Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Sync-y Situation…

We are now 5 school days into our year and going strong. On Thursday I received a call in my classroom from the iPad deployment folks: our iPad bundles were being delivered on Friday. I held the phone up to my class and they cheered ecstatically. The man said it was the best moment of his week.
Friday morning the iPads came right on schedule and two wonderful consultants set up our 4 new bundles (adding to our current set of 32 iPad 1's). After school I sat down with my 32 shiny new iPad 2’s, my Bretford PowerSync Cart and a got ready to make some magic.
Three hours later, no magic.
What happened? Well, I didn’t realize a few things:
1)   Always read the owners manual first. (See picture, below.)
2)   See #1- Had I done this, I would have known that all of the iPads have to be registered and set up individually the first time you sync.
3)   App folders, though painstakingly created by me for the first iPad, do not automatically get synced to all of the remaining iPads.
So, fast-forward to today. I woke up ready to rectify the situation. How do I solve the majority of my problems? Google. After a quick web search I found a remedy to this folders issue.
I went to school with a mug of tea, my husband and my newly-Googled knowledge ready to go. Two hours later I had the carts ready to roll for students. Here is what I did:
1)   Registered and configured each iPad per the instructions in the Bretford Manual.
2)   Created folders, set up my dock and modified sync settings on one iPad
3)   Created a back up of this iPad by right-clicking (control-click on a Mac) on the iPad device in the left column of iTunes.
4)   Allowed all of the other 29 iPads (the Bretford PowerSync Cart syncs 30 iPads at a time) to sync and download all of the apps (purchased via the Volume Purchase Program. See this great blog for more info on VPP).
5)   After they had synced and all apps were loaded I manually (yes, one at a time), right clicked on each iPad and selected “Restore from Back Up". This took about 5 seconds per device.
6)   Selected the back up I just created with the first iPad
7)   Voila – all of my iPads’ apps are now organized into identical folders, with identical docks and settings!
Now that I’ve gone through this somewhat laborious process once, I will not have to do it again. I can let the sync cart do its magic and sync updates to all of my devices at once. As I update movies, apps, songs and other content, it will simply add it on to the set-up I've already created. Hooray!
Note: I believe this is another way to do this using the iPhone Config Utility that is much more tech savvy (I believe how large companies or school districts would do this), but that's beyond my Google-able knowledge. When the contractors delivered our iPads they had a pre-set home screen, internet settings and apps set up per a downloaded "image." However, for us on the school level, who can't contract to larger companies to do this, I believe the method described above will work well. If anyone else has a quicker way, please post below in comments! Thanks! :)


  1. Hi Jeannie-
    i'm Kellie Sorrell, the Techco/ Computer Teacher @ Healy. We recieved out 5 bundles with Sync Carts on Thursday but have not done the initial set up and sync yet. I am waiting for my teachers to come in for that. I did however set up a profile using the iPhone config that I was able to give to Tom Larney from KBS and he loaded that to the iPads as he set the carts up.

    Since we seem to be in the same place technology wise, I would love to meet with you and share ideas, even have our teachers meet. I will contact you via First class soon to do this.

    Your blog is excellent, and I look forward to reading more.

    Kellie@ Healy

  2. Techy Tip. I use the iPHONE CONFIG UTILITY to put "Web Clips" on the iPad/iPod. I made a Google Doc and set the GDoc to "anyone with the link" can view. I then made a Web Clip using the ICU and put it on each device.

    That way, when I want to send my students to a website quickly, rather than have them type it in, I just add the link to the FPMS LINKS GDoc that's already set as an icon on their iPad/iPod home screen.

  3. Absolutely brilliant! You just saved me so much time in organizing a school cart and answered my question that Apple could not answer!

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  5. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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