Deploy 2014 is a series of shows we are currently building up to help you lead a major technology deployment in your school or organisation. The series is published in our regular podcast feed and this page gathers and organises each of the posts in the series, along with a summary of the content.
Part 1: Vision and Leadership
First Aired: February 17th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 1: Vision and Leadership
The idea of this series is to help anyone who is interested in planning a deployment for roll-out in the 2014-15 academic session. Although we’re going to explore the options and discussion around whether or not to go 1:1, the assumption is that you’re going to lead some kind of radical culture change – not just buy one or two iPads.
The first episode is all about Vision and Leadership, which we regard as the sine qua non of iPad deployments. We explore what the basis of your vision for change might be and consider some of the situations you might find yourself having to lead through.
We finish by talking about two conceptual frameworks you can use to give colleagues a way to think about the change they’re facing and to give them the necessary language to talk about it. Those frameworks are SAMR and TPACK.
Part 2: The School in Context
First Aired: February 24th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 2: The School In Context
This week, on the podcast, Bradley and Fraser talk about putting your school in context. This is a really important step to take on the road to a major technology deployment.
We start by looking at what you might call the 50,000-foot view: looking into the future and thinking about where the world, our society and the economy is headed. Are we really looking into a future where large-scale manufacturing is coming back, or will we hang all our hopes on “creativity”?
Specific details of the future are hard to pin down but one of my core beliefs is that technology rarely arises from nowhere overnight. There are well-established techniques for what is sometimes termed “foresight analysis”, “futuring” or “futurology”. This isn’t crystal-ball stuff, it’s about looking at current trends and making disciplined use of a well-informed imagination to take a shot at where these things might go in the future. It’s worth bearing in mind that a pessimistic imagination is just as valuable as an optimistic one – possibly more so.
In the show, Fraser recommends a book that he found useful when he was getting started in applying these techniques to education: “Futuring: The Exploration of the Future” by Edward Cornish (Amazon.com; Amazon.co.uk) which gives a very useful overview of the field.
We then move down to the national level, taking a look at some statistics published by the UK communications regulator Ofcom. In particular, their 2013 Communications Market Report provides useful contextual data on such factors as home access to the internet and the relative use of desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
While the national picture is what it is, it’s always necessary to bring it down to the level of your own school. Most schools will know (or be able to find out) the rough socio-economic breakdown of their catchment area. This is a start, but it’s important not to make broad assumptions about what parents will be willing to support based on broad socio-economic trends. I’ve worked with rich schools and poor schools and the correlation between the financial status of parents and their willingness to support educational technology programs isn’t always as straightforward as you might think.
We wrap up with the following tasks for your “homework” this week:
- Become informed about where the world is going.
- Use survey data, market research, analyses of the job market, the tech sector and the economy as a whole.
- Use a broad base and read widely; don’t depend on one or two opinions.
- Regardless, think critically for yourself about what is right for your school.
- Be aware of how national or international data applies to your school and your area.
- Ask parents and ask students what technology they have.
- Ask the school community how things could be funded sustainably.
Part 3: Network Infrastructure
First Aired: March 3rd, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 3: Network Infrastructure
This week, on the podcast, Bradley and Fraser discuss your network infrastructure. 1:1 deployments require drastically different network planning than was needed during the “computer lab” era. The show starts start with a discussion of examining what you have. There are a couple of key points:
- Don’t assume your network can handle a 1:1 deployment.
- Don’t assume it can be upgraded cheaply.
- Don’t assume it can be upgrade quickly.
Bradley also makes the point that it is very beneficial to go visit other schools to learn about the network decisions they made. It is also important to remember your incoming and outgoing bandwidth limitations when planning. Bradley mentions that with 400×400 speed from his ISP, a caching server isn’t as important as it is for someone with a 10×1 connection.
