It has been very quiet in this blog series. There’s only one reason: deployment was a more than fulltime occupation. Time for writing was never more scarce. Today the big rush is over and I can find some time to reflect on the past few weeks.
As I mentioned in the previous post, students and their parents had to chose one of three scenarios: either they already own an iPad and let us supervise that device, either they buy one through a webshop from our partner or they lease a device from school. They also have the option to opt-in to our school insurance (with the exception of pre-existing devices). To gather all this information, I made a Google form. First big lesson: make sure people get an email with the content they filled in the form after they submit it. Second big lesson: set a clear deadline and remind people of that.
After all new students were enrolled in the school (all of our first graders are obviously new students), people made their choice and all had to make an appointment for our roll-out days. We made 1 hour time slots to chose from. We decided to organize the roll-out on two consecutive days right before the start of the new school year. Reminder: look back at the two big lessons from before.
Students with a previously owned iPad had some preparation to do: we notified them to offload all content from their iPad, disable iCloud on the device and erase all settings and content. Disabling iCloud before wiping the device is essential since you have to disable the activation lock from Find My iPad
Pre roll-out frenzy
We scheduled the roll-out at the end of August, two and three days before the school yea starts. This is a time most students are back from holiday and we have had some time o prepare.
July 30th, I assembled a list of all students that wanted to buy an iPad through the webshop of our Apple Solutions Expert. They sent e-mails with login information to the students.
As soon as all students were up to date in our Student Information System (SIS), I could create users in all necessary platforms: our MDM, our electronic learning environment (ELO), Office 365 and G Suite. Our MDM and ELO use a csv-import, the rest has a connection with our SIS through an Active Directory. The MDM connects to Apple School Manager to create classes and managed Apple IDs.
Next we created an envelope for every student that contains:
– Our schools code of conduct regarding iPad use at school
– A checklist with the preparation for non-lease devices
– A personalized agreement between the school and the parents
– A personalized document with the login for the MDM and the managed Apple ID
In detail these documents were:
Code of conduct
This is a document containing (among more) the following:
– we expect your iPad to be fully charged in the morning
– we expect you to know the account and password for your ELO login and Apple ID
– we expect you to use Touch ID
– we expect you to keep your iOS and apps up to date
– don’t install beta software
– we expect you to have an iCloud backup
– we expect you to have Find My iPad enabled
– we expect your iPad to be protected by a case that protects all corners and the screen
This checklist is only applicable to devices that have previously been used:
1 Create an iCloud backup (optional)
2 Log out of iCloud
3 Erase all content and settings
Parents sign a document that contains the following
– Lease contract (when applicable)
– Subscription to school insurance
– Agreement to Code of conduct
You can plan all you want but in the end you will not have thought about everything.
The morning of the first day, the lease device were delivered to the school and we could setup the roll-out. We had help from 8 colleagues to prepare all 550 envelopes and help with the roll-out. This “workforce” was invaluable.
We decided the roll-out proces into 4 stages:
Stage 1: Reception
Parents and students would arrive at their scheduled times an be given their envelope. Missing envelopes could be created on the spot.
Stage 2: Administration
The attendants would go in another room filled with tables and open their envelopes. They would read and sign the agreement and go through the checklist (if applicable).
Stage 3: Getting your device or handing in your device
In this stage the students who had chosen to lease a school device would hand in the lease agreement an receive their device together with a case. They also take home the box (it contains the cable and charger).
The students with an own device would hand the device over to an assistant . The assistant puts a number on the iPad with adhesive tape and gives the student a receipt with the same number. The iPad is then prepared with Apple Configurator. This program puts a school blueprint on the device that:
– Gives access to a Wifi network
– Puts the device in supervised mode
– Enrolls the device in our MDM server
Every student moves on to a next room. This room serves as a waiting room for the ones that handed in their iPad and a setup room for everyone.
Stage 4 : Setup
Everyone in this room gets a run-through on paper for configuring their iPad. Lease devices are in the Device Enrollment Program and are automatically enrolled in our MDM. Other devices are enrolled through Apple Configurator.
During the configuration students set up:
– Touch ID
– A passcode
– Connection with the MDM with their login credentials
– Their personal or managed Apple ID
What did we learn (the hard way)?
Wifi is essential! No device will get enrolled in your MDM if your Wifi is failing. Yes we encountered this on the first roll-out day. I still have nightmares …
Managed Apple IDs are not what you want to use on an occasion like this: too many students had to come an ask a teacher for a verification code. The teachers could give these, but this is very inconvenient when you are in a busy classroom with 40 other people configuring their iPad.
And last: you can plan all you want, you will forget stuff, either small or big. Just stay cool and do what it takes to get your job done.