Posted by: carlsumner | June 23, 2013

IPad Management

The introduction of class sets of IPads at Flakefleet has led to a range of management issues for us to deal with, ranging from the security and integrity of the machines for the children to use, to the implementation of educational apps on a wide scale that is both manageable and useful.  The tablets themselves are housed in a locked charging unit in each classroom, each class taking responsibility for the charging and general welfare of the machines, which can also be connected to  an adjacent iMac for syncing and easy transferral of stored media.  Each IPad was set up with a designated e-mail address that associates it with that year group.

In terms of the day to day use of the IPads it was necessary to ensure that staff were aware of the need to regularly monitor impending updates and clean photos, videos and visited site history that may eventually begin to impair performance.  For example clearing website history from Safari (Internet Browser) and cached cookies and data from websites. photo (3)

Encouraging the children to monitor their own media use has been important, helping them to understand the good practice found in deleting photos and videos that are unnecessary or have already been utilised in a piece of software.  Ensuring the children knew how sites could be tracked or that media was stored on the hardware has also helped to create a better sense of responsibility towards the resource as well as forming an important part of our developing e-safety work.

From a whole school perspective it has been vital to establish an agreed list of preferences within the settings to ensure consistency in the management of the IPads across all classrooms. photo (2)

This has included removing a number of possible functions such as; in-app purchases, deleting apps, potential explicit content from videos and limiting the age level of applications that are downloaded.  It was also necessary to remove the app store directly from the IPad screen and turning the facility for changing accounts to off.

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To access the settings menus a number code is required to enable restrictions – the same code is used throughout school.  Each IPad throughout the school has been set up across the school iCloud account for potential media transfers (although these accounts may become year based) and there is also an iTunes account that allows the purchase and download of our designated applications.

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To keep track of the Ipads we use the application Find My IPad to monitor the location of each one.  For remote system management, and the potential co-ordination of multiple settings we have begun to use the Meraki app.

With such a large number of tablets across the school and potentially a similar number of IPods to come, it has become vital to ensure there is a systematic method to managing the resources in a way that enhances their effectiveness for children’s learning and enables staff to utilise them to best effect.

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