Tag Archives: iPod

iTunes U featured content: FOSS Science

Apple’s iTunes U is a free resource provided by Apple where K-12 schools and teachers, non-profit organizations as well as colleges and universities can upload and share multimedia content, including complete courses.

If you’re an elementary science teacher in the district, you can find supplemental audio content for our FOSS science kits there! The content includes audio recordings of the student science stories as well as teacher preparation videos to assist you in setting up for a science kit.

To access the content, you can preview and download the files onto a computer using the iTunes application. On an iPod touch, iPad or iPhone device, you can do the same by downloading the free iTunes U app.

Here’s a link to the FOSS content from the Lawrence Hall of Science. You can also open the iTunes Store on any device and search for “Lawrence Hall of Science”.

Apple Configurator for iOS: Understanding Backups vs. Profiles

I’ve gotten several questions lately about how Apple Configurator works through the sync process for supervised devices. Here’s a bit of info on the inner workings of two important components: device backups and configuration profiles.

Apple Configurator allows you to do more than just manage apps on your devices. Through the use of Backups and Configuration Profiles, you can restrict certain features as well as pre-populate some app content and web clips onto your devices.

To do these things, it’s important to understand the difference between a configuration profile and a backup as well as to understand the process a supervised device goes through when syncing in Configurator.

What does a Configuration Profile do?

Apple Configurator, as it is currently deployed in SVVSD, can be used by the device manager to:

  • Set Restrictions to limit items such as:
    • App purchases
    • Use of the camera and FaceTime app
    • Use of built-in apps such as Safari and YouTube
    • available content in iTunes and the App store by its content rating
  • Set up Web Clips for easy access to district websites.
  • Configure web filtering for devices (this will be coming in iOS 6)

Configuration profiles can be created directly in Configurator. You can find more information about how to create and install Configuration profiles on the Apple website here.

What does Restore from backup do?

Unlike backups of a computer, Configurator-created backups don’t include every piece of data from a device.  In general, Configurator backups include:

  • App locations and app folders. In short, if you want apps to be placed in a particular order or in a particular folder on your devices, this location information will be kept.
  • Contents of particular apps including:
    • Photos
    • Notes
    • Contacts
    • Safari pages that are loaded at time of backup
  • Settings changes as made in the Settings app such as:
    • Accessibility settings
    • Keyboard settings
    • Languages settings
    • Lock screen timeout settings

Backups to be applied t0 Supervised devices must be created from a Supervised device. You can find more information about creating backups on the Apple website here.

In what order does Configurator apply changes?

When a Supervised device is plugged in, Configurator applies changes in this order:

  • Any changes to the device name are applied.
  • Any iOS updates are applied.
  • Any changes to the iOS settings are installed
  • Any newly unchecked apps are removed from the device. If these apps were purchased though VPP, their redemption codes are recaptured and available again for another device to use.
  • Newly checked apps are installed on the device.
  • If a backup is selected, it is applied to the device
  • If a Configuration profile is selected, it is applied to the device.

If you plug in a cart of devices, each device will go through these steps in order, but you may notice that Apple Configurator staggers the start of this process across all the devices.

Why is the order important? It helps to explain some of the issues you may sometimes see when things don’t go quite as you expect. For example:

  • While using a sync cart or case, if you uninstall an app from a large number of devices, and in the same step install it on other devices, you might get an error that there are not enough licenses.  Uninstall the app and apply this change before trying to install the app onto new devices.
  • If you’re looking to place Web clips created as part of a Configuration profile on a particular page or in a particular folder, you might notice that they don’t always end up in the correct place. This is because the backup (which determines the location of an app) is applied before the Web Clip (which is part of a profile) is installed.
  • If you use a configuration profile to restrict app installations, you might receive an error that apps can’t be installed on the device, even if you’ve changed the profile. This is usually because Configurator installs apps before it checks to see if a change has been made to the restrictions set in configuration profiles. Uncheck the profile or recheck the specific option in a profile to allow installing apps and apply before adding or removing apps.

For more information on using Configurator in St. Vrain, check out the complete set of directions here.

Configurator Update and App Installations

Apple has released two updates recently for their Configurator software. The most recent version, 1.1.2 will address issues with licensing via the Volume Purchase program. In some instances, schools were reporting that Configurator was showing one less license available than the quantity purchased.  This issue is fixed in the most recent release.

If, after you update, you are still not able to access all of your licenses, re-download your app spreadsheets from the VPP portal and re-import your VPP spreadsheets into Configurator.

To update to this version of Configurator, either put in a work order using the link here, or call the Help Desk when you are at the machine that is running Configurator.

On a related note, some schools are unable to update or install apps on devices after this update. If you experience this issue, make sure that your Configuration profile is set to “Allow installing apps.” If this is unchecked, the devices will stop the install process.

The easiest way to manage this is to create TWO configuration profiles. In one, set all the restrictions as you wish, while still allowing apps to be installed. In the second profile, make the change to the App installation permissions.

When you want to install apps in the future, follow this process:

  • Attach the devices to the Configurator machine
  • Uncheck the profile that prohibits installation of apps and apply
  • Add apps to Configurator and install on devices
  • Recheck the profile that prohibits installation of apps and apply

Here’s a video to walk through the process:

Update: Managing iOS Devices

Late last spring, Apple introduced a new tool to assist schools in managing iOS devices. Apple Configurator is an application that runs on a Mac and allows you to manage settings, restrictions, and app permissions for up to 30 devices simultaneously.

While there are still some bugs and inconsistencies in the system, this tool is much more effective in managing carts and cases of iOS devices than the previous method of using iTunes.

If your school or department is managing multiple iOS devices, check out the updated resources and directions via the link here.

Professional Learning Opportunities


As the summer winds down and you start thinking about the new school year, here are two learning opportunities to consider!

Teaching and Learning with iOS Devices
August 2, 2012. 8:30-12:30
Blue Mountain Elementary

Register through OPD here.

We’ve only got 10 spaces left for this opportunity to learn and share ideas for implementing iPod Touch and iPad devices into your classroom. Join your fellow St. Vrain teachers and Patrick Benko from Apple to explore new apps, new strategies and best practices to implement in your classroom.


Google Apps for Education Rocky Mountain Summit
August 2 & 3

Register for this event here.

The first annual Google Apps for Education Rocky Mountain Summit will be held at the Boulder Marriott on August 2 & 3, 2012. This high-intensity two-day event focuses on deploying, integrating and using Google Apps for Education to promote student learning in K-12 and higher education. The program features Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, practicing administrators, solution providers, Google engineers, and representatives from the Google Apps for Education team, including St. Vrain’s own Kyle Addington!

(Note that this event is not sponsored by the district and will require you or your school to pay for the registration. However, individuals can still receive Early Bird Pricing. To take advantage of this promotion, choose the Standard Registration at checkout, and then enter and apply the promotional code promo. You will receive $50 off Standard Registration.)

Managing iPod Touch and iPad Devices

As we’re seeing more and more iOS devices pop up in the district, we want to make sure those managing these devices have the information they need to do so effectively.  On the Instructional Technology blog, you’ll find a series of links and documents all about managing iOS devices. Clicking this link will open the document in a new page.

There are classes to help teachers learn to use iOS devices as instructional tools. “Getting Started with iPod Touch and iPad” is a class for beginners to learn about the built in features and how iOS can support instruction. “Making Media for the iPod Touch and iPad” is an intermediate course where participants will have a chance to create documents and media to support student learning. Check the OPD catalog or the Technology Professional Learning page for upcoming sessions.