Schools across the country are running BYOD programmes for their students. Looking after these BYOD devices is called Mobile Device Management – or MDM for short. One option is software from Lightspeed Systems, writes Andrew Fergus.
If your school currently has a BYOD programme without an MDM, Lightspeed is worth looking into as it streamlines the maintenance and support of devices. As the software is available for all major operating systems, you’re not limited to supporting one type of device only. Lexel has trained technical staff who can support your school’s research into Lightspeed and a live demo environment can be setup for trial with your devices.
Supporting your school BYOD programme can be very hands on for your staff. When using Lightspeed, commands are sent to all school devices simultaneously. If teachers need to have a new app on students’ devices, the command is sent and the app simply appears on the screen.
Here’s a checklist to consider when deciding on a MDM solution:
Deploying apps – install new apps without touching a student device.
Teachers in a BYOD classroom can end up spending precious time helping students access particular apps. Using Lightspeed you can deploy the required apps out to your students’ devices as needed. If the students are using iPads, Apple allow apps to be purchased at a discount in bulk and when a student leaves the school it can be reallocated.
Setting policies – are your students accessing inappropriate apps?
Lexel recently provided support to a school that had students playing a 17+ rated violent game. The policy of ‘no apps, rated above 9+’ was implemented on the MDM server and all students immediately lost access. Other policies are available and may be suitable depending on the requirements of the school. Geo-location policies, for example, can block the camera while the devices are in the grounds, or a policy that only takes effect between 8am and 3pm on weekdays.
Dashboards for teachers and administrators – can you change policies just for your classroom?
When in the classroom, the ability to limit students to one app only has its appeal. Often, though, changing policy is left to the IT person, who’s not always readily available. With Lightspeed, teachers have access to a dashboard for their classroom and IT personnel can access a school-wide dashboard that’s useful for email setup or Wi-Fi access changes.
Multi OS – how many different devices are you supporting?
With students bringing varying types of devices into the classroom, the MDM chosen needs to be able to work with all major operating systems. Lightspeed works across iPads, Macs, Android tablets, and Windows 7 or 8 PCs.
Run reporting – are you required to report on the apps your students use?
Reports are available for many features, such as what apps are installed; whether operating systems are up to date; and how many app licences are left to deploy.
Student Management System – can you use the student and class information already in your SMS?
When new students join your school their records are entered into your Student Management System. These students’ names and the classes are synchronised with Lightspeed. When teaching classes, teachers can simply view the class group and implement a policy.
Device Enrollment Programme – an extra for those with Apple devices
When schools order large quantities of new Macs and iPads, setting these up is very hands-on. Macs need to be imaged and the iPads taken through the setup stages. When schools order these devices from Lexel, they can specify their MDM and Apple will use DEP to assign these units to the policies. When students or teachers take them out of the box for the first time, the device will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi, email will be setup, apps are installed, and any policies take effect. If the devices are lost or stolen, they cannot be used again, as every time you wipe the device and start it up the MDM locks it to the school.
Andrew Fergus is Education Business Manager for Lexel Education Solutions. Lightspeed Mobile Manager (MDM) licences cost $10.50 + GST, per device, per year.
Lexel Education Solutions is one of New Zealand’s leading IT infrastructure solutions partners with 27 years of history and more than 120 staff. For more information contact 09 4141 777
or visit lexeleducation.co.nz