My new principal just shared this NPR article with me about LAUSD students hacking their shiny new iPads to access blocked content (like facebook) and to disable software that “lets school district officials know where the iPads are, and what the students are doing with them at all times.” The original LA Times article seems shocked and awed that students would hack the devices so they could use them “for personal use”.
I understand the need to focus on student privacy and safety, particularly in the U.S. where CIPA and COPPA. But it is totally unreasonable to give locked-down iPads to students (any students!) and expect them to not find ways around the blocks. Even the Chief Information Officer of LAUSD thinks so:
The district’s chief information officer, Ronald Chandler, says he wasn’t really surprised that students bypassed blocks so quickly. He says that hacks happen at all levels, whether it’s secured parts of the federal government, or student iPads.
“So we talked to students, and we asked them, ‘Why did you do this?’ And in many cases, they said, ‘You guys are just locking us out of too much stuff.'”
To the credit of the the school district, it sounds like they will review their policy. They have, however, currently halted the home use of iPads “until further notice.” Hopefully this is so they can find ways of finding a more student-centered policy rather than finding another way to lock down the devices.
The questions I have are these:
- What is LAUSD doing to teach students how to act responsibly and how to make good decisions while using technology?
- How was LAUSD envisioning the use of iPads by students (and teachers) with all of the blocks and filters in place?
- How much time and money were spent setting up that doomed-to-fail system?
If you know anybody who is working in LAUSD, I’d love to hear from them. If you have any thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear those too!