Tablets. Laptops. Smartphones. These all fall under the broader umbrella of mobile devices. According to an EdSurge report, “there are 24.3 million mobile devices in K-12 schools.”
A recent “Student Devices on the K-12 Network” infographic breaks down the types of student device programs across schools.
- Eight in 10 have mobile device carts.
- Five in 10 have 1:1.
- Four in 10 have BYOD.
- One in 10 have none of these (and possibly no mobile device program).
How can schools keep up and manage these devices that will only continue to increase in numbers?
That’s right, you guessed it, Mobile Device Management (or MDM for short).
The Director of Technology Services for Pajaro Valley Unified School District in California, Tim Landeck, said, “The big part of [student devices] is, your device management and what is it you’re going to do... in some cases, locking down devices to make sure that people aren’t messing with settings and things of that sort versus the ability to keep it open enough for students to access the sites they’re looking to get to for curricular purposes.”
What Is MDM?
TechTarget defines MDM as, “software that allows IT administrators to control, secure, and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets, and other endpoints.” It started in the business world, but has since made its way into the education world.
A MDM solution can be used for all service providers, along with operating systems such as Mac OS and iOS, Android, and ChromeOS. Common features of a MDM includes:
- Device inventory and tracking.
- Application distribution and/or an enterprise application store.
- Remote wipe.
- Password enforcement.
- Application whitelisting and blacklisting.
- Data encryption enforcement.
That is a lot of tech-focused words, so here is how this once business-only solution is used in the education industry.
How MDM Works for Education
Picture being able to manage all of your school or district’s devices, regardless of program, type of device, or operating system.
Here is what an MDM can do for education:
- Remotely enroll devices, whether it’s an addition to your 1:1 or a new BYOD.
- Restrict or block inappropriate content and applications, keeping students safe.
- Painlessly and remotely update all school-issued devices instead of having to collect, then redistribute, each device.
- Secure or find devices on the move, which is especially important for lost or stolen devices.
- Manage and secure home-owned (BYOD) and school-owned devices at the same time, ensuring all students are focused and safe regardless of your tech program.
A few additional features include classroom device management, curriculum management, application control, and safeguarding.
Classroom device management helps prevent disruptive or distraction use of mobile devices while in the classroom. With MDM, teachers can lock a student’s device to keep everyone on the same screen, view a student’s device to provide instant feedback, or share a student’s screen during class for group discussion.
Curriculum management assists teachers with planning, organizing, and leading the class curriculum. Educators can determine which content they need for each class.
Application control provides teachers the ability to incorporate mobile technology into their everyday lesson plans, while controlling the applications students are allowed to access during the school day. Sorry students, no Angry Birds in class.
Safeguarding protects students from dangerous or inappropriate content through web filtering. Administrators can whitelist or blacklist sites or password-protect content to ensure students are safe online.
And there’s also a savings benefit, according to an EdTech Magazine article. The article states, “Managed tablet subscriptions offer a way to sustain tablet programs because districts can treat them as a predictable operational expense (OPEX), rather than a capital expense (CAPEX). A district’s mobility program becomes a line item on its annual budget, meaning administrators don’t have to continually request capital funding.”
All of the above create the environment for an ideal MDM solution for educators, which means easy management of all student devices and keeping students safe.
Outside the Classroom
Protecting students while online doesn’t end when the child steps outside of school grounds. Off campus filtering is equally important to ensuring students are safe, and that school dollars aren’t wasted (for those with 1:1 programs with devices that go home).
Kajeet Sentinel® provides CIPA-compliant filters for students when they connect to the Internet through Kajeet Education Broadband™. These filters are customizable by age group or educators can whitelist and blacklist sites as they see fit. Whether students are on the school bus or at home, educators can rest assured they are only accessing educational, safe Internet with Kajeet.