Exploring the use of iPads and mobile devices in education.
I mean we remove some of the more distracting Apps during those classes when we don't need them. We don't always use iTunes or You Tube in class, but if we do I would certainly open them up again. Folders help a bit - when I want students to focus on certain Apps, I make sure they are all in one folder and I direct them to that particular folder. Of course they can be moved around (although not deleted).
Mattie Germer said:
I feel a bit torn on this one. I've been piloting a class set of iPads in my high school classroom (10th grade Church History and 12th grade World Religions in a private, Catholic, boys prep school in Nebraska). Initially I had relatively no concerns about the lack of monitoring ability, but as I've been using them for the last six weeks I have seen some problems emerge.
In reply to what a few of you have already said:
1. Michele - You mention that you've removed "distracting apps like YouTube" but I struggle with that choice. There are many times I want my students to be able to use YouTube to watch educational clips. It is also a great resource when students are trying to figure out how to do something - many students benefit more from watching someone else do it than reading about how someone else does it. Of course we have filters on our school network, but when they are supposed to be watching a clip on media coverage of Gaza and they're watching Charlie Bit My Finger, it is difficult to monitor. I don't like the idea of eliminating YouTube completely, but if one wants to go back and forth (YouTube on today and off tomorrow) the syncing required is somewhat labor intensive (turn on parental controls, sync all devices, turn off parental controls, sync all devices, lather, rinse, repeat).
2. Janet - the LanSchool app is a joke. We installed that hoping it would serve like LanSchool does on computers. No dice. All it does is provide a (less than useful) interface where students can send questions to teachers and vice versa. It does not monitor web activity and it does not work in the background. The teacher can only see what is on a student's iPad when they have the LanSchool app actively open. We uninstalled it within a few days. I have not found anything that replicates a genuine monitoring program.
3. Shawn - I disagree on the iPads being easy to monitor because they don't make a wall they way laptops do. Leaving an iPad flat on a desk is really awkward. The students are going to angle them up if they are reading something or watching something. Laying it flat can also exacerbate the glare factor. I think iPads are just as tough as laptops in seeing what students are doing.
My additional thoughts:
The major frustration I have regarding lack of teacher control is things are the iPad settings.
Example one: I wish I could lock the wallpaper! I know that seems silly, but at first, the students were changing the wallpaper constantly. I finally set the wallpaper of each iPad as a picture the # of the iPad (iPad01, iPad02, etc.) and told them if they changed it they'd get demerits. I hate having to mess with that. Why can't it just be locked?
Example two: Passcodes. If you set a passcode on the iPad you have to type it in each time students want to use the iPad. If you don't set a passcode, a student could add a passcode and lock YOU out of the iPad. The only recourse is tracking down the student and having them type it in or restoring the iPad to factory settings. It has only happened to me once, but I'd encourage anyone starting out to put that in the AUP.
Example three: Installing apps. In the parental controls you can disable the installing of apps. However, that also means that when you plug the iPad into the computer to sync with iTunes, YOU can't install apps. This means changing the parental controls each time you sync or risking students installing apps. Well, students don't have the iTunes account password, right? So how can they install apps. My students must be really smart, but they discovered they could go into the settings and log out of the school iTunes account and log-in with their own iTunes account.
Also, it would be great if it was possible to set up a suite of apps to be used and with one click install/remove just those apps. For example: in my World Religions class, I have an activity on Buddhism where I have a set of apps (Buddha quotations, Zen koans, a meditation timer, a Mandala creator, etc.) that, on their own, could be very distracting. I do not want to leave them on the iPads all the time. However, if I take them off the iPads and then want to put them back on, I have to resync each iPad and uncheck/recheck each individual app. I can't put them in a folder and install them all at once. Theoretically the iPhone Utility lets you do that, but it is just as cumbersome as iTunes. That lack of control is what is most frustrating for me - not that I can't see what students are doing at any given moment but that I can't customize the iPads without a good two hours of work each time I want to do it.
At this point in the pilot program, I'm still more happy than disappointed in the iPads. As far as I can tell, none of the Android tablets have controls/monitoring that are any better than the iPads. I generally believe that if teachers are walking around the room and being engaged in the learning process, nothing horrible is going to happen. I prefer to give students more control and responsibility rather than less. That being said, I do think Apple needs to realize that these devices are being used in classroom/enterprise settings and it would be beneficial to their sales if they increased the group deployment options...
I think there are some great conversations going on here. Our small pilot program has not had any problems with the lack of being able to monitor the iPads. We have an AUP in place and the use of the iPads is directly guided by the teacher. There is no student using it alone or unsupervised so this is a non existant issue for us.
What I do believe is that the ipads change the paradigm. They change the way we think about using technology with students, which is how it should be. We are moving to more discussion, negotiation, and collaboration between the TEACHERS and the STUDENTS. In that respect, there needs to be a lot less monitoring and a lot more discussion and shared decision making. When that happens, everyone knows what the other is doing already.
I've read through all the posts thus far, but have not come across anyone talking about using the iPCU software download from Apple. Although called the iPhone Configuration Utility, it will setup any number of profiles for use on an iOS device. The iPCU allows the teacher to allow or disallow all the various and sundry setup items mentioned in other posts ( such as the wallpaper, and the use of passcodes). It also will install a chosen "bundle" of apps to a device based on the profile. It's really worth a look...
For Mac: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1081
There are other third party mobile device management options as well...such as the Casper suite, which the Apple folks like a lot... http://www.jamfsoftware.com/
Sandra - If you know how to use the iPhone Config Utility to lock wallpaper and disallow passcodes, please let me know. We use the Config Utility (I just left out the config part in the earlier post) and it is just as unwieldy as iTunes. I've read the 150+ pages of the manual for the software and can't figure out a way to do those things through there...
What about Lan School? I heard they had an app for the ipads?? Anyone familiar with it? I need to check this discussion and will appreciate whatever I read. I will be knee deep in this coming this fall.
We are looking into Faronics In-Sight
Which monitoring software do you use for your computers in your lab?
I have used computer monitoring software for at least 8 years and have found it extremely useful in my computer lab. With it's ability to blank screes, turn off the Internet, and send files to an entire lab full of computers a teacher can direct attention toward instruction. Because iPads can't be controlled this way they will have to be implemented differently. What that looks like I don't know. What I do know is that iPads can bring up web pages faster than any computer that I have ever used, their use is completely intuitive, apps are endless, their fun, and on and on. I am very interested in hearing from people who have used iPads in their classrooms.