Microsoft Corp through its local arm, Microsoft East and Southern Africa has announced the official launch and availability of Windows Multipoint Server 2011 at the ongoing eLearning Africa conference in Tanzania. Windows Multipoint Server 2011 utilises shared-resource computing technology to make technology more affordable and accessible especially to educational institutions. The Multipoint Server solution is in line with this year’s theme for the conference, “Youth, Skills and Employability”, with a focus on finding more affordable and sustainable ways to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into learning environments.
Windows Multipoint Server 2011 allows one “host” computer to be shared by multiple users, dramatically reducing both initial setup and ongoing operational costs. Windows Multipoint Server 2010 has already been deployed in many African schools, proving highly effective in extending the reach of the computing experience, and the 2011 version promises to provide more features, new delivery options and an even better ratio of access to total cost of acquisition and ownership.
Louis Otieno, Microsoft’s general manager for East and Southern Africa who officiated the launch at the conference believes that educators everywhere want the same solutions tools that help them and their students achieve more. Louis also added thinks that as educators strive to prepare their students for the 21st century workplace, aspiring for one PC per student is understandable. It is otherwise not always feasible in the context of strained budgets and the demand for energy efficiency. Shared-resource computing solutions like Windows Multipoint Server 2010 can easily address these challenges.
Microsoft recently initiated a study through Forrester which showed that schools can triple their reach without increasing budget, thanks to a 66% reduction in the overall costs using solutions like Windows MultiPoint Server 20111. The schools in the study reported lower hardware, labour and energy cost reductions with lower IT skill requirements. Operation in labs were quieter (with fewer fan-cooled CPUs running), as well as a greater ability for teachers to leverage class time thanks to the new management console included, Multipoint Manager. This provides the teacher with the ability to see desktop thumbnails, zoom in on a student’s desktop, broadcast the teacher’s screen or the student’s screen to the class, and also features the “eyes on me” blocking feature.
Both teachers and students expressed excitement in being able to use new technology — Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 — instead of sharing older machines and operating systems. And with extra budget available thanks to lower costs, schools may have more money to widen access even further, or direct it into other improvement initiatives.
And example of an East African institution using the Windows Multipoint Server 2010 is Gashora Girls Academy in Rwanda. With many of the girls having never seen a computer before, the arrival of Windows Multipoint Server made them experience the most current software and hardware technology according to Clare Kadede (the computer teacher and IT support manager at Gashora Girls Academy) She has a goal of positioning the school as a model of efficiency.
At the same conference, Microsoft launched the Windows 7 Swahili version. The launch of the Swahili operating system in Tanzania was officiated by President Jakaya Kwikwete who also joined Twitter recently. The OS was launched in Kenya in February. More photos of the Dar-es-Salaam events are here.
What do you think of Multipoint Server 2011? Levae your comments below.