We move onto a discussion about firewalls. Bradley is currently using a Sonicwall NSA3500 (Fraser mentions how ironic that product name is now). He is moving to a NSA4600 due to DHCP overload on his campus. Fraser is using an old AirPort Extreme, but is planning on moving to using a BR200 from Aerohive. Bradley also points out that he keeps a warranty on this item because it can’t be bought off the shelf anywhere and his network is down without it.
The next item was switches. Switches can range from $50 to $5000. The ulitmate goal is to get what you need for your deployment. Depending on your size, you might need VLAN and management capability. You at least need CAT5e between all of your switches. It’s highly recommended that you have CAT6 or 1 GB fiber. If money is no object, you can prepare for the future with 10 GB fiber connection.
WiFi is the next topic that is discussed. It’s important to understand that bad WiFi is hard to overcome. If you don’t have the benefit of having a lot of concrete in your building, it’s highly recommend to get a site survey done by a VAR (value added reseller). As you begin discussions with vendors, determine what types of radios your devices have. You don’t want to spend money getting high end 3×3 radios if all of your devices are 1SS.
- iPad Air and Retina Mini are 2×2 11n
- All previous iOS devices are 1×1
- MacBook Air is 2×2 11ac
- Retina MacBook Pro is 3×3 11ac
We also discuss why you don’t need 10 SSIDs and the various types of WiFi authentication.
The show is closed out with a brief discussion on printers (with AirPrint), financing, and why the network needs to be finished ahead of deployment day. Bradley mentions that he is seeing some smaller model MFPs include AirPrint, so it should be making its way to the larger models soon. Bradley really recommends financing your network equipment as that gives you a clear upgrade path in the future. The problem with “un-sexy” purchases like switches are that there is never a good time to replace them. They are core pieces of the network, so having a systematic upgrade plan never leaves you with 12 year old switches. Bradley recommends a 3 year lease on WiFi equipment since the industry is moving so fast.
It’s important to get this aspect of your deployment right. You’ll burn a lot of bridges and waste a lot of goodwill if your network fails within the first week of a deployment. Even if you know there is no money for upgrades, you need to be making recommendations so that you can at least say “I told you so”. Also, don’t be afraid to hire projects out. Very few IT people are masters of firewalls, switches, MDM, iOS, and WiFi. Focus on what you do best and hire out cabling and other time consuming things.
Part 4: Teacher Training and Development
First Aired: March 10th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 4: Teacher Training and Development
Teacher training is often a topic met with a lot of opinions. Some say that seminars work best. Others say that small groups on 1 on 1 work best. It’s important when planning a 1:1 deployment to understand what you are starting with. Bradley mentions that a good place to start is to see what smart phones they are carrying. If you staff is full of flip phones, you might have to approach iOS differently than if you have a staff with a 95% iPhone penetration.
Fraser discusses the “Technology Adoption Cycle” by Everett Rogers in his book Diffusion of Innovations.
- Innovators (2.5%)
- Early Adopters (13.5%)
- Early Majority (34%)
- Late Majority (34%)
- Laggards (16%)
Fraser recommended that you focus on the early majority and don’t waste time in the beginning on the laggards. Bradley said that it is like a snowball. As you pickup more groups, you will gain momentum and can reach the others. Fraser then explained the various options for training offered by Apple and other re-sellers. He mentioned that Apple uses current teachers for its teacher training, but re-sellers will typically use former teachers. Bradley mentioned that he finds a ton of value in visiting other schools to talk and see how they do things. Fraser agreed and mentioned that it’s wise to bring the people who are slow to champion the next technology, rather than the champions.
Part 5: Device Selection
First Aired: March 17th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 5: Device Selection
- Traditional form factor
- Low costs
- Robustness questionable
- Reliability questionable (although at £220 who cares?)
- After-sales support situation unclear
- Management fee – not too expensive but non-zero
- >75% full: 12%
- 50-75% full: 24%
- 25-50% full: 50%
- <25% full: 14%
First Aired: March 24th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 6: Buying Accessories and Apps
Fraser and Bradley continue their deployment series with a discussion on accessories. They left the discussion of cases to show 67. Both Fraser and Bradley are down on screen protectors because they change the “feel” of the device, but they don’t protect it from falls.
