Case Study: Storage Appliance Aids in High-Tech Learning at California High School

JFK High School students Matt Stein (left) and Aaron Kurup work on a digital video class project.
JFK High School students Matt Stein (left) and Aaron Kurup work on a digital video class project.

The faculty at John F. Kennedy High School, a technology and multimedia magnet school in Fremont, Calif., is committed to educating their 1,300 students with the most advanced technology. To ensure student involvement through hands-on interaction, the school offers classes in five technology strands: business, audio/video, graphic arts, mass communication and engineering/computer science. Each strand focuses on a variety of technologies, including multimedia and graphics software, in addition to advanced computers that were purchased through a California Digital High School Grant awarded in 2001.

While the staff was able to purchase more than 400 new iMacs and PCs with the Digital High School Grant, they still needed a storage device that could provide cross-platform file-sharing support. Because the teachers have limited access to the district's MIS staff, it was important to find one that was easy to use and install, and could support all of the major operating systems. Thomas Bryan, a multimedia teacher at the school, and Dan Bega, science department chair, installed a high-capacity, rack-mountable Snap Server 4100 Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliance from Quantum on their network. NAS appliances attach directly to a network instead of a server, making it easy to install without network interruptions. This provides an easy way to add storage to a network for cross-platform file sharing in Windows, Macintosh, NetWare and UNIX/Linux environments.

With the latest versions of Micro-soft Office installed on all our Macs and PCs, we wanted to test the Snap Server's cross-platform capabilities as soon as we received it, says Bryan. "So, we put a PowerPoint presentation created on a Mac onto the Snap Server, went to another room and accessed that same presentation from a Windows-based machine," he says. "Students are now able to work in either environment, save their work back to the server, and continue to work on their projects on any computer in the school."

Bryan designated an amount of storage space on the server for each student and faculty member to use in storing classroom projects or files, rather than storing files locally to computer hard drives. He, along with the other teachers, also began finding unique ways to integrate the Snap Server into their daily classroom assignments. For example, "we decided to videotape the daily school bulletin, turn it into a QuickTime movie, and put the movie onto the Snap Server," says Bryan. "Teachers can now access the daily bulletin through the intranet and play the video at their convenience." Bryan's students are also involved in the production of "Kennedy Connections," a magazine-style show that is broadcast to cable TV subscribers once a week. This coming term, students plan to add a game show, which Bryan plans to archive along with "Kennedy Connections" on the server.

While the Snap Server is used schoolwide, Bryan found a number of uses for a smaller desktop Snap Server that is used by his multimedia students. Using Microsoft Word for writing the scripts, PowerPoint for creating graphics, iMovie 2 for video content editing and Internet Explorer for online research, Bryan's students create commercials, narratives and music videos. To create the video-based projects, students need constant access to clip art, graphics and sound bites. Prior to placing all of this content on the Snap Server, Bryan had to search for the files his students needed and then check out the corresponding CD. "Now with the files in one secure, central place, students never have to leave their desks," says Bryan. "There are also less interruptions during class time, which results in greater student productivity."

Contact Information

Quantum Corp.
San Jose, CA

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.