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September 13, 2022 by Mike Lawrence

Student empowerment: Amplifying student voices through technology

In this second entry in the Jamf School of Thought special series on end-user empowerment in education, learn how the Jamf Student app makes it easier for learners to access assigned content and to communicate flexibly and efficiently with teachers.

For schools that use Jamf mobile device management (MDM) solutions, one of the key benefits is the selection of end-user apps that allow stakeholders to take an active role in the learning process. In an earlier blog post, I detailed some of the ways that the Jamf Teacher app empowers educators. I’d like to shift focus in this second installment to the Jamf Student app and the role that it plays in helping students to find their content and, more importantly, to find their voices.

In terms of capabilities, Jamf Student app provides a direct link to its teacher- and parent-focused counterparts. A big part of what these apps do is to provide a layer of device management oversight to educators and parenting adults instead of putting the entire burden on IT; setting restrictions on their own devices is not part of students’ mandate, but Jamf Student can provide them the ability to perform some basic maintenance tasks on the hardware.

When configured for maximum functionality, students can use Jamf Student to download and install operating system updates, refresh the device, clear the passcode, take proctored exams, clear the activation lock or even wipe the device. But the day-to-day functionality of the app is more focused on making content readily available to students and providing multiple avenues for them to ask questions and engage in conversations with teachers.

Locating content in the library

Jamf Student features a library where users can locate and access the apps, books, documents and profiles that have been assigned to them. This is complementary to Jamf Teacher’s popular functionality allowing teachers to create and distribute lesson plans and assignments; the learning materials that teachers assemble are available through the library in Jamf Student. You can use this in tandem with a learning management system (LMS) or on its own; putting assigned readings and other content in one place where students can easily get to it is just the start, but it’s an important use for the app.

Two-way messaging with teachers

We generally don’t want students to message their friends and classmates when they’re supposed to be paying attention to a lesson or project, which is why the Jamf Teacher and Parent apps make it easy to disable the Messages app and social media apps during class times. But they do need to have open communication channels with educators, which is why Jamf Student offers multiple ways to exchange thoughts and pose questions. Different situational contexts and communication styles call for different ways of getting a teacher’s attention, and in a remote setting it’s not possible to gently reach out with eye contact or a cleared throat. So having flexible options for getting in touch is especially important in the technology-enhanced classroom.

The most basic means of chatting with a student is the message functionality shared between Jamf Student and Jamf Teacher. Students can read messages from their teachers, sent to the entirely class or to them individually, and they can deliver their own questions or observations either during or after class.

Asking for individual assistance

Sometimes a basic message isn’t the best way for a student to signal that they need assistance, which is why Jamf Student’s “Raise Hand” feature is a great resource for empowering them to ask for one-on-one help. When a student selects this action, the teacher receives a notification and can decide which method of answering is appropriate in the situation. They may choose to email back or send a message that the student can read in Jamf Student. If videoconferencing is a preferable way to iron out the issue, the teacher can create an invitation to an ad-hoc meeting, which the student can access from within Jamf Student.

One exciting thing that I’m sure we’ll see more of in time is the introduction of integrations with third-party apps that extend the functionality of Jamf Student and Jamf Teacher. For example, the digital whiteboard solution Explain Everything integrates with Jamf School in a way that students can benefit from via Jamf Student. When either the teacher or student initiates a message exchange that turns into a remote conference, the teacher can broadcast from Explain Everything to provide visual aids for explaining concepts. It’s simple for learners to ask for help, identify the problem and figure it out with the teacher, all from within the Jamf Student app!

While on the whole K-12 students are better equipped to adapt to new technology and teaching methods than their elders, I think that switching over rapidly to a more digital classroom the way so many of us have in the past few years is difficult for them too. That’s a big reason that I value Jamf Student for how it centers students’ ability to find their work and find their voice, reaching out and receiving assistance in the way that best fits their personality and the situation.

Request a free trial of Jamf School to see how it helps students step up and take an active role in their education.

Photo of Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence
Mike is an award-winning teacher, administrator and educational leader and was previously recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2003. He served as the CEO of CUE, expanding the nonprofit’s impact & helping the nonprofit grow fivefold in 12 years, served two terms on the ISTE board, and also directed the California Student Media Festival for a decade. He leads strategic learning and development initiatives worldwide at Jamf.
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