iPad Deployment Stage 1

After numerous discussions with the IT Team at school (Head of ICT, Year 2 teacher, Year 3 teacher and myself), the iPads arrived. They looked so pretty in their white boxes all 45 of them! While this is only a small amount for a school, my dreams are big and what I envisage is a 1:1 device ratio across the school. One thing I hadn’t accounted for was the hardware set up of each iPad. Each device had to have a screen protector (try keeping bubble out of that!) and a case. Labels had to be created and printed too for all the devices to distinguish them. My ideas for distribution (because we only have 45) look like this:

  • 10 – Year 1
  • 10 – Year 3
  • 12 – 1 for each class teacher
  • 1 – Library
  • 1 – Blue Sky (higher order thinking group)
  • 1 – Grass Roots (Special Needs)
  • 2 – Religious Studies
  • 8 – Shared around the classes

The school’s Year 1 & 3 classes won the fundraising challenge instituted annually by the school. It was a Spell-a-thon where the students could get sponsors to donate according to how many words they got correct in a spelling test they practised for. The staff were all a bit worried because once the testing was done and the collecting phase began, money wasn’t coming in. We had to push and push until finally it all came together and an amazing amount of money was raised by the students in the school!

Lot’s of discussion took place around how we would set up the iPads for school. I spoke to external people and one who is currently involved in the set up with me expertly guided me in the right direction.

My colleague and I had 2 options in front of us. The first was purchasing an expensive Mobile Device Management Server (MDM) which is used for large businesses and their iPad rollouts. This would enable us in having the ability to control and set up multiple profiles on our devices through a 3rd party client – which would be ideal. The other option was to create one profile for one ‘original’ iPad, back it up and restore all the others from this back-up.

Is it a problem that we went for the cheaper option? NO – from reading around, it doesn’t seem like the MDM is ready to be the backbone of our school’s iPad configuration.

Issues: After laboriously downloading all the apps that I had previously tried and tested over the past few months, I had created the ‘template iPad’ which was ready for distribution. I found that after applying the restrictions on the device to exclude the App Store, it wouldn’t allow me to sync all my apps according to the template I’d created. Instead, it just saved all the apps arbitrarily on the device. NOT HAPPY JAN! After pondering the dilemma I changed the setting on the original iPad, resynced the device and BOOM it worked! I was stoked!

To be continued….

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6 thoughts on “iPad Deployment Stage 1

  1. Hi there, please keep your warts and all stories coming – am intending to deploy at my site next school year. What about security? We already had one “walk” at school 😦

    • It’s been such a great learning process! It’s been a dream of our school to initiate an iPad program so I’m glad to hear of other schools heading in the same direction. Our physical site security is fairly tight so I’m not too worried about it. We have setup the Apple ‘Find My iPad’ program during installation which allows us to locate and track every device we have in case one goes walkabout.

  2. Hi Aiden,
    I should have read your blog post before answering your tweet. I see you are already connecting your iPads to the smart board with the VGA connector.
    I am very interested in your decision to give an iPad to each class teacher. I think this is an excellent idea. I think the teachers will definitely be happier to use the iPads with their classes if they have the freedom to take one home and play with it.
    Did you have any trouble selling this idea?

    • Bronwyn, I had no trouble selling that idea to the teachers. While the iPads and and benefits will essentially go the students way, teachers need to be proficient and confident enough with the device in order to integrate effectively. At the end of the day, giving the staff an iPad each to take home, to play, create and discover, was the best thing I could do.

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