Few aspects of our lives are left unchanged by the current wave of digital technologies. Our cars, our fridges, and in some cases even our pets are connected. It is hard however to imagine anywhere the change has been more profound than in Education. Schools and universities are striving to use technology to access new learning opportunities and to equip students ready for jobs that don’t yet exist. To do that, students need the right devices.
Initially, schools provided devices; first desktops and then laptops and tablets. But as technology became more pervasive in classrooms and beyond, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) became a growing trend. BYOD – or parent-owned device schemes – give students one-on-one access to a device they use at school and for homework.
BYOD enhances the freedom for students to enter the world of anytime, anywhere learning but without close management, it presents some challenges. In many cases school, IT departments are left supporting a broad range of devices, and more affluent students are given a head start beyond those from lower socio-economic groups.
Managed BYOD programs have emerged to address these challenges and parents taking advantage of Stott Hoare’s BYOD programme have three key reasons for doing so:
A key aim of educators is to create an environment in which all students can reach their full potential. This is very difficult to achieve when students are equipped with drastically different devices. With a BYOD scheme, the school can approve a range of devices for parents to select the most suitable product. Each device is suitable for the work the student needs to perform and is supported by the school’s IT resources. Payment schemes can be made available so that parents don’t have to be faced with a considerable up-front cost. Everyone has their own machine for school work and homework.
When schools provide devices, they are responsible for the entire support burden. This places a strain on often limited IT resources, and there may be little time left over for introducing new learning programmes and services. BYOD involving many devices with different specifications and operating systems make for a heavy IT support load, but the right BYOD program saves a lot of time and allows focus to shift onto the many new educational opportunities that are emerging. Available services vary but may include all purchasing administration, preloading software, device preparation and delivery, help-desk support, fast response warranty, security and all the essentials that you would otherwise provide yourself. In many cases, we provide additional support services and parent information so that families are confidently able to select and use their device, and can stay safe and secure when connected to the Internet
Putting together the buying power of many schools and families makes a more attractive proposition for manufacturers such as Lenovo, which means we can negotiate a special Education price for our customers. Our device specialists focus solely on selecting the most suitable products in consultation with Lenovo engineers thus delivering significant experience to the decision making process. Their job is to find the best devices and options to meet each school’s needs, and each school’s and parent’s budgets, provide competitive pricing and present device and service recommendations. Access to superior buying power and low-cost finance gives all families a similar opportunity to afford the best devices for their children.
Every school has its own unique culture. We have learned how this translates to different device preferences. Some have a very clear definition of their objectives; others require more guidance and information. Working so closely with the Education sector has taught us that one size does not fit all. It is, though, a part of our business we feel especially passionate about, and we enjoy seeing the many ways our customers use technology to start the next generation on an exciting journey.
Time to get increased buying power and professional support? Stott Hoare applies IT knowledge to improve educational outcomes. Contact our friendly Education team today.