Smart Classroom Technologies

5 Strategies to Create a 'Post-PC Environment'

According to Duane Schau, director of client services at Indiana University, educational technology is moving toward a “post-PC environment,” where software will be online, students will access everything they need from one cheap device and BYOD will stand for “bring your own data.”

In “The Evolving Post-PC Endpoint Model at Indiana University,” a session at the Citrix Synergy conference in Orlando, FL, Schau discussed five steps that IU is taking or plans to take that will move it beyond the traditional personal computer.

1) Use desktop virtualization to transform computer labs.

According to Schau, “You don’t need to have a fixed asset anymore.” Instead of rooms filled with rows of desktop computers, Schau said, “We want our labs to be highly collaborative … more like a coffee shop.” One of the advantages of downsizing hardware holdings, he said, is that the university saves “hundreds of thousands of dollars that weren’t spent on life cycle.”

2) Negotiate software licenses for student use.

IU, with its 120,000 students and 61,200 active users, can definitely benefit from economies of scale. Schau said that he is a strong position to negotiate licensing fees because, when students use specific software to do their schoolwork, they are “likely to leave the university and request that software in the business that they’re going to.”

3) Move software and storage online.

Every student at IU has a Box account, Schau said, but “we had to invent some applications” for storage orchestration.

4) Head for a one-device model.

While today’s students still come to class with multiple devices, Schau envisioned a single-device future in which all students have “access to all of IU’s computing power through inexpensive devices” such as smartphones.

5) Look into connecting to Internet2 or Net+.

Finally, Schau suggested that educational institutions should explore the idea of building consortia to share the speedy Internet that next-generation connectivity can provide.

About the Author

Christopher Piehler is the former editor-in-chief of THE Journal.