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Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week 375

Posted by samzenpus
from the extra-credit-hacking dept.
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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Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

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  • well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:15AM (#44990729)

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

    • Re:well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:35AM (#44990841)

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

      • Re:well (Score:5, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:26AM (#44991283)
        One lesson everyone can take away from this is that trying to lock down devices for patronizing reasons is foolish. Surprisingly, it appears the schools are at least sort of getting that message:

        "So we talked to students, and we asked them, 'Why did you do this?' And in many cases, they said, 'You guys are just locking us out of too much stuff.' " He says, after talking with students, that the Los Angeles Unified School District's iPad policy probably should be changed, allowing for some social media and music streaming sites.

        The memo from a sublinked article suggests that concerns for safety were the reasons the devices were supposed to be locked down. Can't have kids getting on facebook: they might meet up with child molesters and get raped and killed!

        I suspect their concern for avoiding that scenario was mainly "... and then WE'D BE SUED!!!" So perhaps they should have gone the permission slip route and only given out ipads to kids whose parents agreed that the parents are the parents and if anything bad happens to the children in connection with the ipads, or if they caught their kids looking at nudity (and subsequently were utterly scarred for life), that was on the parents and not something they could sue over. This however is not a lesson that school districts ever seem to learn.

        • by swamp_ig (466489)

          No permission slip would make any difference to being sued.

          • Sure it could, if done right.

            You can look at it as a contract: "We release this device to the custody of the child *IF* you assume all responsibility and waive any liability on the part of the school board."

            It may not prevent all suits, but normally that would be a binding contract and stop most of them.
            • Re:well (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Feyshtey (1523799) on Monday September 30, 2013 @02:22PM (#44994387)
              First, you cant enforce a contract that relinquishes your rights. If the school board fails to impliment policies that give "reasonable" protection to the child, then the contract is unenforcable. The trick is defining what "reasonable" is. Also, you cannot assume that parents understand the technology or the risks associated. You cannot ask them to enter into a contract without fully disclosing those risks, or the possible punishments. This is particularly important when you propose to use these devices in largely low education, low income populations like L.A., where providing these devices is meant to be a boost to kids who would not otherwise be able to obtain them.

              Second, lets say I refuse to sign the petition slip because I dont want to risk me taking the heat for what my kid does, or maybe because I dont want my kid to have access to a device that allows him or her to do things I do not approve of. Does that mean that the school must have a different curriculum that is paper-based? Or a different set of systems that can only be accessed from school? Does my kid have to do homework differently, turn in homework differently, or take tests differently? Can the school ensure that my child is not at a disadvantage because of these differences?

              How long do you think it would take for a parent of a failing student who didnt have an iPad/laptop to sue the school for unfair treatment. How does the school defend against that?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by ebh (116526)

          Don't use Facebook. You'll get pregnant. And die.

        • I can't see them being locked out of Facebook being the reason. Facebook would be blocked at the proxy, as would all of the interesting parts of the WWW, and any file-sharing protocol or chat app.

          I suspect that the kids just wanted Angry Birds so they could dick about instead of doing work, they weren't allowed, so they fuck up the devices at any opportunity because they're petulant and spoiled little brats, just like all kids. What really needs to happen is teachers, and their lessons, need to be engaging
        • by Feyshtey (1523799)
          So your reaction to this is not irritation that kids are hacking free devices that were intended to be solely for their education. It's irritation that school system is even trying to issolate the use of the devices to only education.

          WTF is wrong with you?

          Essentially you're saying that kids will be kids, and lets just give them free shit to do whatever it is they want to do with it.

          How about the cost to repair all the damage that the users do to the devices after cracking them? How about all the ap
      • by Nyder (754090)

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

        Still a valuable lessons to be learned here. You give kids rules, much like adults and they are going to find away around it, and that kids are smarter then the people running the schools.

      • Re:well (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Monday September 30, 2013 @03:42PM (#44995149) Journal

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

        Back in the day I spent my pre-teens breaking the copy protection on Apple 2 games. Probably not what my parents had in mind, but it was excellent technical training and now I have a well paid career designing chips, crypto systems and related things.

        Breaking into security systems is a superbly educational thing to do. It requires a depth of understanding of the systems not commonly found in text books, it requires analytical thinking and the lessons learned often stick. If you spent your teens doing that, then the low level subjects they teach in school are not going to feel like a major challenge.

    • ^This (Score:5, Insightful)

      by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@nospAm.gmail.com> on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:23AM (#44991261) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • Re:^This (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NatasRevol (731260) on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:46AM (#44991441) Journal

        Only?

