Motivating students and liberating staff at Hertfordshire & Essex High School

Motivating students and liberating staff at Hertfordshire & Essex High School

In 2012, The Hertfordshire & Essex High School decided to roll out a 1:1 iPad scheme, starting with their 200 sixth form students. However, they were unsure whether to also offer the devices to staff, as teachers were already provided with a school-managed laptop. They worked with our e7 team to set up a term-long trial in which 40 key staff members were given an iPad.

Pupils in Hertfordshire & Essex High School now have their own iPad to use in lessons and at home

Pupils in Hertfordshire & Essex High School now have their own iPad to use in lessons and at home

“There’s obviously been a huge shift in focus away from desktop PCs towards mobile devices,” explained the school’s Strategic Leader of ICT, Ross Woodall, when asked about the decision to roll out iPad. “We wanted to have a device that was friendly and intuitive for the students to use, and we didn’t want to deploy a Windows-based device and make it part of our domain, because a lot of our services are delivered via web interfaces. We thought that iPad was well made and well supported, and it really engaged and enthused the students. We trialled it with a few students and they were particularly keen on iPad over any other device.”

Trialling iPad with staff

The school rolled out iPad to their sixth form first, partly due to the increasing popularity of the sixth form but also because “we really wanted to provide a device that they could embed in their lessons [from the start of the academic year].” However, after the initial rollout, it was clear that a few of the staff were a bit uncomfortable because some of them were less familiar with Apple products. “We decided to do the e7 trial so that the staff could get some hands-on experience with the iPad and see if it was beneficial as a teaching resource.”

Although our e7 deployments are usually split between staff and students, we were impressed by what the school had planned, and worked with them to identify 40 key staff members who would receive an iPad for a term. The school already provided staff with laptop computers, and one of the main aims of the trial was to assess whether providing an iPad as well would be an effective use of the school’s ICT budget.

“I think the e7 Project was very helpful in reassuring us that iPad for staff was a worthwhile expenditure,” Ross said. “Trialling the device enabled us to see the benefit it brought, while actually supporting the staff. This meant that they could make better use of the hardware with the students, as well as using it themselves. It meant that their teaching became much more mobile. They were able to teach out in the field or the playground if they needed to, and could do audio and video recordings in lessons with no planning needed in advance. Things like that were much, much less viable with a traditional laptop.”

Assessing Mobile Device Management (MDM) options

When the school joined the e7 Project, our team met with them to discuss how they planned to manage their iPad deployment. While many schools are locking down their ICT equipment and filtering the type of apps that their students can download, the Hertfordshire & Essex team decided that when it came to getting older students to buy into the scheme and use their devices as much as possible, freedom was key.

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,” explained Ross. “We already have a system where students can borrow laptops, and we found that this was underused because there wasn’t the flexibility [to allow students to put] their software on the laptop they were using, whereas with the iPad, freedom has allowed them to become a much more valuable resource rather than just being another item to carry round. We have very responsible students, so I’m sure we have the odd game installed on the devices, but we see them being used a lot for taking notes and recording lessons (to video or audio). I think that’s really valuable for them, the ability to access the teaching outside of the lesson.”

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,”

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,”

Increasing usage while maintaining network security

The school’s tactic of keeping the iPad deployment relatively open seems to be paying off: they rolled out a new WiFi network to support the deployment, and of the 170 devices they handed out, Ross has seen “a hundred and twenty Apple devices connected all day, every day. We’ll have between 170 and 180 devices on the wireless network daily and seventy five per cent of them will be Apple devices.”

And how does the school cope with having so many unmanaged devices on their network? “We deliver a lot of our services through web interfaces: our VLE, our email and remote desktop access – all of that is accesible through a web browser. All devices on the wireless network authenticate against our Windows domain and all traffic is transmitted securely.”

Encouraging more mobile teaching and learning

When it comes to working with the iPad, the school is happy for students to take the lead, encouraging them to use the devices for general note-taking, research and organisation rather than structuring lessons round specific apps. “We have many teachers who have really embraced the iPad in their teaching,” Ross noted, “particularly the arts and the technology faculties. PE and music are using them a tremendous amount and designing lessons around them – I think a lot of that is to do with the touch interface and the flexibility and portability that you get with the device, which really feeds into those faculties.

