HP Launches Education Cloud Service with ClassLink

HP this week launched SchoolCloud, a cloud computing solution designed specifically for education, in collaboration with ed tech provider ClassLink. HP also introduced TeachNow, a software app designed to help teachers build lesson plans, and HP MultiSeat, a virtualization solution to allow students to share a single host computer with multiple keyboards and screens.

SchoolCloud
The new SchoolCloud allows educators and students to access their files and applications from any computer via a virtual desktop. It combines "infrastructure, software and professional development tools designed specifically for education," according to HP, including onsite professional development designed to help educators teach with the tools.

Using ClassLink technologies, it also provides reporting capabilities, including the ability to correlate grades and other data with software and system usage.

According to HP, the system will also help school and district IT departments consolidate hundreds or thousands of desktop computers onto far fewer servers. One district already using SchoolCloud for this is New York's Hudson Falls Central School District, which has been able to reduce its desktop management burden considerably by using the system, according to the district's director of information technology, Greg Partch.

"We went from managing 1,400 computers to 10 servers," Partch said in a statement released today. "We're seeing a huge savings in help desk support, maintenance time and costs."

TeachNow and MultiSeat
HP also introduced two other technologies for schools today--TeachNow and MultiSeat.

MultiSeat is a thin client solution that runs off Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010. Using the system, up to 10 students can share a single host computer with their own monitors and input devices. The HP MultiSeat t100, expected to debut in 2010, is about the size of a pack of playing cards and is designed to allow schools to provide computer access for students at a lower ongoing cost per student, with a power consumption of 2.5 watts.

TeachNow is a software tool designed to help educators create and distribute lesson plans. Using a drag and drop interface, TeachNow lets teachers create lessons by dragging files and other elements onto a lesson topic then push materials out to students' computers.

"Teachers also can share digital lesson plans across schools or even districts," according to HP. "All the materials for a lesson on biology or history could be prepackaged and passed from a veteran to a first-year teacher."

"HP is helping educational institutions change to student-centered, personalized learning environments by using technology in an affordable and sustainable way," said Brian Becker, director of education in HP's Personal Systems Group, in a statement released today. "Our offerings empower students to learn at their own pace, allow teachers to easily manage a classroom and free up IT managers from time-consuming maintenance."

HP SchoolCloud is available now. HP TeachNow is expected to be available by the end of the year. And HP MultiSeat is expected to be available early next year. Further information about the new solutions can be found here.

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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