ASP option emerges for schools

New Zealand schoolchildren may soon have ASP (application service provider) access to over 1700 educational and office software applications, while local developers will have the chance to send educational services to the world.

New Zealand schoolchildren may soon have ASP (application service provider) access to over 1700 educational and office software applications, while local developers will have the chance to send educational services to the world.

Graham Dekker, an Auckland-based Citrix consultant, has been talking to schools, telcos and resellers and hopes to bring US-based learningstation.com to New Zealand. Recently launched in Australia, learningstation.com has been offering an educational ASP service in the US for three years.

Schools can choose which applications they need and how many licences for each they want.

"It saves money not only on software but on hardware upgrades," says Dekker. "They don't need to constantly buy better equipment to keep up."

Some of New Zealand's better-off schools are now demanding that students have notebook computers, he says. "That's an expensive business - but running it on a thin-client basis keeps the cost, and the maintenance, down."

A 128Kb and 256Kb link to learning station.com's nearest host site (initially in Sydney, although an Auckland partner is being sought) will give students full time browser-based access to learningstation. com's virtual private network.

Dekker is working to ensure the educational software available meets the New Zealand syllabus. New Zealand developers who meet NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) standard may also have the opportunity to distribute their products internationally through an arrangement Dekker has with learningstation.com.

Targeting key secondary schools, "centres of influence" and offering free pilot programmes will help to get the service accepted, he says. "After that, it'll almost sell itself."

Subscription prices have yet to be decided.

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