On Monday, board members discussed VDI, or Virtual Desktop Integration, which they say many organizations are using as a cost effective way to replace traditional PCs with virtual desktops that run on servers in a data center.
“We have a problem,” said Scott Usher Director of Technology for the district. “And the problem is how do we continue to support replacement of our technology after the 2010 (bond) money is depleted?”
Several other school systems including Troy, Farmington and Monroe are also in phases of implementing VDI into their technology and have had success, according to Usher’s report.
Usher says that by gaining this new technology the money from the 2010 bond could potentially be stretched as far as 2022, possibly 2025.
The board voted and approved Monday to begin the discovery phase, or phase one. In this phase, an integrator will come into Hartland schools and help to evaluate the existing environment starting sometime this spring.
The board would then vote on whether to continue on to phase two of the project, which would take place this summer by integrating a pilot program of 175 new computers at , which was already slated to receive new computers, according to Usher. No other new technology would be installed during this phase.
Phase three would then consist of bringing all the other buildings online starting in 2013.
“We are making the best choices to make the 2010 bond money last as long as we can make it last,” he said. “We are continuing to investigate this and want to do the right thing.”
Potential set backs to using VDI are the problem of ongoing costs for software licenses and that backend servers will still need to be refreshed every five to seven years using money from the general fund.
Teachers show interest in iPads
Other new technology discussed was iPads for teachers.
Originally, all 290 Hartland school teachers were expected to receive new laptops this summer, but due to the addition of Smart boards in the classrooms, some teachers discovered that the need for another device while the teacher computer is in use, which is also used as the Smart board center, was needed.
The idea for the iPad, which would give more mobility and functionality over a laptop were discussed.
“It’s a mode of efficiency for them as well, to have this ability,” Usher said of the teachers who already use their own personal iPads or Special Education funded iPads in the classroom.
Seventy-three percent of teachers surveyed said they preferred an iPad and a desktop Smart board computer rather than a laptop.
The board will be voting on the change at a later date.