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Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

samzenpus posted 1 year,21 days | from the extra-credit-hacking dept.

Education 375

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. Now Sam Sanders reports at NPR that less than a week after getting their iPads, high school students have found a way to bypass software blocks on the devices that limit what websites the students can use. The students are getting around software that lets school district officials know where the iPads are, what the students are doing with them at all times and lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook. 'They were bound to fail,' says Renee Hobbs, who's been a skeptic of the iPad program from the start. 'There is a huge history in American education of being attracted to the new, shiny, hugely promising bauble and then watching the idea fizzle because teachers weren't properly trained to use it and it just ended up in the closet.' The rollout of the iPads might have to be delayed as officials reassess access policies. Right now, the program is still in Phase 1, with fewer than 15,000 iPads distributed. 'I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,' says Steven Zipperman. 'I want to prevent a "runaway train" scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.' The incident has prompted questions about overall preparations for the $1-billion tablet initiative."

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Fucking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990721)

Lol

well (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990729)

Good thing they didn't waste $1 billion on teachers or books.

Re:well (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990841)

Well, at least the kids are learning something from their iPads, though it's not the lessons the schools intended.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991233)

Wait until the iPads are fully deployed until hacking them?

^This (5, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991261)

Technology in the classroom...all of it...it's just **tools to teach**

Anyone who things technology can reduce staff budget or allow larger class sizes is smoking crack.

A professionally trained, well-paid *human* teacher is absolutely the only thing that educates a child.

Everything else is just a tool.

My kid (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990731)

has one of these iPads (albeit in another state in another school district). I'm not sure if it's the same "security" but she says the kids at her school quickly identified the culprit, which was the profile that was set up for them. This isn't hacking, this is knowing how an iPad is setup, FYI. All that needs to happen is that the kid figures it out and deletes it.

If my kid "accidentally" deletes the profile, all that'll happen is that she'll get a talking to.

Re: My kid (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991005)

Considering profiles can be password locked and undeletable I find this hilariously sad.

(And with ios 7 they can be prevented from being reset/imaged too)

Re:My kid (2)

Delusion_ (56114) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991009)

I was in high school when Macintoshes were new; they had a laser printer and several dot matrix printers. Laser printing was more expensive at the time, but the queue was shorter due to less people on it and shorter print times. Our computer lab teacher would watch us, literally right over our shoulders, as we'd try to bypass his security (like you, I think "hack" is too grand a word here) and permissions. By the end of the second day, my two best friends and I and a couple of our other friends all had boot disks with LaswerWriter permissions. The teacher had a great attitude that really fostered learning the technology, and was consistent with him watching over our shoulders while we tried to do things we weren't supposed to be able to do (and in every case I can remember, succeeded): he didn't care as long as you didn't make more work for him by breaking something. He was content to learn what we were up to. We had pretty much carte blanche in the computer lab to do whatever we wanted as long as we were learning something new every day, and we'd write a brief summary report at the end of the week. One day, we learned how to hex edit savegames for some old RPG, using the same sorts of techniques we were using on our C64s at home, but with a proper hex editor rather than a C64 sector editor. They were saved in something weird like octal reversed digits instead of the standard reversed hex or forward hex. I can't recall which game it was, only that it had multiple windows up. A quick Google image search doesn't show me anything familiar.

Re:My kid (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991075)

It sounds like the school districts (either because their IT staff are monumental idiots, or, probably more likely, because nobody budgeted in anything for "device management" because 'Hey, iPads are easy!') were just using Exchange activesync restrictions, which are... more or less worth what you pay. Delete the (probably boring) school email account, and away you go. By Fucking Design.

The various Apple-blessed 'MDM' services (either 3rd party contract types, or in-house on the ridiculous hardware that Apple calls 'servers' these days) are incrementally more robust; but iPads are fundamentally aimed at 'user-is-owner' scenarios, with Apple occasionally throwing a crumb and a contemptuous sneer in the direction of anything else.

(Incidentally, that's one thing that surprises me about 'WinRT'. Microsoft, fuck man, You Could Have Had The Tablet With Native Active Directory Support. But you didn't. You voluntarily removed that feature. Are you totally insane? That's one area, at least, where you could have blown the pitiful excuses for 'device management' in the competing ecosystems to hell and back; but no. Not a default, not even an option you can buy... What were you thinking?)

