Futureproofing and sustainability: David Tindall
In the fourth installment of our series on sustainable edtech, Steve Wright talks to Managing Director of Schools Broadband, David Tindall
Can you give us some examples of general green credentials: do some forms of edtech use less energy and other resources than others?
In terms of the environment, cloud-based or data centre solutions are greener all round. As centrally operated servers are controlled virtually, this immediately cuts down on site visits and transportation. It removes the need to dispose of obsolete hardware and the recycling issues associated with end-of-life disposal. Again, on the plus side for cloud-hosted services, an increasing number of data centres now use renewable energies, with lots of innovative approaches being adopted for cooling.
How much of the sustainability equation is about sourcing the right products, and how much is about helping teachers to adapt their teaching, in order to use edtech more sustainably?
It’s more about having a clear, long-term IT strategy for your school or university, and ensuring that the products and services you select are going to meet that strategy. Running a full audit on what equipment you currently have is a must, as well as knowing how this is used. You will also need to understand how the school plans to move forward in terms of the number of devices it plans to use.
For example, how much 1:1 teaching on devices do you intend? Do you intend to roll out devices across the entire school? This will give you an idea on the amount of bandwidth your school will require and whether it’s going to pay to continue upgrading your server, or whether you should consider an ISP who can provide hosted services, which means you won’t need to pay for a server at all.
Sustainability is also about upkeep. Which solutions are the most streamlined and don’t need continual updating?
Hosted services provide huge economic efficiencies by providing affordable, high-grade filtering and security solutions that wouldn’t otherwise be within financial reach of many schools. Purchasing and installing dedicated hardware is expensive and time-consuming. Onsite engineer visits are necessary, involving transportation which is again costly to the environment as well as to the school in terms of the power required to run the servers. Hosted services immediately reduce capital expenditure, often to nothing.