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Blue Skies Thread, Open Source Schools' Miles Berry offers a radical response to the ICT funding cuts in General; Originally Posted by tmcd35 Well this is a school policy issue. I'd be quiet clearly saying - as with mobile ...
  1. #121

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Well this is a school policy issue. I'd be quiet clearly saying - as with mobile phones - they are the parents/students responsibility, end of story.
    Policy or no policy, schools will still get lumbered with complaining parents. We have a 'no mobile phones' rule here - except for those which get handed in first thing to the reception and collected at the end of the day.

    Those that ignore the rule sometimes get their phones stolen, as is to be expected in a school environment. Their parents still complain, and make out it is the school's fault.

    Not to mention, I don't know how a court would side if that sort of thing ended up in one.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    This is the list of open/closed source app the school provide on their systems. If you use something else please save in a compatible format or print/pdf print the final work for submission - thank you.
    Ha! I wish! Even when kids bring their work in from home on memory sticks, they ignore what software we have. We get all sorts of files coming in which I have to convert. Usually a couple a week now. Regardless of what you tell them, they will ignore it and cause issues.

  2. #122
    DrCheese's Avatar
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    Well this is a school policy issue. I'd be quiet clearly saying - as with mobile phones - they are the parents/students responsibility, end of story.
    Right and that would be the case if the school didn't support the laptops. But if a school is encouraging students to bring in equipment from home by providing them access and the resources to do so, then I can easily understand why parents would kick off if equipment they had shelled out for is damaged/stolen.

  3. #123
    maark's Avatar
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    I provide guest wireless access for post 16 with seperate vlan - internet only so they can't hack into rest of network.
    Main issue I can see is if you start encouraging all students to bring their own equipment then the poorer students whose families can't afford notebooks, ipods etc are going to miss out.
    Maybe at some stage we will be able to give every student an ipod type device as they get cheaper and we get most applications working in a browser - probably not as far off as we think.

  4. #124
    DrCheese's Avatar
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    Main issue I can see is if you start encouraging all students to bring their own equipment then the poorer students whose families can't afford notebooks, ipods etc are going to miss out.
    Yes true. Even if the school provide it's own equipment, it's not likely to compete with the equipment that some students from more well off backgrounds can afford. Your'll end up with the haves and have nots. Those with flashy top of the range macbook pros and those with cheapo netbooks that take hours to do anything.

    We don't offer this type of access yet, but even if we did I'd only allow them to connect to the terminal server we currently use for remote access. I'd never want to get into supporting the laptops directly as you'd end up being tech support for every minor, non school related issue they have. Not only that but the risks of data loss are staggering, even if you hammered it into them to save on the network I think we all know that they wouldn't. Even if you disclaimer it to hell and back you'd still end up looking bad if you couldn't recover any work.

    If you could take them over and lock them down in the same way you do school bought equipment (i.e AD) and use something like Win7 Directaccess for home management then it wouldn't be so bad, but that would take you back to what I said earlier about supporting them for everything.

  5. #125

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Personally I see it as providing the option for those who can/want to rather than seeing it as a requirement for all students. As soon as you excpect students to have their own laptop then the school should be provding the insurance, extra staffing costs for support and loan/purchase schemes/aid for the poorer students.

  6. #126
    p858snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Personally I see it as providing the option for those who can/want to rather than seeing it as a requirement for all students.
    You are still then segregating into, as DrCheese put it, the Have and Have nots.

  7. #127

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p858snake View Post
    You are still then segregating into, as DrCheese put it, the Have and Have nots.
    Then I'd accuse you all of politcial correctness gone mad, cotton wooling and punishing the have's.

    Like I say as soon as it becomes an expectation then schemes should be put in place - be it loan equipment, purchase terms, or what ever - to aid the less fortunate.

    As it stands their are home access schemes already providing IT equipment for the poorer members of our community and there was talk not that long ago (maybe gone with the change of governement) of providing laptops for pupils on free school meals and expecting them to be able to use it at school. What then of the kids not being provided with these laptops?

  8. #128


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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Then I'd accuse you all of politcial correctness gone mad, cotton wooling and punishing the have's.
    The segregation arguement has been around alot longer than political correctness and cotton wooling. It was certainly there in the 80s when i started school.

    In todays economic climate we need to start taking a mature attitude to spending. How can a family with 3 kids afford to buy laptops which have a high likelyhood of being broken, lost or stolen? 3 kids with a laptop every 3-4 years over the course of 14 years or education... Whether the school says its an expectation or just a "would be nice to have" doesn't make a difference, once enough kids have them it is an expectation.

