As we approach school summer vacation, K12 school districts are preparing for end-of-year device support. For some school districts, this involves collecting, inventorying and checking over devices as they come in and are stored over the summer. For others, this involves creating a more comprehensive device management strategy to support the continued use of devices to support learning in the summer months.
End-of-year device collection: Is it necessary?
For most districts with one-to-one device policies, devices will be returned over the summer months in order to retain greater control over devices as students leave the district.
What about device maintenance?
For some districts, summer break is when devices will be reimaged and updated in preparation for the next year. With today’s technology, there is no longer a need to ’touch’ devices to keep them updated or reimage them for other students, negating the need to return devices for maintenance. Boosted by the Absolute platform, these devices can be supported on or off the network, meaning devices can continue to receive any security-critical patches over the summer.
Return and redistribution eats up IT time
The year-end can be a stressful time for IT departments, who go through the time consuming process of ensuring all devices are returned to the school. Inevitably, returns are staggered and missing devices need to be tracked down. Although device management tools can help track down rogue devices, solutions such as the Absolute platform can provide a snapshot inventory of a large fleet of devices, leaving districts to consider: why are we asking for devices to be returned if we can always see where they are?
Support learning with year-round device access
There is the opportunity to support year-round, one-to-one programs, allowing students to take their devices home for the summer. School districts preparing for year-round, one-to-one programs can ensure their success with the following tips:
- Create a User Agreement for the summer months that includes a clear device policy that specifically outlines use of 1:1 devices outside of school. Top risk points for devices outside of school are storage in a car, travel, and use in areas such as restaurants, cafes and outdoor areas.
- Support Device Returns for students graduating or opting out of the program. For students who leave mid-break, provide guidance on when and where devices can be returned during the summer.
- Limit Application Installations to avoid the introduction of apps that may violate the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) regulations for the privacy of student data or applications that could come with a higher malware risk. This is particularly important for Chromebook deployments.
- Device Loss or Theft should be reported immediately, not when school comes back. Remind students of this now. School districts can reduce IT asset loss by setting up geographical restrictions or alerts.
- Support Zero-Touch Maintenance using a tool that can repair or replace critical apps that have been disabled or removed, detect and uninstall unauthorized apps, and push updates on or off the network. Remotely detect and remediate devices to prevent security issues and ensure compliance.
Of course, beyond simplifying IT costs associated with year-end device returns and maintenance, the real benefit to year-round device access is to avoid “summer brain drain.” Stay tuned for our next post on how to Reinforce Learning with Summer Programs.
To learn more about how top performing schools use Absolute to empower safe, smart and secure students, visit Absolute for Education.