News Updates:

Please find below a set up of updates on our project:

Imagine an ICT system that ticks all of the right boxes!!!!

posted 22 Sep 2019, 12:41 by Trevor Collins

To whom it may concern,
The following article outlines some of the benefits of adopting a cloud-based ICT infrastructure in education in Ireland. (A 5 minute read that may change your mind about ICT in education!)

Imagine a system that can be all things to a school ... supporting teaching and learning, a system that requires less personnel to manage and very importantly, something that, if done on a large scale, can save the state huge sums of money. Does this sound too good to be true??? This system is here .... and we have seen the benefits of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure system in our school for the last c.5 years.

In the most basic of terms, imagine a new type of ICT system that moves away from the traditional c.25 PC's in a room with constant maintenance required for every device and then factor in the cost of replacing these devices every 3 to 5 years.

Consider a new system that is centrally managed, where every user can log on from any device that can access the internet. Applications can be added or removed depending on the needs of the student or class, updates are overseen elsewhere, and with a cloud-based system, the entire system is managed by a third party.

This new system enables a second life to devices that would have otherwise been dumped. Our own school has c.240 devices and the vast majority of the devices currently been used are more than 8 years old and have been sourced from firms who were about to discard them. Recently, we have been able to link our system, via Raspberry Pi devices to our server. In our case (and since we sourced monitors for free), we can create a computer room for only a few hundred euro. (See attached images)

Advantages of the system include:
The system is a server-based system which manages user accounts allowing use to various programs.
The programs are managed and updated centrally.
The user can log in from any device.
All work done is saved securely.
Old PC’s no longer need to be replaced as the server does the data processing resulting in no need for schools to spend money on PC hardware.
The system is bigger, better, faster, cheaper and more manageable than anything else available.
The system is a win-win arrangement for the state and all schools. Ours is a proven working model that has greater demands by more users, using more programs than ever before. 

We would like to hear from people interested in adopting this system in their schools or who would simply like to find out more. 

In our own situation, we were lucky enough to have the support of a local ICT firm who wished to use our school as a test case to use virtualization in education. Our system has become bigger and better, with greater demands by more students using an infrastructure that is run be fewer staff than before. Our past pupils request to keep their students accounts as they find our system better than what they use in many third level colleges.

We built our system from the 'bottom up'. We manage our system internally but our goal is to create a cloud-based system that can manage the accounts of students in schools the length and breadth of the country. Our focus is providing the best system to enable our students, teachers and schools to reach their full potential. We are not a business, we are not interested in profit-making, our goal is to inform school management and principals to make an informed decision on a new, cost-effective system that will transform education in Ireland.

For more information, please review a recently published article in the Irish Education Matters academic journal:  

Please find attached also a .PDF which describes an activity that we would like to undertake if funding was available.

If you would like to find out more or have a query, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Darren Platts.
Emails:
tcollins@bgsmail.ie - Trevor Collins
dplatts@bgsmail.ie - Darren Platts

Description of Generation 2 of VDI : Cloud-based VDI

posted 26 Aug 2018, 08:34 by Trevor Collins

The  attached presentation was given at the 2018 annual general meeting of the Joint Managerial Body's ICT advisory group in June of this year.

This presentation gives an overview of cloud-based VDI action and also highlights the many advantages of the system over the traditional system.

This new system requires a change in the mind-set of people who manage ICT systems in school. To a certain degree, it reverts back to the very old system of having a main-frame computer and terminals linked to the central device. In the Generation 2 / could-based VDI system, the central server that manages the applications / software / accounts is now in the cloud! 

Sounds easy??? ..... the beauty of the system is that is all the user needs to know. They can log-on from any device with a user-name and password. The school determines which software / applications that the student or teacher can use. The documents created are saved on their account. 

The real beauty of the system is in the background. More accounts, with greater demands with more applications can now be managed externally. (The school pays for the service and there is a huge economoy of scale available with the greater the number of accounts resulting in a lower cost per account.)

Dell Technologies article on VDI in education.

posted 26 Aug 2018, 08:21 by Trevor Collins   [ updated 27 Aug 2018, 10:49 by Trevor Collins ]

HEAnet Conference talk Nov 2017

posted 9 Nov 2017, 01:27 by Trevor Collins   [ updated 9 Nov 2017, 01:27 ]

We are delighted to have been asked to speak at the HEAnet conference which takes place in Galway in early November.
Our talk is based on 'Our story' which outlines how we transformed our school from the traditional 'computer classroom' to using a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure system. (See attached presentation)
We sahll also be giving the first large-scale premier of what we believe will be the future of ICT education .... Flexilabs. Watch this space .... you've heard it first!

Meeting with key stakeholders.

posted 6 Feb 2017, 14:48 by Trevor Collins

We expect to meet the Minister of Education & Skills and other key local stakeholders over the next few days to highlight the advantages of using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure as a key core element of the future of ICT both as a platform and curriculum over the next few days.
We hope to be able to mention that a change in policy to encourage large firms to donate old technology into schools would be a win-win for all concerned. 
Fingers crossed!!!!!

DOTIE supported by Cork Chamber of Commerce

posted 13 Oct 2016, 13:38 by Trevor Collins

Thank you to the staff of Cork Chamber of Commerce for their support and helping to link us with local companies in order to help with our project.
We hope that this will prove to be both a long term and mutually beneficial working relationship with a common goal to help distribute ICT resources to primary schools.

Link to presentation for CESI 2016

posted 26 Feb 2016, 23:18 by Trevor Collins

Having looked forward to going to Dublin and give a talk on our activities, fate (and weather) has gone against us and made the local roads close to impassable due to the first snow of the year.

Unfortunately, we cannot make the journey to Dublin due to weather. 

Please find a link to our presentation that we were to use as part of our talk on the activities undertaken.

 It is broken into 3 parts:
1. DOTIE Project 1 (Donating Old Technology Into Education.
2. The mechanics of our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and
3. How a large scale VDI system is perfect for groups of schools. (DOTIE Project 2)


Part 2 highlights the inner workings of the VDI system and this should be of interest to those very familiar with ICT infrastructure. 

Parts 1 and 3 give a broad overview on what we've done and what we would like to see happen if other stakeholders in education and industry worked together.

Regards,
T Collins & D Platts

Guest Speakers at the 2016 CESI conference

posted 9 Feb 2016, 02:00 by Trevor Collins

We are delighted to have been invited to speak at the 2016 CESI (Computers in Education Society of Ireland) annual conference which takes place on Feb 27th in Dublin. (http://www.cesi.ie/conferences/conference-2016/)

We shall be speaking on the work being done through the DOTIE initiative and a proposed long-term project on large scale virtual desktop infrastructure for schools.

More details to follow when available.

Guest speakers at Teachmeet & Compass

posted 20 Nov 2015, 15:50 by Trevor Collins

We have been busy with spreading the word on what we've been doing both in school and with our DOTIE activities. We are starting a new PC acquirement drive over the next few weeks as we have a long waiting list for PC's for schools.

We are also starting a new project which we believe may change the face of ICT in schools. While this may be a very large claim to make, we genuinely believe that a large scale, centrally planned Virtual Desktop Infrastructure can fundamentally change the output and costs of a school based ICT infrastructure.

The attached documents should prove interesting.

Check out the following website to view the potential future for ICT in education: http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/30-incredible-ways-technology-will-change-education-by-2028/

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