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How do you do....it? Thread, Making better use of space in an ICT Suite in Technical; Has anyone come up with some way of making better use of a small ICT Suite? At the moment, we ...
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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Making better use of space in an ICT Suite

    Has anyone come up with some way of making better use of a small ICT Suite?

    At the moment, we just have a worksurface along 3 walls with 18 pc's and the end wall has the whiteboard on, cant tell you the measurement off the top of my head. But i feel its too cramped, especially when you've got a class of year 6's and its 2 to a pc.

    Anyone got any space saving ideas?

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    The main thing is that all the kids should be easily accessible. We have two suites that have projecting worksurfaces a bit like ship berths. It does maximise the amount of computers you can fit in but it is all but impossible to get to the kids on the inside. Unless you can pounce on them, this is where the disruptive pupils tend to end up!

    We have another suite with work areas along three sides and a big central island that currently houses two printers 4 computers and the projector. This is the most effective suite. If you have room, I would look at a central island.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Yes, we have our rooms set out as a 'U' shaped design with a central island. The teachers desk is at the head of the island with the whiteboard behind. This also means the projector is dangling over monitors, rather than children.

    In our newest suite we've slightly deviated from this design and gone for more of an 'E' shape. with the teachers desk at the head of the centre horizontal spine of the 'E'. This was only done because of the shape of the room. It's a very wide room in one direction, but quite narrow in the other.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little-Miss View Post
    Has anyone come up with some way of making better use of a small ICT Suite?
    "Desktop Virtualisation" - one of the systems that allow you to run a number of workstations off of one PC. This means you don't have to find room to have a desktop machine at every workplace, just a screen and keyboard. We have an NComputing system running in our staffroom, which sounds about as cramped as your IT room. I know the new NComputing X550 is out on Monday (spoke to the sales chappy today) which should let you run up to 11 workstations from one machine, so a couple of decent quad-core, 4GB RAM PCs would probably do your whole classroom. Less heat, too. We're considering a 12-machine language lab in one of our language classrooms, and we're also looking at the Userful Desktop Multiplier system which uses machines with multiple graphics cards to run multiple workstations.

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    David Hicks

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    witch's Avatar
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    We have the U shape here but I have seen lines right across the room facing AWAY from the teacher so that he/she can see ALL the monitors and what they are looking at instantly. The children have swivel chairs for spinning round to watch a demo on the whiteboard etc. Looks very odd but is apparently very effective, and the NM who had it maintained that you can fit more across than around the edges

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    teejay's Avatar
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    As has previously been said, U benching around the edge is not the best use of space.
    The best way to cram them in is in lines across the room. Also, what about having normal desks and a load of netbooks?

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    We're considering a 12-machine language lab in one of our language classrooms, David Hicks
    Interesting. How does this scheme handle the audio ins and outs needed for each student?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    How does this scheme handle the audio ins and outs needed for each student?
    Good question, that - had this conversation with the NComputing sales chap this afternoon. He's hopefully going to email me some more comprehensive answers, but from what I can figure out so far: the NComputing X550 (out Monday) has "decent" sound support - i.e. unpowered speakers/headphones are actually usable from terminals, as opposed to the X300 (that we have installed in our staffroom) which is seemingly a bit on the duff side as regards sound. Embarrassingly, we don't actually have enough money to buy 4 sets of headphones for the staffroom, so I can't check how well the sound works. For audio input, USB microphones should work - the sales chap was a bit unclear on this.

    I don't yet know about Userful's system as regards sound, but I figure a cheap USB sound input/output dongle (£10 each from eBay) might just do the trick. I think I'll maybe be phoning Userful tomorrow to ask them a few questions, I'll ask them about sound support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Good question, that
    David Hicks
    Thought it might be. Our Sanako (Tandberg) system requires full AC97 sound on the PC. We were looking at a quite costly racked, bladed system and all was going swimmingly until we pointed this requirement out to the rep. "Ahhhh, Ummmm, help. Can I get back to you? Do you really need....?" Still using individual boxes, but will be looking again to see if we can a) free some space, and b) reduce heat.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    We have 2 identical rooms. One has computers around three walls and an Island in the middle. This room holds 28 machines.

    The identical room above it, we fitted out in summer. This has one full row against the back wall and two rows split down the middle. This room can hold 36 computers. The other thing we did was have all the computers face away from the front. This means the teacher can see every single screen from the front of the class and knows if someone is not paying attention as they are facing their computer and not the teacher.
    The are a few disadvantages to this such as it's hard to copy of the board etc but these are outweighed by the advantages.

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    russdev's Avatar
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    We have one large room that has has rows on 3 sides of the wall and island in the middle.

    Then we had room with rows on two sides (back and left hand side) and then on right hand side with a row until we get to a door then after that we have small island come out.

    Key here is get someone to come up with many designs as possible. Last two rooms we have done have been done by our design tech and premises officer and design tech came up with 5 different plans etc.

    Rows across the the room might be good for space but they just really bad teaching rooms and should be be avoided at all costs..

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    steve's Avatar
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    If you can post some measurements, of the room that is , I'll do a few Visio diagrams and see if there's anything that might reduce the overcrowding.

    Are you sticking with 18PCs in the room?

    Can you measure how much room 2 year 6s take up when using the computers.

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    bondbill2k2's Avatar
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    We have 3 fairly large rooms and 1 smaller room.The 3 larger rooms have 31 computers in each, 30 for students and the teachers, 2 of the rooms which are both used for IT lessons and are located next door to our office are in a U shape with a line down the middle and the teachers is at the end of the central line, the really large room also has the same number of computers but just around the U edge, no middle section. The middle of the room is full of normal tables and chairs for regular lesson use so the room doesn't go to waste, its often used by PE and business studies for a mixture of computer usage and written work. The small room has 15 computers in and a video conferencing unit, both 1 portable 42" TV unit and a wall mounted cam

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    "Desktop Virtualisation" - one of the systems that allow you to run a number of workstations off of one PC. This means you don't have to find room to have a desktop machine at every workplace, just a screen and keyboard. David Hicks
    Doesn't make a great deal of difference really, users still need the same amount of space either side of them to use the mouse and keyboard comfortably... at best you might gain a few inches depth-wise but with USFF PCs there's not much in it.

    I've seen some rooms where 30 odd machines have been crammed in but it's so cramped I'd hate to be a student working on them for any length of time

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    bondbill2k2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    I've seen some rooms where 30 odd machines have been crammed in but it's so cramped I'd hate to be a student working on them for any length of time
    Ours arn't too bad, most of our rooms are small Micro-atx based computers mounted with a bracket to the rear of the monitors, and the other room is big enough to have a full size classroom inside of the U area



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