“PE and sports sciences are now able to film people moving [using the iPad] and play that back so they can analyse it frame by frame. I think that sort of thing is much easier for the teacher compared with borrowing one of the school’s cameras and having to take it back to the classroom to analyse the video. [With iPad they are] able to record and play it back and have instant feedback. It’s also very nice that students can project via an Apple TV in the classroom to show what they’re working on at their desk. You get collaborative use of a projector, with everybody in a class connecting to show what they’re working on and share their ideas, and that’s really quite valuable.”

The school’s next initiative is to deploy Apple TVs throughout the school and use them to allow students to share their work with the rest of the class. “We held off on rolling them out originally because the firmware didn’t quite offer the level of security we wanted,” Ross explained. “We were worried that a student would be able to share content via an Apple TV from anywhere in the school unless there was some way of locking them down. But one of the updates has enabled us to have a PIN-based access to the Apple TVs [that prevents people without the right password from sharing content].”

Once there are Apple TVs throughout the school, Ross and his team plan to look at ways to allow multiple teachers to FaceTime with a class during lessons in order to explain key points. “For example, if we have a teacher who’s teaching some tiny aspect of computing in a design technology or graphics lesson, they’ll actually be able to FaceTime with one of the IT teachers over the projector to explain that specific point, so you can pull that expertise directly into the lesson.”

You can find out more about the e7 Project on Alternatively, get in touch on 03332 409 306 or at For all the latest news, reviews and app recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter

Taking preservation into the digital age: An interview with National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan

Taking preservation into the digital age: An interview with National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan

National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan says creative mobile solutions can help organisations overcome the challenges associated with customer engagement.

Sarah Flannigan, CIO at the National Trust, recognises creativity and innovation are crucial elements when using technology to successfully meet business objectives.

The former sales and marketing director for manufacturing specialist David Salisbury became IT leader at the conservation charity in 2010. She says her business background makes her fully aware of the need to engage with customers in innovative ways.

“We need to make the most of consumer and mobile technology,” says Flannigan. “Cost is important because we’re a charity but the business benefits associated with new forms of technology can help produce a quick return on investment.”

The Trust already employs digital media specialists who deal with social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The creation of real-time content is devolved to Trust properties and employees engage with the wider community. Rangers, for example, are encouraged to write blogs about anything ranging from plant health to coastal footpath maintenance.

“Communicating about nature has to be real time,” says Flannigan. “We want to let our members know that the bluebells are out or a cow is in calf. We’ve realised our website is our biggest property. Joined-up communications presents a huge opportunity.”

Flannigan’s proactive approach includes allowing users to bring their own technology (BYOT) to work. While other CIOs have chosen to shy away from consumerisation, the Trust was an early adopter of employee-led choice.

“We tell workers that we’ll support their technology if they want to use it,” she says, recognising that some individuals chose to use their own iPhones and iPad. “We’re happy because iOS is carefully locked down. We only support Apple devices for BYOT because of the in-built security options.”

Flannigan’s BYOT strategy includes clear guidelines for employees, such as instructions on how to receive work email, signed forms for personal liability and systems for remote data wiping. By allowing employees to use their own technology, Flannigan can repurpose previously allocated mobile technology, saving costs and increasing flexibility for other individuals in the Trust.

Some iPad devices have already been deployed in Trust properties. Volunteer room guides armed with the mobile device can give additional information to visitors, or can allow individuals to interact with the technology themselves. An example includes the Long Gallery at Montacute House in Somerset. The collaboration with the National Gallery allows visitors to use iPad and see more information about paintings.

“The technology brings properties to life,” says Flannigan. The Trust has embraced mobile development and created its first iPhone app for visitors more than two years ago. The GPS-based app allows customers to view nearby properties and see opening times, historical information and events. “It helps us to show that we’re not the stuffy organisation people used to think we were and it can breathe new life into a return property visit, ” she says.

The Trust has also launched a gardens app that allows visitors to obtain rich information about gardens at Trust properties. The app includes an augmented reality experience of the garden, which identifies and tags shrubs and trees. “Mobile development is helping us to reach a non-traditional audience,” says Flannigan.

Further mobile developments are being considered. The Trust is keen to investigate how tablets can help rangers conduct tree surveys at sites. Flannigan says challenges abound, such as battery life, device fragility and screen glare. One possible avenue is via the implementation of iPad mini.

Tablet devices will also be used to help recruit members at sites. Visitors are currently signed up through a manual process. Flannigan says automation through iPad would be more intuitive and help speed up the enrolment process. She hopes to have tablets on site from summer 2013 but must first overcome challenges surrounding access to power and network connectivity in remote locations.

