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There are several lab configurations you can use to set up your iPad classroom. Through the Apple store, your school may purchase a preconfigured Apple iPad Learning Lab, or custom build a lab to suit your school's needs. The Apple iPad Learning Lab is a portable system with a set of 10 to 30 iPad devices, it comes fully assembled, sturdy and secure with the Bretford power sync cart. In addition it has extra storage for a Macbook Pro, or Macbook Air computer.
It easily rolls from classroom to classroom, and includes a secure locking device. There is also a smaller solution. The Bretford PowerRack for iPad. It is designed for the iPad, but it also is compatible with the iPod Touch. It charges and stores 10 iPads or up to 20 iPods. It charges, syncs, stores and secures. It too has a durable hard shell case. On the Bretford site, you can see the power rack and the different configurations that you can purchase for your school.
There are three ways to configure iPads at your school. The first one is manually, I suggest this for the teacher's iPad. It's the simplest configuration method, but it is manual. The teacher downloads apps the usual way, and manages the iTunes account personally. It's best for a small number of iPads. The second method is using the profiles with the Apple Configurator app. This is the method that I will demonstrate.
It's best for a large number of devices, quickly configured with specific settings, apps and data. The Apple Configurator distributes apps purchased with Volume Purchase Program, free apps, and other app-based content, such us keynote presentations, pages documents, or any documents for apps that support iTunes file sharing. The third method is the mobile device management solution, or what is called MDM.
MDM is a capability for schools to securely enroll devices in their network, wirelessly configure, and then update the devices. This service is provided by third parties offering support for a variety of server platforms, management consoles and pricing structures. In addition, Apples own OS10 server has a remotely managed system using the profile manager. And finally and most importantly, you want to keep track of your devices.
There are three ways that I have heard used at schools. The first is probably the most popular, asset tag devices using tags or barcodes. At Pasadena City College we use the barcode system. There is the library check-out model. And then finally, in the classroom, a sign-in, sign-out model. For instance, at Pasadena City College, we use the cart, and for a student to check out an iPad, they must give us their student ID or driver's license. We give them the iPad and then we insert the student ID or driver's license into the slot.
In addition, I assign each student a specific slot with a specific iPad. This way, if I have to troubleshoot later, I can see if it is the device, or the student. So, now that we've had the overview of how to set up an iPad classroom. Now were ready to go to Apple Configurator App, and set up our cart.
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