Futures of Education
I think that think clients is a cost effective and efficient method of providing technology in schools. What is appealing is that users can log into any computer and have access to all of their files including their personalized desktop on any computer they log into. The school that I currently work on has a similar system. The students save all of their work and files onto a server and then they can log into any of the computers in any classroom or computer lab. It makes it much easier for student to access their documents that they are working on from any computer that is connected to the server. The same is true for teacher computers. I can go to any district computer that is connected to the server and access my documents. We currently have laptops that we can bring home and access most of the material that we are able to access from school with some exceptions.
Virtualization sounds very ideal and appealing and according to proponents has many benefits like having multiple operating systems on one PC. As I was reading about this I was trying to visualize how this would work and the benefits of it. So, I am wondering if this would be like being able to open a software application file even though you don’t necessarily have the software. For example, I have smartnotebook files on my computer because at my previous school I had the program but now I can’t open them on my computer until I get the software installed. Perhaps this is not the correct analogy and correct me if I am wrong. I also compare virtualization like current cloud storage technology. Other benefits of virtualization include its cost effectiveness, better resource management, computer backups, restores and migrations are simplified . The servers are being utilized more efficiently and thus less space and reduced costs are a definite benefit. I think that for school districts virtualization would be a definite worthwhile investment because of its reduction in maintenance, power consumption and improved disaster recovery and manageability.
Some problems with virtualization might be that since the entire districts data might be stored in a centralized location then naturally security issues might arise. Also is the data that is stored in these servers backed up somewhere? If there was to be a fire or some sort of other disaster at the building where all of this data is located is there a way to recover it? My other question is: Is data being collected on the users who log into the servers and how is this data being used?
In reading the Learning Analytics article and viewing the video on “Big Data coming to Education”; It makes sense to me in a way that we have to find more efficient and informative ways to analyze data. If it takes two years for the state to compile data then what is the point of it? It is useless by the time that it is published. Yet, when he talked about algorithms being able to recommend books, suggest “facebook” friends and using the same type of technology to determine an individual’s learning needs, something just does not sound right to me. I really don’t like the idea of a machine or algorithm being able to do this. I also think the issues in education are far more complicated then attending to each students’ learning needs. Even if teachers are able to tailor each students learning experience, there are many social and environmental reasons why some students are not achieving.