Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Windows 10 / Server 2016 & Microsoft SCCM for Schools

 are you looking to upgrade your schools IT network ?

Microsoft Windows 10
Microsoft Server 2016
Is it time to upgrade to Windows 10 for your school?

Yes absolutely. all NS Optimum school networks run a templated Microsoft schools network configuration. This template can be easily adjusted and is constantly adapted for changes within Microsoft software and schools ever changing requirements.

Since Windows 10 first arrived in the UK, NS Optimums technical team delved in to see what had changed, what issues they could foresee in a schools environment and set about making changes to our schools installation template to see if Windows 10 was a viable & reliable operating system for schools to use.


http://www.nsoptimum.co.uk/windowsupgrade.html
The main hurdles to overcome over and above the work we had already done with Windows 8 (!!) were some inherent printing issues and a way of removing and/or replacing tiles on the start screen so that irrelevant programs (such as xbox & news feeds) or inappropriate content were not shown on startup.

Our new schools template overcomes all of these issues and we started rolling out our first Windows 10 networks into UK schools in August 2016.


What network management is included?

NS Optimum has been supplying installing and supporting IT networks in schools since 1995. Over this time we have developed a set of configurations and management tools to suit every school from small primary to large secondary and multi-site academy or college environments. These, combined with Microsoft SCCM (System Centre Configuration Manager) or by using just some of the elements within SCCM, we create the perfect vanilla network management tool set for each school we work with depending on their preferences and technical capability. NS Optimum schools network management tools include:
  • NS User Manager - an easy to use system that links with active directory to import users and setout naming policies for network users.
  • Secure Desktop - a configuration to prevents users accessing desktop or network settings. This can be opened up on staff laptops if required.
  • Remote Network Access - a combination of licensing and configuration that allows authorised network users or groups of users to securely access the schools network from home or anywhere via an internet connection.
      • setup can offer access to full network software and files or just selected areas.
      • users can access this from any device (iPad, Windows, Android, Chrome)
  • Device Image Deployment - for primary schools we recommend a basic setup of WDS with MIS scripting tool for deploying Windows and other software to devices across the schools network. This makes the system much easier to manage for schools with less IT technical support. However secondary schools may wish to consider a full SCCM deployment.
  • Microsoft SCCM Services -  this is a full set of management tools designed by Microsoft to assist with all areas of network management. NS Optimum are seeing SCCM being rolled out into secondary schools and colleges mainly and often to schools moving away from RM CC4 networks to offer a full range of network management to dedicated onsite technician teams. SCCM services include:  
      • Policy Infrastructure
      • Service Window Manager
      • CCM Scheduler
      • State System
      • CCM CI SDK
      • DCM Agent
      • DCM Reporting
      • CI Agent
      • MTC
      • CI Store
      • CI Downloader
      • CI Task Manager
      • CI State Store
      • Content Infrastructure
      • Software Distribution
      • Reporting
  • File Quota - this is to put a cap on storage capacity of user accounts to stop unnecessary build up of data. Whilst some schools have a specific need for this, we are finding that with hard drive capacity increasing and at a very low cost, file quota is much less of a requirement now.
  • Print Quota & Print Release - these can be incorporated into your network so that users do not print excessive amounts. a lot of schools are now moving over to managed print solutions with print release (which NS Optimum also provide) as this makes it much easier for the school and users to take control of their printing whether just one sheet or a large batch. Schools are making huge financial savings with NS Optimum managed print.
  • Data & Network Backup + Disaster Recovery - included in our services are tools for taking network and data backup. The exact solution depends on the schools backup policies and requirements from cloud backup, DPM server based backup, local backup with removable tape or full off-site disaster recovery solutions.

With an NS Optimum schools network upgrade, you can take advantage of as much or as little as you like, everything is vanilla meaning it is not locked down or bespoke software so can be configured and upgraded by any competent technician.

An NS Optimum Windows 10 network is a flexible IT network that will grow and adapt with your school, academy or multi-academy trust.

Please call 01926 745608 to discuss your schools Windows 10 network upgrade or email sales@nsoptimum.co.uk and take advantage of our free advice, free onsite surveys and free quotations.

We look forward to hearing from you.




Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Best Interactive LED Screens

What is the best interactive LED screen for your school?


