Educators now have more options for gaining control over students’ mobile devices, helping them ensure students stay on task during lessons or testing


Mobile device management companies have begun adding classroom-based controls as well.

The lines are blurring between mobile device management (MDM) and classroom management software, as both now offer some classroom-level control over students’ mobile devices.

That’s good news for educators who are looking for more control over what students can access on their iPads, Chromebooks, and Android tablets during class—an ability that will be particularly useful for online testing.

When MDM software first emerged, it gave administrators an easy way to push out applications to tablets, smart phones, and other mobile devices, while keeping track of the contents and location of each device. Now, MDM providers have begun adding classroom-based controls as well.

Meanwhile, providers of traditional classroom management software—programs that allow teachers to see their students’ computer screens and freeze, control, or broadcast screens remotely—have begun releasing versions that work with iPads, Chromebooks, and Android devices, too.

The result is that educators now have more options for gaining control over student devices, helping them make sure their students stay on task during digital lessons or testing.

MDM software provider AirWatch earlier this year announced what it calls “Teacher Tools” to help teachers manage their students’ mobile device use.

Features include “All Eyes Up Front,” which freezes devices during whole-class instruction to remove distractions; “Single Application Mode,” which locks a student or a group of students into a certain application for a specified amount of time; and “Clear Passcode,” which enables teachers to clear and reset a student’s passcode without having to look up the device serial number.

“We developed Teacher Tools to help ensure mobile devices become a powerful resource for educators, instead of a hurdle for teachers,” said Preston Winn, director of business development for education.

The Teacher Tools functionality will be available this spring for managing iOS devices. Control of Android devices will be available this fall, AirWatch said.

JAMF Software, which specializes in Apple management tools, already enables teachers to control students’ iPad activity with its Casper suite of MDM software. A component of the suite, Casper Focus, allows teachers to handle routine device management tasks that normally would be time-consuming for IT departments, such as resetting passcodes, distributing eBooks, and preparing devices for online exams.

(Next page: More details about Casper Focus—and how classroom management software now offers some control over mobile devices as well)