+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 19
Hardware Thread, Major ICT rethink in Technical; Currently, we have 4 ICT suites each with 15/16 computers running Windows 98 and Winsuite. We are a Middle School ...
  1. #1


    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,354
    Thank Post
    1,389
    Thanked 856 Times in 549 Posts
    Rep Power
    640

    Major ICT rethink

    Currently, we have 4 ICT suites each with 15/16 computers running Windows 98 and Winsuite. We are a Middle School Y5-Y7 with 540 kids. The computers range from 800MHz Celerons to 2GHz Pentiums (these are older machines that I have upgraded.. It has now been accepted that we need a major upgrade but we also need to rethink our ICT strategy. Currently, lessons are based on two pupils sharing a machine but this has obvious drawbacks. So one of the suggestions is that we combine two of the ICT suites to allow each pupil their own machine. This will mean significant construction work, so it won't happen overnight. In the meantime, we have a computer system that is steadily running out of steam.

    On the basis that many of you will have "been there" already, what recommendations can you offer please?

    * Upgrading hardware now with a view to it being compatible with future changes. If so, what are the hardware recommendations?

    * The benefits of not sharing computers - how has that worked in your school.

    * Should we wait for Vista to become a stable product. Can we buy Vista licenced machines running XP Pro until Vista is a stable product (our LEA does not recommend using Vista at this time)

    * What shouldn't we be considering?

    I know that I am asking a lot but even a nudge in the right direction would be appreciated.

    Also, I have seen reference to BSF on other posts but nobody in our school from the HT down has even heard of BSF so is this likely to impact on our decisions?

    Thanks in eager anticipation

    ps. The reason that we are still using Windows 98 is financial and to be honest with Winsuite it has worked quite happily until now.

  2. #2


    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    8,202
    Thank Post
    442
    Thanked 1,032 Times in 812 Posts
    Rep Power
    339

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    thin client. keep the existing hardware for a few more years, buy some servers.

  3. #3

    witch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Dorset
    Posts
    11,099
    Thank Post
    1,344
    Thanked 2,314 Times in 1,627 Posts
    Rep Power
    693

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    I am in a similar position - middle school (Yr5-Yr8 here)

    We have one server and 2 IT suites now of 33 computers each, all on the domain. The benefits of not sharing machines are many - a great deal of the IT work the children do is project based and it is difficult for a teacher to know how much a child knows if they are sharing.
    One of our IT suites is still 98, running on 700Hz machines and it has worked well. We are just going up to XP now on some new machines.
    The other is XP. In my opinion Vista is too far away from being properly usable in a school so I would stick with XP for the forseeable future. (you just tell whoever you buy your licences from and it is fine)
    I think you should upgrade your machines now if you can, at least the older ones as they will be usable in any new setup - but try and do enough to fill one IT suite when you get it - makes imaging easier if they are all the same machine.

    As for the spec, well it all depends how much money you have, doesnt it?
    Dual core would be good but I am going to end up with your basic 2.8GHz machines, with a smallish hard drive (nothing is saved locally), IGB RAM, reasonable graphics and sound. No floppy, and no CD either (except for the teacher's machine)
    We are running a deficit budget and so I am getting the best I can for the small amount of money I have got.
    Check out some of the sponsors of Edugeek - we are about to buy from sclonline. They are a great help, as are ICT direct.
    Hope this helps
    PM me if you want to know anything else!

  4. #4


    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,354
    Thank Post
    1,389
    Thanked 856 Times in 549 Posts
    Rep Power
    640

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    Much of the "educational" software we use struggles to run on a network. How would it cope with thin clients?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    159
    Thank Post
    5
    Thanked 10 Times in 5 Posts
    Rep Power
    18

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    On the basis that many of you will have "been there" already, what recommendations can you offer please?

    * Upgrading hardware now with a view to it being compatible with future changes. If so, what are the hardware recommendations?
    You don't mention what network hardware (switches etc) you are using, this is often the most problematic part of upgrading and future proofing a network. Workstations/servers etc are rapidly dropping in price, you can buy HP quad core kit for next to nothing these days. The kit we bought in April has now dropped in price by 25%. Network kit however seems to hover around the same prices.

    You also dont say what servers you are using. With the price of kit these days you can buy servers from a tier 1 manufacturer (HP, DELL etc) with a warranty handled externally for cheaper than you can build the servers yourself. Dont fall into the trap of trying to build for cheaper than you can buy, unless its your mess about development server or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    * The benefits of not sharing computers - how has that worked in your school.
    Some teachers still insist on doing this for some work. However, when we redesigned two rooms, we were able to increase capacity by 35 pcs. This now means we have two independant rooms that can be booked by teachers, who previously had to mess around with a poor set of laptops.

    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    * Should we wait for Vista to become a stable product. Can we buy Vista licenced machines running XP Pro until Vista is a stable product (our LEA does not recommend using Vista at this time)
    I think Vista pretty much is a stable product, and peoples reluctance to buy it is based on other factors.

    If you wait for your LEA to drag its heels, you will end up using loads of old versions of software. (Windows, Office etc). Its more of a cost issue than stability, can PCs handle it?

    You will have to check if vista actually allows a downgrade license to XP, I am not sure if it does. You may have to buy XP and pay for an upgrade later.

    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    * What shouldn't we be considering?
    Depends on your requirements. I would steer clear of laptops and wireless.
    Both are expensive to get right.

    I know that I am asking a lot but even a nudge in the right direction would be appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    Also, I have seen reference to BSF on other posts but nobody in our school from the HT down has even heard of BSF so is this likely to impact on our decisions?
    Depends where your school is.