Re:My kid (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991153)

iPads are fundamentally aimed at 'user-is-owner' scenarios

In most cases they appear to aimed more squarely at the 'Apple is owner' scenario.

Re:My kid (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991221)

True, true. I really should have said that Apple is the owner; but makes it very difficult for its vassals to enforce any restrictions on their vassals. Everyone is supposed to be a direct vassal of Apple, with only the most token support given to situations where somebody wants to farm out a large quantity of iPads to people under their organizational control.

"Hack"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990735)

Please.

It took the kids THAT long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990737)

No wonder the kids in CA are seen as dummies to the rest of the country.

Re:It took the kids THAT long? (2)

ClassicASP (1791116) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990795)

Should have happened within the first 30 minutes after the first iPad was issued out to the first student.

Re:It took the kids THAT long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990839)

It says "less than a week"; 30 minutes is less than a week.

Also, how long it took them to find out != how long it took to happen.

Re:It took the kids THAT long? (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990865)

It probably was hacked within 30 minutes by the more clever students. It just took it a little longer to get around to everyone else.

Re:It took the kids THAT long? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990885)

That's how it was with the TI-83's the school distributed to us... a handful of us figured out how to make them do more than just classwork within a few days at most, but it didn't get to the rest of the kids or teachers until near the end of the school year.

Same shit, different generation.

I heard from a teacher in NC (5, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990739)

- whose school district had gotten all the kids iPads. She was complaining that the new toys, in conjunction with all the stupid assessments she had to do, had put her weeks behind the curriculum because she had to spend all her time helping her third graders learn to use the tablets. So I'm sure the teachers in CA who got stuck with this are frustrated about this and probably the ones who are now on delay are greatly relieved.

Personally, I think that money could better be spent on good old fashioned computer labs. A good student PC is a heck of a lot cheaper, and these kids need to learn to type on a real keyboard or else they're going to be at a huge disadvantage compared to their peers who do.

That doesn't sound tight. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990819)

....she had to spend all her time helping her third graders learn to use the tablets.

In this day and age, the kids were more than likely showing the teacher how to use the tablets.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990827)

How about a nook, that costs half as much? Seriously!?!

It's a stupid idea to start with; technology has nothing on poverty, which is in itself, largely a proxy for parental involvement.

But, given the American approach of throwing money at the problem, let's throw half as much money for the same ill affect.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990859)

My 5 year old can use both an iPad and Nexus 7 with ease and worked out how on her own when she was 4. She doesn't install applications, or play with settings, but can navigate looking for her games, videos, and netflix with zero issues, which is quite a feat considering all the crap my wife and son have on it. Unless these 3rd grade kids are from very poor backgrounds, there no way they aren't already familiar with slates. Perhaps the problem is the teacher not letting the kids get on with it.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990905)

I'm sure people once thought students who only learned to type on PCs would be at a disadvantage compared to those who learned to type on a typewriter.

Maybe... but maybe not.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990999)

I'm sure people once thought students who only learned to type on PCs would be at a disadvantage compared to those who learned to type on a typewriter.

How is this supposed to be similar? A tablet does has some role for data entry, but only when nothing better is available within arm's reach. It's really a device for delivering information than for creating it.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991135)

I doubt that. People might have complained about the quality of PC keyboards but that's another issue. Typewriter vs. PC with good keyboard doesn't matter, what matters is whether you learn touch typing or not. Being able to type fast and reliably without looking at the keyboard is a huge advantage - I wish I had learned that at school.

Now here is the big question: What skill you can learn on an iPad that you cannot learn on a laptop? Learning how to perform multi-touch gestures?

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991235)

Typewriter vs. PC with good keyboard doesn't matter, what matters is whether you learn touch typing or not.

And you'd be surprised how little that actually matters.

I've been sitting in front of keyboards since I was 11. I don't type in a way that is formally 'touch typing', but I can type as fast (if not faster) than most people anyway.

If you use a keyboard long enough, you'll figure out how to type at a 'good enough' speed, and if you don't put exactly the 'right' finger on the right key ... well, it still gets typed.

It's not that hard to piece together how to do it. And given time, you'll be able to type without looking for the most part.

Now here is the big question: What skill you can learn on an iPad that you cannot learn on a laptop?

I doubt very much it's a specific skill, more that you have a device which can access the material. They seem to be treated more like 'smart textbooks' than a dumb entry machine you're meant to learn to type on.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991201)

Ok, I will train a student to use a keyboard and mouse. You will train one to use a tablet. Someone else will train one to use a gamepad. We then play a FPS and see who wins.