Over the past 10-15 years most schools have bought into interactive technologies for their classrooms which usually consists of an interactive whiteboard, projector, audio system and software to help annotate and present lessons. Decisions on which product to buy used to be fairly simple as the vast majority of schools either purchase SMARTBOARDS or PROMETHEAN ACTIVBOARDS albeit for a small number of schools that opted for cheaper or lesser known solutions from the likes of Hitachi, MIMIO, e-beam and CleverBoards.

Key Benefits of Interactive LED Screens:
As always, technology moves on and for the past 2-3 years this change has seen schools rapidly swapping out their old interactive whiteboards for new interactive LED screen technologies and there are a number of reasons for this:
  • LED screens are brighter and clearer to see - keeping pupils engaged with the lesson.
  • Additional features on some interactive LED screens such as built in devices with access to thousands of education apps means that lessons can be delivered in different ways again helping to engage pupils with lessons (whatever their VAKT learning style).
  • Additional software and resources are provided free of charge with most interactive screens that help teachers to incorporate their existing pupil devices (iPads, laptops, Android & Windows tablets) into lessons by delivering content directly to them via the interactive screen and retrieving worksheets or answers back that can then be saved for pupil assessment purposes.
  • There are no ongoing maintenance costs for LED screens, whereas projectors required servicing, filter changes and costly replacement lamps. 
Prices have dramatically reduced on interactive LED screen technology over the past 12 months as manufacturers battle it out to offer the best technology at the most reasonable cost - making the swap to the new technology affordable for most schools.

Which Interactive LED Screen?
So, your school has decided to replace your old systems with interactive LED screens, but now which ones do you choose?

Unlike in the past 10-15 years where you had two clear manufacturers to choose from, there are now dozens of manufacturers all claiming to offer the best technology, best software and best all round value for your school.... manufacturers have been popping up left, right and centre with products to offer and whilst Promethean and Smart also have interactive LED screens, there are now also screens from Clevertouch, BenQ, Genee, VividTouch, Philips, Iiyama, Samsung, CTouch, Prowise and many more. They all have different features, different built in devices and different software,
but which screen is best for your school?

NS Optimum have partnered with almost all interactive LED screen manufacturers throughout the past few years as the market has been emerging, developing and changing so that we can offer impartial advice:
  • which screen will be best for your school? NS Optimum can help you choose.
  • which software will best suit your teachers and their teaching style?
  • will the school benefit from any of the additional features or software or is this an unnecessary cost?
  • which installation options will suit each individual classroom and the pupils in that class?
A pedagogical consideration for most of these decisions is paramount as there is little point in installing new technology if it's not going to enhance learning. NS Optimum review each schools requirements on a case by case basis to offer impartial advice and quotations to suit the decisions made.

NS Optimum in partnership with Tablet Academy, also offer ongoing CPD for the new technology as an option so that schools really get to know the new technology, how it can be best used to deliver more engaging lessons and to really help bring IT to life in the classrooms by integrating the schools previous investments in IT technologies such as iPads, tablets and laptops in with the new technology such as the interactive LED screen, coding robots such as Dot & Dash and Lego WeDo.


Please contact NS Optimum on 01926 745608 or email info@nsoptimum.co.uk to take advantage of our impartial advice and free school surveys.








Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Clevertouch LED Offer - Save £300.00, Trade-in & FREE Training


We have a fantastic Clevertouch interactive LED Screen offer for you which will save your school a total of £300.00 + VAT from our already discounted education bundle price.
  • Full Installation Service
  • FREE Training
  • FREE Disposal of Your Existing AV Hardware
  • £100 Trade-In For Old Projectors*
  • Includes Wall Mounts, Cables & Accessories
Just £2,149.00 Fully Installed



**CLEVEROUCH SPECIAL OFFER - Finishes 31st May 2016 and Includes**
*Trade-in applicable with the purchase of 2 or more Clevertouch V Series LED screens



Contact NS Optimum today on 01926 745608 or email sales@nsoptimum.co.uk for an official quotation.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Safeguarding IT in UK Schools


Safeguarding your pupils has always been a priority for schools but more recently there is a focus on safeguarding measures to incorporate the schools fast evolving IT / ICT systems covering both external internet usage and internal network use.


How information is accessed:
school devices / BYOD / static or mobile devices

What content is accessible:
block everything? or allow access but track activity so that appropriate action can be taken (disciplinary or educational).

Prevent Duty compliant broadband:
Schools Broadband with built-in Prevent-Duty compliant filtering & reporting.

