Technologies in schools continue to grow worldwide. According to research, 48% of students report using a desktop computer in the classroom while 20% are using tables for classroom learning. It’s obvious that the education industry is also embracing digital transformation and making students’ learning environment more tech-accessible.
The number of laptops, tablets, netbooks, and Chromebooks shipped annually to U.S. K-12 schools grew by 363 percent over the past seven years, from just over 3 million devices in 2010 to almost 14 million this year. With more mobile devices and tablets being introduced into classrooms, schools may need tools like a mobile device management software to manage both attended and unattended devices.
Here are 8 effective ways to manage K-12 classroom devices with MDM
#1 Set legitimate access for device users
It’s important to set policies and device permissions to enhance data security. Proper classroom device management can prevent disruptive behaviour from students, encourage parents’ involvement, and reduce maintenance issues. Teachers and administrators can set limited user access to make sure students don’t access unauthorized data easily. IT admins can also create different groups based on grades and subjects. Later on, this information will be used to design different activities that match with a particular group of students. Not only will students have secure access to all the files they need, teachers can manage classroom teaching in a more efficient manner.
#2 Manage and control apps effectively (Application updates)
Efficient application management across multiple class devices can save teachers and IT teams tons of time. In order to adapt to remote learning, many schools are installing educational apps on mobile devices and tablets to help students learn through more interactive ways. Teachers may also need to prevent students from downloading games from Google Play Store. This can be achieved by hiding irrelevant apps from the tablets’ home screen using kiosk mode.
Alternatively, with mobile device management, IT managers can automatically update apps or install new apps on students’ tablets in bulk. In order to avoid complete app breakdown that interrupts students’ learning experience, IT admins can choose to roll out updates by stage or even run a test release before the official launch. For schools that are using different device models, test releases can identify compatibility issues in advance to save deployment time in the future.
#3 Censor authorized Websites visits
Keeping students engaged and safe from malicious websites are critical for improving classroom learning experience. Since students will have their own tablets during classes, it’s quite difficult to monitor every individual’s internet activity. Teachers can therefore create a website whitelist with all the websites that students are allowed to access and apply this configuration across all the distributed devices. This way, students can have higher engagement in class while teachers don’t need to worry about someone conducting illegal downloads that could be harmful to the device and lead to risky data breach issues.
#4 File transfer
Large file transfer across different classroom devices makes online learning less of a hassle. Every school teacher has more than one class to teach and therefore organized file management can really save the day. Teachers can upload teaching materials, video learning clips, and test materials to multiple devices all at once using a mobile device management software. One way to ensure students are receiving the right materials is to categorize devices into groups by subjects or grades. Students will also have access to their assigned files such as quizzes, handouts, and reading materials.
#5 Remote troubleshooting
MDM solution is also a faster way to resolve a device’s technical issues remotely. When technical issues happen such as the app crashing down, a file can’t be opened, or receiving denied access to a specific website, it’s imperative to resolve them as fast as possible to minimize the impact of classroom experience. IT admins can remotely access and control the device to fix the bugs for end users directly. Before beginning a remote support session, they can also check the device’s screen in advance to identify potential errors. Generally speaking, remote troubleshooting with full permission of remote access can greatly improve administrative operations.
#6 Lock apps
In addition to keeping students from visiting unauthorized websites, teachers can also limit students’ from downloading games or installing malicious apps. One way to do this is by applying single-app or multi-app mode on every device so irrelevant apps will not be shown on students’ tablets. IT admins can further lockdown the notification bar so the default setting will not be configured easily and cause disastrous device malfunction. School can use the app lock feature in MDM solution to further strengthen engagement and eliminate all possible distractions for students.
#7 Monitor Devices’ Real-Time Performance
Teachers can keep track of students’ in-class learning process with screen monitoring. If a student has doubts or doesn’t understand the instructions given, the teacher can quickly take a look at the student’s screen from a centralized monitoring dashboard and tell the student what to do next.
IT teams can also use real-time monitoring to check for device performance and receive automated alerts when abnormal activities happen. Some MDM solutions offer remote monitoring that lets you keep track of devices’ healthy status like battery output, data usage, wifi connection, etc. Schools can even take proactive measures by setting up automated alerts and receive instant notifications when odd activities have been detected. This no doubt helps educational organizations save a great deal of troubleshooting expenses and data costs.
#8 Locate lost device
As more schools are distributing tablets to students for them to learn at home, it’s important to know every device’s whereabouts at all times. If students were to lose their mobile device or tablets, IT admins can use GPS tracking to locate the lost device or even take a step further to remotely wipe sensitive data on the device for security purposes. Location tracking features can be useful in managing home-owned and school-owned devices while ensuring device security at the same time.
As youngsters are getting more and more tech-savvy, classroom device management may encounter various security challenges during the transition from traditional learning format to online learning. Therefore, when it comes to choosing a mobile device management software, schools should evaluate product features based on their needs. In the meanwhile schools should also teach digital citizenship to all their students, making sure they don’t violate device usage policy or even worse conduct illegal activity without consciously knowing the law.
Cynthia Lin, Digital Marketing Specialist at AirDroid Business, a global mobile device management provider, kiosk lockdown, application management, and location tracking solution. Cynthia has a passion for content creation and SEO optimisation. She owns a personal travel blog and has written for I LIKE LOCAL and other marketing blogs. Here is her LinkedIn.