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Los Angeles Unified School District – Hack the iPads!

October 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm PST

It didn’t take long, but soon after the Los Angeles Unified School District began their rollout of some 650,000 iPads to their students, they ran into some technical issues. Students in at least one of LAUSD’s high schools quickly discovered a way to bypass the security on the devices. Still in Phase 1 of the program, only 15,000 of the devices have been given to students, but already the District has suspended home use of the iPads due to the security issues. According to reports, LAUSD had been using software that “lets school district officials know where the iPads are, and what the students are doing with them at all times. This software also lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook.” There are now questions circulating around whether the LAUSD staff was well prepared for these devices and their implementation, and what is going to be done moving forward to continue the rollout and secure the iPads.

student using mobile device

In my previous article I wrote about how educational staff need to be prepared to properly utilize iPads in their classroom. IT staff responsible for managing these iPads should also receive the proper training and preparation. What’s interesting to note here is that, at least in my experience, Apple’s stance on iPads in education is generally fairly hands-off. They recommend managing or locking down the iPads as little as possible. The idea here is that these are best served as single user devices and the best experience for the student is full ownership and manageability of the iPad out of the box. iPads aren’t meant to be used like a rolling cart of laptops going from room to room. They don’t support user profiles and managing or locking down the iPads introduces more complexity than is needed.

You want to protect the investment in these devices from theft, and prevent students from accessing inappropriate content, but if you are planning on allowing the students to take these devices home, you can only go so far. As evidenced from the LAUSD issue, students quickly discovered the iPads were so locked down they couldn’t use them at home, so they found a way to delete the configuration profiles which essentially removed any of the locks or restrictions on the iPad. Some students even went so far as to offer ‘unlocking’ service for $2. Quite the entrepreneurial spirit!

Now, it’s a daunting task for any IT department of any size to introduce over half a million new devices under your umbrella of responsibility. Add to this, that depending on the MDM solution chosen, each of these iPads have to be unboxed and configured before being handed to a student. Now, when something goes wrong they have to be collected, and reconfigured. It stands to reason that Phase 1 will remain a trial phase until some of these issues are worked out. Read More »

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Los Angeles Unified School District – iPads for Everyone!

September 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm PST

Earlier this year, Los Angeles Unified School District announced a $30 Million deal with Apple to distribute iPads to every single one of their estimated 650,000 students. This marks a milestone in public education as the first ever school district to deploy this kind of device to each and every student. Over the past several years there have been many pilots and test classes involving the oft-named ‘one to one’ approach to technology in the classroom; one device for each learner, however there has not been a rollout of this scale, anywhere.school childern using ipad

How does this shape the future of education for LAUSD students, and more importantly, how does this reflect on the evolution of the classroom for the 21st century student? Read More »

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Celebrating the Gift – Cisco TelePresence connects, engages Los Angeles students

Choir_Compressed_BetterThis holiday season, the Urban Entertainment Institute, Cisco and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have joined forces to address the achievement gap in education, the dropout rate and the need to keep performing arts in schools by integrating academics, arts and technology to bridge the cultural gap in education throughout the world.

Unprecedented budget pressures are forcing K-12 schools across the nation to think differently about how to deliver learning to their students. As such, we’re seeing a growing acceptance of collaboration technologies in schools to increase quality learning and engage students, and to relieve some financial pressures.

One such school district implementing Cisco TelePresence video systems is the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Serving some 700,000 students, LAUSD has deployed TelePresence to avoid cutting its arts programs, instead scaling the program across the large geographical area of Los Angeles and beyond with video.

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