iPad Implementation Notes - Ownership

A few folks in various places have been having fascinating conversations about iPad implementation. It would be a bit much to reflect on all this great feedback and content, although one could certainly do it over a few days or so. Finding myself busy, at this point, I simply want to collect this information and conversation in one place for my convenience.

I am grateful that iPad-related conversations are taking place. The ideas and concepts are valuable to keep track of and share. All feedback has been anonymized since it has been quoted from email lists, unless it is posted in a blog somewhere.

Conversation topics include the following:

Topic #1 - Would you give teachers and admins an iPad, then lock it down so they couldn't do anything "personal" on it?

This is a tough question to consider, especially from a technology administrator perspective. Although some would ask, "Who gave the tech administrator the permission or authority to make that decision?," such as folks like Mike Gras in Texas who I overhead asking this question in a conversation with others, the answer is quite simple--The Superintendent did.

Here's are a few responses that are worth reflecting on. The responses come from Texas technology administrators. How do these responses contrast with the conversation taking place via Plurk?

Locking down an iPad is problematic for my colleagues via Plurk. For example, KGustin says, "Learning is a personal thing...leaders need to have the opportunity to grow through appropriate exploration, just like the kids."

Is this something administrators should do while on "company time?" Or should we let them pick up this learning on their own?
We've purchased iPads for 3 of our administrators and we are confused as to how to set them up. Should we create a district iTunes account ? Should we require the administrators to use their own accounts? Can someone please guide us on this?

Follow up question:
How do you handle employees using their personal account to put
personal items on a device purchased with tax payer dollars? Do you
have restrictions that you outline to them before you issue it or have
them sign something stating what they can't and can do with the
device? I ask because I was recently asked about an administrator
using the facebook app on a district purchased iPad.

The administrator was a member of several political groups on facebook.

The superintendent was worried that someone might claim the district
was lobbying for a certain political party since the hardware was
purchased with district funds. I did not have an answer for him and
with all the talk about iPads lately I was wondering if anyone else
has run into this issue about an employee's personal use of a district
device and how it was handled.

Some responses from folks (separated by asterisks ***):

We have iPads for some of our SpEd teachers and our administrators as well. For the teachers, we used one account. They have to take it to the SpEd secretary and get her to purchase apps. Since they are primarily for classroom use, we used one account so we only had to purchase apps once.

For the admin, we let them use their own account. The administrators have the ability to purchase apps, music, etc. This gives them the flexibility to use apps that fit their mode of operation.

It all depends on how you use it. For our iPod touch labs, we have an itunes account for each campus. The teachers request apps through a google doc form. If it is a paid app, the teacher must request an iTunes gift card to purchase the app.

The superintendent was unequivocal that our rules about computers and smart phones extended to iPads. Nothing personal is supposed to be there. This first came up six years ago when a teacher asked if we could install an income tax preparation app on her classroom computer.

We are going to lock down the iPads (no one uses a school-owned iPhone, but they can be locked down, too).

There are several ways:

* On the iPad, Settings, General, Passcode Lock or Restrictions (list: Installing Apps, for instance). We feel this is the least secure.

* Using the iPhone Configuration tool. Free from the Apple website (iPhone, Business, Deploy iPhone, . . .. This works on the iPad.): Create New Profile (Name, Unique Identifier . . .), under Security (Never, with authentication, Always), under Restrictions (select various options). Device must be plugged in.

* Using Mobile Device Management Server: we can not only lock down the iPad, but we can still download and install or uninstall apps wirelessly. Pretty much the same approach as far as menu choices as above. This is our preferred method.

For more documentation: www.apple.com: iPhone, Deployment, Resources.

Reading the EULA, on the apps we’ve been exploring, the limit is 5 (five) computers, but as long as you update your XX iPads from that same desktop or server, there seems to be no limit on the number of iPads we can install the app onto.

We’ve been reading a lot, and this is what we have agreed the EULA says, so far. We will continue, because surely they can’t leave that so wide open indefinitely. Eventually they’ll have to place a limit on the number of iPads that purchased app can be installed on.

