The technical side of BYOx

 

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Technician: Matthew Reid

It's changed things a little bit, we've had to take on-board a greater range of devices, so the complexity surrounding managing not only our NSSCF Windows fleet, we've also got Macs, Android, iPads, etc. It's changed the number and complexity of devices that we've got in the system.

As far as benefits go, for the students themselves being a device-agnostic system, they can bring something they're comfortable with using; they now have a greater choice as to software they're comfortable with using in the classroom and there is a greater ownership of that device so damages shouldn't happen as frequently because there should be greater care placed on that device being owned by themselves.

Problems? In the initial stages , we still have quite a few issues with the way the system is working. Just in regards to how many steps it takes to make a connection for the student. We know that's changing in the future so that's not something we're terribly concerned with at the moment but the issues surrounding devices, there's going to be issues with students damages, if there are any. The time it may take to be repaired by a third-party, whereas previously with NSSCF, it's quite a quick process.

We're now using certificate-based authentication and a transparent proxy which in the initial stages was a bit of a problem for some devices, It was a very manual setup, but now there's a lot of automation behind it so as far as getting the kids online and keeping that authentication alive so there's not as much entering of usernames and passwords through the process.

My role will probably change over the course of the next few years. There won't be so much technical support on a hardware level, I guess. My role will probably change to more services and management of those services, particularly online services. I think there'll be a lot more classroom support because it will largely be hands-off the device because the students will own them. We're not interested in managing those devices from a hardware level but managing the services we can provide to the students in order for them to get the best use of those devices in the classroom will be where my role moves to.

There are some concerns around how (the teachers) can present their existing lessons based on particular pieces of software. They will offer more online services and online variants of their software which will be device and platform agnostic. You can run it on whatever you like. But currently there's still that shift, that halfway point where we're stuck between using an existing piece of software that can only run on, say, Windows, to looking for pieces of software that will run on whatever platform we can provide or the students want to bring in and use.

 

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Last updated
20 January 2015