Today I will be discussing how schools, colleges and universities can benefit from cloud technology. Some of these places are the size of large companies. Making use of an efficient, cost effective and integrated IT system can benefit schools, students and staff immensely. Cloud does that all so I’m going to explain how moving to the cloud can benefit education systems.
- Access to all software that a student needs for their course In secondary school upwards students become more varied in the courses they do (the same different student need different books for their courses). With these courses comes the technology they need to use to achieve this (i.e. a computing student will require Visual studio, an engineering student CAD etc.). With the current systems in place it will be very difficult to achieve this. Most large schools would have an Active Directory system in place. This would allow the students to login to any of the computers on the school domain but they won’t be able to access the software unless it’s installed on that computer. With a VDI they would still be able to login to any of the computers but also do work (with the software required to do it) outside of class.
- Quicker and easier to unroll the latest technology Keeping up to date is an important thing in education. Any new technology that comes out and is shown to greatly improve the quality of education would be installed on the school system as soon as possible. The only problem with this is that it will take a while for the onsite technicians to go and install this software on each of the computers. With cloud desktops you will be able to roll out the new technology within minutes to all of the students virtual desktops’. The same could apply with specialist software (i.e. something that only students of a specific course need access to). Normally you would have to install that on the computers in the classrooms being used by that course. With a Cloud Desktop you can quickly toll it out to the students that need it. They will then be able to access the software from any desktop via their cloud desktop. By doing this it will allow the school to remain up to date with the latest technology and could potentially improve the learning standards of the students.
- Students can access all their work from home or on their own devices at school More and more students are bringing their own devices in to schools, colleges and universities. Depending on the schools stance BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) will either be discouraged or out right banned. However, having cloud desktops could work in the advantage of the student when combined with BYOD. Cloud desktops can be setup to run off any device that has access to the internet (i.e. laptops, tablets, even smart phones). By doing this the student can use their Cloud desktop to type notes in class/lectures and can be used to help them in research tasks. By doing so the student would be able to utilise their own device to actually benefit their studies rather than it being a distraction. Adding to the point that Cloud desktops can be accessed from any device with internet access, in recent times students are having to do more work outside of school (either homework or coursework) or can’t get to school due to turbulent weather (i.e. heavy snowfall). Sometimes the homework or coursework will require the student to have access to applications they do not have. They would also have to bring that work in to school (either by email or USB) which would put the school IT systems at risk from viruses. Using a Cloud desktop means the student will have access to all the applications and files they need whilst doing it on a protected system.
- All work saved and stored in one easy to access place In regards to studies it is very important for data to easily be accessed by teachers and students from a central point. This, in a number of schools, is achieved by using an intranet which can be logged into via the school website. From there the teachers can upload work and students can download it. However, the problem with this is that, since teachers and students are using their own computers, it can create a large range in applications used by individuals. This means that not everyone will be able to read what the teacher has uploaded as their PC either has a different version of the application or it does not have it at all. With a VDI all work is saved and stored there. The students can be setup with shared drives (depending on the course they are doing) from which their teachers can save work, revision notes etc. from them to view. Given that they are doing the work on VDI’s they would all have the same applications and software to do the work, so there would be no capability gap between students and teachers.
I hope you have found this interesting to read. Thank you for reading.