Education is ever-evolving, and for decades there has been a push to improve it further. This is evidenced by the creation of public libraries in 1833, new legislation to bolster science education by the National Defense Education Act in 1958, and even the creation of the internet. Computers in education were encouraged to help close the gap between wealthier communities with numerous educational resources and lower-income communities lacking those same resources. However, access to computers was the disparity for decades in education, until recently.
Today, 91 percent of teachers have classroom computers. That’s a jump up from 2017 data when 63 percent of teachers used technology daily in the classroom. Technology is an increasingly vital part of education, which is why educators need comprehensive solutions for device management and security. Below, we cover what device management is and the best solutions for schools.
What Is Device Management?
Device management, put simply, is a means of controlling or managing a large number of devices at once, from a central location. In schools, this is meant to ensure that students are not only safe and responsible online, but that they also aren’t distracted during their lessons. In most cases, the main goal is reliable security.
As such, most device management solutions today include features such as:
- Integration of single sign-on
- The ability to send applications to devices
- Device identification
- License and user management
Most of the software used for device management is cloud-based, which makes it much easier to manage, because students and teachers are able to access the platform from anywhere. This is best put into practice by school districts that must control potentially hundreds of devices across several schools. This feature gives administrators the ability to uniformly roll out updates and upgrades, track assets, and run device configurations.
Why Schools Need Device Management
Because Chromebooks are becoming one of the most used devices in schools today, many students are able to bring their devices to and from school each day. This ability to bring your own devices and add them to an existing network through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is exceptionally beneficial to students and teachers—but it’s also a risk.
Without comprehensive solutions for individual devices in schools, students have access to inappropriate and distracting content and even the dark web. They’re more likely to be distracted while roaming online, which inadvertently leads to classroom disruptions. In addition, it opens your network to phishing scams. Many hackers look for weaknesses in a network, and one of the most obvious and most easily exploited weaknesses is the lack of updates in network security. With so many endpoints, it can be difficult to ensure that each device is secure while pairing with the network. Device management software changes this, making it easier to protect and control your network.
Device Management Solutions
Mobile device management (MDM) has been around for quite a while and widely used across enterprises. But for schools, the solutions have been fairly weak until recent years. This is because most schools underestimate the need for security or have budgets too low to find comprehensive solutions. This is beginning to change now that schools are recognizing how and where they are vulnerable—and more importantly, what information is at risk without web filters and device management systems.
A comprehensive device management solution for schools should include:
- Cross-platform potential to join different devices and operating systems
- Include simple and easy-to-use features
- Be scalable to use for the entire district, if necessary
- Automatic updates
- Remote device diagnostics
- URL block lists, passwords, and other security protocols to protect data
- In-depth tracking of devices
- Remote disabling of applications and devices
Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Device Management Solution
While it may be fairly easy to decide what makes a good device management solution, it’s harder to know which solution will work best for your school or district. To make this determination, educators should keep these considerations in mind:
Your Overarching Plans
The ability to be mobile, or rather, bring your own devices, is part of an overarching plan and educational decision. As such, the way you handle security issues has to be commensurate. This means choosing a system that can work with multiple types of devices and systems.
Do You Need Cloud-Based Services?
There are benefits of choosing an on-premise device management solution, such as a more customized system specifically designed for your school. However, most schools choose cloud-based systems because they are simpler to manage from anywhere and don’t require IT knowledge.
Ask yourself how much customization your school or district actually needs. Some systems are more flexible than others. If you’re looking for customization, seek a solution that offers system settings. This helps you configure the system to your needs while still maintaining security.
Current System Integration
Some schools already use certain systems or applications for security, content filtering, and more. If your new system can’t integrate well with what’s already in place, it may not optimally serve your system.
If a device management system does not offer group management, it’s essentially useless for your school. This is because students are divided into classes and clubs, each with their own needs. The same can be said for teachers, as they’ll likely need more access than students. You need robust group controlling to meet your needs. When searching for a device management solution, consider how you would manage groups with that solution.
GoGuardian is the most complete filter for K-12 education. It allows you to filter content and sites using keywords, as well as URL block lists and allow lists. More importantly, you can assign devices to students in order to physically manage these devices more efficiently.
No matter which device, operating system, or browser you use, GoGuardian adapts to your needs. We even make it simple to integrate BYOD and guest network devices. With GoGuardian, you can monitor student activity online, identify at-risk students, install automatic upgrades, block unwanted content, sites, and videos, and secure your network. And you’ll always be able to use the in-depth device tracking with GoGuardian Fleet to determine where they are, no matter the device status.
Learn more about what a comprehensive and adaptable device management solution can do for your school district, at GoGuardian.