        No.

        Lots of people learn in different ways. Especially if that professionally trained teacher is still a bad teacher.

        • Re:^This (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday September 30, 2013 @10:49AM (#44992003)

          Bad teachers are no justification for iPads. Either way, dont expect me to pay for your child to get tools that are not proven to do anything but entertain and have been around for all of 5 years.

          You cant even draw the parallel to the advent of computers: that was a whole new field. Noone in their right mind would claim that the future of technology looks like "iPads".

          • Noone in their right mind would claim that the future of technology looks like "iPads".

            Except for all the technology companies.

            And Star Trek.

      • Re:^This (Score:5, Interesting)

        by leereyno (32197) on Monday September 30, 2013 @11:07AM (#44992209) Homepage Journal

        A professionally trained, well-paid human teacher eh?

        If this is true, then how come our schools are so awful?

        We the people have been throwing more and more money at schoolteachers, and requiring ever-increasing levels of training and education to maintain their license to teach, yet the educational achievments of our students have been flatlined for 40 years, and have even fallen dramatically in some districts.

        Meanwhile home schooled children, taught by parents with no formal training as teachers, outperform government-schooled students so often that the high achieving home schooler has become a cultural meme, if not a cliche.

        Charter schools have also been able to deliver superior results at lower cost.

        No, I don't think we need professionally trained well paid teachers. What we need are voucher programs, more home schooling, teachers and schools that have to compete, the utter end to tenure of any kind, and pay/bonuses based on classroom performance instead of seniority. Opening up the teaching profession to anyone with a bachelor's degree and a demonstrated knowledge of a subject (english, math, science) would be even better. There is no evidence that having a master's degree in early childhood education helps someone teach 3rd graders how to multiply. Let those who want to teach and who are good at it take the field, and get rid of parasitic space takers for whom a teaching job is a state-paid sinecure.

        Most of all, outlaw public sector unions so that groups like the NEA aren't able to block real education reform.

        • A professionally trained, well-paid human teacher eh?

          If this is true, then how come our schools are so awful?

          We the people have been throwing more and more money at schoolteachers, and requiring ever-increasing levels of training and education to maintain their license to teach, yet the educational achievments of our students have been flatlined for 40 years, and have even fallen dramatically in some districts.

          this [indeed.com] is [voiceofsandiego.org] a [ed.gov] MYTH [nea.org].

          this is nothing but a red herring argument foisted by fiscal conservatives to continue to destroy the public school system and to concentrate resources in elite public schools. for a nation whose economic engine relies on advanced knowledge and high literacy, we should be treasuring our teachers. teaching should be one of the highest-paid professions, and people should be beating down the doors to try to become a teacher.

          instead, people have bought the line that teachers are "overpaid" an

          • by Solandri (704621)

            instead, people have bought the line that teachers are "overpaid" and don't bother to realize that teachers earn incredibly low salaries for the education and professional level of their work. that is insane.

            You're both right. Teacher salaries are low, yet the U.S. spends more per student on education than any other country on the planet [huffingtonpost.com].

            People think teacher salary = education spending. It isn't. Far from it. If you look at the latest educational expenditure stats [census.gov] (page 8 of the state level tables),

      • by ranton (36917)

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

        HAHAHA. That joke made my morning.

        While I'm not saying teachers are unimportant, but are you actually saying that children are unable to learn without supervision? I remember writing my own computer games half a decade before my first programming class in college. And I am pretty sure no one taught me math from the fourth grade (when my parents started buying me textbooks) until sophomore year in college. Our teaching colleges are so poor that I couldn't even ask questions to enhance my independent learning

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:17AM (#44990739) Journal
    - 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.
    • 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.

      • by khallow (566160)

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordLimecat (1103839)

          Noone uses iPads for any serious amount of data entry or manipulation.

          Their role in business tends to be for shiny-factor, portability, or both. They are somewhat useful as POS units (as those have generally been touchscreen anyways). Thats basically it.

          If you want to train your kids to be cashiers from an early age by getting them involved with iPads @ school, have at it-- just do it on your own dollar.

      • 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?

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          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

          • It's not so much a matter of "is your finger on the right key?" but a matter of "are you looking at your monitor, your keyboard, or copying the text of something when you are typing?"

            At minimum, a touch typist needs to be looking at the monitor when they type, and not the keyboard. Someone who is doing data entry will do best when they can look away from the keyboard and type directly from a sheet of paper off to the side, but not everyone is going to be doing data entry so that's not a required skill.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      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,

      • 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.
        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          In which case maybe the schools should take a small step back, and teach those paradigms first. After that kids can not only easily find their way around the current applications they have to use, but also anything they may encounter in the future.

