Classrooms today look drastically different than they did a decade ago. Digital technology now touches every aspect of the world of education. Not only are today’s student digital natives, but teachers are eager to leverage the new possibilities education technology (EdTech) enable. Sounds great, but schools face many challenges. For one, acquiring technology comes at a price, and most K-12 schools operate on super tight budgets. Two, there are so many EdTech platforms to choose from it can be difficult to choose the right ones. The market reflects this, too. According to a recent report by ResearchandMarkets.com, in fact, the EdTech market is projected to reach $40.9 billion by 2022, up from $17.7 billion in 2017.
For these reasons, one of the fastest growing trends in the K-12 education market is cloud-based learning, which enables remote instruction and makes it easier for educators to access and share resources with students on any device, time or place. By leveraging a hypercloud, like Google Cloud, schools can arguably provide the kinds of technology students and teachers both demand at a much lower cost. In addition, by implementing cloud-based VDI, schools can build a more personalized curriculum for each student by leveraging the wide array of EdTech tools on the market today. But this brings another challenge to the table — without automation and orchestration, VDI is notoriously complex and expensive to deploy and manage. Enter itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS), our end-to-end IT infrastructure management solution purpose-built for Google Cloud.
Why schools need Google Cloud-based VDI + itopia CAS
Let’s start with the obvious. Google already dominates the K-12 EdTech market. According to a report by Futuresource Consulting, in fact, nearly 60 percent of US-based K-12 institutions invested in Chromebooks by the end of 2017, compared to 25.6 percent and 10.6 percent that bought Windows and iOS devices, respectively. That’s not even counting the use of G-Suite in the classroom. That said, Windows-based applications are still quite common. itopia enables even the least skilled (and expensive) IT administrators to easily deploy and manage those applications on any device at a much lower cost than the alternatives. Let’s dig a little deeper into how itopia + Google Cloud-based VDI enables schools to meet the specific challenges they face.
- Never-ending budget crunch – It’s an understatement to say that school administrators and teachers, especially in the public space, are accustomed to operating with a lean budget. By leveraging the economies of scale of Google Cloud and itopia CAS’ VDI and infrastructure management capabilities, schools can provide the latest and greatest learning tools for the lowest cost possible. For instance, with itopia Server Uptime Scheduling feature, administrators can automatically spin resources up or down on an as needed, cutting cloud infrastructure costs dramatically. In addition, itopia’s autoscaling capabilities automatically scales resources up or down based upon how many users are in the environment as enrollment fluctuates.
- Security – Schools deal with highly sensitive private information of hundreds or thousands of current students on a daily basis, and also keep records of past ones. Given the limited budgets, securing that data on-premises is nearly impossible. Further, the more work that is conducted online, the higher the chances are of compromise. itopia enables administrators to easily apply individual and group security policies based on user profiles and best practices. Moreover, Google Cloud provides top-notch security at every level in the technology stack, and undergoes third-party security and compliance audits on a regular basis.
- Ease of management – itopia enables “single-click” automation for virtual desktop and application deployments on Google Cloud from an intuitive, and easy to use dashboard. In the CAS management portal, administrators have direct and granular control over every aspect of their environment on Google Cloud. That includes compute, network, storage, security and billing. Given the reality that most K-12 schools simply can’t afford to hire highly credentialed IT administrators, itopia gives them a simple and clean interface to deploy and manage their VDI environments without having to get too deep under the hood to configure critical GCP infrastructure resources.
- Collaboration – Today more than ever, collaboration is extremely important in the classroom. Students need to be able to communicate with other students on projects and across multiple EdTech platforms, and teachers need to have immediate access to grades, lesson plans, administrative services and notes from multiple devices and locations. With itopia, IT administrators can provide secure access to all the EdTech platforms used in the classroom through a single pane of glass from any device, whenever and wherever necessary.
Despite the challenges that schools face today, education professionals are committed to providing a high quality education to the current generation of future workers, thinkers and leaders of the world. Advances in EdTech platforms, hyperscale cloud computing and centrally managed virtual desktops and applications are enabling them to do this. With an end-to-end IT infrastructure management solution like itopia Cloud Automation Stack, schools can provide students with the latest and greatest education technologies with ease and efficiency, and at the lowest cost possible.