Last term we had 100 iPads come off lease and we replaced them with 150 iPad minis. I posted about the decision to switch to minis here. Things did not go as smoothly as they could have so here's a few tips if you're about to do something similar:
- If devices are coming off lease, make sure you give yourself enough time to choose what you are replacing them with and to get the finances signed off.
- Give teachers enough time to get all their photos/videos off their current devices.
- If you are wiping your leased iPads to return them or sell them DO NOT USE MERAKI!!!!! Within Meraki's client screen there is an "erase device" button but this does not work properly if you are using "Find my iPad". It looks like it has erased the device but it won't let you set it up as new. Instead it demands the Apple ID password for the device. We sold 40 of our 100 iPads to staff, and fortunately gave out about ten early because those staff came back and told us about the problem. We then had to set up all 100 iPads again, read the tiny serial numbers at the back of the iPad so we could work out which password went with which device, log on to iCloud, turn off 'Find my iPad' and then log out again. We were on a tight deadline to return the devices and this added hours to the process.
- Make sure your supplier adds your new devices' serial numbers to DEP asap as they can take 24 hours to appear (in our case we had a hiccup that delayed deployment by a week. This is the email you don't want to receive "The DEP transaction is suspended with Apple right now as there was an issue with it. It has needed to be pushed through manually at Apple’s end". I never really found out what the "issue" was, only that the head of Apple NZ got involved and then it went up the chain in the U.S. too. I'm hoping that this was just teething issues, as we were the first of our supplier's clients to use DEP).
Once our iPads finally appeared on DEP it was very simple to set up the devices wirelessly and a nice improvement over Configurator. The only drawback is that we can no longer assign a name to the lock screen, instead I've advised teachers to add different wallpapers to each of their devices. We also had to manually add the name of the device after set-up.
I've always found Meraki fiddly when installing a lot of apps on a device. Our senior school's devices have 49 apps on them and they didn't all go through immediately. However we seem to have got off lightly because the last 16 devices had certain apps that would not go through at all. They were stuck 'waiting' or loading and it was very frustrating. I ended up taking them home as our IT guru seems to think the problem lies with our connection with N4L (he's doing some techie things to sort that out). The apps did load up fine at home but it wasn't what I had planned for my evenings!
So that was what I got up to in the latter part of Term 2. Fortunately I had an assistant to help with the fiddly app-loading process. We also leased 24 new Apple TVs so they needed to be swapped over as well. While I was installing them I took the opportunity to enable restrictions so that I could hide the movies from the main menu. This removes the cringe factor of seeing "Sex Tape" or "50 Shades of Grey" advertised!
Term 3 sees us introduce optional BYOD (iPads) to our Year 5 & 6 students. I'm sure this will be a learning process as well but I am keen to get started.