Well you can't let people do just anything with their computers!

It took just a week for nearly 300 students who got iPads from their LA 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.
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17 Responses:

  1. If these things are supposed to be locked down, I have no reason to support the program.

  2. I'm shocked, shocked to find that web surfing is going on here!

  3. Jen Tilson says:

    This renews my faith in the youth of today.

  4. Phil says:

    This is a pointless battle. You can't use technology to solve a social problem. So what if they surf the web during class? College students do it all the time. Just make sure there are social consequences for not getting work done.

    • phuzz says:

      Heh, I feel generation gapped. When I left school 15 years ago only a few of the richer kids had (non-'smart') mobiles, and the IT teacher was experimenting with this new-fangled 'wireless' (802.11a I assume, with a PCMCIA card in a laptop).
      I'd have thought a proxy server at the school would have been the solution, then correlate access logs with academic records; "I see young Sam that your grades are down and you were on twitbook while in class. So you're in detention and we're confiscating your iPad during classes for 1 week."
      Bring back the cane says I ;)

      • moof says:

        IIRC, 1998 was at the very tail end of the original 900MHz WaveLAN cards and the increasing ramp up of the shiny new 2.4GHz 802.11 standard cards.

        Personally, I'd be surprised if it took the students the entire week.

        • grェ says:

          Correct, 802.11.

          Not 802.11a (which is in the 5.4Ghz spectrum and higher bandwidth than 802.11b, which was in the 2.4Ghz spectrum, and replaced 802.11).

      • People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms

        • phuzz says:

          Yeah, I can't remember that one, but it's a fun* game for a bunch of geeks, "Name That Acronym!"

          * ok, kinda**
          ** ok, you have to be really*** bored
          *** really really/i bored

    • nikita says:

      > You can't use technology to solve a social problem.
      Indeed. History taught us that neither printing, nor firearms, agriculture or fire solved a problem.

      • Phil says:

        Ah, touché. How about: you can't use suppression to develop better habits?

        I think heavy handed filtering is misguided. I'd rather see accountability for action than bureaucratic suppression.

        • nikita says:

          Me too, but accountability only works for responsible persons and responsibility is itself a "good habit", so there is a chicken and egg problem.

  5. Erbo says:

    Remember, there are three ways to ensure something gets done: (1) Do it yourself. (2) Hire someone to do it. (3) Forbid your kids to do it.

  6. Charles Stephens says:

    I wonder if it'll take another $1,000,000,000 for the program to discover the Apple Configurator.

  7. I can't help but think that maybe giving a billion dollars to Apple isn't the best thing one could do for improving education, but perhaps that's just me.

    • Mike says:

      As someone who was a kid with poor fine motor skills, I wish I could have typed a lot of homework on a computer with word processing software (much later in college, I wrote a lot of homework up in TeX), but I don't see in particular what is beneficial about schools having the latest techno-toys. In fact, having spent some time working for a company in the networking business who did quite well at selling to schools (who are supposedly all hard up for money these days), I feel slightly dirty.

  8. Adolf Osborne says:

    When I was a youngster (up hill both ways, etc), I was heavily, frequently, and formally admonished by teachers and administration because I preferred to do my homework with a computer, and do classwork with at very least a calculator when in school.

    This repeated for many years:

    Them: "Listen, Adolf, it's not like you'll always have a computer around to help you out when you're in the real world."

    Me: "You think so? Well, we'll just see about that. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep using the tools I've got, thanks."

    So, let's see about that: It's 2013, and pocket computers and laptops are a dime a dozen (sometimes even cheaper), and I've heard rumors about people paying other people to take away entire, working desktop computer systems. I carry a dual-core pocket computer with fast wireless Internet access everywhere, and a perfectly reasonable laptop lives in the trunk of my car, and no matter where I go in my money-making travels, I'm never far from some other manner of computer that I can use to get stuff done.

    Even printing, these days, is easy: On Wifi, almost anywhere unless someone has purposefully broken it, chances are good that a nearby printer is easily found and paper documents are able to be produced.

    We've come so far, but now look at what the schools have gone and done to things: You may have an iPad, but outside distractions are forbidden. (Also: Stop looking out the window! There is nothing out there for you to be looking at! No talking in the halls! Quiet in the cafeteria! Stop passing notes! One at a time to the bathroom! The metal detectors at the doors are for your own good! We lock you inside to keep you safe!)

    **head in hands**

    (Also. When I'm elected Earth Czar, there will be unfettered Internet in the schools: If this allows new social problems to occur, then those problems can be dealt with socially.

    There will also be a mandatory "how to talk to strangers without assuming they're going to rape and dismember you, just before they go to your house and do the same to your little brother" class.

    And a mandatory marksmanship, archery, martial arts, or survivalist class, each of which will (must!) involve some aspect of navigation*. Pick one or more, though "none of the above" is not an option if a diploma is important.

    *: Navigation, because as bad as folks have always been with geography, they at least need to be able to figure out where they are before they start shooting/lobbing arrows/going Kung-Fu/eating bugs.

    There will also be a never-ending fishbowl of condoms on an easily-accessible countertop, as the notion that some young people might like to fuck one-another, does not imply that they need burdened with their own young people.)