Our resident technology guru and IT agony uncle is fielding all your questions on how to buy and distribute apps to iPad using Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme (VPP).
What is VPP?
Legally, you can’t just run the same app on each device – you have to own a separate licence for each device. But with the Volume Purchase Programme from Apple you can easily buy multiple copies of apps, and dish them out to pupils’ devices via managed distribution.
The best thing about it though, is that unlike the regular App Store, VPP lets developers offer education pricing on their apps, so you can find yourself getting bulk discounts of 50% off on many apps too!
Who’s responsible for the process?
Responsibility for the VPP process is divided up into three separate roles – the Programme Manager, Facilitator and Technical. The Programme Manager is the person you pick to decide about who can purchase apps and take the lead in making programme decisions. We’d recommend the head teacher, for example.
The Programme Facilitators are people who are authorised to make purchases of apps and books, so teachers, for example. Then someone a bit more technical will be responsible for distributing the app licence codes to the relevant users across your school.
You might have different ideas for how you want to share the responsibilities, and if someone is really confident with the process, or you’re in a smaller school, one person could perhaps even volunteer to take on the lot.
How do we pay for apps?
When it comes to payment, currently the best way is for each Facilitator to have access to a payment card, or even to share a payment card. You can also send a purchase order to Jigsaw24, asking us to add credit to your VPP account for you, if you don’t have a card.
How do we distribute apps?
VPP has its own online shop which lets teachers or admin purchase apps and unlock licences, which then get sent to your Technical contact as a list of codes in a big spreadsheet or added to your management system (MDM). Once your technical guru has the codes, they can then distribute them in a number of ways. Please contact us if you’d like advice on which is best for you.
1. Split up the codes and email them to students and staff to manually download the apps themselves.
2. Use an over-the-air MDM solution to distribute app recommendations.
3. Use Apple Configurator and a USB connection to load the apps onto devices.
4. Ask for Managed Distribution licences instead of codes, so that your MDM solution can push out apps and even pull them back again!
You’ll need to bear in mind that downloading Apple’s free apps like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand and iMovie works a little differently, and you need to request licences for those, preferably before using the iPads. Contact us to find out how.
Who actually owns the apps?
Once an app is deployed, it has an owner depending on how you ordered the apps. If you ordered your apps by the spreadsheet method and deployed them using Apple Configurator over USB, or if you invited users to your VPP account, the apps belong to the school and can be ‘loaned’ to pupils temporarily, and then redeemed back when needed.
If you emailed the codes to pupils, or put the spreadsheet into your MDM solution, the apps belong to the pupils for good. It’s a bit of a different way of working, but it’s an amazing benefit for pupils and parents!
How do I enrol?
To set up a VPP account, just head over to www.apple.com/uk/education/it/vpp where you’ll find full information on how to enrol. Once the Programme Manager has set up the account, you can add your Facilitators and start shopping around for apps and books!