These days, many of our K-12 customers are either evaluating the iPad or have purchased iPads for their students to use. Challenges arise when Directors of Technology are charged with the task of managing multiple iPads at the same time. What is the best policy for app deployment? How do you set restrictions? How do you distribute new applications? These are all important and valid questions for an K-12 IT administrator and I will try to address them here:
Q: What is the best policy for application deployment?
A: If you are a K-12 IT administrator and have more than 10 iPads, you need to sign up for Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP.) Signing up for this program will first help you be compliant with Apple’s terms and conditions and secondly, allow you to purchase selected applications at a reduced cost. The link to the VPP site can be found here.
Q: How do you set restrictions?
A: If you have more than 30 iPads, it is a good idea to look at an Mobile Device Management solution like Absolute’s Absolute Mobile Device Manager (MDM.) This kind of software not only allows you to setup group policies for iPads based on the user’s status in Active Directory, but it also allows you to dynamically change those settings on the fly. Want to disable You Tube on 300 iPads instantly, all at once? No problem! Did you change your WiFi SSID and password, and need to change it on 300 iPads? No problem! Absolute’s MDM solution has you covered.
Q: What is the most effective way to distribute new applications?
A: The best way to distribute applications really depends on how many iPads you are managing. If you are managing 30 or less, a charge and sync station or cart is a great way to sync multiple iPads at the same time. Carts like those made by DS Datamation are superb for a school. If you are managing more than 30 iPads, it’s best to look at a solution like Absolute’s MDM software. Although no solution can “push” apps to an iPad over the air, Absolute’s MDM solution allows you to purchase apps from the volume purchase store at Apple, insert the codes, and create a one-touch link on everyone’s iPad to download that app.
Managing iPads doesn’t have to be difficult. There are some great tools and devices available that can make managing iPads a snap.