Re:I heard from a teacher in NC (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991095)

It is also the question of "what do you want to teach them, really?".

Spending a lot of time teaching a third-grader to us a tablet means only one thing to me: the software they have to use is bad. Tablets are so easy to use, so easy to figure out, that if you have to spend significant time teaching, there's something really bad in the software they have to use.

iPads and other tablets are not for teaching about computers. They can be really useful for presentation of teaching materials, or as e-book readers, and stuff like that.

They're not for teaching how to use a computer. If you want to use them to teach computer stuff, like typing or programming, you've got the wrong tool.

Re: I heard from a teacher in NC (1)

techprophet (1281752) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991255)

They're easy for us to use because we're familiar with the paradigms. Third graders have a problem with them for the same reason my grandparents do: they're unfamiliar with the paradigms.

"They were bound to fail" (4, Insightful)

Xacid (560407) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990745)

Kids bypassing security is a total failure for this program? Come onnnn. If anything it's giving them a reason to want to use them more and learn a little something about technology and security. But I guess they're not satisfied unless they have properly trained obedient creatures, not humans with the ability to think for themselves.

Re:"They were bound to fail" (1)

tantrum (261762) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990911)

agreed.

While I think that giving out tablets for school use seems like a daft idea, this is the best possible result. Lots of kids doing their own research into how they can make a device suit their needs.

Might even se some kids learning programming as well... The one item that had the most influence on my careerchoice was probably my HP48 that I spent a great deal of time programming and generally tinkering with.

Re:"They were bound to fail" (3)

Valpis (6866) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990923)

Yes, one student learns how to bypass the security and the rest just follows the instruction like a sheep

Re:"They were bound to fail" (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991103)

The program was a total failure at conception. There is no benefit to this other than to be able to claim that the school districts new and modern. Imagine how many teachers they could have hired for the cost of this program. I like computers, but they have no place in rudimentary education other than the computer lab.

Re:"They were bound to fail" (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991157)

It's DRM, it'll be circumvented. Surprises me it took them that long (as in, more than a day).

I recall getting WAP-enabled phones in my university (WAP was a subset of www, a primitive mobile web in a way. Never took on; phones were slow; displays monochrome; very few sites that offered a WAP version; well basically the whole thing sucked). Everyone could get such a phone for cheap, but they were SIM-locked to a network, of the sponsoring provider.

When I got mine, first stop was a friend who plugged in a cable, ran some software, and SIM-lock gone. Everyone did this.

This is not really different; just a different technology. They shouldn't be surprised it happened.

Try that at work (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990751)

Students do this and the worst they get is a "Oh behave" and the ipad taken away at the end of the day. I do that with a work computer and I get a nice pink slip. Why do we keep trying to "protect the children" when it seems they are getting pretty good and protecting themselves.

Re:Try that at work (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990875)

The alternative attitude is what happened recently in my hometown, where a student was nearly suspended for possessing "hacking tools" - a Linux live-cd.

Part of the purpose of schools is to be a safety net, where irresponsible kids can test their limits and, while not getting away with anything fully, they are shielded from the worst repercussions and are given gentle encouragement that they are not supposed to be doing that. Unfortunately, that attitude doesn't mix with the "freedom is doing anything I want" or the "kids should be imprisoned in schools until they are perfect adults" mentalities that are so popular today, and it's made even more complex (as is everything else) by the ever-expanding community boundaries brought about by modern technology.

Re:Try that at work (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990943)

Don't forget the 'students shouldn't be doing anything the school could be blamed for' policy.

Re:Try that at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991011)

So what do you think should be done? Give kids a "pink slip" by expelling them when they decide not to play by your rules? Ruin their entire lives and burden society with their upkeep because they are curious or mischevious? Slap them on the wrist and "bring them into line" to prepare for a life of servitude?

When my son grows up, I will be extremely proud if he pushes the boundaries of the school system like this. Schools aren't omniscient entities and teachers aren't gods. Rules should be challenged. If the rules can't be justified on their own merit (i.e., without saying 'because we said so') the system should adapt to the children, not the other way around.

If the only response for intellectual curiosity that schools can think up is punishment then the school system needs to be torn down and started over. Of course, I'm thinking of the students as children here rather than future worker bees to be harvested and added to the hive.

