By Nadav Avni, Chief Marketing Officer at Radix Technologies
Today’s students require schools that employ modern solutions. Many students have fast internet connections and devices such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and computers around the house. They may spend their idle time watching online videos, using apps, or playing games. When these kids arrive at school, they expect the same technology they grew up with at home. As smart devices become more powerful, the technology used to make them inversely becomes less expensive. At this point, devices are so commonplace now that schools should be able to afford them. This includes providing high-speed internet connectivity for improved latency. It also means supplying students with smart learning devices, as well as interactive classroom touchscreens.
Classroom Touchscreens Improve the Interactive Learning Experience
Kids nowadays grew up with iPads and other touchscreen devices. Chances are, today’s preschoolers’ first attempts to write involved tracing letters on a touchscreen. By providing these touchscreens in the classroom, students can continue developing the tactile skills they’ll use throughout their lives. In addition, touchscreens can provide these additional benefits:
Encourage Learning Through Interactivity
Interacting with touchscreens always produces a reaction or an effect. Classroom touchscreens encourage students to engage with learning materials instead of just reading them from a screen or a page. In addition, multi-touch devices allow students to interact with each other and the instructor via collaborative activities.
Increased Student Interest
Using touchscreens can increase students’ participation. By providing them with interactive controls to drive the learning material, students take a more active interest. Adding gamified elements such as alerts when pressing the right areas at the right time can also trigger a sense of competition. Actively participating students unwittingly end up learning material even as they interact with the lesson.
Touchscreens operate using an instant feedback mechanism. Touching an object produces a specific effect. When instructors incorporate interactivity in their modules, students can get better and faster feedback on their actions. Students find interactive quizzes, clickable maps, and other activities more engaging if feedback is instantaneous.
Improved Classroom Management
Instructors can find utilizing touchscreens helps improve their control of the classroom. By providing enough interactive elements in the lesson on the screen, they can improve the engagement of the majority of the class. At the same time, teachers can use the screens to display almost all the activities: reading materials, quizzes, timers, games, and leaderboards. Doing so with a conventional whiteboard will require more time and will produce less dramatic results.
Greater Participation and Inclusivity
Technology often acts as the Great Equalizer. It’s particularly true for classroom touchscreens. Students with disabilities, especially those with difficulty focusing, may find it easier to interact with the touchscreen. Collaborative activities that require multiple participants tend to get more volunteers if they’re interactive. Combined with ease-of-use and intuitive controls, teaming up with classmates becomes more fun. As a result, the entire class benefits as participation rates increase.
EdTech Device Management Solutions For Touchscreens
US school districts are warming up to the idea of fully digitizing their classrooms. Meanwhile, the ongoing pandemic accelerated the timetable in making schools fully equipped for remote learning. Thankfully, the United States Department of Education provided the means for states and districts to use funding to improve their education technology capabilities.
As a result, US educational technology companies scrambled to fill the needs of school systems across the country. In fact, they managed to raise over $3.2 billion in investment capital during the first six months of 2021. This is more than the total $2.2 billion capital raised last year.
Where is all the funding going? Education Week published a March 2021 survey that suggests 90% of US K-12 districts now issue one smart device to each student. In fact, experts estimate that US schools will spend around $50 billion on educational technology this year. This includes educational materials, infrastructure, and devices such as smart devices and classroom touchscreens.
The Need for Robust Mobile Device Management Solutions for Classroom Touchscreens and Other EdTech Devices
Districts that deploy classroom touchscreens in their schools may need help managing their devices. A robust mobile device management (MDM) software can assume the tasks of monitoring, maintaining, and securing all devices via cloud technology. This gives the IT administrator the means to connect to all devices in the district without the need for field visits. Once connected, the administrator can diagnose devices and configure, install, and update the software. This will be necessary, given that most districts won’t just require classroom touchscreens, but will also need smart devices for students. Most districts will also likely authorize Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) units in case of inadequate supplies.
For all these devices, the IT team must also place limits on each device’s functionality. Classroom touchscreens can run modules, access school network files, and play educational videos. However, if students try to browse the web, copy or download documents, install unauthorized apps, or delete files, security measures should prevent them from doing so. Additionally, MDM software should be able to detect devices moved from their authorized area. In cases where devices get stolen or hacked, the administrator has the option to disable the device or wipe all data.
School administrators will also find it valuable if the devices they acquire can provide crucial usage data. Having the means to gather and consolidate information on school device usage can help them develop better plans and programs. Device management software that
includes a reporting feature will definitely help demonstrate the district’s success stories.
The Right MDM Software Provides Added Value When Bundled with EdTech Devices
Vendors involved in the business of providing smart devices to school districts should consider bundling MDM software that can help schools better manage and protect their device investments. Providing just the devices without the adequate support needed to keep all units in check might not be enough for educators looking for cost-effective solutions. Those who provide robust mobile device management solutions along with their educational technology hardware will definitely have a value advantage over competitors who settled for default management software with limited features.