Karr said he has been impressed with AirWatch’s “multi-tenancy” design, which gives administrators the ability to manage a mobile device rollout in a very hierarchical way.

“AirWatch provides a granular mechanism that allows us to ‘profile’ each user or group and [give it a] different application and device setting,” he explained. “For example: A user enrolled into the High School group would have a different set of apps and configurations than one enrolled in the Elementary School group. You can also go further by creating grade-level groups within these higher-tiered groups.”

He continued: “I’ve chosen to have three different [top-level] groups: Administration, Faculty, and Students. Within those groups, I have High School, Middle School, and Elementary School. Within those [subgroups], I have the [specific] campuses assigned to each level.” Administrators at each campus can manage the device configuration they want at their own school, without needing district-level approval.

An optional mobile content management system, called the Secure Content Locker, can distribute documents to mobile devices securely over the air according to the settings the system administrator has provided. The software asks users if they want to download the document to their mobile device or view it online.

See also:

Mobile Learning: Effective Anytime, Anywhere Education

“This gives us a lot of flexibility to use documents either online or offline,” Karr said.

As McAllen ISD continues to distribute iPads to every student, administrators can rest easy knowing they have control over the apps students are using and the websites they’re visiting. Teachers and students also are excited.

“Our [internet] traffic has increased threefold already,” Karr said, just from giving devices to a quarter of the district’s students. “And students are saying: I’m glad I’m going to class.”

Questions to ask when choosing MDM software

There are several kinds of mobile device management programs on the market; here are some questions to ask when choosing a program that’s right for your schools.