Re:Try that at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991031)

External hard drive (or even a USB key) with a separate OS installation. Then you can do what you want with the computer and leave no traces.

"Compromise security" == "Obey our restrictions" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990753)

Better hire and pay good teachers.

Good! (2)

davydagger (2566757) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990761)

I also hope they find and disable the software that is spying on them.

the refrence from my snide comment in case anyone thinks its too tinfoil:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9159278/Pa._school_district_denies_spying_on_students_with_MacBooks [computerworld.com]

Re:Good! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991189)

FTS:

The students are getting around software that lets school district officials know where the iPads are, what the students are doing with them at all times and lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook.

Emphasis mine.

The fact they have such software installed implies the school intends to spy on their students, to be able to see what they're doing.

That they want to restrict what a student can do is acceptable imo as it's a school issued device. The alternative would be to ask students to get one by themselves. The spying part however, not so good.

In My Day (1)

kevinT (14723) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990765)

It took them a week to hack and iPad.

Why in my day we .... had punch cards run at the nearby community college using RPG. Must be nice to get that new fangled technology.

Re:In My Day (1)

barlevg (2111272) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991067)

Why in my day we .... had punch cards run at the nearby community college using RPG. Must be nice to get that new fangled technology

That's awesome if true. In my day it was TI-83s. I think it's fascinating how the platforms change in each generation, but the kids--and their (our) desire to hack--does not.

Just proxy it out at the router. (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990769)

There's no reason they can't block everything from the network end. Host.deny

There's no reason to police what the students do at home either. That's just big brother and between the parents and students.

Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (0)

Andrewkov (140579) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990897)

Yeah, what's next, turning on the microphone and cam on the ipad so we can make sure the kids are not being abused at home?

Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991209)

Yeah, what's next, turning on the microphone and cam on the ipad so we can make sure the kids are not being abused at home?

They cannot do that because the little girls would use that to create child pornography.

Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (1)

pittaxx (2003818) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990907)

But how the teachers will check their facebook and complain on twitter then?

Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (1)

tantrum (261762) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990921)

vpn to your home network would solve that

Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991223)

Block vpn at proxy level.

Open only certain ports, that what students really need, like port 80 for www. They may even consider a whitelist of sites students can visit from the school network.

Re:Just proxy it out at the router. (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990957)

No doubt part of the deal to get parents to accept them was that they would also be locked down at home. Of course, parents could just lock down their network at home too, but how many of them are going to get off their asses and do that when they can just bitch at the school to do the parenting for them instead?

I'm a tech coordinator for an Ohio district (5, Interesting)

CreepingDeath (17019) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990771)

Basically I could have told them this was going to happen because of how iOS is designed. We have about 200 and they don't leave our buildings (most of them are in classroom sets/charging carts) and I'd say at least 5-10 a week have to be factory reset because the kids remove the profile and lock the devices.

How is it this easy? Well since iOS (Android has this same issue and more, sadly), unlike say, ChromeOS, isn't designed to be managed from an enterprise level. So everything we do with policies can simply be removed by the user. No password required.

We tried the carrot and stick approach, the main profile contains the WiFi password, which they don't know, so when they remove it the devices drop off the network and are basically useless. This probably stops most of the folks from messing with them too much but we still have a few that just want to watch the world burn.

However if you GIVE them to the kids, and let them take em home where they can use their own personal WiFi (even worse if they know the password for the school owned wifi) then the carrot is gone. There is little-no incentive for them to leave the iPad's locked down.

This is why we've stopped buying iPads and started buying ChromeBooks. I hope Apple (and Google's Android group, too) takes note, were far from the only district going this direction.

Re:I'm a tech coordinator for an Ohio district (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990805)

This times a million! My district is going Google for email, and Chromebooks are gaining a foothold! They should have waited for the new iOS7 management features to come on line to even attempt this rollout!

Re:I'm a tech coordinator for an Ohio district (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990963)

Go into the configuration utility go to "Configuration Profiles" -> General -> Security and set it to "Never." After that the only way to remove the profile is to do a factory reset. (Alternatively you could set it to "With Authorization" and set a profile removal password.)

Re:I'm a tech coordinator for an Ohio district (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990995)

A Chromebook can be restored to factory/consumer defaults using a second computer connected to the internet, a flash drive, and a keystroke.

