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Blue Skies Thread, ICT Plans - Am I Missing Something? in General; Indeed. Lots to consider in general. I do worry slightly that although seeing ICT disappear from it's short life as ...
  1. #16

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Indeed. Lots to consider in general. I do worry slightly that although seeing ICT disappear from it's short life as a core subject, maybe subject orientated ICT may not make way so much for cross platform teaching, at least until you get back into the likes of computer sciences.

    This is another big selling point of VLEs of course - it should look at work the same regardless of what platform you use it on - so if you can get a decent VLE running then you can teach your entire curriculum hardware agnostic

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the replies - it's really appreciated and has given me plenty to think about! We're developing a long-term strategy group for ICT at the moment so this will give me lots of things to raise and suggest.

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Sorry to be off topic but do you actually get/gain anything from being a "computing specialist school"? We're so say a technology college, but IT doesn't come under that (for some bizarre reason) which used to mean more money but doesn't any more, is that the case with yours?

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    Any system should be implemented and sustained based on its educational merits first. If the SLT are basically seeing something shiney and thinking it will improve anything in their school by simply slapping it in without any further thought, I'd say stick to your guns.

    However, if the SLT are going to back up this change with thorough training, curriculum development and an end to end plan then I'd say help them out with it.

    Best value is a term that some often think means 'cheapest', but it doesn't. It is basically getting the most, in an educational sense, from the least money. I often buy things that aren't the cheapest because they will last longer, or are easier to use etc...

    Part of this comes back to the old argument about whether schools should be teaching kids how to use what they'll end up using in a business, or whether they should be teaching generic, transferable skills. I've always been one who believes in the latter. If someone is trained to video edit, it should be done using various pieces of software, on various platforms, hell, even dig out the old video to video editing desk and show them the basics on that too.

  5. Thanks to localzuk from:

    Duke (28th October 2011)

  6. #20
    gshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I'd say move with the times. A school network shouldn't be restricted to running any particular system.
    Get your infrastructure sorted so that you can take any apple/android/linux device - it's all possible given the right level of investment. Eventually you can save money and open the school up to a different style of learning. It's not an argument about macs vs pc's. it's an argument about interoperability, sticking with the old school corporate domain based windows systems restricts the possibilities.

    this was pretty much my checklist:
    1) solid network
    2) DMZ for 'public' applications
    3) VLE
    4) Citrix to allow win apps on ipads/osx/android/linux/bsd etc
    5) cloud based document and email system (google docs)
    6) decent authenticating proxy (smoothwall)
    7) Decent wireless with 'public' vlan
    8) get a decent broadband provider with 100% SLA and failover

    With this in place you should be able to cope with any type of device SLT throw at you
    This ^^^

    The BYOD debate sounds like the thin v fat client one all over again... two camps, each saying throw out the other where the reality is that you should have a mix of both. Fixed stations should always be available for students not wanting to bring their own in (ask around and see how many actually want to lug their laptop \ iPad in across town first!) and until Adobe et al get their act together on licensing you'll have no choice in some instances anyway!

    With a quality firewall that can also control application usage (so your wireless doesn't end up as an SSL BitTorrent \ Skype \ World of Warcraft tunnel) you can allow guest devices on to make the most of your web-based resources and double your number of machines without spending any money... sounds like a winner to me

    Also note your cloud system should integrate with your VLE and your on-premise accounts, that way you have real mobility of the learning space and students' ability to edit their docs wherever and on whatever they wish.

    As for the Macs vs PC debate... if the higher-ups are giving the extra budget to cover the "Apple design premium" go for it... you can always whack Boot Camp on there to turn them into Windows domained machines as well so kinda becomes two computers in one... personally I'm not a great fan as I think Apple charge way too much for what you get but if there's demand from students then it's worth doing (wonder if the senior leaders have actually considered if their students are asking for the Macs or if it's their own preferences dictating the policy?)

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    Duke (28th October 2011)

  8. #21


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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    This ^^^

    The BYOD debate sounds like the thin v fat client one all over again... two camps, each saying throw out the other where the reality is that you should have a mix of both. Fixed stations should always be available for students not wanting to bring their own in (ask around and see how many actually want to lug their laptop \ iPad in across town first!) and until Adobe et al get their act together on licensing you'll have no choice in some instances anyway!
    Thin client systems have moved on considerably in the last few years, it's not necessarily about fat vs thin - Xenapp for example is more of an application deployment system that will deploy apps to fat clients, thin clients as well as osx and mobile devices. Its a simple way to centralise application deployment, regardless of base operating system. I'm not saying rip out your fat clients - just you can leverage some of the advantages of application streaming and support mobile devices. - you can still run things like adobe and have other apps streamed, or deliver them by VDI if your adventureous.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Sorry to be off topic but do you actually get/gain anything from being a "computing specialist school"? We're so say a technology college, but IT doesn't come under that (for some bizarre reason) which used to mean more money but doesn't any more, is that the case with yours?
    We got Maths & Computing Specialist Status a while back. At the time it meant more money and it gave us a good reputation. We ran exams in ICT that most schools weren't offering at the time, and we hosted the Further Maths Network for Wiltshire. A couple of years ago we also got Science Specialist Status, which initially was going to mean more money again, but the Government then dropped extra funding for a second specialism. Now we're an Academy I'm not actually sure if we get any extra funding for specialisms.

    Basically, it's a status/reputation thing, looks good for the school, and you get (or at least used to get) extra funding to support it.

  10. #23
    Duke's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the follow-ups guys. There will actually be at least one student involved with this strategy group so I should be able to get some input on what the kids really want or what they think the current issues are. As I've said, I really don't want to be against new stuff, I just need to make sure we can support it. I heard from another school in the area today (completely unrelated to this post) who said they've had a contractor come into the school and tell management how amazing Macs and mobile devices are and that everything will just work, and management are going along with it because they don't understand what the potential issues are.

    Fingers crossed we can find the right balance, resolve our existing ICT issues, then get all the cool stuff happening. I'm planning to re-task some of my team (not that I can really spare them) to work on these bigger projects and hopefully that'll give us the right step forward.

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