Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How to deploy school iPads

Welcome back to a new school year. I know the year is well underway, but it has taken me until now to be able to add a new post to this blog.

After a successful first year of using the iPads that the District purchased for me, I made a plea to our PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to purchase school iPads. I asked for 24 iPads, a synching/charging cart, a projector, speakers, and laptop. Our PAC is very supportive and they purchased everything I asked for!!

It has taken some time for me to determine the best way to deploy a school set of iPads that will be used by 500 students! I did a lot of research and then found myself my own 'Apple Guy' who helped me navigate the set-up.

As I found this a challenge, I have decided someone out there might as well. You might find this information helpful for your own school iPad deployment. Below I have outlined my steps.

1. Go to the iTunes store on your laptop

  • Choose an app to download to start the process
  • You will be prompted to create your apple ID
  • To create an ID you need an email
  • Create a gmail account (schoolnameiapd@gmail.com)
  • Continue the process to create an apple ID
  • Select apps to download
  • Add gift cards to the account, no credit card is necessary!

2. Plug the USB cord from the charging/synching cart into the computer you are downloading the apps to
  • Synching begins
  •  If you want you can arrange all the apps into folders on the iPad and create a ‘Master’ iPad
  • Then restore all the other iPads from the back-up
  • Name the iPads by double clicking on the name. Start with 01, 02 etc
  •  Check all the boxes to automatically synch apps to the iPad and photos and music
Settings on each iPad
  •  Turn off photo stream off
  •  Set-up the icloud account
  • Turn on Find my iPad
  • Go to restrictions and don't allow Location changes (so that if the iPad is stollen it can be located)
  • Turn off deleting apps (if deleted they are still on the iTunes account, more of a management issue)
  • Turn contacts off (contacts can be turned on and then you can add a contact list for each iPad that includes different things like Evernote accounts and their specific email addresses-division name or teacher name-that way primary students could easily email completed projects to their own Notebook on Evernote to create an eportfolio) (see older post about Evernote for more information)
  • Set-up an email on each iPad by creating gmail accounts for every 10 iPads
  •  Turn Safari off (you can turn it on if you want specific websites bookmarked for each ipad)

Note: Anything in the library of the computer you are using to download the apps will end up on the iPads

 Setting-up email on iPads
      • sign-in to the email account on each iPad
  • create a different gmail account for every 10 iPads (google    allows for up to 10 devices to use the same address at once)

Setting-up Dropbox on the iPads
  • create a school DropBox account
  • create folders for each division that teachers can use and access from anywhere
  • sign-in to the school DropBox account on every iPad

  • teachers can create Evernote accounts that include Notebooks for each student
  • teacher can add their Evernote email address to the iPads
  • students can email completed work directly to their Notebook by writing @and their name in the Subject line of the email
  • don't leave the iPads signed-in to Evernote as each teacher will need to control the use of their own Evernote account

We are using the Air Server app downloaded to our school laptops to mirror iPads for student discussion, sharing work, and teaching purposes. It cost $15 for the use of Air Server on 5 devices. You need to create a PayPal account to download the program. A school projector needs to be hooked up to the laptop and then turn the program on to start to mirror the iPad.

One last note: At this point in time Canada has just create a bulk purchase program. My school District has not yet started this program. Until then, we are downloading apps and sharing them on multiple devices. Soon however, we are going to have to adjust our protocols.....


  1. Hello Kate,
    I love your posts, keep them coming. I am a technology teacher at a charter school for K -2 and I also have 20 iPads and a sync/charging cart, but I am having issues with it. This is what I want to do: If you want you can arrange all the apps into folders on the iPad and create a ‘Master’ iPad. I have contacted the Apple people many times and I can't get a straight answer. I thought maybe hopefully you could walk me through it. Anyway you could help I would appreciate it.
    Thank you,

  2. Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for your compliment. I will try to answer as best as I can :) First of all I don't currently have our apps in folders. I teach my students to scroll to the left and use the search function to find apps. Students also use the reveal feature to double click the home key to navigate between the apps they have open. Now if you do want to put your apps in folders you can. I think you do that with one iPad manually. Then you delete the content on the other iPads and don't restore from back-up, you restore from the master. Now keep in mind that all the data within each app will also disappear because it will be an exact copy of the master. In addition, as you add new apps you will either need to do this again or you will need to manually do this to each iPad. I have a friend who restores from the master twice a year. I have another friend who simply has a small team of students that do this manually. There is one more option: apple configuration. This is a program that can do the same thing. I have not personally used it yet, sorry. Good luck! Kate