Re:I'm a tech coordinator for an Ohio district (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991025)

So everything we do with policies can simply be removed by the user. No password required.

I hate to break this to you, but you're a shitty 'tech coordinator.'

You can lock down the profiles so they can't be removed by anything short of total reset of the iPad, and yes that means that you can't even use an admin password to remove or modify it. You can also configure them to use an http proxy for all internet traffic, again not changeable by the user of the device even with an admin password with reseting the device to factory default.

Honest Questions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991199)

What exactly do the students(what age/grade?) do with these devices(iPads/Chrome Books)?
How does the device improve/aid learning over more traditional teaching tools(I presume books vs. ereaders)?
How much more does the technology program cost than the previous traditional methods?

I'm presently watching my "child" attending university. I am noticing a significant, near massive, loss in learning productivity due to online books, multiple guess homework assignments, and tests. There are at least six different sites for the various functions that all look and behave differently, all have a significant fee attached and all provide little to no value over a book and a test paper. While I am seeing a serious decline in their learning, I am seeing a massive increase in expenditure to access their book online, to gain access to homework assignments, to gain access to the testing site, to have and use a "clicker" in order to "participate" in class(required for grade) by responding in a massive online multiple guess(MOMG) fashion to the prof's questions.and more. Yet, despite the obvious decline in learning, the kids(not just mine) think "it's great because I can do my homework on my phone!" (and fail).

All the while, the state university system is announcing the eminent implementation of all online degrees. They see it as a major source of revenue and a means of significantly increasing their enrollments without increasing facilities cost. "It's going to be so totally awesome for learning and for the kids". BULLCRAP!

Hack-a-rooney (1, Offtopic)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990775)

Mikael Blomkbist: Here's your new school iPad, Lisbeth. It has blocks so you can't get to facebook and stuff.

Lisbeth Salander: (Looks at him with disgust) Please.

Definitive dilbert on the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990777)

Here, this will explain it to you

Dilbert 1 [dilbert.com]

Dilbert 2 [dilbert.com]

Why iPads in the first place? (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990779)

I actually like my iDevices and I don't believe that I'm saying this. But why iPads? They are limited use devices and once you add a keyboard you might as well provide them laptops. But even that is pushing it. Get them a bunch of cheap Kindles and provide better computer labs at schools and libraries with extended hours.

Re:Why iPads in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990867)

But we're a high tech up2date forward thinking school so it has to be iPads. "Laptops" and "Computers" are old. Cloud Based Scalable iPads are the future.

Re: Why iPads in the first place? (0)

TRRosen (720617) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990887)

Because kindles would actually cost more and have less software. And computer labs are useless. Having worked in K-12 anything that is not 1-1 is useless. To really utilize a technology teachers have to know every student has full access.

In what universe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991213)

Kindles retail substantially less than an iPad, so in what universe would kindles cost more and have less software?

Morever, since this device is *supposed* to be locked down to only the applications installed, how the hell can you claim it would have less software? All it needs are the software packages that are wanted by the school for the purposes of the device (doesn't have to be a specific company's product to be able to do the function) and that's all. 40,000 apps on the Google App Store vs 60,000 apps on the iTunes AppStore makes no flaming difference.

Re: Why iPads in the first place? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991253)

Computer labs are to teach children to use a computer. That includes learning to type, and maybe basics of word processing, spread sheets, etc. For those that like it, maybe some advanced classes that do programming and databases and so.

Tablets are book-replacements/enhancements. Devices that provide information to the children to learn from.

Re:Why iPads in the first place? (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990935)

Because when something is paid for with grant money, no one gives a shit what it costs. And "iPad" is a lot easier to understand on a grant application than "Obscure tablet that the grant evaluators have probably never heard of."

Re:Why iPads in the first place? (1)

guytoronto (956941) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991159)

Why iPads? Because of educational software. It's not about the hardware, it's about the software.

Tablets (0)

DaMattster (977781) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990793)

I'm a fan of using tablets to replace textbooks. Apple could capitalize on this by making a very stripped down E-iPad for educational use that neither includes WiFi nor cellular data. Apple could create a special education store like E-iTunes and have the tablet interface with that. That would be an effective use of a tablet that doesn't include a complex spyware network. It would make the tablet ONLY for reading books and watching educational/instructional videos. I figure that would be a far more effective use of technology. Furthermore, this should be introduced at the middle (jr. high) school level. Kids will be introduced to technology early on by their parents and their world outside of the classroom.