At one of the large Apple sessions at TCEA last February, the Apple speaker stated that they do allow installation of a single app on an unlimited number of iPod touches (and the then soon to be released iPads) if they are synched from the same computer. He made this sound intentional on their part as a selling point to purchase their devices – pay a “premium” on the device but recoop the cost by only paying once for an app.

END Responses to TOPIC #1.

What's MY opinion? Locking down iPads, like iPod Touch devices, is a fool's errand. Establish clear guidelines for usage, what's appropriate and what's not--and advocating for political party/candidate isn't--and then let them use the technology. Locking equipment down merely results in users purchasing their own, and leaving the school-purchased items to collect dust in their desk or in a cart. The understanding school staff take away is, "If you don't think I can use this responsibly, then I'm not going to at all...I'll use my own technology."

Topic #2 - Implementing iPads in School Settings
Implementing any new technology is challenging, not because of the technology but because of the people side of things. Often, folks aren't ready to receive the technology beyond accepting it's "coolness" factor. The technology isn't going to change who they are because they'd rather not go through the trouble. Consider the questions asked below (from the GoogleCertified Teacher list) and some of the responses (also from GCTs)...how would you have responded?
Here are some questions we are seeking to answer:
1. Battery life-- has charging been an issue?
2. Apps-- how have you handled managing Apps to all of the devices.
3. Docking stations (with keyboard/mouse)-- do you have them, have
they been useful, are they necessary?
4. Other maintenance issue
5. Device contract and/or AU policies specifically related to iPad use
in schools.

These are great questions that touch on a variety of technology-related issues. But the most important question is the last one.

Not to mention I'm surprised to see schools purchasing
all of these iPads when budgets are getting slashed, positions (like
art teachers) are being cut, etc. It seems like we are destined to
repeat many of the same technology implementation mistakes that we've
been making for the past 20 years.

I think iPads and a range of other technologies are great for SOME
users, but not for all. Stanford Med school just gave all incoming
first year students iPads and the students are all using them for very
different things and in very different ways (some students are not
using them much at all).

At the same time, there is a HUGE part of me that is quite giddy about
light weight OS devices like the iPad. These are highly personal
devices that beg organizations to think differently about ownership,
allocation, IT management (like imagining), etc. I don't believe these
are devices that should be centrally managed and owned using
traditional IT resource management approaches. You'd be much better
off giving families a stipend for a certain dollar amount so that they
can go out and purchase their own devices, accessories, etc. Not sure
schools are ready to yield control, though.


If my 2 year old granddaughter can navigate with ease,
start apps, work in apps, draw, write words, select various features
within apps, I would hope teachers and students could easily do that
too. It is a technology that is not that different from a laptop.


I think iPads are fantastic consumption devices, but as a creation device you have to develop substantial work arounds for them to recreate what a cheaper, more
featured (albeit less sexy) netbook can do. This discussion has come up in our district, and it feels like sometimes people want to get them first, then find ways to use them which is a huge issue with technology in education.

As to your direct questions, I think battery life would not be an issue, mine lasts for a day or two without an issue. For multiple device management, this is a Configuration Utility that was designed for the iPhone, but should work for the iPad.

(http://support.apple.com/kb/DL926) This, however, brings up the issue
of have computers setup to sync with the iPads.


My district is piloting the use of iPads in several classrooms. We're
just starting to get all the apps loaded. We had Apple bring in
trainers for the teachers and that has been a great help. The students
have been using the iPads since the first day with little problem.

One teacher has a crate and she lines the iPads up in the crate in
order to charge them. You can do this very easily with a few power
strips. The students put them back when they leave class, and she
charges at the end of the day. The iPads can easily go all day on one
charge. I've created Google Apps student accounts for the students,
but we're waiting on the Google editing feature before we start with
using Google Docs. I didn't want the teacher to invest in additional
apps if editing will be available soon.

