Thursday, March 19, 2015

Managing Google Play for Education Tablets

Android Tablets with Google Play for Education (GPFE) is a great option for school districts that want to use tablets and empower teachers to easily send apps, books and videos to the students who are using them.  The initial setup of bumping the tablets is very easy for IT staff to do using the Android Device Enrollment app.  After that process is complete though, what can IT staff do with the tablets when it comes to remote management?  Fortunately, there are ways in the Google Admin console to easily handle this.

After a GPFE tablet is bumped, it receives the Google Apps Device Policy app, which adds the tablet to your Google Apps for Education (GAFE) domain.  These tablets will show up in your Google Admin console under Device management > Mobile devices.  You will be able to see various information about each tablet as shown in the screenshot below.




This is also where you will go if you ever need to wipe a GPFE tablet.  If you are running Android 5.0+ on them, this is actually the only way you are able to do it.  You can wipe tablets by clicking the checkbox next to the tablet(s) that you want to do this to and choose the Remote Wipe button at the top. 

Like Chromebooks, you can also configure various management settings for your GPFE tablets.  To access these settings in the Google Admin console, go to Device management > Mobile > Device management settings


These management settings can be set differently for organizational units in your GAFE domain.  Where Chromebooks have user and device settings to manage separately, all settings for the GPFE tablets are user-based.  A full descriptive list of all the different mobile management settings that are available can be found here.  Since these management settings are user-based, it is also important to be aware that changes you make may affect a user's personal Android and/or iOS device if they added their school account to them.  More detailed information in regards to that can be found here.

You can also manage wireless networks for your GPFE tablets through the Google Admin console by going to Device management > Network >     Wi-Fi.  The wireless networks can be set differently by organizational unit and you can choose which platforms the user can receive it on.  You can also choose if the wireless network is applied by user or device, but it must be set by user for it to work on mobile devices such as the GPFE tablets.   More information on managing the wireless networks can be found here.



So that's a quick snapshot of the remote management capabilities for GPFE tablets.  Like Chromebooks, having this functionality for your GPFE tablets in the Google Admin console makes them much easier to manage compared to other tablet solutions right now.