remote learning challenges = new opportunities

Technology advances have triggered shifts in how education can be accomplished. Specifically, shifts have allowed nimble, vigilant educators to address new challenges, adapt quickly to changing educational trends and serve students more effectively.

Academic institutions around the world at all levels are undergoing a major transformation as technology takes on an increasingly important role in delivering education. Computers have become as much a part of today’s classroom as textbooks, prompting targets of a 1:1 computer-to-student ratio. Students use computers as an adjunct to classroom based learning to receive and work on assignments, to take information, and to socialize.  In-home-schooling and distance-learning scenarios, entire curricula and adjunct services are delivered online. As a result, educational institutions must support an increasingly diverse spectrum of OS and devices used by students. While opening up access to learning resources on their networks, educational institutions are also challenged to keep student records and data secure. The task of procuring, configuring, and supporting student computing both in and out of the classroom — not to mention the cost — can be huge.

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Desktop Virtualization Transforms Learning

Desktop virtualization alleviates the decision whether to replace outdated PCs or simply buy more.  Educational institutions can provide access to a pool of virtualized desktops equal only to the greatest number of potential students using the system at any given time. In the classroom, labs and libraries, schools can purchase less expensive thin clients rather than full desktops to give students access to virtual cloud desktops.

Classroom time is limited and precious to students and faculty. To spend time logging in or dealing with corrupted desktops is  not only frustrating, but actually cuts into productive learning time.  Administrative staff time too can be consumed with getting individual PCs back up and running, which can take hours if not days, and is not the most productive use of their time.

Cloud based desktop virtualization provides tremendous administrative cost savings in time and effort almost immediately. Because desktops are virtualized and cloud based, if access on one PC should fail, the student’s entire workspace is still instantly available on any other workstation or personal device, so they can fully utilize classroom time.  Administrative staff do not need to spend time restoring individual PCs.

Virtualization delivers a uniform student experience regardless of device used.  PCs of different ages, with different processors and memory, can provide a highly consistent desktop image which can be configured with the exact applications needed for students based on where they are in their programs. As connected devices become more ubiquitous, educational institutions have to support a growing range of student owned devices.  Students’ virtualized desktops can follow them from classroom to lab to library and to students’ homes or even workplaces.

The additional network security provided by virtualization makes it possible for school networks to allow connection of student-owned devices without compromising security, which is essential to maintain the reliability of the network. Content is delivered to students regardless of where they are or what sort of device they are using.  At the same time, because the virtual desktop interface is inherently secure, the school network is protected from malicious content on the students’ physical devices.

Students using virtual desktops can connect to the school network from other locations easily, which also supports green initiatives. Allowing students to connect from remote locations has become essential today, especially for post-secondary educational institutions which cater to working students.  Often these students are completing assignments late at night. Providing connections to labs and other learning resources at home, allows students to keep up with workloads without traveling to the campus. Online access effectively lengthens the school day and increases the network utilization, also contributing to lower TCO, while fostering “green” practices.

Virtualization is green. As schools replace older desktop PCs with thin clients, there are substantial savings derived from reduced power consumption. On average, using thin clients over traditional PCs reduces the amount of power needed almost eight- fold, thus significantly reducing the power required by the institution and consequent costs.

Gazoo CLaaS is rapidly becoming the virtualized desktop management solution of choice for academic institutions.  The key reasons the solution is rapidly gaining popularity are a rich feature set that meets academic use cases, ease of deployment, with no requirements for additional backend systems, and an affordable price point that is in line with strict budgets.