Syncing is more of a headache, but we decided that it wouldn't be a daily event. You can use a USB hub to sync them at one time. Apple offers volume pricing on
apps. Our students sign an AUP agreement at the beginning of the
year. Parents also have to sign a letter of agreement if the student
will be bringing the device home.


1. Battery life holds throughout the school day
2. Individual departments have a cart or the librarian manages the
cart and Apps library. We like the fact that the carts are managed by
individuals and do not have to be managed by our overburdened IT
department. After the first set up we don't need to sync often. The
Apps on the machine are not our focus.
3. We do not have docking stations, keyboards or mice. We do have
charging carts. High school students are very good at using the built
in keyboard. I'm amazed at the speed of their typing - but guess I
shouldn't be.
4. No maintenance issues that we have experienced as of yet
5. Our regular AU policy applies to all our devices, computers,
laptops, netbooks, cameras, etc. We don't specify on the AU policy.
Students who check out iPads to take home for a longer period of time,
while they are reading a novel in class, for example, sign a separate
agreement, with parents. This agreement is similar to what students
sign when they check out musical instruments (if damaged or lost, they
will replace it.).

Our school district has just installed a very robust wireless system,
which is essential for the use of these devices. Tech funding comes
from a Bond and can't be used to retain teachers.

Some of the ways our students are creating with iPads - They go home
with classes of students for eReading where the students annotate and
take notes.They are used in science classes where students create and
update "Blabs" via Blogger (science labs + Blogger). They are also
used in science classes to input data via Google Spreadsheets and use
spreadsheets as feedback forms. They are used in French, where
students switch to the French keyboard to create slide presentations
via the Keynote app.

Student work created in the Pages and Keynote app is saved to the students network folder easily via webdav. And their work via computers can be uploaded to the iPad the same way. We are looking to use them in photography class as field tools and in art as a new form of digital artistry - way beyond finger painting :-).

We find them to be amazing inquiry tools for analyzing primary sources
from the Library of Congress prints and photographs as the "pinch" or
zoom in feature gives great detail. They supplement our laptops and
are a way for us to get a bit closer to 1:1 at a lower cost than
laptops. We also have a set of netbooks but had some difficultly
getting those integrated in to our system with the correct "image".
We didn't "image" the iPads.

PD is provided but the focus is not on the devices but on lessons and
activities that enable teachers to shift the way they teach when a
student has access to the internet and creative communication tools no
matter the device.


1. Training for the iPad is not like training for any other device.
The learning curve is drastically reduced.
2. The argument about personnel vs machine is irrelevant of the
specific device. That is a general tech vs people issue which is a big
one regardless.
3. I believe in targeted purchases. Blanket purchases for the sake of
blanketing them is not efficient use of funds.
4. Talk about the reduction of costs in comparison for what you would
otherwise purchase.
5. The sync process and purchasing via the volume purchase program is
still messy at this time. There are some things coming on the horizon
that are promising.
6. The functionality of many apps provide users a far superior
experience than we give credit as we focus on what it can't do too
much. These devices require a mind shift as they are redefining the
user experience, purchasing, and what personal device means.


Brad Flickinger shares:

Here is a blog I did on the iPad in schools...


And here is a video I did about teaching with the iPad...


END Responses to TOPIC #2.

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Tom Donovan said…

Several of your correspondents mention the "buy one copy, sync to many devices" practice we have been operating under, but I'm afraid Apple has updated its terms. We now have to buy individual licenses for each device:

"(ii) If You are a commercial enterprise or educational institution, You may download and sync a Product for use by either (a) a single individual on one or more devices You own or control or (b) multiple individuals, on a single shared device You own or control. For example, a single employee may use the Product on both the employee's
iPhone and iPad, or multiple students may serially use the Product on a single iPad located at a resource center or library."


While taking away with one hand, they've given with the other. The Volume Purchase Program provides a way to buy apps with POs and allows develops to discount quantities above 20 by up to 50%.

Miguel Guhlin said…
@Tom, thanks for the correction! I'll be sure to pass it on!

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