Thursday, November 13, 2014

iPad App Update and Q&A

Students, Parents, and Staff,

While we still have some students come in with locked iPads, this is a very rare occurrence.  Thank you for your help in keeping appropriate apps on the school iPads.

We have found two more apps that are showing up on more iPads each day.  We will be adding the following two apps to our list:
vShare - vShare is designed to download paid apps for free, breaking licensing laws.

Whisper - Whisper is a social media app that allows users to post anonymous comments.  Like Yikyak, Whisper is known to be a tool for bullying in schools.

We ask that these apps be off iPads by Friday night, November 14 so that the iPad has a chance to check in to the system to see that the apps are off. We will restrict the apps on Monday morning.  Any iPad with vShare or Whisper will lock down after the restriction settings are put into place.

A complete list of removed apps can be found on the RSU 57 Technology Website.

Thank you for your help.

IPad Q&A
How will students know when their iPads are ready to pick up? When and where do they pick them back up?  The tech support person will contact the office, who will ask the student to go the tech room to pick up their iPad. At that time the student will be told what we found so that he/she knows what to avoid in the future.

Kevin Perkins
Director of Technology

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

iPad October 28 Update

Parents, Students, and Staff,

Thank you all for your patience in the process of unlocking all of the iPads that came to the tech department for the past week after being locked because of an app that needed to be removed from the iPad.  I want to inform you of things that we learned through this process and let you know the apps to stay away from in the future.

We began last Thursday with over 150 snapchat apps, over 75 Puffin apps, over 100 Kik apps, and more than 75 VPN apps.  We have brought these numbers down to 24 Puffin apps, 50 snapchat apps, 22 Kik apps and 12 VPN apps.

The apps listed below are not to be on the iPads even at home.  The MLTI iPads check in with the State management system throughout the day, no matter where the iPad is checking in.

Timing is Everything.  Students that removed the apps on Wednesday night or Thursday morning were often locked out because our lock out code was processed before the iPads checked into the system.  These cases resulted in a quick turnaround.

Connection to Your iPhone - If you have your iPhone and iPad set up to sync, it is very possible that you could download one of the blocked apps onto your iPhone and it automatically shows up on your iPad, resulting in a locked device.  This can be rectified with a change in settings.  Go to settings, iTunes & App Store, scroll down to automatic downloads, and uncheck Apps.  This will force you to manually place apps on your device, but will potentially prevent a headache. 

App Title and Function - Apps that have the name of a targeted app in the name (ex: Video for Kik Messenger) will be targeted as well because the system looks for the name of the app in the title and app description. 

There are also apps that are built to support targeted apps that will also lock the iPad.  Examples that we came across many times are apps that are designed to change a person's eye color or appearance.  These apps were made for Kik and Snapchat.

Removed iPad Apps
All apps with VPN (Virtual Private Network) in the title or description.
Puffin Free
Video for Kik Messenger
All apps meant to change eye color or appearance
Opera Mini

Thank you,

Kevin Perkins
Director of Technology

Technology Update

Parents and Students,

Student iPads are in student hands and being used in classrooms. There have been actions and questions in the past couple of weeks about iPads that I would like to answer by putting the information out so that everyone is aware.

Apps and Student Safety
Our district layers how we filter content that our students have access to within the school day. We begin by filtering content at the server level so that we limit what students can access on our network. Server filtering has been in effect and will continue with adjustments being made as needed. 

The second layer of filtering is our ability to prevent certain types of apps on the student iPads while they are at school. We have identified apps on some of our devices that are designed to be anonymous, secretive, and untraceable.  Some hide pictures and files, some are designed to share a picture and then wipe it away from view after a very short amount of time. 

In the last couple of weeks, these anonymous apps such as ask, yikyak, snapchat, kik, and apps that allow students to bypass our filtering system (VPN's) have been discovered on some student iPads. In order to protect students and adults in school from potentially inappropriate materials, we will be increasing the level of our second layer of security to prevent these apps from being loaded onto student iPads.

On Thursday morning (10/23/14), iPads that arrive at school with the following apps will become locked: ask, yikyak, kik, snapchat, chatous, any secret folder apps, along with any VPN apps. ***

Students will have until their arrival at school on Thursday morning (10/23/14) to remove these apps from the iPad.  If any of these apps is discovered on a school iPad during the school day on Thursday, it will trigger the system to lock the device.

If the device becomes locked because of the presence of inappropriate apps, the device should be brought to the technician located at:
  • the tech office for MMS students, 
  • the tech shop for students in grade 9, 
  • and the library for students in grades 10-12.  
The process to unlock the device will take between one and three days to complete, resulting in lost class time and a report to building administration.

Your help in removing these apps from the devices is appreciated.

Protection Plan
There have been families that initially chose to be part of the protection plan and then have come back to opt out of the plan.  The choice to opt in or out of the plan is for parents to make.  If you choose to opt out of the RSU 57 iPad protection plan, please consider the following information:
  • If you initially chose to opt in and then opted out of the plan, the fee that was initially paid is not refundable. This money was used in purchasing the plan from the Rug-Ed company.
  • Families may opt out of the protection plan, but in doing so, will take on the total cost of repair or replacement in every instance of damage (see below).
  • If an iPad is damaged, it will be sent in for repair and the bill will be mailed home.
  • If an iPad is damaged, a replacement iPad will be given in the iRugEd case.  The alternate case will be placed on the iPad again after the bill is paid in full.
  • Families may choose to opt back into the protection plan at any time.
  • The iPad must be in an approved form of protection at all times.
Current Repair/Replacement Costs per Incident (subject to change):
iPad (repairs) $305 
iPad (replace) $605
Additional costs will occur if internal mechanisms must also be replaced.
The specific replacement cost is determined by the Apple Repair Depot.

Thank you,

Kevin Perkins
Director of Technology

***The presence of the apps at any time will result in the device being locked down.