Re:Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991041)

Apple could capitalize on this by making a very stripped down E-iPad for educational use that neither includes WiFi nor cellular data. Apple could create a special education store like E-iTunes and have the tablet interface with that.

Yes, and this ePad with no network connectivity connects to the E-iTunes store with pixie magic?

Re:Tablets (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991181)

Apple could capitalize on this by making a very stripped down E-iPad for educational use that neither includes WiFi nor cellular data. Apple could create a special education store like E-iTunes and have the tablet interface with that.

Yes, and this ePad with no network connectivity connects to the E-iTunes store with pixie magic?

The Kindle e-Book reader does exactly this.

While you may argue that it has "WiFi" or "cellular data" that is clearly not what the poster meant. The context is "usable WiFi or cellular data with access to any content and/or application". Arguing that this is "technically" still WiFi changes nothing.

- Jesper

Re:Tablets (1)

firex726 (1188453) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991217)

Sounds like a a lot of work for something that only a few school districts have adopted; add to that they would be competing against the other tablets and eReaders which can already be managed from an Enterprise level. The way iOS is designed just makes it impractical to manage in an enterprise environment.

thats nothing (4, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990815)

the analog version of the chemistry E-Book has also been hacked. an enormous toothbrush mustache has been rendered in analog on Marie Curie making her look exactly like hitler...a clear violation of our zero tolerance policy.

Not out to cause trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990817)

My school attempted to lock down their Windows 3.11 386s, it was a challenge to get into them. I never caused trouble, but because it was a challenge I worked out how to beat them. Once I found out, my friends found out, and then pretty much everyone in the school will know by the end of the week.
That was a device in a room, with limited access, this is a device they can take home, and have unfettered access.

So to sum up:
Duh!

Meaningless (1)

TRRosen (720617) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990821)

Any device can be reset to defaults that's not much of a hack and if the kids do it, the school will know the second it hits the school network. (If their IT people have any skills at all) Bypassing the lockdown on a device is only an issue if you can do it without being detected.

Baubles! Baubles! My education for some Baubles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990829)

I'm currently doing some of those newfangled MOOC courses. Very neat. But guess what? The math course is nearly entirely done using pen and paper, with printed examples and hand-drawn examples, down to on-screen applying scissors to said paper, to demonstrate concepts and things. And yes, I sit in front of the screen with a paper pad and a (mechanical) pencil (and a numbers-only(!) calculator) because that's just about the most useful thing for that purpose. Oh, and a paper book for reference.

Makes you think, dunnit?

If it doesn't, you're management in a school system, busily making this "project" a success now that the industry lobbyists have had their share. But what about educating the kids, eh?

Asking for help (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990831)

No wonder last week I saw some posts asking for help on how to hack Ipads on some forums...

Teaching (1)

MrKaos (858439) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990835)

A new generation of script kiddies.

On the upside... (1)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990837)

At least now the school knows not to include camera-enabled surveillance software on the phones.

Re:On the upside... (1)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990853)

On the pads, not phones. Too damned early on a Monday.

Should have got with Surface (1)

Amtrak (2430376) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990861)

Seriously, though while I hate the idea of Windows RT and it's locked boot loader and inability to run unsigned code it seems like this is the perfect use case for such a computer.

I like it. (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990871)

It's an important civics lesson about the futility of censorship in an open society, and a technology exercise to boot! In a world where tools and processes to root just about every iOS and Android device out there exists, I'm not sure how they ever would have imagined device-level censorship would have worked; router-level censorship is a difficult enough challenge. Did they imagine that that wouldn't be good enough once the childrens got out of school and connected to non-school WiFi hotspots? That's cute.

Re:I like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990895)

They didn't even need to root the device. They just deleted the restricted profile. iOS (and Android) are plain wrong for these sort of roll outs. They should have been looking at Chromebooks instead.

Re:I like it. (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991219)

Oh, yeah, I understood that, but even if deleting a profile wasn't an option, the nuclear option of rooting is always available. One thing that made me chuckle is the claim in the title of the article. I suspect it didn't take one week, merely that it took one week for most students to know about it. I suspect the first success was on day one.

Re:I like it. (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991263)

They didn't even need to root the device. They just deleted the restricted profile. iOS (and Android) are plain wrong for these sort of roll outs. They should have been looking at Chromebooks instead.

Not really. The admins were just idiots who didn't RTFMA.

