Deploy 2014, Part 5: Device Selection

I've been remiss in updating the blog to match the show, but here's a catch-up.

In part 5, we discuss device selection. How do you choose what you're going to deploy?

When it comes to 1:1, the questions seems to be either iPad or “other”. This is not to discount other platforms, but that is just the reality of the education market in 2014. Chromebooks have become a nice alternative to a traditional laptop, especially if the majority of your computing is done on a browser. Bradley and Fraser begin the show by talking about the recent Google Drive pricing changes where 100 GB is now $1.99 per month (1 TB is $9.99 per month). The Chromebook has some pros and cons.

Pros: Traditional form factor, low costs Cons: Robustness questionable, Reliability questionable (although at £220 who cares?), After-sales support situation unclear, Management fee – not too expensive but non-zero

We also discuss Windows 8 and the Surface product line. Bradley mentions that while he doesn’t hope that Microsoft loses like he did back in 2008 or 2009, but that he isn’t betting on them anymore. He says time will tell if they are like Apple in 1997 or like Sega in 1999 with the Dreamcast. Will they stay in the hardware business longterm (or even the modern OS discussion). Fraser mentions that when deploying 1:1 iPad, don’t forget about teachers who has specific needs tied to high end software (AutoCad, etc). Bradley and Fraser then discuss what it would take to run software like Cubasis and AutoCad on iOS. Both agree that it is time for those genres to re-think how they work in a touch and gesture based world.

We then move onto the iPad. Even with the iPad, there are discussions about size, model, color, etc. Fraser gives us storage stats from his deployment:

  • 75+% full: 12%
  • 50-75% full: 24%
  • 25-50% full: 50%
  • 0-25% full: 14%

    Both recommend buying the newest iPad that is out when you do your deployment. Although March release dates were nice for schools, that isn’t the current reality. When it comes to storage 32 GB is recommended. 16 might be fine for a while, but if you are consistently having issues 20 months into a deployment, you’ll regret it.

    Apple had certainly upped the capabilities of how you manage iOS deployments, but with that power comes responsibility. Fraser mentioned his first deployment was built on iTunes syncing and home sharing. DEP, MDM and VPP have certainly simplified larger rollouts, but it does take planning and training.

    iCloud is a great service, but it’s a different kind if platform than Dropbox or Google Drive. As your students go through your school, you’ll need to consider their long term near-line storage needs.

    Fraser closed the show with an important reminder. The most important thing when it comes to device selection is to actually choose. Too often, the phrase “it’s not about the technology” is deployed, either to justify a choice that has no particular merits or to avoid having to make that justification in the first place. Yes, a good enthusiastic teacher can “find the learning” with any equipment but that doesn’t mean that everyone can or that a one-off classroom project can scale to become part of the culture of a school.

    The thing is, the long term goal isn’t about the technology but there are short-term goals that are very much about the technology.

I hope you're enjoying the series so far. You can subscribe in iTunes, directly on our site or in the search feature of your mobile podcast client.