July 26, 2016
The 4 biggest (and newest) Apple education resources now available – from Ben Sondgeroth
For the last several years, Apple’s iPad has become the ultimate creation tool in the classroom. However, it has continued to frustrate teachers and administrators alike in its setup and deployment within an actual classroom environment. I remember getting my first set of iPads five years ago and discovering that the only way to install a desired app was to plug the cart into my MacBook (the PC I had attempted to use first was not powerful enough) and drag and drop every app onto each specific iPad. It was a nuisance and took a terribly long time. Fast forward through several major Apple releases that promised to make life easier for teachers and administrators in my same position: Apple Configurator, Apple’s DEP program, 3rd party Mobile Device Management (MDM) integration… Each time Apple made one of these announcements, I thought, “Finally! Here is the cure for the Apple ails!” Although each announcement came with excitement and promise, none of them seemed to actually work as advertised and make the deployment or management of iPads any easier. To date, the best of those releases was the inclusion of 3rd party MDM integration. If you are not familiar with what an MDM does, it essentially provides administrators the ability to manage the iPads in their school environment - some teachers may know it as “self service.” An MDM could be used to create a school iPad profile, distribute apps, managing classes in Apple Classroom, and many others. While the integration of MDM’s was a welcome solution to many iPad woes. It still left something to be desired as not every MDM was created equal, and Apple never gave any guidance as to which programs could be trustworthy and which could not. As we enter into the current education landscape, administrators and technology directors are continuing to look to the Google Chromebook as the answer for their schools. While this article is not a debate on Chromebook vs iPad, it is important to note that the ability to manage and deploy a fleet of Chromebooks more efficiently than a fleet of iPads often drives this decision. However, with Apple’s release of iOS 9.3, schools that have been held-up on the decision between iPads and another device solely because of administration and deployment should take a second look at iPads. As an EdTechTeacher instructor, I was recently invited to Apple for a presentation on iOS 9.3 and had the opportunity to ask Apple about the issues that I had faced in the past. There are four reasons 9.3 will change the game for administrators, teachers, and students alike.
This is part one of a five-part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. Stay tuned for more in this series that first appeared on Daily Genius!