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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Chapter 3… What is this virtualization thing? And what does it mean to me?

My previous posts talked about the state of traditional technology focus. I have mentioned virtualization, but did not really explain what it is in "non-technical" terms.  There are substantial advantages to the school and user that become readily apparent. I will get into greater detail in further posts, but I want to set the stage in this one.

Basically defined, desktop virtualization is another way of using a PC, without having to have the PC in your possession.Or, more importantly, accessing and using the applications and information you want without having to install and maintain them yourself.

A quick analogy: Owning a dvd player versus on-demand video.  When you own the DVD player, you can use it when ever you want.  But you are limited to seeing only what you have at hand. Also, you are limited to the format of your device being able to play what you want to see. Want to see Avatar, and you only have a VHS Player?

Got an old PC running IE6 and you need IE8? Got a Windows 7 PC running but you need to run IE6? Got a iPad and you need to run IE8? 

 The continued investment in desktops, or more importantly notebooks, is amazing. Yes, technology must be deeply integrated into "modern" education. Technology integration, to provide it's greatest benefit, needs to go beyond just typing, coding and searching skills. Technology investment should not go only to the end device.  Especially for desktop / notebook computers, as their days are numbered:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204527804576043803826627110.html?mod=googlenews_wsj 

How are you going to integrate Windows or MAC based curriculum when most of your new students don't have or don't want to buy a PC? Are you going to buy all of your students and staff PCs?

The interesting point about this link: http://www.freep.com/article/20110104/NEWS05/101040378/Detroit-Public-Schools-40-000-kids-to-get-laptops-from-stimulus-funds is not that the Detroit Schools are going to be spending $49,000,000 dollars, but that the investment is already compromised – see the link on the right side of the page …DPS teacher caught trying pawn school notebook…

Another sad story of dependance on local technology is here:  http://www.waff.com/Global/story.asp?S=13735646 Note that the value of the device is $1,000.  What is the value of the time, effort and collaboration lost?  

Someone breaks into your house, and takes your dvd player and disks.  Or, someone puts a PB&J sandwich in your VCR. You are stuck.  No more Avatar? No.  Call your cable/satelite provider and turn on the on-demand service.  You'll have Avatar in 15 minutes. 

It is the same with virtualization. Lost notebook? Fried hard drive in the classroom? No trouble.  Go to the next device and authenticate.

Your desktop/applications/data will be there waiting for you…

Andy Powell