Managing and configuring a large number of mobile devices can be a large task for IT administrators. Apple (News - Alert) has made mass configuration of iPhones and iPads a little easier with its Apple Configurator, and now mobile device management firm AirWatch has integrated its platform with Apple Configurator to help educational institutions simplify the process further.
“AirWatch (News - Alert) understands that educational institutions have unique technology needs,” said AirWatch in a recent video on YouTube about the integration. “To fully embrace mobile learning, we need a way to efficiently deploy and manage mobile technology across your entire institution in a scalable way.”
Apple Configurator helps admins prepare iOS devices for students and faculty by enabling admins to choose the OS version, configure device settings and install applications without completing the iOS setup assistant for each individual device. AirWatch takes this functionality and lets educational institution admins install the AirWatch mobile device management (MDM) app during initial device setup, according to the video. Once installed, the AirWatch MDM lets admins update device settings and deploy apps to devices via the AirWatch admin console.
For shared devices that are used by multiple students of faculty members in a classroom setting, admins can not only initially setup devices, but can also configure them for different users. Apple Configurator can supervise devices and makes it easy to apply a specific configuration to each device, according to the AirWatch video, then re-apply it automatically after each use.
“Supervising devices enables administrators to closely manage devices and reconfigure the device on a regular basis,” the video noted.
Each time the device is checked out by student or staff, the device can be wiped clean of data by the previous user but still contain the required settings, restrictions and apps. Also, you can assign supervised devices to specific students or teachers and use Apple Configurator to back up settings and app data--including any new user-created data—to be used on a different device in the future, notes the video.
“AirWatch provides a granular mechanism that allows us to ‘profile’ each user or group and [give it a] different application and device setting,” said Pat Karr on the AirWatch web site, coordinator of network services and support for educational institution, McAllen ISD. “A user enrolled into the High School group would have a different set of apps and configurations than one enrolled in the Elementary School group. You can also go further by creating grade-level groups within these higher-tiered groups.”
Because devices are enrolled in AirWatch, it is possible to both configure and then tightly monitor configurations and updates as needed from the AirWatch Web console.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli