By Zach Manges
Zionsville Community Schools has been hard at work developing a new way for students and faculty alike to benefit from the Bring-Your-Own-Device program with the introduction of virtualization.
Modeled after similar successful implementations in other school systems, ZCS’s virtualization will launch with the upcoming fall semester. The program is designed to unify computing functions to a central server in each school. Students connected to the server are free to operate school-owned software and turn in assignments from anywhere with an internet connection.
According to school officials in a recent newsletter to parents and teachers, ZCS is slotted to pay $750,000 for the equipment to have a virtual cloud, similar to the iCloud system of Apple computers and phones.
By removing this function from individual school computers and relegating them purely to communicative usage, they’ll be able to run more smoothly over a longer period of time. This will not only save funds for the school, but also make it possible for newer programs and anti-virus software to be utilized on the older units.
The various makes and models of computing devices students may have, be they laptops or tablets, will be equalized by the program’s universal nature. This means all students will have quick access to necessary software regardless of the device because they all connect to the same server.
Teachers will be able to make use of software more frequently in lesson plans with the ease of access students will have on their personal devices. In conjunction with the new learning management system Canvas replacing the unwieldy previous program Learn, bringing tech into the classroom will be easier than ever for faculty.
The unique benefits of virtualization will extend beyond the classroom as well. Since students will be able to access the school server from home, assignments requiring specific computer programs can be completed from home rather than staying after school or purchasing the expensive software out of pocket. Lessons that include digital homework can seamlessly be worked on at school or home without interruption.
Though the virtualization program is still in its planning stages for now, ZCS students, teachers, and parents alike can all look forward to the plethora of advantages it will offer in bettering classroom tools and opportunities for learning.