It is perfectly possible in iOS to enforce policies which are tied to a non-deletable user profile. Most settings (and a lot of hidden ones) in the network configuration can be set and locked as well - for example by configuring the OS to remove the control-panel options in question. Configuring these iPads to adhere to certain policies and restrict their HTTP access to a proxy owned by the school should be no problem at all. The device would need to be completely factory-reset in order to get rid of that configuration; and the network admins would know if that happened.

I suspect the same is true for Android. Carriers have demanded such functionality for decades - for example to permanently disable tethering for certain devices or subscription plans.

Seriously. These admin failed. The tech to do it properly is already here.

- Jesper

How is this a problem? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990873)

OK, so now the Ipads are more useful, now with FB the kids can better collaborate with their classmates.
the whole idea of Ipads or any type of tablet was stupid and counter productive to begin with, but the ability to "hack them" does not change that.

'They were bound to fail,' says Renee Hobbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990881)

This isn't failure - this is success. What better way to teach students about security, censorship, operating systems and network protocols? These are all important lessons in today's world and encountering them within an educational environment COULD be the perfect place to analyze them and promote deeper study. If the hacking is celebrated instead of scorned, we might just be raising a generation better equipped to evaluate the genuine priorities and address them.

Same problem, new toy (1)

barlevg (2111272) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990915)

Giving a kid a powerful toy and then telling them not to play with it is the height of absurdity.

This reminds me of TI-83s in middle/high school. You weren't supposed to install games onto them, and teachers would often threaten to wipe them if they found stuff installed (tbf, the concern was probably mainly cheating tools), but everyone had Tetris and Galaxian [berkeley.edu] and Dying Eyes [ticalc.org] and Hegemony [calcg.org] .

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990917)

So you remove everything that is worth doing on it, and track the user like its 1984... no wonder the kids are cracking them.

And??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990919)

Hacking the iPad is not an issue. The real issue is that an iPad is a very poor instrument for teaching. It's a consumption tool (like a glorified TV). The idiots that approved this were short sighted.
As others have said. A PC is cheaper and far more powerful, particularly for content creation - where the grey matter is actually stretched.

Re:And??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991069)

You apparently don't know what you're talking about, and haven't seen what you can do with the iPad in an educational setting. The whole "iSomething is a consumption tool" meme was played out and disproven back during the iPhone 3Gs days, when an artist used an iPhone app to draw the cover for New Yorker. An iPad is can be either a better or worse tool for content creation and/or education, but whether it is better or worse depends solely on how it is used and the task at hand.

Giving out iPads is silly (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,21 days | (#44990931)

The problems in education in the US are not about the supplies the kids have, and the iPads, while great for publicity, won't have much effect on student achievement.

The big problems have a lot more to do with:
- A lack of pre-K education for a lot of kids means that many start about 2-3 years behind. For example, I was one of two students who walked into first grade able to read at all, count, and add. Head Start and similar programs could help with that, but they've never come close to having the funding they'd really need to solve that problem, and parents are often completely unaware that that sort of thing even exists.

- Teachers are poorly paid compared to other professions requiring similar levels of education, so we don't have our smartest people opting to become teachers. For example, someone who's good at math or science, and good at explaining it to other people, could choose to get an engineering degree and make about $85K a year, or go into teaching and make about $50K a year. Which would you expect them to choose?

- The school districts that desperately need the best teachers are not the same districts as can afford the best teachers. Teachers, like most people, opt to work for places that pay them well if possible, and that means wealthy suburban districts can get better staff than poor urban or rural districts. But generally speaking, the poor kids are the ones who could most use a really good teacher to give them a chance to not be poor.

- For students in minority cultures, education is not always seen as a path to financial success, because (certainly historically, and seems to be still at least partially true) educated people in that minority do not necessarily get the jobs they are qualified for. If education isn't a path to success, then many students will be motivated to just muddle through until either they graduate or drop out, because either way they're going to be flipping burgers for a living if they are lucky enough to get a job.

None of that will be solved with iPads, just like none of that was solved by Apple giving out Apple II's to a lot of schools back in the 1980's.

I'm so proud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44990965)

Fortres 101 didn't stop us in middle school, and iOS won't stop them.

iPads, a lesson on dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991007)

iPads, what a joke. So here in Chelsea, MI all High School students got theirs. The security program locks it down to the point that it is useless outside the school building. And yet, they are expected to use them a home by teachers. Needless to say the students are hacking them but most of them are just not using them or using them just because the teachers say so.

