Changes for the 2014-2015 school year include:
  • Addition of Educreations, Puppet Pals HD, Duolingo, Shakespeare Pro, and Aviary as standard-issue applications.
  • Replacement of older iPad 2 inventory with new iPad Air models in Griffin Survivor cases.
  • Standard configuration of iPad 2s was completed with Apple Configurator again, but the new iPad Airs were supervised over the air using Apple's DEP program in order to compare enrollment processes.
  • Canvas replaces Edmodo as our LMS
  • PowerSchool replaces RenWeb as our SIS
  • Meraki MR34 and 18 replace Aruba AP-105 access points across campus
  • Meraki MX100 replaces OpenDNS and Cisco ASA5505 as web filter/security appliance.


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The 2013-2014 school year will see several changes to our policies and procedures for managing the iPad initiative at Franklin Academy High School, including a shift in the foundational way our iPads are configured and managed.

The need for these changes was brought about through our desire to use iPads for End-of-Course testing. North Carolina has specific guidelines for the configuration of iPads used for online testing. While we were already in compliance with most of the standard, we did not have iMessage blocked. The ability to block iMessage on a large scale requires devices running iOS 6, and Supervised through Apple Configurator. Because our iPad inventory was only Prepared with Configurator, and not all of our iPads are capable of running iOS 6, we would be unable to use our iPads for testing without a change.

While there is a workaround for blocking iMessage on unsupervised devices running iOS 5, we decided to use this situation as an opportunity to improve our system overall for the future. Specifically, we are taking the following steps:

Replacing Original iPads with iPad 2s.
In order to ensure that all our high school students have the same experience, the original iPads in our inventory will be replaced with iPad 2s, and repurposed for use in cart systems at our elementary and middle schools. This gives us uniformity of hardware specifications and software compatibility. It also solves the problem we’ve had of specific app updates requiring iOS 6, and some students who are simply unable to access them.

Supervising iPads
Going forward, all iPads will be initially set up using Configurator to add the Supervision Profile that allows us to control advanced settings, including blocking iMessage. We also discovered that once a device is Supervised, it can be forced into Guided Access remotely. This means for future testing, students will bring their assigned iPad to the testing room and a few minutes before testing begins, the iPad enters Safari and will not let them use any other apps until testing is done. This exceeds the standards set forth by the state.

Changing Mobile Device Management Systems
Our current MDM is Maas360, soon to be replaced by Meraki Systems Manger. Changing MDMs is not necessary for moving to a Supervised approach, but we found this a good time to switch. Maas360 has a lot of features, and some benefits we really enjoyed like web-based management portal as opposed to an on-site server. Even so, we felt it was designed with enterprise use in mind, and ended up being a little cumbersome for the few tools that we used most often, specifically enrolling devices and pushing apps. While it has fewer overall features, Meraki Systems Manager saves us several steps for these specific tasks, and saves us money in the process. A more in-depth look at the MDMs will come after our transition.

To solve the immediate need of iPads for End-of-Course testing, the 75 iPad 2s we need will come from our Senior class. Those iPads will be turned in after senior projects are completed, several days before EOC testing begins. These iPads will be Supervised in Configurator and enrolled in our new MDM, ready to be reassigned the next school year. For the testing days, these iPads will be locked into Safari.

More detailed updates will follow as we are constantly working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our iPad initiative.