At my school district we are starting to deploy iPads just as many others are. While managing the vast number of iPads is still a difficult task there are several solutions and I hope that in a year a robust solution will be available.
However, what I haven’t seen is a decent business case for iPads. When you have administrators that have all their documents in a folder on the server, shared documents in their department networked folders and a wealth of sensitive data that needs to be used by various people there just doesn’t seem to be an easy way to tackle this with an iPad.
Beyond simply email, calendar and Internet access how can we make these devices more useful in an everyday environment? My Assistant Superintendent of Education Services has a goal of getting principals and assistant principals out of their office and more intimately involved in the daily activities of their schools. To this end they have been given iPads to use in their job. However, when the iTunes store is the first place users look for apps to utilize, syncing data with iTunes on their desktop computers, non-networked file access, etc this becomes a real challenge.
To this end I have attempted to find out how we may get tools in the hands (forgive the pun) of our staff that take advantage of our networked file infrastructure, Active Directory for authentication and authorization and vast wireless access across our school sites.
Check out my video where I presented our model to the CETPA CTO Mentor Program, of which I meet once a month in Sacramento with other education CTO and IT staff members.
We have had a lot of great interest in our model from the various school districts as well as Apple and Microsoft.
Next week I will be presenting the same topic geared towards developers at the Inland Empire .Net Users Group, of which I also am a member. At that presentation I will be getting into the nitty-gritty detail of how it all works. Plus you will see a production ready implementation rather than the proof of concept in the above presentation. I’ll record this one as well and post it as soon as I can.
More as it comes!