Department of Education
There is a commitment by the Department of Education (DfE) and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to continue key areas of BECTA’s work. BECTA was the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning. BECTA provided rigorous research and evaluation of the impact of technology on the education and skills system, giving expert and independent advice.
BECTA – 5 Major Impacts of Integrating Thin Client Technology
Previous studies by BECTA have pointed to five major impacts of integrating Thin Client technology into teaching using ICT:
- Lower costs per terminal enabled greater access to ICT for the budget available. This meant better terminal:teacher and terminal:pupil ratios, which allowed more teachers to use ICT in their lessons. It also allowed teachers to use ICT more frequently in their lessons
- Greater reliability of terminals gave teachers more confidence to make use of the network and terminals than had been the case with the schools’ previous networks.Where schools provided remote access using Thin Client technology, this gave teachers greater flexibility of working than before the remote access was put in place
- A common and consistent software build across the school (remotely facilitated by the Thin Client centralised system) encouraged increased use of ICT by teachers from a greater number of locations
- The quieter and cooler environment associated with Thin Client terminals has provided an environment more conducive for teaching and learning, including library locations in school
- These factors had combined to enable teachers to make more use of ICT in lessons and in the preparation of lessons, but many of these benefits may also be true of extensive and well managed Fat Client networks. However, all the schools reported that it was much more difficult to provide these benefits with Fat Clients because of the need to update and oversee all machines and software on a very regular basis.
In general, pupils were reported to have made good use of the additional technology available to them and the Thin Client systems had been well received. The overall increase in ICT resource because of the Thin Client contribution was reported by some schools to have several beneficial impacts on the pupils’ attitude and learning:
- Pupils’ ICT skills were reported to have improved to reach above national averages because of the regular and frequent uses of ICT
- Pupils were able to work flexibly, especially where out of class work (home-work, self-study) was concerned because of having access to the school network from additional locations within school and often at additional times
- Collaboration amongst pupils was reported to have increased because of the ability to collaborate outside of school hours on projects and homework.