I was interested to see in the last few days that there were a number of people who were not aware of Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme.
The Volume Purchase Programme allows educational institutions to purchase iOS apps and books in volume and distribute them to students, teachers, administrators and employees.
I did post about this back in September last year when it finally arrived in the UK.
Institutions that weren’t aware of the Volume Purchase Programme would very likely have real issues with trying to manage class sets of iPads.
They could have just relied on free apps only, which was a pain if there were apps you wanted to buy or relied on in-app purchases.
Users could have been asked to spend their own money on apps, easy to do, but not everyone wanted or could afford to do this, and certainly wasn’t a practical solution on shared devices. It would also create difficulties with refunding people. It also meant that you would be “giving” people apps, which would create further problems in future years.
I was aware that some institutions decided to give users iTunes gift cards which were then used to buy apps. This did rely on trusting the users to buy the apps and not go out and buy music and films. As with refunding users, you were “giving” them apps.
It was certainly possible to create multiple iTunes user accounts and install apps on the devices, but this would have been an administrative nightmare with a huge number of iPads.
I suspect what most people were doing was to breach their iTunes agreement, buy an app once and then load it onto multiple devices. You can do this with your own devices, but according to the iTunes agreement this isn’t a viable option for educational devices.
Without the Volume Purchase Programme in place, we didn’t put in class sets of iPads as there wasn’t a practical method to get the apps people wanted onto the iPads. Virtually all the iPads we did buy were assigned to individuals.
Since the introduction of the Volume Purchase Programme we do have class sets and the Volume Purchase Programme has made it very easy to legally purchase apps for use on those class sets.
Find out more about the Apple Volume Purchase Programme.