What Schools, That Allow Own Devices, Need To Know

As Chromebooks, notebooks, laptops, and iPads become ever more prevalent in homes, it makes increasingly good sense for schools to allow children to bring in their own devices, otherwise known as BYOD. This is a trend that has already changed how computing and IT networks operate in the enterprise WiFi workspace. Now it’s something that anyone, who looks after an education WiFi system, needs to get a handle on.

Do you have the capacity?

It won’t just be students who will be bringing their own devices to school, but also teachers. Does your network have enough capacity to handle a lot of devices all connecting to it? If it was set up in the expectation that one class at a time uses the school-issued iPads, for example, your WiFi network infrastructure may simply not be able to handle multiple classrooms logging on at the same time.

Many schools may only have WiFi available in specific areas, such as the IT suite, library and office. To get the most out of the way that BYOD can change how you use IT in learning, you’ll need to look at upgrading your infrastructure to ensure the whole school can assess it.

Should you allow any device?

Security is a big issue for schools. Some devices might simply not be able to provide a high level of security and may leave your network vulnerable. It is a good idea to look at the sorts of operating systems out there. You may want to restrict to just iOS and Windows, for example. Make sure that your management software allows you to see where and what type of device is logging on and by giving a personal log on for all users you can see who is using the network.

Which applications can they use?

You can decide on exactly what students access on the network. For guests and visitors, just being able to use WiFi on their phone is enough. But for students, you will want to be able to ensure they can be productive. It’s possible to enable your network access so that only specific educational applications can be used and therefore students won’t have the ability to access the outside internet when on their devices. You can also set it up so that when they are logged into the network, they cannot run their own personal applications.

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