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General Chat Thread, Help Me With My Plans: what could I do next and how much would it cost? in General; Morning my lovelies! I've been in my current NM position now for three years and, as of a month or ...
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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Talking Help Me With My Plans: what could I do next and how much would it cost?

    Morning my lovelies!

    I've been in my current NM position now for three years and, as of a month or so ago, completed the Three Year Plan. We now have a reasonable baseline spec of computer (C2D proc), Windows 7, virtual W2k8R2 domain, upgraded core switches, fibre internet w/ Smoothwall and a VLE.

    The essentials are Done. Hurrah!


    I reckon that we're good for a couple of years, now, with a solid foundation in place and no particular need to upgrade anything beyond a few rolling programmes (slowly pushing out Casio LED projectors & newer HP switches). So for a little while, I can do the Nice Things instead of just the Necessary Things.

    So: what do you reckon should be on my list, and how much would it cost? (ballpark)

    I'm already going to go ahead with Office 365 as it's free and I'd be daft not to, though I'm undecided on moving my email from on-site Exchange. My other current options are ClickView & a managed wireless system; how much do they come in at, give or take? We have 450 computers and already have 25 dumb 802.11n WAPs if it gives a clue.

    We're a selective secondary with a hefty sixth form; anything you've seen/heard/done, tell me

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Personally I would sit down with the department heads and see what would help them. For example Clickview might be nice but if it doesn't work for them.

    Meet with them, maybe the member of SLT in charge of IT and see what they want to teach and how things can be adapted to make that happen. Some of the ideas you will have to write off but there may be ideas which you can easily implement maybe even free that will help a single department out greatly. For example when i did it we spent time and converted all of MFL's tapes, cd's to MP3 and stored them accesible from the network. It meant they didn't have to constanstly search around for tapes etcs.

    little things for individual departments may may for the whole school but if you did one for each department it could well help T & L greatly.

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    sonofsanta (29th November 2012)

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    maark's Avatar
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    I would look at guest wireless and BYOD for sixth form at least - this would be easier of you had managed wireless system such as ruckus.
    Curriiculum will be changing as well as GCSEs are phased out which may impact on resources needed depending on which new courses they take up.

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    sonofsanta (29th November 2012)

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Personally I would sit down with the department heads and see what would help them. For example Clickview might be nice but if it doesn't work for them.

    Meet with them, maybe the member of SLT in charge of IT and see what they want to teach and how things can be adapted to make that happen. Some of the ideas you will have to write off but there may be ideas which you can easily implement maybe even free that will help a single department out greatly. For example when i did it we spent time and converted all of MFL's tapes, cd's to MP3 and stored them accesible from the network. It meant they didn't have to constanstly search around for tapes etcs.

    little things for individual departments may may for the whole school but if you did one for each department it could well help T & L greatly.
    I'm writing all these options up into a document to take to my line manager in SMT and go from there; I just want to go over as many options as possible to give them an idea of what's possible.

    If it was up to me, then from a technical perspective I'd go for managed wireless; but 6th form being able to use their own laptops will probably have a negligible effect on T&L compared to some other options, particularly for the cost.

    I'd not thought about necessarily approaching the heads of faculty/department though - well worth putting that in as a final line and just turning up to a management meeting/emailing round, if my LM agrees.

    Quote Originally Posted by maark View Post
    I would look at guest wireless and BYOD for sixth form at least - this would be easier of you had managed wireless system such as ruckus.
    Curriiculum will be changing as well as GCSEs are phased out which may impact on resources needed depending on which new courses they take up.
    6th form is who I'm thinking of for guest wireless - there's 300 of them so they'll push the load as is, without 900 younger kids piling on as well (and there are other non-techical reasons there anyway). We have basic wireless coverage for staff & our own purposes but it won't handle student BYOD.


    Actually, that's something else I need to think about - better remote access for files, as the VLE solution we have is a bit cludgy. Is HAP+ the best/cheapest way of doing that or are there other options I should be looking at? Is full on remote access going to be pricey with the MS licensing? (on EES already, btw)
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 29th November 2012 at 10:58 AM.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    I'm fairly sure with EES you are covered for remote access to files etc. HAP+ works for files only, if you want to look at something more robust/flexible then you could look towards an SSL appliance such as as the Juniper SA2500, but these cost little bit (could of k).


    With regards to the comment about finding out what the staff want. At the end of the day you can implement loads and loads of technical stuff which look brilliant and is shiney but if the staff/students don't actually use it, its pretty pointless and a waste of money.

    You could implement something like a homework tracker, I know my last school i worked at have built a web application which allows staff students to view, set homework via a web interface that links with AD and your MIS (Mainly Sims, but have also done Serco I beleive). @DaveP uses it at his place. I'll PM you a link to some screenshots, as yet they still don't have a website for it.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    With regards to the comment about finding out what the staff want. At the end of the day you can implement loads and loads of technical stuff which look brilliant and is shiney but if the staff/students don't actually use it, its pretty pointless and a waste of money.

    You could implement something like a homework tracker, I know my last school i worked at have built a web application which allows staff students to view, set homework via a web interface that links with AD and your MIS (Mainly Sims, but have also done Serco I beleive). @DaveP uses it at his place. I'll PM you a link to some screenshots, as yet they still don't have a website for it.
    Oh lord I know all about that - that's why I've just done the technical essentials since getting here, and now I have the option to do the shiny I'm writing it up to let teaching staff decide. I've seen more than enough Technological Silver Bullets be a waste of money (*cough* smartboards in every classroom in secondary education) to want to be a bit cunning about this. This is why I'm in two minds about mentioning Windows 8 tablets, as some staff may get altogether too distracted by the Shiny and not think enough about the Usage.

    Staff can track homework through the AD/MIS linked VLE if they so choose, and a few departments have and use the hand-in functionality to great effect, but it's not for everyone. No point in forcing them to use it if it's not a good fit for their subject.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar position, not quite so far along. My next step (beyond those you've already done) is a room-by-room upgrade to SSDs. Staff have them, time for the students. The PC themselves will do the job spec-wise for some time now, so it makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    I'm in a similar position, not quite so far along. My next step (beyond those you've already done) is a room-by-room upgrade to SSDs. Staff have them, time for the students. The PC themselves will do the job spec-wise for some time now, so it makes sense.
    SSDs were my original plan, as we have them in the new batch of PCs from the summer and by Christ are they quick. 350 * 70 is still a lot of money though, albeit they could be re-used in future replacement PCs.

    Forgot I was planning that though, somehow. Cheers!

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    Managed wireless and BYOD are what I'd be looking at. If you just replaced 25 access points, I think something like Meru would be ~7K controller + 450 per AP + 3K 3yr support (ballpark, (my figures are from 2010)), but if your current wireless is for coverage (rather than device density), you may find you need to increase the number of AP's in areas which need to service large numbers of devices.

    One of our 'good things' is a library laptop scheme (students can borrow a netbook or laptop for a 24 hour loan). The library gives them a ticket which they bring to us and we issue the hardware. We started with just 6th form but we've rolled it out to the rest of the school and it's reasonably popular.

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    sonofsanta (29th November 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Managed wireless and BYOD are what I'd be looking at. If you just replaced 25 access points, I think something like Meru would be ~7K controller + 450 per AP + 3K 3yr support (ballpark, (my figures are from 2010)), but if your current wireless is for coverage (rather than device density), you may find you need to increase the number of AP's in areas which need to service large numbers of devices.

    One of our 'good things' is a library laptop scheme (students can borrow a netbook or laptop for a 24 hour loan). The library gives them a ticket which they bring to us and we issue the hardware. We started with just 6th form but we've rolled it out to the rest of the school and it's reasonably popular.
    That's a thought - how do you deal with the risk of loss/damage? Do you let them take devices off-site?

    Cheers for the pricing info as well, sounds about what I was thinking.

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    DSapseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I'm already going to go ahead with Office 365 as it's free and I'd be daft not to, though I'm undecided on moving my email from on-site Exchange.

    Ive gone with office365 for the students and left the staff on my on-site exchange and its working nicely!

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    Our 6th form lodge a deposit with the library for books. Pre 16 we ask the students and parents to sign a form which says we may charge for loss or damage. They are generally quite well looked after, we have had one broken screen in and one loss in two years of running the scheme. We did have had to get a bit heavy with one student who left and thought they might keep it. Students can take them home overnight or over a weekend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Our 6th form lodge a deposit with the library for books. Pre 16 we ask the students and parents to sign a form which says we may charge for loss or damage. They are generally quite well looked after, we have had one broken screen in and one loss in two years of running the scheme. We did have had to get a bit heavy with one student who left and thought they might keep it. Students can take them home overnight or over a weekend.
    Not sure if I want to encourage laptops on site (I keep telling departments "no") but worth bearing in mind, cheers.

    Anyone got any ideas how much ClickView costs? I don't want to ask for a quote and flag myself up for harassment if we elect not to go with it, but I can't find any clues on it. No idea what combination of products we'd actually need but all I'd really want to be able to do is record programmes, keep them forever, and show them in school. None of this iPad or over-the-internet guff.

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    Clickview - I have an email which mentions 4K for "software and library". I know nothing about it other than that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Clickview - I have an email which mentions 4K for "software and library". I know nothing about it other than that!
    More than I knew already - cheers!

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