There are so many different ways to integrate technology into the classroom to create a rich learning experience. One option now available to Carleton educators is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

VDI technology enables access to software applications from anywhere, on a variety of devices including mobile devices, at any time.  By logging into the virtual environment, students, staff and faculty can access a lab desktop that has common software titles pre-installed. They can use the applications without needing them to be installed on the computer or device directly.

This is particularly useful in a classroom environment which requires students to access specialized software, such as SPSS.

”The technology itself has huge potential to change how students, faculty and staff access software on campus.”  said Todd Switzer, Systems Administrator in ITS.

Dr. Lise Paquet, a Professor in the Department of Psychology, was part of Carleton’s VDI pilot project and had a positive experience with the new technology.

“In one word, this has been GREAT. Every class ran smoothly with students and I working simultaneously to solve statistical problems using the system.  The hands-on approach that the system provides has allowed me to discover immediately the topics that students are having problems with and we can address them right on the spot before too much confusion builds up and before they leave the classroom.   The classroom has been transformed from a lecture hall where “I talk-they listen” into a very buzzing place of highly interactive activities involving a lot of interactions between me and the students.”

Switzer had the opportunity to go into the classrooms to see the technology in action and was impressed with how quickly the students adapted. “We have been to a few classes to introduce the technology to the students, and help them set up the client on their computers, which was an interesting experience.  The students became comfortable with the environment a lot faster than expected, and when they started to actually use VDI during class, you could see they were much more engaged and actively taking part in the class.”

ITS has now implemented VDI technology for 450 virtual desktops – in Tory 446, Tory 447 and Azrieli Theatre 101.