Saturday, 19 July 2014

Setting up iPADs using VPP & Meraki

In the next phase of our learning with digital technologies we rolled out 2 iPADs per junior class (10 classes) and 1 iPAD for each of our six learning assistants who work 1-1 or in a small group with students. A total of 26 iPADs therefore needed sorting out. We are a "pc", "Google"and "Chromebook" school so working within the apple iOS was new for me.
Firstly, I had to get my head in the right space to research what other school's were doing. It's great being able to send out a tweet to get the collective wisdom of my twitter PLN for some advice.  I put out this tweet...
which linked me through to lots of interesting feedback and advice.  I then had a skpye session with the lovely Anna Gerrit to see how she had set them up at her school. Our LwDT facilitator Esther Casey also provided some great support with her contact in other schools and what/how other schools had set up their iPADs when they weren't "apple" schools.  My main priority was to ensure that I set up a system so that apps were legally purchased and deployed to each of the iPADS.  Plus I discovered the importance of having similar naming conventions for each iPAD and details in the Apple ID set up across the school.
Here are the steps that I have done (for better and worse) and how I'd do it differently for when/if we get more iPADs:
  1. Create a Google account for each iPAD so they have email within our school system.  This was easy to do as I'm the administrator for our school.  This way all the iPADs have a similar naming convention and password. The email then became the apple ID.  I also set up the iPADs as a separate organisation within the administration panel.
  2. I set up a VPP (Volume Purchasing Programme) account through Apple Education so that I could bulk purchase apps for the team (purchases over 20+ reduces the cost of each app).  This process took over a week to set up from the time you submit your details.
  3. As we didn't have a MAC computer to use as a server to push out the apps through either Configurator or Profile Manager I decided that we would use Meraki as a MDM (Mobile Device Management) service.  Setting up the Meraki account was quick and easy.  The instructions to link the VPP account and Meraki was simple too with very clear instructions (including images!).  
  4. I then set up the apple IDs using the Google email address that was created - unfortunately I had to change the password convention on my Google mail addresses to align with the Apple ID conventions of having 8 characters, a capital letter and a numeral, so this took a bit of time (plus I used my email address as the rescue email which meant that I had to log in to apple ID not only 26 times to activate those accounts, but a further 26 times to activate my address as the rescue email address).  A long tedious process but simple enough.  See my next time advice - as I wouldn't do it this way next time.
  5. In Meraki you "invite" each Apple ID/email/iPAD to receive apps pushed to it through the iTunes store.  This is where I encountered a problem.  The Meraki invites were really easy - but the set up of the iTunes billing information was problematic! It took several hours on the phone to apple support for them to activate each iTunes account as you can only have one credit card linked for every three accounts and while I had deleted the billing information each time, there were issues with from the iTunes store.  This was really frustrating! I even shed a tear through the stress of trying to sort it all out, which is very unlike me! So hopefully this post can help others through this mistake - see my next time advice.
  6. Finally, once all the Meraki invites had been accepted through the iTune accounts I could allocate (in Meraki) which apps purchased in the VPP could be allocated to which iPAD.  I had purchased some different apps for the learning assistants iPADs.
  7. I then gave the iPADs out to the staff who could then turn on the iPADs, put in their new Apple ID and then go to the iTunes store to the 'purchased' apps section and download the apps onto the physical iPAD.
Next time advice:
  1. When setting up the Google mail accounts use the same password conventions as Apple ID from the start - I had to go back in and change my gmail account passwords so that they aligned with the Apple IDs - time consuming but necessary. The password must contain a capital letter, numeral and be at least 8 characters.
  2. Create the Apple IDs through purchasing a "free app" then you don't have to enter in billing information - this was the BIGGEST head ache for me!  As unfortunately there was an Apple error that took 2 weeks for Apple to resolve in-order for the accounts associated with our email to accept the credit card - it was very frustrating and I was on the brink of deleting all accounts and creating the Apple IDs through the "free app" way - so please follow this recommendation, + it saves the $1 per activation on the credit card per account that could be used for purchasing an app instead!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Our GAFE Launch >>>3, >>2, >1 - GOOGLE !

Wow! What a term it has been - one term down into our Google Apps for Education and it's really transformed learning opportunities for our students in the senior team.
Part of our strategic roll out of learning with digital technologies saw us at the end of term 1 having a fantastic Chromebook and Google Apps for Education launching day in our senior school.  The Board of Trustees and PTA generously have supplied each of our five senior classes with ten Chromebooks.  All students have a GAFE account for their learning and teachers are using the Hapara teacher dashboard to manage and access student accounts.

The Chromebooks have been cleverly stored in lockable filing cabinets with dish racks as a cheap solution for security and storage.  Each Chromebook has been set up to only accept school domain log ins and we have created a sticker as a deterrent for would-be thieves to alert them to this fact.

Some of the kids reflections from Room 19 using VoiceThread of our launch:

I've had a few schools visit regarding how I went about deploying the Chromebooks and this has been some of the resources and steps I took:

GAFE parent letter:
Google Kids launch presentation:
Google Parent's meeting presentation:
VLN discussion on CMC set up:

Not used yet but link from +FionaGrant  to investigate Synergyse launches free interactive training for the Google Apps Admin Console - See more at:

No point getting Chromebooks without paying the extra Chrome Management console $39 (approx I think).  You get whoever you are purchasing the Chromebooks through to get the licences for the CMC.  Then when you initially log into the Chromebook you set the wifi settings first and then Ctrl + e to enrol the chromebook on your domain (with your domain login is fine).

The process I took and timings for setting up 55 (initally) for the Chromebooks:
  1. Got a parent helper to label all devices with the room and the date we got them.  As each class had 10 we labelled them 19/1 through to 19/10 and then date was just 201404.  She also labelled the corresponding box with the computer number (19/1-10) and these were on a Google Sheet. (This took about 2 hours)
  2. Then we plugged in a bar scanner and with the Google Sheet opened with the class Chromebook numbers opened (in order) was able to bar -code scan the outside of the box to get the serial number of each Chromebook off quickly.  This took only 5-10 minutes - initially I had the parent helper tediously typing in the serial number but this ended up being the quickest and accurate.
  3. Our TTS guy then opened them up and connected them to our school wifi logged into the internet - we have all our school owned devices set to this separate WLAN so that the kids didn't need to authenticate each time they and enrolled each device.  Not sure how long this took him but it was just on one of his scheduled fortnightly visits.
  4. The Chromebooks were boxed up ready for the kids to unwrap!
  5. I spent about 2 hours just going through the settings on the GAFE admin domain turning things on and off (as per list on VLN at your discretion). I also had a play around with a couple of the apps that I wanted the kids to be able to have deployed to the devices "typing club" was essential as we have such a long domain name to log in "" so hoped that the kids might use this app in a self directed learning way.
Setting up the GAFE logins/hapara:
Kiwi Schools did this process for us, however I was inpatient and pushed them along!  I had spoken to Fiona Grant (Manaiakalani cluster) about what needed to be put onto the .csv file and got it prepared and sent off to Kiwi Schools who then uploaded it to Hapara - essentially you prepare 2 .csv files one with the teachers and room numbers and one with the kids information.  Once it's uploaded in the correct format Hapara then add access to the teachers, who can then print out the class info with the kids log in and intial password.