iPads in Education

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Our school just purchased the new Bretford Sync and Charging station for our 20+ iPad2s.  Any suggestions for setting it up and maintaining them?

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I have also ordered 2 of these carts but for the iPod Touch and would love any suggestions anyone might have for best practices.

There is not much to it. We have the iPod syncing cart, and then just a charging cart for the iPads (the syncing cart was not available last yr at the time we made our purchase.) 

I would be cautious with the students using it--make sure they are gentle with the wires...I actually asked them not to plug them into the wires, unless the device is at 20% or less. (Then you can charge it overnight.)

We also used a labelmaker, and labeled all our devices, and then assigned the students a number. This way, Johnny always uses iPad 19 and iPod Touch 19. In case anything goofy changes on the settings, etc., you have a better idea of who to ask to change it back. We attached a folder by a string to the cart, and have the students sign in/sign out their device with date and time on the forms inside the folder.

I also take one of the iPads home a lot, and ask a couple other teachers to do the same on weekends, so they can use it to "discover" what apps are out there, to later share with students/colleagues.

If students will be handling them a lot, I also suggest buying OTTER skins for them.

We keep the cart in one area, and have one teacher "in charge." Teachers are asked to sign up in advance of when they will be using it.

I hope this information helps. If you have more specific questions, you can email me directly. Good luck!

Please see my reply above. I love the syncing cart! 

Rene' Kopp said:
I have also ordered 2 of these carts but for the iPod Touch and would love any suggestions anyone might have for best practices.

After trying a few things out here's a procedure I've established for setting up a cart of 30 iPads. Let me now if you have any questions. 

 

I should also point out that I decided to set up an email address that is specific to the cart. Students will be directed to use webmail thru Safari, but many apps rely on the iPad's default mail account to send documents out. The alternative is to have students set up their email account on the devices each time and then remove them when done.

 

Workflow:
  1. Create your image on one iPad
    1. Download all apps you want
    2. Set Desired Restrictions in Settings->General
    3. Add MobileMe account for Find My iPad
    4. Sync iPad to create backup
  2. Plug in all iPads and register each individually, can be done in cart. Restore your image to iPads. All will have the same name.
  3. Unplug all iPads in cart and re-plug them in one at a time to name them as the appear in iTunes. I number them. We've etched the number on the back of each.
  4. Create Configuration Profile in iPhone Configuration Utility (http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/ )
    1. Must fill in General Information
    2. Wi-Fi - Configure for your network and enter WPA or WEP Password
    3. Exchange ActiveSync (note may be different at your school)
      1. Server: m.google.com
      2. domain: divinechildhighschool.org
      3. user and account: username@divinechildhighschool.org
    4. Install profile on iPads. Must click on each ipad to complete instillation (note this can be done while completing the next step)
  5. Put in MobileMe password
  6. When you need to restore. Right-click on the iPad in iTunes and select "Restore from Backup" and choose the desired backup. Then pick up the procedure above from step 3.
Lessons Learned:
  1. Start getting free apps for your cart account as soon as you know you’re getting iPads. I use App Shopper and set it to look for Popular new apps and Popular price drops. Filter for free and spend 30 seconds a day checking it.
  2. Setting up the Cart through iTunes
    1. Each iPad must be registered individually out of the box.
    2. Can create “an image” and restore it to the iPads, but it will overwrite the name and won’t bring any passwords with it. This includes email, MobileMe, and WEP keys.
    3. Can’t Update all the iPads at once. Can update through Xcode: Full Direction on how to do this from the MacGyver Chronicles
    4. If you’re relying on FindMyiPad you’ll have to re-enter the password for the MobileMe account after any setup or restore.
    5. Can sync all of the iPads at one time
    6. Set “Restrictions” and accounts on your image and these settings will be copied with restore.
    7. If you restrict the ability to install apps you will not even be able to install through iTunes.
    8. App arrangement and folders can be easily controlled and written with the image.
  3. iPhone Configuration Utility
    1. Can set some restrictions, accounts, and WEP passwords.
      • Can not set “No Changing Accounts”
      • Can not set up MobileMe account
      • If using Google Apps for Education then you should setup email as Exchange ActiveSync.
    2. Can’t control app arrangement

 



Fran S. said:

There is not much to it. We have the iPod syncing cart, and then just a charging cart for the iPads (the syncing cart was not available last yr at the time we made our purchase.) 

I would be cautious with the students using it--make sure they are gentle with the wires...I actually asked them not to plug them into the wires, unless the device is at 20% or less. (Then you can charge it overnight.)

We also used a labelmaker, and labeled all our devices, and then assigned the students a number. This way, Johnny always uses iPad 19 and iPod Touch 19. In case anything goofy changes on the settings, etc., you have a better idea of who to ask to change it back. We attached a folder by a string to the cart, and have the students sign in/sign out their device with date and time on the forms inside the folder.

I also take one of the iPads home a lot, and ask a couple other teachers to do the same on weekends, so they can use it to "discover" what apps are out there, to later share with students/colleagues.

If students will be handling them a lot, I also suggest buying OTTER skins for them.

We keep the cart in one area, and have one teacher "in charge." Teachers are asked to sign up in advance of when they will be using it.

I hope this information helps. If you have more specific questions, you can email me directly. Good luck!

Thanks Fran. That is very helpful info. :)



Fran S. said:
Please see my reply above. I love the syncing cart! 

Rene' Kopp said:
I have also ordered 2 of these carts but for the iPod Touch and would love any suggestions anyone might have for best practices.
Thank you, FalconPhysics and Fran!  Your comments and suggestions are extremely helpful!
I'm having issues getting all of my devices to show up.  I keep having to go through and jiggle the cords.  Some have to be plugged in and unplugged multiple times before iTunes will recognize them.  Any help???

I'm also having some trouble. I have a cart and 15 iPads. I am using the set for multiple classes, so the same student is not always assigned to an iPad. I have individually named each of the iPads 1,2,3,etc. How do I get them all to sync at once now that I have done the initial setup? It doesn't seem to work? Perhaps it is because it keeps asking me if I want to install the latest update and when I choose yes, it says that it cannot successfully complete.

 

Also, I really need some iPad cases. I am working with HSer and only have been using them for 3 days and already a hairline crack. I know the OtterBox cases offer wonderful protection, but they are pricey (which - in the long run - it might just be very worth it, so looking for opinions). Also, need to be able to use the camera and mic with cases on.

 

Thanks in advance!

Might have sort of solved my own issue.  The cart seems to work better when you plug the computer in first and then plug in the iPads one by one.  A lot less cord jiggling needed.

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