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In K-12 Learning, It’s the Experience, Not the Devices

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Guest post by Leslie Oldenkamp, Principal Specialist, VMware End-User Computing

With the inception of the Apple iPad in 2010 and the shift to tablet computing, students and teachers in K-12 classrooms were promised new frontiers for learning:

  • Those bulky textbooks would be a thing of the past.
  • Mobile applications would deliver a panacea of learning-enabled goodness.
  • All this amped-up content would be delivered via one-to-one initiatives.
  • School districts would bridge the “digital divide” that policy and lawmakers were demanding for all students, regardless of socio-economic factors.

Sounds easy, right? Hold on, we all know it didn’t really work out that way.

[Related: Why President Obama Praised this School District’s Mobile Program]

The Problem

To be fair, nobody can negate the power and wonder that these devices unleashed. But with that wonder came k12 education students mobile tablet computingchaos and with chaos came imminent questions and concerns.

  • How would you ensure the security required by law for children?
  • With the avalanche of mobile content (free and paid), how would you control and deliver it?
  • How would you do a simple thing like locate the device if it were misplaced?
  • What about resetting passwords?

Remember, we are talking about children here.

EMM & MDM Addressed the Problem

The good news is that enterprise mobility management (EMM) and mobile device management (MDM) helps alleviate many of the concerns around managing the device and delivering applications. Districts have gained control, and VMware AirWatch became the market leader—a win-win for everybody.

Fantastic, but why stop there?

Experience, Not Device

We are sitting at a very exciting precipice. We can settle for simple device management and call it a day, or we can move forward and enable student learning in the way we envisioned from the beginning. Now is the time to dig in and get beyond device management to provide a personalized student experience, regardless of the device they are using or where they are working.

Imagine a world where students can log into any device running any operating system (OS)—such as a terminal in a local library—and pick up exactly where they left off at school. Their iPad is tucked away safely in its cart at school, but no matter. The school can provide them with the same exact experience anywhere at any time.

This is interesting, and it is happening now.

[Related: Transforming Education: The Digital Classroom & Apple iOS 9.3]

My Tips for K-12 Technologists

  • Be bold. Enable your students.
  • Don’t force standards. Students are knowledge workers, and we all have a device preference. Enable learning regardless of device and OS.
  • Quit killing your network by imaging devices. Provisioning applications based on user profile is more efficient and is the basis for a personalized student experience.
  • Simplify the log-in experience for all: students, faculty and staff.
  • Finally, don’t wait for a security compliance audit. Secure your devices, content and applications, while providing a personal experience.

Check out how VMware’s K-12 education solutions enable this modern frontier for learning:

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Guest Contributors

Guest Contributors

From time to time, the VMware AirWatch Blog publishes articles submitted by contributing writers, industry veterans, mobility enthusiasts and AirWatch insiders. Their thoughts and insights will be posted under the Mobile Thought Leaders category and can be found on the Contributors author page.

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