It isn’t easy being an IT systems manager at a K-12 school district or a university these days! Once the domain of a few aging computers tucked away in a lab, technology has become ubiquitous in the classroom. Today’s technology can empower students, teachers and administrators.
There’s a major change in the types and number of personal devices that are used by students, teachers and administrators. Your school is probably talking about transitioning to a 1:1 model (one device per stakeholder), if you haven’t already. There are many factors and limitations when implementing technology for every stakeholder, the most important being budget and IT systems management.
Many students and teachers want to bring their own IT assets into the classroom. As more people get their own laptops or smart phones, they want to use these devices in the classroom as part of their day-to-day learning and teaching. This can be because it’s a personal device that they’re familiar with, and often it’s because their laptop or other device is much newer than the one that the school owns… so performance is much better.
On the one hand, personal devices reduce the overall cost of a 1:1 program. On the other hand, a plethora of different device types, operating systems and software applications can be a nightmare for IT systems managers to manage.
Overcoming classroom device obstacles with effective IT systems management
One of the biggest obstacles is getting the budget allocation for a systems management technology solution that supports every stakeholder across an entire school district. Researching some cost savings methods can be one of the most crucial parts to the success of your program. One of the biggest cost savings mechanisms is desktop virtualization. While you’re unable to leverage personal devices, education institution IT systems management assets (server capacity, applications, storage, etc.) should be pooled across the district and shared between geographically-diverse users. Virtualization increases productivity, saves money and creates efficiencies. Look for a solution that centralizes IT systems management and gives administrators a holistic view of all IT resources, arming your school district or university with the visibility to efficiently distribute resources as demand ebbs and flows.
Once you have your classroom devices in place, it’s important to implement a proper systems management solution for your district or university as a whole. Implementing an IT systems management solution will help your staff manage this new influx of technology in an effective and efficient manner. When selecting a solution, make sure to take into consideration the integration of remote systems management and help desk software to offer simple and fast support to students, teachers and administrators. Ideally, these tools should take on the character of an invisible, reliable utility.
How about you? Are you supporting an iPad, Blackberry or more than one personal or mobile device in the classroom? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Learn how remote IT systems management enabled K-12 education technology for the North Conejos school district in Colorado, giving teachers reliable access to interactive learning tools. Download free case study now!