Keyboards are the next item. Fraser talks about horror stories of hearing about classrooms of 30 with bluetooth keyboards. Bradley mentions that bluetooth operates on 2.4 ghz, so it can create WiFi interference. Fraser mentions that certain classes/exams can make good use of a keyboard and that Logitech makes a wired option. Bradley mentions that he is down on keyboard cases because there is no reason to carry it 100% of the time when it is probably used 5% of the time.
Styli are next. Fraser brings up the fact that iOS needs to begin to build in support for these products. Some of the more advanced models are using bluetooth, so it requires charging and pairing. Bradley says that if you have 2 styli, then you blew it (a reference to Steve Jobs saying if you see a stylus then they blew it). Bradley mentions that he’s heard math teachers would love a fine tipped stylus.
Fraser closes out the section with a reminder that screen wipes are essential for your deployment and it is something that most people forget about. Especially when it comes to flu season, you want to keep the devices clean.
They then move onto app selection. Fraser mentions that a lot of teachers go through the “app, app, app” craze and want to try everything. He said to think about apps not as book replacements but as tool replacements. What apps are core to just about any deployment?
- iTunes U
- Explain Everything
- Google Drive/Dropbox/OneDrive (a near-line file system)
- PDF annotator (We like PDF Expert)
Fraser mentions that specific subjects will always have unique needs, but that shouldn’t be the rule. He also mentions that it is wise for schools to decide on core app suite so students don’t end up with a different note taking app for every teacher.
Both Bradley and Fraser have simple methods for teachers request apps (email). A lot of people think teachers will go nuts and spend a ton of money, but that isn’t what either have experienced. It also seems that as students get older, they need fewer and fewer apps.
Part 7: Financing And Rollout
First Aired: March 31st, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 7: Financing And Roll Out
Fraser and Bradley open the show with a discussion of the Microsoft Office release for iPad and how it relates to Google Apps For Education schools (along with iPads). At $99 per year, is it that much better than iWork and Google Drive? Fraser compiled some interesting statistics that he shared on Twitter:
I identified 75 word processing features and compared Word, Pages and GDrive on iOS. Pages has 61, Word 57, Google Drive….18.Of 54 high-level spreadsheet features: Excel: 39; Numbers: 42; Google Drive: 23.
First Aired: April 7th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 8: MDM
- Gather device inventory
- Device hardware details
- Battery level
- Storage used
- Apps installed
- Remotely install configuration profiles on devices
- Remotely install apps on devices
- JAMF: Casper Suite
- Apple Profile Manager in OS X Server
Who you pick depends on a few factors:
First Aired: April 14th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 9: App Deployment
App deployment has dramatically since the beginning of 1:1 iOS deployments. In the beginning, we were plugging up handfuls of iPads at a time and syncing them through iTunes. In fact, you could originally buy an app 1 time and deploy it on an unlimited numbers of iPads (still technically possible). There are three main techniques for App Deployment:
- Redeemable codes deployed through Apple Configurator
- Redeemable codes deployed through an MDM solution
- Managed Distribution
Managed Distribution is the current state of the art deployment technique, assuming the following conditions are met:
- VPP is available in your country (US only currently)
- You use an MDM and it supports Managed Distribution
- You have individually allocated devices to users using their own Apple IDs or
- You have created one unique Apple ID per device.
When you look at Managed Distribution, you see the foundation (for the foresable future) of Apple’s education offering. This is probably the system they have envisioned for years, but it’s taken a lot of work to get to this point as it’s all still built on top of the iTunes authentication system. So how does Managed Distribution work?
- You buy apps as “Managed licenses” in the VPP portal
- Your MDM talks to the VPP portal to get a list of the apps you’ve licensed and the number
- Your MDM allocates apps to individual Apple IDs.
