One of the first decisions we had to make when we decided to embark on our 1:1 iPad project was whether to use what I’ll call the “personal” or “managed” models for iPad distribution. I’ll briefly lay out what I know of each model (keep in mind, I’m a principal not a systems engineer), what we decided, and why.
In this model, the school or district own all the software licenses for apps on the iPads. Neither students nor teachers are able to log in with an Apple ID so they only have access to the apps that are school- or district-provided. Theoretically, a student could connect an iPad to their own computer and do a “restore” in order to set it up as their personal device, but they would then lose all the apps provided by the school.
In this model, certain aspects are managed by the district or school (setting up wifi access, restricting app downloads to those rated for 17 and under, etc.) but every user has his or her own Apple ID. This allows students and teachers to reasonably personalize their devices with their own music and any apps they have already purchased on the same Apple ID. In this model, apps are purchased by the school or district but become student-owned; apps are viewed by the school as consumables that are re-purchased each year. Under the personal model, when a student matriculates out of the school, he or she would return their iPad while retaining access to their all of their apps and anything else backed up in their iCloud.
What we decided
These are, of course, superficial descriptions but they give you a general idea of the two models. There are always plenty of “what ifs” and ways to create models that are a hybrid of these two.
In the end, we chose the personal model for several reasons. First, we wanted students and staff to be able to reasonably personalize their devices with existing purchases. I also felt it would give each user more ownership of their device if they felt they could customize it within reason. We still have several profiles loaded1 that our fabulous IT folks have installed and which help us mass-manage important device settings.
If you choose to adopt this model, it is critical to front-load as much as possible with your students and families so that they have already chosen an Apple ID to use on their device. In some cases, families chose to use an existing Apple ID and in some they chose to create a new one for their student. If it were my student, I would make sure that he or she had a unique Apple ID. In my opinion, by middle school kids will want to purchase their own music and apps and I don’t want my iTunes cluttered with “One Direction” singles.
The decision of whether to go personal or managed is a critical one to your deployment and I have provided the briefest of summaries here. You will want to ensure that all parties who have a stake in the management process are involved in the decision.
- For my non-IT purposes, I understand that a “Profile” is more or less a way of managing certain settings on the iPad like wifi passwords and the like that need to be common across all the devices. [↩]