Making The Grade Overview Updated January 19, 2019

Making The Grade

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

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47 'Making The Grade' stories

March 2018 - January 2019


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 Today

One of the buzzwords that we’ve been hearing for years in the K–12 environment is iBeacons. Apple introduced iBeacons back in 2013, but to be honest, I’ve yet to see a killer use case in K–12. I’ve seen some discussion around the iBeacons used well in retail, hospitality, and sporting events, but even that hasn’t taken over the world. Wi-Fi vendors have been building in beacons into their access points for a couple of years now, and iOS devices have had the technology in it for multiple revision rounds, so I am left with the question: Where are the killer iBeacon use cases, and why aren’t we hearing more about them in real life deployments? This week, I’m looking at some potential ways that iBeacons can be used in K-12 environments. expand full story

Making The Grade Stories January 5

Starting on Monday, I kick off year two of teaching Swift Playgrounds at my school. I teach this class once a year (for a quarter) to our 4th and 5th-grade students. Last year, I started with Learn to Code 1, and I had hoped to get to Learn to Code 2 by the end of the quarter, and then move on to Learn to Code 3 this year. I wrote about my experiences in year one in an article in May so you may want to read that as well. In short, the learning curve for students ramps up very quickly in Learn to Code 1. Follow along for the changes I’ll be making for my second year of teaching Swift Playgrounds and what I think Apple could do to improve the program. expand full story

Making The Grade Stories December 29, 2018

As I touched on previously, the concept of a device supporting dual iCloud accounts on iOS is something I had not thought of until recently, but I do think it’s something enterprise customers would like to see from Apple. One of the benefits of iCloud is how heavily it’s tied into Apple’s iOS devices, but for enterprise and education customers, this means they won’t usually be able to use their device for anything personal. This week, I want to look at this in depth and discuss why Apple should offer a “dual iCloud account” setup for managed devices. expand full story

Making The Grade Stories December 22, 2018

Even though my school mainly uses iPads, we still have a suite of ChromeOS devices in our library. There are 10 Chromebases (the iMac version) for students to use, and then we have a Chromebox for our librarian to use to check books in and out (she has a MacBook Air as well). We’ve had this computer in there for the past four years, and I have not touched it since it was installed. ChromeOS auto updates, it’s easy to manage remotely (not that I did much), and never once gave us a problem. Last week, it started shutting down randomly on us, so I decided it was time to replace it. I got on Amazon, found a similar model, and I ordered it. I then emailed one of my vendors so I could add the management license to it.

The process of replacing the machine was a breeze. I unplugged the old one, plugged in the new one, enrolled it in our management system by logging into a managed account, and then it restored everything like it was before. If anything, Google has nailed the web terminal experience. If you need a device to access your current web apps inexpensively, you’d be hard pressed to find a better machine. A lot of schools are pondering iPad vs Chromebook for upcoming technology refreshes, so I have been thinking about what the next decade of computing in enterprise/education looks like. expand full story

Making The Grade Stories December 15, 2018

As we head into the new year, I’ve been pondering ways Apple could improve macOS and iOS deployments in my school. Back in October, I wrote about the fact that Google was soon to be adding an LDAP feature to its G-Suite product. At the time, we didn’t know how the pricing would end up for K–12, but in the weeks since, we’ve learned that it’s free. In case you aren’t aware of what LDAP is, it’s a way for applications to lookup to another directory for populating user accounts in another. It keeps IT departments (and users) from maintaining multiple user buckets.

How does this impact Apple? Well, they’ve taken a different approach when it comes to populating data. For K–12 districts, they’ve started offering student information system (SIS) sync. They only support a few at this time, though. While Apple’s approach is a modern take on this problem (LDAP is legacy technology), I don’t think they’ve gotten all the way there yet.

About Making The Grade: Every Saturday, Bradley Chambers publishes a new article about Apple in education. He 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. expand full story

Making The Grade Stories December 8, 2018

It’s getting to the end of 2018, and I am excited looking ahead to 2019. This point in the year is when I start thinking forward to what the next round of iOS updates will bring to my day job and my computing life. I am likely looking at purchasing 250 of whatever non-pro iPad Apple releases in the spring, so I am starting to consider what software these devices will be running soon after school starts. Based on rumors we’ve heard for a while, iOS 13 looks to be an “iPad focused” release, so I am expecting big things. When I think about my current challenges with iOS and iOS device management, here are some items on my iOS 13 wishlist. expand full story

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