- Your MDM may push-install the app
- The net result is that the user’s Apple ID is effectively credited with ownership of that app.
- You can later revoke the allocation from the user and re-use that license.
If you can’t use Managed Distribution (if not available in your country), you can distrubute codes through redeedable spreadsheets in Apple Configurator or you can load them into your MDM. The latter option will result in the codes being “gifted” to the Apple ID that redeems it.
The major issue were are still facing with App deployment is there is no way to manage in-app purchases through MDM, VPP, or MD.
While VPP has spread to a lot of countries, it is not everywhere. If VPP is not available in your country, one option is to buy gift cards and hand them out to students. This is extremely error prone and not scaleable but, bizarrely, is the only technique that actually works for IAP. Another option is to simply require parents to fund an Apple ID with a payment method and pre-buy the apps that will be used.. Finally, syncing apps out through iTunes will work although it is not strictly within the T&Cs of the App Store.
- Get an MDM (we like Casper)
- Use Managed Distribution if VPP is available to you
For shared deployments:
- Managed Distribution with device-specific Apple IDs may work, if the effort to create them is tractable for your scale.
- Otherwise, stick with redeemable codes and Apple Configurator for now.
First Aired: April 21st, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 10: Pupil Safety
The safety of our students is obviously a high priority for us. This includes digital and physical safety. Digital safety is broken down into 3 sections:=.
There are various ways to do this technically. Aerohive offers an Application and Visibility feature to block certain categories on its WiFi. OpenDNS offers its Umbrella service for onsite filtering. Firewall vendors also generally offer this feature to block content at the core. The thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want your filtering to get in the way of the classroom experience. While we all certainly want to keep kids away from inappropiate content, don’t get so strict with your filtering that 80% of the web is blocked. You want to build an environment of trust and understanding. The worldview of your school also comes into play here. You want to extend what you believe about the real world to extend to the digital one (bullying, adult content, social networking, etc). You want students to understand what is appropriate and not appropiate without having to key locks on all the digital doors.
With iOS, this has become difficult. Apple certainly has some room to improve here. OpenDNS Umbrella works, but it’s not cost effective for a lot of schools. OpenDNS Family Shield is great, but it is easily bypassed if someone wants to get around. iOS 7 includes a built in content filter, but it is over-zealous and this is no modification or management of it. Filtered browsers are an option, but you’d have to ban any app that has a built in browser.
This is an area that can really help your deployment. The more discussions about content filtering you can have with your parents the better. It might be as simple keeping them up to date on the popular social networks. It’s become a difficult tasks for keeping students from using iOS devices to communicate. Games, AirDrop, and other social apps with private sharing all have the capability to become “chat apps”, so you are facing a cat and mouse game. This is why it is so important to focus on the education of digital safety with your students/parents rather than trying to wall off the Internet.
Personal safety is also something that you must consider prior to deploying a 1:1 iPad program. What are the current risks your students face currently when traveling to and from school? If you find that 75% of your students already travel to school in private transportation, it is probably not an issue.
Personal safety can also involve heath issues. Following the usual rules of taking breaks applies. Try not to sit down for extended periods of time. iPads are nice here, because they are very portable. Also consider ergonomic impact of various cases. As flu season comes and goes, you should also remember disinfectant of devices to keep germs from spreading.
First Aired: April 29th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 11: Disaster Recovery and Damage Procedures
- Key Concepts
- Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
- Average length of operational period before failure
- Cedars: 75 days
- Mean Time To Recovery
- Average time taken to get the system (student) back up and running.
- Spares on site: 2-4 hours depending on data load
- Mean Time To Repair (MTTR)
- Average time taken to get the failed unit repaired
- Highly dependent on local servicing and repair infrastructure.
- Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
First Aired: May 5th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 12: Choosing A Re-Seller
- Organise purchase, insurance, asset tagging
- If you’re doing a parent-buys model, they may be able to set up a “purchase portal” for your parents.
- Extended warranties
- Repairs under extended warranties.
