Tag Archives: new technologies

Managing school IT systems: what to consider

Jim Docherty, UK public specialist at Dell KACE, explores the effective management of IT systems in schoolsjimdocherty

The last decade has seen a real change in classroom teaching as computing devices have evolved. The computer in the classroom has gone from being a single bulky machine in the corner of the room to becoming an Internet-connected tablet or laptop in the hands of each student. Assets and lessons are delivered with IT supporting the learning experience in the classroom.

Technology has become an ever-greater part of both the curriculum itself and the vehicle by which lessons are delivered. This means that effective technology management has grown in importance as well. Parallel to the ongoing discussion about students getting value from their lessons, a debate has been sparked on how to ensure pupils are getting the most from their schools’ IT. How ever teachers want to use IT resources as part of their lesson planning, the IT team at a school or college needs to monitor, manage, secure, update and track these new devices that are entering the classroom.

As the school IT landscape grows in complexity, this is more difficult to keep up with. Previously, a school’s systems administrator could manage one set of assets, based on one operating system and a limited number of applications. However, the growth in new computing devices, including tablets and smartphones, makes that much rarer, leading to more variation in operating systems and a wider range of applications that have to be supported. At the same time, different education establishments have different sets of pupils: a primary or secondary school will have mostly school-owned devices to manage, while colleges and universities will have to deal with pupil-owned devices in the classroom or lecture hall.

Rolling out an update or patching potential vulnerabilities could therefore cause real headaches for sysadmins within education. Keeping these new assets up-to-date is becoming progressively more important as the reliance on them for learning continues to increase. There is no ‘one size fits all’ model for education IT, but there are ways in which the processes for support and IT management can be simplified.

Looking at automation for IT processes is a great way to reduce the impact that new devices can have on the classroom. From discovering and tracking assets to remote wiping and security policy enforcement, automating management tasks is one way to ensure that IT can keep up with all the different requirements they have on their plate. Similarly, reducing the manual overhead for systems management around mobile devices can be achieved through more automation of asset tracking, installation and tracking.

Sysadmin responsibilities and workload will continue to increase as the volume, complexity and vulnerability of technology in schools also continues to increase. Without the right tools, resources will be seriously drained. However, if correctly armed, a sysadmin can set and forget the automation of a large proportion of the everyday, repetitive tasks around IT assets. This allows IT to focus on the bigger projects that will drive value to the school and, ultimately, improve the education experience for its students.

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Mine’s an iPad

Steve Smith from Capita IT Services looks at implementing Bring your own device solutions for schoolsCAP899 Steve Smith

 There has been much debate of late surrounding the advantages of schools embracing the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) concept. The discussions have been fuelled by the difficult financial climate and the need to ensure staff and students have access to engaging educational content.

Apart from a few pioneering souls, BYOD in the education sector has very much remained in its infancy. But recent changes have meant BYOD has suddenly become a real possibility for schools.

Fired by an explosion in the availability of affordable tablets, smart phones and ‘apps’, the ability to piggy back on students’ and staff’s own technology is a viable way to increase access to technology in school. Easier and more affordable BYOD management systems are also making it a realistic solution along with increasing expectations from students and staff who want to use the same technology in school that they do at home.

However, to date, some real barriers to BYOD in school have existed – not least network security and device management. How do you ensure access to material is appropriately controlled, that your data cannot be breached and you are at no greater risk from viruses?  And how can your IT staff manage the variety of technology platforms appearing in the tablet market now, and how can teachers cope with their students viewing content on a variety of different devices with different screen sizes and interfaces?

Recent developments mean that schools can now confidently and affordably implement BYOD. One solution, for instance, is software that allows all classroom resources to be accessed via a web browser which manages access rights, converts content to be relevant to the device used and ensures security is controlled centrally and not on the device. This takes the headache out of the process and ensures your school is free to take advantage of BYOD without your IT manager turning into a quivering wreck at the mere mention of an untrusted device being used on the network.