The iPad experience is a lesson to kids on how a dictatorship state works and why freedom defeats it.

itsnotsobad (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991013)

Our school has a 1:1 program with iPads in our middle school. It's worked out very well, but not without it's hickups.

The real issue here is lack of understanding in the deployment. If I'm not mistaken, their project listed above was a last minute effort with little to no research or training. There are measures that can be taken to prevent these situations, such as supervision profiles and MDM profiles. Sounds like they had neither, or little of one.

Also, last year was our test with one of the lowest scoring classes they've had in a while. There was quite an improvement in their testing. IMO, I agree with the sentiment that full size labs still are important though, and personally dislike the lack of natural typing on the iPad. It's a great educational tool if used with the correct MDM and grade levels.

Easy solution... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991021)

...tell the kids that if they bypass the security, etc, then they will be expelled from school.

Then, actually go through with it.

This could be a lesson plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991049)

When I was growing up, my dad would sabotage the TV by removing components in order to keep me and my sisters off of it. Being the little shit that I was, as soon as he left, I would sneak over to radio shack and spend my allowance buying whatever components I needed to repair it.

Today I'm an electrical engineer.

Perhaps giving kids an incentive to learn to hack their devices isn't such a bad idea.

This is Apple's iPad policy in motion (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991077)

I work for a school where we rolled out iPads on a limited level and wanted to prevent the scenario where they were given away to someone else. We also wanted to deploy software to these iPads so there was some functionality. This is what we found:

-There's always the functionality to wipe an iPad from the user end. When we asked Apple about this, they said that the concept behind the iPad was that control of the iPad was always meant to be in the user's hand. You can not disable the ability to wipe an iPad.
-We looked into MDM providers to be able to track where an iPad is (iCloud can also do this, but the user can just log the iCloud user out). However, we found MDMs are installed by profile and you can not make an MDM profile mandatory (meaning that anyone using the iPad can just remove the profile and MDM easily).
-We looked into installing applications without tying it back to an Apple ID. We were told that this is impossible without Apple Configurator (Configurator ties the app back to a workstation). However, to do this, the machines need to be kept in supervised mode, which prevents users from connecting the iPad to iTunes on any other devices but the main backoffice machine. So users need to go through some other method (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc) to offload their pictures/movies/etc (this has changed in iOS so that now iPads supervised with the most recent version of Configurator can synch with MacOS machines)

Apple doesn't really seem to want their devices to be owned by anyone but the user and they're specifically enterprise unfriendly. Deploying iPads to a school is an uphill battle and it doesn't sound like these machines were "hacked" but rather students went outside of the lines that the school intended.

burying the lead (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,21 days | (#44991137)

They're burying the lead so deep, I don't know if they'll ever find it. Yes, security is a joke on them but that's not the story. Apple products are overpriced pretend luxury items that have no place in business or school. There are superior products that cost half the money and acceptable products that cost 1/6th the money. If I lived in the area getting taxed for this project, I'd be outside the school with a pitchfork and torch.

The kids are alright (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991161)

While it is questionable to want to log onto the surveillance software known as facebook, at least the kids are learning to bend the stupid devices to their will and not someone else's. Serves the BOE right for buying DRM and wasting taxpayer money.

Imagine the results (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991247)

Imagine if instead of spending $1B in tablets, California would put this money into increased teacher salaries so that the career path would be more desirable so that more competent people would thrive to become teachers..

Why blame the teachers? They didn't want this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44991269)

"and then watching the idea fizzle because teachers weren't properly trained to use it and it just ended up in the closet."

Well that's convenient, now it's the teacher's fault?

Administrators are the ones who come up with these crazy ideas to flood classrooms with pointless, unusable technology. Teachers just want to teach. An English or Math teacher shouldn't have to be some kind of expert on iPads to do their job.

I'm sure every teacher involved would have much rather had the money for technology spent on the basics: textbooks, supplies, maintaining a clean and safe campus, bringing back programs like art, music, etc.

Teachers don't *want* this kind of technology, only administrators do. Let's not pretend this failed because of the teachers, it failed because it was a terrible idea and the value of devices like iPads in the context of education hasn't even been proven to exist. All studies support the notion that technology in the classroom is a distraction, and there is no data showing they assist learning at all.

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