Arthur Terry uses Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect to make ICT more accessible
Customers

Outstanding school uses Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView to make ICT more accessible to pupils and teachers

Industry

Education

Customer

The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership

Product

        Ericom® PowerTerm® WebConnect RemoteView


Challenges

  • Deliver applications and data to pupils and teachers in new school buildings
  • Optimise application performance on the school's existing PCs, of different ages and specifications
  • Make applications and data accessible to pupils and teachers from any location, from any device
  • Simplify and reduce the cost of application management

Solution

  • Deploy Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView

Benefits

  • Supports effective teaching and learning
  • Ensures reliable and consistent application performance, across PCs of mixed type and age
  • Allows easy access to applications and work for pupils and teachers from school or home using any device
  • Creates time and cost savings in the IT department


"Ericom is helping us to build an effective learning environment for pupils in which they can reach their full potential. We are always looking to harness new technology to broaden the experiences of our young people."
Neil Warner and Richard GIll , Headteachers, The Arthur Terry School

Background

The construction of a new academic campus gave The Arthur Terry School (Arthur Terry) the ideal opportunity to review the way it delivered applications and data to pupils and staff.

A new approach for a new school

Based in Birmingham, The Arthur Terry School had commissioned the construction of a brand new school campus, which would replace 95% of its existing buildings. This mammoth project gave the school the opportunity to look at its IT infrastructure in a new light and consider new ways to deliver better ICT services, more cost effectively. The school wanted to embed ICT more tightly into teaching and learning across all curriculum areas and all subjects, not just IT and business. To do this, it knew that it had to make IT applications and data much more accessible to both pupils and teachers.

The school planned to position PCs in most of the 90 classrooms on the new campus, as well as in dedicated IT and business work rooms. In addition, all teachers had laptops, and the new school equipped a couple of design studios with Apple Macintosh computers. With such a large, dispersed estate of computers, the IT department wanted to find a better way to centrally manage and support applications. At the time, IT technicians were being dispatched to classrooms every time application issues arose, and this wasted considerable time and money.

While The Arthur Terry School planned to acquire a couple of new servers, it didn't have the budget to purchase hundreds of new PCs, so it planned to move the computers it already had from the existing buildings over to the new buildings. Consequently, the school needed an application delivery solution that could work across a complicated mix of aging computers with different specifications.

The school's primary IT contractor initially considered Citrix applications to address the school's needs, but this technology was quickly ruled out due to its high cost and complexity. The contractor then proposed Ericom's WebConnect RemoteView, and the school discovered that this comparable solution met its requirements for significantly less money. Chris Butler, technical services manager at The Arthur Terry School, explains: "Ericom was tens of thousands of pounds less expensive than Citrix but delivered everything that we were looking for."

An outstanding learning environment

The Arthur Terry School installed PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView in the new school building, just before the pupils and staff moved in. From this central system, the IT team now serves out all of the applications and data needed to support lessons. Wherever pupils and teachers go in the school, they can log into any PC or laptop, in any classroom or work area, and see exactly the same screen. They can then easily find and open the applications they need, complete tasks and save their work.

But the benefits of PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView aren't confined to the new school campus. It also enables pupils and teachers to access applications and data remotely from home, a library or an Internet cafe?. This means that pupils no longer need to have (and pay for) their own copies of multiple different software applications on their home PCs. They can simply log into the solution via a highly secure Internet connection, access the application that they were using in class, find the work they started in a lesson and complete it at home.

Teachers too can log into PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView from home to prepare lessons, check timetables and mark assignments. Previously, teachers had just a basic remote access solution that enabled them to access their work, but not the applications used to create it. "Now, whether teachers or pupils are working in school or at home, they have a completely seamless experience," Butler says. "Almost everything that they can do at school, they can now do at home too."

The year after installing Ericom's application delivery system, Arthur Terry was inspected by Ofsted. In its assessment, Ofsted pronounced the school to be ‘outstanding' and awarded it the coveted ‘grade one' in an incredible 37 out of 39 criteria. The school's exemplary use of technology to improve teaching and learning is likely to have contributed to this success.

A versatile and expanding service

PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView has now been in operation at the school for over eight years and has adapted to keep pace with significant changes. The school has become an Academy, was renamed the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership and started to work with other local schools to share best practices. The partnership now permits members of staff in five other schools to access Ericom's solution to use central systems for human resources and finance for example.

In addition, the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership has introduced a ‘Bring Your Own Device' strategy for students in its sixth form, the largest in Birmingham. Around 500 students, as well as members of staff, can now access email, data and applications from their tablets and smartphones. Whether they have an Android, Windows or Apple device, all they need to do is download an Ericom app and enter their security details. "There was a lot of excitement internally within the school about the prospect of being able to incorporate mobile devices into teaching and learning," Butler says.

Over the years, the IT department has gradually upgraded some of the older PCs in classrooms, replacing many of them with more cost effective thin clients. This strategy has enabled the school to significantly reduce its long-term capital expenditure on IT, while still delivering the same services for pupils and teachers. Throughout this time, Ericom has provided consistently strong support for the school. Butler says: "Ericom has always been extremely supportive and helpful."

In the IT department, RemoteView saves a great deal of time, because applications are all stored and managed centrally. Rather than wasting time visiting classrooms to respond to application problems on individual PCs, IT technicians now have more time available to support other areas of the school's IT infrastructure. Most significantly, the solution has proven to be highly reliable. "Staff like it because it just works," concludes Butler. "We've been using Ericom for over five years now and it has proved itself to be an invaluable part of our ICT infrastructure."




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