He added, “Extending this even further, only this month, the UK’s Brighton City Council has backed plans to allow children to use their smartphones to access e-learning in the classroom and at home.”
Mark Hirst further explained that to deliver the content of all of this requires each school and college to have the full functionality of a small data centre. But a serious problem in many schools is the lack of space for the data centre and of the skills and resources to manage and maintain one.
Born out of its experience in the data centre sector and in miniaturisation, simplification and minimisation of maintenance for the military, Cannon Technologies has solved the schools problem by developing the Mini Data Centre range a complete self-contained data centre in a single enclosed rack or cabinet – which can be sited in a corridor, cupboard or externally in the car park or playground.
The new range contains sophisticated self-management systems alongside cooling equipment, uninterruptable power supplies, wide area network (internet) access, router, firewalls, content filtering and control, Ethernet switches, storage, servers and Wi-Fi access controllers. All of this is integrated in Cannon Technologies’ factory with e-learning management software (LMS) - like Moodle and Blackboard - together with all of the back-office systems, pupil security functions like campus-wide access control and CCTV recording for the school or college. This is all fully integrated and tested before delivery to the school.
A MORE STREAMLINED APPROACH
Said Mark Hirst, “Although it is possible to run Ethernet cabling throughout the school, with the preponderance of hand-held devices, transportable whiteboards and large screen displays the moves, adds and changes (MACs) for a school are a potential nightmare. We tend to recommend the use of encrypted Wi-Fi throughout the school and playground which does away with most of the MACs and, if Power over Ethernet is used, reduces the total cabling job for the entire school to one main supply to the cabinet and only 10 Ethernet cables to 10 Wi-Fi access points for a 300 user system or just 40 cables for an entire 1200 user campus.
Using systems like Moodle, teachers and lecturers now prepare lessons and present their pupils with information in widely varying formats, from text to graphics, to HD video. They also have to manage multiple processes and facilities their predecessors knew nothing of: like electronic forums, twitter and social media as well as online progress tracking and grading assessments – all provided through the Learning Management Software.
Perhaps amazingly, the IT-savvy students even access e-Learning from home or while away on vacation and do so at all times of the day and night leading to a requirement for 24x7x365 availability via the worldwide web.
The result is that schools today require a sophisticated data centre in much the same way that a typical business does. The data centre must provide powerful servers for the processing and all if the infrastructure capability needed to support these functions, take up very little space and need very little IT support and maintenance. Cannon Technologies’ Mini Data Centre range provides exactly that ready to work ‘out of the box’.