Using a Virtual Desktop

By Eric Williams

Imagine the possibilities if your teachers and students could gain improved access to new software, updates, and Web-based resources that support teaching and learning. Imagine what your district could do if they could use your network’s resources anytime, anyplace, and from any device with an Internet connection. Imagine the savings you could realize if your information technology (IT) department could easily update the desktops of computers throughout your school division.

We are moving toward these possibilities in Virginia’s York County School Division with the addition of a virtual desktop infrastructure. VDI, as it is known, eventually will connect all students, teachers, and other staff to the district’s network through a private Internet “cloud.”

With this program, which we implemented last fall for middle and high school staff, users are no longer tethered to a specific computer at a specific site with a standardized configuration of software that is blind to their needs and interests. Each user has unique profiles for instructional software, administrative tools, and data. All that is required is Internet access.

We believe VDI will support our use of technology to engage students in rigorous learning experiences while tapping into their interest in digital tools. Since last fall, staff members at our district’s eight middle and high schools have had access to the cloud. Later this spring or summer, we will finish adding elementary staff and plan to give students access after that.

The long-term result, we believe, will be higher student achievement.

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