Ericom AccessNow and Chromebooks Enable One-to-One Computing in Lynchburg City Schools
Customers

Ericom AccessNow and Chromebooks Enable One–to–One Computing in Lynchburg City Schools

Industry

Education

Bradford Students Using Chromebooks and Ericom AccessNow
Customer

Lynchburg City Schools

Product

        Ericom AccessNow
Challenges

       
  • Implement a cost-effective computing solution for Lynchburg high school students.
  • Provide up to 8,000 students with easy access to Windows-based statewide testing and other Microsoft applications from Chromebooks.
Solution

        Implement Ericom AccessNow to provide high school students with simple and secure access to Windows and Web applications and programs from any device, anywhere.

Benefits

       
  • Enabled economical one-to-one HP Chromebooks solution, allowing students to access TestNav test delivery system and Microsoft Office applications in the classroom.
  • Improved the student learning experience by providing seamless, hassle-free access to online learning tools.
  • Superior support made deployment fast and simple while continuing support reduces stress on a small IT staff.


"AccessNow is a game changer for Chromebook use in Virginia classrooms."
John Collins, Supervisor of Support Technology Lynchburg City Schools


Background

Lynchburg City Schools, founded in 1871, is a prominent leader of education in Virginia. A team of 1,500 dedicated teachers and staff members across 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools go beyond teaching basic learning skills to provide over 8,000 students with character and citizenship development opportunities. In partnership with parents and the community, the faculty and staff of Lynchburg City Schools are committed to the mission of helping children develop their full potential by providing learning opportunities which recognize individual needs.

Changing the Game with Chromebooks

With a diverse student body consisting of students from a variety of backgrounds, a significant number of students have limited access to computing technology outside of school; this makes classroom access to technology critical to improving the learning experience. Specifically, Lynchburg high school students need access to Pearson's TestNav7.5 testing delivery system in order to take practice and official Virginia Standard of Learning (SOL) exams.

As part of Virginia's e-Learning Backpack initiative, Lynchburg schools are allotted a certain amount of funds to spend on mobile devices for school use. After researching different options, the Lynchburg IT staff found HP Chromebooks to be the most cost-effective one-to-one computing solution. There was only one significant issue to consider: TestNav requires Java, a program not available on Chromebooks out of the box.

Lynchburg soon discovered that Ericom's AccessNow software was the ideal solution to make HP Chromebooks a feasible option for students because AccessNow's remote access technology makes test delivery possible without the necessity of Java.

"By providing the capability to access TestNav using remote access technology, AccessNow has made it possible for Virginia schools to further learning with Chromebooks," stated John Collins, Supervisor of Support Technology of Lynchburg City Schools. "AccessNow is a game changer for Chromebook use in Virginia classrooms."

An innovative new approach

To address these issues, CITS first started looking at traditional PC-based terminal emulation products. It had inherited a number of such solutions, but with little or no consistency in deployment. It then discovered that Ericom offers an innovative new approach, with a solution that enables users to access centrally-based applications over a secure network connection.

Called PowerTerm WebConnect, this solution removes the need for software to be installed on each individual PC. It is ideal for organisations that have low specification PCs, cover a large area or need to protect sensitive data. It also greatly reduces IT management and support time.

The solution uses a concurrent user model, which reduces the number of licenses that organisations need to buy. "Ericom emerged as the clear winner from our tender process in terms of functionality - first and foremost - and also in terms of value for money," says Edwards. "The people at Ericom also demonstrated that they work in a professional manner and are enthusiastic and confident about their product."

A Simple, Large-Scale Deployment

The deployment of AccessNow in the Lynchburg City Schools division was incredibly fast and simple without the necessity of endpoint configuration. Using an existing system of three physical servers converted into 15 virtual servers, Lynchburg's IT staff was easily able to create and install a custom kiosk application through which students can easily access AccessNow-enabled TestNav and other applications on school-issued Chromebooks. In fact, AccessNow was fully deployed for all of Lynchburg's ninth grade students within three days.

As of now, Lynchburg's schools have deployed almost 4,000 Chromebooks with AccessNow that over 500 high school students use at any given time during the school day to access AccessNow-enabled TestNav SOL testing and Microsoft applications.

Easy for Students to Use

Lynchburg high school students spend a significant amount of time using their Chromebooks to access AccessNow-enabled functions, especially SOL practice tests; during SOL testing months, students spend as much as 70 percent of their time on Chromebooks accessing SOL testing via TestNav. As a result, ease of use for students is a priority.

Using Ericom's AccessNow to access TestNav is simple for even the least tech savvy students. Students need only turn on their Chromebooks and open the kiosk application. This step automatically reboots the Chromebook and, within 30 seconds, students have full access to TestNav courtesy of AccessNow remote access technology. AccessNow provides Lynchburg high school students with secure, zero-latency access, enhancing their user experiences while making learning with Chromebooks a positive experience.

Above and Beyond Support

With a small IT team consisting of seven staff members in charge of providing IT services for the entire Lynchburg school system, Lynchburg's IT staff greatly appreciated Ericom's unwavering support throughout the AccessNow deployment process. "Ericom provided the crucial support we needed to deploy AccessNow seamlessly. With continuing virtual and on-site support, our decision to use AccessNow feels more like a partnership than a typical provider-customer relationship," stated John Collins.

Looking to the Future

After Lynchburg's success implementing AccessNow at the high school level, the school district plans to deploy the remote access solution on Chromebooks for middle school students as well. Other Virginia school systems seeking to integrate Chromebooks into the classroom are also looking to Lynchburg City Schools as an example.

Lynchburg is also exploring the possibility of expanding its Ericom solutions to include Ericom Connect, Ericom's robust virtual desktop access solution. Additionally, as the popularity of smartphones among students grows, Lynchburg may consider Ericom's AccessToGo to supplement future BYOD initiatives.

"Chromebooks have the potential to significantly change learning both inside and outside of the classroom," stated Ilan Paretsky, Vice President of Marketing at Ericom.

"Partnering Chromebooks with remote access solutions can help K12 schools realize the full potential of their Chromebook investments by allowing limitless access to educational applications and creating a more holistic learning environment that puts students in control."

For more information about Ericom's remote access solutions, visit www.ericom.com.






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