Computing in the Classroom and “BeYOnD”
School districts and administrators contemplating BYOD—Bring-Your-Own-Device— should consider the benefits of enabling students to use personal smartphones, tablets and laptops in and outside the classroom. Provided the right IT environment is in place—one that supports secure, multi-device accessibility—students can gain universal access to existing applications, virtual desktops and digital learning resources, independent of the device being used and their location.
Proponents of BYOD see this as a cost-saving solution for increasing engagement in the classroom, improving collaboration among students (and between student and teacher), as well as an easy way to extend learning and the life of existing IT infrastructure and software, beyond the classroom walls.
More and more schools—such as in Bradford Central School District, a K-12 district located in New York State that serves approximately 300 students—are implementing 1:1 programs, which incorporate school-owned and personal devices that students can used anywhere.
Access Windows Applications and Desktop on Chromebook and Mobile Devices
Bradford’s 1:1 program not only provides students with feature-rich, cost-effective and easy access to Windows-based applications and desktops from 125 school-owned Google Chromebooks, but also takes into account future BYOD plans for an intuitive, user-friendly system that supports accessibility from mixed mobile and other personal computing devices.
Bradford wanted to eliminate end-user device installation, which would require the school’s IT department to spend valuable resources on training, support and maintenance. Among the options available, Bradford considered Citrix, but found their solution too costly and time-consuming to install.
“We really wanted a clientless solution that wouldn’t require kids to go through a huge manual in order to connect into the school,” explains Jeff Tham, Bradford’s Technology Coordinator.
After evaluating several solutions, Bradford selected Ericom AccessNow, the market’s first high performance HTML5 RDP client that provides browser-based access to Windows applications, desktops, files and content, from popular browsers running on almost any device.
“AccessNow was much more cost-effective,” explained Tham. “In addition to price, AccessNow was easy to deploy, requiring only a day or two to get up and running. As a flexible, clientless solution, it gives our students a quick and easy way to access all the computing resources they need, via Chromebooks, iPads and other devices.”
With AccessNow, Bradford now has the capability to deliver a consistent learning environment, in and outside of the classroom. Running entirely within an HTML5 compatible browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer, AccessNow enables students to log- in via Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, Android devices, as well as Macs, Linux and Windows laptops and desktops. There is no installation of software on the end-user device, which significantly reduces Bradford’s IT support costs.
Although students use Chromebooks for a broad range of Web-based content and curriculum, Bradford needed the capability to give them access to Windows legacy applications, such as Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop and Typing Master, a Windows-based typing program.
“We have been using Chromebooks for about two years; which are great for accessing standardized Web applications and other Google programs,” said Tham.
“AccessNow allowed us to extend the utility of our Chromebooks investment by providing access to several pertinent Windows applications.”
Since the deployment of AccessNow, Bradford students joined a growing list of schools, districts and universities that successfully implement Ericom-powered BYOD and 1:1 computing. Additionally, as Chromebooks play an increasing role in K-12 deployments, AccessNow helps schools to both get more out of their existing IT infrastructure and investments, and gain an easy migration path to the device-agnostic educational learning environments of the future.
Colour My Learning on AccessNow
You can find a quick video tutorial on setting up AccessNow HTML5 RDP Client on Chrome OS to access Windows applications and desktop. It worth noting that AccessNow runs wholly in the browser and does not required installation of any add-ons or browser plugins.
A RDP client is also available from Ericom for a multitude of mobile devices running operating systems such as iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Android (tablets and phones), Chrome OS (in this article) and Blackberry (tablets and phones) under the name AccessToGo™
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