The Digital Educator 2 - Page 10

Imagine logging into any computer in your school and seeing all your files just where you left them; teachers and students having access to all of their documents, H drives and even district software from anywhere connected to the internet; and faster login times for students in a computer lab.

Wouldn’t that be great?

The good news is this is now possible thanks to VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) technology, also referred to as “BPS Desktop”. BPS Desktop is not an ordinary computer desktop. BPS computers are being transformed into powerful virutalized desktops with features average computers don't have.

Since the deployment of BPS Desktop in September, 12 Buffalo Public Schools have taken advantage of its many features. Computer login times have been reduced by an average of 75% in these schools. This has alleviated the hassle of students waiting long periods of time for their computers to log in. This has saved many minutes of valuable instructional time.

The implementation of BPS Desktop has also expedited the installing and updating of additional software remotely from its Data Centers without having a person on-site. In the past, software updates and installations had to be done manually on the computers individually. This process could take days or weeks to complete. BPS Desktop solves this by automatically pushing out updates to and installing software on computers for the entire district within hours.

The first real test of BPS Desktop was the rapid integration of BPS School #115 (formerly Pinnacle Charter School). The announcement that the Buffalo Public Schools would take over Pinnacle Charter School happened only days before the school year began. The IT Department was able to utilize BPS Desktop to virtually integrate the entire school with our BPS network and update their computers with our district software and resources within a matter of days.

BPS Desktop has also enabled the IT Department to better facilitate online assessments, especially CFA testing. This has helped BPS address and become more in alignment with computer-based testing regulations. In the long term this will permit us a solution to enable large cohorts of students to simultaneously perform online assessments.

A smart feature called Profile Unity in BPS Desktop provides personalized computing environments for users moving among computers. Students can now move from machine to machine and retain desktop settings such as saved browser links, items saved to the desktop, and customizations to Microsoft Office, just to name a few. It truly is a personal desktop that follows no matter where you login from.

Another key feature is BPS Desktop’s remote desktop access. Students, staff, and faculty can access the same desktop, applications, and District resources not only from within the schools, but also from home, coffee shops, public libraries, or wherever there is an Internet connection. BPS Desktop provides the ability to access a full desktop on almost any device, be it a Windows desktop, tablet or phone; a Mac or iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad; or android devices and phones.

By the end of the 2013-14 school year, 25 schools in BPS will be on the BPS Desktop platform with the rest of the schools coming on board in 2014-15. More information can be found at: XYZ...

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Buffalo Public Schools is in the process of converting its buildings to a new Alcatel Lucent VoIP phone system. There are currently 12 schools that have migrated to the new VoIP phone system. Additional buildings will be converted to VoIP over this summer and fall after IT implements enhancements for e911, 4-digit dial and network survivability requested by our initial 12 school pilot.

There are significant infrastructure and fiscal advantages for a large school district like Buffalo Public Schools moving to a hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communication system.

The District can utilize its current physical data network to deploy phones and VoIP service to all District buildings. Hosted VoIP has the long term potential to be cost effective as well, because it’s often eligible for funding through the Federal e-Rate program.

Additionally, because it’s a cloud-based system, all call-routing equipment and software to house, manage, and maintain the phone system is administered off site by a local service provider. This will allow for faster and more flexible building telephone changes to accommodate our changing staff and building infrastructure.

Check out the BuffaloSchools VoIP webpage for the latest information on building telephone system conversion status, instructions for dialing between old (Nortel) and VOIP telephones systems, video tutorials, quick reference guides, and other helpful VOIP information.

“Access to my H: drive from home and at school is the most convenient form of saving personalized data, much handier than a USB drive. Home access also allows me to do school work and use my learning applications after school.”- BPS Student Board Member

BPS computers are being transformed into powerful virutalized desktops with features average computers don't have.