Periscope Depth

she ran calling wildfire

Program halted after LA students breach school iPads’ security in a week:

It took just a week for nearly 300 students who got iPads from their Los Angeles high school to figure out how to alter the security settings so they could surf the Web and access social media sites.

The breach at Roosevelt High and two other LA schools has prompted Los Angeles Unified School District officials to halt a $1 billion program aimed at putting the devices in the hands of every student in the nation’s second-largest school system, the Los Angeles Times reported. The district also has banned home use of the iPads until further notice as officials look for ways to make sure students use the devices for school work only.

The actions come as school officials nationwide grapple with security measures for iPads and other devices as they introduce them to tech-savvy students.

Pardon me for asking the obvious question, but what was the point of giving these students iPads? I presume that the ostensible reason was to expose students to modern, useful, interactive technology – to get them used to an interface that’s going to be omnipresent in ten years, to get them curious about responsive design and cloud computing, to make them feel like the kids at Francisco Bravo and Stern. Right? Because if that’s the case, these students are using the iPads in the way that they were intended to be used. They’re using them like curious consumers who want to take advantage of a slick piece of technology to interact with their peers. Y’know, like adults and wealthier teens do. This is what an iPad’s supposed to do. Why buy a five-hundred dollar gadget and then cripple it?

Freaking out over this would be like giving every student a car and then pitching a fit if they use them to drive places other than school and home. Sure, you could install some complicated governor circuit to limit the roads they can drive on, or perhaps just sink them into rails like slot racers, but then you see how ridiculous it was to give them cars in the first place.

Of course, if the point of giving these students iPads was just “to say that we’ve given them iPads” – a thin veneer of brushed steel and sturdy glass over a complete lack of pedagogy – then I can see why this would be considered a failure.

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