Exploring the use of iPads and mobile devices in education.
Apple has a utility configuration tool which allows you to create an image which places certain capabilities as well as restrictions on the iPad. We place it on every iPad. It is called the Apple iPhone Configuration Utility which is part of their Enterprise program. http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/
Just an FYI- Proxies don't work with iPads which is why we use the Config Utility as well as Mobibip.
Our school allows 24/7 student use of iPads loaded with Safari browser as well as other apps with embedded browsers like Smart Note and Side by Side. These unrestricted browsing apps allow our 6th-8th grade students unmonitored, unfiltered internet access when they access any of the many unsecured WiFi networks around the city and neighborhoods. Even at home most parents do not and will not do what is needed to filter home wireless with OpenDNS or upgrade to routers capable of paid filter service. LightSpeed Mobile Filter Browser is loaded on the iPads, but it is circumvented by Safari and the other unrestricted browsers.
The net result of this circumstance is that we have 300+ kids running around with unrestricted Internet access and thereby high potential for inappropriate and harmful internet use by minors, especially for at risk kids and kids with less parental supervision. Is this going to be an acceptable norm for iPad educational deployments? I find our school's practice of allowing 10-14 year old children to leave school with school computers that allow unrestricted online activity reckless and unnecessary. I believe Apple Inc. should provide their school clients guidance on appropriate application configurations for 24/7 educational deployments to minors.
What say others about this?
I don't think you will get an argument from most tech guys and gals on that. Unrestricted access is an accident waiting to happen. To add to this, if your school is using e-rate, then they are required to content filter at all times. I guess if they aren't that would constitute breaking federal law. Not good.
If you are using e-rate and your school owns the iPads, then yes, it internet filtering would be required at all times. However, if the student's own the iPads, as is the case in many private schools, then the Internet filtering would not be required under CIPA because it is not a school owned device.
However, in either case, you can still filter internet content if you are willing to "lock down" the devices. One option is turn off the Safari browser and the ability to load new Apps using the 'Restrictions" settings. Then load a browser that is filtered. There are some free filtered browsers like K-9 Browser or paid iPad filtering solutions that require a subscription fee but give you complete control on what is filtered. You can also set up proxy settings on the iPad that will send all Internet traffic through your Internet filter, though bandwidth can be an issue unless your Internet filter is a hosted solution.
Bottom line is that there are a number of ways to get the control that you want with the understanding that the more control the school takes, the less control the student has.
I'm looking for the same info since I am the "IT Deparment" that is being asked to make the iPad dream come to life.
Marco Marchant said:
It's good to see that your IT department is supporting you!
How did your IT department deal with the extra WiFi needs and security of the iPads?
Patrick Larkin said:We are looking at using the Casper Suite to manage our iPads. Our IT Dept. is optimistic that it will be a good solution to monitoring iPad use by students.
We have just installed LAN School (Free version) which allows us to monitor the screens of all our senior students (11-13 year olds) who are using MacBooks. If you buy the full version, you are bale to complete many more functions, such as blackout screens, lock screens, send messages to students, etc. From what I have read about the program, you can also monitor what is on the iPad, although I have yet to try this out.
I guess I sit in the middle of the control debate. As a school principal, I want to be sure children are using the technology for educational purposes. I certainly do not look at student screen monitoring often, however, the senior students know it is there and we can do it -that is a deterrent in itself!
We are using the casper suite from Jamf. It allows us to monitor and control the ipads. We can have different levels of security, so admins can add their own apps, and students can only add apps with teacher permission. The suite also allow us to track, lock, and wipe any ipad. It is worth the investment if you are planning on deploying large amounts of iPads.