How are you handling iPads Gone Wild!? Yes, that’s right, iPads are finding their way into every nook and cranny of schools, often funded by Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs or PTOs), and the goal for these organizations is simply to get awesomely magical devices in the hands of children and teachers. These devices arrive without the following necessities:

  • Mac computer running OS X Lion (10.7). This is required because Apple Configurator won’t work with anything less.
  • Apple Configurator – Check the excellent information from Apple about Apple Configurator at the bottom of this post. 
  • A plan for synching varying “libraries” of iPad content with one master iPad that others are “cloned” from.
  • A person who knows how to handle Apple Configurator.
But, then what? That’s the question a colleague posed to me recently. It’s one thing to plan out an iPad deployment, but quite another to have to deal with the lab packs of iPads finding their way into schools, often without the knowledge of the Technology Department or Curriculum Department. 
To address this problem, I asked a panel of wonderfully talented folks, What should a school district do
Several possibilities arose and here’s a rough outline of them (obviously, there are LOTs of other possibilities…these are the top 3 I see ranging from least expensive to most expensive…and you can make substitutions):
Get document (you’ll need LibreOffice, available for free)
As more iPads find their way into schools, less as a part of an official launch and more as folks explore them, consider the perspective shared here:

Another interesting development has been witnessed in classrooms where the teacher is embedding the device with other methods to produce learning opportunities. For example, observing six students use one iPad for research and one for process suggestion whilst completing a new art assignment left me questioning how they came to that work station set-up? 

The answer was simple. The teacher allowed the students to use any method to achieve their lesson objective. Consequently, two students produced material, two used the device and two managed and lead the working environment. The students had taken existing, ‘comfortable’ working methods and incorporated the device. It might not seem revolutionary, but after eight weeks of the trial, this observation supports the desire to provide another tool to enhance learning. The iPad is not seen as a ‘magic bullet’, rather it is an instrument that can enhance learning and the ease of use is encouraging it’s integration. (Source:

Image Sources:
Do It Yourself –
My thanks to the Apple staff members who provided this information for sharing.

Apple Configurator
Apple Configurator is a tool that you can connect iPads via USB.  If you would like to do more Over the Air (OTA) configuration then a MDM solution maybe a good option to check out.
I would also recommend that you check out our iOS 5 deployment guide.  While this guide came out before Apple Configurator, it still has great information on deploying iOS devices using our 3 deployment models (Personal, Institutional, and Layered Ownership).  We should have our iOS 5 Deployment guide out shortly that includes Apple Configurator. My guess is probably after WWDC.
Check out this link 

I would bookmark the above link.  At the bottom there is a link to our iOS 5 Education Deployment Guide and there are video tutorials on how to use Profile Manager (Mac OS X Lion Server’s MDM solution)  to mange iOS devices as well.  

It is best practices to enter an institutional Apple ID w/ out a credit card attached to it in Apple Configurator. This account will be the account to redeem all your apps via VPP.
Please review article # HT2534  

If you plan on using the Layered Ownership Model and checking these devices out for a long period of time it is best practices to enable what is called “long term checkout.” What this does is it keeps all the user’s data intact when you connect the iPad up to Apple Configurator to update the Apps.  If you do not have this enabled, Apple Configurator will think that you are checking the device back in and that it needs to be erased.  

Please review article # HT5203
I would also review the article on how to upload redemption codes using VPP.  

Please review article # HT5188
It’s a good idea to make sure you are backing up your Apple Configurator machines as well.  

Please review article # HT5194 

As I mentioned, every Friday there is a Deploying iOS Devices w/ Apple Configurator Webinar.  This is live so you can chat questions.  If for some reason it is not live, jot down your questions and let me know.
Register here 

For those that need a refresher on VPP
VPP Volume Purchase Program
Here is the link to how it works:
Here is the portal you will use to start searching and purchasing apps.
Here are the FAQs for VPP
Here is the live Webinar anyone can register for:
Please let me know if you have any questions. 

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure