Making an MDM migration a reality

See how Skutt Catholic High School's IT staff successfully transitioned to a mobile device management (MDM) solution that better suited their needs.

May 16 2017 by

Nick Thompson

Located in rural Omaha, Nebraska and sitting between several public schools is Skutt Catholic High School. Michael Bailey, assistant principal, and Oliver Bantam, coordinator of instructional technology, have designed a technology program to help their students succeed in the classroom and prepare them for life once they graduate.

Today, they utilize a 1-to-1 iPad program that includes sophisticated controls to limit certain iPad functions to only be available during school hours. The faculty and the students love the program and it has helped differentiate Skutt from other public school options in Omaha. But, it wasn’t always like this. Michael and Oliver went through a technical journey to get Skutt where they are today.

Selecting the right technology
There are so many different choices in hardware for education today. From Chromebook, Mac, iOS and Windows; it can be difficult to choose which platform will work best for students and faculty. The High School evaluated their choices by doing a lot of research and starting from their desired end state and working backwards.

“We wanted a devices that would allow our students to create content, and the iPads are best at creating,” said Michael.

Selecting the right technology model
With iPad the preferred device of choice, their technology program was still a bit of a free-for-all as some students were bringing their own device to school, others shared devices, and a few grades enjoyed a school-issued 1-to-1 program. Michael and Oliver understood this wasn’t an efficient way to operate, so they decided to examine the different models they were using and consolidate into one program that would be best for learning.

“We wanted students to have devices all throughout the day and didn’t want to deal with carts, charging them and passing them around,” explained Oliver. “1-to-1 was better for us and our students.”

Selecting the right technology management software
Lastly, Michael and Oliver knew they needed a mobile device management (MDM) solution to remotely manage their growing number of iPads. They wanted to restrict some of the more distracting features (i.e., Camera, games, certain web sites) of the iPads, but only during school hours. They wanted to lift these restrictions once class was over so students could get the full benefit of the Apple ecosystem.

Skutt started with a free MDM provider that was bundled with some of their networking hardware, but quickly found it wasn’t meeting their needs.

“We knew we needed to switch MDMs. Our [Volume Purchase Program] VPP tokens weren't right and support was hard to find. We decided to pursue Jamf for our MDM,” explained Oliver.

From there, the guys decided to make the leap mid-year by transitioning all 800 iPads over to Jamf.

How’d they do it and what were the results? Let Michael and Oliver describe how they planned, communicated and ultimately executed a successful MDM migration to Jamf.

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