The implications for the school mean greater access to the latest technology and where money is spent on ICT, it can be on more specialist technologies for music, science or design or provided to pupils unable to access their own devices, helping close the digital divide.

This is why BYOD will soon be a consideration for all schools. Access will no longer be confined to anytime and anywhere. It is now anytime, anywhere, any device and any source.

Steve Smith is director of learning at Capita IT Services which offers services and advice to schools considering cloud and BYOD implementations. www.capita-its.co.uk Capita IT services will be on stand B250 at Bett 2013.

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#BettChat archive 8th January 2013

(All these tweets took place between 4pm and 5pm on Tuesday 8 January 2013)

Bett‏  @Bett_show

Welcome to #BettChat! Today’s topic: What do think has been the biggest game-changer for learning tech since #Bett_Show started in 1985?

eSchools‏  @eschoolsuk

@Bett_show #BettChat pupil’s ability to have the world at their fingertips?

Promethean Planet‏  @planet_tweets

Um… we say: The biggest game changer in education since ’85 has been INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS!! Agree/Disagree? #Bettchat #learningmatters

Future Learning‏  @_futurelearning

Is vertical teaching a viable option?: http://goo.gl/IORyg http://goo.gl/OUPEo #education #bettchat

Animate It!‏  @AnimateEducate

The size and portability of tech is a major change – as is the amount of storage. I have more in my new phone than in my 1st PC! #BettChat

Joe Makepeace‏  @ischoolaudit

#BettChat One of the biggest change since 1985 has to be access to information from both the teachers and the pupils perspective.

Joe Makepeace  ‏@SmartAuditLtd

#BettChat One of the biggest change since 1985 has to be access to information from both the teachers and the pupils perspective.

Adrienne Phillips‏  @Planet_Editor

MT @planet_tweets: Um… we say: The biggest game changer in ed since ’85 has been IWBs! Agree/Disagree #Bettchat #learningmatters AGREE!!

edubiscuit‏  @edubiscuit

#Bettchat @Bett_show #BETT2013 I’d have to say Internet radio would be near the top

Access Area Ltd‏  @Accessarea

@planet_tweets We certainly supply lots of them and they are a fantastic resource for teachers/pupils. Have they changed the game? #BettChat

Promethean‏  @PrometheanUSA

AGREE!! MT @planet_tweets: Um… we say: The biggest game changer in ed since ’85 has been IWBs! Agree/Disagree #Bettchat #learningmatters

Joe Makepeace  ‏@ischoolaudit

Does anyone have a show guide from ’85? What interactive social media forum was available at the time – guessing it was the Pub #BettChat

Joe Makepeace‏  @SmartAuditLtd

Does anyone have a show guide from ’85? What interactive social media forum was available at the time – guessing it was the Pub #BettChat

Russell Prue‏  @russellprue

Just to remind everyone that #BETTChat is well-underway today and some good topics up already join the crowd and use the tag!

Joe Makepeace‏  @ischoolaudit

@edubiscuit I am intrigued as to your reasons for Internet Radio being near the top. #BettChat

Joe Makepeace‏  @SmartAuditLtd

@edubiscuit I am intrigued as to your reasons for Internet Radio being near the top. #BettChat

Promethean Planet  ‏@planet_tweets

@Accessarea Definitely. We love that IWBs can be used to get kids out of seats, at the board, physically interacting in the lesson #BETTChat

joeharrod‏  @joeharrod

Biggest game changer in #education since ’85? The World Wide Web! After that – why it’s interactive whiteboards of course! #Bettchat

eSchools‏  @eschoolsuk

#bettchat has learning tech progressed faster in the last 3 years than the previous 25 years? #tablets #android #iphone #learningmatters

joeharrod‏  @joeharrod

Biggest game changer in #education since ’85? The World Wide Web! And interactive whiteboards of course! #Bettchat #learningmatters

Promethean Planet‏  @planet_tweets

#BETTchat Video! The NEXT biggest thing in Education >> instant feedback. Check this out: http://bit.ly/TINq5W #edchat #learningmatters

Joe Makepeace‏  @ischoolaudit

#BettChat It would appear that #IWB‘s are well in front so far….

