Lessons Learned from Large-Scale iPad Deployments in Education

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How does a Windows-centric schools district deploy over a 1,000 iPads to elementary students not old enough to legally have an Apple ID? How do you get high school students to come to IT voluntarily if they jail break their device? How do you prevent iPad damage in schools? All these questions and more were answered by Cecile Lelievre from Brandeis Hillel Day School Maribel Guizar-Maita from Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in Santa Clara. Both deployed over a 1,000 iPads in their schools and shared lessons learned during a panel moderated by JAMF software at Mac IT Conference 2012.

Apple ID Strategies for Large iPad Deployments
Cecile used a combination of personal Apple IDs and JAMF's Casper Suite to offer high school students a blend of choice. Each student had an Apple ID tied to their parent's credit card so they could buy content they wanted. Apps that the school district required the student to own were available via JAMF's self-service center. Once the App is gifted to the individual's Apple ID you can't get it back so they had to expense it similarly to buying paper for students that isn't returned.

Maribel's school creates Apple IDs per grade level. Only approved applications can be downloaded and all applications are pushed via JAMF. When working in a grade school environment you must keep in mind that students under 13 can not legally have an Apple ID. This is was an additional reason why they manage all the Apple IDs.

Backup Strategies for iPad Deployments
Maribel's school gives each classroom a Bretford iPad cart with a MacBook. The iPads are backed up to that MacBook when plugged in each night. Cecile ran into problems with students taking their iPad home and syncing it with their home computer, which blew away the institutional image. She prefers Apps that sync their data online because if students accidentally sync their device at home and erase it, they don't lose the data on the device.

Who Chooses Which Apps Are Used
The school chose an assortment of Apps that covered many areas. Then the teachers can suggest Apps for their classes that they can ask IT to push out to students. If the App is free and has some educational value, it is always approved.

Loss & Damage of iPads in Schools
Brandeis Hillel Day School offered a third-party insurance program to families for an additional $50 that would cover damage and loss, they also bundle in the cost of AppleCare. They keep a whole bunch of spares. If a student drops their device twice, they get downgraded to an iPad 1. Finally, they include a ballistic case with all iPads which prevents a lot of damage.

Alum Rock Union Elementary School District hasn't had as many problems with damage because the students love these devices and are very careful with them. They actually see more breakage from teachers who are less careful with the device. They include a clear case, protective film, and also tag each device with big ugly serial numbers.

Catching Jail Breakers
In the high school environment, Cecile would run a report using JAMF that would show the last time each device had been on-site. If the device hadn't registered lately, she would disable it from connecting to the network by blocking their MAC address. The student then comes to IT on their own because they can't connect to the network and then she "educates" them on why.

Pushing Non-App Content
Cecile used Dropbox or Box.net to allow teachers to push and sync content on the devices. She is now investigating a hybrid cloud using WebDav to provide a more secure place to store shared content for staff.

Maribel's school distributes content by syncing each iPad to the cart with a Macbook each night. They also configure email accounts for each student so that they can use Apps that require email addresses. Email accounts for the younger students are only allowed to email addresses within the school's domain.

You Have A Great Network But Do You Have Enough IP Addresses?
If you're considering an iOS device roll-out you need to examine your network infrastructure first. For example, Maribel's school had plenty of access points but ran out DHCP addresses during deployment.

Share your ideas

RKN's picture


Joined: Jan 30, 2012

Detecting jailbreak is NOT possible

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Please update your information
You will not be able to detect jailbreak

You'll never be able to. You'll never stop us.
If mdm allowed this detection, it would open up a hole that would facilitate jailbreak and apple doesn't want that lol

Kind regards

jazminhupp's picture


Joined: Apr 1, 2011

It Detects When Devices Stop Checking Into the MDM System

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Hello RKN,
Thanks for the comment on Jailbreaking iPads. The speaker uses a report in her MDM solution that shows which devices have been on the network lately. If a device stops checking in (because it's been Jail broken) and no longer works with the MDM solution, that is when she blocks it's MAC address from the network.
- Jazmin

Alice_Ritson's picture


Joined: Jan 22, 2016

iPad Deployments in Education

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The school picked a collection of Apps that secured numerous regions. At that point the instructors can recommend Apps for their classes that they can request that it push out to understudies assignment experts.


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