In his latest column on ed-tech innovations, Editorial Director Dennis Pierce highlights five new products or services for schools

Software that makes it easier for teachers to control students’ tablet computers is one of five new ed-tech products highlighted here.

Products that make it easier for teachers to control students’ tablet computers and leave notes within the margins of online lessons are among the latest ed-tech innovations we’re highlighting this week.

To learn about these and other new ed-tech innovations, read on.

Classroom-based control of tablets

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the convergence of mobile device management and classroom management software, a trend that gives educators more classroom-based control over students’ mobile devices—which could help with online testing.

TabPilot sells a program, called Tablet Manager, that offers many of these same features for monitoring, controlling, and provisioning Android-based tablets at the classroom level. It’s a cloud-based management system that “puts teachers in control of classroom tablets,” the company says—allowing teachers to turn specific apps on or off for individual student devices or groups of devices.

Tablet Manager includes a secure web browser, called Focal Point, that lacks a navigation bar, keeping students on the webpage that teachers want them to be on. The program also lets teachers freeze students’ screens and monitor their screens through snapshots that are taken and sent to the cloud every few seconds.

The latest version of the software, Tablet Manager 4.0, lets teachers or administrators set up “configuration profiles,” or pre-configured sets of apps, web links, and other preferences that can be applied to groups of Android tablets all at once with a single click. For instance, a teacher or administrator could create a profile for “sixth grade math,” dragging and dropping the apps that he or she would like to push out to students in that class.

There is also a “Schedule” tab that lets users schedule profiles for certain times of the day—provisioning devices with different sets of apps for home or school use, for example.

This easy, one-click control is ideal for “shared-use environments” in which devices are used by different students throughout the day, said Jarrett Volzer, founder and president of TabPilot.

TabPilot is working on a feature that would let teachers broadcast students’ screens to the entire class, and the company plans to add this functionality soon.

An identity-based alternative to managing devices

Centrify offers schools an identity-based approach to managing who has access to what resources, rather than a device-based approach. The company says its cloud-based identity management system serves as both a platform for single sign-on functionality and an alternative to mobile device management (MDM) software.

Dennis Pierce

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