Home > Uncategorized > Considerations Before Deploying iPads and iPods

Considerations Before Deploying iPads and iPods

Before schools and districts go on a mass purchasing spree of iPads and iPods, there are a few infrastructure considerations before sending the purchase order. While I am a strong advocate of using the tablet in the classroom, there should be some strategic deployment plans before putting it in the hands of students. Rather than sounding as the expert, I have decided to format the considerations through questions I would ask before purchasing. This list by no means fits everyone’s model, but will hopefully serve as a guideline to planning out iPad/iPod/tablet/mobile device deployments. Thanks! I would be more than happy to add your feedback, questions, comments to this evolving blog post.

Infrastructure:

  • Do you have enough wireless bandwidth to sustain dense populations of mobile devices? Check this post on Beef Up Your Wireless Infrastructure
  • Do you have a Mobile Device Management system in place to effectively manage and support the devices?
  • Do you have a big enough Internet pipe to sustain the network traffic?
  • Will you create a separate wireless network for mobile devices with different policies? Mobile VLAN?
  • Do you have OSX devices to create apps content to push to the iPods and iPads?
  • Do you have authentication policies to access the wireless network?
  • How do you plan to filter browsing (ex. Mobicip) on these devices?
  • Will you allow teachers or students to install apps on the devices? Or will it be centrally managed?
  • Will you allow teachers or students to configure settings on the devices? Or will it also be centrally managed?
  • Do you have the personnel to be part of the Apple Store Volume Purchasing Program? I believe you need a Program Manager and Program Facilitator(s) to be able to access ASVPP. Apps can be up to 50% off on volume purchasing.
  • Will your IT staff be trained on how to support mobile devices?
  • Will you allow students to take the devices home? What AUP will you have on mobile devices?
  • Will you allow personal mobile devices on campus?
  • Does Flash incapability hinder any present network considerations?
  • What is the refresh cycle on the devices?
  • What mobile cart solution will you have? Where will it be stored? Check out system?
  • Do you go 1:1 or shared mobile cart?
  • How do we assess Total Cost of Ownership?
  • For further infrastructure considerations, read the Apple iOS Enterprise Deployment Guide and iPad Support Enterprise

Academic:

  • How do the iPods and iPads align with your curriculum?
  • Who will be responsible for delivering professional development? How do we hold teacher’s accountable to using the devices?
  • Does your existing edtech programs and tools work on iOS?
  • Are there planning/collaboration times to share best-practices in using mobile devices?
  • How will you assess the effectiveness of using the mobile devices?
  • Are there data and assessment tools built into the iOS to gather quality data of student achievement?
  • Is there a curriculum vision for the iPods and iPads? Does it align with the school’s mission?
  • How will parents/community be involved if students are bringing the devices home?
  • Are the educational apps available enough to support your curriculum?
  • Are there enough content creation tools to replace the traditional computer desktop/laptop?
  • How do you assess the educational value of purchasing iPods/iPads? versus Total Cost of Ownership?
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  1. Deon Scanlon
    February 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I have one to add:

    If you live in any country other than the USA, do you have the budget to afford the apps and syncing process?

    The Volume Licensing for education doesn’t exist here in Australia, so we have to have individual accounts for every device.

    Even if we replicate the volume licensing by gifting apps as many times as there ar devices, we still need to create an account for each device.

    It’s quite the joke, really!

    • February 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      That makes no sense on Apple’s part. I remember the Apple reps explaining how they were blindsided by the exponential growth of mass deployments of iOS devices. I would hope it is just an infrastructure issue and that they will be offering Volume pricing to everyone. That is a joke, thanks for your comments.

    • Jeff Lill
      April 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      Agree entirely! We are waiting for the VPP here in the UK as well! I’ve been told it is linked to the licence agreement for books and that the legal aspects need to be OK’d in each of the respective countries before the licensing program can be set up. The sooner the better!

  2. swilkie
    February 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    How can we best blend strong teaching & learning strategies (questioning, sharing, reflecting, etc.) with the application/use of these tools?

    • February 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Great question to add to the Academic considerations! Thanks. I always refer to TPCK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) when teachers integrate these apps/tech tools with learning strategies. Thanks for the contribution.

