Networked ICT solution provides children with monitors

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Award-winning Barry Island School, one of the highest achieving schools in the Vale of Glamorgan LEA, has become the UK’s first school to implement a state-of-the-art networked ICT solution that provides all children with their own monitor, mouse and keyboard at their desks. The former ICT suite has now been turned into a new classroom for 30 additional pupils.

Recognising the importance of technology in education, and the need for the school’s ICT systems to work effectively and efficiently, the school decided to invest in a new ICT solution that met its core objectives: a low total cost of ownership (TCO); a high return on investment (ROI) and a system that was environmentally friendly, easy and quick to install.

The answer, provided by services and solutions provider, Computacenter, was LG’s Network Monitor that uses virtual desktop software that enables 10 users to share a single host PC. The software transmits divided desktop screens from the host to each monitor, allowing pupils to run any application as if they were using individual PCs.

Using the Network Monitors, the school’s teachers now have the ability to monitor each pupil’s work from the host PC without needing to go to each individual computer. By easily switching between screens, they can also showcase a pupil’s work to the entire class via an interactive whiteboard.

The cost of the installation of the complete system, including server, associated hardware/software, monitors, cables, keyboards, mice and installation service, amounts to approximately 60 per cent less than the implementation of 10 industry standard PCs.

Similarly, by implementing fewer PCs, energy consumption is significantly reduced, which feeds into Barry Island Primary School’s environmental goals. A standard computer, for example, will use between 15 – 80 watts, but with Network Monitors this is reduced to between 1 – 5 watts, potentially lowering its annual energy costs by 80 per cent.

“As the first school in the UK to implement Network Monitors, we are incredibly proud to be able to set the standard in the education sector through using new technologies,” says Mark Ellis, head of IT, Barry Island Primary School. “This solution has enabled us to transform the way we teach ICT to our pupils and it is the most cost-effective option on the market.”

Due to the high achievements Barry Island Primary School has made in recent years, it is often called upon to share best practice and hosts regular visits from headteachers in the Glamorgan region to demonstrate its offerings. It has recently been assessed  against the standards of the 2009 BECTA ICT Quality Mark and been recommended as a school of excellence, an acknowledgement for schools that approach ICT in an outstanding and innovative way, and its new offering will aide it in its bid to achieve this and fulfil its goal to become a centre of excellence.

About Barry Island Primary School
Barry Island Primary School has served the children of Barry Island, the Knap and West Barry since 1897 and is one of the highest achieving schools in the Vale of Glamorgan Local Education Authority (LEA). It currently has 27 staff, six classrooms, a nursery unit and approximately 200 children between the ages of three and eleven years.  

In March 2009, the school’s headteacher, Janet Hayward became the first person in education to be awarded the ‘Leading Wales award’ for the public sector. Janet is focused on continually raising standards and the school achieved top grades in all areas of in its last inspection (ICT was judged to be Outstanding). It was also awarded Wales’ ‘Eco primary school of the year 2009’ for its environmental and energy saving initiatives, implemented as part of its drive to become an exemplary school for the region.

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