When I first heard rumors of the iPad mini, I immediately asked myself how much this device will cost. I definitely see schools jumping at the opportunity to bring iOS devices at a lower price point than the $499 and up regular iPad. However, when I read rumors on the suggested pricing on the new iPad mini ($249), it lead to another question, what will happen to the price of the iPod Touch. Currently, the new iPod touch starts at $299 (32GB) and can go up to $399 (64GB). Yes, the new iPod Touch will have the retina display and the supposed iPad mini will not, but does that justify pricing the iPod Touch more than the iPad mini. With the release of the iPad Mini, they will really be releasing an in the middle version of the iPad and iPod Touch. I just hope Apple strategically prices it as such…what I really want is the iPod Touch to go down in pricing to about $100-150. My elementary students and teachers would love that pricing entry point. Maybe Apple will make an 8GB or 16GB version of iPod Touch to retail lower. We shall see…
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.
- 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
- 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?
One of the rising concerns in IT departments is how to effectively deploy and manage mobile devices on their network. With tablets, iPods, and other mobile devices becoming prevalent in K12 schools, IT departments are scrambling in how to manage the devices effectively while providing flexibility for instructional leaders to update content. While there are many procedural implementations that need to be structured, there also needs to be quality tools for technology administrators to manage the devices. With the proper MDM solution, administrators would be able to push out new apps, set policies, and even lock down mobile devices when a student takes it home for homework. The following companies support iOS and Android platforms: Zenprise, Tangoe, Air Watch, Mobile Iron, Boxtone and Sybase. These MDM solutions supports only iOS: Absolute Software and JAMF Software. It is just one more system to integrate into your next generation K12 infrastructure.