Preparing your school's Apple devices for remote learning

Learn about remote learning resources and apps available from Apple and third parties.

The following resources are designed to help IT leaders prepare your environment for remote learning.

Prepare devices to be taken home

Your first step is to determine which of your school’s devices can be taken home by teachers and students. Then you can use your Apple Device Deployment (MDM) to set up iPad devices and Mac computers quickly with content, settings and restrictions to support remote learning for your students.

Below are suggestions to help you prepare devices for remote learning, depending on how they are currently used at school.

For devices currently deployed in a classroom-based, one-to-one programme

Adjust settings to make sure that students can work remotely when they take devices home.

For devices that are currently deployed as shared, cart-based devices

Adjust settings so that individual students can take devices home. You can also set up a schedule, so that a group of students can take devices home for a period of time, then return their devices for the next group of students. Using MDM, devices can be quickly erased and set up for each group of users.

For students with personal devices

Provide instructions for manual MDM enrolment, so that students can access additional apps and resources for use at home. Find out how to enrol a device in MDM manually.

Set up devices with MDM

  • Use Automated Device Enrolment for all organisation-owned devices, so they're always managed and re-enrolled to your MDM automatically if they're ever erased.

  • Update all Mac computers and iPad devices to the latest available version of macOS and iPadOS. This ensures compatibility with apps and MDM settings.

  • Configure Managed Apple IDs in Apple School Manager to provide teachers and students with access to 200 GB of free iCloud storage for documents, media projects and backups. Find out more about Managed Apple IDs.

  • For students using personal devices, send verification codes in Apple School Manager so they can use their Managed Apple ID to sign in to iCloud.

  • Configure Calendar to help organise your students' days and keep them on task. Find out more about calendar MDM payload settings.

  • Deploy the core apps that your teachers and students need to continue learning from home. Apps can be distributed remotely using Apple School Manager and your MDM. Find out how to select and buy content in Apple School Manager.

  • Use your MDM system’s self-service feature (if available) to provide students with a catalogue of supplementary apps. Refer to your MDM documentation to find out if this feature is supported and how to implement it.

  • If you don't have an MDM solution, providers such as Jamf, Mosyle and Meraki offer extended trial periods to help with rapid deployment in remote learning.

For an overview of essential tasks and resources needed to set up and manage Apple devices, watch this video. Topics include selecting a deployment model, enrolling devices in mobile device management and deploying core apps to students.

Configure settings specific to your school

If Apple School Manager is linked to your Student Information System (SIS)

Make sure that you adjust the start and end dates of the term to include any period of school closures or remote learning that you’re planning. That way, class lists will continue to sync to Apple School Manager. Learn how to connect your SIS to Apple School Manager.

Filter device content for appropriate resources

Use settings to make sure that students have access to resources and follow acceptable use policies when learning at home. For example:

For an overview of how Apple School Manager works with an MDM solution to secure devices, facilitate communication and collaboration, and personalise devices to support diverse learning styles and requirements, watch this video.

Stay connected with video and messaging apps

Teachers and students can keep in contact remotely through text and video conferencing.

Use productivity and collaboration apps

You can use these Apple apps, services and features that work well in the classroom and in remote learning environments:

  • With Schoolwork,1 teachers can hand out anything from announcements and worksheets to specific app activities, and stay on top of the progress students are making. Find out more about Schoolwork.1

  • Pages, Numbers and Keynote allow students and teachers to collaborate in real time using their Managed Apple ID. You can restrict collaboration to only members of your organisation. Learn how to collaborate in Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

  • In iOS 13.4, teachers and students can share folders in iCloud Drive within your organisation. Anyone who has access can see the folder in iCloud Drive, add their own files and get the latest versions of files – perfect for sharing assignments or other resources, such as videos.

  • Multitasking on iPad lets teachers and students work on a document in Microsoft Word or in Pages, while being connected to the class through Google Hangouts or Cisco Webex. Learn how to use multitasking on iPad.

The following productivity and collaboration tools also work with iPad and Mac:

  • Google G Suite for Education works in Safari on macOS and iPadOS and also offers native iPad apps, including Google Classroom and Google Drive.

  • Microsoft Office 365 apps are available from the App Store and integrate seamlessly with iPadOS and macOS.

  • Conferencing tools such as Cisco WebEx and Zoom Cloud Meetings integrate with the Live Broadcast feature, which allows teachers and students to easily share their screen for the class to see.

Find more education apps on the App Store

The App Store has thousands of apps designed for teaching and learning. We have curated collections with remote learning apps for institution and educators, apps to learn from home and apps that work with Schoolwork.1 Distribute them with Apple School Manager so teachers can use them to hand out materials, communicate with students and continue providing engaging learning experiences.

Get more help

Resources for IT

Additional learning programmes and forums for teachers

  • The Apple Education Learning Series is now available to support schools and educators with remote learning resources. This series is presented by the Apple Education Leadership and Learning teams. Each video is designed to help educators use the built-in features of their Apple products to enable remote learning for all students.

  • Teachers can join Apple Teacher, a free, self-paced professional learning programme, to build skills on iPad devices and Mac computers that directly apply to activities with students.

  • #AppleEDUchat is a weekly forum for educators around the world to share ideas, ask questions and learn from each other on Twitter. Many chats are focused on discussing remote learning ideas on Twitter.

Other resources

1. The Schoolwork app is named Classwork in Australia and New Zealand.

2. Some resources mentioned in this document may not be available outside the United States.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

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