- Device configuration and app installation (not recommended?)
First Aired: May 12th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 13: What To Do With Your Old Computer Lab
When you do a 1:1 iPad roll out, you’ve most likely got an old computer lab as well. The question is always, what do you do with it? You’ve got a couple of options depending on if you’ve leased or purchased the gear
If you’ve leased it, you can either return it or buy it out ($1 buyout or fair market value buyouts are common). The advice here depends on how old the gear is and in what kind of shape it is in. Bradley’s old deployment was a 2009 MacBook deployment. With spinning platter drives, these machines didn’t hold up as well as a flash memory computer would. I would check your resell value and compare that with what you could do with the gear.
A lot of the same questions come up here as well. What can you do with it vs what is it worth? This will be different from organization to organization.
The next question is what do you do with your old computer lab room? Fraser mentioned that they turned their old room into an Art studio and the power plugs in the floor worked out perfect. Bradley mentioned they traded their room back to the church they share space with for a RTBDL (room to be determined later).
Keep in mind with old equipment discussions that it’s important to communicate with teachers who need specialized software. While everyone thinks their needs are the exception, it is helpful to listen to the reasons someone thinks they need something special for their use case. Keep in mind, there is a difference between I don’t know how to do this on iOS vs it can’t be done on iOS. Be prepared to do some support and training for migration to “new software that does the same thing.”
First Aired: May 19th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 14: Parent Communication
When it comes to communicating with your parents, you cannot over communicate. Bradley notes that they see a 60% open rate on their weekly email blast and that is a good rate if you look at other newsletter metrics. You are going to have to say the same thing 5-7 times for everyone to hear it.
In the UK, the average mother of a child starting school was born in 1981. Parents today have a different expectation to the parents of school children from 20 years ago (people born in the 1950s). At some level, parents are simply wondering why we’re moving so slowly if you aren’t doing 1:1.
Parents will ask questions. You need to have answers and practice them.
- Why are you doing this?
- How much will it cost?
- What about handwriting?
- What about “screen time”?
- What about wifi and health?
- What about cyberbullying
- How much will it be used?
- What will it be used for?
- Why not “device X”?
You also need to set clear expectations for deployment day. Be up front and honest about all your policies. Don’t leave any room for a “gray area”. Get documentation of agreements and store is securely.
Don’t over promise the educational benefits (i.e. we are changing learning forever. Emphasize that this is a long-term transformation. It’s not done overnight, but it is done forever. We are attempting to change education for the long term (20+ years out).
Make sure your parents have ample access to documentation on your website. This might include contact information, FAQ, downloads, iTunes U information, etc. Make sure you understand who is the directly responsible individual (DRI). When issues arise, who makes the call? Who is the go-to person for issues?
First Aired: May 26th, 2014
Show Page: Deployment 2014, Part 15: D-Day
This is the day we have planned for. The planning is over and it is time to put this plane into the air. First bit of advice: have help. It’s a good summer project for students, but you need to only have the methodical and calm students there. You have enough to do without crowd control. You need to have a plan to get rid of the packaging (resellers might help here) as well.
As you unbox items, make sure you got what you ordered (color, device size, etc). Put the cases on the devices ASAP. Stacking un-cased devices around the room is asking for a damaged iPad. Before you put them into use, you should check all switches, look for dead pixels, look for physical damage, and test the camera.
The day before you hand out the devices is a good time to test your WiFi/SSIDs/VLANs. Get your apps loaded into your VPP-MD portal (if available) ahead of time too. The most recent version of Apple Configurator added the ability to do MDM enrollment setup through it as well (if you don’t have access to Apple’s DEP).
If you are planning on making a bunch of Apple IDs, make sure you communicate this 30-60 days ahead of time to your Apple SE. They can white list your IP so you aren’t banned. Not doing this will create a show stopping experience
You’ll also want to have you acceptable use policy on hand. Fraser mentioned that he requires a signed AUP in order to get the charging cable.