I had an opportunity to catch up with Education MVP Alex Pearce who manages the IT over at Great Barr School. Alex specializes in SharePoint but is well versed with most of the Microsoft technology stack and recently we got into a discussion around how the school has change since his arrival less than a year in. We talked about everything from SharePoint, digital cirriculum, unified communications, Vista, as well talk about how great the iPhone is :) The conversation was so cool I asked him to write a few stories about the organizational experiences with new technologies he’s deployed. Everything posted below are Alex’s words so I’m not paraphrasing at all. Hopefully you’ll find them as good of a read as I did!
Due to a lack of faith by the staff and pupils in the current internet line the school decided to move away from a hosted email solution and move to an internal email system. As the school were looking to implement a new Active Directory along with other Microsoft products they decided to implement Exchange Server 2007. The school has now migrated all accounts (3000) and the emails for these accounts (75,000) into the new system. Following the implementation the school has become more reliant on the email system.
Great Barr School were looking for a Virtual Learning Environment which would deliver online lessons. As they conducted their research they found the SharePoint could solve a lot of their issue but not deliver SCORM* content in a course format. SharePoint has been implemented and developed for the school as a Management Information System allowing staff, pupils, governors and parents to access information about the school. SharePoint is available to around 5000 users with digital curriculum, documents management, collaboration and as a central portal system to other systems such as Outlook Web Access and TS Gateway.
The school had 2 different version of Office suite implemented at the school. With the implementation of SharePoint and Exchange 2007 the wanted to take the benefit of all the products features integration with SharePoint MySites and Exchange Mailboxes. By doing this they also solved the issue that was reported by the exam board. The exam board were unhappy with inconsistent screenshots taken in Word for pupils ICT projects. As Office 2007 was implemented it also resolved the issue as all users had the same version.
-Alex Pearce, Microsoft MVP UK
*SCORM is supported with SharePoint Learning Kit as a free download