Technology - Mississippi Department of Education

Doing More
With Less
Presented by
Glen Popiel
MDE/CIBER Network Engineer
CCNA, CNE, MCSE, Security+
Problem #1:
We have no money
• Budget reductions are affecting State
and School District budgets. These can
be expected to continue
• To improve the quality of education, we
need more technology in the classroom
• Technology comes at a price, in terms
of hardware, software, support costs
and manpower
Problem #2:
We have no bandwidth
• More and more applications are moving
to an online web-based format instead
of being locally hosted as in the past
• Internet bandwidth usage is growing
exponentially and there is not enough
bandwidth to support these
• Each application moved online
consumes additional bandwidth which
is only compounding the problem
At the state level there is 1,200 Megabits per second
of bandwidth allocated to the K-12 MPLS network
Usage by ALL districts MUST average 7.9 Mb/s
1791 Mb/s is allocated by the state to the district
offices alone
– We’re 591 Mb/s short before we even include the
schools into the equation
– The only reason this works is typical Internet
data is not constantly streaming but is
intermittent bursts of data
• However, more and more of our Internet
usage is streaming data (video, etc)
Increasing the bandwidth at the district/school level
doesn’t gain anything since the bottleneck is
effectively at the state level
The Laws of Physics
are still being enforced
• Bandwidth demand cannot exceed bandwidth
– We’re already negative 600 Mb/s at district
offices alone
– The move to more streaming Internet
content is stretching this to the breaking
• Since neither Stephen Hawking nor Albert
Einstein are working on this problem, we’re
basically on our own
At The School Level
• The average school is connected to the Internet
via a single 1.5 Mb/s T1 circuit
• Assuming the average student online learning
session consumes 300 Kb/s and contains
streaming content, each school can have about
5 students using any of these applications at a
time with NO bandwidth available for other
Internet activity
• Even if the school is not connected via a T1, the
overall 7.9 Mb/s average per district still applies
Bandwidth Usage
STAR Early Literacy : 32,790 Kb/s
English in a Flash : 14,450 Kb/s
Fluent Reader : 12,390 Kb/s
Accelerated Reader : 9,027 Kb/s
MathFacts in a Flash : 6,178 Kb/s
STAR Math : 5,825 Kb/s
Accelerated Math : 4,333 Kb/s
MPB/Distance Learning : 3,000 Kb/s
Streaming Video : 3,000 Kb/s
STAR Reading : 2,929 Kb/s
Compass/Odyssey : 2,560 Kb/s (HS) 1,280 Kb/s (K-8)
Plato : 1,280 Kb/s
Streaming Music : 1,280 Kb/s
Based on 10 concurrent users
T1 Bandwidth = 1,544 Kb/s
Based on estimates provided by software manufacturer
Problem #3:
We’re not getting all the bang
for our technology bucks
• Implementation of Online Applications we don’t
have the bandwidth to support
• Implementation of new technology we don’t
have the network infrastructure or personnel to
• Technology staff is not being involved in
purchasing decisions
– Not enough manpower to support
– Network infrastructure insufficient
– Bandwidth not available
– Cost of support not considered
• Vendors tend to sell what they want you to buy
not what you really need
There Are Solutions
• Bandwidth options
• Smart technology purchasing
• Virtualization
• Free Stuff
• Other Cost Savings
Bandwidth Options
• Conserve Internet bandwidth
– Content Filtering can help but it’s a band-aid
– User education to reduce bandwidth waste
– Don’t use online backup services such as
iDisk, Carbonite, etc. They can transfer huge
amounts of data
– Implement local Windows Update and
Antivirus update servers
• More Bandwidth
– But I said there’s no bandwidth available
• Consult with your technology staff, MDE
and the CIBER reps for possible
• Host your Applications locally
– Adds to hardware and support costs
Buy Wisely
• Do you really need what you’re planning to
– Is there a more effective solution available at
a lower overall cost?
• What are the TRUE bandwidth and
infrastructure requirements?
– Do you have the bandwidth to support it?
– Single User demos always work great. You
have to scale it to the planned number of
• Can your existing tech staff support it?
– Will it require additional infrastructure
and/or manpower?
