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Netbooks, PDA and Phones Thread, Starting from scratch in Technical; Hey guys. We've just had a teacher in asking about setting up classrooms full of iPads, with the intention of ...
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    TheMrB's Avatar
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    Starting from scratch

    Hey guys.

    We've just had a teacher in asking about setting up classrooms full of iPads, with the intention of getting them in in the next year or so.
    Now, our network and our set up in general is pretty antiquated and I have no idea if it is a feasible solution in our place.

    Does anyone know of a literal "Beginners guide" for this kind of set up? We are absolutely clueless as to what we would need etc to make this solution work and I would really like to get a head start so that I can go to the NM with a workable solution when this plan becomes a reality.

    Cheers in advance for any help.

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    The first question has to be, what infrastructure do you have in place at the moment? Wired, wireless, everything.

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    TheMrB (20th May 2014)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    The right solution depends on a number of question, including...

    Type of school?
    Size of school?
    Are they only going to be used in the one classroom?
    How many iPads are you looking at?
    How many in one classroom?
    Will you buy more at a later date/expand the system?

    If you are looking at more than a couple of classrooms and/or want full roaming around the site then you'll want a wireless survey done. Find 3 or 4 reputable companies and ask them to survey they site and offer quotes. Try to get them to quote on more than one technology (Muru, Ruckus, etc).

    There's also the management of the iPads to consider. So iPad trollies, charging, Mobile Device Management software, iTunes volume license accounts. Companies like Insight can help advise here on a complete solution and help install/set up.

    Edit: Go to the NM now! Involve him/her as early as possible. They are paid to come up with the majority of the answers you are looking for! They'll also have the expertese to ask the right questions and now roughly were to look for answers.
    Last edited by tmcd35; 20th May 2014 at 09:51 AM.

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    TheMrB (20th May 2014)

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    Cheers for the replies guys.
    Answers as follows:

    We are a large, 3 building secondary school with around 2000 people (staff and students) on site.
    For now, the idea will be probably 30 iPads, for one department. Probably one full class at a time.

    I would certainly guess that at a later date we would look at expanding the provision depending on how successful a roll-out we have. It's certainly the way forward and if it's successful, why wouldn't we?
    In the future I would guess that roaming would be a consideration, be we have a pretty good Meru setup on site that covers all but the darkest corners of the site.

    Management was probably one of my biggest concerns, mentioned were trolleys for charging etc, but outside of personal use, I am relatively clueless as to what is required for software management. Thanks for the company recommendation, I will give them a buzz.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post

    Edit: Go to the NM now! Involve him/her as early as possible. They are paid to come up with the majority of the answers you are looking for! They'll also have the expertese to ask the right questions and now roughly were to look for answers.
    I am the NM's deputy. And when it comes to new tech, he will always, 100% of the time, come to me for these things.
    I know asking on a forum makes me seem completely clueless. My thought was that someone who has had experience with this kind of deployment would be able to point me in the right direction instead of me having to filter through the mass of useless and outdated posts if I dig through google searches.

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    aidenbran2000 (28th May 2014)

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMrB View Post
    I know asking on a forum makes me seem completely clueless.
    No, it doesn't. It makes you seem like you're asking a question about something that you don't know the answer to. No-one knows everything. I'm certain that you know more about some areas than I do but at the same time I'm also sure that the opposite is true as well. Asking for help, opinions and experiences is nothing to be ashamed of, precisely the opposite in fact.

    If you have blanket wireless coverage already, you're part of the way there already. How does it cope with that number of laptops in the same area? If it copes OK, you should be alright with iPads as well. The things that you need to look at are as tmcd35 said: Management, volume licensing, MDMs, trolleys, charging etc.

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    TheMrB (20th May 2014)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMrB View Post
    We are a large, 3 building secondary school with around 2000 people (staff and students) on site.
    For now, the idea will be probably 30 iPads, for one department. Probably one full class at a time.

    I would certainly guess that at a later date we would look at expanding the provision depending on how successful a roll-out we have.
    Based on this, a trial. I'd keep is small and simple to start off then. Something like a single trolley with power and syncing capabilities. A Mac Mini for iTunes and Configurator (MDM) perminantly on top the trolley. A single Airport Extreme on the trolley to be plugged into a local network port when the trolley is wheeled into the class room. Give it it's own unique SSID and attach the iPads to that. Possibly even include a USB printer plugged into the Airport for Airprint. Only other thing to look at would be either Google Drive or setting up a webserver with WebDAV to access network drives.


    I am the NM's deputy. And when it comes to new tech, he will always, 100% of the time, come to me for these things..
    My apologies. I may have come off a little obtuse. We do get the odd teacher/HoD asking this type of question...

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    TheMrB (20th May 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Based on this, a trial. I'd keep is small and simple to start off then. Something like a single trolley with power and syncing capabilities. A Mac Mini for iTunes and Configurator (MDM) perminantly on top the trolley. A single Airport Extreme on the trolley to be plugged into a local network port when the trolley is wheeled into the class room. Give it it's own unique SSID and attach the iPads to that. Possibly even include a USB printer plugged into the Airport for Airprint. Only other thing to look at would be either Google Drive or setting up a webserver with WebDAV to access network drives.
    That's perfect, thanks.
    One follow up question, hopefully not too complicated.

    If we decide to expand, let's say 2 full classroom's worth per department, 7/8 departments, would that then require a locally set up Airport per trolley?
    Is it something that can be managed centrally using a second channel/SSID on our wireless controller with a Mac (I assume management can only be run from a Mac, man I wish I could install OSX virtually!) in the office?

