Technology in Education — Managing Endpoints in Student-Centered Learning

Where technology and education meet, what is the role of IT managers like you?

Nobody will ask you to prepare lesson plans or call roll. Nobody needs you to stay after and tutor the students who need help. In fact, you don’t even need to set foot in the classroom.

When you’re not performing systems management and deployment, and building up the infrastructure to support hundreds or thousands of devices, it seems as though you spend most of your time saying “no:”

  • No, you may not put your BYO tablet on the same network as the school’s PCs.
  • No, you may not visit warez or social media sites.
  • No, I won’t grant you administrator access to your laptop.
  • No, you may not skip security patching just this once.
  • No, you may not load your favorite games onto your machine.

Is it hard to think that you’re helping technology advance in education, when you say “no” so often?

Managing Endpoints in Student-Centered Learning

But without IT, education would move even more slowly than it seems to move now.

Why? Because if you didn’t say “no,” all of those things you’re forbidding would cause vastly more problems than they do. Teachers and students would waste much more time watching pages load and wondering why they couldn’t print. Your colleagues in IT would spend most of their time cleaning up hard drives and undoing people’s experiments.

I mentioned the changing roles of IT managers in my previous post. Before IT was formalized in most schools, technology in the classroom was a collection of mismatched, barely functioning computers on a table near the back door. Quantity mattered in those days, and IT systems management was a matter of sorting through as many donated computers as possible and getting them to run some piece of educational software.

IT managers in education have seen their role change from maximizing the number of computing devices per classroom to maximizing the number of devices — PCs, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones — they can reasonably control on the network.

The diversity of operating systems — Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS and *nix — further complicates the picture as IT administrators try to manage endpoints to support student-centered learning. Systems management, provisioning and deployment are now must-haves.

New E-book: Aligning the Learning Model with the IT Model

Our new e-book, Aligning the Learning Model with the IT Model describes the changing role of IT in student-centered learning. It examines systems management and systems deployment in education, including three case studies of school districts and colleges that use Dell KACE appliances to inventory manage and patch their IT assets across large and small student populations.