When the Coventry University IT team was asked to cut £1 million from its budget as part of a strategic initiative, it re-evaluated virtualisation technologies. A previous foray into virtualisation had proved to be expensive, with the team finding it a challenge to make the most of the technology. After comparing several solutions, it chose to deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacentre because the licensing model immediately saved the university £129,000.
The IT team is now using Hyper-V technology—included in the solution—to virtualise as many virtual machines onto one server as it needs, without requiring licences for each virtual machine. The team has also reduced staffing needs by one full-time staff member through the consolidation of platforms. With the new environment, the university saves £1 million of its allocated budget.
To learn more about this project, the case study can be downloaded from our SlideShare account. Alternatively, you can view the full document below.
Guest post from Janet Murray on behalf of the Education Innovation Conference.
The ICT curriculum has been widely criticised for being out of step with developments in technology. But with the subject currently under scrutiny, as part of the National Curriculum review in England, there is an opportunity to develop a syllabus that is a much better fit for today's learners. So what are the biggest barriers to progress? Speakers from the upcoming Education Innovation conference have their say.
Michael Shaw, deputy editor of the Times Educational Supplement (TES)
The big issue must be how teachers can harness the true potential of ICT for learning - not to carry on using tech as simply a flashy, digital version of the same teaching tools schools have used for centuries. Quite extraordinary results are being achieved where pupils are learning on their own online. That raises big questions about the role of teachers, and some will find those questions scary. I do believe we will always need teachers - but, to quote the futurologist David Thornburg, ‘Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer deserves to be’.
Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
The biggest challenge around ICT is the increasing ‘digital divide’. There are still too many young people without access to technology or without adequate training on its use, which impacts on ability to do homework, learn IT skills required for the modern workplace or search online for jobs or training courses. As these young people often come from lower socio-economic groups, the digital divide widens as technology moves on and they’re left behind.
Maggie Philbin, TV presenter and co-founder of Teen Tech, an organisation that provides one-day careers events to give young people an insight into careers in science, technology and engineering
I think it's an exciting but very challenging time for teachers who want to do their best by students but may feel guidance is coming from many directions.
It's vital our education system responds to the demand for digital skills, which should be seen as a tool across all disciplines and not a separate subject area.
In a fast moving subject like ICT maybe we should encourage more student/teacher collaborative explorations of topics.
We probably need to look closely at Maths and how we can encourage more students to study the right kind of maths for longer.
Emma Mulqueeny, co-founder of the Coding for Kids movement
Parents and teachers are wary of exposing children to the perceived risk from paedophiles and may struggle to allow their children the freedom to learn online – the only place they can pick up some of the digital skills necessary for them to practice advanced programming.
Often, the solution to the digital renaissance is to close, protect and hide pupils and educators from the digital unknown, but this approach will fail in a digital world.
Simon Humphreys, co-ordinator, Computing at School
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a decisive and lasting change to our children’s education in ICT. The consensus is that we need to refocus computer science as a proper, rigorous, high-status, school subject, on a par with other sciences.
We need to focus not on the technology, but on the underlying discipline – and balance the need for computer science in schools with the demands for digital literacy and IT.
Equally, we must support teachers as they begin to engage with computer science in their classrooms but lack confidence in their own knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Education Innovation is being held at Manchester Central on March 8th and 9th, 2013
Guest post by Dave Coplin, Director for Bing UK, Microsoft.
We live in incredible times. Today, many of us walk around with more computing power in our pockets than used to sit on our desks just a few short years ago. We are more connected, more engaged and more in control of our lives than ever before and yet, incredible though it is to believe, we are still right at the very beginning of our society’s journey with technology.
We have learned to love (or in some cases, tolerate) the power of social media and the increasingly real-time nature of our world. The power of the internet and mobile technology has enabled us to live with and access an incredible range of data, information and services that offer us the capability of augmenting all of our real-world experiences, joining the digital and analogue worlds together, in order to help us to become greater than the sum of our own parts.
There has been much discussion in the UK recently about the importance of getting the right approach to the role of technology in schools. Many have used this as the opportunity to reinforce the need for greater emphasis on the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with further focus being given to the need to create a new generation of “kids who code”. Whilst this on its own is an incredibly important initiative, it is vitally important to continue to remind ourselves that it is still just a subset of the overall duty of care we have as technologists to ensure that every single aspect of society is empowered by technology. Yes that means having great software, and as such brilliant computer scientists, but more importantly it means ensuring that every single member of society knows how to make the best use of technology whatever their societal role – this is our modern equivalent of a “PC on every desk”.
