Tuesday, 18 August 2009

For want of a shoe...

Many schools will be going through their annual 'upgrade the network, add extra facilities' cycle in these hectic summer months. Others will be in the midst of install projects for new schools opening in September. For all of you, here's a cautionary tale...because sometimes it's the small, non-innovative things, that make successful innovation difficult...

At the Thomas Deacon Academy in Autumn 2007, just after opening we had a rodent problem. We had taken several bold steps in the hardware and software solutions in use at the Academy, including our commitment to use thin-client systems throughout the school. Users were uncertain, but it was not the grand strategy which threatened to trip us in those first few months.

Confidence in ALL aspects of our ICT solution nearly died by half-term because the computer mice were being carted off to mice morgue in their dozens. We weren't using mouse mats and the surface of the desks wasn't interacting well with our cheap optical mice... the resulting frustration was leading impatient users to bang the mice on the desk...resulting in the cheap mice ceasing to function. Our contractors stepped in with providing 1000 mice mats as a very temporary measure and we instituted a rolling-replacement programme for the mice with models costing just £2 more and ...hey presto, £2,500,000 worth of ICT systems working far more smoothly, innovation becoming more glitch-free and the punters being alot happier.

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