Making The Grade Overview Updated April 21, 2018

Making The Grade

A new weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education.

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Nine 'Making The Grade' stories

March 2018 - April 2018


Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.

Read recent Making the Grade stories below:

Making The Grade Stories April 21

Making The Grade is a weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


Every couple of years, I make a large purchase with Apple for my school. We work directly with Apple on the products, and we even lease everything directly through Apple Financial Services (with a $1 buyout at the end). It’s a process that takes a few weeks to work through as we go back and forth with Apple on price, product model, and leasing terms. One item that always comes up is AppleCare+. It comes up once, and I decline it. There is often discussion amongst technology buyers on whether AppleCare+ is worth the price or not for personal products. I see it both ways for individuals. Schools and businesses, on the other hand, should almost never buy AppleCare+ for any of their products, and particularly not the low end iPad. Here’s my rationale for that:

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Making The Grade Stories April 14

Making The Grade is a weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


Repairability of Apple laptops is something that has evolved in recent years. Whenever a new product is released, there are a few websites that will do a teardown and discuss how it’s made. iFixit, a popular website for repair guides and parts, even publishes a repairability guide for laptops and smartphones. Is this something business/education customers still care about? How repairable are Apple’s laptops? That is what I want to look at this week.

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Making The Grade Stories April 7

Making The Grade is a weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


I’ve talked a lot of ways that Apple needs to improve its education offering in recent weeks. One of the significant ways is with identity management. I even wrote about my disappointment with Apple’s most recent education event as well. While Apple has a lot of ways to improve to match Google’s K–12 offering, they do dominate in a big way in one area: the app ecosystem.

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Making The Grade Stories March 28

Making The Grade is a weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


On Tuesday, Apple laid out its clearest vision of their education strategy to date. That strategy revolves completely around the iPad in classrooms. Apple is keeping the iPad at the center of everything it does in education. Read 9to5Mac‘s recap for a rundown on everything Apple announced yesterday, and read on for my take from a classroom IT management perspective.

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Making The Grade Stories March 24

Making The Grade is a new weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


I’ve been deploying and managing iPads since the fall of 2010, so I’ve truly been managing them from the beginning. Even before the iPad, we had deployed 80 or so iPod touches around our school. Things have changed a lot since then. Back in the early days, we were syncing apps via iTunes. If you think iTunes is slow now, try updating iOS on 15 iPod touches at one time!

Fast forward to 2018, and iOS deployment is a solved problem. Thanks to tools like JAMF and Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, I can deploy hundreds of iPads with much the same effort I can ten. For me, unboxing them takes as long as it does to get them configured. For all the great ways Apple has improved this process, however, there are still two things they have yet to address:

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Making The Grade Stories March 17

Making The Grade is a new weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


There’s been a lot of discussion in the Apple community lately about MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook. Each laptop has its pros and cons, but I want to consider which one makes the most sense in education.

I had to do this process two years ago when I was planning our technology refresh at our school. I came up with a list of guidelines that I considered to be important, and then let those guidelines help me determine what laptop was best for us.

  1. Compatibility with existing hardware (projectors, TVs, etc.)
  2. The maturity of hardware (for reliability)
  3. Price vs. function

While that may seem like a straightforward list, it contains some critical decisions that can impact the overall price significantly. When buying more than a couple of laptops, small equipment decisions can add tens of thousands of dollars to your quote.

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