Over the next twenty years, the increasingly connected nature of every action and every “thing”, combined with technological developments like the incredible prevalence of screens, e-ink and display surfaces and natural interfaces (those that use a range of human interaction from typing and mechanical devices like the mouse through to more natural methods involving gestures, speech and even thought), will take us to a new level of reliance and integration of technology. However, there are still some crucial obstacles that remain in our way, blocking our ability to take advantage of the advances on offer.
Some of these challenges exist at a cultural level, with privacy being perhaps the most fundamental of all such sociological debates. However, often hidden beyond such issues are significant barriers pertaining to the spread of knowledge and literacy that, if left unheeded, weaken the very foundations of our society (and economy).
None of these challenges are new, in fact a great deal can be learnt from our past. As such, the four key challenges we face should be familiar:
Within our brave new digital world, one of the most important skills we must learn is “critical thinking” a concept that rather incredibly, dates back to Socrates over 2000 years ago, but after being “recently” updated in the 20th century for a modern society by many great scholars, it provides a powerful framework for our internet age as every single day we are bombarded by millions of signals of data, information and content, and the quantity of information we are exposed to grows exponentially. These days we are still looking for the needle, it’s just that now it’s in one of a billion haystacks.
Most of us use critical thinking every day and for most of the time, we are barely aware of it. Every time we read a newspaper article, watch a documentary or look something up on Wikipedia we are aware of a whole range of biases, influences and emotions that may interfere with the validity, accuracy and overall conclusion of the content and, if we’re doing our job properly, we take all of that into account as we parse the information, reflect on it drawing in a range of other context and ultimately use it to draw conclusions and make decisions.
Fortunately for many of us, we’ve had years of practice and experimentation to get this right but in this new digital age, where children and young people have so much access to an incredible world of information but have yet to develop the skills to know how to deal with it becomes something we simply cannot take for granted.
From an early age, we need to ensure that anyone using the internet are able draw upon critical thinking skills to:
Where we need help now is not in the squabbling on the frontline of the digital/analogue boundary debating about which tools we should be teaching but is instead around the core principles of extending knowledge and literacy in a modern society, ensuring that, like our ancestors before us, our greatest knowledge assets (both digital and analogue) do not succumb to the ravages of time; that people can find relevant information in a vast ocean of content – ultimately finding a needle in a billion haystacks; ensuring that our children and every other member of our society are equipped with the cognitive capability and skills that enable them to harness the incredible potential that technology brings us. It should not just be a case of feeding them with the basic tools that will become obsolete tomorrow, but instead teaching them to “fish” in a growing digital pool and ensuring that every single member of our society, regardless of location, background, skills and wealth, can benefit from all that is on offer.
Looking for some great advice, examples and best practice in the use of the wide range of Microsoft technologies and programmes in schools? Then this series of events hosted by some of our school partners could help. Each month we will publishing a list of events being held around the country.
To attend any event, please contact the school directly or by the email contacts listed here.
8th Oct 4pm
saltash.net community school
Innovative use of mobile technologies
9th Oct 4pm
New Line Learning Academy
PowerPoint – Beyond the basics
10th Oct 4pm
Sawtry Community College
Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum
11th Oct 4pm
Djanogly City Academy
Microsoft Free Stuff
Calderglen High School
15th Oct 4 pm
Broadclyst Community Primary School
Using Media across the curriculum
26th Oct 4pm
Bring and Brag – Share your ideas
30th Oct 4pm
Using Microsoft OneNote
5th Nov 10am
Hugh Christie Technology College
Office 365 – Email
5th Nov 12pm
Skydrive in the Classroom
6th Nov 10am
Kodu in the Classroom
7th Nov 4pm
MOS accreditation & Self Learning Programme
14th Nov 5pm
Microsoft Free stuff
26th Nov 4pm
Working collaboratively online
28th Nov 4pm
Strategic Leadership of ICT
You can find out more about the range of programmes Microsoft Partners in Learning offers by joining for free at www.pil-network.com
Virtualisation technologies help customers’ lower costs and deliver greater agility and economies of scale. Either as a stand-alone product or an integrated part of Windows Server, Hyper-V is the leading virtualization platform for today and the transformational opportunity with cloud computing.
With Hyper-V, it is now easier than ever for organisations to take advantage of the cost savings of virtualisation, and make the optimum use of server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as separate virtual machines that are running on a single physical machine. Customers can use Hyper-V to efficiently run multiple operating systems, Windows, Linux, and others, in parallel, on a single server.
Windows Server 2012 extends this with more features, greater scalability and further inbuilt reliability mechanisms. In the data centre, on the desktop, and now in the cloud, the Microsoft virtualisation platform, which is led by Hyper-V and management tools, simply makes more sense and offers better value for money when compared to the competition.
To learn more about Hyper-V and how it can make a difference within your institution, download our new ‘Why Hyper-V?’ whitepaper. Alternatively, the full whitepaper can be viewed in full below.