Monitor & report user activity:
not just online but off-line across the network. Cyberbullying, self-harm & radicalisation isn’t just an internet problem so web filtering may NOT pick up on it - that is where internal network monitoring and reporting (products such as Impero and Policy Central) come in to play to offer reports and instant alerts to your safeguarding officer on unusual activity.

Physical safeguarding mechanisms:
door access security, intercom entry, visitor management & CCTV IP Surveillance.



To discuss your schools IT safeguarding concerns, call NS optimum on 01926 745608 or email info@nsoptimum.co.uk


Monday, 29 February 2016

NS Optimum Competition - WINNER Castle School Cambridge

NS Optimum & Promethean UK partnered for this years BETT education technology show and part of our promotion was a competition for anyone that visited the NS Optimum stand and filled out a competition entry form.
The prize (worth approx. £3,000) included:
On 5th February we drew a random competition entry and announced the winner - click here to view the draw - and the winner was:
CASTLE SCHOOL CAMBRIDGE

NS Optimum CRB/DBS cleared installation teams carried out the installation on Friday 26th February and were welcomed by a very happy set of staff. The installation went smoothly and the school staff were overjoyed having won the competition and now having this amazing piece of technology to teach with. They sent their thanks to NS Optimum and Promethean UK for the competition.


Congratulations to Castle School for winning the competition - Many thanks to Promethean UK for partnering with us at BETT and for supplying the competitions Promethean ActivPanel interactive LED screen & many thanks to EVERYONE that entered the NS Optimum competition, we had more entries than ever expected and a very successful BETT show.

We look forward to seeing you at next years BETT show. In the meantime you can contact NS Optimum on 01926 880300 or by emailing sales@nsoptimum.co.uk to discuss your schools IT requirements.

Take Care

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Windows 10 set to become most widely installed windows ever...

Microsoft and research companies suggest that enterprises such as schools and large businesses are adopting windows 10 quicker than any previous windows operating system.  Many enterprises have started at least some deployment of windows 10 and half will have done so by January 2017. 

The reason for this is that it has the additional capability as required for the latest devices namely touch capability and that it is relatively easy to deploy on a windows 8 enabled network.

Previously Microsoft seem to have forced customers to upgrade with threats about support ending and security flaws in old operating systems whereas enterprises are drawn to windows 10 as they have had experience of t in new personal devices like windows tablets and have found it very easy to use, bug free and easy to install with Microsofts hosted free upgrades so customers are drawn to windows 10 rather than pushed away from previous versions of windows.

Windows 10 "is poised to become the most widely installed version of Windows ever". With pent up demand due to windows 8’s poor reception, tablet demand and a predicted one third of laptops being touch screen in the next 2 years windows 10 is being downloaded at a very high adoption rate (14 million in the first 24 hours at the end of July.

Find out how easy it is to convert your school to a windows 10 network by contacting NS Optimum on 01926 745608 or go to www.nsoptimum.co.uk

See NS Optimum reviews from schools across the UK that use our services and have shared their experience.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Black Friday Week - SMARTboard LED Screen Deals for Schools - £400 off

Black Friday - SMARTboard LED Screen Deals for Schools


Whilst some UK retail outlets are moving away from the idea of Black Friday for various reasons, we are starting to see a LOT of school specific IT products coming in a ridiculously low prices, not only for Black Friday but now for the whole week running up to Black Friday. I'll keep you posted of the latest deals as best I can...

Here's a taster to get started with - all orders must be placed and shipped this week (installations can follow at a later date as required).

  • SMART 65” Interactive LED with SMART Notebook  - just £1999 normally £2,499 (SAVE £500 this week)
  • SMART 70" Interactive LED with SMART Notebook - just £2699 normally £2,999 (SAVE £300 this week)
  • VIVIDTouch 65" Interactive LED – just £1399 normally £1699 (SAVE £300 this week)
  • VIVIDTouch 65" Interactive LED with SMART Notebook – just £1599 normally £1899 (SAVE £300 this week)
  • BENQ RP 790 79” LED Screen - just £2999– normally £3499 (SAVE £500 this week)
  • BENQ RP 790 79” LED Screen with SMART Notebook - just £3199 - normally £3699  (SAVE £500 this week
The price drops are valid for this week only whilst stocks last - orders must be received this week


Please email or call 01926 745608 to get a quotation - screens can simply be delivered to the school or installed as part of a full install package. please ask for pricing and installation options. 

prices above exclude VAT and delivery