Jul 02 2015

Enterprise Mobility Management Helps Schools Innovate

District officials say tools ease the administrative burden so they can get tablets and apps in the hands of students faster.

Coachella Valley Unified School District in California takes its mission of educating 20,000 students seriously. 

Dr. Darryl Adams, the district’s superintendent, says parents, teachers and administrators were concerned that the students weren’t being prepared properly for today’s job market, so the district passed a $42 million bond a few years ago to bring one-to-one computing to its students. A full 100 percent of the student body receives free or reduced-cost lunches.

Today, all middle school and high school students have tablets that they can use in school and take home with them, and the elementary students have access to tablets via carts in the classrooms. Managing all the devices became a challenge, which is why Coachella Valley USD deployed AirWatch by VMware from the beginning.


The percentage by which IT organizations expect to increase mobile app development spending in the next year

SOURCE: Gartner, “Survey Analysis: Enterprise Mobile App Development Spend is Increasing, While Platform Choice Remains Tactical,” October 2014

Adams says AirWatch offers standard mobile device management features such as tracking and remote wiping of lost or stolen devices. It also lets district IT managers push and update applications remotely. 

“AirWatch has helped us transform our district into a fully digital educational environment,” Adams says. “The kids love the digital tools, they collaborate on projects and presentations, and by making the back-end management and security easier to deploy, we’re in a position to really transform a lot of lives.” 

Chris Silva, a research director who covers mobile and endpoint computing for Gartner, notes that much like Coachella USD, many districts are moving past basic mobile device management to pushing apps and managing content.

“Mobile strategy started with basic device controls, but we’ve seen a lot more interest in pushing custom content to users’ devices,” Silva says. “This year, we’ll see a lot more activity in building custom mobile apps.”

A Focus on Students 

Hartley Elementary School in Waseca, Minn., reached critical mass on its tablets about a year ago, so it deployed MaaS360 from IBM/Fiberlink, says Wendy Sandstrom, the school’s IT support technician and mobile device manager. 

Sandstrom says she’s managing just 150 devices, but it’s still too many to load and update each device by hand. With MaaS360, she can perform automatic setups, remotely wipe lost or stolen devices and push applications and documents out to the devices.

“Having MaaS360 saves me a great deal of time,” Sandstrom says. “Not having to manually load applications keeps the tablets in the hands of students as opposed to collecting them and taking them offline.”