Our first venture into handing out devices to students has been quite a learning curve for us and has thrown up a number of challenges along the way. For example how do we configure, manage and push out apps and updates to student devices, particularly when students are based at remote NHS sites? In previous years we’ve looked at this problem and have resorted to grappling with Apple Configurator to essentially create an iPad ‘image’ and then replicate this across multiple devices (which is far from ideal and doesn’t deal with the issue of updates) but fortunately Apple have now come up with a much better solution, which makes the process of managing large deployments of devices much simpler.
Apple Device Enrollment Program
The Apple Device Enrollment Program makes the initial setup of Apple devices a painless process by automating Mobile Device Management (MDM) enrollment and supervision of devices during activation, which means you can set up your devices with minimal prodding and key presses. In practice this means that we only have to take our iPads out of the box and hook them up to a temporary wireless access point and then once they can connect to the internet they automatically connect to our MDM server and install the profile that we’ve created installing all of the apps, books and iBooks that we’ve remotely assigned to them . Better still this enrollment profile is then locked to the device meaning if it’s lost or stolen it’s impossible to remove the management, so we can always remotely manage (and locate) the device.
Mobile Device Management
Lightspeed’s MDM is cloud-based solution that makes mobile device management really simple.
Policies, settings and restrictions can be deployed and modified over the air, and apps can be sent to our iOS devices (we don’t have any institutionally owned and managed Android devices). We can also purchase licences for apps (both paid-for and free) using the Apple Volume Purchase Program and then we can deploy these licences to devices through Lightspeed. In practice this means we can deploy a app to devices at any of our NHS sites and it should automatically appear on the device within the hour. Using the same process we can also deploy iBooks and other content directly onto a device.