The Covid 19 pandemic has completely disrupted how each individual carried out his or her daily tasks. With social distancing and working from home as new norms, this new way of life has encouraged organizations and institutes globally to bring aboard an agile work method, which can securely manage and monitor all the devices that are being used by the end-users. Along with corporate, the education sector also underwent some substantial changes.
Education in Time of Covid-19
If major organizations worldwide have adopted a remote culture to continue business workflows, it is obvious that schools cannot step into 2021 without incorporating mobile device strategy to impact uninterrupted knowledge.
The introduction of EdTech has ensured learning doesn’t come to a halt. By combining software, hardware, and educational theories, institutes are able to facilitate remote learning for all grades and curriculum. However, EdTech continues to remain a novelty for various institutes, and it should be practiced with care. Institutes need to ensure that both students and teachers have the right equipment to facilitate remote learning. Therefore, it’s important to build a robust mobile device strategy for schools to continue flourishing during such trying times.
How to Implement a Device Management Strategy for Schools?
Depending on the size of an institution and the internal resources supporting the IT team, schools may still be looking out for available management options to begin. But if approached correctly, the process of building a device management strategy for education can be quick and simple. And it can also improve the security, visibility, and safety of all the enrolled devices and the data stored on them.
Start the big process by bringing together all the stakeholders including students, parents, and IT administrators. Pose the following questions:
- How to pick the right devices?
- Should there be BYOD, 1:1, shared devices?
- How to roll the program out?
- Any additional equipment and software that you may need.
- Who will need training on the program?
Let’s understand all these statements in detail.
1. Picking the Right Device
The type of device you choose for education greatly impacts the lesson plan. The two main things you need to consider before investigating what kind of devices are best options include:
- How teachers want to teach and do some
- And the students’ age groups
Compared to high schoolers, younger children require much less functionality. While a tablet is better for art or design class students, a Chromebook, MacBook, or laptop is better for writing-intensive and research subjects.
Practically, don’t forget the following conditions when preparing the school’s mobile device strategy:
- Cost of each device
- How they will be used, i.e functionality
- And how long will they be used for, i.e. durability
Because the majority of devices will be extended to the students, the point of durability is especially important. School bags are often tossed and handled rather roughly, which makes durability a crucial factor.
The next most important part is the price factor. Understand that students won’t need any fancy devices; just something with a good processor that can be used for several years.
2. BYOD, 1:1, or shared devices setup
The three most popular device strategies employed in the classroom are:
- Bring Your Own Device
In this setup, children can use their own devices for lessons. This model helps schools reduce costs as they don’t have to worry about cashing out for a fleet of devices.
However, some schools are against the BYOD model because it can get difficult to dictate to parents what they should get for children, and it results in a lack of consistency in the classroom. Since everyone is trying to access the same online materials simultaneously, it can get chaotic to manage.
- 1:1 Device Model
Schools purchase the devices and extend them out to the students, and each student gets their own device for learning lessons, that is only used for school purposes.
- Shared System
Here, several students will use the same device but will have their own login to access study material or lessons. For instance, if a single household has three students going to the same school, the school authorities will only hand out one device to that house. Each student will have different login credentials to use the system and access educational materials.
All of these options have pros and cons, so it is up to the school to decide which model will work best.
Considering the following things before choosing the right device setup for education:
- The budget for buying devices
- The need for certain specifications or specific models
- The degree of involvement of parents
3. Gradually Rolling out the Program
The best way to roll out such a brand new school mobile device strategy is by piloting a single grade first, so just select a year in your school to try out the plan. Taking such baby steps will present all the loopholes right at the beginning so you can work on them, and it will gear you up to invest the entire infrastructure for the institute. After that, you can deploy a year-by-year basis strategy by introducing new devices at the same grade, hence, the older students can now move to a higher grade with a full-fledged device strategy in place.
4. Training on Program
While device management in classrooms is an excellent idea, it is equally important for all stakeholders to learn about its usage to gain maximum benefits. Educating teachers and IT administrators about the devices and the software you plan to deploy will be helpful. Make sure all the IT administrators understand the complete network infrastructure because if they can’t maintain it, it will cost you an extra budget for calling a specialist every time something goes wrong.
Teachers may require training on using digital tools and how to operate them smoothly. For instance, Google for Education can enhance the online learning experience for students with its powerful set of tools.
5. Additional Equipment and Software
Good infrastructure is essential to implement a successful device management strategy for education. A digital program cannot survive without a proper connectivity setup. Three essential things needed are:
- A strong internet at home and throughout the campus
- And correct cables and switches running throughout the grounds (in school scenario)
- A mobile device management system
MDM for education
Your first step is to select a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution to ensure all the devices (preferably 1:1 setup) are safe, secure, and easy to monitor.
Classroom management tools allow IT admins to keep an eye on how students are using the device to learn lessons. In case of any issues, the school can tailor its educational approach and change the learning model so that students can understand it better.
How Can MDM Solutions Help Schools?
There are many benefits of deploying a mobile device management system for schools. Here are some of them:
- Distraction-free learning
MDMs can help remove all the distractions that may hinder remote learning. By restricting access to distracting apps ( such as Chrome themes, social media, and YouTube) and other such device features, MDMs guarantee obstacle-free learning.
- Remote Device Management
The biggest benefit of MDM deployment is that schools can control all devices remotely from the cloud without the need for any servers. It gives schools a birds-eye view of all the devices on the network or drill down on specific details.
- Device Security
If any device is reported lost or stolen the IT team can program it to automatically lock or shut down, or wipe all data for security purposes.
- Easy onboarding and Grouping of devices
IT admins can easily onboard new devices to the MDM system without requiring any setup. They can easily assign devices to additional management groups set out by schools such as by class, year, or syndicate. IT admins can conveniently arrange devices, users, and admins into groups, such as splitting by department, class, year, or any other specific category.
- Application Management Features
School authorities can buy apps within the MDM without any hassles and can also push them to specific users and devices through application management.
Infographic Case Study: How Scalefusion Can Impact The Education Industry
Discover how Doctor’s Own Prep Academy (DOPA) leveraged Scalefusion’s MDM solutions to gain complete control over student tablets and secure digital learning resulting in improved 70% of students’ productivity. See the below Infographic.
What to Consider When Choosing Your MDM?
Consider the following criteria before choosing an MDM to create a device management strategy for schools:
- MDM should be able to secure data in the school environment.
- The MDM platform should seamlessly monitor apps installed on all mobile devices.
- The MDM should allow IT admins to blacklist apps and websites and wipe devices in special circumstances.
- The platform should provide view access of all device status, including, battery status, IP addresses, etc. It should also help monitor outages, GPS tracking, and WiFi speed.
- If schools need an interactive classroom session between the students and teacher, choose an MDM accordingly.
Begin with gathering inputs from all the stakeholders and then list out all your specific requirements. Consider the above criteria to find an MDM that perfectly fits into your school environment. Different vendors offer different packages that more or less cover the basic elements outlined throughout this article. You simply need to ensure your provider meets all your needs.