2 page Case Study
Posted: 2/14/2012
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The Ministry of Education and Culture Brazilian Education Ministry Uses Shared Computing Solution to Promote Technology in Public Schools

The Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) of Brazil oversees the national education policy in public schools. Working with Microsoft Partner Network member ThinNetworks, MEC deployed Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 to provide access to technology. By using this solution, schools have reduced costs, expanded interest in learning, and increased exposure to technology.

Business Needs
In Brazil, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) defines the guiding principles for the organization of education programs. By using funds supplied through the government and the MEC, local governments are responsible for implementing educational programs that align with the guidelines. In Brazil, elementary education, or ensino fundamental, is mandatory for children ages six through 14, and its primary aim is to achieve literacy. Students follow a core curriculum that contains courses including Portuguese language, history, mathematics, geography, science, and arts.

To further education in Brazil by adding technology to the list, the MEC began a pilot project to establish multi-seat computer labs in rural schools where it had not implemented technology solutions due to issues with infrastructure and logistics. What the MEC hoped to accomplish with this project, which became known as ProInfo, was to provide access to the Internet, productivity software, educational videos, and other educational software programs to facilitate learning.

* Because we implemented Windows MultiPoint Server and Office, the students can learn using internationally recognized, quality software. Our teachers can also stay up-to-date with latest technology. *
Tedd Onório
Systems Analyst, Germano Cassiolato
Germano Cassiolato, one of the pilot schools, implemented a Linux multi-seat solution to establish computer labs for its 350 students. After deploying the Linux solution, the school found that students and teachers were unsure how to use the technology because they were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the Linux operating system. “We established the lab so that teachers could use it to help students learn in a progressive way, but we found that was not happening,” explains Tedd Onório, Systems Analyst at Germano Cassiolato.

Also, because the school has limited funds and must meet budgetary guidelines provided by the government and the MEC, it relies on free educational software to avoid expensive licensing costs. Teachers were also unsure how to form lesson plans around the limited free educational software available to run on the Linux operating system. “We only found two or three free educational software programs available on Linux that met our needs,” says Onório.

Frustrated with its multi-seat Linux solution, Germano Cassiolato decided to deploy a Windows-based multi-seat solution that teachers and students would feel more comfortable using. The school already had much of the hardware in place to support a Windows multi-seat solution, but it wanted to be sure that it could provide the performance required for the educational software, videos, and other programs it hoped to use in the classroom. The school turned to ThinNetworks, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network that was an active participant in helping the MEC to develop the ProInfo program.

Germano Cassiolato decided to implement Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, which enables multiple users, each with their own independent and familiar Windows experience, to share one host computer simultaneously. The school deployed 17 host computers running Windows MultiPoint Server. Two user stations consisting of a mouse, keyboard, and a monitor are attached to each host using the ThinNetworks Video Card TN-502 to ensure performance. With this configuration, the school has 34 available user stations, with the potential to attach up to 10 user stations to each host, which enables Germano Cassiolato to maximize how it uses existing hardware if it needs to expand the lab.

The school found the solution easy to configure and install. “All we had to do was format the host computers and install the drivers for the video cards,” says Onório. “If we ran into any problems, we had support from ThinNetworks to help us ensure things went smoothly.”

Students can access programs through the user stations as though they are using traditional desktop computers. In addition to Windows MultiPoint Server, teachers and students use Microsoft Office 2010 to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for classes, along with other free educational specialty software and games.

By using Windows MultiPoint Server, Germano Cassiolato can enable students to access information and programs available through the Internet that help to further their education.
  • Realized benefits of shared resource computing. By continuing with a multi-user solution, the school can maximize its technology investment by tapping into the unused processing power of a single computer to give multiple users their own computing experiences. Also, with fewer computers, the school can reduce energy and management costs.

  • Expanded interest in learning. With the Linux solution, few free educational programs existed, and the teachers and students were not confident using the lab to access them. By implementing Windows MultiPoint Server, the school has better access to free educational programs to help teachers and students have better overall learning experiences. “Now teachers are more confident taking students to the labs, and the students are excited to use the different programs and play educational games,” says Onório.

  • Increased exposure to technology. Because teachers and students now have access to the Windows operating system and Microsoft technologies, they have better exposure to technology people use every day. Students can work with technology that will help them advance their educations and eventually get jobs after they have finished school. “Because we implemented Windows MultiPoint Server and Office, the students can learn using internationally recognized, quality software,” says Onório. “Our teachers can also stay up-to-date with latest technology.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 350 employees

Organization Profile
Under the Ministry of Culture and Education, Germano Cassiolato is a primary school in the Pratinha neighborhood of Sao Paulo, Brazil, that provides education for 350 students, ages six to 11.

ThinNetworks Video Card TN-502

Software and Services
  • Windows Multipoint Server 2011
  • Windows 7
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suites
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

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