Future Workplace at School

March 18, 2020 / by Steffen Schwerdtfeger

Our Future Workplace Client is already used by more than 200,000 users for their daily work, and our customers rely on cloud management and modern working environments. How is the concept actually suitable for schools? Very well indeed - as the Neuffen secondary school shows with its tablet classes. Find out how the Microsoft cloud is revolutionizing digital learning and making device management scalable and flexible at the same time.

Our 100% cloud strategy points the way to the future and says goodbye to maintenance-intensive local or hybrid IT environments. It is precisely this change in strategy that we are presenting to our customers and assisting them in their transition to this new world. In the 2016/2017 school year, the Neuffen secondary school also faced the question of choosing an administration environment for the new tablet classes: classic on-premises or cloud-based. The decision to use Intune - part of the Microsoft Endpoint Manager - was made.

A few details about the project in advance: In a pilot test lasting a couple of years, the Neuffen secondary school is equipping complete classes with convertible tablets. Started in the school year 2016/2017, a second tablet class followed in 2018/2019 and a third one in this school year (2019/2020). Students in the eighth grade will be given their own tablet, which they can use at school and at home until they graduate - similar to the mobile devices used by employees in a company. The school consciously decided against a “suitcase solution” in which tablets are only used occasionally in certain teaching units.This is the only way that the students learn how to use new media in a sustainable way and then use them sensibly. Their everyday use also prepares them well for their later professional life. Thanks to the digital pen, handwriting is not neglected and the students continue to use their notebooks - only digitally. Anyone who has forgotten their tablet at home or has not loaded it sufficiently can still participate with pen and paper as normal: The tablet serves as a supplement to normal lessons. An optimal mix of digital and analogue - one of the basics of the tablet concept at the Neuffen secondary school. The Windows 10 operated devices are equipped with various apps and the latest Office applications. E-mail, calendar, Teams, OneDrive and Co. are used for communication and file exchange. Various web-based learning offers and possibilities for collaboration (e.g. whiteboard) round up the classes effectively. The first tablet class has already successfully completed its graduation.

Thanks to the digital pen, handwriting is not neglected Thanks to the digital pen, handwriting is not neglected

As mentioned in the beginning, the Neuffen secondary school decided to use Intune respectively the Future Workplace concept to manage the tablets. With good reason: While companies of comparable size have their own IT departments or employ heavily booked IT consultants, the situation at schools is usually different. Often the IT is in the hands of teachers who look after the school network and the like in addition to normal classes. There is simply a lack of resources to keep highly complex IT systems up and running - this is where the cloud comes in. Managing servers, applying patches and replacing hardware are all a thing of the past. While systems like Intune still need to be designed and managed, you can focus on the essentials and be fully scalable. The time-consuming planning and acquisition of hardware is eliminated.

The device management in detail: The tablets are put into operation together with the students and teachers. Thanks to AutoPilot directly in the branding of the school. After a short registration and the setup of MFA, the devices get the desired configuration and software or apps. Everything else is configured with various Intune profiles for teaching purposes. Thanks to Office 365 in the background, users have direct access to various services such as Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, the office applications and Teams. To ensure seamless operation, Azure AD, Windows Update for Business, Windows Hello, Delivery Optimization, Windows Defender and others also work under the hood. In a very short time, the devices are ready for use in the classroom. From now on the tablets can be updated and maintained centrally. Further complex software packages are installed thanks to Glück and Kanja’s RealmJoin. Support can also be easily provided by means of our integrated LAPS and remote maintenance solution.

The school has already recognised that this concept has even more potential. Now the normal school network with the pool rooms and all other clients will be onboarded to the new administration. Thanks to the almost infinite scalability of Microsoft Endpoint Management, there is no limit to what can be done.

As part of the school’s closure to curb the proliferation of COVID-19, students in the tablet classes will receive remote teaching with Microsoft Teams in specific subjects through videoconferencing, document sharing, and assignment delivery.

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