Mobile technology is essentially a personal technology platform, providing a relatively inexpensive computing device that is highly customisable, configurable and supportive of the individual user. While it can be used for rollouts to groups this compromises many of the affordances that a personal device can offer to a student or staff member.
Mobile devices are designed for personal use and 1:1 rollout and are difficult to set up, manage and maintain for group or shared deployments. This is due to a number of reasons:
- most devices need to be attached to a personal account for the purchase of applications, data sharing and backup. These accounts are not designed to be set up en masse or linked to an institution. They are specifically set up for individuals and for these accounts to be managed on a personal level. Specific to Apple devices, are Terms and Conditions that hinder sharing or loaning of devices, because devices are attached to an account for a certain period of time
- most apps are set up with only a single user in mind. Logging into some apps from a device will save details and private information to the device. Therefore, sharing a device means that the user details are exposed and open to be exploited by other users
- infrastructure, such as WiFi is also set up to be linked to a specific user. This has specific implications around data charges, privacy and proper usage
Recent developments such as the Apple launch of a local version of the Volume Purchasing Program do provide better tools to manage app purchases on a large scale. The Apple Configurator tool also creates the option for the rollout of shared class devices. However, this is often at the expense of allowing for any individual control or personalisation, which can often be at the detriment of the user experience.