“Whatever device we use will have to meet our criteria and we’re currently wrestling with the challenges,” she says. “But the digital age is definitely allowing us to think about engagement in terms that would have been impossible ten years ago.”

National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan on digital media

Sarah Flannigan, CIO at National Trust

Working with a trusted IT partner

The National Trust runs an in-house publishing division that produces magazines and marketing collateral. On joining the charity in 2010, CIO Sarah Flannigan discovered workers in the department were using various versions of the Apple Mac computer, which tends to be the default choice for workers involved in publishing.

The rest of the organisation was running Microsoft Windows-based PC technology. There was a misguided belief among in-house IT support workers that the publishing team should simply fend for themselves because the strategy then was not to support Apple technology. Flannigan, with the help of Jigsaw24, established a support mechanism for the publishing department.

“I want IT to be under our control and I want to be responsible for end user support. We need our publishing team to be producing great content, not worrying about problematic IT issues. We had to find a way to deal with this specialist need. Jigsaw24 genuinely slotted in and supported our way of working,” she says.

Interested in finding out how Jigsaw24 can help your organisation? Call us on 03332 409 234 or email You can also find out how Chris Taylor of News International has used mobility and Apple to revolutionise operations.

Infographic: Go portable and get productive

Infographic: Go portable and get productive

Seven crucial areas that will help define how you can use mobility to increase employee flexibility and business competitiveness

Many employees now own personal portable devices that are more powerful than the desktop technology that reside on their office desks. Drawing on independent market research from Jigsaw24, and other industry sources, we consider the seven core issues that are crucial when creating a modern mobile strategy.

Infographic: Seven crucial areas that will help define how you can use mobility to increase employee flexibility and business competitiveness

Infographic: Go portable and get productive


To find out more about going mobile in business, get in touch with us on 03332 409 219 or email

Rolling out 1700 iPhones in one day with LNT Group

Rolling out 1700 iPhones in one day with LNT Group

When they decided to roll out 1700 company iPhones in a single day, all with their company app pre-installed, LNT Group knew they would need a formidable Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. We set them up with the ideal solution for their deployment, and helped them get the best price for their ever- growing number of licences… 


Making staff feel like ‘part of the family’

Comprised of five different companies and delivering everything from care homes to race cars, LNT Group have grown from a family company to a firm of almost 2000 employees. “We decided to roll out smartphones now because as our company grows across the UK, we’re finding it harder to make people feel like part of the core business, part of the family here at LNT,” explained Leigh Ellis, LNT Group’s communications and marketing developer. “One of the ways we thought we could do that was to give everyone in the company a mobile device, so that they could be involved in the company remotely.”

Leigh and his team chose iPhones because existing users in the company had fed back that “iPhone was really easy to use, people just seemed to be able to pick them up and use them straight away, without the need for much training.” There was also the feeling that a smartphone would “feel like a present” more than a standard device, and give employees the inclusive morale boost that LNT thought was needed.

Developing an in-house app

As well as handing out iPhones, the company decided to build their own in-house app, iLNT. “Although we could probably have found a solution of apps that worked together to create what we needed, we thought that if we created one app that had it all in one place, it’d be much easier for staff to use,” explained Leigh. “Some of the things that people can use our app to do include receiving the latest news and updates from the group, so that they know what’s going on here at head office and feel like part of the family. We also wanted them to be able to communicate with us, and again that’s another feature of the app. They can send us suggestions, they can send messages direct to the chairman as well.”

As well as keeping staff up to date with the latest company news and allowing them to send key messages to individuals or sectors within the group, iLNT allows staff to clock in and out, book holidays and perform other HR tasks – all of which helps to encourage staff to use their phones every day and therefore give LNT Group the best return on their investment.

Deploying 1700 devices

The LNT Group’s chairmen felt that making an event of the iPhone launch and giving everyone in the organisation their device on the same day was key to creating a buzz about the scheme and making sure staff were excited by it. However, it meant that LNT Group’s eight-strong IT team would have to roll out 1700 devices at once, register them to the company, install iLNT on each and handle any teething problems – all in a single day.

Leigh immediately began comparing MDM solutions to find one that would ensure the rollout went smoothly. “I compared about 20 different companies in the market. I managed to narrow it down to about five that had all the features that we’d need, and the one that came out on top from an ease of use point of view, as well as many other things, was Absolute Manage. It really seemed to do everything we needed, and not only that but it did everything we’d have liked it to do as well, and it did it in an easy to use package.”

For the initial rollout, the key thing about Absolute was that everything could be automated. The iPhones would be enrolled on the group’s system automatically, and LNT could create their own app store to push out iLNT updates to employees who didn’t have iTunes accounts. “Originally we thought there might be some problems with it taking too long on each individual enrolment,” explained Leigh, “but we went to Absolute support about this and they were very forthcoming in giving us a solution where we could speed it all up and automate the process.”

Since the rollout, Absolute Manage MDM has continued to shine. “We can track all the devices, we can make sure that they’re all safe, and we can make sure that everything that goes out to the phones is secure and restricted,” said Leigh. “And in fact, if anyone’s not using their phone we can see that [using Absolute Manage MDM’s use tracking tools] and go to them and say, ‘what do we need to do to get you using your phone?’ It might just be a case of training, or it might be the case that they need something else on the phone so they can use it better.”

Supporting and maintaining the deployment

“The great thing about Absolute MDM was that we really didn’t need any training – the software just worked exactly how we expected it to and everything was where we needed it to be,” said Leigh. “We have a team of eight IT support staff here, and it’s been so easy that we haven’t even needed all of those to run the support for the phones. It’s down to one person to do it, and they’re managing that very easily. On the couple of occasions when we have needed support, [Absolute’s team] have been very quick.”

The response from staff

“The staff response to the iPhones has been excellent – better than expected, actually,” said Leigh. “When we rolled out this many phones we thought we might get quite a few teething problems, but actually staff have taken to the phones really well, they’re all using them every day, and we can see that from the tracking reports.”

“When I first found out about the iPhone scheme I was quite sceptical to be honest, I didn’t think it would work,” said Matthew Crumpton, LNT Group’s resident videographer, who uses the iLNT app to push out training videos to staff phones. “But now that I’ve seen it happen, it’s really impressive. I thought all the stuff about the new app and the things it can do was quite groundbreaking. It’s kept me in touch with all my work colleagues as I was up and down the country travelling with Ginetta and Ideal Care Homes, and it’s allowed me to do HR tasks – booking holidays, clocking in and clocking out when I’m in different places, it’s revolutionised the way I do my job.

“We can send out messages as often as we want to particular parts of the company, so if you only want to send out a message to construction or people in Ideal Care Homes or people in a particular care home, say in Newark, we can send out a message, and it keeps it feeling like a family business. And as the company’s grown and got bigger and expanded its staff, that we can still keep in touch like that is fantastic.”

Most of the staff have found it easy to get to grips with their phones, and any support issues are usually resolved quickly. “Leigh does receive quite a few calls every day, but they’re usually quick fixes and it’s usually just people who aren’t familiar with using the phones,” says Matthew. “Some of them were quite sceptical about using iPhones at first, but I think as their confidence in the phones grows and they see other staff members benefitting from them, they do start to use them a lot more.”

Constantly expanding the scheme

“With every member of staff here at LNT receiving a new phone, and new care homes opening every month, we’re constantly rolling out new phones to staff, and every time we do we’re constantly learning a bit more about how to roll out and get the best out of these phones,” said Leigh, who also makes sure that the iLNT app is regularly updated with new features. “For anyone looking to roll out mobile devices at the minute, I really would suggest Absolute as the main product to use. It’s really taken away a lot of time from our workload, and because it’s invisible to the end user, they don’t even need to know how to use it, it just works.”

“I think the success of the scheme here at LNT proves that it can be such a success at any company,” agreed Matthew. “We were new to it when we started, we threw ourselves in at the deep end and we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into, but it’s proved an amazing success and I’d definitely recommend it to other companies.”

For more about mobile device management and Absolute Manage, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Infographic: Is your business ready for consumerisation?

Infographic: Is your business ready for consumerisation?

Seven questions businesses must answer as they prepare for the policy, security and system concerns associated to the mobile enterprise

Consumer IT is already changing the way people communicate and collaborate. That transformation is only likely to quicken in pace during the next few years and organisations must embrace mobile technology. CIOs will need to create a digital strategy that allows for a safe and secure switch to consumer devices. Here we take a look at the questions being asked of CIOs about service support, mobility, security concerns, cloud computing, application development and flexible working…

Click here  to download the infographic as an image. Or take a look at the interactive infographic below (be sure to hit the full screen button though)!

For more information about consumerisation, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email Or drop us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.