What is it? This is a device roughly the size of a typical Flash drive that when plugged in, converts any television or monitor possessing an HDMI port into a full-fledged Android PC.
How does it work?
Ophelia allows schools to use existing hardware (i.e., televisions and monitors) while providing students and faculty with secure, content-controlled Android-based PCs. The device, also known as CloudKey, works entirely in the cloud and utilizes Android’s popular Jelly Bean operating system. It comes with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing users to connect to the Internet and pair peripherals such as keyboards and touchpads.
Once plugged in and connected to a WiFi network, Ophelia works just like any other Android-based PC. It supports Web browsing, social networking, media playback and the full suite of Android Apps via complete access to GooglePlay. The device securely connects to Windows desktops and applications running on back-end systems from all leading infrastructure providers including Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.
School leaders can use the admin software, which provides complete control over the types of apps that Ophelia can run. It also allows for real-time monitoring of device users and locations.
Ophelia devices lend themselves to total security, given that they are “stateless.” They don’t store data from sessions locally, so if an Ophelia is lost or stolen, that data remains secure. Also, lost or stolen devices can be locked by system admins so that they can’t ever be used again.
Ophelia also trumps laptops, tablets and smartphones in terms of battery life. The device derives its power from the television or monitor to which it’s attached, meaning there’s no battery to go dead.
How hard is it to use? If you can use an Android device—and judging by Google’s market share, there are a lot of people who can—you can use Ophelia. Outside of any learning curve with regard to the Jelly Bean software, the device is used by simply plugging it into a display. Pairing peripherals and connecting to a WiFi network are as simple as doing the same with any other PC.
How well does it work? Ophelia is slated for release sometime in 2013. Based on the released specs, it should work as well as any other Android-based device.
How do I use it in the classroom? Administrators who want to beef up school tech but don’t want to spend big dollars should love Ophelia. The price is expected to be under $100, and some are predicting it will be closer to $50. That’s something even the Google Chromebook, with its $249 price tag, can’t touch.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.
Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
Copyright © 2013 Education World.