Most Schools Testing iPads, Rate Device Management As Biggest Hurdle

Most Schools Testing iPads, Rate Device Management As Biggest Hurdle

Most schools are testing, if to yet deploying, iPads

There are plenty of stories out there about schools that have already launched large-scale iPad programs or that are considering them for next year. Many U.S. school districts have yet to determine an iPad strategy, however, and are still moving forward cautiously.

In a small survey of public school IT managers, research firm Piper Jaffray identified the iPad as a new technology being tested by the majority of public schools. The survey also offered insights into the the pros and cons that school IT managers are weighing when it comes the iPad and some competing technologies.

The survey, highlighted by All Things D, consisted  of 18 IT managers and shows that 78% are testing the iPad – some of those are also testing Google Chromebooks. Only six percent were testing Android tablets.

When it comes to the iPad, the biggest challenge is device management. That’s not really a surprise given that mobile management is a big issue for schools as well as businesses. Beyond management, the big concerns were cost, the inability to play Flash content, and the lack of a physical keyboard – all ranked equally as potential issues. A more limited concern was the iPad delivering less functionality compared to a Mac or PC.

When it comes to advantages, the ability to customize the iPad experience and its flexibility were at the top of the list. Other pros that were identified include easy access to information, iBooks Author (presumably for the ability to create custom content), cost compared to a Mac or PC, and additional benefits simply identified as “other.”

The study also identified reliance on web access and software limitations as the biggest challenges for schools considering Chromebooks. Advantages to Chromebooks over the iPad include simplified device management (the biggest advantage), cost compared to a Mac or PC, and the inclusion of a keyboard.

  • iDoiDevicesDotCom

    ConfiGurator and IPCU aren’t complex tools. It’s government institution it help desk that is the challenge.

    The culture and philosophy of It help desk in the windows enterprise is so voodoo boogeyman centric that the hardest thing about managing iOS in the enterprise, is unPr0cking the MDM custodians numbskull idea that Flash and keyboards are needed on a mobile device……

    Their customer (the student) should device about their own unique perspectives on HID.

  • Steffen Jobbs

    I’d sure like to see schools get on board with the iPad and double monthly iPad sales numbers. Apple needs to get aggresive on the educational front with plenty of help desk support and hardware deals. This is too good an opportunity for Apple to let pass.

  • Hunter

    Management was a problem at our school until we invested in some products from Datamation Systems (www.ipadcarts.com). We currently utilize a sync & charge cart, a portable sync-charge device shared between classrooms, and a 49-port usb hub for mass syncing. These products have really made iPad management easier on us.

  • technochick

    My little brothers (ages 10, 10 and 13) are all part of a pilot program at their schools. All 3 were given theirs by the school after my parents paid a $250 a piece damage deposit and signed an agreement that if either one was lost my parents agreed to replace it at full cost.

    At both schools the network has had blocks put in place to prevent the kids from going on twitter, Facebook etc on the web. The kids also had to sign a code of conduct that they understand that they must bring their iPad to school just like they do their regular textbooks and notebooks. That they are not to throw them around like they are plastic toys. That playing games during class instead of doing their work means being removed from the pilot program AND the standard punishments like being banned from being on teams, going on field trips etc. Restoring a school provided iPad to remove the restrictions and/or jail breaking the iPad is grounds for expulsion.

    Teachers are being monitored to make sure they are paying attention to what the kids are doing in class as well.

    Mind you this is a private school so that could be how they can get away with their rules, deposits etc but public schools can probably have set up at least some degree of the same thing. Especially if they are providing the iPads

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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