Have you upgraded your school device management system to support the latest trends in your district’s device usage? Do you even have a system for managing devices in your school? How schools and districts manage devices can impact how smoothly your school year runs. There are lots of decisions that are made at the beginning of the school year that impact the year ahead. Making smart decisions around device management is essential.
Regular readers of the blog might remember how I featured VIZOR earlier this year. Today I’m excited to share some of their big updates for back-to-school designed to help you simplify device management. Does your school hand a Chromebook to every student, an iPad to every first grader, or distribute a bundle of devices to each teacher in your building? Then you’ll want to check out the dozens of updates VIZOR has released this year.
Let’s take a look at how to upgrade your school device management!
What’s New in Device Management for Schools
There have been major shifts in recent years to the ways devices are provisioned, maintained, and utilized in schools. You might have observed these changes in your own learning environment, too. Perhaps you were part of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model in the past. Or maybe your school has just made the change to more one-to-one classrooms where students use the same device each day or take one home with them a few days a week.
Tools like VIZOR can reduce workload by supporting how IT departments and building leaders tackle school device management. They have defined and automated the very best practices for managing devices – like Chromebooks, Surface tablets, iPads, and more – with over a decade of experience working with school districts.
The latest VIZOR release reflects these shifts in three big categories: Inventory, Automation, and Repairs. With these updates, VIZOR can help districts keep an accurate inventory, reduce workload with automations, and streamline the management of device repairs.
3 Ways to Upgrade Your School Device Management
If you listen to my Easy EdTech Podcast, you might have caught this conversation with Dean Bates and Jeff Lalonde from VIZOR. We spoke about how districts can transform managing devices in schools, including automating workflows, establishing accurate inventory, setting up repair policies, and more. You can listen to the full conversation below or find it on your favorite podcast app. These links will take you to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
Let’s take a look at three ways to upgrade school device management!
Accurate Centralized Inventory
Keeping one set of information accurate and updated is often a challenge in busy schools and districts. This is certainly true when it comes to keeping track of devices and even tracking funding sources. Some schools (maybe yours) manage devices in separate systems. For example, there might be one place for keeping track of Chromebooks, another system for iPads, and additional spreadsheets with their other IT assets like projectors and smartboards.
To help address this challenge, VIZOR has added two new integrations. One is for Microsoft Intune, and the other is for Jamf. This update provides districts with a single unified view of their entire device inventory complementing existing integrations with Google for managing Chromebooks. VIZOR has also made it easier for schools and staff to upload spreadsheets containing asset data directly into VIZOR. This way, you don’t have to start from scratch but instead can upgrade your routine.
Another challenge your district might face is keeping the data you do have about devices accurate. In the new release from VIZOR, they have streamlined the barcoding check-in and check-out interface for distributing devices to students. There is now a bulk device check-in where hundreds of devices can be checked in at one time, as well as asset bundles. With asset bundles, you can distribute multiple assets at one time to students – such as kits containing microphones, tripods, and cameras.
K-12 Workflow Automations
If you’ve followed along with the blog or podcast for the past decade (or even just the past few years), then you know I love to work smarter, not harder. This includes using automations during different parts of my day. When it comes to ways to upgrade your school device management, this is a great place to start.
In this new release, VIZOR has implemented a new rule engine to help districts enforce and automate their policies. For schools with lean IT teams, this automation can be a game-changer. With this new feature, districts can set up rules that trigger actions. So if they say there is a limit on the number of devices one student can have at a given time, they will receive an alert if someone tries to issue that student a new device.
The team at VIZOR has also extended existing functionality in the platform. For example, districts can establish policies to automatically disable Chromebooks of a certain model. This can come in handy if a security concern exists for a specific device. You can also set up automation for power washing devices – powerwash is Google’s term for factory resetting a device. VIZOR can now automate device power washes, for example, when a loaner device is returned, placing it into a clean state for the next user.
Whether you are in a classroom every day with students or in charge of school device management, you know that Device repairs are costly. Managing these repairs can take up lots of time at the school and district level as you sort through who needs a new device, who is responsible for fixing devices, and where each device is located.
As part of the new release, VIZOR now manages the parts used to repair devices. This includes tracking specific parts needed for a repair, such as replacement screens and keyboards, and the cost of those parts.
Schools can also break down their repair expenditures using the VIZOR platform by labor, parts, and service. This is an excellent tool for budgeting or managing payments families might make to repair a device. To take it one step further, VIZOR has even made it easier for schools to collect repair fees with a new Fees API and integration with the payment solution, InTouch.
Next Steps for School Device Management
VIZOR “Crescent” is a massive new release from their team with over 60 new features. The latest VIZOR release tackles three big categories of Inventory, Automation, and Repairs, along with dozens of other features. In the new release, you’ll see how VIZOR supports several new user interfaces and navigation functions, increasing usability. There is a new reporting functionality with persistent queries, PowerBI support, and data export to Google Drive, too.
Ready to upgrade your school device management? To learn more about getting started with VIZOR, visit vizor.cloud/monica. After you schedule a demo call, make sure to mention a special promotion for ClassTechTips readers of up to 20% off.
Find more posts featuring VIZOR:
- What’s New for Managing Devices in Schools – Bonus Episode with VIZOR
- Must-Try Tips for One-to-One Chromebook Management – Bonus Episode with VIZOR
- How to Get Devices Back From Students
- 5 Reasons Why IT Asset Management is Essential for K-12 Schools
- 3 Top Tips for Educators Managing Chromebooks
- Simplifying Chromebook Management for K-12 School Districts