1:1 Computing in 2020: Chromebooks & The Return of the iPad

In 2020, we usher in an era no longer dominated by iPad or Chromebooks but instead driven by pedagogy. This era demands a unified approach to endpoint management.

Device Procurement for K-12: 1990 to 2020

Starting in the late 1990s, one-to-one programs (1:1 programs) have been growing across school districts in the United States. The traditional computer lab was replaced with individual laptops and netbooks for student use in classrooms. By the 2010s, device procurement shifted to Apple iPads; in 2015, procurement shifted again to low-cost, lightweight Google Chromebooks devices. A survey of IT leaders in 2019 suggests that 42% of elementary schools, 63% of middle schools, and 60% of high schools have implemented 1:1 programs.

In 2020, device procurement is anything but cut and dry. A proliferation of devices are available for the Chromebook platform, now competing against the introduction of a new entry-level iPad. Decision making around procurement can no longer be made on price alone but must take into consideration many factors including pedagogy – which can vary by school or grade – touchscreen or flip screen options, durability, battery life, and peripheral support. With new innovations around AR, VR, STEM and innovative educational software for both platforms, today’s school districts are considering the benefits of diversified procurement, which puts pedagogy at the forefront of edtech investments.

The Challenges of a Changing Device Landscape

The gradual replacement of aging tablets and computers, purposeful diversification, teacher and administrative preferences, and BYOD programs have created a complex multi-platform environment. While 1:1 programs have grown, and complexity has increased, IT teams have remained the same. Over time, this created a “Complexity Gap,” with the number of controls and devices outpacing the staff needed to manage them all.

Edtech introduces many challenges that are only made worse by this complexity gap, including:

  • Privacy & Security – IT teams must ensure devices and software meet stringent privacy and security standards at all times, inside and outside the network, while also combatting growing cybersecurity threats. Blacklisting, patching, filtering, network controls, anti-virus, anti-malware, device tracking, and vetting applications is an insurmountable task for many IT teams, particularly across multiple devices and platforms.
  • Asset Management – Multiple point solutions targeting certain platforms or aspects of endpoint management lead to visibility gaps, making it difficult to manage and secure devices and increasing the time it takes to compile reports for regulatory or grant requirements.
  • Software Management – IT must ensure software is correctly installed and configured where it is needed, but only where it is needed to avoid ballooning license costs. If teachers need new software, IT needs a way to quickly distribute software that is compatible and correctly configured across device or OS types. Many IT teams dedicate significant support resources to re-installing software that is missing or becomes corrupted.
  • Supporting Pedagogy – With more than 75% of IT time spent responding to technical problems, little time is left to focus on technology integration. Without this support, many edtech investments are destined to fail. The foundation of edtech success, known as return on education (RoE), is participatory teaching and learning, which requires the support of IT to create a collaborative, inclusive, and customizable learning environment.
  • Digital Equity – Reflecting the “homework gap,” school districts are now being challenged to close the accessibility gap for learning at home. This could include allowing 1:1 devices to go home, supporting community hotspots, or providing WiFi on school buses.

Embracing Change with Unified Endpoint Management

The last several decades brought an unprecedented change to education, forever shifting how we teach and learn, with exciting new edtech opportunities on the horizon. After the iPad era and the Chromebooks era, 2020 heralds a new era of device diversification. The future of device procurement for K-12 should be device agnostic, driven by pedagogy and agile to changing opportunities. This agility only emerges when supported by a unified endpoint management solution that erases the complexity gap.

Unified endpoint management (UEM) evolved to bring simplicity, visibility, and control back to endpoint management for the entire device lifecycle. A unified solution for managing all devices under one umbrella can translate into simpler processes, fewer tools, greater oversight, lower costs, and greater agility in supporting pedagogy.

With FileWave, you can make the device procurement decision that is best for your students – wither it’s Chromebooks or iPad, or some device yet-to-be-released, knowing that your management remains the same. FileWave’s multi-platform solution makes it easy to deploy, track, manage, and report on devices across multiple platforms; to manage software licenses; and to help maintain compliance with children’s privacy and security regulations. The FileWave self-serve kiosk allows teachers to download correctly configured applications for the classroom, while patented self-healing technology ensures those applications remain where they’re needed.

“Without FileWave, I would need four to six more computer techs. The cost of a person in a building versus what FileWave costs is significantly different.” – Deana Elder, Technology Support Coordinator for Billings Public Schools

Over 4,000 schools use FileWave to support and engage more than a million students.

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