My youngest son has been out of school for 5 days now (with a weekend thrown in there for good measure). He's finally feeling better, but still needs Motrin to keep his fever down, Benadryl to fight the cough, and he has 5 more days to go on a course of antibiotics. Is it swine flu? It's hard to say and doesn't really matter since his docs have already taken chest x-rays, have seen him twice, and are following him daily (of course, not having been exposed to anyone with it, anyone who has traveled to Mexico, or any other possible vector, I'm not thinking we need to worry about this too much). Quick update based on a commenter's question below: the viral piece was over very quickly; the bacterial sinus infection that followed proved far more difficult to kick and was the reason for the antibiotics.
The point is, he's been out of school for quite a while. I've been bringing his work home to him and when the meds really kick in, he's been trying to stay caught up. He's been making good use of my Classmate PC to keep up with his classmates in Lexia and Symphony (our two RTI programs) and the school nurse is more than happy to have him stay home if there is any remote chance he actually has H1N1 (or any other flu-like illness for that matter).
Enter SIMtone and their Universal Cloud Computing model. Announced earlier this week, the company has created a new business unit focusing on education,
...SIMtone Online, a new business unit that will deliver a broad range of innovative and affordable “Cloud PC” services to students, schools and districts nationwide. SIMtone Online will offer a range of very affordable desktop, application and virtual IT Cloud-hosted services that can be purchased, configured, managed, and used anywhere and on any device, with a click of a mouse.
SIMtone has been in the news quite a bit lately, announcing a partnership to deliver their cloud-based, virtual PCs to students in the Minnesota Online High School. Further reading of their press release does make you wonder if they might be on to something:
For the 80,000-plus K-12 schools across the country, SIMtone Online will provide a unique, game changing opportunity to modernize schools and processes, reduce costs and deliver a better, ‘cooler’ education. SIMtone Online will allow students to be at school or with their friends, anytime and anywhere via any device, supporting their mobile lifestyle seamlessly year round, without regard to location or schedule or even crises such as pandemic events.
Most people don't really believe the doom and gloom swine flu hysteria. However, it does make a lot of sense for students to be able to access their work and applications from anywhere. Whether they are home sick and simply need to get their homework turned in, they lack the resources for a computer of their own, or their schools are looking for a cost-effective way to deliver a standardized desktop with minimal hardware investment, then SIMtone's cloud-based PC services just might be one way to meet a variety of needs.
Of course, they'll still need to compete with other cloud-based services like Google Apps and Moodle-style tools that students can use to access coursework via the web, but I'll be curious to see how well this approach works (and how cheaply it can be rolled out) when SIMtone makes it more widely available later this year.