external image AppleConfigurator.175x175-75.pngApple Configurator - Calvin Hales March 2012

These are some places to look at for what the Apple Configurator does in setting up and managing a lab of iPads.
Initial set up of a one to one program may also find this new application useful.
I have watched this process just once and was impressed, but by no means am I an expert. I have no labs or schools assigned to me and no place to really try it out. This appears to be a step in the right direction by Apple to help with deployment of devices, but the tech folks in my region already could see improvements they would like. Everything I really know I learned at the links below and from reading in the iTunes Store.
First look at Apple Configurator + Resources | Tech Recess
Supervising Devices with Apple Configurator | Tech Recess
Some things that are required:
  • OS 10.7 Lion on a computer to download the application and manage the devices
  • A cart, tray or USB hub situation to hook up multiple devices at once.
  • iTunes account for the school, lab, location, or group.
  • VPP account ( if you are using Volume Purchasing Program ) and spreadsheet of license codes

Here is what you can do:

Prepare devices

• Configure up to 30 devices at a time
• Update devices to the latest version of iOS
• Create and restore a backup of settings and app data from one device to other devices
• Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to new devices*
• Use the built-in editor to create and install iOS configuration profiles
• Enroll devices with your Mobile Device Management solution for remote management

Supervise devices

• Organize supervised devices into custom groups
• Automatically apply common configurations to supervised device
• Quickly reapply a configuration to a supervised device and remove the previous user’s data
• Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to supervised devices*
• Define and apply common or sequential names to all devices
• Restrict supervised devices from syncing with other computers

Assign devices

• Add users and groups manually or autopopulate via Open Directory or Active Director
• Check out a device to a user and restore the user’s settings and data on that device
• Check in a device from a user and and back up the data for later use, possibly on a different device
• Apply custom text, wallpaper, or the user’s picture to a device’s Lock screen
• Import and export documents between your Mac and Apple Configurator
• Sync documents between assigned devices and Apple Configurator
*Installing paid apps from the App Store requires redemption codes from the Volume Purchase Program for Education or Business. The Volume Purchase Program is not available in all regions.