• Moodle
• Virtualization – server and desktop
• Firewall, VPN, Content and Spam
• Voice Over IP Phone/Intercom/Bell
• Google Apps
• Open Office
• Open Source Learning Applications
• Moodle is a FREE Open Source Course
Management system allowing teachers to
create their own course content in an online
environment that is hosted locally
• Because it is hosted locally, students and
teachers can use Web 2.0 technology in a
closed, secure, safe and managed environment
• Thousands of teachers have already created
content you can use immediately in the
Virtualization is the latest technology trend that
allows for reduction of physical equipment
while providing the same level of functionality
to the end user
• Server Virtualization
– Allows the consolidation of server hardware
to fewer physical units, reducing long term
– The software required to do this is free
• Desktop Virtualization
– nComputing/Thin Clients
– Significantly reduces the cost and number
of physical workstations required, replacing
them with just a monitor, keyboard, mouse
and a thin client device
Firewall, VPN, Content
and Spam Filtering
• ClarkConnect/ClearOS is a FREE Open Source
Content Filter, Firewall, VPN and Email Spam
Filter solution which performs as well as
expensive commercial solutions.
– Some commercial solutions actually use
customized versions of the same software
components in ClearOS in their products.
– Already used in over 100 Mississippi School
– Fully CIPA compliant
– Includes a Helpdesk Ticketing System
• Commercial filtering solutions can cost $5/yr per
user or higher
• MDE/CIBER provides training and FREE support
Voice Over IP
Phone Systems
• Asterisk is a FREE full featured Open Source
Voice over IP Phone system with the same
functionality of an expensive commercial phone
system with integrated videophone capability
– Used by school districts to replace
telephone and intercom systems
– Used as a school bell and alert system
– Used for one-on-one video distance learning
• Typical savings of $30,000 per campus over
commercial solutions
• MDE/CIBER provides training and FREE
support for the Trixbox version of Asterisk
Google Apps
• Google Apps is an online suite of applications
that provides email with calendar, word
processing, spreadsheet and other features
– Includes mobile access for Blackberry,
iPhone and other smartphones at NO
– Integrates with Microsoft Outlook
– 24/7 support
– Email Archiving is available
– Uses your existing domain name
– Free to schools for first 1000 users
– Users can access their information from
– Google Docs can be used offline
Open Office
• Open Office is a FREE suite of
applications that provides word
processing, spreadsheet, presentation
and other features
– Look and Feel similar to Microsoft
– Compatible with Microsoft Office
data formats
– Can create PDF files
• Microsoft Office Suite 2010 costs $240
per user on the state EPL volume
pricing list
Open Source
Learning Solutions
• A vast amount of FREE Open Source
Learning Applications is available on
the Internet
– OSWINS is a collection of Free and
Open Source software for
educational use available for
download from
– Edubuntu Linux is a free Linux
distribution tailored for education
that includes a number of
educational applications
Other Savings
• Substantial savings can be gained by turning
off the power on your workstations, etc. at the
end of the day
– Easily implemented and can be cancelled by
a user working late
• The average compact refrigerator costs $21.25
per year
• Not only do space heaters pose a significant
fire hazard, they use a lot of power and put an
unplanned load on the school’s electrical
system, often overloading circuits used for
workstations. A space heater can cost a district
$54 each per winter.
Power Savings
• In a district with 1300 workstations,
simply by turning off workstations after
hours, $2,350 per month could be
saved. Over a 10 month school year this
adds up to $23,500.
• Based on 2007-2008 MOTE survey data,
there are 146, 874 workstations
statewide. This yields a potential
statewide savings of $632,800 to over
$3,000,000 in wasted electricity costs.
We’re here to help
• Work with your technology staff to implement
technology wisely. Involve them in your
purchasing decisions to make sure you get the
most out of your technology purchases
• MDE provides the CIBER representatives FREE
OF CHARGE to all districts for Consulting,
Training, Technology Support and E-rate
• The MDE staff and CIBER representatives can
also assist you in evaluating and determining
your IT purchasing requirements and
evaluating vendor quotes
• Contact MDE or a CIBER representative if you
would like them to assist you with these and
other cost savings ideas
In Conclusion
• We CAN do more with less
• We need to become more aware of the full
impact of our technology decisions
– Spend wisely
– Involve your Technology staff in your
technology planning
– Take full advantage of the FREE MDE
and CIBER resources available to you
• A copy of this presentation is available at: