An expensive programme to give iPads to school kids has run into trouble because of poor security on the tablets.
Education officials in Los Angeles Unified School District thought that it would be a wizard idea to bolster Apple’s bottom line by splashing out a fortune on the over-priced devices.
According to the LA Times, Los Angeles Unified School District rushed to sign a $30 million deal with Apple to supply over 600,000 iPads.
It seems that the officials were convinced that they could stop kids misusing the iPads because of a security system that promised to prevent them visiting dodgy sites.
But less than a week after getting their iPads, kids laughed their way past security and were using the gadgets how they liked. It seems that Apple security protocols could be used to disable the district’s. The district certainly seems to blame a fault with Apple.
By deleting personal profile information, users could get to forbidden websites. Apple said a fix isn’t expected until late December.
Some enterprising kids even offered to hack the tablet for $2 a time.
Specifically targeted is the software that lets school district officials spy on student movements by tracking where the iPads are, and what the students are doing with them.
The software lets the district block Facebook, for example.
Red-faced district chief information officer, Ronald Chandler, said he wasn’t really surprised that students bypassed blocks so quickly.
He asked the kids why they were doing it and was told bluntly that because too much was forbidden. Apparently there are some changes to liberalise the programme.
Los Angeles Unified School District is fixing a security glitch in the iPad software and for now, the hackers won’t be punished. But home use of the iPads has been halted indefinitely and the rollout of the tablets might have to be delayed as officials reassess access policies.
Renee Hobbs, who runs the Media Education Lab at the University of Rhode Island said that programme was an expensive stuff-up from the start. Kids associate the iPad with entertainment, so when the iPad comes into the classroom it will still be seen as such.
This isn’t the first time educators have tried to co-opt things that lots of people use for fun. The first attempt was to use radio in education, and that went nowhere, Hobbs said.