$1 billion for iPads, 1 week to hack security

Beautiful Morris smiles as she works on her new iPad, provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Beautiful Morris smiles as she works on her new iPad, provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District. — Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Unified is spending $1 billion to give iPads to every student. It took one week for high school students to hack through security so they could visit unapproved sites, reports the Los Angeles Times.Officials halted home use of the Apple tablets until further notice.The hacking “prompted questions about overall preparations for the $1-billion tablet initiative, notes the Times. For example, school officials haven’t decided whether parents will be liable if a $700 laptop is lost or damaged.

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Comments

  1. Ann in L.A. says:

    As a Los Angeles taxpayer, I just have to say %$#^!!!!!

    What was the intended point of these things? I know a lot of private schools are debating having some sort of tablet/laptop in the hands of every student, but I don’t see the point. It seems like technology for technology’s sake, and so schools can point to their great bells and whistles without any real educational value.

    Most classroom tech seems like more of a distraction than anything else. A black/white board is still one of the most powerful tools for a teacher, even if it doesn’t have fly-in/fade-out spinning animations.

    • No, it’s not “technology for technology’s sake”. It’s technology for politics sake.

      The Los Angeles school board can point to the Ipads as proof the LA school board’s not just sitting on it’s hands but is groovily cognizant of the bleeding edge of technology and they’re willing to squander a billion tax payer dollars so everyone knows it. It’s technology for politics’ sake.

  2. Mike in Texas says:

    The purpose was to make Apple some money. The purchases were probably illegal, since the money came from construction bonds.

  3. “It seems like technology for technology’s sake, and so schools can point to their great bells and whistles without any real educational value. Most classroom tech seems like more of a distraction than anything else. A black/white board is still one of the most powerful tools for a teacher, even if it doesn’t have fly-in/fade-out spinning animations.”

    Anne, you nailed it. Couldn’t have said it any pefectly myself. Now, I’m a lover of technology – a “gadget geek” in real life (I love my Samsung Galaxy S3, PS3, Wii, Roku box, iPad, TI-85, etc.) but it’s like no one wants to notice that as technology has become more and more of a distraction in the classroom – which it is 99% of the time – that comprehension and understanding and knowledge in K-12 and college (particularly K-12) has plummeted. It makes me cringe in the same way that movies from Hollywood that have horrible writing but good special effects make big money so easily (for example, ‘Independence Day’, or the live-action ‘Transformers’ movies…) Oh well. Bread and circuses, I suppose.

  4. Ann in L.A. says:
  5. California requires a “free and equitable” eduacation. If I was a parent and they tried to charge me for one of these things, I’d sue the district….and I’d win.

    • Interesting – what if they lost a textbook? Would you expect to be charged for that?

      Today the laptop is a different beast, but in the future, we’ll probably regard it much the same as a text.

      Sad, for the amount of constructive use we get out of them, we could forego students text books; at least in math. Take good notes, write down your homework and go do it. It’s save lots of back strain, those things are heavy.

  6. Amazing,

    We didn’t have such things 30 plus years ago in the classroom, and we still managed to get the assignments done.

    IMO, all of this techno-garbage is nothing but a first class distraction in the classroom, and when I see college students using their laptops to handle geography problems (which is something that we learned to do in grades 5-8 in my day), it’s apparent that the use of this kind of technology is creating completely un or undereducated individuals.

    Sigh

    • Bill – no, nor did they have it 50 years when Kennedy challenged us to put a man on the moon. My students used to wonder how we ever DID things without the toys. I said, how do you think the first computers and calculators were MADE? Dumbfounded. As an old physics prof used to say – it looked like the Fulton Fish Market.

      My kiddo came home telling me they wanted her to use a calculator for math – in 2nd grade!! I wrote back to school: No calculators, we’re conscientious objectors. They didn’t bother us after that.

      And they’ll still be looking at us funny when we ask for 2/3 of a pound at the deli.

      • I regularly ask for 2/3’s of a pound at the deli counter and get the quizzical look often followed by a “how much?” or “do you want 3/4’s of a pound?”.

        With regards to the calculators — In NC the students were required to have calculators available in order to take the 3rd Grade end of grade tests (or at least they were when my kids were that age — I doubt that has changed). There were calculator active and calculator inactive sections of the test so not only could the school not opt out but during the test they had to call attention to the calculators. Because their school didn’t use calculators at that age and had to hand them out just for the test the calculators wound up being a distraction. To avoid that the school finally started to introduce them to the 3rd graders but only as test prep! However I remember hearing that our regular public schools wanted the 1st and 2nd graders to have them so they’d know how to use them for the 3rd grade EOG. Meanwhile while my kids could easily do math in their heads, I used to watch their equally or more-intelligent peers use their fingers for even the simpliest math facts.

        • When I went to take the Praxis II for high school math, I was under the mistaken impression that only simple 4 function type calculators were allowed and expected. UGH! Also the Cliff’s Notes WAY under estimated the level of the questions. I had to change gears on the fly.

          That was an unpleasant testing day. Can’t believe the number of people who fail that test .. repeatedly!

          …use their fingers for even the simpliest math facts…

          Now THAT’s what I’d call a constructed disability. (My ed school profs loved to go on about that…but in a different context.)Taking a perfectly normal kid and making him a math non-enabled.

  7. Deirdre Mundy says:

    Probably not. The standard way this works is ONE really smart, nerdy kid hacks the device. Then he gives or sells his solution to the more popular kids in exchange for protection, increased social standing, or something else.

    So it probably taught ONE kid useful skills, and taught the others that you should consume whatever the nerds produce.