Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Time Syncing with the Bretford PowerSync Cart

Syncing one iPad may seem like a piece of cake, but setting up folders, restrictions, web links, and iTunes settings on 30 iPads? Not so cake-like.

After stumbling through this process myself two years ago, and helping dozens of teachers do it this fall, I realized I needed to create some sort of a resource so that teachers can learn this on their own. Teach a man to fish, if you will.

So without further ado, here is a PDF guide for how to set up, sync and deploy your iPads using the Bretford PowerSync cart. There are easier ways to do this using specialized software, but this is the best "novice" workflow I've found - something that is accesible to anyone with any level of iOS / iPad / syncing experience.

I plan to make this into an iBook as well, so stay tuned for that :). Hope this helps!

12 comments:

  1. Jennie, I stumbled too when syncing my Bretford cart for the first time. Thanks so much for the step-by-step directions!

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  2. Jennie, once you complete the process of copying over the backup to the iPads, do you have to type in the wireless key for your school's network in to the settings of the devices?

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    1. Unfortunately, yes, unless you do so ahead of time.

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  3. If you encrypt the local backup in iTunes and enter a password before doing the initial backup it should save the network settings and then you can copy them to each device.

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  4. Thank you for the information. I'm assuming you need to repeat these steps each time you want to sync the iPads? Otherwise, they would create a bunch of new backups if you changed their names, correct?

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    1. No, once you rename them, they will create new backups of themselves. Then - since you checked "sync all new apps" and "sync newest 10 movies" etc - it will automatically add those updates and create new backups of themselves!

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  5. Thanks for all the wonderful tips...up until now I have been using a five-year-old HP laptop with no success to handle the sync cart. I suspect it works better when paired with a Mac. School is looking for a used Mac to deploy strictly as a syncing machine. Are there some minimum standards with regard to memory and speed that I should be looking for?
    Thanks again

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    1. All Macs would work, but the more videos you want to make, the more storage you should go for! :)

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  6. Hi Jennifer,
    What a super helpful guide! Thank you, thank you. I still have two questions I'm hoping you give guidance on.
    1. My ipads are BRAND new. Do I need to take them through the few "get started" screens before I can sync them or do I literally unbox and pop them in. I suspect that I need to get them to the home screen and then start in with the sync.
    2. I just went through the process of getting an "extra" email from my IT department to use for a dedicated Apple ID. I set that up and was going to only use that. I have already used it to download some free apps to the master macbook. Now I'm understanding that for VPP I'll need another Apple ID! This confuses me, which do I use for syncing?

    Again, thanks for your help!

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    1. 1 - you can unbox and sync!
      2 - you can use this one for syncing. For VPP you have another account to make volume purchase voucher purchases -- but you download with your AppleID you created: Here is more info... http://www.apple.com/education/volume-purchase-program/faq.html

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  7. Jennie, thanks so much for this guide as I am also a first time PowerSync user! I do have one question -- Can I use one macbook with multiple sync carts? This makes sense to me if, say, I have several carts for a grade level, and all devices will then be the same and consistent.

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    1. Yup, you could! Or you could use Apple Configurator as an option and use the same profile :).

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