Schools and educational organizations no longer can stick to conventional means for operations. The ever-evolving importance of technology in education has been highlighted during the pandemic where the entire learning had to be moved online in order to ensure the continuity for classes across all ages. Schools that were earlier equipped with digital learning methods of course had it easy but the ones that did not require a complete overhaul of processes to accommodate remote learning.
During the pandemic, schools that did not have provisions to provide the students with devices for learning had to depend largely on parents to procure the same. While some schools acted quickly and enabled devices to be shipped to the students, often paired with an LTE hotspot device for a seamless internet connection.
Eventually, when the schools will reopen and return to normalcy, classroom-based learning is expected to actively be replaced with modern learning tools, using mobile devices in classrooms and paving the way to make technology more accessible for students across all strata of society.
This opens up the discussion of managing these large numbers of devices and having IT expertise on the school staff to make sure devices are provisioned and maintained promptly for a hurdle-free education.
IT device management includes tasks such as:
- Device provisioning, often over the air with zero-touch
- Pushing school apps and updating them periodically
- Enforcing access control and parental control
- Content filtering and management
- OS updates
- Troubleshooting device errors
And while schools can get started with individual provisioning and management when things are small scale. But considering that all students from classes K-12 will use at least one device, the importance of centralized IT device management in schools is highlighted.
Let’s have a quick look at the benefits of centralizing IT device management in schools:
Efficient provisioning of devices
When the school IT managers are responsible for provisioning the devices with educational apps and resources, they are met with the challenges of the diverse device types. While devices for some classes might be procured at one time, the other students might be still using personal devices or BYOD. Not all devices will be iPads, some will be Windows Surface or Android tablets. The students belonging to the high school will often have laptops to suit their learning needs and the IT team cannot possibly create multiple device policies and configure them individually on these devices.
Centralized IT device management in schools enables the IT teams to quickly provision these diverse devices with zero-touch deployment, push school apps and content, keep the OS and the apps up to date and save several manual hours in individual provisioning.
Device and data security
Phishing attacks, hacking and online impersonification are some of the top concerns of schools as well as parents when it comes to students using devices with internet access. The school IT teams have to be on their toes to look out for any breaches to the security or the privacy of student data. When in the school network it is fairly easy, when students connect to unknown internet connections – in a cafe or a park, for instance, the security most certainly can be jeopardized.
Centralized IT device management makes it easy for the IT admins to enforce VPN settings, push a password policy that makes it compulsory for the students to set a password to their devices, and also ensure that these passwords are updated frequently. For seamless user and device authentication, IT admins can also make use of digital identity certificates and protect the devices from misuse. Moreover, the IT admins can gain granular control over which websites and apps can be accessed and blacklist the malicious or age-inappropriate applications on the devices by creating an inventory-wide policy.
Moreover, with an IT device management tool for schools that has automation capabilities, the IT teams can automate periodic security checks and quickly be alerted for irregularities. With scheduled reporting, the IT admins can receive alerts on their phones and do not have to be accessing the dashboard 24/7.
Some custom education device management tools also offer limited access to the parents to keep a tab on the content and apps that are made available on the device, the number of hours the device is used for and monitor the online activity of their kids with ease.
The entire premise of schools investing heavily in digital devices is to ensure learning continuity. When a device used by a student remotely runs into an error, it essentially means the student loses important classes and has to wait until the device issue is resolved. Centralizing IT device management for schools means the device issues can be remotely resolved with remote monitoring and troubleshooting.
Schools equipping students with the latest devices are going to the new normal. Being prepared for the challenges that are ushered in with technology in the classroom and remote learning is the way to go. Centralizing IT device management will streamline the activities to be performed by the school IT and will eliminate the need to have a large IT team.