The involvement of Apple IDs in 1:1 classrooms has changed quite a bit over the last few years.
A Quick History Lesson
'13-'14 and Before - Students had no Apple IDs, apps were distributed using Tech Department Apple IDs
e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
'14-'15 and '15-'16 - Students used special Under-13 Apple IDs, which were associated with the district, but ultimately owned by the parents that helped set up the account
e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
'16-'17 and After - Students use special Managed Apple IDs, created and owned by the district
e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Do We Use/Need Apple IDs?
Historically, we needed Apple IDs to send out apps to iPads. While we no longer need an Apple ID for that, we do need it for the following:
- iCloud Backups (ie backing up the students data should the iPad be damaged)
- Document syncing (as a fallback if the iCloud backups fail)
- iTunes U (Apple IDs are required for iTunes U courses)
What's Different For '16-'17?
Whereas students had to set up their own district-linked Apple IDs with their parents before, the tech department is now able to create Apple IDs for every 1:1 student without parental involvement (and still maintain FERPA/COPPA compliance).
Different Naming Structure
Previously, Apple IDs followed the format email@example.com, now they follow the format firstname.lastname@example.org
Should a student forget their Apple ID password, teachers now have the ability to reset passwords. See the separate write-up on that process here.
No App Store
Managed Apple IDs, unlike their Under-13 predecessor, cannot buy apps or music (Apple categorizes them as non-commerce accounts). The App Store app will not appear on 1:1 iPads as a result.
Apple has their own support article on Managed Apple IDs, which you can find here.