Education Sector Leading in Mobility
As college students head back to classes this fall, the question on their minds is no longer, “Will I be able to connect?” Instead, it’s, “How many of my devices will I be able to connect?”
According to the latest College Explorer study from re:fuel, the average 18–34 year old college student owns seven tech devices, which may include smartphones and gaming devices as well as tablets and laptop computers. For this reason, colleges and universities are leading the deployment of enterprise mobility. In order to woo the next generation of students, these schools are finding it necessary to have a strong mobility infrastructure.
In this industry, enterprise mobility deployments have their challenges too. The need to update an existing wired backbone infrastructure, the influx of users, devices, and applications, and attendant security concerns can be a deterrent to deployment. However, having a vision of where this technology is headed in the near future is essential for the emerging student population—and in turn, the next-generation workforce.
With learning extending beyond classrooms, to dorm rooms, libraries and public meeting areas, it’s refreshing to see that the education sector is leading this wireless revolution. It will be soon possible to envision students watching streaming videos of their teachers explaining scientific concepts on their tablets, or perhaps college students finding their classes on their handheld devices. We’re not too far off from real-time collaboration that happens between students and teachers in remote locations.
For example, the R.N. Podar School in Mumbai, India has adapted something called Flipped learning methodologies, in which students access classroom video lectures online, usually at home. What used to be homework is now done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance. There is an initiative dedicated to replacing textbooks with tablets and allocating a Google student email ID to the student on Day One.
While this is an exciting time in the mobility movement, there are still potential issues to prepare for. An ambitious plan to get iPads in more than 30,000 Los Angeles students’ hands recently hit a major security snag. The school-issued iPads were installed with security software that blocked students from getting access to anything but preloaded education software. It only took students a few hours to bypass the security measure and crash the network.
The question you should be asking yourself shouldn’t be how many devices you will enable in your deployment, but what does your foundational mobility infrastructure look like?
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