VDI Elementary Toolkit

What is a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?

In 2013, all NEISD computer labs were replaced with VDI machines using funds from the 2011 bond program. The biggest change teachers and students need to understand is the user may no longer modify the desktop appearance, including creating desktop shortcuts, saving work to the desktop itself or to the documents folder. Once a user is logged off, the desktop reverts back to a pristine image. The video below explains a VDI environment in detail.

Tips and Tricks for Navigating Through the Environment:

  • Web Only Access vs. Campus Hub– Choosing web only access will allow the user to navigate through the web without logging into Active Directory. The user will not have access to district software, personal, or shared directories. However, the user will have printing capabilities if the campus has followed the directions to setup up a printer manually on the thin client itself. Web only access should NOT be the default method that students use because the Firefox browser does not have all of the plugins that many web 2.0 products require to work consistently and effectively. Students and staff will need to select their campus hub if they wish to save work for later use or use district deployed software.
  • Logging On/Off– Students and teachers will use the same credentials used for Active Directory. Student login credentials can be accessed through the Employee Portal under Student Privacy Inquiry. *Note- Students can be logged into only 1 machine at a time, and there is no generic login.
  • Desktop Applications– All software is located in the My Applications folder on the desktop. Right click on the desktop to access web links such as Gizmos, Google Drive, Library Shortcuts, Scholastic Next Generation (this is the new SRI solution), and Think Through Math. There is also a link to a VDI Resource that provides information about current software features, troubleshooting tips, functionality expectations, and new developments that are on the horizon. Movie Maker and Photo Story are no longer available. See below for some web-based alternatives.
  • Printing– Printers are delivered to a user based on where they are physically sitting (according to the hostname of the actual machine itself). This means that if you are sitting in the library, you should only be able to see the library printers. If you are sitting in lab 18, you will only see the printers assigned to lab 18, and so on.
  • Maintenance– Please do not update any software or utilities such as Java or Flash. All updates will be handled remotely by Technology Services. The physical upkeep of hardware, microphones, and headphones are a campus responsibility. Purchasing information for new equipment can be found on the Automated Pricing System.
  • Saving Work– See directions below for saving work to the home directory. The Student Work Drop Folder that was available in the Novell environment will no longer be maintained. Use Google Docs if you need to save files for collaborative work. This can be accessed by right clicking on the desktop. Click here for more information on using Google Docs. 
  • Shutting Down Workstations– Units should be powered on using the button on the Thin Client, but should be powered off using the on-screen SHUTDOWN option.  DO NOT USE THE POWER BUTTON TO SHUT DOWN THE THIN CLIENT.  The only time the power button should be used is if the thin client is frozen and you are unable to power down or restart using the on screen options. VDI units should be powered on Monday mornings and can be left on all week as they do not generate much heat or use much electricity.  They should be powered down using on-screen options on Friday afternoons. This allows Technology Services to conduct updates after hours during the week so that instruction is not disrupted.
  • Accessing Student Home Directories– When logged in as a staff member, you can access all campus student home directories by going to Computer>(Campus Name)_Students. You can filter for individual students by typing their username in the search field located in the upper right corner.

Beginning of the Year Resources

Software and Web-Based Tools to Support Instruction

Hover over each image to see a linked tutorial on how to use that program. Many of the resources also include integration ideas. This is a great place to go if you are unfamiliar with our district software, or just need some additional ideas to support your instruction. Please contact your campus ITS if you would like assistance planning your next computer lab lesson.

There are many free web-based tools available to support classroom instruction. I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to showcase specific lessons and ideas. For a complete list of web-based tools, visit my Web Resources for Educators page.

Rock the Lab

Rock the Lab is a website dedicated to providing students with TEKS-based lessons that follow the NEISD scope and sequence. Each grade level has their own page that contains a lesson for every content area. Teachers have a section of their own with video tutorials on how to create student accounts for various web based tools or log in to district resources like Google Drive and Discovery Education. All lessons can be used in your computer lab.

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Lesson Examples

* Indicates required student or teacher accounts

Computer Lab Integration Posters

Hang these posters in your computer lab to support higher levels of technology integration required by Standard V. NEISD Google Docs credentials required.

 printing poster

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