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 mobile device management system (MDM) to quickly set up iPad devices and Mac computers 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 program

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 might also set up a schedule, so that a group of students can take home devices 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 enrollment, so that students can access additional apps and resources for use at home. Learn how to manually enroll a device in MDM

Set up devices with MDM

  • Use Automated Device Enrollment for all institution-owned devices, so that they’re always managed and automatically reenrolled to your MDM, 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 200GB of free iCloud storage for documents, media projects, and backups. Learn more about Managed Apple IDs.
  • For students using personal devices, send verification codes in Apple School Manager so that they can use their Managed Apple ID to sign in to iCloud. 
  • Configure Calendar to help organize your students' days and keep them on task. Learn more about calendar 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. Learn 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 catalog of supplemental 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 JamfMosyle, and Meraki offer extended trial periods to help with rapid deployment in remote learning.

Configure settings specific to your school

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

Make sure to 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 rosters 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:

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. Learn 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 institution. Learn how to collaborate in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
  • In iOS 13.4, teachers and students can share folders in iCloud Drive within your organization. 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, like 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 like 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 institutions and educatorsapps to learn from home and apps that work with Schoolwork.1 Distribute them with Apple School Manager so that teachers can use them to distribute materials, communicate with students, and continue providing engaging learning experiences.

Get more help

Resources for IT

Additional learning programs 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 program, 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 might not be available outside of the United States.

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