Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

How Virtualization Can Meet Online Testing Mandates: VMware's Virtualization Solutions Help Schools Meet Strict Mandates for Secure Online Testing under Common Core, as School Districts Already Using Desktop Virtualization Illustrate

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

How Virtualization Can Meet Online Testing Mandates: VMware's Virtualization Solutions Help Schools Meet Strict Mandates for Secure Online Testing under Common Core, as School Districts Already Using Desktop Virtualization Illustrate

Article excerpt

Like many districts, Baltimore City Public Schools took a hard look at its technology infrastructure several years ago and found it wanting. Faced with the need to serve its 83,000 students with Common-Core mandated online testing through the PARCC consortium platform, the district weighed its past success virtualizing its servers with VMware, and decided to virtualize its desktop infrastructure as well.

With a limited number of field technicians and aging classroom computers, including a number of devices running Windows XP, the district needed to act, according to James Smith, director of IT infrastructure with Baltimore City Public Schools. By choosing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) through VMware, the district was able to reduce the number of support staff visiting schools for service calls, extend the life of older hardware, and make better use of IT staff by pushing out updates to multiple devices at once.

Speed during testing hasn't been an issue, Smith says: "The desktops come online very quickly, and without any degradation of performance." Because desktop virtualization has dramatically reduced the number of desktop units in the field, and the number of support technicians needed, the district has realized both a total cost of ownership gain, and a strong return on investment.

At Somerset School District in Wisconsin, the need to support the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for online testing drove the district to update its technology infrastructure. Somerset is a fast-growing K12 district that was selected in 2013 to take part in a Smarter Balanced pilot program.

The district knew that it needed to refresh older hardware, lower its support costs, and add new devices and applications to its technology mix. …

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