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February 6, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:04am

School transforms learning experience with tablets

An enterprise-grade mobile device management firm helped implement 500 handheld devices.

By Duncan Macrae

Lomond School is an independent, co-educational day and boarding school in Helensburgh, Scotland, with more than 500 students and 50 teachers. Lomond School prides itself as an innovative educational institution, transforming learning through technology and mobility.

Inspired by a pilot mobility program at a UK university, Lomond School introduced tablets into its curriculum. The school provided all teachers and students aged 10 to 18 with an iPad, which is used for presentations, exchanging homework, recording meetings and classwork, and accessing school emails.

The Challenge

Lomond School is currently exploring educational apps, such as eBackpack, an app that allows teachers to distribute assignments, collect students’ work and grade assignments. To fully support its e-learning initiative, Lomond School needed an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution to manage the distribution of apps and to push content to students’ iPads.

A priority for Lomond School was implementing a change management process to educate students, parents and teachers about the tablets and apps that would be used in classrooms. The change management process would clearly outline the benefits and potential risks of using this educational technology, and set rules for students to follow.

The school sought an EMM solution that met a number of requirements, including access to the Apple Volume Purchase Program for app distribution, the capability to restrict certain apps
during school hours and the option for students to use their school-owned tablets at home.

After evaluating a number of options, Lomond School selected AirWatch as its EMM provider to filter inappropriate content, secure devices, push content and provide students with a complete e-learning experience. "We sought an EMM provider that would enable us to plan ahead by providing transparent pricing and support, and not draw us in with an introductory offer that might change at a moment’s notice," explains Iain Morrison, Lomond School’s academic deputy.

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The Solution

Morrison manually enrolled Lomond School’s fleet of 500 iPads into AirWatch, a process he involved all students in. "Students enrolled their own devices before they were allowed to use them," explains Morrison.

Prior to putting iPads in the students’ hands, Lomond School hosted several meetings for parents to convey the benefits of using tablets. The school required pupils and their parents to sign a terms of use agreement, outlining how the devices can be used and setting expectations for students, parents and faculty. For instance, the policy stipulates that while in class, pupils can only use their iPad and access the school’s network upon receiving permission from a teacher. Another portion of the user agreement bans students from deleting their search or website history. "The iPads have streamlined the grading process for teachers," says Morrison. "Reviewing pupils’ work directly on a mobile device saves a significant amount of time and greatly reduces the amount of paper used for assignments."

Students are able to take the iPad home or to their boarding house at the end of the school day, but, in accordance with Lomond’s iPad policy, an AirWatch profile is in place from 8am-5pm. This profile restricts access to inappropriate content and blocks social apps, such as Siri and Facetime – distractions when students should be focusing on schoolwork. The school decided to apply a time based profile rather than geofencing because students live very close to the school.
Students and teachers access iPads using their IT username that has been batch-uploaded from the school’s Microsoft server. The AirWatch Agent enables Morrison to manage devices, push recommended apps to iPads and send app update notifications.

Lomond School´s teachers can suggest apps for their subject or year group to Morrison, so the school can purchase them through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. "Students are thrilled to use tablets and our faculty loves that we are providing an educational experience using modern technology." says Morrison.



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