I chose iPad 4s as, hardware wise, these are very close to the new Air, but far better value (Apple sell these in bulk for EDU at a good price). Once they are in a case you can’t tell the difference anyway! As I have always said, the raw power of a device is worth nothing if people are not taking advantage of it. I still feel the good ‘ol iPad 2 is a great bit of kit…
The devices are in, and now the fun part, getting them all ready to roll.
There were quite a few steps to consider to get the best possible experience for staff. and to set things up in our school. I thought it would be easier to put down my thinking below in the always helpful, dot points!
I am not saying this is the best way to go about a setup like this, but what would work best in my schools situation.
Warning: This is quite a long post so click the link to keep reading after the break (if you are still interested) I will create a future post that will contain all the resources I created for this rollout (user agreements, staff meeting keynotes, iTunes U course etc.)
- Roll out in stages. With the school holidays a week away, my goal is to have all staff iPads ready to go so staff can take them home over the term break and just explore, not even thinking about those pesky things like work or education of young people…
Next was to setup my two new iMacs as deployment machines (I also have a mac server coming in but it is still a few days away…)
- Set up a master iPad. As these iPads are currently leased and will be going to staff members, I wanted to make sure each iPad will be initially setup the same. One of the main reasons for this is Apple’s iCloud Activation Lock. Essentially, the first iTunes account that is used to first register the iPad becomes the owner. Should a staff member use their own iTunes account the iPad will be locked to them and unless I know those details it becomes very hard to reset or restore an iPad.
I created a master iTunes account that would be used to register each iPad to begin with. The easiest way to do this was to create a new iTunes account, register one iPad, set it up how I liked (with recommend apps, folders created, etc) and then create a backup of that device. Then I unbox and connect each new iPad (not as fun as it sounds) to the iMac. When you connect a new iPad you get the option to restore from a backup, and bam, new iPad registered to our master iTunes account.
Big Tip: iTunes now allows you to connect more than one iPad at a time to restore and sync so you can do multiple at once.
- Apple Configurator. Setting up devices on the school network, unfortunately, requires a few hoops to jump through. Things like certificates, profiles, and more need to be configured and installed on each iPad. Luckily, Apple’s Apple Configurator does all of this with a few clicks. You create a master profile that includes all of this (and many more hints like apps, web shortcuts, changing any setting on the iPad, etc) and gets pushed out to every iPad.
For staff iPads I only really need to worry about this once, but with the class iPads this software becomes key in updating, pushing out updates and apps to all the iPads in one click. I just connect a laptop to our fancy, new iPad trollies and done.
- Staff User Agreement. So while all of this is going on I put together a user agreement for staff to sign. You can download it here, feel free to take what works for you. I will present and explain the agreement to staff when I present them with the iPad.
- Resources for staff. I have created an iTunes U course that I will get all staff to subscribe to. In it I am creating how to guides, videos, example lessons, and a heap more. This way staff can do PD (professional development – a requirement of all teachers) in a time that suits them. Being an iTunes U course all staff are updated the instant there is a new resource for them, can check them off as completed, take and sync notes and much more.