In October of 2009 we took our first step into deployment and management of iOS devices in the educational field.
What began with 20 iPod Touches has grown to over a thousand devices (we’re a mixed house, but lean pretty heavy toward the iPad) and during this short period, we’ve learned a quite a bit in terms of deployment, management and utilization in the classroom.
When sitting down to document our work, it became clear how much ground we’ve actually covered; so we thought we’d share our successes as well as mistakes.Hopefully, this will help some of you enjoy the former while avoiding the latter.
We'll do out best to cover all aspects of introducing, maintaining, and using these devices in a range of settings; one to one, shared resource for a class or even for an entire school. For the most part, Randy will talk education and I (Thom) will talk shop; those lines get a bit blurry when it comes to management, however as a hands on approach is often needed in the classroom.
So, that's it: the obligatory introduction, at least until something better comes along. Browse around and come back often. We'll be expanding regularly.
In the previous article, I described a method for grouping and managing iDevices using JAMF’s Casper Suite. In this article, I’d like to focus on managing VPP purchased apps.
For those that remember the early days of iOS management, the sense of trepidation over the pervasive “buy once and install anywhere” is, most likely, still plaguing you. Apple’s announcement of the VPP program promised to ease concerns of future audits and properly address accountability; but the program itself is marred by Apple’s new “software as pens” philosophy. [If you haven’t heard this analogy, you will soon enough.]
Things are off to a slow start here at iPads in School. It doesn't require much examination to realize how scant updates have been. Unfortunately, that's mostly due to the fact that both sides of the house are immersed in our respective projects.
Since summer, my primary focus has been iOS management in the field -- which, according to Apple, we're doing wrong. Apple's vision of device management is somewhat of a utopian landscape where everyone has an iPad in their hand and an iPhone on their belt; and that's a great vision when you're selling devices. It is not, however, the reality of a public school district with over fifty schools, budget constraints and ravenous desire for iOS devices to be close at hand.
In fairness to Apple, K-12 as an enterprise customer isn’t the same animal it was ten years ago. The overall model of computers and users is in a state of flux and I don’t believe that the view of labs, carts works with their current pursuits. For those of us in the trenches (or entrenched as the case may be), we can’t simply change a management model due to a vendor’s philosophy.
Simply put, in our environment, iOS devices (much like Macs and Windows boxes) are district property and they must be deployed and managed in a manner that supports that view.
If you are in need of doing it 'wrong' as well, perhaps this might help.