February 12, 2021

How to Use Mobile Device Management in the Classroom

GoGuardian Team
Illustration of hands holding up different types of computers, tablets, and phones

Around the world, K-12 schools are boosting the implementation of mobile devices in the classroom. Mobile device sales increased by 10% in the U.S. from 2017 to 2018. During the first quarter, Apple reported 29% of iPads and Macbooks were sold to K-12 schools, which increased their sales by 15% year-on-year. With the rise of technology in the classroom, educators must employ mobile device management (MDM) software as a preventative measure to facilitate learning in a safe and responsible environment.

What Is mobile device management?

MDM is a software that helps manage personal device use in the classroom. This software can control students’ and teachers’ devices to ensure they are using their technology safely and responsibly. It blocks websites and apps and monitors user activity. MDM covers many factors, such as security, application deployment and management, and device maintenance.

MDM software includes the following critical features: push applications to user devices, single sign-on integration, license management, monitor and identify devices connected to the school network, and user management. Information Technology (IT) professionals no longer have to maintain MDM solutions. Instead, they use cloud-based services to update these programs anywhere, anytime. Many platforms offer an all-in-one solution that allows IT the ability to control user productivity and access information from a single platform.

Why do schools need mobile device management?

The use of MDM software can be a double-edged sword. Not only do these technologies widen students’ capabilities to learn, they also provide them with access to inappropriate online content. Mobile devices can be an excellent alternative to textbooks because they provide relevant and quick information in a compact size.

With all of these benefits comes the vulnerability of accessing mature content. Previously, schools banned mobile devices from classrooms to remove the risks. Today, mobile devices are more acceptable in schools. Thus, the implementation of MDM solutions help mitigate risk by restricting access to certain websites and applications, enabling educators to monitor devices, and notifying teachers of dangerous activity.

What do you look for in a mobile device management software?

When deciding which MDM software to invest in, you should research the solution based on your desired needs. Tech Blogger Matt Williams offers helpful questions he believes all educators should ask when evaluating a software:

What are your classroom needs?

Consider your specific classroom needs based on your school district and community. Some may require students to bring their personal mobile devices, while other schools will need to supply them. Educators will also need to decide whether they will want to use Apple or iOS devices. Develop your own list of criteria, strategies, or goals ahead of time to identify what is most important to your classroom. The software will then be easier to pick based on your essential needs.

How easy is it to use?

Most MDM programs should be easy to install and use. If the system requires a custom code or directory management processes, then you will need to evaluate if your IT staff is up to the challenge. Most MDM software has streamlined user interfaces so you can manage devices easily from the classroom. IT can then focus on troubleshooting errors to help students maximize their educational experience.

Do you prefer the cloud or on-premise?

Most solutions operate either on a cloud-based system or on-premise. Both are viable options, but they do come with drawbacks. For instance, premise-based systems are complex and require IT support management on a daily basis. On the contrary, cloud-based systems are often noted as an easier alternative, but they involve third-party providers who are privy to sensitive data.

How to use mobile device management solutions

Here are some ways school districts can use MDM solutions to ensure they get the most out of their investment.

Remove unwanted distractions

One of the best features of MDM software is blocking mature websites or apps. IT admins can block harmful content and send customized messages to encourage students to be more responsible. They can curate internet or app categories by filtering options to prevent students from accessing certain content.

Recover lost or stolen devices

All devices possess a type, serial number, location history, and user information that can be traced if they are lost or stolen. MDM systems with geolocation can locate lost or stolen devices, as well as check student attendance.

Access to insights for educators and parents

Educators can stay on top of existing trends and access insights regarding students’ browsing history, app usage, messaging history, and other critical information. Parents will also have the availability of their student’s device activity.

Increased engagement with devices

According to a study performed in 2019 by Edith Cowan University, students in the classroom have higher engagement on mobile devices than traditional forms of learning. Thus, schools need an MDM software that enforces their policies and restrictions. If used responsibly, these technologies can effectively facilitate student learning. To keep up with demand and educate the next generation of professionals, we recommend installing GoGuardian Admin™, designed to innovate your modern classroom and help keep students learning the whole time.