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How a mobile device management solution for Education leverage device management in schools and districts

How a mobile device management solution for Education leverage device management in schools and districts

Mosyle Team
written by Mosyle Team

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For those of you still trying to deploy Apple devices in a school, district and university without a mobile device management (MDM) made for Education, it might be the time to start rethinking the way you are deploying your educational devices and streamlining your workflows.

There are some particular frameworks and key points that only an MDM solution built having school's needs in mind can solve efficiently. We’ve listened to feedback from schools and compiled a list of four critical key points that make it much easier to accomplish and have success when you have a good MDM solution tailored for Education.

But before starting - do you know what an MDM solution typically is?

Generally speaking, a mobile device management (MDM) solution allows monitoring, management and support of digital devices. MDM solutions are widely used by companies to manage employees’ devices, and by schools, districts and universities to control and manage students and teachers devices.

If you are new to the universe of device management, we highly recommend you read our article about the basics of the MDM. We explain everything you should know before starting to work with an MDM solution.

You will notice that, when talking about educational environments, a mobile device management (MDM) software solution is so much more important, and it should provide schools specific capabilities, considering the special needs that educational institutions have.

So why is an MDM exclusively made for educational environments so important?

iPads in schools, districts and universities provide mobility to teachers and students, which is one of the greatest affordances of mobile learning. Through the use of iPads, students can learn in ways never imagined before - as Apple showcases in a fascinating video about the new iPad for Education.

While mobility is awesome for learning, the device management framework of school-based IT team differs greatly from those that exist in corporations. That's why a tool tailored exclusively to meet the school's needs can really empower both instructional and technology teams.

Here is the key points in which an educational MDM can enhance device management in schools and districts:

1. Protect students' data

The first question parents ask schools implementing mobile devices is: how their child's data will be protected while they are using the iPad?

First of all, it’s important to make clear to parents that the iPad is one of the most safe and secure digital devices in the world, and every Apple software update keeps security and privacy as one of the most important elements.

Parents might be concerned because of the iPad's mobility - students will most certainly be using the devices both in and outside of the classroom and school walls. This is fitting because, let’s be honest, when we think of mobile learning we think about learning from anywhere at anytime, right?

That’s why there are some strategies and tools that schools can use to leverage privacy and security even more. Creating Managed Apple ID’s for students is one of those. Using this, the school will be able to create an entire educational environment within the iPads for students, managing only the educational content on the devices.

Creating the Managed Apple ID’s is an easy process that technology coordinators are able to do using the institution's Apple School Manager account integrated with the mobile device management (MDM) solution. Learn all the steps for creating it in our article about Managed Apple ID’s. The most incredible part: students have 200GB of cloud storage for free!

Another critical tool is a cloud-based MDM solution that will ensure that 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 does have the important feature for schools and districts: the 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.

2. Empower teachers

It's difficult for technology coordinators and EdTech coaches to closely support all teachers while still taking care of all other IT responsibilities. 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 team, we must empower teachers with the necessary tools to maximize every teachable minute.

Teachers shouldn’t have to spend time setting up technology - they need to have the ability to press a button for all settings and configurations to be applied, so they can immediately start the class.

For this reason, it’s beneficial to choose an MDM that allows shared management of student devices between the technology team and the teachers. In this way, the technology administrators simply need to prepare all class configurations at once and let the teachers take it from there.

When integrated with the Apple Classroom App, the MDM solution will streamline even more device management workflows, as creating classrooms in an automatic way. The Classroom App provides powerful features for teaching and learning, such as the ability to Airplay student work, guide and navigate students to topic specific content in iBooks, websites and applications. Read all the benefits of integrating the MDM with the Classroom App on this article.

In addition, an MDM solution made for Education provides schools, districts and universities with special features for educators, supporting them in managing devices and students during the class.

When students are using their iPad in the classroom, it’s important to ensure student attention within the intended educational lesson. Building a list of educational applications, books and websites available on the devices according to the class is a powerful tool teachers can use to engage students and avoid distractions, for example.

The educational MDM solutions can offer many other features that help teachers manage the classroom while using the iPads. In the case of Mac laboratories, an MDM made for Education makes possible for teachers to view students screens in real time as well as see the history of applications, documents and resources students are using during the class.

3. Manage educational content easily

Digital technology in 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, and find some of the students are missing the intended app. The technology professional will then need to run the install again, for all devices...

But, this can be prevented by properly setting up the school's 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 really makes sense for schools.

An MDM made for education also makes tools available for teachers to request applications and Books according to the classes and courses, what simplifies the process of installing the applications and managing the content in the students devices.

If you have an Apple School Manager account, the workflows will be even easier! The Apple School Manager also includes the Apps and Books area, in which the technology administrators can migrate the licenses from the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) and manage the licenses purchase in a single portal. All of this is critical to make Apple deployment run successfully!

4. Fit educational budget

The importance of EdTech in today's age is very high as the ability to further technology advancement grows day by day - and when implementing EdTech tools, looking for the budget is extremely important.

When budgeting for your school, in the process of making the budget work for the overall improvement plan, it is always important to look at what you would like to achieve versus how much money you have to spend. Spending less money on management softwares can benefit a schools budget by maximizing the investment in various EdTech tools that will be beneficial for the technology goals of your school.

The combination of EdTech tools and a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution can provide a plethora of benefits. Just a few of the benefits of implementing an MDM for Education are Blended Learning opportunities, providing a fun environment with lessons and class work, being able to not only follow a lecture on the iOS devices, but being able to take care of the assignments all on the device as well. All of that with pricing plans that really fits into the technology budget of educational institutions.

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