Mar 10, 2015 02:38 PM EDT
Apple plans to make extensive changes to its iPad for Education deployment program during the upcoming school year, with the hopes of removing many of the hurdles facing school districts when adopting iPads for use in the classroom.
In an email, the company says that it plans to make app distribution much easier for schools by eliminating the need for an Apple ID to load apps, tweaking the Apple ID for Students program and unifying several deployment programs into one.
Beginning this fall, Apple will make it easier for schools to load apps onto their iPads by removing the need for an Apple ID. Apple hopes that by reducing the number of steps and making it easier to load apps on the device that the program will begin to see a much higher adoption across the country.
As part of the changes, teachers and administrators will also have the option to block students from making personal purchases without approval.
"To simplify large deployments, including one-to-one and shared use, we want to make app distribution even easier. Today, Apple IDs are required in order to deliver apps and books to students. We are working to change this in the fall by allowing schools to assign and distribute apps to a device without an Apple ID. As currently planned, this will greatly reduce the number of steps needed to setup a device. This change should eliminate the need to create generic Apple IDs solely for the purposes of getting content onto iPad. Schools will also have the option to prevent students from making personal purchases without approval."
The email also highlights changes to the Apple ID for Students program that will also roll out next year. Schools will gain the ability to create and manage Apple IDs for students under 13 that can be used to access iCloud. System administrators will also be able to reset student passwords. The new approach will simplify the management process while still meeting the COPPA requirements for children's online privacy in the United States.
Apple will also be working to improve its deployment programs by combining several programs into one simply administrative experience, making it much easier for schools to enroll, manage and support large iPad deployments.
The changes follow a disastrous $1.3 billion effort in 2013 to supply every student and teacher with an iPad in Los Angeles. The project suffered setbacks when students figured out how to hack the tablet to access unauthorized websites and apps. Apple hopes these changes will result in increased student engagement, better attendance and higher test results at all grade levels of education.
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