  6. #6

    dhicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Knightsbridge
    Posts
    5,617
    Thank Post
    1,230
    Thanked 776 Times in 673 Posts
    Rep Power
    235

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    I'd second the thin client idea. A £1000 machine per room should provide enough computing power to act as a server to 16-odd clients, and should be able to act as the teacher's machine too (can control client screens, be hooked up to a projector). You'll also need a central server to provide LDAP service to those four machines. You can use your existing client machines and not worry about having to buy new ones (might need to install 256MB of RAM per machine). You can also disconnect the harddrive in each client and save power/noise.

    If space is an issue, thin clients can help there, too. We had an ICT suite that we could fit 10 standard-sized Dell machines with CRT screens in. We switched to LCD screens and compact keyboards, moved the desktops out of the way a bit, and now we can fit 18 machines in. ICT Direct are currently offering dedicated thin clients for £65 each.

    --
    David Hicks

  7. #7
    Busybub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    384
    Thank Post
    44
    Thanked 39 Times in 37 Posts
    Rep Power
    22

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    [quote="klawd"]
    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    You will have to check if vista actually allows a downgrade license to XP, I am not sure if it does. You may have to buy XP and pay for an upgrade later.
    Just bought a bunch of computers from Dell through their schools team and had them specced with Vista Business license keys and downgraded to XP.

    Units shipped with XP Pro (SP2) installed and a physical Dell OEM Vista installation disc.

  8. #8

    webman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    8,401
    Thank Post
    637
    Thanked 961 Times in 661 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    319

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    If you're short of money for expensive Microsoft licences, want a more secure or easier to manage setup, you could use some free Linux solutions such as Edubuntu and Karoshi.

  9. #9


    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    8,202
    Thank Post
    442
    Thanked 1,032 Times in 812 Posts
    Rep Power
    339

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer
    Much of the "educational" software we use struggles to run on a network. How would it cope with thin clients?
    It's getting better. 3 or 4 yrs ago I'd be be asking software providers, 'does it run on thin client' and they'd respond 'whats thin client'. Often I find that suppliers are much more thin client aware. Also a lot of educational resources are going towards VLE type content, for which TC is excellent.

  10. #10

    witch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Dorset
    Posts
    11,099
    Thank Post
    1,344
    Thanked 2,314 Times in 1,627 Posts
    Rep Power
    693

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    Given that I work in a similar environment, can I just say that I doubt VERY much that SMT will spring for the sort of kit you need for thin client (I tried) and also that even with thin client some machines can still be just too old.

    The powers that be will also not usually consider the free solutions either - I've tried that too.
    Maybe you will be luckier or more persuasive than me!

  11. #11

    dhicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Knightsbridge
    Posts
    5,617
    Thank Post
    1,230
    Thanked 776 Times in 673 Posts
    Rep Power
    235

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    > Given that I work in a similar environment, can I just say that I doubt
    > VERY much that SMT will spring for the sort of kit you need for thin client
    > (I tried) and also that even with thin client some machines can still be
    > just too old.

    Our ex-Windows 98 machines are doing just fine as thin clients, although we did have to get new network cards for all of them (£10 each), they already had 256mb of RAM (£30 if you needed to upgrade?), and we got new (second hand) flat screens for them (£30 each).

    A decent modern quad-core server should be able to handle a class of 16 clients, say £1000. It will need its own dedicated switch, say £300. Some wiring might need to be done - £500 for a electrician to come in?

    Software is simply a case of installing the latest version of Edubuntu and switching the clients on.

    I figure that's maybe £3000 to upgrade each suite, which has still got to be cheaper than buying 16 PCs per suite.

    > The powers that be will also not usually consider the free solutions
    > either - I've tried that too.

    Cutter Project might be worth a look, they provide systems along with support.

    --
    David Hicks

  12. #12

    witch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Dorset
    Posts
    11,099
    Thank Post
    1,344
    Thanked 2,314 Times in 1,627 Posts
    Rep Power
    693

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    Where did you get second hand flat screens

  13. #13
    cookie_monster's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Derbyshire
    Posts
    4,196
    Thank Post
    392
    Thanked 278 Times in 239 Posts
    Rep Power
    74

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    @ dhicks

    So you just load Edubuntu and use RDP to access your Windows apps on the TS right?

  14. #14


    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,354
    Thank Post
    1,389
    Thanked 856 Times in 549 Posts
    Rep Power
    640

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    I know very little about thin client. Would it be feasible to install it in a new ICT suit and link it to the existing curriculum file server?

  15. #15

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Gosport, Hampshire
    Posts
    9,928
    Thank Post
    1,337
    Thanked 1,778 Times in 1,103 Posts
    Blog Entries
    19
    Rep Power
    594

    Re: Major ICT rethink

    You would need a Terminal Server and in the short term it can look more expensive to go down the thin client route.

    Have a chat with linescanner and he can give you the full pros and cons.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Major D-Link Switch Problems
    By badboyvtec in forum Wireless Networks
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 27th March 2009, 10:50 AM
  2. Major server problems :(
    By ChrisH in forum Windows
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 19th February 2008, 08:59 PM
  3. Major urgent request: Are you in/Near Scotland o Wales - SRF
    By russdev in forum General EduGeek News/Announcements
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 2nd November 2007, 01:03 PM
  4. Any help would be great - Major network problems
    By jumpinjamez in forum Wireless Networks
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 13th March 2007, 07:29 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •