Integration of technology in classrooms has been accepted with a lot of eagerness by educational institutes with an expectation to improve quality of student interaction and engagement within the classroom. This has also led to the widespread popularity of computer labs. Computer-aided instructional models and methods have rapidly transformed the mode and form of learning, fostering increased student participation, and enhanced engagement both with peers and instructors.
As ubiquitous as computers are in the modern educational structure, they need to be effectively managed and maintained to aid teachers in conducting hands-on engaging activities within classroom premises. With the presence of multiple labs and various machines running on different Operating Systems (OS), computer lab management can be an extremely challenging task for network administrators.
Computer Lab Management: Conflicts and Challenges Faced by IT Professionals
Provided with unrestricted access to lab machines and the internet, it is easy for the students to download software from unverified sources, or remove necessary applications from the system. This makes the lab machines increasingly vulnerable to malware and other sophisticated attacks that can jeopardize the security framework of the entire school/college network. Unmonitored use can also amount to altered or tampered configuration which can weaken the integrity of systems and affect their performance. Colleges and universities have multiple sessions scheduled at computer labs which require network managers to customize configuration settings and establish grade-specific lab setups. Accidental changes in lab configurations prevent teachers from running sessions smoothly, owing to major inconvenience and frequent downtime.
Campus IT teams often run short of sufficient manpower to respond quickly to such issues. Designing and maintaining labs as per the ever-changing teaching plans becomes a difficult task to accomplish for IT teams. When a system issue occurs, they have to physically travel to the lab, diagnose the issue, and then fix it. This can significantly hamper the teaching and learning process causing prolonged downtime. If not equipped with appropriate tools, campus IT teams have to devote a lot of time on fixing trivial issues, which in turn, hinders productivity.
To cater to the ever-growing demand for educational technology, IT managers need to take recourse to classroom management software that can provide a bird-eye view of all devices without much effort. Classroom monitoring software can also ease the job of maintaining different computer labs helping IT professionals ensure peak functionality of each lab machine.
How Can Classroom Management Software Solution Help Manage Multiple Labs?
A robust classroom management solution can be beneficial to teachers and IT administrators alike. Classroom management software can empower IT staff to customize and maintain classroom devices and lab machines remotely, thus helping them to always stay in control of their IT assets. Such student monitoring software can be extremely useful for IT admins looking to manage a variety of computers within a classroom environment.
Here’s how a classroom management software can simplify the job of computer lab management for the network administrators:
Providing Remote Assistance to both teachers and Students
An effective classroom monitoring software makes it easy for the network administrators to provide instant IT assistance to both teachers and students. It establishes direct communication channels between teachers and IT administrators. This aids teachers to seek direct support, even when the IT personnel is physically not present. Thus, there remains no requirement of raising a service ticket seeking assistance. Such a convenient feature greatly accelerates the pace of the technical support and help IT admins reclaim any lost time.
With a classroom management solution in place, seeking one-to-one assistance from the IT team becomes an instantaneous and convenient process for both teachers and students. When encountered with a problem, students can seek help directly from their own workstations. Class management software provides IT professionals the ability to remotely control any device for resolving any system-related issues promptly without the need to pause the ongoing lesson. This helps teachers to proceed through with their coursework seamlessly without much or zero interruptions. The remote accessibility also aids campus IT teams to perform common desktop management tasks from a convenient location.
Monitoring the Web and Application Usage Patterns of Students
Without necessary supervision by mentors or IT team, students can download applications that consume high network bandwidth, or browse websites that are inappropriate for their grade. Monitoring the pace and nature of technology utilization in each class, therefore, becomes an important task for IT managers.
With the aid of a classroom management software solution, IT managers can keep track on which websites/applications are being accessed by each student. They can capture and record relevant information for all students such as last website visits and the number of applications in use. This detailed report aids them to understand how technology is being used in each classroom and take proactive measures to ensure fair usage. If necessary, they can also share the result with the teaching staff and come to a collective decision that is of interest for the whole class.
Protecting the IT assets Within An Institute
A digital classroom or computer lab needs a specific setup with a highly customized software and hardware inventory aligned with the security standard of the educational institute. IT teams need to constantly keep track on this inventory to ensure smooth functioning of the devices.
A classroom monitoring software aids IT professionals to review important summary information related to the inventory and monitor the number of installed software on each device. Once the baseline is determined, they can get health reports from authorized OS vendors (such as Microsoft and Apple), to determine if the current OS needs to upgrade. Tracking hardware components also become an easy task. This enables the campus IT team to understand whether the machines are running on the established baseline and what needs to be done to keep up their proper functionality.
A class management software also enables IT personnel to monitor the status of firewall and antivirus solutions on all workstations and update them as per requirements. IT teams can also disable removable storage devices, such as CD media or USB thumb drives, to prevent students from transferring anything from/to classroom computers. This strengthens the security and integrity of the system configuration.
IT managers can choose to install as well as distribute relevant software packages on all targeted workstations from any central location. A student monitoring software also allows for a detailed report that provides IT managers with pertinent and real-time information regarding the deployment, downloading, and installation of the package.
The contribution of a classroom management software solution to facilitating a digital learning environment cannot be stressed enough. By providing network managers with necessary control on classroom devices and IT assets, it can bring higher collaboration and engagement into the classrooms and maximize instructional time. Effective class monitoring solution can aid campus IT staff in improving the technology used by both students and teachers, and in managing computer labs across multiple classrooms and labs with efficiency.