Technology is becoming ever-more core to the educational experience, with teachers and students alike relying on rich media, deep data and analytics and cloud delivery to drive better educational outcomes.
At the same time, education has a specific set of requirements of IT that differentiate it from other verticals. Resilience and true all-day computing is required, as is massive scale as every student and teacher in every classroom needs to be working simultaneously. Security is also paramount and, increasingly, the delivery of truly rich media experiences puts additional pressure on the processors, requiring more powerful computing power than ever.
As Gartner noted in its report on the current global trends in education: “This year, the ‘hybrid world’ trend is refined to the more specific ‘digital learning environments,’ reflecting the need to think in multiple dimensions about how, when and where learning takes place. These changes include not only new additions to classroom technologies, but also those that enable this level of flexibility required to deliver instruction under nearly any conditions.”
Intel is placing the vPro platform at the centre of its efforts to address the challenges and opportunities ahead in education. There are five areas that this platform’s features will be appealing to educators in the months and years ahead:
- Blended learning: The rich media experience of the classroom is going well beyond video, audio and text. The blending of these more traditional media formats with emerging formats such as VR and AR is going to put additional stress on the raw power of the processors, with the vPro platform providing a boost to the device’s ability to handle that.
Furthermore, AI is becoming increasingly important to the learning experience. Intel, in collaboration with the University of South Australia and meldCX, recently demonstrated what that might look like with the AI Playground, giving students a safe space to experiment with and explore AI. This too requires far more powerful base computing availability to enable within the learning environment.
- Management: Schools are environments that involve a lot of devices, and a consistency of experience across the entire facility will be essential in ensuring that the technology doesn’t become disruptive to the learning experience. The vPro platform includes the capability to activate, configure and manage devices, with remote management capabilities, meaning that the school, or it’s managed services provider, can deliver that consistent experience across the whole campus.
- Security: With so many touchpoints on the network, education faces an uphill battle on security. Late last year there was the example of Newcastle Grammar School, which was infected with a virus that encrypted the entire network, compromising the data of over 900 staff and students. Further data loss meant end-of-year exams and reports needed to be re-written, and considerable expense needed to go into recovering and rebuilding systems.
The vPro platform includes hardware-level security features that provide advanced threat detection and response capabilities, minimising the attack surface across the school network and helping to ensure that vPro-powered devices are less vulnerable in the event that the network does come under attack.
- Stability: One of the challenges facing schools is the wide range of devices that are on networks, with a massive number of software configurations. Driver incompatibilities across the school network make overall management difficult. To help the IT managers grapple with this, Intel has produced the Stable IT Platform Program (SIPP) as part of the Intel vPro platform. Key to this is a validation program that aims for no hardware changes within the typical buying cycle (15 months/until the next generational release), which Intel then works with key partners to deliver.
- Educating the Educators: Helping educators in understanding how to best leverage the technology available to them is going to be essential in maximising the opportunities that platforms such as vPro bring to the sector. With this in mind, Intel has developed the Skills for Innovation (SFI) program designed to help plan, experience, train and deploy technology-supported learning models across the education system.
While events over the past three years have brought unprecedented disruption to education systems, the response – which was to embrace technology, remote learning, and new content delivery mechanisms – has now become an opportunity. With the right technology solutions in place, that allow for a consistency and resilience to computing on and off-campus, students will be able to enjoy the benefits of an expanded, deeper, and richer use of technology to enhance their learning.
For more information on vPro, click here.