3 Critical Shifts Transforming the Education IT Landscape

By: Christy Wyatt | 7/7/2021 | 3 min read

Last year, the world changed as companies sent employees to work from home and schools adopted full-time online learning programs. In the interest of public health, organizations of all types had to evolve their service delivery models seemingly overnight. With the rollout of vaccines, life is slowly starting to return to more familiar times yet most agree, normal has a new look.

One of the industries the pandemic hit hardest is K-12 education. Schools weren’t prepared for schoolwide distance learning and the adjustment was (and continues to be) challenging for students, teachers, and families. Going from some laptops stashed on a shared cart housed in the resource center to a full 1:1 device program across thousands of students was the required rapid shift for many schools. Even the districts that were better equipped with technology continue to struggle with a lack of visibility into school-owned device location and student usage.

Since the start of COVID, schools have become dependent on technology. Pre-pandemic, Absolute research shows students in schools with 1:1 programs relied on their devices 2.8 hours per day. In the following school year, students spent an average of 6.1 hours per day – an increase of 158%. Over the last year, we’ve also seen an 200% increase in the use of collaboration apps. With this growing reliance, we see 3 structural industry shifts that will continue to impact education in the school years to come.

  • The education IT environment is increasingly complex.
  • The mix and velocity of devices and platforms used continues to evolve.
  • School-owned devices are much more mobile.

1. Complexity

Historically, Education IT has not seen the scale in complexity that enterprise verticals deal with. Most schools still largely operated under a campus model with simplified school-network connectivity, a small number of applications, and they were primarily focused on learning use cases. Until now. Since the emergence of COVID, we have witnessed the complexity of the education environment increase dramatically. 

2. Velocity

The number of applications and versions Absolute education customers use has increased by 282% from a year ago.  At the same time, the mix, quantity and velocity of device types and platforms that are being supported has also accelerated. 

3. Mobility

And finally, the mobility of devices schools must manage has changed dramatically.  Many schools used to manage devices on carts that moved from classroom to classroom. Today, schools are now looking at technology deployments with Enterprise scale security challenges with students learning from home, on personal home networks, or even from another state or country. 

The combination of complexity, velocity, and mobility has fundamentally shifted and accelerated the Educational approach to IT and Security. Absolute has long served the education industry by supporting the management of this critical learning infrastructure. Our longstanding position in the education market is driven by our unique ability to provide an unbreakable digital connection to all devices, BIOS enabled management, and resiliency to education’s core applications. This is true both now, and after students and teachers are back in the classroom with more regularity.

The Anaheim Union High School in Anaheim, California was fortunate enough to have a 1:1 program already in place when the pandemic hit. But as every student, teacher, and staff member had to shift to remote learning, an additional 7,000 devices had to be purchased quickly. In total, more than 30,000 devices are now successfully tracked, monitored, managed, and secured by the school’s IT team using Absolute.

If nothing else, the pandemic has taught us the only thing certain is uncertainty. While no one can say for sure what the future of K-12 education looks like, it’s safe to assume technology will remain a critical learning aide. An undeletable digital tether to every device, no matter where it goes, is more important than ever.

 

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