iPads in the Classroom - Volume Purchase Program Explained (as best I can...)

(Several things have changed in the VPP since April.  Please check out the updated post about the program.)

During the month of April, I spent considerable time with my colleagues helping one of our local school districts set up a pilot program with 50 iPads.  (My previous experience has been with iPod Touches-see iPod Touch Experiment.)

The hardest part for me in the process was understanding the ins and outs of the Volume Purchase Program.  There are several tiers to the process, so it made putting the whole picture together for those that only have access to one or two of the tiers in a way they can understand a little daunting.

What are advantages to using the Volume Purchase Program?  There are several for schools:
  • Tracking purchases and where they have been distributed: the system is in place; it isn't pretty, but if you mark right on the spreadsheets with the redemption code where the codes are distributed you have some way of keeping record of where purchased apps are being dispersed.
  • Tax exempt purchasing: if you work for a non-profit (such as a school), you are not charged sales tax upon purchase
  • Multiple purchase discount: for many apps, if you are purchasing more than 20 of an app, you get the volume discounting which is usually 50% off.

So, what are the tiers & what does an account at each level have the ability to do?  Here it is in a nutshell from top to bottom... or side to side... or around the world (you get the picture):
  1. Program Manager: (This person is the one that oversees the program. More information at: http://edu-vpp.apple.com/asvpp.html. Note: If you are a school, this person must be an approved purchaser for your institution.)
    1. Creates and oversees the Program Facilitator account
    2. Purchases and distributes the Volume Vouchers that are applied to Program Facilitator accounts
  2. Program Facilitator (all done on App Store Volume Purchase Program website, NOT iTunes)
    1. Redeems Vouchers for credit to purchase apps 
    2. Searches for and purchases apps, selecting the quantity needed
    3. Accesses redeem code spreadsheet to distribute codes to iTunes Users
    4. For many institution, retains documentation of distribution of codes (who got what)
  3. iTunes User
    1. Redeems apps using codes given by program facilitator (either in iTunes or on the device)
    2. Submits requested apps to Program Facilitator
A note:  you cannot use the same iTunes account as a Facilitator that you use on your iTunes.  So, since I am a facilitator and also have an iPad to sync, I have two different iTunes accounts: one I use as a facilitator to purchase my apps, and the one I use to add content to the iPad (which includes redeeming those codes I get to my facilitator account).

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