BETT 2014: CSE Education Systems: meeting the challenges of BYOD and the Cloud

CSE Guest Post

CSE provides IT hardware, infrastructure, software and services to UK education establishments, and has done so for nearly 20 years. In that time, the pace of change in education has increased exponentially. Now BYOD, the Cloud, flipped teaching and classrooms, a proliferation of device types and systems all present new worlds of learning opportunities and challenges.

From our work in schools, we at CSE identified what we believe are the key deliverables needed to meet these challenges:

  • Anytime, anywhere, any device’ access to all the resources needed to teach, learn, and be productive. As a long-standing Microsoft® partner, we understand how vital it is for most education establishments that these include
  • Microsoft® Office applications
  • An ability to access files, resources, and apps, whether they reside locally or in the Cloud.
  • Accessibility, an engaging interface, and simple administration.

Aside from these, BYOD alone presents many practical issues. Who pays for devices? What work is it practical for students to carry out on different devices? And how do you guarantee security? All these questions have to be addressed, but this can be achieved relatively easily through good network management practice and clear school policies.

This still leaves the vital question of pedagogy: for schools, the most vital question of all. How do you teach a class using a myriad of device types – from smartphones to laptops – and half a dozen different operating systems, who need to access resources that may be hosted in the Cloud, or on the local network?

prev_MSC12_Erin_001How can your students access and save their work to appropriate locations, and even if they can, how can you instruct them when they may be using differing versions of applications (such as Microsoft® Office applications) to do so? If you’re planning to implement a flipped classroom, they’ll need to be able to access these resources from anywhere, any time as well – and this access needs to be secure.

As you’ll have gathered, we’ve created a solution designed to meet these needs: Magellan from CSE. It provides a responsive web desktop that enables your students (or groups of students that you assign) to open the same resources, files, and applications using Active Directory® credentials, and save their work to appropriate locations, irrespective of what device they are using. It’s completely device independent, providing single sign-on access to both locally-hosted and Cloud-hosted resources and acting as a reverse proxy to keep sensitive resources secure.

Perhaps most importantly, we’ve given education establishments autonomy over which resources they provide through the desktop, and to which users, so students and staff can work using the applications they need and save their work to suitable locations.

The aim is for education establishments to gain all the benefits of BYOD – including enhanced learning and user engagement, reduced equipment costs, and flipped classrooms – with far fewer complications. We’re launching Magellan at Bett 2014, so do come along to stand C340 and judge for yourself! We’ll be glad to meet you.
Stewart Priestley is an Engineer at CSE Education Systems

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