Whether it’s creating worlds in Minecraft: Education Edition to explain complex concepts, using Skype to connect to classrooms around the world or leveraging analytics to personalize learning, digital technologies have taken root in classrooms around Asia with the aim of driving better learning outcomes for students.
This has introduced a greater range and volume of devices in education institutions, increasing the strain on IT infrastructure such as storage, compute and network resources. To maximize student benefits, institutions need to ensure they are able to adequately support new technologies as growth scales.
Here are some questions to determine if your institution is ready to support, manage and accelerate the adoption of education technology.
1) Do you have a strategy for managing all your devices?
In addition to education institutions expanding their own device fleets to meet the growing demands for digital learning, educators and students alike are also bringing in their own devices into the classroom.
The sheer number of devices and operating systems poses several challenges for IT. Some of the top issues include rolling out resources to multiple devices at the same time, managing updates and maintenance, and ensuring the security of networks and devices.
To sustain a conducive environment where students can effectively use technology to enhance their learning, there needs to be clear strategies and processes in place for device management.
Mobile device management (MDM) tools such as Microsoft Intune for Education can help simplify device management. They can facilitate the distribution of applications and content, such as videos or links, to multiple devices—whether they are the school’s fleet or personal devices. Maintenance, updates, and changes to security policies can also be easily rolled out to selected or all devices. This will free up time and resources for IT and school leaders to devote towards implementing changes and policies that directly benefit students instead.
2) Is your infrastructure able to support future growth?
Device proliferation, compounded with the growing demand for digital learning tools, puts greater strain on IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, and network resources. This may result in lessons being disrupted due to overload. However, scaling on-premises infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming, which means educators and students often don’t get the adequate support they need.
The cloud offers a more affordable and flexible way of scaling up the necessary infrastructure. By transitioning data and operations into the cloud, education institutions can easily scale as demands changes. This allows IT departments to ramp up to meet demands during peak periods, such as the start of the academic year, or cut down during off-peak periods like the vacations. This allows schools to save on procurement costs, and long-term expenditure such as maintenance and upgrades, which can be used to improve the learning experience for students instead.
3) Are your security management and data protection robust?
Given the amount of sensitive personal information education institutions collect and store, it is imperative that education institutions have strong and robust security and data protection. A breach may potentially disrupt lessons, cripple key administrative or educational services, and lead to loss of student records—all of which may impact an institution’s reputation, budgets, and future recruitment.
However, the growing number of devices, apps, tools, and services makes it more challenging than ever for IT to keep networks and data secure and protected.
Working with a single technology partner to manage devices, infrastructure as well as security will not only be more cost-effective. It also helps reduce complexity, prevent security gaps and ensure unified management and protection—to maintain a conducive, disruption-free environment for learning.
A partner that grows with your institution
To ensure that students are reaping the most out of their digital learning experiences, it is important for education institutions to ensure that the technology is thoughtfully integrated, and in a way that doesn’t overwhelm.
A technology partner can provide the required tools, expertise and guidance, to help education institutions define their processes, adopt new services and improve their infrastructure—to establish a conducive environment for digital learning.
To help education institutions move ahead confidently in their digital transformation journey, Microsoft works with trusted partners to offer a large ecosystem of both on-premises and cloud tools, services and applications designed specifically for the industry. Discover how we have helped other education institutions take the next step in their digital transformations here.
Find out how Microsoft can help you implement and grow your classroom technology in a thoughtful manner at Microsoft Education or the Microsoft Educator Community Portal.