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Sun sponsors Sun Ray implementation

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

SUN SPONSORSHIP CREATES SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE AT WAIMEA COLLEGE

First K-12 implementation for Sun Ray technology in New Zealand

Wellington New Zealand - April 4, 2001

Nelson's Waimea College is partnering with Sun Microsystems to establish a School of Excellence on the Waimea Campus, featuring the latest thin client technology from Sun.

Sun Microsystems, through its New Zealand agent SolNet Ltd, is providing Waimea College with a Sun Netra T1 server, Sun Ray Enterprise Appliances, software, implementation expertise and training. The sponsorship is valued at $75,000. In the pilot phase, 40 Sun Ray Appliances will be installed at the college and at Henley Primary and Waimea Intermediate, enabling campus-wide access to applications and services over the network.

The Sun Ray devices and all application software running on them are centrally managed on the server, providing Waimea College with a much simpler, more secure, easier managed and more cost-effective computing solution than the current PC-based model.

Waimea College was a natural fit for Sun's School of Excellence initiative.

"The School of Excellence programme is designed to recognise and assist schools from kindergarten through to year 12/13 which have a commitment to applying technology in innovative, creative ways to improve the learning skills of students across the whole school curriculum,"”says SolNet managing director Murray McNae.

"As a Sun School of Excellence, Waimea College will receive equipment, technical support and training to implement a campus-wide thin client computing infrastructure that will support Waimea’s ICT vision and its wider goals for learning outcomes."

According to Waimea College principal Rob McMurray, the project marks the realisation of an ICT plan and vision that has been developed over two years. A key element has been the establishment of a fibre-optic cable throughout the school and a goal to link Henley Primary and Waimea Intermediate to the network to form a campus-wide intranet enabling access to a wide range of software applications and net-based learning opportunities.

Richard Dykes, Waimea College ICT Co-ordinator, and Chaz Price (technical support manager) have worked exceptionally hard to convert the vision into a reality that will bring tremendous benefits to the learning opportunities for all the students on campus. Lead teachers in all of the schools and other ICT specialists are assisting with staff training to meet the aim of incorporating ICT into curriculum delivery on a regular basis.

Rob McMurray believes in the vision of providing learning programmes in all learning areas that develop and extend students’ thinking and information literacy skills, using a variety of ICT skills and tools.

"The Sun technology helps enable that vision, and provides us with portability and flexibility," he says. "It gives us a whole new set of options in terms of the software applications - for example, the Java programming environment and StarOffice productivity tools.”

In addition, the Sun Ray devices will be used to access existing software applications.

"This was a very cost-effective option," adds McMurray. "Aspects like the ability to upgrade or replace SunRays with no effect on service delivery, and the fact that all the machines are centrally managed on one server means this is a simpler and more secure environment to maintain."

Sun Project complements ICT endowment

The Sun School of Excellence project complements another recently announced Waimea College ICT initiative, the David K. Furniss Programme, which provides a $50,000 endowment for the establishment of a programme in Information Technology.

This programme will anchor one aspect of the planned campus-wide developments. Initially based at years 12 and 13 it will cater for top all-round students who display exceptional abilities in ICT and who have excellent thinking and learning skills. Curiosity, creativity and innovative thinking will be encouraged and tutors, mentors, courses and hands-on experience beyond the campus will be sought as input to the students’ course.

Once the Furniss programme is established students from year 6 to year 11 will be able to seek inclusion in a wider programme which will build towards the Furniss programme for elite students.

Other parallel programmes may be required in the future when the success of these innovative approaches generates greater interest and demand.

ENDS.

For more information, please contact:

Rob McMurray Principal Waimea College Phone: (03) 544 6099

Linda Sollitt Industry Account Manager, Education Sun Microsystems NZ Phone: (04) 462 0774 or (021) 549 550

About the Sun Ray enterprise appliance

The Sun Ray enterprise appliance is an easy-to-use, low-cost networked device. Unlike desktop computers that require an operating system and applications running locally on the desktop, the Sun Ray systems allow users instant access to the Solaris Operating Environment, Java technology, Windows NT or multimedia applications, and information resources from anywhere on the network. With the Sun Ray 1 enterprise appliance’s zero administration environment, no
upgrades are needed and maintenance is reduced, helping to reduce the total cost of ownership. For more information about the Sun Ray enterprise appliance, please visit http://www.sun.com/sunray1.


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