Digitizing the classroom has been a key focus in recent years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an overnight shift to fully remote learning, turning the good into a must-have and putting enormous pressure on class. networks and server rooms that have evolved disorganized over the years in many schools. The challenge now is to provide an educational IT infrastructure that can support the digital classroom seamlessly as students return to in-person learning.
To address these challenges, schools around the world are turning to modular prefabricated Data Centers. A Data Center or data centre is a building, a dedicated space within a building, or a group of buildings used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems.
Data Center for High Schools – Future of Teaching in Jamaica and the Caribbean
“They are becoming an attractive and widespread option for those looking to consolidate their distributed computing resources in an efficient, secure, resistant and flexible facility designed to provide uninterrupted services, even if school buildings close or lose power,” Hector Martinez representative, Critical Power Division, Building & IT Division, APC by Schneider Electric.
In other words, the Network Administrators job at a High School will become a lot more like that at a typical University or College, as High Schools transition from traditional Chalk-and-Talk to more Online Learning and eventually Virtual Reality interactions via VR Headsets in the future. This is the future of Teaching in Jamaica and the Caribbean, which has been kickstarted into the future by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Modular Data Centers meet the unique and changing requirements of schools in a number of ways.
Centralized Data Center – All-in-one design with fast implementation times
Nobody wants loud and disruptive construction to take place during the school year. More importantly, this past year they had to go online and /or increase digital capabilities rapidly to continue to provide high-quality e-learning during the pandemic.
A modular Data Center addresses these problems because actual construction takes place in the factory and implementation times are 50% faster than traditional constructions. With an all-in-one modular Data Center, the pre-built Data Center installs along with everything that goes with it out-of-the-box.
- Fire suppression system
- Emergency generator
- Server racks
Space – OPAM for modular data center
Some schools were built before the advent of computers and even the newest school buildings may not have the physical space necessary to meet the growing digital needs of today’s students. School districts looking to modernize, expand, and make their digital infrastructure disaster-proof are faced with the choice of finding space within existing buildings or undertaking a new construction project.
A modular approach solves that problem. The Data Center can be built outdoors next to the school in what is often referred to as a OPAM (Outside Plant Access Module). There are no interruptions to education during the process and all a school district must do once the modular Data Center has been installed is connect to electricity and data.
Future growth – One Module at a time
The modular approach enables schools and universities to design a Data Center with enough compute and storage capacity to handle today’s workloads and have additional capacity for growth.
One of the advantages of the modular approach is that if digital needs increase dramatically in the future, another module can be added easily and quickly.
Experience from a third party – From Design to Maintenance
The Data Center provider generally has the experience and knowledge to handle the entire process, from the design and planning stages, through the construction phase, remote monitoring and management, as well as predictive maintenance.
This allows the school’s IT staff to focus on day-to-day operations and benefit from the expertise of a third party.
Centralized approach – Consistent and Resilient IT infrastructure
Many centers have computing and storage resources hidden in network lockers in individual school buildings. This creates problems in terms of efficiency, connectivity, management, and the ability to provide a consistent and reliable user experience.
A modular Data Center creates a consistent and resilient IT infrastructure that is based on next-generation Data Center design concepts. The modular Data Center also provides leading edge computing for cloud-based mission critical applications as part of a hybrid IT environment.
Centralized Data Center – Improved physical and cybersecurity
Having a mission critical IT infrastructure located in wiring closets in every school building creates potential security vulnerabilities.
Consolidating assets in a centralized Data Center addresses both physical and cybersecurity concerns by reducing the number of targets and making it easier for security professionals to monitor and manage the system.
Despite the challenges, it’s now up to the Government of the various Caribbean nations as well as Telecom Providers to upgrade to 5G and FTTH (Fiber to the Home) so that Virtual Reality Classroom interactions may be possible, bringing back traditional one-on-one interactions to the classroom.
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