IT | Security

How Distance Learning Has Forever Changed Education IT

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 1/28/2021 | 4 min read

Even before COVID-19, education IT had a steep hill to climb when it came to enabling and securing distance learning environments for students and teachers. But the onset of the pandemic last year brought widespread school closures that sent students, teachers, staff, and devices home, whether IT was prepared to support a remote learning model or not. Now well into the school year’s second semester of this new operating mode for most K-12 districts in the U.S., IT teams have certainly made progress… but the struggles remain very real.

In a recent webinar, Absolute education expert, Surita Bains, and data scientist, Dave Mundo, took a look at how distance learning has impacted education IT – summarized in topical video snippets below.

Growing device dependency

In the not-so-distant past, there was much discussion about whether mobile devices would actually be used by students for learning. While perhaps an understandable debate while students were still in the classroom, the benefits of having access to these devices in a remote learning model seem to far outweigh the concerns. Absolute research shows students not only rely on them heavily, but also increasingly find value in these devices – we’ve seen a 61 percent increase in device usage and a 141 percent increase in the use of collaboration apps.

Shining a light on dark devices

Today, the question is no longer will devices get used, but rather how to ensure devices remain under IT management and control, even when they are off the district network. In the second half of the last school year, 20 percent of education devices went ‘dark.’ This has since grown to 36 percent, underscoring that missing devices are a big, costly problem.

How can your IT team maintain an always-on connection with those devices to manage and secure them? Geo-fencing has proven itself to be a key tool in this effort. IT is able to establish a ‘safe zone’ for devices, with an automatic flag to the district when it travels outside of those permitted boundaries.

The challenges brought on by distance learning have forever changed how education IT operates, and remote learning – in some form - is very likely here to stay. Learn more about what that looks like today by viewing our full Playlist. All findings are based on the Absolute Endpoint Resilience Report Education Edition 2020|2021, which is available for download now.

To see how Absolute supports education manage and secure devices and data with a persistent, undeletable connection to every Chromebook, PC and Mac, visit our education solution webpage.

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