Cost-effectiness of using thin-client technology in enhancing service delivery in school computer laboratories in Kenya
Asenahabi, Bostley Muyembe
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Computer literacy is essential for a workforce to compete favorably in this increasingly computerized environment. Most organizations and institutions require a workforce that is computer literate. This calls for schools to equip more students with computer skills. Schools should be adequately equipped to offer hands-on experience and nurture rapid learning, yet be intuitive and interesting to students. Setting up and maintaining a computer laboratory goes with a cost which most schools cannot keep pace with thus the need to embrace other cost-effective computer architectures. This research modeled the cost-effectiveness of using thin-client computing technology on service delivery in school computer laboratories. It aimed at establishing constraints encountered by schools while teaching computer studies, determining the computer architectures deployed in school computer laboratories and analyzing the cost-effectiveness of thin client computing technology on service delivery in school computer laboratories. This is a descriptive research. It adopted a mixed method research design which involved survey and experimental research designs. Probability sampling technique which involved stratified and random sampling techniques was used to arrive at a sample size of 16 of the 52 secondary schools within Bungoma County which offer computer studies. Primary data was collected using questionnaire, observation and discussion. To ensure quality of the research data and to ascertain the instruments’ reliability, a pilot study was performed, face and content validity were also performed on the data collection instruments. Quantitative data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics and presented in form of frequency tables, percentages, bar graphs, line graphs and pie charts. Qualitative data was presented in narrative form. The research findings revealed that many secondary schools shy away from offering computer studies due to financial constraints to equip their computer laboratories, the main computer architectural configuration deployed by secondary schools for computer studies is stand-alone computer architecture. The break even power consumption point is when two thin clients are in ON state, consuming ninety five watts compared to two stand-alone computers consuming one hundred and thirty two watts. Thin-client computer architecture is more cost-effective compared to stand-alone computer architecture which if deployed in computer laboratories, schools will be able to offer computer studies to more students thus making more people computer literate.
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