    My apologies. I may have come off a little obtuse. We do get the odd teacher/HoD asking this type of question...
    Apologies both ways I guess, reading back my reply that was very "Don't you know who I am" of me.
    Sorry

    Thanks both for all the help. I can definitely put something together in preparation now.
    Much obliged.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMrB View Post
    .

    If we decide to expand, let's say 2 full classroom's worth per department, 7/8 departments, would that then require a locally set up Airport per trolley?
    No, think of that as a cheap trial. Don't want to spend £10,000's on managed wifi if you're not going to use. If you want to scale up to that level you'll be looking at getting serious quotes for a full managed wifi installation. I wouldn't attempt it on anything less - world of pain.

    Is it something that can be managed centrally using a second channel/SSID on our wireless controller with a Mac (I assume management can only be run from a Mac, man I wish I could install OSX virtually!) in the office?
    When you scale up you'd relocate the Mac Mini to your server room and centrally manage from there. If you're looking 7/8 departments each with 60 iPads - that's 480 devices! I think you'll be looking at a much stronger MDM solution than Apple Configurator

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    TheMrB (20th May 2014)

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    Yeah, maybe close to 500 devices is a bit of an overshot!
    I'm just speaking from experiences that I'm sure sure we've all had of teachers going "I WANT THAT!"

    Do you use a system like this? are there ever any security concerns?

    Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMrB View Post
    Do you use a system like this? are there ever any security concerns?
    Not currently, but have been heavily researching and running small scale trials for a while. Our local primary has a trolley that we are in the process of perfecting it's setup. We're still discussing at a senior leadership level what this school want to be doing long term for ICT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Not currently, but have been heavily researching and running small scale trials for a while. Our local primary has a trolley that we are in the process of perfecting it's setup. We're still discussing at a senior leadership level what this school want to be doing long term for ICT.
    I'd be really interested to hear how it all pans out.
    Just mentioned it to the NM and was greeted with a torrent of loud abuse and spit because he doesn't like the idea!

    It's gonna be a fun few months I reckon.

    Cheers for all your help mate, I really appreciate it.

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMrB View Post
    Just mentioned it to the NM and was greeted with a torrent of loud abuse and spit because he doesn't like the idea!
    Do we have the same boss?

    Seriously, I don't disagree with anything that tmcd35 has said. The only thing I might suggest is to gauge how serious they are about using iPads or similar devices in the long term and how likely they are to expand the usage of them. It's all very well getting in 30 devices now and using Profile Manager or Apple Configurator to manage them but you may find that these tools become impractical as numbers expand. It may be worth looking at more comprehensive MDM solutions such as Meraki or Lightspeed as I can only imaging how annoying it would be to get people used to one management system, find out it's inadequate as your numbers expand then being forced to move to another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    Do we have the same boss?

    Seriously, I don't disagree with anything that tmcd35 has said. The only thing I might suggest is to gauge how serious they are about using iPads or similar devices in the long term and how likely they are to expand the usage of them. It's all very well getting in 30 devices now and using Profile Manager or Apple Configurator to manage them but you may find that these tools become impractical as numbers expand. It may be worth looking at more comprehensive MDM solutions such as Meraki or Lightspeed as I can only imaging how annoying it would be to get people used to one management system, find out it's inadequate as your numbers expand then being forced to move to another.
    Cheers,
    Yeah, I am thinking that expansion is likely. We have another department looking at getting Learnpads in (it's awesome that I didn't know that until 15 minutes ago!) so I'm guessing that more devices will be guaranteed if it works.

    At the end of the day, I'll need to put something comprehensive together to cover both eventualities I guess.
    If they want to test with a few (I reckon 30 is too many and too expensive to test with) then all but the airport from tmcd35's suggestion would be used upon expansion. But I will do my damnedest to make sure that they know the cost of a full blown MDM is known if they decide to expand.

    Thanks to you both. I didn't think this was going to be such a minefield!

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    I've been looking at this sort of thing on and off for ages ready for the day pigs start flying and someone here decides to spend some money on IT

    My biggest concern is that iPad's/non windows tablets in general aren't geared up to be shared so we'd end up being unable to track pupil web activity and have students logging into each others online accounts once someone ticks the "remember me"/"stay logged in" box, all of the things we've spent ages setting up windows networks with AD logins for.

    I'm visiting a school tomorrow to see their iPad deployment in action, at the moment I'm thinking we should get Dell Venue 11 Pro's for shared use but thats probably just me sticking with what I know best

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamman960 View Post
    I've been looking at this sort of thing on and off for ages ready for the day pigs start flying and someone here decides to spend some money on IT

    My biggest concern is that iPad's/non windows tablets in general aren't geared up to be shared so we'd end up being unable to track pupil web activity and have students logging into each others online accounts once someone ticks the "remember me"/"stay logged in" box, all of the things we've spent ages setting up windows networks with AD logins for.

    I'm visiting a school tomorrow to see their iPad deployment in action, at the moment I'm thinking we should get Dell Venue 11 Pro's for shared use but thats probably just me sticking with what I know best
    Would love to hear your thoughts when you return!

    I think, for us, the web activity tracking isn't too much of a problem.
    We use a Sophos hardware web app that is set up to ask for a domain log on to access the internet if access is attempted from a non-domain machine.
    How that would work with the iPad's need to connect online with it's apps, I don't know.

    So far my biggest concerns seem to be:

    Secure access to users home folders
    Making sure that students can't install their own apps (Pretty sure that's covered by management software, and
    making sure I can manage and configure, on a larger scale, via our already installed Meru solution.

    I really don't want to be spending money replacing a new wireless solution if I don't have to!
    Last edited by TheMrB; 20th May 2014 at 12:28 PM.



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