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How device management tools can help 21st century teachers

5 reasons why an MDM solution is an essential tool for educators.

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As more and more schools and districts recognize the advantages of technology in the classroom, IT staff are faced with the challenge of implementing the right EdTech tools and addressing the specific needs of their educational environment.

One key element always discussed by IT Staff is ways in which teachers are empowered to manage the technology in the classroom. Depending on the platform or the EdTech tool, this could become very frustrating: some tools aren’t intuitive and make management too complicated for teachers, while others are simply limited to a simple on/off toggle.

Recently we’ve worked closely with many schools around the world, and have witnessed an increase in teachable time and reduced stress in a high-tech classroom when teachers are empowered to manage devices on their own using an MDM (mobile device management) solution. Based on this experience we’d like to share the top 5 reasons why an MDM solution is an essential tool for teachers in the 21st century:

1) Reduce Chaos in the Classroom

It’s true, children and teens can get distracted by everything - if it wasn’t the iPad, it could be a window or some bug flying close by. Traditionally teachers have needed to prevent any possible distractions – to avoid chaos in the classroom. Now with the introduction of technology, it seems like the potential for chaos happens much quicker. But this fear can be overcome with the right EdTech tool.

Today’s mobile device management tools give teachers the opportunity to guide the attention of students and control apps that are accessible during class. For example, the Apple Classroom App was developed by Apple to be the teacher's assistant for those who use Apple technology in the classroom.

The app gives educators the magical feature of seeing students' iPad screen, making sure students are focused and following instructions. Awesome, isn't it? But remember: Apple Classroom App (and other educational features released with iOS 9.3) needs an MDM to function. Apple's website lists multiple vendors who support education environments and provide different features and pricing plans.

With these new capabilities, an MDM is not only important for IT deployment but also for classroom management. Try a solution that has tools to ensure teachers are able to guide students by unlocking, restricting and enabling devices remotely and according to the purpose of the instruction.

2) Eliminate the IT Middleman

In the past, teachers have needed wait for IT personnel to come save the day when an issue arises with classroom technology – and all while trying to also manage their students. When the school has employed an MDM with features designed specifically for teachers, there’s no need to rely on IT to solve classroom-based issues, as teachers will have all necessary and easy-to-use tools in their own hands.

By implementing an MDM solution built exclusive for educators, teachers can spend less time solving EdTech problems, giving them more time to enrich student learning experiences.

This isn’t only great for teachers, it’s great for the IT Staff too! By reducing the number of occurrences inside the classroom, IT professionals won't need to run around to different classrooms putting out fires all day. Reduced number of classroom occurrences means more time for IT personnel and greater optimization of processes so the team can work on more challenging, complex IT projects.

3) Secure Testing Environments

Mobile technology allows administration of student assessments more easily and intuitively than ever before. It has facilitated the evaluation process and also brought cost savings to many schools and districts, as it reduces printing costs and paper use.

When we think about today's teachers and how tests are administered, an MDM solution can help tremendously. Testing time used to be a tense and stressful moment, teachers paying close attention to every movement by students to make sure they’re not accessing any additional information to invalidate the results of the assessment. Using an MDM solution with tools for teachers, schools can ensure the testing environment is secure by locking mobile devices into a single URL or application.

4) Provide Blended Learning Opportunities

Technology has changed the relationship between us and knowledge acquisition, making new approaches and teaching methodologies a possibility. One of them is Blended Learning which incorporates differentiated mediums of instruction to meet the needs of all learners. This approach provides opportunities to maximize effectiveness by having the ability to include the “best of both worlds” from online teaching components and face-to-face teaching components.

When we think about using mobile devices to support teaching and learning, the limits through those components are even more fluid as iPads allow students to learn anytime and anywhere. Which is why teachers need tools to help organize the virtual environments and content (which includes applications and iBooks) and guide students to reduce distractions.

5) Engage Students by Guiding them while using iPads

In talking to teachers about best practices using iPads in the classroom, many of them advocated that guiding students during classroom activities clearly increased engagement in the learning process. We’d like to highlight the word guidance here, because it’s not about restricting or controlling everything, at all times. It’s extremely important to give students freedom of choice - as they need to make decisions every day in life.

In this context, technology can definitely help teachers leverage class time and increase student engagement. Teachers need to know how to transition students from one activity to another without wasting time, by optimizing teaching strategies and keeping students focused. Some MDM solutions designed for teachers meet these needs by offering features to support successful management of the classroom while using iPads.

Mosyle Manager MDM includes the Class Manager area to provide a more enjoyable teaching experience for educators using iPads in the classroom. Teachers can customize preferences for each period or class, select applications and iBooks, guide how students navigate through resources or the Internet, all to turn the iPad into a personalized learning tool.

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