choice fell on Google G Suite and Chromebook for Ringerike. The choice was made on the basis of experiences from other municipalities and schools, and also the economy, where they saw that this choice provided more value for money”, explains Evi Mathilassi Lien. Today, around 3,250 students in first through tenth grade in Ringerike use Chromebooks and G Suite.
After the project launch, the school’s Google administrators realized that they lacked knowledge of settings and administration of G Suite for schools. They contacted their Chromebook provider, who unfortunately couldn’t offer what they needed. “After searching the web and looking for recommendations, we came across The Cloud People (then Symfoni Next) who had the expertise and desire to help us. We set up a day of training and help from Nicolai Skogheim, one of The Cloud People’s Google certified solution consultants. After this day we saw that more training was needed, and set up another one”, says Evi. Five people from the school sector in Ringerike participated in these two training days.
“We finally got help with the settings we needed and got answers to the questions we had. Nicolai was very knowledgeable and helped us solve our challenges. I can definitely recommend this to others in a G Suite startup phase”, concludes Lien. Ringerike municipality is also considering other courses with The Cloud People, including one on risk assessment in connection with storage, as well as including The Cloud People as a support at parent’s meetings in the school.