Cutting-edge media is having an ever greater influence on the learning and living environments of pupils. But virtually no educational provider is handling the topic as thoroughly as the Schulwerk der Diözese Augsburg (Schools of the diocese of Augsburg). They have created a new data centre for their more than 40 connected pupils as the basis for a holistic infrastructure that also facilitates wireless and always-available internet. Holistic hardware to simplify admin. Bechtle paved the way for modern, networked, and future-proof school IT together with those in charge at the Schulwerk and partners AixConcept and M-Net.
Pictures: © Diözese Augsburg
Schools nowadays are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demands of an advanced IT infrastructure, including administrative tasks. We are very grateful that Bechtle, as a full-service provider, built our data centre and connected our schools.
Peter Kosak, Schulwerk-Manager,
Schulwerk der Diözese Augsburg
More and more teaching staff are ready to employ IT in their lessons in a targeted way, and schools too have come to understand that they have to help pupils acquire IT and media skills and support teaching staff in correct use of media. The basis for this is strategic IT projects that ensure end-to-end equipment with modern information technology. But the pupils shouldn’t fall by the wayside in the wake of all the new technology, which is reflected perfectly in the Schulwerk’s motto: “Vom Vorrang des Menschen” - “People come first”.
The Schulwerk provides the materials and rooms required for instance in the form of an up-to-date and networked IT infrastructure. Advanced teaching methods are designed to awake the pupils’ curiosity to discover new learning content independently or in teams. “The foundation of the project is a stable and secure data centre, network, and WLAN infrastructure, that accommodates data protection requirements in an educational and administrative environment,” explains Bernd Richter, Head of Services, Bechtle IT System House Ulm/Augsburg. All schools should be modernised and standardised—with technology that’s secure, works reliably, is convenient for users, and supports learning. Schulwerk der Diözese Augsburg initially wanted to build a new Wide Area Network (WAN), but to do this, a new data centre was needed as well. Those in charge were looking for a solutions integrator that could connect the 42 schools to the backbone of the data centre, install a new server, and integrate a new network concept for WAN, LAN, and WLAN.
The Schulwerk invited tenders for the services they desired in a competitive dialogue—and they came up trumps. “Bechtle was able to meet all of our requirements and offer the right skills for solutions integration. In addition to their expertise, it was also the value for money and their suggestion to create a data centre that won the day,” says Peter Kosak, Director, Schulwerk of Diözese Augsburg. In order to connect all schools of the Augsburg diocese, Bechtle first built a data centre with storage, a firewall, and backup, and also assumed hosting responsibilities, with the specialists at M-Net handling data connectivity. For this MPLS network (100 Mbit), Bechtle designed a unique IP concept. Thanks to the quick connection, important processes were able to be centralised in the data centre and backup moved to the Schulwerk’s data centre.
A total of some 1,500 PCs, notebooks, and tablets were rolled out across the 42 schools. As a rule, schools’ IT admins are allocated a certain number of hours a week, known as chargeable hours, in which they are freed from their teaching duties. But this only gives them enough time to scratch the surface of all of the complex requirements of a modern IT infrastructure. Bechtle therefore implemented a tool from German vendor AixConcept that is tailored to the requirements of school IT and easy to manage. For support cases, teaching staff can reach AixConcept’s first-level support either by phone or e-mail. Opened tickets are then directly resolved or forwarded to the Bechtle branches in Ulm and Augsburg.
“Schools nowadays are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demands of an advanced IT infrastructure, including administrative tasks. We are very grateful that Bechtle, as a full-service provider, built our data centre and connected our schools. Thanks to the AixConcept software implemented by Bechtle, admin has been drastically simplified,” Peter Kosak summarises. Bechtle unified all clients on Windows 10 Pro and implemented Office 365 for all users of the pedagogical network. For admin, the partner setup a specific network with a central exchange on-premise server and important school management programs. All servers run on Windows 2016. Using a layer-2 network, DELL hardware was linked up and optimised. And for the WLAN, Aerohive access points are employed. These are organised independently in a “hive” of individual access points. Central WLAN switches and controllers that would otherwise be necessary are no longer needed, simplifying management of the WLAN, LAN, and WAN significantly.
With the new data centre solution, the Schulwerk’s IT infrastructure is more secure and much easier to operate. Additionally, costs have been reduced and made more transparent. “We need to keep the custom pedagogical concepts despite the standardisation of IT and providers. For us, it is clear that we can combine people and technology in a way that lets our pupils benefit from something new in their lessons every day,” explains Schulwerk Director, Peter Kosak.
The Schulwerk of the Augsburg dioceses is an ecclesiastical foundation under public law. It was set up by the diocese of Augsburg in 1975 to support and protect the important pedagogical work of monastery schools. Today, it encompasses 42 free schools in the diocese of Augsburg. According to their constitution, it is the “mission and purpose of this ecclesiastical foundation to be sponsors of pre-school, school, and other school-like institutions of a Catholic character”. The responsible foundation supervisory authority is the Episcopal Chamber of Finance of the Diocese of Augsburg. The mission and purpose of the Schulwerk is to bring up and educate children, adolescents and young adults well, in the spirit of the gospel. The schools offer an ecclesiastically influenced alternative to public schooling, but as state approved schools, they offer the same qualifications and privileges as state schools. More at: www.schulwerk-augsburg.info