Recording Studio? I've built a few excellent studios for ten grand
Video editing suite with 7.2 surround?
Tablets are obvious. But what about a big touchscreen table? Something to really impress people?
or you could invest it all in Lego Mindstorms and buld this! LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) Layout 2012.9 - YouTube
It sounds like you have the basics down, so there are a few options I suppose depending on whether any of the areas below are weak:
- Backup/DR: do you have great backup systems and a comprehensive Disaster Recovery strategy? No, it doesn't have ANY of that "wow" factor, bit it might save your school from a catastrophe, and that's far more important.
- WAN : What type of connection do you have? Do you have a high speed fibre connection? If not, then the school could get a lot of practical and marketing mileage out of getting one.
- WiFi: Do you have a really good campus-wide WiFi for staff and students to use (e.g. Ruckus, Aerohive, Xirrus, etc.)? If not, then might be an opportunity to fill this gap.
- Marketing/Social Strategy: Do you have a really good CMS-based website? Are you using Social media effectively? Do you have an app for students and parents to use (iOS, Android) to provide info on upcoming events, news, policies, direct communications between the school and parents, etc? If not, then here's your opportunity.
- Distance Learning: You could use the money to setup or extend your website and LMS capabilities to provide distance learning opportunities.
- BYOD program: you will find you may have many gaps to fill to properly implement one of these, including an informative parent and student portal for the program, systems such as Absolute Manage, SCCM, or Casper Suite to enrol and configure BYOD devices, additional Server CALs, upgraded WiFi, a good web filter to make BYOD less of a pain in the rear (like an iBoss 3550, which we use), etc. the costs can add up quickly.
Of course, you might have enough money to do more than one of these and that would be even better (I don't know what £10,000 will buy you there). I would pick the top three ideas you come up with or are suggested, do a bit of initial costings for them to ensure feasibility, and present them to your leadership and have them decide - that's what they are paid for. Not your job to decide the entire future of the school's IT educational strategy.
That's my brainstorm session for you. Good luck.
Last edited by seawolf; 30th April 2013 at 12:07 PM.
Just my tuppence worth, but here's the finished presentation I put together for the interview (see this thread) that coincidentally I've just come back from today!
It's on how the school might move forward with ICT as part of a strategic vision for learning (with bullet points in the Notes section as well). I've probably got the costings for the products I'm thinking of (but not mentioning). I tend to find Senior Leaders will give you mega-kudos if you can take "a pot of money" and transform it into something that fits well with their overall priorities (I haven't heard back from the school yet so we'll see!). Just in case it helps.
Amazingly, my school had a TV recording studio in my elementary (primary) school back in the 70s (showing my age) that was kitted out with professional TV cameras and a fully equipped studio and editing room. I can still remember working the cameras and taking direction from the control booth ("camera 4, zoom in on interviewer..,,hold steady...cutting to you in 5,4,3,2.1.." - amazing experience that influenced me into technology. I think a local TV station had donated it all, because the school certainly didn't have that kind of money. It would have cost a mint back then.
I think you need to put your foot down. You can come up with plenty of ideas but without knowing what's actually going to help the school as a whole or certain departments you could easily be seen as wasting an opportunity to improve. Speak to the SLT and say you're technical, you're not a teacher and you're not involved with the day to day running or management of departments. Even put the ball in their court whilst appearing pro-active - email everyone ( all staff), and ask what they believe you could do to improve.
I will hasten to point out that if you start thinking outside the box a little 10k will get you a lot. You can *easily* do large wifi installs for that money if you use Unifi kit instead of the boxed solutions like Ruckus or Meru and without any further spending and little time resource BYOD will fall into the same pot.
The Lego idea is a good one too - all that programming which is what is being pushed forward at the moment
One of the best things we have done with a small amount of money is a Library Laptop/Netbook Scheme. Students can borrow devices for 24 hours in the same way they borro0w a library book. Unfortunately this isn't terribly high profile or 'wow', but it has proven to be very well used and gives access to technology to students who might otherwise find it very difficult.
+1 to the UniFi point!
Another suggestion. For 10k, we installed a whole school praise system. Each teacher is equipped with a small battery powered barcode scanner (about the size of a box of matches - google OPN2001). Each student's contact book is printed with a barcode of their admission number (and barcode class lists) and when the student does something beyond the call of duty, they get given a praise point. Each scanner is then uploaded by the teacher occasionally and stored in a database where students points are totalled and they can use an online shop style system to spend their points for rewards, such as food from the canteen, sports activities, stationary, (or anything else you can think of TBH).
Photos from the edge of space using a helium balloon? Something linking the school with a local charity or local group in a techish way?
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