It’s National Online Learning Day, How Are We Doing?

By: Warren Young | 9/15/2022 | 3 min read

The Coronavirus pandemic forced swift and unexpected change to 1:1 learning programs starting in 2020 and, while faculty, staff and students demonstrated great resilience and adapted to remote learning, the sudden shift was less than ideal. This year’s back to school season looks more ‘normal’ than it has in the last few years. While most classrooms are back in-person, it’s important to note that how students learn today is now a choice.

September 15 is National Online Learning Day, making it the perfect opportunity to take a look at new research on the continuing remote learning trends.

More devices, heavier usage

Research from the EdWeek Research Center shows that by March 2021, 90 percent of school district leaders said they were providing a device for every student and 84 percent said the same for elementary students. Leveraging anonymized data from over 10,000 schools and districts, the 2021/2022 Absolute Endpoint Risk Report: Education Edition further demonstrates how distance learning has been fully embraced. Among Absolute education customers, between the fall of 2019 to the spring of 2021, online activity increased by 39 percent, while over the same period the number of devices used heavily (four to eight hours daily) more than doubled.

We are now starting to see the implications of these 1:1 programs and therefore, have better insight for lessons learned. For example, a February 2022 study from EdWeek Research Center asked district leaders and teachers about the challenges created by new education technology. The top ranked challenge is students being distracted by one technology while using another, according to 60 percent of respondents. 59 percent say it’s parents who struggle to help students use technology at home. These new issues are of course in addition to ensuring students have the access to the home internet services required for consistent participation. Just 27 percent of districts report 100 percent of their students have this access, while the remaining 73 percent continue to report access gaps.

Growing cybersecurity risks

When it comes to cyberattacks, students are the most susceptible, unfortunately. In most organizations, and even school districts, staff likely receive at least occasional “phishing tests” or other requirements for security. Students have these learning opportunities far less often – even if they are the ones more likely to be targeted with these phishing scams and suspicious links. And while schools can take every precaution in terms of ad-blockers, restricted websites, and patching updates, students are quickly learning how to maneuver these safeguards.

Luckily, in many places, school curriculums continue to evolve and incorporate important developments. In an ideal setting, schools would implement cybersecurity training across the board, from students, to teachers, to parents.

Absolute Web Usage

As we work through these challenges and prepare for whatever else the future may bring, we know technology will continue to play a critical and growing role in the modern classroom. Online learning is here to stay, at least in some form. Understanding how to take advantage of these technologies and streamline online activity and device usage is necessary to optimize the educational experience and, for administrators everywhere, justify their current and future plans for technology investments.

Absolute Web Usage gives education IT teams valuable insights to assure that students have access to the learning tools they need. Importantly, it allows them to identify security control failures and keep students, faculty, and staff safe. To learn how schools can benefit from using Absolute Web Usage Analytics, see the story of Duarte Unified School District, which successfully deployed the solution to rapidly stand up, monitor, manage, and measure their distance learning program.

Absolute Device Reclamation

Absolute is also a key partner for thousands of schools when it comes to tracking down devices and ensuring they are returned when students are finished with them. With Absolute, administrators can manage their entire device inventory at a glance, send out automated reminders and notifications, and alert teams about any potential security threats and/or unusual device movement.

In the event a device isn't returned on time, IT can lock, freeze, and even wipe devices remotely, and use precise geolocation data to track and retrieve missing devices. For more on streamlining device collection and minimizing loss in your 1:1 program, visit our site.

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