According to a 2008 study by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), K-12 schools in the US have a lower student per PC ratio of 3.8:1 compared to the worldwide ratio of 28:1. What is surprising is that several newly industrialized countries (NIC) such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India among others have a higher than average student per computer ratio of 46.
The GDP, Education Connection
Interestingly, some NIC countries are closing the gap with the United States faster than the rest of the world. World leaders are recognizing that an important avenue to growing GDP is spending more on education defying the global downturn and the current vogue of austerity programs.
While there is no denying the growing adoption of new mobile devices and tablets enables more communication, information flow and access, alternative computing schemes that take place in the classroom are also key enablers to increasing quality education in K-12 schools.
Schools in the higher ratio category typically have limited budgets and a lack of dedicated IT support to set up and maintain newly-deployed systems. As a result, solutions that require relatively high initial investment and intensive ongoing maintenance such as traditional 1:1 computing are hard for countries with struggling economies to absorb.
Closing the Gap With Virtualization
As these emerging countries recognize that educated students are a key enabler and indicator of their economic prosper, there is an opportunity for alternative compute models, like desktop virtualization to play an important and powerful role in closing the digital gap in education.
One of the biggest appeals of desktop virtualization technology is in the way that desktop images (OS and applications) are managed and maintained centrally as opposed to individually in a traditionally distributed model.
Ideally, this central management results in a decrease in technical resources needed to deploy and maintain an environment as well as better security, overall ease of operations, and faster time to embrace new, relevant software technology.
Microsoft Windows Multipoint™ Architecture
While there are several desktop virtualization technologies that meet the criteria, few options are both extremely cost-effective and easy to consume. Microsoft Windows Multipoint™ architecture (see graph below), hits the target head on.
This education focused technology leveraging Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2, divides a single compute resource into multiple, independent desktops, allowing allows a teacher’s desktop screen to be shared with a group of students enhancing the interaction of the instructor with the students of the classroom.
MultiPoint is a proven technology that can be deployed on Dell servers or workstations along with reasonably priced Dell Wyse thin client end points and Dell monitors. According to Microsoft, an investment of $50,000 would support as many as 127 students compared to only 43 in a traditional 1:1 deployment where each student uses one physical, legacy computer.
Dell offers an effective reference architecture that combines the MultiPoint components into a package that can be easily deployed relevant not only to newly industrialized countries but also any school districts with limited resources. Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 running on Dell’s latest 12G R720 servers offers an increased set of capabilities including two way interaction, Windows 8 capabilities and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) that that of a traditional PC.
One of the core tenets of Dell Desktop Virtualization Solution Group is the ability to offer choices and solutions to vertical markets anywhere in the world.
The Dell Wyse MultiPoint bundle is an option targeted at K-12 schools in need of technology and modern teaching paradigms. The reward is substantial: Delivering the right solution to customers and putting technology in the hands of bright young minds that will benefit from better education and ultimately, a better quality of life.
Rafael Colorado serves as Director of Marketing for Dell Desktop Virtual Solutions (DVS). Rafael holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and an EMBA from the University of Illinois. His previous corporate experience includes Motorola and Colgate Palmolive in different product marketing and strategy roles. As an entrepreneur, he founded a successful technology startup company.