Online School Pilots Cloud Services

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The state-funded Minnesota Online High School is piloting a cloud computing initiative to provide its students and teachers with virtual desktops.

For the pilot, MNOHS signed on to the SIMtone Education Thunder Program, which provides cloud-based access to personal computers from any place that has broadband access, without requiring the school to pay for the equipment up front or handle support. The PCs include a range of software tools, as well as resources like coursework, homework, personal files, and access to school services.

"Prior to this exciting pilot with SIMtone, it was a very cumbersome process to deliver applications and coursework to our home-based students," said Ned Zimmerman-Bence, executive director of the Minnesota Online High School, in a statement released this week. "To equip our students and faculty with the required educational software, we had to ship every piece of software to each person. In addition, we found it difficult to support a variety of platforms including XP, Vista and Mac with our small technology staff. With the SIMtone Virtual PC service, we can provide our students and faculty with virtualized desktops from any computer at home or public library. Each virtual desktop is pre-loaded with course-crucial software including Microsoft Office, Geometer's Sketchpad, Fathom and Adobe Premiere and Elements."

MNOHS is a public charter school that offers an online curriculum to students in grades 10 through 12. The online high school is open to all residents aged 20 or younger throughout the state.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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