Simplify Mac Deployment for Education with Scalefusion

  • June 28, 2019
Mac in Education

Schools and universities widely opt for Mac machines to facilitate education for their students. The surging popularity of Mac around the world is very well-known. With more than 18 million Mac computers sold alone in the year 2018, it is needless to say why schools and universities are inclining to use the Mac for education.

Mac machines are famous for their robust hardware, operational usability, dependability and an array of features that extend excellent means to improve the learning experience of students across various age groups.

Why Mac? 

From educational and learning point of view, Mac is loaded with capabilities to provide aid to education as well as learning to students with special learning. Mac offers functionalities such as text-to-speech,  ability to create multimedia projects, an offline dictionary app for improving language proficiency, word completion for students with print disabilities and dictation for students with dyslexia. This, coupled with a colossal collection of books and applications that can be distributed centrally, makes for a perfect package for educational enabling.

From an operational point of view, less maintenance cost, robust hardware that doesn’t need frequent troubleshooting and longer life cycle are some of the top reasons why Mac is the most preferred laptop at schools. Mac’s offers a variety of inbuilt softwares that facilitate various operations to support education without the need for any external software that comes at an additional cost. Apple offers special pricing for schools and educational institutes, reducing the cost per device, drastically. Apple Care, a dedicated IT support makes purchasing mac for schools an easier choice to make since most schools do not have around-the-clock IT support team.

For a usability point of view, Mac is reputed to be one of the most user-friendly computers in the market. The familiarity that mac machines bring to the table makes it easier for adoption by students, especially younger kids.  

Deploying Mac at Schools-The Challenges 

The biggest challenge although is in deploying and securing the mac machines at a school’s infrastructure level. Most schools do not have a dedicated IT team to configure the mac devices with school’s policies, before handing them over to the students. A large scale deployment of mac machines, is hence a matter of concern to schools.

Apple School Manager assists in large scale deployments of school-owned mac machines, but applying the school’s policies, restricting the devices from unauthorized usage and securing the device in case of loss or theft remains at the discretion of the school. Post the deployment, schools also need to establish constant support to resolve device issues, distribute books and apps and monitor compliance issues on the devices. Without a dedicated IT team, executing these diverse tasks is a huge challenge that impedes schools from deploying mac machines.

Scalefusion to the rescue!

Scalefusion simplifies the deployment of Mac machines across schools through its straightforward device management solution. Using Scalefusion, deployment, configuration and maintenance of mac machines is simplified, without having a dedicated IT support. Bulk-enrollment, customizable security policies that can be implemented on school-owned mac machines and streamlined app and book distribution are just a few reasons why schools should choose Scalefusion to manage their Mac devices.

Top reasons to choose Scalefusion for deploying Mac at schools:

1.Quick and Easy Deployment with Apple School Manager

Scalefusion Mac Management software supports Apple School Manager and multiple devices can be configured and deployed with the same. School’s do not need to invest in a large IT team to deploy these devices.

2. Comprehensive Policy Application

Scalefusion allows schools to configure system preferences in their mac machines. School’s IT admin can choose the preferred system panes, allow or disallow Game Center and App Store, restrict media sharing and use of external media as well as restrict system functionalities like camera and music. Administrators can also push the School’s network settings on the mac devices.

3. Content Restriction

School’s IT admin can whitelist and blacklist websites to control the browsing and content availability on the mac device. They can also enforce profanity filters in dictation, Siri and Safari browsers.

4. Curfews and Parental Control

School’s can implement parental controls on mac devices by enforcing curfews during certain times and days to balance the usage of the mac devices. Curfews can help limit mac usage beyond the permitted time to inculcate a healthy device usage culture.

5. Seamless App distribution

Using VPP and Scalefusion, school’s can purchase multiple licenses for apps and books and distribute them on the managed mac devices in simple steps. At the end of the school year or after a change in curriculum, they can also revoke the licenses of these apps and books from the devices.

6. Enhanced device security

A mac device managed by Scalefusion MDM helps prevent unauthorized access and misuse for non-educational purposes. The device is locked into the MDM server and if it is stolen or lost, the device and its data are protected by a password which is available only to the admin. Further, IP-based location helps in tracking down the device.

7. Automated Compliance checks

Using Scalefusion Workflows, school’s IT admins can automate periodic compliance checks for security violations and device inactivity and upkeep the device performance without constantly monitoring the devices.

Mac Deployment at Schools with Scalefusion:

Scalefusion simplifies the deployment of mac machines at schools. Here’s how you can successfully deploy mac devices with Scalefusion:

Enroll into Apple School Manager

Apple School Manager is Apple’s web-based portal that helps IT administrators and technicians to deploy Apple devices at school with policies and settings configured at the time of the unboxing. By coordinating with Student Information Systems (SISs) and SFTP, Apple School Manager helps in creating school roasters and classes. Schools previously enrolled into Apple’s legacy DEP portal can quickly upgrade to the Apple School Manager.

If your school hasn’t deployed Apple devices previously, they can get started on the same by following the account creation process of Apple School Manager. Note that only the devices purchased from Apple or its authorized resellers and carriers can be enrolled directly into the Apple School Manager. After your Apple School Manager account is set up, you can integrate your Student Information System (SIS) into the Apple School Manager and define roles for students, staff and teachers.

Add Scalefusion MDM server to your Apple School Manager account

Once your Apple School Manager account is set up, you can add Scalefusion MDM server to your account. To do so, follow the below-given steps

  • Create an account on Scalefusion.com. Make sure to use a non-GSuite-enabled account for the same.
  • Create an APNS (Apple Push Notifications) certificate on Scalefusion dashboard. Validate your certificate through identity.apple.com. Upload the newly created APNS certificate.
  • Link your legacy DEP account or your Apple School Manager account to Scalefusion.
  • Link your VPP account on Scalefusion dashboard.
  • Add devices to your Apple School Manager account.

You can now start enrolling these mac devices into Scalefusion MDM.

Configure policies for your Mac machines

On Scalefusion, you can configure diverse security policies and applications to make your Mac more useful for education. You can create multiple device profiles, curate a set of policies to each profile and apply them on a different set of devices. Using this dynamic policy application feature, you can quickly configure multiple devices with a different set of policies and restrictions. You can configure system preferences, media sharing restrictions, allow or disallow websites, apply content filters and exercise parental controls and curfews on mac machines.

Distribute Apps and Books using VPP

Through Scalefusion Utilities, purchase any application or book from the App store and publish it onto enrolled devices through Scalefusion.

Roll out the devices

Now that your device is equipped with your School’s policies, restrictions as well as applications and content for education, you can start distributing the devices to your students. These devices can be used in classrooms for learning straight out of the box.

Mac devices have elevated the process of learning and educational exchange across the globe. While mac devices continue to be popular with knowledge-givers and students, securing them with Scalefusion makes it exemplary for the future of digital learning.

Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.

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