    • iPads are not designed for the Enterprise, let alone for the classroom...
      Teachers don't need more gadgets getting in the way of teaching...
      What were they thinking?
      Teachers need to teach, not be the first-line of the Help Desk.

  • by Xacid (560407) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:18AM (#44990745) Journal

    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.

    • by tantrum (261762)

      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.

    • by Valpis (6866)

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

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:08AM (#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.

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        There is no benefit to this other than to be able to claim that the school districts new and modern.

        What's your basis for this claim? Do you actually know this or are you guessing?

        There's lots of reasons why distributing learning materials electronically has advantages. I shouldn't really need to spell them out on Slashdot. And tablets - particularly iPads - are about as friendly to non-computer users as you can get.

        Now, there may be some very good reasons why this particular rollout was flawed,

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      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 ca

    • 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.

      It only takes one kid to 'learn a little something about technology and security', everyone else can press the resulting "click me to crack" button. Buying $1,000,000,000 worth of iPads just so one kid can learn a little about security, while the rest spend their school time tweeting, would be a total failure.

      I'm not in favor of the program as it's originally intended, but I'm not in favor of this inevitabe crack either.

  • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:38AM (#44990875) Homepage

      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.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:21AM (#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]

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      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.

  • 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.

    • by barlevg (2111272)

      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.

  • by pecosdave (536896) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:23AM (#44990769) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by tantrum (261762)

      vpn to your home network would solve that

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        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.

        • by Ioldanach (88584)

          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.

          You can proxy over standard https port 443, so blocking proxying is mostly a dead end. You'd have to stick with the whitelist.

          • by mlts (1038732) *

            More advanced firewalls can detect unknown data streams on a SSL port that are going to a server outside, cork the data, and send an alert upstream to whomever is monitoring stuff.

            BlueCoat makes a killing off of stuff like this.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      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?

      • by Ioldanach (88584)

        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?

        What if the parents didn't agree to the deal? What if parents thought that the school's predetermined whitelist was too much? Or too little? Maybe the parents were parenting, and decided that their kids should have more rights than the school would like them to have.

    • I work at a school district that has deployed iPads. This is exactly what we do. We use the same filter to filter content in computer labs, and to prevent staff members from accessing pornography. Can they get past it? I'm sure they probably can, but students caught doing so violate the acceptable use policy and their AD account is locked out for the duration of the loss of privilege. School administrators can enable and disable student access right from an internal website.

      Before we deploy the iPads,

  • by CreepingDeath (17019) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:23AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 30, 2013 @09:00AM (#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.

      • There's no detail in the linked story, but I suspect the "hack" is they're just restoring the iPad in iTunes. The kids probably couldn't care less about the school's wifi network. And if they have a smartphone (which many of them do - the girl in the story owns an iPhone), they could even tether the iPad to it while they're in the school building.

    • Honest Questions (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

  • 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.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      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."

    • Why iPads? Because of educational software. It's not about the hardware, it's about the software.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:31AM (#44990815) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.

  • A new generation of script kiddies.
  • At least now the school knows not to include camera-enabled surveillance software on the phones.

  • 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 c

    • by firex726 (1188453)

      How can you call it censorship?

      It's a device bought by the school for the purposes of school work. Just like how your work computer is meant to be used for work.

      Students found a way to break the restrictions and got them taken away; this is not a case of the school trying to keep some useful or vital information from students, it's them expecting students to adhere to their agreement and the purpose of the devices.

      The devices were in part to help the students, and probably to make it so they would not have

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:38AM (#44990873) Homepage

    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.

  • 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].
  • And??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday September 30, 2013 @08:48AM (#44990931) Homepage

    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.

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      You make good points, but you're missing the fundamental problem with education in America: the parents. That's the biggest problem I've seen, by far. There are countless early learning programs for the poor, at least in my area and the more widespread problem they face is that they're under utilized. Because few people care enough to sign up for them. No amount of salary increases is going to help teachers if their students don't care to learn, or if they're wasting much of the school day just trying to ma

  • 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.
  • Anyone know how the devices were secured and how it was bypassed? Did they use some type of MDM solution (eg MobileIron, Air-Watch, etc)? Anyone have any technical details?
  • So running an app to hack iPads is news?
  • I would think the school district would have the student sign something where the student would have to relinquish the iPad if they modified it to gain access to unauthorized content or circumvent the school software. If only students would put this much effort into learning...

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