Schools are continually facing budget cuts and looking for ways in which they can lower their expenditures. One of the latest trends has been to deal with BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. This is more of a trend than a technological advancement in the field. However, principals and IT departments are scrambling to learn more about what BYOD brings to their industry and if it is just a fad or a long-term solution.
So what is BYOD? It allows staff as well as students to bring in their own devices to the school (like laptops or tablets) and utilize it instead of being provided by schools. This leads to cost savings for schools and flexibility for the staff and students.
While its becoming a necessity to be online all the time – be it for subject matter research or even for project collaboration – more and more schools have facilities that provides always-on internet connection.
A Few Benefits With BYOD
BYOD provides a slew of benefits helps reduce the cost of a school and provide high return on investment. The following benefits need to be considered:
- Less worry about repairs and upgrades.
- Lower costs for IT which can be put into other areas of schooling.
- You don’t really need a large scale program to deploy BYOD initiative in schools.
- Increased workflow for students and staff members.
While it seems that BYOD helps save costs of procuring computers, for calculating the true ROI we also need to take into account the technical support costs and the costs to strengthen device security.
A Few Challenges with BYOD
As previously mentioned, security and technical support pose the biggest challenges for any school wanting to implement BYOD. Security experts will need to secure their networks as they don’t have any control over the end-user’s system. If there is a security hole in a student’s laptop, the IT team will have to put in tighter security measures so that their school network does not get jeopardized.
Technical issues that arise will need to be handled deftly. With BYOD in place, there is virtually no control over which laptops or OS are used by students/ staff. Therefore, the tech staff will have to be trained in troubleshooting diverse technologies.
Another case in point is it cannot be implemented across the board as there might be some students/ staff who cannot afford laptops. The schools will need to provision computers for such cases.
Many schools are considering a bring your own device, BYOD, policy for their campus. This is a trend that continues to grow every year and school management teams have to consider how to best prepare. These five factors are important for BYOD implementation.
1. Network capabilities: With a greater number of wireless devices being used, there is a need for increased BYOD security. If a school wants to build a wireless network or improve the current one, they should consider the potential number of mobile devices connecting and the location. Spec access points to ensure that they can handle the increased traffic load.
2. BYOD Security: BYOD consideration needs to maintain security. The careful planning and implementation of mobile device management, role-based access control and policy agreements can minimize the issue of security at a school. All security systems in place should be thoroughly checked and tested on multiple devices by IT professionals to ensure that the system is safe for users.
3. Network Management: Management should be centralized. With a centralized system, the IT staff can manage bandwidth, application acceleration, and WAN optimization. This not only decreases the work load for IT, it also unifies the management across the entire network.
4. Access Control: Role-based access control is another area of setting up a BYOD system. With RBAC, users are assigned to different groups based on their authentication. These groups each have a certain role which allow them to access a designated area of the network based on how the network is segment. This system ensures that students can access the resources needed without venturing into areas which are not allowed.
5. BYOD Policy: Having a thorough BYOD policy is important. It helps to make the entire system run smoothly by setting up both expectations and rules for users. A list of devices supported or not supported is a good idea. Be sure to have each user supplied with a policy and have them sign a user agreement before implementation. This small step can make a big difference and when problems arise with the networks or devices, students will know who to contact and what resources they can use.
These five factors should all be considered before setting up a BYOD policy. With so many students having smart devices, BYOD is becoming popular and can be an efficient method of ensuring students have access to needed resources. These factors will ensure that students remain safe and will help to control traffic with a BYOD implementation.
Although technology is being increasingly adopted by grades K-12, there are significant issues that prevent widespread implementation of the latest technology and software. Mobile learning is becoming widespread, meaning that schools have had to change their systems to stay on top of education trends, but many are falling behind.
Schools that face budget problems may not be able to afford some of the technology needed to educate their students on the latest IT technology available. Having a computer lab is certainly not cheap. With frequent usage, computers are only usable for a certain number of years and then become obsolete or too damaged to be practical.
Another problem facing schools is the need for a full-time IT professional on staff. This extra position may not be possible for many smaller schools who struggle just to have any IT technology for school usage. However, there are some current software applications which can help to stretch out a school’s IT budget significantly. Software like Deep Freeze, Power Save or Cisco networking being increasingly used in school computer labs.
These computer lab management software can be easily installed on multiple computers. It works by retaining data across reboots which is essential with multiple users. Programs like Deep Freeze also eliminate troubleshooting with a simple restart when an accidental change or corrupt file download is made. Having the option to return a computer to its desired configuration is a huge asset in a school computer lab. Finally, this software program enhances system security, making computers immune to commonly experienced problems like malware.
This system restore software has two main benefits: it increases the life of a shared computer and also prevents damage or virus attacks. By installing these types of software, most common IT problems are fixed without needing a trained professional on hand. For schools interested in keeping their computers safe and getting the most from their budgets, these software programs are essential.
Hope you will get some ideas about how you can easily manage the budget as well as resources of your school computer lab. Kindly share your thoughts about how you maintain your IT budget.
Student accessible computers are generally run in a protected state by using a system restore software. Deep Freeze Enterprise system restore is the best software available to keep a computer lab safe. It keeps computers running in a “frozen” state, protecting them from malware infection, keeping software running smoothly virus free, and ensuring that each user is protected from any malicious activities from a previous user.
This software is a huge benefit to students, teachers, and IT administrators. Personal information is not retained after a student logs off, meaning that IT personnel don’t have to worry about computers becoming congested with student’s files. Deep Freeze gives schools the ability to prevent stability degradation and ensuring that computer labs are able to provide the same experience continually, regardless of who is using the desktop.
Computers can also be scheduled for regular lab maintenance with Deep Freeze. IT support can set up a specific time, usually during off-hours for the computers to go through an automated update cycle. This can be a nightly task for just a few minutes and also a weekly maintenance period for longer updates. Not only does this ensure that computers stay up-to-date, it frees up valuable IT time. Deep Freeze technology use in schools ensures maximum efficiency and the least amount of trouble for you and every student.
Deep Freeze’s major benefit for lab computers is making them indestructible. This software offers the strongest possible protection available and also eliminates a need for IT professionals to continuously reconfigure, re-image, or troubleshoot lab computers. It can reduce support incidents significantly and organizations that install Deep Freeze report a 63% decrease in support tickets when compared to systems that don’t have this software installed. Saving both time and money, computer labs that are used frequently and by a variety of users should invest in this software.