Friday, August 12, 2011

Problems with Managing Multiple IOS devices...

IOS devices are inundating classrooms around the world. They just make sense in Education. Afterall the teacher can put almost all of their course content on the device, and students love using them. It's a great combination. So what's the problem? After managing one school set of iPod touch devices at each of my campuses, there are a few things that I wish Apple would address for Educators managing these devices.

Control over settings - With tools that are currently available it is NOT possible to lock or remove the settings app for students. H.S. & M.S. students are experts at being malicious with technology, especially when it comes to changing the wallpaper, lock screens, and the accessibility settings. Each time they do I have to restore that iPod from a saved backup. It's time consuming hassle.

Configuration profile updating - The iPhone Configuration Utility lets me push out all sorts of settings and webclips which I am very grateful that this doesn't have to be done by hand. However, if I ever need to update the wifi passcode or make a quick change to the profile it takes hours. These configuration profiles don't sync. To make any change they must be removed from the device, then update the profile on the mac (or create a new one), then reinstall the profile on each device. Not to mention the need to click install one time for each device from the mac and then 2X for each profile on the device itself. If I have the devices connected to the computer, allow me to click install one time to push out each profile to all the connected devices.
Manage home screens & App folders - iTunes allows you to manage home screens & app folders one device at a time. The ability to manage these settings in iTunes or ICU so that all devices could look and function identically would be powerful. This way you could organize your apps by subject or function, or even genre.

Installing apps - As my campus technolgy faciltator, I need to be able to add apps quickly and easily. But I also need to be able to prevent students from loading apps of their own. The ICU has a setting that prevents apps from installing. However, it also prevents me from installing apps even when I'm hard wired to my mac. The ideal situation would be to lock the installing of apps to the user, while at the same time enabling a way to push out apps over the air. (BTW - the over air installing of apps works beautifully, now if only there were an OTA uninstall).

Erase all photos - All I'm asking for is a button that erases all photos (except for the ones from my iPhoto library) without requiring me to download them to the computer first. As it it right now you must download all the photos to your iPhoto library before you get a delete button. To add inusult to injury, you can only download from one iPod/iPad at a time. With 30 iPods, this can take hours!

I like these devices. Mobile devices are the future of education. It is, perhaps the fastest/cheapest way to acheive a 1:1 ratio for most school districts. However, mass management & delivery of these devices is obviously a major obstacle for all mobile OS devices including IOS, Android, & RIM(Blackberry). Especially if they want to win over education.

Do you have other problems or solutions to my problems? Please drop me a line.

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