What is Apple School Manager and how does it work?
This is part two of a five part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. Read part 1 here.
What is Apple School Manager?
If we start at the top level of the new iOS 9.3 update, the major release concerning administrators is Apple School Manager. Prior to School Manager, Apple schools would have many different websites and portals to visit in order to make changes to their technical iPad environment. This was everything from purchasing apps in the Volume Purchase Program to enrolling iPads through the Device Enrollment Program. These were cumbersome steps for technology directors and often a drawback of going 1:1 with iPads.
With the release of School Manager, technology administrators will have only one web portal to access when they wish to make any back-end changes to their iPad environments. This will include enrolling iPads, purchasing apps, and managing Apple IDs.
How It Works
Apple School Manager is a system that will only be run by a few individuals in a school, and Apple has attempted to make it as easy as possible to get your environment up and running. Upon entering the School Manager for the first time, technology administrators will be greeted with a setup assistant to guide them through the process of establishing their School Manager. It is Apple’s intent that once this process is done, the school will not have to continually enter into School Manager to make changes.
One of the benefits of School Manager comes from uploading users and creating managed Apple IDs (we will visit Apple IDs in a later post). Users can be uploaded two ways, through a .CSV file or through a connection with the school’s student information system. Roles can be established inside of School Manager to give various levels of control to users. For example, technology integration specialists may need the ability to purchase apps for their teachers in the VPP Store, School Manager will allow the administrator to grant this power to certain users, but not all.
Why Teachers Should Care
For teachers, this is going to be a seamless step in the background. However, with the administrator’s ability to upload users and grant specific permissions to certain roles, students will only be able to use the devices for educational purposes while teachers can be allowed more freedom. School Manager will also allow staff and students to have managed Apple IDs. This will be discussed in a future article, but it is worth noting that the managed Apple IDs will allow for a more streamlined classroom for teachers.
Things to Ask Your Administrator
- Has our school been notified by Apple with the ability to enroll in Apple School Manager?
- Does our Student Information System work in conjunction with Apple School Manager?
- Will staff members be granted permission to reset passwords and download apps?
In all, Apple School Manager should be a tremendous step forward for technology administrators operating in Apple Schools. While its features should not be confused with the Google Admin Console, administrators now have a much easier way to manage their Apple environments. For more information on Apple School Manager visit Apple’s School Manager Help page.
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Ben will be a featured presenter in Boston and San Diego this year. He will be joined by other Google experts from across the country to share new ways to innovate student learning Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.