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Blue Skies Thread, Where is IT going in schools and what are you doing about it? in General; It's been a while since we had a discussion about this. In the past these kind of threads were mainly ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Where is IT going in schools and what are you doing about it?

    It's been a while since we had a discussion about this. In the past these kind of threads were mainly orientated along the lines of 'So what shiny stuff will you be buying with your NGfL money?', but with the harnessing technology grant vastly dimished, schools now shopping around for RBC independant net connections, filtering and online services and the need for better financial planning for educational IT resources perhaps it is about time we talked about what the future might bring once more.
    So what will it be for you? More mobile learning via wireless? In-house email and web resources? Moving over to virtualised servers? Bring your own technology (BYOT)?
    What are you expecting to change in the next 24 months or so, and what technologies do you see education adopting and how are you planning to adapt to meet these changes?

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    speckytecky (18th October 2011)

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Next 24 months I expect belts to be tightened up a massive amount, and budgets to be cut in half, if not more.

    More reliance on wifi will most likely happen as budgets wont be able to pay for infrastructure to be updated any more.

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    Academy status might give a bump but cant see where money is coming from for schools in general

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    To be honest, academies in my area have tighter restrictions than LEA schools.

    Budgets are a fraction more than they had previously (one place it is a whole £100 more for the year) and the restrictions are ridiculous. 3 quotes for everything (including keyboards and mice, patch cables etc).

    Academies IMO don't have it any better than we do, if anything its worse.

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    For our school it won't change, as someone quoted that too many schools are building the curriculum around the IT infrastructure which is the tail wagging the dog. The curriculum SHOULD dictate the IT infrastructure. So I predict we will remain status quo (ie physical servers and Workstations) for many years to come.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    @andyturpie the trouble with this is that the curriculum will be updated and the funds to keep up with the updates wont be there. Sooner or later it will be down to the following

    Drop a tech to fund the changes needed
    Outsource if its a lone paid tech to fund the changes needed (as happened in my case)
    Stagnate and be behind on resources required.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    We are looking at conversion to Academy which I have been told will give us more say over our money as we are not partnering with anyone and the LA has no say. You would be surprised at how much money the LA actually top slices from schools and there are other less costly services out there which offer even better service than the LA's.

    IPad's are being assessed along with Kindle readers and students own devices, social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter and also picture sites for instant uploading from these wireless devices.

    More digital signage throughout the school plus introducing MFD's for the students and staff.

    As for the infrastructure it is sound apart from investment in new wireless management system along with new AP's.

    All this takes money and as someone on here has already mentioned it seems like a lot of schools will be standing still for a couple of years.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    All this takes money and as someone on here has already mentioned it seems like a lot of schools will be standing still for a couple of years.
    So money is being spent, just not on 'advancing' the systems currently in use? Sort of spending to save in the future?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    In NZ, down the same paths that have proven to have large failings in other countries mostly.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Any device, any where, any time access
    More devices owned by the students, less devices owned by the school
    More investment in the back end and network infrastructure moving away from the traditional 'client server' model to a more flexible environment encompassing VDI technologies and cloud environments.

    At least that's what we're striving for here.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    So money is being spent, just not on 'advancing' the systems currently in use? Sort of spending to save in the future?
    Well not at this moment, it all depends on the Academy status for us and what is deemed a necessity to provide the curriculum.

    We have Virtualisation (Backend) and remote desktops for staff and students (External use) so infrastructure sound, probably require another SAN to mirror our VM SAN for total failover already have HA but would like the extra feature.

    Emphasis will be on the curriculum and how the school will implement using digital devices and infrastructure if at all.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    Any device, any where, any time access
    More devices owned by the students, less devices owned by the school
    More investment in the back end and network infrastructure moving away from the traditional 'client server' model to a more flexible environment encompassing VDI technologies and cloud environments.

    At least that's what we're striving for here.
    Do you already allow student laptops/devices? It'd be nice to see a UK school embracing BYOT, even if it is to see how you get on with it.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Do you already allow student laptops/devices? It'd be nice to see a UK school embracing BYOT, even if it is to see how you get on with it.
    We don't at the moment, but our new buildings ICT 'vision' greatly involves encouraging students to bring in their own devices and a much more 'open' system than a lot of schools have at the moment, allowing these to be used to access resources hosted on the academy network or cloud. We're looking to be as platform independant as possible as well so in theory anything could be used, windows, apple OS, linux, android etc.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    We've been and done the whole laptops thing, the school decided this solution didn't work for them (mainly teachers not looking after well enough) we have now moved to a solution with 15 ICT suites (school of 1500 kids, 900 desktops). So each department has 1 suite each (pretty much). Now they all have a perm teacher in them so they are looked after a lot better. The teachers then swap with each other when they wan't to use a suite.

    I think we will be looking to some sort of VDI solution in the Future - probs with a Zero (or thin) client and Multipoint servers.

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    We're not interested in BOYT because of the prevalent hand holding we do- that would go into overdrive here unfortunately.

    Mostly looking into virtualising, very slowly!

    No wireless here, weary of future health implications, especially for the younger pupils and could not afford the infrastructure upgrade that would be required anyway.

    Does anyone know of an example of a school that has converted to Academy and actually has had noticeably more money freed up? I haven't heard of any unfortunately.

    We don't even have the funds to regularly replace are failing PCs atm, looking into using Vmware view in a few rooms- long term!

    Very little mobile devices here, cannot afford and also currently phasing out the staff laptops i.e. replacements aren't being bought.

    Sorry, quite dismal! We already run our own email [for staff only], website, vpn etc

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