Hey Folks -
We recently migrated to Casper from Meraki (K-12 school with iPads depolyed 1:1 in grades 6-12). The biggest reason for the move was so that we could shut down the App store and only publish "approved" apps through the self-service app. We had a huge issue with students downloading games, etc. last year and this was supposed to be the solution. Needless to say, after 2 weeks of hell enrolling new iPads into Casper as well as collecting existing iPads, wiping and enrolling into Casper - what we found that the students are already able to download apps. They simply choose to install multiple apps from the Self-Service store at the same time. This seems to flood the app store, leaving it open for multiple minutes where they can then go into the real app store and download whatever game and other app that they want (free ones). Now, teachers are angry and the administration is wondering why we went through this huge change if it didn't make any difference. Would love to get some input on what other school districts are doing to ensure that their student iPads only have school-approved apps on them. Thanks in advance!
I'm not really sure how to stop that behavior, but if you have an allowed applications only policy you can create a smart group for the ipads with the criteria 'Apps Not In the App Catalog Are Installed' and then you will know who has done that.
You can apply a restrictive profile based on this so they have to uninstall the unapproved apps in order to leave this group.
We do this at one building and they lose all applications and Safari until they have uninstalled the 'bad apps'.
Well, what I can tell you is that we had a similar issue last year. Not all schools figured it out though and the school that did the administration cracked down on those students. They were able to set enough of an example that we didn't many issues as the year wore on.
The good news, is that once iOS 9 comes out today and the newest version of Casper that supports iOS 9 comes out, no date that I know of, you shouldn't have any issues with assigning apps without the app store. Apple has gone back and redone how they assign apps to devices/students. You will be able to assign an app without the app store. Just hold on a bit longer and this shouldn't be an issue much longer.
Although it does seem another version is around the corner that will add some additional iOS 9 and OS X support, so it looks like 9.8 is a transition version right now. It will get you general compatibility with the new OSes (iOS and OS X) but for compatibility with some of the new features announced at WWDC, there will be another release coming.
Not all schools figured it out though and the school that did the administration cracked down on those students. They were able to set enough of an example that we didn't many issues as the year wore on.
I'd like to echo the sentiment in the quote above. All of our students in grades six, seven, and eight, have iPads, and this is our third year doing that. When we started two years ago the ability to (sort of) lockout the App Store but install apps from Self Service didn't exist, but the research we did by talking with other schools did point out we only wanted student installing approved apps. Therefore, we informed students and set the behavioral expectation that only apps that are in Self Service (and therefore "approved") are allowed to be installed. Grade level deans (not IT staff) regularly check the results of a query that shows all students with unapproved apps installed, and the deans talk with students who violate that in a similar fashion as they would with other inappropriate behaviors. The key here is that this was not made into a technology problem. The discipline and coaching responsibilities to help students do the right thing falls with our grade-level deans (like guidance councilors) as it should. From the beginning, we attempt to instill the idea in students (and parents) that this iPad is device intended for academic use, and we want to help students avoid distractions that have little academic value. (Of course, any device with a browser has built-in distractions.)
Another part of that is we are pretty liberal with allowing free apps to be approved if a teacher signs-off that an app has an appropriate academic use. Either the teacher or a student can initiate a request to add an app to the approved list. Technology staff don't control that decision although I (a member of the tech staff who focuses on instructional tech and integration) will occasionally point out to teachers when an app duplicates the functionality of something we already have or if it has undesirable aspects to it (such as heavy advertisement that entices students to install games). So far, those conversations have always resulted in a result that both the teacher and I were comfortable with.
iOS 9 will reportedly allow a "hard" locking down of apps, but I doubt we will jump in right away and do that. What we are currently doing works and maybe it teaches a little student responsibility. I find as both a technology professional and as a parent of two teenagers that the more we try to lock things down the more students try to get around them with the attitude that if something technical is stopping me then it is ok for me to violate that if I can get around the technical restriction. There is less "game" to getting around an appropriate behavioral norm.
I feel your pain. From another IT Professional working in a K-12 environment, it seems like a manegment decision to attempt to incorrectly redefine a behavioural problem as a technology problem.
I think far to many people in education make this mistake when a behavioural issue involves a piece of technology.
The solution is to put a school admin apple id on there. Put the restriction where they cannot make account changes. Put apps into the self service. And when they need it downloaded, they bring their iPad to an administrator or teacher to put the password in.
You can also now use configurator and iTunes to install apps, but keep the app store hidden in the process, that was done with Casper 9.8. If you did this, you could sent a mac mini with Configurator in a kiosk mode, to allow anyone that plugs up to it to get the latest apps you want them to have.