Apples for Teachers: MacOS and iOS in the Classroom

Research indicates that Apple Computer Inc. devices, particularly its iOS-based iPhone and iPad products, have made significant inroads into enterprise environments. This trend echoes and parallels the evolution of macOS and iOS devices in the classroom, an evolution creating new challenges and new opportunities for teachers and managers of classroom technologies.

Apple in the Enterprise: Freedom of Choice

“While Windows PCs continue to comprise the core of business end user computing solutions, Apple macOS computers and iOS mobile devices are increasingly being adopted to satisfy evolving workforce requirements and preferences.” This finding was the result of primary research conducted by respected IT market watchers Enterprise Management Associates® (EMA™) and summarized in an April 2017 white paper, Managing Apple Devices in a Windows World.

“Organizations are increasingly allowing employees to select their own devices, opening the door to an increased adoption of Apple products in the enterprise. According to EMA primary research, enterprise adoption of Mac desktops and laptops has increased 27% in the past three years.”

Even more impressive has been the growth of Apple’s mobile devices in the enterprise. “Apple continues to garner the lion’s share of the market, supplying 37% of enterprise smartphones and 41% of enterprise tablets (edging out both Android and Windows devices). Currently, about 20% of all workers regularly employ an iOS device to perform job tasks.” EMA found this to be a result of “the ‘consumerization of IT,’ as users more frequently selected and purchased their own devices and then brought them into their workplaces. In fact, 71% of iOS devices used to perform business tasks are employee-owned.”

Apple has also implemented multiple initiatives designed to make its offerings more attractive to enterprise IT decision makers. One of these is a Volume Purchase Program (VPP). Another, the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP), “allows organizations to set up configuration profiles before deploying iOS and Mac devices, which… simplifies the onboarding of new devices through integration with third-party management platforms.”

Apple in the Classroom: A Long-Term Relationship, Renewed

Apple has focused on the education market since the company was founded. Since then, the introduction and evolution of the iPad, combined with recent moves by the company, have breathed new life into Apple’s presence in the classroom.

The company has long offered VPP and DEP versions tailored for educational institutions. In 2016, Apple introduced Apple School Manager. This solution provides a consolidated portal for deploying and managing classroom iPad deployments, including DEP, VPP, and Apple ID for Students Program accounts. Apple also introduced its Classroom iPad app. That program enables teachers to manage and see a classroom full of iPads, and support multiple user accounts on each device for easier sharing.

In March 2017, Apple introduced version 2.0 of its Classroom app. That same month, Apple partnered with case manufacturer Logitech to produce a ruggedized iPad case for the education market. In addition, Apple lowered iPad prices, making them more competitive with Microsoft Windows and Google Chromebook alternatives.

Apple executives have said repeatedly and publicly that the company is committed to the education market. But Windows and Chromebook devices continue to evolve, and Microsoft and Google continue to pursue this market as well. This means teachers and classroom technology administrators can expect to face the challenges of managing multiple platforms for the foreseeable future.

The Missing Link: Ivanti Solutions

Ivanti provides a fully cross-platform solution that combines endpoint management for Mac and Windows and mobile device management for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices. It is driven by smart policies and incorporates integration features that make it an ideal complement for Apple School Manager.

It includes:

  • Provisioning, support, and configuration that allows IT to pre-define roles and permissions and push everything out automatically
  • Smart policies for automation based on class, user, or device information
  • Security enforcement and remediation to protect student privacy and district property, including automated remediation actions
  • Mobile content management for distributing documents, media files, textbooks, tests, class syllabus, and other files to devices, with control over whether students are allowed to copy or share those files outside of the container

Using Apple School Manager and Ivanti solutions in tandem, IT administrators can order devices through the Apple Device Enrollment Program, pull data into the console, and visualize and manage the configuration of those devices. In fact, IT can customize the out-of- box experience for the user even before the district receives the devices. This includes the ability to customize the setup wizard that users see when they turn their devices on for the first time. Instead of IT staff having to configure thousands of devices, they can configure a dozen policies and hand out devices literally still shrink-wrapped.

The present and future of IT in the classroom will likely resemble the present and future of IT in the enterprise – diversity of users, available resources, and platforms that require support. Ivanti solutions can help teachers and educational IT teams to tame platform diversity, maximize leverage of available IT resources, and treat all users as “enterprise-class” network citizens.

Click on the link below to download the Ivanti white paper, “Teachers in Charge, IT in Control,” to learn more about Ivanti solutions. Then, contact us to see how Ivanti solutions can help your educational institution manage diverse classroom technologies more efficiently and consistently.