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Sustainable Networking and Extended Learning

with Community Connect 4

Happy Girl

Extending learning opportunities for students and the wider community is at the very heart of the Every Child Matters agenda. There are already over 5,000 schools offering the full range of extended services. Community Connect 4, the new generation of our highly popular networking solution for education, can help you to support sustainable networking whilst offering learning opportunities for your expanding learning community.

Connecting with the community

For many secondary schools, offering an extended provision means providing a varied menu of activities - academically-focused breakfast and homework clubs, creative arts, sports and recreation opportunities and more. Yet opening up access to a school's resources outside of the traditional school day can pose both logistical and financial challenges. One of the most obvious ways in which schools are fulfilling the extended schools remit is through the provision of their ICT resources. ICT provides a great opportunity for schools to develop extended services for their learners and the wider community. Extending access to your school's network and ICT resources can help to bridge the divide for those students that don't have access to ICT at home. Greater access lets you tailor the learning experience to meet individual learning needs. For example, the chance to do extra homework or class work, further tuition or extra certification.

Engaging parents

ICT can also prove to be a good way of reaching out to and engaging with parents. Many schools have opened up their ICT facilities to allow parents to develop their own ICT skills so they can further support their children. But whilst there are many benefits to opening up your ICT facilities for your students and their families, what impact does this have on the long term sustainability of your schools ICT infrastructure?

Longer term impact

Initiatives such as Extended Schools and the 14-19 agenda mean that schools' ICT facilities are being accessed more than ever before. This puts added pressure on your school's ICT infrastructure, with demand not only affecting energy usage but also the general wear and tear of machines.

CC4 you - a sustainable investment

CC4This demand from schools for a more flexible but sustainable network was just one of the considerations we took into account when developing our latest version of Community Connect. Due to be unveiled at BETT 2008, Community Connect 4 boasts all of the best aspects of its predecessor, alongside a whole host of new features and enhanced functionality that head teachers, network managers and teachers have told us they need in order to deliver learning in today's rapidly changing educational arena.

Secure and flexible

Community Connect 4 delivers real benefits for the whole school and the wider community. As well as providing a secure and flexible environment for the exploration of new learning opportunities, it allows you to introduce new technology on a platform that supports both existing and emerging technology, making both your network and other ICT equipment work harder for you.

Sustaining the life of your network

While Community Connect 4 has been developed to support the latest Windows Vista® operating system, it is also designed to continue to support your legacy equipment. You don't need to throw out your Windows® XP machines and start all over again! Community Connect 4 enables easy ongoing monitoring to ensure that you are optimising ICT use throughout your school and replacing those machines that really need the attention. New asset management and software management tools mean schools can more effectively identify areas of the network that need support. They can then use this to help them make better informed decisions on where to utilise the kit they have against the purpose it needs to fulfil. Once you understand which workstations are being used for what and which areas need attention, you can look at prolonging the life of your older machines via thin client technology.

Thin client integration

The integration of thin client is just one way in which schools can cost-effectively support the additional demands placed on their school network by extended use. With Community Connect 4 you will be able to introduce thin client into areas of your school where usage is more focused on web browsing and basic office applications. You can also dedicate resources for extended schools use but at a reduced cost - by using low specification or refurbished machines from elsewhere in the school.

Protecting your users

Inviting people into the school, especially outside core school hours, also brings with it the need for some extra precautions. An Acceptable Use Policy is a key requirement - one that your community users will need to sign up for. However, you will have different expectations about acceptable use for your different user groups. Now with Community Connect 4 you can do this quickly and easily. New AUP functionality lets you set up and manage multiple AUPs centrally and assign them to different user groups as often as you think appropriate. Security is important too. Existing tools in Community Connect 3 such as RM Password Plus and Auditor monitoring software are just a couple of tools that already help schools protect their network. With Community Connect 4 we have added further functionality to help monitor and check that the adult learners in your school are who they say they are.

A solution for your entire community

With Community Connect 4 you can deliver real benefits for your entire learning community. As well as providing a secure and flexible environment for the exploration of new learning opportunities, it allows you to introduce new technology on a platform that supports both existing and emerging technology, making both your network and other ICT equipment work harder for you. This enables you to keep up with the technical demands and expectations of your users while also maximising your return on ICT investments over future years.

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