L.A. School District Shocked That Kids Would Figure Out How To Use iPads For Purposes Of Fun
By Chris Morran in The Consumerist | http://bit.ly/171w5M5
September 25, 2013 :: If you hand out iPads to a bunch of adult employees and tell them the devices can only be used for work purposes, some of them will abide by those guidelines. Do the same thing with a school full of kids and most of them will be Tweeting and on Facebook in a matter of seconds. And yet the nation’s second-largest school district is shocked that several hundred students have taken advantage of a simple work-around that turns a boring school tablet into a fun tablet computer.
The Los Angeles Unified School District — not to be confused with the Manchester United Football Club — recently began rolling out its $1 billion program to get an iPad into the hands of every kid within a year.
But so kids aren’t playing games or social media-ing when they are supposed to be learning, the iPads are locked down, giving the students only very limited access to apps and the Internet… at least until the student deletes her personal profile and then has access to the device’s full capabilities.
The L.A. Times reports that students at one school immediately began tinkering with their new iPads once they realized they were useless outside of the school.
“I’m guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,” wrote the L.A. Unified School District Police Chief in a memo to senior staff. “I want to prevent a ‘runaway train’ scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.”
The district is mulling over ways to fix the iPads so that they will go back to being expensive, electronic textbooks, but in a school district with more than 600,000 students, one of them will figure out a way around whatever walls the school district throws up.
I say they should make this an ongoing project and, like the folks who put a bounty on the iPhone fingerprint scanner, reward students who are clever enough to solve whatever security riddles the school attempts to stymie them with.
LAUSD halts home use of iPads for students after devices hacked
By Howard Blume, LA Times | http://lat.ms/1apvDqB
September 25, 2013, 9:35 a.m. :: Following news that students at a Los Angeles high school had hacked district-issued iPads and were using them for personal use, district officials have halted home use of the Apple tablets until further notice.
It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Theodore Roosevelt High School to hack through security so they could surf the Web on their new school-issued iPads, raising new concerns about a plan to distribute the devices to all students in the district.
"Outside of the district's network ... a user is free to download content and applications and browse the Internet without restriction," two senior administrators said in a memo to the Board of education and L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy. "As student safety is of paramount concern, breach of the ... system must not occur."
Other schools reporting the problem were Westchester High and the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granada Hills.
Students began to tinker with the security lock on the tablets because "they took them home and they can't do anything with them," said Roosevelt senior Alfredo Garcia.
Roosevelt students matter-of-factly explained their technique Tuesday outside school. The trick, they said, was to delete their personal profile information. With the profile deleted, a student was free to surf.
Soon they were sending tweets, socializing on Facebook and streaming music through Pandora, they said.
L.A. Unified School District Police Chief Steven Zipperman suggested, in a confidential memo to senior staff obtained by The Times, that the district might want to delay distribution of the devices.
"I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices," Zipperman wrote. "I want to prevent a 'runaway train' scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out."
The rollout is scheduled to put an iPad in the hands of every student in the nation's second-largest school system within a year. Roosevelt was among the first to distribute them, starting a week ago.
Lobo Gris commented on the Times Website: