The days when education meant sitting at a desk being preached to by a teacher who stood at the front of the classroom are long gone as the annual British Education Training and Technology (BETT) show proved.
With its last outing at Olympia before it moves to its new home at the Excel, this year’s show highlighted that the boundaries for education are only as limitless as the imagination and drive of its establishment.
Therewas an abundance of high profile guests (Education Secretary Michael Gove and Prince Andrew to name two) and high profile gadgets at this year’s show, but one thing is certain – the future of school work is in the cloud. From accessing school networks, storing, loading and sharing information, the cloud will revolutionise the way in which pupils process information in the same way that the calculator revolutionised maths lessons in the 70’s.
BT showcased its development of cloud based services which enables pupils and teachers alike to safely and securely access their school desktop and server from any device, anywhere and at any time. The difference with this service is that it’s developed by schools for schools.
One example is Norfolk County Council. What started as a project to improve access and security in 400 Norfolk schools now has the potential to deliver a host of cloud services.
Norfolk County Council is using BT’s Virtual Data Centre (VDC) to support a single sign-on system to track 100,000 students across a number of sites. This solved the problem where children and staff previously had to log on again every time they wanted to use a different application. Not only was this annoying and time-wasting, but having multiple identities created further compliance and security issues.
This also means that the council can centralise its server, storage, network and security resources on one infrastructure. BT estimates that total savings are in the region of 40 per cent compared with the traditional patchwork of services.
The next step for Norfolk is to allow applications to be made available in the cloud and to start to enable mobile learning and have learning facilities more easily available. Such use of the cloud is allowing laptops and tablets and to enhance education in today’s society.