Feb 11 2014

Mobile Application Management Turns Tablets Into Secure Learning Tools

Schools find that once they bring devices under control, MAM helps them save time and add efficiencies.

In 2011, the Roseville City School District in California finally realized that tablets were a serious educational tool and not a passing fad.

Marco Baeza, director of technology, says as more teachers connected tablets to projectors in the classroom, the K–8 district needed a way to manage the devices. The district deployed the cloud-based AirWatch, which made it easy for them to track devices and wipe them remotely if they were lost or stolen.

AirWatch also offers mobile application management features, which Baeza says lets his team push up to 30 applications at a time to the devices. “We can also lock down the applications to protect against any bad applications from coming onto our network,” he says. “It’s also a great timesaver compared to having to load up an application on each unit.”

Baeza says the AirWatch security features are very important to the district and keep the IT staff informed of what applications and videos are running at all times. “It’s a great tool for us, especially given the age group we support,” Baeza says. “We need parental permission even to show a PG-13 movie, so we have to be very careful.”

John Jackson, research vice president for IDC, says the Roseville City School District’s experience with AirWatch mirrors that of other IT organizations that have shifted their focus from managing devices to managing applications.

“IT managers now understand that they need to manage applications in a granular way and through the lifecycle of the application,” Jackson says.

“It’s no longer sufficient to just provision a mobile app and let it out. The app has to be updated, maintained, secured and then disposed off at the end of its lifecycle,” he says, adding that tools such as AirWatch offer these capabilities.

Taking Control of the Classroom

At Westbury Public Schools on Long Island, N.Y., Jay Marcucci, CIO and director of technology, communications and information services, says the district uses Soti MobiControl to manage 350 Android tablets in the fifth-grade classrooms.

MobiControl enables Marcucci’s team to track and remotely lock and wipe devices and distribute applications from any device with a web browser. “I can see what a student is using a tablet for. Plus, if a teacher likes an application, they can email a link to the app, and I can then load it into MobiControl and push it out to a specific class, the entire fifth grade or even one person,” he says.

Why MAM?

IDC Research Vice President John Jackson says mobile application management (MAM) products let IT organizations manage, secure and distribute mobile applications, as well as apply enhanced policies to individual applications. Mobile application management solutions can either supplement mobile device management features or stand by themselves. They also typically include some combination of the following features:

52% The percentage of IT managers surveyed who say that their organizations are developing mobile applications for the enterprise

SOURCE: “The Enterprise Mobility Guide for IT Management and CIOs” (iPass/MobileIron, February 2013)

  • Granular application distribution capabilities by group or policy, often through
  • a mobile enterprise application store
  • Application versioning and end-of-life management, as well as the ability to wipe applications and data remotely
  • Detailed application analytics and reporting
  • Application white lists and blacklists
  • Enforcement of user authentication and encryption per application
  • Enabling or disallowing data storage, offline access, document sharing and
  • copy/paste

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