iPad Deploying & Managing iPads in K-12 environment?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by tocheeba, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. tocheeba macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    I'm a systems administrator for my K-12 school district which has 20 locations. We're starting to get more and more ipads every year, and figured it's about time we nail down some sort of system to manage these. Currently teachers are doing their own purchasing and syncing, but we need a standardized system.

    Here is what I'm going to suggest to my IT manager and cirriculum department:

    -We will Activate and deploy a base "image" to all new iPads in central office with Apple Configurator
    -We will deploy a Meraki profile to each iPad so we can remotely manage them.
    -We will have to log into the app store on each iPad under a general iTunes account that we have setup.
    -The base "image" will have all of the apps that they want.
    -Users will submit requests for additional app installs, and we will use Meraki to deploy them OTA with the VPP codes we receive.
    -Teachers will have to enter the general iTunes account password on every iPad to allow the install of the app on that device.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for this? We want to be able to manage VPP codes, devices, etc., and don't have a budget for a more popular MDM provider at the moment. I looked into purchasing an OSX Server, but it looks like the profile management sucks on it since it can't deploy apps properly and isn't a true MDM setup.

    The other thought process was having one mobile Macbook that would travel around to each school to allow them to install apps via USB to the devices. (Our district doesn't have money for Macs in each location). Our budget at the moment is $1,000 or less.

    Another question I had was in regards to in-app purchases. Can these be done via VPP or will there need to be a credit card associated with the iTunes account in order to purchase those?

    Any help is appreciated. I'd rather do this right the first time. I'd love to use the profile management portion of OSX server, but it looks like it's not quite there yet.

  2. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I don't have specific suggestions, but:

    1. Doesn't Apple have a education service department to help with this?

    2. Have you seen http://speirs.org/?
  3. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Welcome to enterprise use of iOS devices, meaning everything is a damn workaround.

    While I personally would choose an MDM solution from MobileIron or similar, I will tell you that even the most sophisticated MDM solutions _STILL_ fall apart on the actual app/update distribution method. It will always require end-user interaction on the part of the device holder. That means that if you maintain a fleet of spares (which you should) you'll have to manually pick up each one and at least click "Accept" on them to distribute your app/updates. Its a royal PITA and not at all simplified like it is on other enterprise equipment stacks.

    Airwatch is supposed to be one of the first MDM providers that really harnesses the Apple Configurator to iOS MDM API component layers. Allegedly (I've not seen this myself yet), they will soon be offering a "touch free" app update mode. To me, that's a must-have with that many iOS devices in a school.
  4. tocheeba thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Thanks for your reply. I totally understand how there are so many workarounds, especially in government funded areas where they won't purchase the proper utilities needed! I'm getting a demo of AirWatch, but the pricing may be out of our budget.

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