Technology has opened up endless possibilities in classrooms around the world. For one, access to education has been significantly broadened, facilitating a wide range of teaching strategies and learning styles. The pandemic accelerated the adoption rates of educational technology solutions. In some cases, demand far outstripped supply, leading to backlogs of requests for laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, and other school-issued devices. With the flood of school-issued devices, the need for education device management is fast becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Schools are always looking for ways to keep their students engaged and learning–and implementing technology can do that. Technology is changing the way we teach and learn. In today’s world, where children are already familiar with tablets and smartphones from watching videos on YouTube or playing games at home, learning through technology will likely become more exciting than daunting (and this goes for teachers too).
One of the most important aspects of using technology in schools is responsible and secure management: ensuring devices are protected from viruses, malware, and other threats that can cause significant disruption to critical school operations.
How can a district manage thousands of devices in schools and students’ homes? How do IT administrators manage, maintain, secure, and collect data from each device without the need for individual inspection? Managing thousands of devices across classrooms and districts isn’t easy, but bundling your education device management can help simplify this process considerably.
Meeting the demand for educational technology devices
During the first few weeks of the pandemic, many school districts rushed to acquire thousands of devices. They often competed with businesses or other school districts to get their devices delivered in time. As a result of the logjam, many schools implemented a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.
The demand has slowed a bit this year and most hardware purchases made in 2020 will last for the next few years. Given the massive funding provided by the US government to schools to facilitate remote learning, many suppliers are still filling up orders made last year. Spending for education is predicted to amount to over $1 trillion in the United States, according to TechCrunch.
There can be no doubt: Edtech is making education more flexible and accessible. Teachers are deploying a wide range of tools to enhance the learning experience and motivate the engagement of students. But with an eclectic mix of school-issued and BYOD, the mishmash can wreak havoc on school IT systems. Allowing a number of personal devices access to the school network demands a dynamic mobile device management solution. This will ensure that BYOD devices are granted the access they need while preserving the integrity of the school network.
Bundling education device management software can pay dividends
It makes sense for school districts that invested heavily in smart devices to have the means of tracking, monitoring, and maintaining these devices. With hundreds or even thousands of devices in circulation, there are always threats. Theft, loss, or misplacement of a school device is always a possibility.
Students—especially tech-savvy ones—are susceptible to bouts of recklessness. Some students may find themselves fiddling with the school device out of boredom, curiosity or even rebellion. They’ll check and see if they can use devices for unauthorized purposes.
A bundled education device management solution can help districts monitor their assets better. It can also help provide district IT teams with the tools to maintain and service devices wirelessly and securely. A bundled solution helps with the managing of connected devices to the network while providing a superior classroom management solution that keeps teachers firmly in control of the session, transforming the teaching experience from a complicated exercise into a smoother, more seamless experience.
Education device management software’s key features
Powerful management layer
School district management will demand accountability from their IT department over the various school devices deployed in their jurisdiction. Having a powerful management layer connected to all school devices can help immensely in keeping track of all of them. The software can provide installation, updating, security, and maintenance services wirelessly. This will help manage not just school-issued devices but also interactive touchscreens and digital whiteboards.
Cloud-based remote access
Districts often deal with hundreds or thousands of school devices scattered throughout the county. This is why performing services via a wired connection is both impractical and highly inefficient. Before they can finish updating the whole fleet, a new round of updates will inevitably be required.
Wireless connections via the cloud allow IT technicians to log in and connect to the network anywhere. Once securely connected, they can get access to tools and services needed to service school devices. These devices can also connect wirelessly to the management layer to receive updates and support.
Cross-platform support for all types of devices
In some cases, educational technology vendors are unable to supply the required quantity of school devices. They can augment the order by providing similarly capable devices that may or may not run under a different operating system. The ideal education device management software should be device agnostic, and accommodate not just Windows, macOS, and Android, but also Chromebooks, which are popular school-issued devices. It should also handle Android TV-powered devices such as touchscreens and VR devices. In addition, it should also accommodate older school-issued devices from different vendors. Cross-platform support also means that the school system can accommodate BYOD in case there are shortages in the number of available school devices.
Robust security measures
Monitoring school-issued devices means more than just allowing them to connect to the school network. It should also mean performing monitoring and tracking services that ensure devices are only used for educational purposes. In addition, geolocation and geofencing features ensure that devices remain operational within the county. In cases where units get transported outside the district, admins can choose to lock devices or wipe the data.
Multiple access level assignments
In every system, access levels and permissions need to stay distinct. Administrators should have the authority to assign different access levels that grant access to certain applications and close others. School executives can monitor activity while getting access to student and staff records as well as usage data. End-users are limited to running official apps and working on school-related tasks.
Analytics and reporting functionality
Each school device can record information related to its usage and behaviors. The ideal education device management software allows officials to gather this data and generate analytics to gauge device use. Data can also be harnessed to check on student performance, as well as instructor competence.
Education device management software keeps everything under control
The goal is to break down the barriers of the physical classroom and harness the power of technology to provide a more personalized learning environment for everyone involved in a student’s learning experience. But to achieve this, you must implement education device management software that ensures the proper use of school devices. Inevitably, some individuals or groups might express concerns that there will be excessive monitoring of students’ use of school devices. However, in the interest of ensuring that school-issued devices are used appropriately, most parents and teachers have accepted the need for monitoring as a necessary safety measure.
With remote and hybrid learning at an all-time high, device management has taken on increased importance, and against a backdrop of increased demand for educational technology devices, vendors and hardware providers that provide added value by offering bundled solutions will stay ahead of the pack. Bundling your education device management solutions will enable school administrators to easily and more effectively manage the multitude of devices used by students, instructors, and staff who need access to the school network. Admin tasks will be much easier to manage, saving time, effort, and money while establishing a safe and secure environment for effective remote learning.
The shift to remote or blended learning has not been the easiest undertaking. However, having the right software can ease the pain of transitioning from in-person to remote to hybrid learning, and bundled education device management software makes possible the ability to monitor, manage and control connected devices—whether school-issued or BYOD.
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