The education system, as we know it is not the same as it was a decade ago. Back then, schools had a definite and constant teaching methodology which today we call the traditional classroom approach which involved the blackboard and notes in the form of hard copies. Today, however, the educational landscape has changed drastically and is influenced heavily by digital technologies.
Schools do not restrict their methodologies to one specific routine but have several different approaches such as interactive sessions, digital classrooms, remote learning and online classes. This has led to an increase in the adoption of PCs and laptops for education.
Windows PCs and laptops which were once upon a time considered the best for large-scale deployment in education, have gradually been replaced by Macbooks and iMacs. Mac devices offer better accessibility, creativity and greater control to help make the teacher’s life easier and enable students to have an interactive learning experience.
Why Are Mac Devices Preferred by Schools?
Mac devices are simple, intuitive and offer a plethora of built-in capabilities to elevate the classroom experience. Mac devices offer an integrated Apple School Manager (ASM) which is designed to simplify the deployment and provisioning of Mac devices with educational resources.
This makes the lives of the school’s IT admins a lot easier since they can quickly provision the devices belonging to students and teachers with the relevant apps, books and learning tools.
Not only this, Mac devices offer a high-level security setup to ensure data privacy and protection. Extensive features can be configured to ensure students’ data isn’t misused and at the same time, also to ensure that students do not accidentally cause any data loss due to improper device and internet usage.
Besides, Mac devices offer a dynamic learning experience for students, in classrooms, as well as when taking online classes from home. Mac devices offer extensive learning apps, books and tools along with support for Google Drive and MS Office to further simplify the learning process.
Students can make use of iCloud to store their homework and assignments, Multi-Touch for an immersive and responsive experience, high-performance graphics and processors, high-precision keyboard, powerful apps and much more which makes learning engaging and simple for students.
Challenges Faced by Schools in Managing Mac Devices
Apple takes education to a whole new level with Mac devices offering class-apart features for teaching and learning. Although Mac devices offer several built-in management and security features for the school’s IT admins to gain greater control over the devices, it is a herculean task for IT admins to provision such a large number of devices.
Let’s look at some of the challenges encountered in managing Mac devices for education:
1. Large scale device provisioning
Even though Apple offers extensive device management capabilities, it is a tedious task to provision thousands of devices, be it school-owned or student-owned. Configuring settings and apps on devices as per the grades and pushing appropriate security policies on the devices to prevent misuse, as well as building a secure learning environment for students is a time-consuming task.
2. Inventory monitoring
Offering digital learning with Mac devices helps students to understand concepts better and teachers to add a fun element to teaching. But schools have a hard time keeping an eye on their large Mac device inventory, be it limited to school premises, or be it remote learning from home.
There are several factors that need to be constantly monitored including the devices’ vitals, usage patterns such as data usage, battery consumption, storage details, etc. Schools also need to ensure that their Mac devices are always maintained at optimum health for better performance. The larger the device inventory, the more complicated it gets to keep a constant track of the students’ devices.
3. Preventing distractions in students
When schools allow students to use digital devices, they must take the distraction factor into consideration. Students are children after all, and children in today’s age are much more tech-savvy compared to the older generations. This poses a great risk of distractions in students. Schools are responsible to ensure that the Mac devices that they provide are used for study purposes only.
4. Preventing malpractice and misuse of the devices
Mac devices are an exceptional learning tool, but they also happen to offer a lot of features focused on creativity, entertainment and gaming.
Students are prone to misusing their learning devices to play games and access adult or entertainment websites. Schools are responsible for ensuring that no students engage in malpractices or misuse of their devices within or beyond school hours.
5. Ensuring network & browsing security
Even many of the adults are not completely aware of the lurking cyber threats, let alone the children. The internet is a fascinating place that is loaded with all kinds of information - good and bad.
While it can help students learn newer things and gain deeper concept clarity, it can also be a source of accidental malware infiltration. Students are carefree and may not consider internet or network safety as a priority. Thus, it is the school’s responsibility to ensure secure access to the internet and any other networks that the students may access.
6. Instant remote troubleshooting
Imagine conducting online classes for your students and teaching a very crucial chapter, when one of your students faces a technical problem on their Mac devices. It could be any student or even a teacher who could face such device issues amidst ongoing classes. The inability to resolve such technical glitches may lead to the loss of important classroom time.
Mac Management Solutions to the Rescue
Schools can make the best out of their Mac devices for delivering quality education while ensuring all the security threats and deployment challenges are successfully tackled with a single tool - the mac device management.
There are various Mac management solution providers, including some of the latest MDM solutions that help schools streamline their routine device management tasks using a single platform.
How do Mac management solutions benefit schools to build a secure learning environment? Let’s see:
1. Ease Provisioning of bulk devices
Mac management solutions offer a centralized platform for IT admins of schools to provision thousands of devices of the students, teachers and other school staff according to the school policies. Crucial tasks such as configuring policies, distributing study material, provisioning devices with apps and tools can be all performed from a single portal.
The latest Mac management solutions like Scalefusion MDM software offer support for Apple School Manager to further simplify large-scale device provisioning for schools. Schools need not invest in multiple device management tools or a large IT workforce simply to manage their mac devices.
2. Secure learning environment
One of the greatest challenges as discussed earlier is to create a secure digital experience for students without letting any external factors such as cyber threats or distractions hamper their focus. To ensure that the students’ Mac devices are used by them for learning and not for accessing entertainment apps or any other inappropriate websites, IT admins of schools can allow or block the usage of specific web pages and apps on the devices.
Please check if you want to develop government council web design and development. With this, students get to access only the preselected apps on their devices and browse through only the permitted websites. Further, school IT admins can also configure network security policies to ensure malware prevention.
3. Remote support
Many high-end Mac management solutions offer remote troubleshooting capabilities to their users with which the school’s IT admins can instantly reach out to their students or staff in events of device issues. Students may not be able to resolve the technical issues by themselves, even teachers or parents are not always fully tech-savvy to resolve any mac device issues that may occur during the ongoing classes. Remote troubleshooting goes a long way in helping students get their devices fixed quickly to prevent missing out on important lectures.
4. Easy resource sharing
With the digitalization of education, everything is executed over the computer. Online classes, computerized assignments and so should be the exchange of homework and learning material. Most mac management solutions offer instant content sharing capabilities that help students and teachers exchange documents, presentations and projects of various files and formats quickly over the air.
5. In-depth inventory monitoring & analysis
Simply configuring security policies and usage restrictions is not enough. Schools have to be careful regarding the constant monitoring of their devices and their usage. It is important to keep a check on the usage patterns and compliance violations to keep the school’s policies intact and maintain a secure learning model. With mac management solutions, IT admins of schools can gain important insights on their devices’ real-time locations, vitals and performance indicators, and execute timely compliance checks.
Equipping students’ mac devices with learning material and ensuring all-round safety of the devices and their usage is a complicated task. Pairing the mac devices with a comprehensive mac management solution can be a fail-proof strategy to constructing a dynamic learning environment.
Scalefusion is a Mobile Device Management solution that offers extensive mac management capabilities including some distinctive features such as integration of parental controls straight from the dashboard and several other features for security and automation to help schools get the best out of their mac devices.