3-Step Guide to K-12 Device Management for Winter Holidays

Published Dec 4, 2018 9:15:00 AM in Tech News

See how to take advantage of K-12 winter breaks for better endpoint management.


Winter holidays. You have survived the mad dash of deploying devices to students and making sure teachers and classrooms have what they need to support learning. Now, schools have cleared out and admin and IT departments are scaled back, working fewer hours. 1:1 devices are either stored in secure carts or have gone home with students over the holidays.

Winter break is the perfect time to focus on proactive technology management strategies.

Research has shown that over 75% of IT time is spent reacting to technical problems. The downtime over winter holidays presents an opportunity for admins to play catch up on housekeeping tasks and to prepare for the rigorous Spring semester of standardized testing. In this post, we will help you prioritize proactive endpoint management tasks so you can tackle what’s needed and still get back out there and enjoy your holiday.

Step 1: Choose Your Device Policy: Collect & Store vs. Year-Round

When it comes to Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks, schools either opt to collect and store student 1:1 devices or to support a year-round device policy.

Storing devices over break offers greater control over devices that may be lost or damaged by students, but the return and redistribution of devices can be a time-consuming process for IT. Inevitably, devices need to be tracked down.

It used to be that these break periods would offer IT a physical touch point for maintenance tasks, but with tools such as FileWave, physical location is irrelevant for updates and patches. This leaves many districts considering the benefits of year-round device policies, allowing students to boost their learning with continuous device support.

Whatever your choice, communicate with parents to ensure you have a process in place to support device returns (if needed), a way to manage zero-touch maintenance, self-healing of critical applications, and a clear user agreement with students. Before winter holidays, it’s a good idea to remind parents & students about the risk of device theft in restaurants, airports, and cars - Christmas is often one of the top seasons for theft.

Step 2: Prepare a Device Maintenance Plan

Like most school districts, you probably have a complex device assortment. Thankfully, multi-platform device management systems take the complexity out of device management.

The first step in any management plan is to run a complete inventory of all devices, settings, and applications, allowing you to detect any holes in your coverage. At the same time, you can do a spot check on your software licenses to ensure you’re not exceeding your license count or purchasing excess licenses.

After completing your inventory, your next step is to target updates for only those devices that need them. Leveraging FileWave, you can pre-schedule application installations and target patches and updates to roll out in a controlled process.

In addition to these critical software updates, your maintenance plan should also include a network requirements audit. During the first semester, any increase in 1:1 devices or evolving throughput requirements may have placed additional strain on networks. Winter break is a minimally disruptive time to address capacity issues.

Step 3: Prepare for the Future

The final step before you can sit back and relax for the holidays is to prepare for the busy Spring term. With standardized testing on the horizon, many teachers will be looking for specific applications and documents to supply to students.

While you can take the time to push out new applications for each grade, the reality is that not every student will need every app and teacher preferences may guide the needs of each class at a more granular level. This approach to application management is also not very cost-effective. Instead, you can leverage Smart Groups to distribute resources by grade or can stock your Self-Service Kiosk with the applications, documents, and resources that may be needed in the upcoming Semester.

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