Have you been the person who has been plugging in iPads into Apple Configurator for the past few years? Lost weekends and holidays because you are the person in charge of device management? Mobile device management (aka MDM) is the replacement technology to manage your mobile devices wirelessly.
Apple devices (iPads running iOS, MacBook Air running macOS and Apple TV running tvOS) can be managed remotely and over Wi-Fi when they are set up using a third party MDM. Devices communicate with a third party server to receive notifications with instructions to update apps, update the operating system or receive custom documents. Devices routinely check in with the server to see if there are any updates to perform.
If you are a school that is managing several hundred iPads you can group devices so that you can distrubute apps to a specific set of devices. For example, you could have green screen and movie making apps on Stage 2 iPads and Robotics and STEM apps for Stage 3 iPads.
One of the first steps is to set up and Apple School Manager account and then contact your Apple reseller to ensure that your next device purchases are placed under the Device Enrolment Program (DEP). If you are part of DET NSW and have raised a purchase order or opted to purchase under your eT4L credits, these should be automatically added to the Device Enrolment Program.
Once placed under DEP, those newly registered devices can then be assigned to your third party MDM server using Apple School Manager Each device must be activated and enrolled. Once this is performed you can start to remotely manage all your devices.
Older devices that have not been purchased under DEP can be manually added. Depending on the age of the device this step might involve setting up Device Supervision. This is when you do need Configurator to perform this step.
If you have used Configurator in the past, then you might know about Profiles and how they are used to configure various settings and restrictions on the devices. Profiles are still at the heart of device management. They are now definable within your MDM solution and are installed remotely.
Apple School Manager is an important piece of the puzzle since it also manages the student, teacher and class information that is used to help with Managed Apple IDs (these are education specific Apple IDs that give you access to iCloud and iBooks) and automatically configured classes for Apple Classroom.
Apps can be purchased through Apple School Manager or the Education VPP store. Once your free or paid purchases have been synchronised with your MDM server, they can then be distributed out to devices.
One thing to be aware of is that Educational Institutions cannot make in-app purchases. So when making the purchasing decisions, double check whether the app developer has a version that contains all the in-app purchases in comprehensive version.
UXED has been helping schools in Sydney region setup ZuluDesk MDM. We are a certified reseller of ZuluDesk. With experience from the Apple Distinguished Educator program and being an Apple Professional Learning Specialist we help teachers, students and executive teams discover the full value of iPads and Macs in Education.
If you are from a Sydney-based school, contact UXED about your deployment strategy for iPads, Macs and Apple TVs.
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