When you think of schools, you visualize classrooms buzzing with students and teachers explaining concepts over the blackboard. While this was a reality until very recently, technology and the internet have taken over the field of education for the better. Several studies reveal that the inclusion of mobile devices to enable digital learning helps students understand concepts better. Modern-day educators prefer teaching with the help of visual aids such as slide shows, videos, 3D images, etc. The digitalization of education has enabled teachers to create immersive learning experiences for their students and has normalized unconventional ideas such as distance learning and remote education.
Students thrive well in a digital environment. Children of all ages are comfortable maneuvering smartphones, laptops and tablets. However, no matter how convenient, implementing digital technology in schools has its own set of drawbacks. Implementing multitudes of digital devices for students is a complex task. Similarly, allowing students to use their personal devices to attend online classes also has several security risks.
The benefits of mobile learning are evident, let’s peak further into the roadblocks to mobile learning.
Roadblocks to Mobile Learning in Schools
No doubt that the inclusion of mobile devices for education enables an improved learning experience in today’s media-rich world. But here are some not-so-bright aspects of mobile learning that the school authorities should be aware of.
Distractions in Students
Adopting mobile devices in classrooms means that educators have to struggle to upkeep their students’ focus and attention span. Students may easily be tempted to watch videos, play games or make phone calls from their mobile devices. Ensuring that the mobile devices provided to the students are used specifically for learning purposes is a complex task.
Exposure to Inappropriate Online Content
Even the youngest minds know that smartphones and laptops come integrated with internet browsers. The internet is a place of immense content, both good and bad. While there are plenty of informative sites on the web, there are also several websites that might expose children to offensive content, violence or content that promotes hate which may lead to mental and emotional damage. Educators are responsible for ensuring that students do not browse inappropriate or profane online content on their smart devices.
Distributing Learning Resources
We live in an age of mobile apps. You have apps for everything these days, right from health apps reminding you to drink water on time, to entertainment apps and content-sharing apps. The educational sector can benefit a lot from the plethora of educational apps available easily on various online application stores. However, the great challenge here is to distribute this specific set of apps and learning resources to all the students’ devices, especially in remote education. Schools have thousands of students and provisioning every device individually with educational apps is an extremely tedious task for school IT admins.
Managing Multitudes of Students’ Devices
Providing pre-provisioned mobile devices to students for an enhanced learning experience is just half the job done. School IT admins are generally overwhelmed with managing and monitoring such a large number of devices. Ensuring appropriate usage, executing compliance checks and resolving technical issues takes up a lot of time.
Encountering Cyber Threats
A majority of the mobile device’s functionalities are driven by the internet. Even if it is a thing as simple as downloading an app. The internet has a heavy influence on the way mobile devices are used. Unfortunately, the internet is also the very thing that hackers use to spread malware. Students may or may not be fully aware of the plethora of cyber risks that the internet poses. From viruses to trojans, malware, adware and spyware, these cyber risks that endless.
A single click on an untrusted website, or downloading a single app that seems harmless, but contains vulnerabilities can lead to malware infiltration. This is especially a big concern for schools that adopt BYOD management and allow their students to use their personal devices to study
Resolving the Challenges of Mobile Learning With a Simple Solution
Most industrial sectors that have heavily implemented digital devices have realized the value of adopting Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to streamline their remote management. As the educational sector is gradually turning digital, schools and universities need to explore the benefits that MDM solutions offer. Simply implementing a single MDM solution can help your school administrators streamline the security, monitoring and management of multitudes of students’ devices.
Let’s understand how MDM solutions allow schools to overcome the challenges of mobile learning:
Setting Browser Restrictions
With MDM solutions, schools can create a secure browsing experience for their students. School IT admins can configure a variety of browser restrictions on the students’ devices from the MDM dashboard. You can allow or block selective websites to ensure that your students do not accidentally expose themselves to offensive online content or malicious websites.
Device Lockdown to Minimize Distractions
Children are extremely prone to be distracted by their smartphones or tablets due to the variety of entertainment and gaming apps that can be easily downloaded on these devices. MDM software allows school IT admins to lockdown students’ devices into kiosk mode. School IT admins can leverage the multi-app kiosk mode to lock students’ devices in multiple pre-approved learning apps. Alternatively, MDM solutions also offer the single-app kiosk mode, in which students’ devices can be locked into a single specific app. This feature proves especially useful to prevent misconduct during exams.
Configuring Parental Controls
Some modern-day MDM solutions for schools help the IT admins to configure parental controls, especially on the students’ Mac devices. This way, school admins can define a time-based curfew for when the students can or cannot use their digital devices.
Over-The-Air App & Content Distribution
MDM solutions allow schools to push study material in diverse formats including documents, videos, images, presentations, etc. to multitudes of students’ devices remotely. You can also push a plethora of education apps on your students’ Android, iOS or macOS devices using Google PlayStore or Apple App Store. Most modern-day MDM solutions allow school IT admins to manage app permissions, conduct regular app updates and even push private apps on students’ devices.
Centralized Monitoring of Devices
One of the most time-consuming tasks for school IT admins is to constantly keep an eye on the usage, health and performance of their mobile devices. MDM solutions help school IT admins take a sigh of relief as these solutions offer a single point of control for multitudes of school-owned digital devices. You can track your students’ locations within the campus, and gain visibility of your device vitals such as data usage, battery status, screen time reporting and much more. Some MDM solutions also allow you to set compliance alerts based on policy breaches, which helps the school authorities take instant rectification actions.
Although children are very tech-savvy these days, their mobile devices may at some point present errors that they cannot resolve. Even parents may have limited knowledge about device technicalities. In order to not let your students waste their crucial classroom time due to device issues, MDM solutions offer remote support capabilities. Remote cast & control, VoIP calls, screenshots, screen recordings and much more.
Enabling Device Sharing
MDM solutions allow school IT admins to create multiple student profiles on a single device. With this, the mobile devices installed in classrooms can be shared between multiple students. Each profile can be configured with rules and restricted specifically to the student’s grade. School IT admins can schedule automated time-based profile switches for diverse timetables. This is a great way for schools to cut down costs on purchasing individual devices for every student.
Mobile learning has immense benefits for both, teachers and students. Schools can extend personalized teaching and high-quality education by adopting mobile devices for students. Comprehensive MDM solutions such as Scalefusion can help schools deliver a distraction-free learning experience and overcome the digitalization challenges effortlessly.