What is the status of student iPads?

Many of you have wondered, why is it that students are unable to download apps or why students who are locked out of their iPads cannot get them reset. The situation that WCS encountered in November created a problem for how software connects to each student’s iPad (as well as MacBooks and Apple TVs). The software is part of a mobile device management system, generally known as an MDM.

According to TechTarget, an MDM is defined as…

Mobile device management (MDM) is software that allows IT administrators to control, secure and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets and other endpoints. MDM is a core component of enterprise mobility management which also includes mobile application management, identity and access management and enterprise file sync and share. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of mobile devices within the enterprise while simultaneously protecting the corporate network.

WCS is currently using VMware’s AirWatch as its MDM.

In a nutshell, that means the MDM is used for managing devices, such as pushing out apps to student iPads, and keeping our students safe. Since iPads are currently locked-in to AirWatch, adding new apps and making changes to the iPads is not possible until a new MDM is fully online.

Anytime a disruption occurs, such as the situation in November, it’s a good time to review and consider better ways of moving forward.

That is what the MIS department is doing. They have evaluated our current MDM and considered its strengths and weaknesses and compared it to other options in the marketplace. In doing this, they have decided to to switch our MDM to one that is more robust and offers cloud backup. The new service is called Jamf.

So what comes next?

There is a lot of backend work that must take place prior to rolling out the new system. MIS is currently working with Jamf representatives to build a system that will manage Apple devices and continue to keep our students safe.

The MIS department should be commended for their steadfast efforts in rebuilding the many systems for WCS, including the MDM. When this system is fully online, Technology Systems Specialists (TSS) and Technology Integration Specialists (TIS) will be coming to each school to reset each student iPad. This will take some time. There are over 12,000 iPads that must be reset individually. When this is completed, life should return to normal with iPads as before November. Students will be able to access the WCS Catalog and download apps. Teachers currently are able to download apps to their devices using a professional Apple ID.

Considerations are currently being made regarding the GSA which will affect when this reset takes place. It’s going to take some time. The patience of WCS educators has been phenomenal and is appreciated. When INNOVATE receives any updated information about timelines for visiting your school, we will be sure to let you know.

While we wait for things to come online, there are many “web apps” that function like an app. These can be used directly through Safari web browser. And with the new iPadOS, many of them work even better. To get you started, take a look at several math-related web apps.

This entry was posted in Apple, Security on by .

About Eric Murphy

The Technology Integration Specialist develops and offers district wide instructional technology education for teachers and administrative staff and assists in the development and implementation of curriculum and technology integration projects.

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