• Consumerisation of IT in Education

    Tim Bush from Microsoft has an interesting article about the consumerisation of IT in education at the Microsoft's UK Schools Blog which certainly has a slant about BYOT.
    Here is a snippet with amusing video:

    ----
    While looking through my Twitter feed this morning over a quick coffee, I came across a great Tweet from Mark Reynolds, a member of the education team here at Microsoft, with a link to an interesting video presenting some of the key drivers around the concept of the consumerisation of IT.



    Seemingly a ubiquitous term within the media and around the water cooler, consumerisation of IT is blurring the lines between how technology is used at home and within the workplace and the video does a nice job of presenting some of the current challenges faced by organisations and, more specifically, IT professionals in this rapidly changing IT landscape.

    What about within the education sector, though? How is the impact of the consumerisation of IT changing the way that IT is offered and managed within schools, colleges and universities?

    With the recent changes within the sector, such as budget cuts and the need for an increased focus on delivering superior student experience, making the call to embrace the consumerisation of IT louder than ever, how are you viewing this shift?
    -----
    Read the rest at Microsoft UK Schools Blog

    It does make you curious about the future, will BYOT lead the way with everyone eventually using their own laptops/devices in the school system or will we see a hybrid approach?
    Have you implemented BYOT and what challenges have you faced?
    Are the savings there or are the savings as important as providing access for users own devices?

    Discuss below

    copied with permission from Microsoft
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. SYNACK's Avatar
      SYNACK -
      Yackity, Yack :spew:. Thats what I have to say about that.Here's the actualities behind the marketing smoke.

      Welcome to the rubbishification of hardware, in consumer land your shiny gizmo can be somewhat reliable and fail in a couple of years or less forcing you to buy another one. This is good for profits of both the company and the landfill operators.

      You get the added benifits of selling to the seaguls of technology who will instincivly run for the nearest shiny object and try to eat it or mate with it. Unjaded by years of dealing with marketing BS from 'insert cool tech company here' you get to make the same mistakes all over again hundreds or thousands of times depending on your organisation.

      Support is another epic oppertunity for a headache as you now need to make sure that you know how to use and support (to a certain extent) a metric fornification tonn of different brands and models of hardware and hope that they are secure. You know the user is not going to be taking responcibility for their latest shiney, shiney blabbing private data over the internet, nope its you.

      Won't it be fun to have to keep up with security bulitins for hundreds of different devices and have to ask the user nicely to 'borrow' their device to back up and upgrade it to prevent 'latest security threat here' from taking a big painful bite of your behind.

      Consumerisation is the victory of the marketing department over rationality and we will all be drinking Brawndo before they are done. Cudoes to them.
    1. Dos_Box's Avatar
      Dos_Box -
      I have to disagree somewhat there. My last post was supporting 30 users in just such an environment, and rarely was the hardware an issue. All problems mainly revolved around OS issues (evertything from XP/Vista to Mac kit. Each user was free to choose whatever kit they required to do their job, from laptops to mobile phones. Most managemnt tasks were helped by using good network management software, in this case NetSupport DNA, and more companies are either making management products which cover multiple platforms enabling easy management and reporting all round, and with the increase in cloud based apps/services it is no longer the device doing the work, mearly providing the front end.
    1. SYNACK's Avatar
      SYNACK -
      I have questions, what kinds of things were put in place to manage expectations and what kind of restrictions were put on devices, surely there would still be a list of ones that work with the managment stuff and what kind of additional cost and overhead did the managment software involve?
    1. Dos_Box's Avatar
      Dos_Box -
      NetSupport DNA was seat based and covered any client (clients were available for Windows and Linux and a remote contol client for Mac). I also note that LanSchool also has Windows, Mac and Linux clients and Impero is currently doing a beta for their Mac client.
      As for expectations and costs, the staff were free to install whatever software they required to do their jobs on any client, however I had control and management of the training suites, some 60 PC's in all. And I have to be honest here, once you have a modern stable OS installed, and a reliable base image to deploy actual problems were few and far between, mainly consisting of PEBKAC issues. Cost wise, as I said earlier, our clients were included with our NetSupport subscription and whist hardware and platforms would shift between users, we always had the same amount of seats in the centre so addition costs didn't really figure into it apart from the annual maintanance contract.
      To roll out a BYOT scheme in a school however I would have to suggest some steps are taken, and as an example if students wished to bring in their own laptops/netbooks and slates then at least the following would have to be considered:

      A decent high capacity managed wireless system in place, preferably with segregated networks if most school resources are cloud based.
      A minimum spec of 'supported' devices. For example an Windows laptop should run Vista SP2 with 2GB RAM, including what software and type of software they are NOT to have installed.
      Anti-virus and security software should be school controlled.
      Pupils made aware of their obligations to the security and well being of the school network and that their machines are now being 'monitored' by the school.

      I don't think that BYOT or allowing staff to choose what equipment they want to use is an impossibility, it just require a bit of though and some groundwork doing. If anyone out there runs such a scheme or allows staff to choose their won hardware then please let us know here how you go about it.
    1. SYNACK's Avatar
      SYNACK -
      That does sound limited in platforms for the time being, what about WebOS, Android, BB, OSX mobile etc and the assosiated complexities with them?

      Also if they own the hardware how do you enforce the removal of software that they may like, such as a file share program full of trojans. It is their hardware after all and they 'need it to do their job' so you'll need strong policies and support to enforce this especially if the offenders are high up the food chain.
    1. Dos_Box's Avatar
      Dos_Box -
      I suppose this is where the magic word 'cloud' comes into it's own. Many UK schools now have many or most of their services available over the net from centrally hosted resources when it comes to VLE, email and access to user areas. Ths, of course is not accross the board, but most schools are either now going down this route or have already done so. As regards to Android et al I can't answer for that as tablets had not yet (barring the early Windows ones) entered general use. perhaps other members can help out here?
    1. CyberNerd's Avatar
      CyberNerd -
      Our School 'embraced consumerisation' , although probably not in the way that MS are advertising it here.
      We installed Site wide Wifi, moved all our central document, email systems to google apps and used Moodle for educational apps.
      Traditional non-cloud legacy apps run over citrix (on ipads etc)

      Sixth form students are free to bring in any device they choose, and we no longer provide staff with laptops, instead they are encouraged to provide their own.

      We still maintain core services - the network, directory services etc but manage far fewer devices.
    1. Dos_Box's Avatar
      Dos_Box -
      Do you provide students with AV and other services, as I know some AV vendors allow you to install it to student devices. Also what is the method of support to users within school using their own devices like? Do you find an increase in support or at the same level as previously?
    1. CyberNerd's Avatar
      CyberNerd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
      Do you provide students with AV and other services, as I know some AV vendors allow you to install it to student devices. Also what is the method of support to users within school using their own devices like? Do you find an increase in support or at the same level as previously?
      No, AV is part of the AUP. We just firewall the student devices from the school network - everything they can access in school they can access over the internet.
      Doesn't stop viruses propagating from within the VLAN's, but it has never caused an issue to date.

      Support is generally less, we spend MUCH more time configuring iphones etc and citrix clients, but the overall effect is that everyone uses the same system (google docs) online through a browser so there is much less maintenance on PC's the browser (and ICA client) is the only thing they need.

      We do do still have ITSuites and desktops for teachers, it's not a total panacea but I would advocate this model.
    1. russdev's Avatar
      russdev -
      As said for past few years no one way in current situations we can keep up pace of spending on ICT. BYOD of course hit USA about 12 months ago and hitting UK in a big. Anecdotal evidence of Impero customers and other schools/colleges etc certainly proves that. However to be successful you do need some basic requirements..

      Regards

      Russell
    1. GrumbleDook's Avatar
      GrumbleDook -
      BYOD has been in the States for many years, just look at the projects in Maine with Apple which have been going on for nearly 10 years.
    1. Dos_Box's Avatar
      Dos_Box -
      Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
      BYOD has been in the States for many years, just look at the projects in Maine with Apple which have been going on for nearly 10 years.
      Is this just Apple kit Tony? If so, it's hardly BYOT if you are restricted just as to what devices you can actually turn up with.
    1. russdev's Avatar
      russdev -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
      Is this just Apple kit Tony? If so, it's hardly BYOT if you are restricted just as to what devices you can actually turn up with.
      In states you have had two programs the laptop for every student program which has been going for about 5-10 years this was state funded devices etc for every student and then for past 1 to 2 years there has been a move towards BYOD. The move towards BYOD has been mainly down to inability to keep the laptop for every student programs running due to cost.
    1. nephilim's Avatar
      nephilim -
      @GrumbleDook Maine were one of the first states to include the BYOT due to the inability to pay for all laptops for students. They realised the cost was just too great so they encouraged students to bring in their own kit.

      @Dos_Box no it is not just Macs, even though the vast majority of the kit there is Mac, the students are free to bring in whatever they have/can afford.

      On this note however, it is down to the parents to ensure the virus checkers etc are up to date, and down to the faculty staff to ensure the machines are used as required.
    1. Mr.Ben's Avatar
      Mr.Ben -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
      I don't think that BYOT or allowing staff to choose what equipment they want to use is an impossibility, it just require a bit of though and some groundwork doing. If anyone out there runs such a scheme or allows staff to choose their won hardware then please let us know here how you go about it.
      Could you run a scheme where individual departments can purchase the IT provision they require, as long as it is within a list of approved devices or through the IT department?. Then at least you could have some control over the devices?

      In respect to Students I support the idea of BYOT, we provide segregated access to the Internet using our wireless network, and this gives access to our VLE and other internet based resources. We still use MS Office within school, but students are taught to save in open formats that can be read across different programs.

      It is made clear to the parents that the school does not support these devices. However i am looking into providing a pay for service to correct problems.
    1. Arthur's Avatar
      Arthur -
      With BYOT, what happens with all of the expensive software the school has purchased in the past that cannot be installed on computers not owned/leased by the school? e.g. Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio, Logic Studio. Does it relegated to a Remote Desktop server, thrown out and/or replaced with inferior web-based alternatives?

      If Microsoft (and Intel) want to promote the use of BYOT and the consumerization of IT, why are they still artificially restricting their products based on the old home and work differentiators? Will future "home" editions of Windows include all of the features which are currently restricted to the Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate editions (such as domain joining, BitLocker, MUI packs etc.) and is Intel going to add support for features normally reserved for businesses to all of their processors/chipsets (AES-NI, vPro etc.)? Somehow I don't see this happening.
    1. CyberNerd's Avatar
      CyberNerd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
      With BYOT, what happens with all of the expensive software the school has purchased in the past that cannot be installed on computers not owned/leased by the school? e.g. Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio, Logic Studio. Does it relegated to a Remote Desktop server, thrown out and/or replaced with inferior web-based alternatives?
      As Russ suggested. there are prerequisites for the BYOT model, and one of these is to have a software procurement strategy that insists software is only purchased that fits the School/Colleges strategic vision (that software and services will run on a ubiquity of devices) . BYOT doesn't happen overnight so nothing really goes to waste, and there are situations (such as media depts) where BYOT isn't always going to work. We found that directing students to opensource software (such as lightworks, paint.net, blender) actually has a far more positive outcome as student are more likely to 'tinker' with the software at home, resulting in better marks.

      I don't think it matters so much that MS and intel are still crippling their 'non-corportate' lower range product, The BYOT is primarily a web-based model or one that allows users to choose their own productivity tools.
    1. nsethi's Avatar
      nsethi -
      There are several large scale deployments / pilots in schools where students bring their own netbooks/ notebooks to classroom. Check out netbooks.eun.org "Six countries are participating in the Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot in schools. Netbooks are a rapidly evolving category of small, light and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general computing and accessing web-based applications. The pilot is interested in exploring how the introduction of netbooks and one-to-one pedagogy in schools could change the processes involved in teaching and learning." It has detailed survey results of hundreds of teachers and thousands of students. Hard facts !
    1. Arthur's Avatar
      Arthur -
      Although not directly related to education, I thought this BYOT article in the New York Times a few days ago was an interesting read...

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/te...pagewanted=all
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