Apple up their game for iPads in schools
Apple has led the tablet agenda in education (and business), from the launch of their first iPad, but it wasn’t until iOS 5 that they provided the means of managing their devices remotely-saving time and admin for school’s.
At last summer’s developer conference Apple provided a glimpse at their vision for iOS7. With it we gained a range of new controls for iOS, a major improvement in the Volume Purchase Programme (VPP). For those who missed this, the VPP now allows schools to retain ownership of the apps they buy and ‘loan’ them to users, rather than ‘gifting’ them to the user. In affect this means that paid for apps can now be issued in the same way textbooks have been for years.
These changes were very welcome, but those in the know have been eagerly waiting for two further announcements that were conspicuous by their absence from the major release. Yesterday Apple shared these with the public.
Device Enrolment Programme (DEP)
This will make a huge difference to anyone running a personal device programme. Fundamentally it allows devices to be automatically enrolled in a Mobile Device Management system (MDM) without the school IT team ever touching the device. From the user experience point of view, the student or teacher can have the full excitement of opening and setting up their device. This may seem trivial, but it adds to the sense of ownership for the user. For those with a little flare, this provides greater scope for creating a real event of ‘iPad Day’.
For the IT team there are a number of benefits, firstly they don’t need to spend day’s knee deep in packaging from unboxing devices with Apple Configurator.
It also closes the loophole of users being able to escape the management service by performing a factory reset. Should they try this now, they will be automatically enrolled back in to MDM service.
Of course when a student leaves the school, if the device has been bought out of a Parental Purchase Scheme, then the device can be removed from both the MDM and DEP services, and all control and responsibility is handed to the user and where appropriate their parents.
Apple ID Management
At the heart of Apple’s ecosystem is the Apple ID, its links together your devices (if you’re lucky enough to have more than one), all your settings, and purchases. However, the rules around who could hold an Apple ID and how they could be set up, were more than a little complex and really created a problem for schools. The new programme allows school’s to create Apple ID’s for younger students and provides the school, and importantly parents, with the means to manage the Apple ID.
Head of Infrastructure Services