For those of you still trying to deploy iPads in a school environment without an appropriate system to manage them, we have some special news for you. We’ve listened to feedback from schools and compiled a list of three critical issues that are much easier to solve when you have a good MDM solution.
Generally speaking, a mobile device management (MDM) solution allows monitoring, management and support of mobile devices. MDM solutions are widely used by companies to manage employees’ devices, and now by schools and districts to manage students devices.
But, when talking about educational environments, an MDM is so much more…
Mobile devices in schools and districts provide mobility to teachers and students, which is one of the greatest affordances of mobile learning! Through the use of mobile devices, students can learn in ways never imagined. While mobility is awesome for learning, the challenges it presents to school-based IT personnel differs greatly from those that exist in corporations. So, here we have it, a list of the 3 most critical challenges for schools that only an educational MDM can help you solve:
The first question parents ask schools implementing mobile devices is: how their child's data will be protected while they are using the iPad? The concern of student data is even greater when using iPads. This is simply because of mobility - students will most certainly be using the devices both in and outside of the classroom and school walls. And this is fitting because, let’s be honest, when we think of mobile learning we think about learning anywhere at anytime, right?
This is why a cloud-based solution is critical to schools and districts, ensuring student data will be safe even if the iPad is lost or stolen. We don't expect these scenarios to happen, but in the event they do, safeguarded data is a guarantee parents needs to have.
In addition to a cloud-based MDM, the iOS 9.3 update brought an even more important feature for schools and districts: Lost Mode.
As Apple explains it, Lost Mode tracks down misplaced devices. When Lost Mode is enabled, the device gets locked with a personalized message and the school can instantly request and access geo-location information. It’s also possible to include contact information, such as a phone number, on the locked screen message.
Lost Mode is quick and easy to set up and apply with an educational MDM supporting iOS versions 9.3 or later.
It's difficult for IT staff to closely support all teachers while still taking care of all other responsibilities. And when implementing iPads, this ends up being a frequent request. The question becomes: how to effectively help teachers if they’re all asking at the same time?
Unfortunately as much as we wish this was possible, we all know one person cannot be in two places at once. So to meet the needs of teachers and alleviate the demand of IT personnel, we must empower teachers with necessary tools to maximize every teachable minute. Teachers don’t want to, and shouldn’t have to, spend time setting up technology - what they need is the ability to press a button for all settings and configurations to be applied, so they can immediately start class.
For this reason, it’s beneficial to choose an MDM that allows shared management of student devices between IT Staff and Classroom Teachers. In this way, IT Staff simply need to prepare all class configuration at once for the Classroom app, for example, and let the teachers take it from there.
The Classroom App provides powerful features for teaching and learning, such as the ability to Airplay student work, and guide and navigate students to topic specific content in iBooks, websites and applications.
Mobile learning further supports the personalization of teaching and learning, but how can you install applications to assist with this personalization if you do not know which iPad each student is using and/or assigned?
This is a common situation in schools deploying iPads without an educational MDM. Teachers go to start class and use a particular app, only to find some students are missing the intended app. The IT person will then need to run the install again, for all devices...
But, this can be prevented by setting up the School Hierarchy in the MDM to follow the structure of your school, therefore allowing IT to push missing apps to specific user’s iPads. If you’re using a solution that is focused on education, this process will be smooth through the support of Apple services and options of device assignments that makes sense for schools.
If you have any Apple services, such as Device Enrollment Program (DEP) or Volume Purchase Program (VPP), search for MDM solution dedicated to supporting Apple integration. This is essential to make deployment easier.
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