I came across Gliffy a few months ago. It is a low cost web based option for planning and designing layouts and flowcharts, etc. much like Visio.
Gliffy uses flash drag-and-drop techniques to place items on the canvas from a set of icons that cover a large range of topics. It is really easy to use and my students took to it quickly
The best function is that it allows collaboration between students. One student can produce a layout for a network for instance and another, once given access to it, can comment upon it or alter the design totally.
I’m using it for the M2 assignment of BTEC Unit 9 Computer Networks “design a networked solution to meet a particular situation with specific requirements” with the following scenario:
PressWork Bits Ltd. is a manufacturer of pressed parts for the automotive industry with offices around the country.
You have come highly recommended to them and they expect you to fulfil their needs.
The following details have been submitted:
• The building are 25 metres apart and there is no direct link between them
• Building one has a single floor and covers an area of 6250m2 and one side measures 125 metres.
o Production taking up two thirds of the floor space
10 computers distributed evenly around the outside wall of the building
o Maintenance and engineering taking up 10% of the floor space
o Stores and shipping taking up the remainder of the floor space
• The second building has a floor space of 2200 m2 and one side measures 110m
• The ground floor is occupied by:
o Reception (1 computer)
o Sales and marketing (20 computers),
o Purchasing (12 computers)
o Catering and kitchens(1 computers)
• The first floor is occupied by:
o Personnel (10 computers) and
o Research and development (12 computers)
o Finance department (8 computers)
o Managers (4 computers)
This scenario embeds functional skills maths revision too.
Gliffy can be found here.