  3. SL123
    February 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Excellent recommendations, Mr. Chan. In doing my research, I found that there were surprisingly few companies that offered solutions for storage, security, recharging and mass syncing of iPads from iTunes. Have you had any experience using Datamation Systems products? They seem to have quite a few things in the works that are iPad specific. Check out http://www.ipadcart.info

    • February 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks! I have not seen this the Datamation product, but it looks intriguing. Will have to do some more research. Thanks for the resource.

      • May 4, 2012 at 11:39 pm

        I have personally vouch that Datamation is a great company to work with as we have almost 16 laptop carts from them. I also worked with Cambrionix out of the UK that offered a mass usb charging station (up to 64 ports?). They did offer a 16 port synch and charge station, but we needed 30 ports to charge nooks. At the time (and probably even now), there was no way to mass deploy ebooks to the nooks, so we didn’t care to sync the devices.

        The downfall with mobile learning carts is that someone could load them onto a truck and steal them… then break into it later. The iPad cabinet would seem like a good idea to me, especially if it were mounted near the teacher computer which could be used to deploy apps.

  4. Galvin
    March 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I have something to add related to one of your questions: “What mobile cart solution will you have? Where will it be stored? Check out system?” I think space is important and you have to take into account whether the iPads (tablets) are used in cases. Some carts and cabinets do not leave enough room for iPads in some of the thicker stand-cases. Make sure yours fits. Also, the size and capacity of the cart or cabinet should be considered. You want reasonable room for growth but you should not over-buy. Having too big a cart for your needs wastes space and money; having too small will make you buy twice.

  5. Jay
    March 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Another factor to consider is that while ios does entertain the notion of Proxy Authentication (which many schools use) The actual apps do not utilize the function and thus do not work in this environment. As far as I can tell Safari is the only app that does support proxy authentication. Proxy Authentication is useful in an environment where staff need greater access to a wider range of web content that would not be appropriate for students to have access to.

  6. chris
    April 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Who will purchase insurance for the devices in a 1:1 mode would be a question to ask for any 1:1 system. Great list though, a must read for those considering any major tablet, netbook, or other 1:1 environment.

  7. Brian
    October 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I am currently at a school that is 1:1 with HP tablets, I feel that the ipad is a much better option in an educational environment, but I have two problems with it.
    1) Is it possible for me to secure the internet, so students are unable to get to inappropriate websites?
    2) Also, is there a way that I as the coordinator can prevent students from downloading apps that are not educational, such a games.

    • October 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Yes, as an administrator of your network, you can block access to sites just through your network. Any device (tablet included) is subjected to your school network’s content filter. Second, yes, as coordinator of the iOS management tools, you have control of what they can download. Check my post on MDM solutions.

      • Brian
        October 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        Ok…so at the moment the students have to log-onto our domain to join the network. So i could continue to force them to log-onto our domain network, and then the forticlient filter would still filter what they can and cannot access on the internet.

  8. Jeff
    January 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I just saw at MacWorld that Anthro has released an iPad Charging Cart that allows a classroom to store, charge, and sync up to 40 iPads at once. This might be helpful for what you are trying to do with the iPad deployment. Take a look here:

    http://www.anthro.com/furniture.aspx?computer-cart=mobile-solutions-tablet

  9. John Dyers
    February 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    My school in PA is using a variety of tools from Datamation Systems. They have created a pretty wide range of tools that are based on the idea that security, storage and charging are important and that syncing can sometimes be done better in a centralized place. By sharing syncing resources, you can save a lot of money and, just as important, have better control of content. You can see their things at http://www.ipadcarts.com. Our tech director found them very helpful.

  10. Laura
    August 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Hi! I’m a mother and know many schools which are using ipads in class with an app called Nearpod… anyone knows it? They say it’s very engaging, not only for kids but also for teachers themselves! I’ve seen it and for me it seems very attractive for children to be involved in the learning process. Hope you can take a look at it! this is a video I found about them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP4Y1hJt2Lk

    • September 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Yes, I know teachers using Nearpod, it has been very useful for them in teaching centers.

  11. October 8, 2012 at 2:27 am

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  12. November 30, 2012 at 1:23 am

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  13. January 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    “Considerations Before Deploying iPads and iPods
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    Thanks for the post-Marcia

  1. February 8, 2011 at 12:38 am
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