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Managing the unmanageable iPad: IT deserves praise, not criticism, for trying to make tablets work in the education enterprise.

MANAGING iPads and other tablets in a school setting has turned out to be an A-list topic, not only for T.H.E. Journal readers, but also for readers of our sister publication, Campus Technology, which focuses on higher education.

When I wrote the editorial, "Note to Tablet Companies: Education Is an Enterprise," in the October 2012 issue of T.H.E. Journal--in which t exhorted Apple to work with educators to make the iPad enterprise-friendly--my mail was overwhelmingly from grateful but frazzled IT directors struggling to make a consumer device work with district technology systems.

Meanwhile, back at Campus Technology, we recently ran a story called "IT Does Not [love] iPads" and received an outpouring of mail from educators who basically said, "IT just likes Windows. They are so inflexible. They should stop complaining and support the technology that instructors want to use."

To my mind, that's not a fair criticism. It's hard to support a technology that's not designed to be networked, save student work, or be shared with others. IT is doing the best it can with a difficult situation. They're just asking for a little more support from Apple, which has been half-hearted (at best) in its response.

The outpouring of despair from T.H.E. Journal readers led to this month's cover story on the key pain points tech directors face in supporting large-scale implementations of tablets, and how they are addressing those challenges. One thing is clear from our reporting: If your school or district has a sizable tablet initiative, you need to be looking at mobile device management solutions.

But MDM fees need to be more education-friendly. Most of these companies are coming out of the corporate IT market, where charging a per-seat licensing fee is the norm. But in education, that kind of pricing model results in costs that are wholly out of line with what schools can realistically afford. Luckily, there are MDM companies that are understanding schools' needs and becoming good partners in the education enterprise. Now if we could just convince Apple to move a bit more in that direction....

Continue the conversation. E-mail me at tmageau@1105media.com.

Therese Mageau, Editorial Director

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Title Annotation:OurSpace
Author:Mageau, Therese
Publication:T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2013
Words:364
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