Posted by Ross on January 30th, 2013
Something I am forever getting asked on a regular bases is can I have iPads setup in a trolley for shared use. Well yes anything is possible but the issue with the iPad is its consumer device which is designed for one user and one user only. If you wish to have an iPad shared between several users you lose a lot of that great fast iPad ability. List below are a few of the common issues!
- Email access for several different users
- Easy access to documents with live edit instead of webdav
- iTunes account for user specific apps
- Pushing applications requires a user to input an iTunes account
- Data protection of past work will remain on the device unless house keeping is done
- Setting different access rights based on if the user is staff or student
- Restrictions are limited so a user can easily restore a device and set it up to there liking
- The list just goes on the more I think about it!
So really if you want to use a shared environment for iPads you have to accept its not going to be as easy as you using an iPad of your own. You need to look into Document management processes. So the students would need to be trained on how to access there work with WebDav or Drop box or google docs etc etc. You would also need to restrict the App store as there is nothing stopping a student from going onto the App store and inputting there user details and downloading angry birds! Sure you can restrict the App Store loading but with MDM solutions you cannot push applications to a device if you have restricted the app store.
In conclusion as I feel I could go on with this subject. Don’t judge an iPad usage on how you use the iPad. You need to consider how it would be used by students and the staff using them. If you find that you have to provide a how to guide on how to teach with the iPads then your easy to use iPad are not so easy and the whole reason you purchased them has become obsolete!
If you were to use the iPad in a 1:1 environment I think its the best solution and can really bring on advantages within education. Technology is changing and network Managers and Technicians need to accept that control needs to be given to the user sometimes within reason! Once the student has a device it becomes an inconvenince to them if they get broken or tweaked with to much where its unusable!
Posted by Ross on October 27th, 2012
Dear EduMac Client
Over the past few years EduMac has become a lot more popular and our services are being used by a broader range of clients. We believe it is time to reflect that change, and extend our hand further to clients outside the education sector. This doesn’t mean we will be leaving education behind, as education has been our passion right from day one. EduMac began from working in schools and that is not going to change. We believe that rebranding EduMac is the correct step forward, and that is what we have chosen to do. Junction IT will be run by the same people, with the same ethos, and the only thing changing is the name. Our primary focus with Junction IT will be to offer deployment services primarily for Apple platforms. So for example the deployment of Mac OS X to iOS. We have seen a massive increase with the use of iOS in schools and business’s as its such a great device and has truly changed how technology is used to communicate and collaborate.
We will also be offering our experience with Microsoft products as well as we have a broad background of support with Microsoft networks. We believe our strongest area again is with Server and workstation deployment. We have worked with some of the best Microsoft products for OS deployment. We have seen how having a good management system behind any network can increase productivity within any department and free up time for technicians to focus on assisting learners or development instead of fire fighting.
We will be officially rebranding to Junction IT as of January 2013.
We would like to thank everyone who has worked alongside us and we are very excited to continue working with you.
Owner and founder of EduMac & Junction IT
Posted by Ross on October 23rd, 2012
All schools are protected by network firewalls and the majority of networks will not have the Apple Push Notification service enabled to allow access. This can stop features from most MDM solutions which require several ports to open to talk to the Apple Push Notification service. In order to allow access you will need to open the following ports.
Port TCP 443 (https)
Port TCP 1640 (SCEP)
Port TCP 5223 (APNS)
Port TCP 2195 (APNS)
Port TCP 2196 (APNS)
This has been the case for several popular MDM solutions such as profile manager and Meraki. If these ports are not open you will not be able to push settings or receive notifications from your iOS devices.
If you are behind a grid internet provider for example SWGFL (South West Grid for Learning) You would need to contact the grid for a change request on the ports above.
Posted by Ross on September 15th, 2012
With iPads and iPod touches becoming more and more used in schools every network manager / Technician is automatically start thinking how do we manage this devices. Then you start to look around for an MDM solution which will allow you to add restrictions and push software. This can be a shocking find as it can cost as little as £10.00 per devices plus a large setup cost. You also look into using Apples profile Manager which comes free with Lion and Mountain Lion but this requires you to have a piece of hardware and knowledge of setting it up and supporting it. But thankfully there is a free and easy to support option.
Introducing Meraki’s System Manager which is 100% free. ( I have called to confirm this!) - http://www.meraki.com/products/systems-manager/
Meraki allows network managers and technicians to remotely manage there devices over the cloud. So this takes away the need for hardware, support and training. You can easily enroll your iOS devices with a web interface or by sending the profile over email. You can also import the management policy with Apples Configurator. Unlike a lot of the free MDM solutions available this allows you to push apps directly of the App store.
Not only can you manage your iOS devices but also Windows hardware and Mac clients 10.7+. This does not have restriction based settings but you can remotely monitor and support your users all over the cloud.
I have done several tests behind school firewalls and proxies and Meraki is still able to push restrictions over the air.
For more info on Meraki’s other products you can find out more by visiting http://www.meraki.com/products/
Because of the success of Meraki’s product I have now started to offer assistance with setting up Meraki in schools.
If you want to find out more with the use of Meraki in schools your welcome to email me at Ross@edumac.co.uk
Posted by Ross on August 1st, 2012
If SIMS was available on Apple Macs would there be more Apple hardware in schools?
I have been to many schools and I am asked the same question each time. Can we run SIMS on OS X? Well at the moment the answer has always been no but there are a few workarounds. But if there was a client for OS X would it increase the usage of Macs in admin areas of the school. In my opinion I honestly don’t think Admin would benefit from Macs due to the massive cost in hardware. But teaching staff would be able to make good use of the creative software available with all new Macs. To match the hardware of a PC ultra book to a Macbook air it works out around £150 – £300 extra to have the Macbook Air. So as nice as it would be to have a SIMS client is this a move that Capita would push for with the cost difference in hardware?
What options do I have to run SIMS on my Mac at the moment?
You could setup a remote desktop server which has a few admin tools like SIMS and Nova. But this has licensing costs and cost towards server hardware. It would also go against some setups where they may have all mac servers. You can also run Windows on a VM quite freely now a days with products like VMware, Parralels and free VM tools virtual box. But this requires you to have a high spec computer to be able to run both operating systems together at the same time. In my personal experience I have ran VMs several times on a Macbook Pro and if you upgrade the hardware Windows or OS X just want more of that memory. Its a never ending battle over hardware resources. You also have another third option. There are several plug ins for content management systems available which read your SIMS data and allow you to manage some areas of your SIMS data. For example SIMS have a product called SIMS Learning Gateway which works with Microsoft Sharepoint. This is a good product but quite costly to install and license yearly. There are also products which connect to SIMS through the VLE software Moodle.
What is the best way to access SIMS on a mac at the moment?
So I think the best way to make use of SIMS on OS X at the moment would be to setup a remote desktop server. I have recommended this several times and set it up in several schools and it is the cheapest and less hardware hungry way of using SIMS.