Below is a second post I wrote about iPads on a different blog 16 months ago. I’m reposting it in response to some requests 🙂
*Note, technology and applications may have changed since!
An update has been long overdue, but here it is. Since my last post about iPads, a lot of progress has been made and I’m ready to share some more positive steps towards my iPad heaven. We have policies and everything!
We’re still a way off where I want to be, but the path is clearer.
Before I begin, I’ll make a couple of assumptions:
1. You have some iPads
2. You have a mac of some kind
With that out of the way… here we go…
Stage 1: The setup (network)
Make a dedicated account on your school network that has the sole purpose of being ‘the ipad account’.
Anything you do from here on in, goes through this account first. It doesn’t need any special features, it just needs to be an ‘ipad account’ rather than a person’s account. In other words, don’t make James Smith’s account the ipad account because he’s the ipad guy, because one day James Smith will leave, then you have avoidable hassle to deal with.
Let me be clear, this is a computer account. Not an itunes account, not an apple account, it’s an account to log onto your school network.
Stage 1 was easy.
Stage 2: The setup (apple)
Make two school email account for the ipads. Why two? Well, when you get to stage 5 it’ll become clearer. So read all of this before doing anything. Again, don’t assign to someone’s account, make new ones. One account will be used to setup your apple ID, and it’s ‘stand alone’ for the same reasons as before – staff leave. You can set the accounts to forward their mail to a real person, to avoid unnecessary faff.
Secondly, setup an apple ID so that you can use itunes to ‘purchase’ free apps. Paid-for apps are a completely different kettle of fish. We’ll get to those. Use something sensible such as ‘yourschool’@mac.com or similar. It is absolutely imperative that you keep SEVERAL copies of the usernames and passwords you create in several places. When I arrived at my school, there were £40 of apps on some ipods, but no-one had the apple ID or password they were purchased under, so they were effectively trapped on the ipods, and as soon as the ipods were updated, they were gone forever.
STORE YOUR USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS!! PEOPLE LEAVE!!
Stage 3: Apple Configurator
Now if you’ve only ever used a single ipod / ipad / iphone / ikitchen then you’ll never have had use for apple configurator. Its purpose is to manage multiple devices. It’s an app on the app store if you’re wondering how to find it.
Use configurator to backup one of your ipads. Once that is complete, you can then use that backup to ‘restore’ the other ipads. In other words, connect all of your ipads, using some kind of sync case (you need to buy one) then select the restore option, using the backup of the initial ipad.
You will have the option at this point to ‘supervise’ your ipads. This is recommended if your ipads are not on a rollout program, but more of a ‘bookable’ class set. Supervised ipads can be restored to a previous ‘state’ and all content added afterwards will be removed.
Stage 4: Profiles
Still in configurator, profiles need to be made to configure your school’s wifi settings, app lock-down options etc. There’s a whole host of options in there, and you’ll have to tailor them to what you want your students to be able to do, which apps are installed etc.
I’m intending to setup different profiles for different departments for our bookable class set. This should prevent overcrowding the ipads with apps. So the science department profile will contain all the generic apps as well as the science specific apps, whereas the maths profile will replace the science apps with maths apps etc.
Stage 5: Setting up a Volume Purchase Program
For apps that cost cash-dollaridoos, you’ll need a VPP to legally distribute an app to multiple devices. Funnily enough you have to pay more that £1.99 for a £1.99 app if you’re installing it on 30 ipads. You do get heavy discounts though, and it usually works out cheaper to buy 20 or 30 licenses than fewer. I don’t mean cheaper per ipad, i mean cheaper overall. Quite strange economics but I’ll take it.
VPP requires you to name a Program Manager and a Program Facilitator. Managers need to be people in your school who can sanction money spending, facilitators need to be people who are allowed to spend money. Two roles = two generic email accounts (as mentioned in Stage 1).
When purchasing apps for your ipads, you need to search and buy them through the education site, NOT itunes. Only use itunes for FREE apps.
When you buy apps through the education store, you have to set how many licensees you want, they’ll give you a price, you pay, you get a bunch of ‘redemption codes’ in an excel file that you import into configurator. It’s a bit long winded but it works out in the end.
Free apps downloaded from iTunes need to be ‘located’ by configurator on your mac, which again, is a chore. They’ll be located in your iTunes folder under iTunes Media / Mobile Applications.
Ok I think that just about covers the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of using iPads… final step – managing them with teachers.
What I’ve implemented:
Each half term the iPads are kept in a different department for semi-exclusive use. The idea being that they’re more likely to be used if they’re in a department rather than being a bookable set from the office or similar. If someone else wants to use them for a period of time or a specific lesson, they can, but it goes through the department responsible for them for that half term.
In the days leading up to a department adopting the ipads, a designated ipad leader for the department is trained up in basic ipad usage tips, ways to use them with the department, subject specific apps etc.
We use the Showbie app to get stuff on and off the ipads quickly. It’s very good with small files such as photos, comics, pdfs etc and can be accessed online through your laptop as well as on the ipads. Think dropbox for schools. Each iPad is assigned to a different showbie student account, and the teacher account is used to distribute files. It’s currently free, but storage space is typically limited, and you can only upload videos of up to 60 seconds in length.
If you want to upload bigger videos, I suggest something like a vimeo account set to private to prevent outsiders seeing the videos, then collect them onto your laptop / network once students have uploaded them. There’s a vimeo app for iPad but I haven’t looked into it yet, I just use the website through the browser.
If you’ve managed to read all the way to this point I’m impressed. I think we’re done. Have fun. I’m working on an iPad rollout scheme for all of Year 7 2014/15 next school year. Then maybe we’ll progress to iPad Heaven… or Nexus…