What Do I Need to Have to Use iPads in My Classroom?

By Sam Gliksman

You’ve read about all the wonderful things other schools are doing with iPads, and you’re eager to dive in and get started. Wait. Even the most well-designed building will topple if it isn’t built on a solid foundation. Review your infrastructure and make sure you’re ready. Here’s a short list of some of the things to consider before purchasing all those devices:

  • Wi-Fi: Do you have a Wi-Fi network that is sufficiently robust to handle the number of devices you plan on purchasing? You need a healthy amount of bandwidth from your Internet provider along with a solid wireless infrastructure on campus. Your Wi-Fi network needs to supply a consistent and reliable signal that’s strong enough to handle multiple devices connecting at any and all locations around campus.

    The quickest way to torpedo any technology initiative is to have teachers work hard to prepare wonderful projects for students that are unable to connect when they power up the devices.

  • Core data systems: Ensure that your central data systems — such as email, calendars, and databases — are set up to work smoothly with iPads. As one example, an email system that requires its own app as opposed to being configured to use the native iPad Mail app may cause problems down the road. Check that your essential data systems can be managed as needed on iPads.

  • Management system: However you plan on configuring and managing the iPads, ensure that you have the configuration in place and well defined. Smaller deployments may need only personal management. Larger installations might require the use of a mobile device management (MDM) solution.

  • Content storage: Ensure that you have a system in place for students to store and exchange content created on iPads.

MDM software gives IT departments the capability to enroll devices in a centrally managed environment, wirelessly configure and update their settings, and even to remotely wipe or lock managed devices. Several third-party MDM solutions are available for managing iOS devices. If you Google MDM management of iOS devices, you’ll get a comprehensive list of options. Research the various options and select the one that best matches your situation.