not so much remote working, but a Becta study on thin clients in schools is here:
To deploy Terminal Services for teachers remote working from home is taking us back to time warp of dumb terminal based remote working - if anyone can remember!!.
Yet Schools Network managers are queuing up to build towers of Terminal Servers.
Has anyone seen Becta guidelines on remote working??
Thank you CyberNerd.
As you said, Becta's report is not so much remote working, but a study on thin clients in schools.
Hmmm interesting. But as usual Becta appears to have gone off in tangent to the real world issues!
I don't think they went off on a tangent, plenty of schools are lowering TCO's by using ancient technology (as well as terminal services!).
The 'goal' of remote working for teacher/student access is VLE's and open file formats. If you want to concentrate on remote working then that is where you should aim.
Teachers are not required to work from home, so anything like TS that you put in isn't core business, it's an extra.
What would your alternative be, though? If the application that people want to run isn't available in a web-based form then remote terminals it is.
TS are not just used for thin clients. TS can also be used to ease support and administration by giving simple solutions to those wanting to allow additional devices onto a network without some of the extra complexity of rebuilding each student owned device.
A web front-end to TS works well ... it is likely to save my school the equivalent of £18000 in staffing above what I already have. And that is per year. It is also aimed at getting more students to use mobile devices with the goal of anytime anywhere learning ... and to support this it involves a change in how the curriculum is delivered and subjects learnt.
It also allows us to have some chance of sustainability ... we are already on a 5 year refresh plan and each room we are pushed to set up has to be sustainable. This means we are converting fat client rooms to thin client where possible. Those departments that only need basic office suites and the internet are fine this way ... we are also likely to reuse old equipment in the coming years once the concept is embedded (I am planning on it taking 3 years for this, and we are at the end of year 1)
Security is a worry so we are implementing access control onto the wireless network and then the wired network. The additional cost balances out over 3 years meaning that in years 4 and 5 the money allocated in the budget can be used to offset other projects. This is before we even get into the idea that thin clients have a better offset on energy costs. We have the boards being clamped in the next few days to measure a week of use of a typical thin client room and a typical fat client room. We also have to include in the calculations the TS energy costs too ... and I'll feed back to others.
That's why I am "going back to the 80's" - and I am not ashamed of rolling out Dumb terminals at all!! Use what fit's best - for us and clearly for Mr.Grumbledook Thin Clients work well in large ICT suites - for us Thin Clients are turning an unsustainable number of Workstations, into a sustainable number of "clients".
ButuzWe are talking cross purpose. I can see your argument for deployment of TS within school for Windows applications for curriculum purposes.Thin Clients are turning an unsustainable number of Workstations, into a sustainable number of "clients".
As the title suggest, I am specifically refering to "Teachers working from home" and technology that should be used for access - Web vs TS and namely for MIS applications eg assessement etc...
At home teachers will have a decent spec PC or Laptop and in anycase all he/she needs to use is a browser - which itself is the THINEST THIN CLIENT you can get.
Unfortunately some of the tasks that we are asking staff to do from home are not web-enabled and unlikely to be without making significant changes to the uses of technology. As much as I would love certain tools that staff use to be web-enabled, they aren't. To make the move to these tools in the first place can be quite a task and to make further changes is difficult.
It doesn't mean that we shouldn't try it ... but there are times when, after balanced consideration, keeping the same tools and having them remotely accessible via TS can be the best option.
MIS are not there yet. Some areas will not be there for up to 3 years and then we have to get through the issues early adopters have and so on. MIS are not the only issue.
We want teachers to create resources and plan lessons from wherever they want. This means that they need access to the same tools that the students will use and this can be given by the use of TS. Our remote access is used for 2 main purposes. Completion of reports and creation of resources. Neither of these can be done via web-enabled tools at this time.
Even after we can use a web front-end for entering information into the MIS we will still need staff to have remote access to certain software for the creation of resources.
I hope this helps explain why we have thrown our towel in with TS rather than concentrating on web-enabled tools.
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