    Laptops for kids - I personally don't think we have enough money to be giving kids laptops, but regardless; when i was at school there were plenty of schemes but none of them were well thought out or took into account people who were just outside the boundry, be that financially or geographically.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 26th July 2010 at 11:26 AM.

  9. #129

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    Not a buyable product yet but this BBC News - India unveils prototype for $35 touch-screen computer might help in the future.

    Hundreds of years ago, when I was at school, calculators were an unaffordable luxury (I think my first one cost over 30 which was a shed load of money). Now, calculators are essentially free and everyone has one. I can see that eventually (and quite possibly quite quickly) we'll get to the point where a machine with enough functionality is affordable and everyone can have one.

  10. #130
    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    What then of the kids not being provided with these laptops?
    they won't get free school meals either. Personally i dislike the govts. definition of poor, always have done. It creates tremendous unfairness as far as which families do and don't get free school meals, and now free laptops and home internet.

    i don't have a problem with the 'poor' as currently defined being helped with equipment/access, but i think it far more feasible to have this expectation for IT to be tethered to each pupil when such devices/access really does become a commodity. We're almost there with PAYG 3g access...but maybe there's a way that can be integrated with current PAYG call topups [so you can use a 10 credit for either calls or 3g internet] so that the schools don't have to issue them, and you have the type of device that srochford linked to is in mass production. available to all pupils at reasonable cost. Again, so that the cost is so cheap you don't need to subsidise based on family income.

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    The home equipment argument is going to depend on the individual school.
    It will work in some schools, and not in others. There's not a right or wrong answer to this -it will depend entirely on the demographic, teachers and parents attitudes and how the leadership team deal with essentially policy issues. All of the technical problems are surmountable, but will be easier for some schools than others.
    I'm pretty confident that home equipment will work at our school, we are investing heavily in a new wired and wireless infrastructure this year and we have already moved much of our T+L resources to web-based through the use of Moodle, Google docs/apps, citrix and other 'free' web-based applications either hosted internally or off-site.

  12. 2 Thanks to CyberNerd:

    linuxgirlie (28th July 2010), tmcd35 (26th July 2010)

  13. #132
    Drummer_Boy's Avatar
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    I love the bandwagon cry of 'Virtualise everything'. A couple of question allways spring to mind:

    1) Onto what - a very expensive new machine that you don't have budget to buy anyway
    2) Manage it with what - the lovely, but expensive, virtualisation management tools?
    3) It gets even worse if you only have OEM lics for the existing box as these will have to be bought again.

    I like virtualisation, but it has to serve a real business purpose.

    There's a pretty good article in this months PC Pro on virtualisation as well.

  14. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Then I'd accuse you all of politcial correctness gone mad, cotton wooling and punishing the have's.

    Like I say as soon as it becomes an expectation then schemes should be put in place - be it loan equipment, purchase terms, or what ever - to aid the less fortunate.

    As it stands their are home access schemes already providing IT equipment for the poorer members of our community and there was talk not that long ago (maybe gone with the change of governement) of providing laptops for pupils on free school meals and expecting them to be able to use it at school. What then of the kids not being provided with these laptops?
    Usually the people who end up worst off, after one of these schemes have been introduced are the 'medium well off' (my term). The not so well off get the free scheme goodies, the well off are provided for by the family, but the medium well off usually have some handme down gear, that is not at the same standard at the not so well off and the well off.

    Same elsewhere in life - the rich (don't get me wrong I aspire to be in this bracket) can take care of themselves, the 'poor' (these days that's relatively poor, not absolutely poor) get looked after by the state, and the medium well off pay for the poor.

  15. #134
    gshaw's Avatar
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    You've gotta love these type of threads, be it "thin client vs fat", "Linux vs Windows" as what usually happens is an all-or-nothing "solution" that never really fits the bill...

    So much time seems to be spent on the desktop environment that more often than not chances for true innovation elsewhere get missed while everyone fights over MS Office vs OpenOffice and so on. As it stands if you go into the business world and want to do graphics the company won't be asking for GIMP, it will be Photoshop. If you're in a generic office chances are they'll ask for Microsoft Office, one day it might be different but not yet.

    That's not to say you can't put Open Source apps on though, this year we've added a shed load to our basic image but the question that's asked of each one is this...

    - is it as good as, or better than a commercial app?
    - is it easy enough to use for an "average user" i.e. Windows on a retail PC bought at Currys or similar
    - does it fulfill a need we have?

    If any of those answer no then you don't bother... simples.

    We've put on this year for the record...

    - Moodle... class leading VLE and beats the competition into the water. We're using it as our website as well, saved on having one pro designed
    - Xibo... why pay thousands for digital signage when this does the trick fine? Working great for us and savings there too
    - DVD Flick... easiest DVD authoring program I've used, that's how OSS should be done
    - GIMP... not sure how much use it will get but worth having as an option
    - Audacity... excellent audio editing program, why pay when this does everything you need?
    - CDBurnerXP... does what it says on the tin
    - Wink... as good as Camtasia and free again
    - FreeOCR... does what the name says
    - Thunder \ WebbIE... good for DDA learners and do the job we need
    - IPCop... decent firewall and content filtering although I think some commercial stuff has the edge on AD integration and reporting here

    OpenOffice won't be going on this place is fully Microsoft Office, ask ECDL, ITQ etc what package their qualifications are based on and there will only be one answer. Whether that's right or wrong is one thing but the reality is there. Would I rip out my AD servers tomorrow... no as the Linux equivalent doesn't do the job as well for what we want. It would end up "costing" more time in trying to emulate AD \ GPO functionality that we'd gain. Our MIS runs on SQL and that stays put. Exchange stays for us but there's viable options there now if email is a problem, Google and Microsoft are both offering free for education so you can make the savings there.

    As for the wireless devices idea, it's something we're looking at putting in at the moment. It could double the number of workstations available effectively for free, segment it off into a guest port 80 only VLAN and it's away from the network. If people have the kit why not use it? As for the ones who don't they'll still be able to use the main PCs in the rooms as they'll be free while the other people use their own laptops

    Web apps are coming along and there is some good stuff out there but on the same front there's no way I'd swap a "fat" office suite for Google Docs or Live@Edu as things stand. Sacrificing usability to jump on a bandwagon seems like a dumb idea to me. Change is coming but in small steps whereas there seems to be a lot of people going for a big bang approach... recipe for disaster imho...
    Last edited by gshaw; 10th August 2010 at 02:29 PM.

  16. Thanks to gshaw from:

    torledo (30th August 2010)

  17. #135
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    So what about others ways to respond to the ICT funding cuts

    Having watched this thread start, get inflamed, calm down, get inflamed again etc I though perhaps I'd contribute just before I go on holiday for a week (ie lob in my opinions and walk away for a bit )

    This whole thread started off with Miles' article from Agent4Change, but what prompted Miles to write his piece was my original blog post. To quote Miles' article:
    I offer below a few thoughts on how to do this, in part inspired by Ray Fleming's list of ten money saving tips on his Microsoft UK Schools Blog, which include good, platform-independent ideas like using virtualisation, switching on power management, and stopping photocopying and printing, although I don't think Ray goes nearly far enough...
    So here's my article that set it all off
    Top ICT Cost Saving Ideas for schools


    What my original blog post was all about was looking for ways to reduce school costs, but that didn't all rely on changing the quality of the service delivery in your school, so that teachers didn't get a worse experience. However, there are some changes which mean a small compromise by teachers, in order to get a big win for the school (eg when you spend more on photocopying & printing than you do on ICT, perhaps there's room to reduce the reprographics bill that will make a big difference to the school budget, without harming the IT spend).

    You'll see in my blog post that there are lots of specific case studies referenced, as I've tried to make all of my numbers grounded in real-life examples where possible.

    The other thing that I feel strongly is that there are lots of things an IT team can do in the school which will save money in other budget areas of the school - for example, if your school spends more on electricity, reprographics and cover teachers than it does on ICT, then if the IT team can reduce costs in those areas, it's a much more positive way to approach budget cutting (and that is also why my maximum calculated savings for an average school are way more than an average school actually spends on all of its ICT).

    I also think that if the SMT ask every budget to knock of 10% from their budget, they'll miss the opportunity to truly reduce long-term cost overall. Server virtualisation is a good example - with a bit of up-front investment in your IT budget, you can cut a big lump off your electric bill. If you're not given the investment, you're not going to be able to virtualise, and the electric bill will keep going up. Same with desktop power management - the incentive at a school level is big to knock 10K off the electric bill, but it also has to be there as an incentive for the IT team -so that it's a win/win.

    I wrote an article recently for senior managers, to ask them to try and avoid silo thinking in their budget cuts - don't just knock a bit off every line, but see how some teams can help reduce costs in other areas - and then work on those bits.

    One of my colleagues said "It's a bit like losing weight. If you diet, you change the habits, and you learn how to diet better. If you lose weight by chopping off one of your arms, it's not good in the long-term, because next time you need to lose weight, you've only got one arm left to chop off."

  18. Thanks to rayfleming from:

    torledo (30th August 2010)

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