Tag-Archive for ◊ ipads ◊

Mobile Devices – Part 1 – Meraki
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 | Author:

Since posting about our tablet devices, I have received a range of questions about their management so I decided to write two blog posts about how we have set them up and managed them within our school. These are similar steps for our Apple and Android devices. We currently have 10 iPads on our domain, 8 being used for monitoring children via the 2Simple Profile app in our pre-school and Early Years and 2 iPads used for SLT for various monitoring tasks and for observations. We also currently have 108 Android tablets for use by children from Year 1 to Year 6.

To manage the devices, we have used Meraki from Cisco. This is free and is available here: https://account.meraki.com/secure/login/dashboard_login This post will show you some of the things that Meraki can do and what we have set up so far.

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The first thing to do is to visit the website and click Create Account. It will ask you to verify your email address and then you can login and access the dashboard.

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Once logged in, it will ask you to create a new network.

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We gave it a name and then chose MDM for Mobile Device Management. I’m not sure what the other options do!

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You are then given the option to add devices. You can add IOS, Windows, Android or Chromebooks. Our Chromebooks are managed by the Google Apps dashboard and I haven’t tried adding Windows devices.

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There are two ways to add an Android device. The first is to download the Meraki Systems Manager app from Google Play. Once open, you click enrol and enter the 10digit code. Alternatively, visit the mobile website and enter the code on there. This will then ask you to install the app anyway. Please note, this isn’t our real code, this is a mock account for the purpose of this blog post.

For IOS devices, this works in a very similar way. There are a few certification steps along the way where you have to verify things with Apple, but it is easy enough to add a device using the steps provided.

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Once some devices have been added, it would be useful to create a profile. For IOS this gives you the ability to lock certain features e.g. turning off Siri or Facetime or blocking apps from installing. It also allows you to set a passcode for all devices.

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For us, the most important part on the profile page is to setup the Wifi. We were able to assign the Wifi name (SSID) and the password and proxy settings. This was then pushed to all devices within our Meraki domain. We set this up and then added all of our devices, once enrolled, they automatically collect the settings. If you have added devices already, simply click the sync option on the app and it will re-download them.

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Once the devices have been added, they will show on the Monitor>Clients page. From here, you can click on each device and rename it. You can also see the serial code, useful for inventory purposes and it also shows other information such as which version of the operating system is running, which apps are installed and which are missing. It also shows a map to give a rough location of the device.

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From the MDM>Apps page, you can choose which apps to install on the devices.

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For Android, you simply click Add New and then search the Google Play store. Pressing add and then save will send a link to this app to all of your devices.

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You can also click on an app you have used previously and re-push it to any devices that haven’t installed it yet.

For IOS devices, the process is similar but you will need to register for VPP (Volume Purchasing Program) so that you can buy the apps at a discounted rate and then install them on multiple devices. This can take a little while to go through as when you register for VPP, Apple will check your identity and that you belong to a real school. Once this has all been done, you can add the information from your VP account into Meraki. Free apps work in a similar way to the Android apps above.

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For Apple devices, the Organization>MDM page will highlight the various certificates and approvals that you will need to get things working. It doesn’t take long, but it is another step in the process.


We have only just started using Meraki, but it seems like a fab free tool for managing lots of devices. There are lots of things that it can;t do e.g. setting up each device to look the same or updating the operating system, but for the basics, it does them very well.

This next post looks at how to enrol the devices onto the Meraki domain.


aye-pads, tablets and netbooks
Monday, March 26th, 2012 | Author:

Ok, so it’s sunny outside..that means some blue sky thinking. I think.

I’m thinking about a scheme similar to ones running in many secondary schools already where pupils can buy/lease a device by paying monthly over a number of years. In my mind, netbooks would be great, but if you’re spending £300-£350, then obviously the ipad comes into play too. But then if you’re talking tablets, you might also want to investigate the Android ones too. There should probably be a small mention for Chromebooks too at £300, but for that I could almost get a ‘proper’ laptop/netbook which could be used for animation, movie editing and game design too.

So, before deciding on a device I want to decide what it will be used for and why I want it. To do that, some context is needed. We have 9 classes (if you don’t include Reception who have a few desktop PCs) using  68 netbooks. There are also 18 or so desktop PCs in the corridor for children to access and a suite of 20. The suite will last another year at most and as it only holds 20, doesn’t get used much (once/twice a week) due to class sizes of 28+.

The netbooks are great and I am totally converted after thinking that I would hate them. They have decent-sized screens and they boot up in 5minutes. Battery life is 4-6 hours too. So the easy option would be to have a scheme where children can buy their own netbooks. I could image them very quickly using the system we already have and life would be simple.

But then what about the tablets? As I have never really played with an i-pad (except for a bit of browsing and a bit of a play in a shop once) and never used an Android 3/4 tablet, it’s best to list the things that I want and then hopefully some lovely people will leave comments to say if it is possible.

  • The device needs to be able to sync with others so that if I download apps on one, they go to all devices. (do I need to think about licensing???)
  • They need to work through our proxy settings
  • Will there need to be multiple accounts setup so that when they are used in school the child sees the ‘school’ apps but when they’re at home, and it becomes a home device, they can install angry birds?
  • Can I therefore stop pupils from purchasing apps in school?
  • Can I ‘force’ a certain look on all devices e.g. making a maths folder and a science folder with relevant apps inside?

Of course there are also other questions that are more teaching and learning, than techy:

  • Will my teachers want a range of devices in class?
  • Will they want to have different activities being done by different children at the same time?
  • Will children want to use it so much that they forget how to write? Will they be allowed to choose when to use it and when not to? I don’t want it being a flashy way of doing their times tables!!
  • Will we use it for a range of different stuff often enough? If it’s just going to be a ‘research’ machine for finding out information, why not buy a Blackberry Playbook for £170? (and this has Flash)
  • What if only 5 children in a class sign up to the scheme? Will this create haves and have-nots? Will this be a problem? Should I just buy a couple of ipads for each class and avoid the issue?

Ideally I’d like a couple of devices to play with for a few days but I have no idea how to go about this. I tried a few places and it wasn’t in their policy to let me have shiny things to play with in case I broke them.

There is obviously the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) argument too and I think we could allow this providing it worked through the proxy settings.

So, am I being ambitious? forward-thinking? mental? Would/could/does this work and how do I go about trying? I’m not a Distinguished Apple Blokie so I’m looking for something that any teacher can go and do. Comments, questions, rants, opinions are all welcome, so please help if you can!