Access Area Ltd‏  @Accessarea

@planet_tweets Does every classroom now have access to #IWB‘s or is it still a work in progress? #BettChat

Andy Knill‏  @aknill

#BettChat mobile technology and its versatility

Andy Knill‏  @aknill

#BettChat the access to the Internet and global exchange of ideas and information

attro  ‏@attro_UK

We would agree that IWB’s have been the biggest changer since 1985. Tablets to the next one? #bettchat

Andy Knill‏  @aknill

#BettChat ICT tech has become a tool we can all access

Claire Ashton‏  @ClaireAshton

#BETTChat, has anyone mentioned actual access to technology? In 1985, one suite of BBCs in my sec school now technology is ubiquitous

Promethean Planet‏  @planet_tweets

@Accessarea depends on market but we know they are a game changer for teachers. Thanks for supplying 🙂 #IWB #Bettchat #learningmatters

Andy Knill‏  @aknill

#BettChat IWBs have made a big difference ( #promethean #activadvocates role)

David Kempster‏  @KempsterD

@aknill: #BettChat IWBs have made a big difference ( #promethean #activadvocates role)” Have they? When used well but most aren’t.

IrritableTech  ‏@IrritableTech

#BETTChat What do think has been the biggest game-changer for learning tech since #Bett-Show started in 1985? Affordability. Sorry I’m late!

David Kempster‏  @KempsterD

#BettChat I think that IWBs have led to more didactic teaching over the past few years. The BBC Master was a big game changer 4 me.

Bett‏  @Bett_show

Thanks everyone for some great contributions to #BettChat! Remember to let us know your suggestions for next week’s topic

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#BettChat archive 18th December 2012

(All these tweets took place between 4pm and 5pm on Tuesday 18 December 2012)

Bett  ‏@Bett_show

Welcome to today’s #BettChat! Who would like to start us off by sharing why or what they love about #Bett_Show?

WebBased‏  @WebBasedLtd

A brilliant way to showcase your products & say hi to existing clients as well as meeting new ones, come see CPD Online, Stand C44 #Bettchat

Bett Workplace‏  @Bett_Workplace

If you are exhibiting at or visiting Bett 2013, join #BettChat now and tell us why or what you love about #Bett_Show.

eInstructionApacEmea  ‏@eInstruction_uk

For us, #Bett_Show is all about getting to meet new faces who share our passion for the potential of technology in education! #BettChat

Animate 2 Educate‏  @Animate2Educate

#BettChat Great opportunity to meet new people and companies. Last year I discovered the amazing @Zu3D for the first time. #Bett_Show

WebBased‏  @WebBasedLtd

A great opportunity to see & hear all about the newest & latest technology that’s around!! #Bettchat

InfoMentor UK‏  @infomentoruk

The chance to talk to people about what really matters in education & to talk to people from all over the world about learning #BettChat

Claire Ashton‏  @ClaireAshton

@Bett_Workplace #BETTChat As well as meeting customers, it’s a great chance to meet up with colleagues we’re rarely together in such numbers

Matthew Pearson‏  @mattpearson

I can’t in all honesty say I love the BETT show, if it didn’t exist, it would probably need inventing though #bettchat

Zu3D animation‏  @Zu3D

#BettChat We love seeing the moment people realise it’s really easy to animate in the classroom. And making films all day is pretty fun.

Animate 2 Educate‏  @Animate2Educate

@Zu3D Great piece of software. So many great sessions with children of all ages this year. Even more planned for 2013! #BettChat #Bett_Show

Smoothwall‏  @Smoothwall

The #Bett_Show is a wonderful opportunity to meet with ICT and e-safety staff and share our expertise. #BettChat

Vocab Express‏  @vocabexpress

We love the buzz – getting to meet so many people every day is fantastic! #BettChat #Bett_Show

Ergo Computing‏  @ergocomputing

The #Bett_Show gives you the chance to meet new & familiar faces, see the latest technology & conversations that lead to change #BettChat

Loxit‏  @loxitltd

@Bett_show is an opportunity for us to showcase new products and the invaluable #BettChat helps set a product roadmap for the following year

WebBased‏  @WebBasedLtd

Hope you all have a great Christmas, CPD Online look forward to seeing you all at the #Bett_Show in January! #BettChat

Kari Rajala‏  @KariRajala

Meet people, get new ideas, see all that new technology, visit in London #BettChat

Kari Rajala‏  @KariRajala

RT @Bett_show : Join us for #BettChat at 4pm and share why or what you love about #Bett_Show #finnbett

Kari Rajala‏  @KariRajala

@KariRajala: Meet people, get new ideas, see all that new technology, visit in London #BettChat #finnbett

Access Area Ltd‏  @Accessarea

Not having been before, I am not sure what to expect but reading the #BettChat it would appear that I am in for a treat. Am I right?

Joe Makepeace  ‏@ischoolaudit

Not having been before, I am not sure what to expect but reading the #BettChat it would appear that I am in for a treat. Am I right?

Joe Makepeace‏  @SmartAuditLtd

Not having been before, I am not sure what to expect but reading the #BettChat it would appear that I am in for a treat. Am I right?

Bett‏  @Bett_show

@ischoolaudit Definitely! 🙂 #BettChat

Claire Ashton‏  @ClaireAshton

@SmartAuditLtd Wear comfy shoes and take a spare pair if you can! #BETTChat

Bett  ‏@Bett_show

Thanks to everyone who took part in #BettChat tonight! It is great to hear so many people passionate about #Bett_Show

Bett‏  @Bett_show

…This was our last #BettChat for 2012, so we wish everyone a merry Christmas & happy New Year! Join us on 8 Jan for the next #BettChat.

Joe Makepeace  ‏@ischoolaudit

“RT @bett_show: @ischoolaudit Definitely! 🙂 #BettChat” Not much to look forward to at the end of January……until now! #BETT2013

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Time for schools to re-boot technology use in the classroom

Justin Sycamore, managing director at Vocab Express, provides some food for thought for teachers drafting their ICT wish lists.

There is no question about it, education technology whether hardware like digital tablets, or software like educational games, can greatly improve students’ learning. However, a recent study carried out by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts claims expensive digital technology for schools often sits unused in classroom cupboards.

In the last three years, researchers estimated that schools in England alone spent more than £1.4bn on technology, a staggering amount considering tight school budgets, but it is not being used to its full potential. It was reported that the main reason for this, was teachers’ and learners’ lack of understanding in using these costly digital kits.

In an interview with the BBC, Dominic Savage of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) welcomed the report commenting: “Schools should only invest in technology when they understand what they want to do with it and what it will achieve.”

Here at Vocab Express we support this opinion and believe it is incredibly important for education suppliers to provide resources which are user friendly, support the educator, can be easily updated and strengthen and accelerate learning. There is a rich range of resources available but schools need to be careful not to put excitement at innovation ahead of what actually helps students learn. To all teachers reading this blog and attending the Bett show in January, our advice would be to carefully consider what products will best suit both you and your students. It may be easy to compile an extensive list of flash techy gadgets, but are they straightforward to use? Will you need training to use them? Do they effectively support the work you undertake in lessons? Could they become obsolete in a couple of years? Do they need to be used in conjunction with other products? Is there a more effective alternative?

Suppliers at Bett will be happy to answer any questions and for visitors to trial their products. To find out more information on the show please take a look at the Bett 2013 website where you can find out more about each exhibitor before hand with their exhibitor profiles http://www.bettshow.com/

We would love to hear your thoughts on the use of digital technology in schools!

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