A presentation outlining the benefits of Apple's iPad in the special needs classroom drew a large group of local educators Feb. 10, many of whom returned a week later to learn more about the technical aspects of managing other Apple mobile devices, all of which are becoming increasingly common in our region's schools.
Hosted by the Model Schools Program, the initial half-day session dealt specifically with the iPad's adaptability to the special education population. William Ziegler, an Apple Distinguished Educator in assistive technology, gave a 90-minute presentation on how the tablet can transform education for students with disabilities.
An additional presentation by Ellen Bergman, superintendent of the Mount Pleasant Blythedale Union Free School District, and Emily Hersh, principal of the Mount Pleasant Blythedale School, provided participants with real-life examples of how this new technology can work in the classroom.
The Feb. 17 presentation by Matt Roe, Apple's senior system engineer, focused specifically on how Apple mobile devices should be configured, deployed, maintained, and updated so that educators and students can get the most benefit from them. The session was specifically geared toward systems and network administrators, librarians and media specialists, help desk coordinators, and technology integrators.
Mr. Roe cited the Rochester City School District as a successful user of Apple products. The district currently has 2,800 iPads in schools across the district. Its One-to-One iPad Program, which is being used in fifth and sixth-grade classrooms, has been particularly successful, he added.
To get the most from Apple's technology, Mr. Roe said staff should be able to create accounts for multiple users, be able to restore, reset and sync devices, create and deploy configuration profiles, manage user access to iTunes, and secure their iOS devices for use in a school building.
The half-day session also included information on Apple's Volume Purchase Program, which allows educational institutions to purchase iOS apps and books in volume and then distribute them to students, teachers, administrators, and employees. Discounts are available to schools, said Mr. Roe, if they purchase 20 or more apps. Mr. Roe suggested that participants register for Apple's series of webinars that explain the workings of the program.
Mr. Roe also talked about a recently rolled-out initiative that allows users to automatically personalize their iPhones and iPads. Users, he said, can customize their personal profiles by adding one-of-a-kind wallpaper to their desktops as well as personalizing applications and settings, all easily recognizable through facial recognition.
For help with any technical issue concerning Apple products, contact Wayne Cobham at firstname.lastname@example.org.