One of the most common discussions I have with education customers, both in K-12 and Higher Education, along with our partners, is around the easiest pathways to mass scale device deployments. As the COVID19 pandemic continues to impact schooling, many students are in remote/hybrid learning scenarios and require devices to support their learning. Consequently, traditional models of deployment need to be reconsidered as devices are often needing to be shipped directly to teachers and students who may be in various levels of lockdown, there may be a mixture of institution and personally only devices needing management and of course a pressing concern to ensure the devices are secure and compliant.
With that background, I was thrilled to see a recent LinkedIn post from my colleague Ovi Barceló Hernández where he shared a real life, very personal example of “practicing what you preach” as he recorded his 8yr old son unboxing and self-deploying his new school Windows 10 device:
As always, I encourage you to read the full original post, but the key take away was his 8yr old son could easily deploy his device for learning, straight from the sealed box from the manufacturer and within minutes end up with:
- A full zero-touch deployment of Windows 10 EDU, already secured
- A deployment of all the needed software (now we have Notepad ++, Minecraft: Education Edition, Scratch, Chrome, Lego WeDo, Paint.Net, VLC Player, 7-Zip, Publisher apps, and, of course M365 Apps)
- A completely managed device, end to end, with full control on updates
- All in a 4/128 device!! 78GB still available after everything I mentioned here.
Aside from dispelling myths around the challenges of deploying Windows in education, Ovi’s son was able to independently prepare his device for learning and gain new skills and a sense of ownership from being part of the preparation of his device for learning during this period of remote and hybrid teaching.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to do this, we have created interactive, click-through guided demos of many of the required tools, including the Windows for AutoPilot and Intune for Education platforms to enable this. I’ve collated all of these videos in this blog post here but will specifically link to:
- Windows AutoPilot in Education
- Deployment Settings for Intune for Education
- Advanced: Deploying Enterprise Wifi and Win32 Apps with Endpoint Manager
I particularly like the above video because it demonstrates genuine options around end user self-deployment allowing both schools and deployment IT partners to save money on what has historically been a costly and time/labour intensive part of the deployment process. This is outlined in the following infographic:
If you are wondering what is required to achieve the same outcomes, the base line solutions to seamlessly allow end user self-deployment like Ovi’s son achieved would be:
- Windows 10 Pro Education OS on your Windows device (available via Shape the Future program)
- Windows AutoPilot – this enables the device registration to the school institute and the appropriate deployment profile to be pushed to the device based on the end user persona (teacher/student/admin etc)
- Intune for Education – the MDM to allow the ongoing management of the device and ‘over the air’ deployment of apps, settings and security policy updates.
Not Just For Education…
If you’re reading this and thinking this solution is just for education, then think again! It’s widely used in many organisations now and when I saw Ovi’s post above, it reminded me of one from my NZ based colleague Ben Brown when he posted the following question!
IT people, why are you still imaging devices?? 💻 A real world example of why autopilot + cloud ☁️managed devices just makes so much sense. Broken work laptop -> full work machine in <10 minutes 🎉Ben Brown – LinkedIn
Being the talented individual he is, Ben created a time lapse of his re-deployment process from unboxing his new Surface, to deploying it via Windows AutoPilot and then submitting the return ticket for his broken device – all in under ten minutes!
These two examples are great because they’re real world examples of people who would likely both identify as “not super techy” IT Manager type individuals and yet, with the power of modern deployment technologies likes Windows AutoPilot and Intune, they were both able to quickly get themselves up and running with new devices in mere minutes.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this empowering of end users to ‘own the process’ both in terms of building their confidence that they could redeploy their existing device if it needed a full reset if something went wrong, or in the case of Ben, deploy a brand new replacement device if something more serious had happened.
For education leaders, this should prove the point that the pathway forward for large scale deployment of Windows devices is a modern management approach, freeing the IT team up for more important functions to the organisation than simply touching every device to prepare it for end users. If you are an IT Admin in a school and would like to know more about how to implement this process yourself, then check this link which has all the documentation you need:
If you have questions on this, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or in the comments section below!