LA students get iPads, crack firewall, play games

LA students get iPads, crack firewall, play games

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES, CA (WFLA) -

Education officials in the nation's second-largest school district are working to reboot a $1 billion plan to put an iPad in the hands of each of their 650,000 students after an embarrassing glitch emerged when the first round of tablets went out. 

Instead of solving math problems or doing English homework, as administrators envisioned, more than 300 Los Angeles Unified School District students promptly cracked the security settings and started tweeting, posting to Facebook and playing video games.

"'Temple Run.' 'Subway Surfing.' Oh, and some car racing game I can't remember the name of," said freshman Stephany Romero, laughing as she described the games she saw fellow Roosevelt High School students playing in class last week.

That incident, and related problems, had both critics and supporters questioning this week whether LAUSD officials were being hasty or overreaching in their attempt to distribute an iPad to every student and teacher at the district's more than 1,000 campuses by next year.

 

"It doesn't seem like there was much planning that went into this strategy," said Renee Hobbs, director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. "That's where the debacle began."

It's crucial, she said, to spend extensive time drawing students into a discussion on using iPads responsibly before handing them out. And, of course, installing a firewall that can't be easily breached.

 

At Roosevelt High, it was the unanimous opinion of more than a dozen students that the school district's security setup was so weak that even the most tech-challenged parent could have gotten past it.

"It was so easy!" said freshman Carlos Espinoza.

He explained that all one needed to do was access the tablet's settings, delete the profile established by the school district and set up an Internet connection. He did it, he said, because he wanted to go on Facebook.

"They kind of should have known this would happen," said Espinoza's friend Maria Aguilera.

"We're high school students after all. I mean, come on," she added.

As word spread, with the speed of a microprocessor, that anyone could crack the firewall, officials quickly confiscated the devices and put a freeze on using them off campus. In the meantime, they promised to improve the security settings.

When they started distributing the iPads at 47 district schools in August, administrators touted the move as a means of leveling the academic playing field in a public school system where 80 percent of the students come from low-income families.

 

Now, they said, everyone would have equal access to the most cutting-edge educational software programs, not just the children of parents with deep pockets.

But after the first shot in that digital revolution led to a flood of tweets, other concerns arose.

Among them:

- Who pays if a kid drops one of these $678 gadgets into a toilet or leaves it on a bus?

- Is it realistic to tell a student she can use it to do her homework, then not allow the device to connect to the Internet from home? (Schools will be wired.)

- And since the tablet without Web access is only as good as the educational software placed on it, how good is that software?

A parent, Scott Folsom, said he heard from one source that families would have to pay for broken iPads and from another that the school would.

 

District officials have said there was confusion over that issue but that it's been decided schools will cover the cost of an iPad accidentally broken, lost or stolen, while families are on the hook for one negligently damaged.

 

Of more serious concern to Folsom is the software. He sampled one of the new iPads, he said, and found no program to adequately support English-as-a-second-language students. That would seemingly be crucial for a district whose students are 73 percent Hispanic and where only 14 percent of English learners can speak the language fluently, according to a 2011 Department of Education study.

 

As a parent representative to the district's bond oversight committee, Folsom voted to recommend spending $30 million last June to buy the first batch of iPads. He says he still supports the program but worries that maybe educators are trying to implement it too quickly.

 

"This is the future," he said. "But whether LAUSD is stepping too quickly into the future - based on the fact that it's so big, and we seem to be in such a hurry - those are questions to consider."  

   

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • FDLE opens investigation into Spring Hill sinkhole home

    FDLE opens investigation into Spring Hill sinkhole home

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:52:00 GMT
    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation into whether a Spring Hill home seller committed fraud by lying about a sinkhole under the home. This follows an 8 On Your Side investigation that showed that Glenn Jasen, the former homeowner, cashed a check from Citizens Property Insurance for $153,745 in January 2009. But he didn't use the money to fix the sinkhole. Instead, Jasen sold the home to Kelly Magbee's family in March. The Magbees moved in with their five ch...
    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation into whether a Spring Hill home seller committed fraud by lying about a sinkhole under the home. This follows an 8 On Your Side investigation that showed that Glenn Jasen, the former homeowner, cashed a check from Citizens Property Insurance for $153,745 in January 2009. But he didn't use the money to fix the sinkhole. Instead, Jasen sold the home to Kelly Magbee's family in March. The Magbees moved in with their five ch...
  • UPS won't pay for Tampa veteran's damaged computer

    UPS won't pay for Tampa veteran's damaged computer

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:31:49 GMT
    The damaged computerThe damaged computer
    Vincent Farina had a plan when he left the Marines to pursue his degree in game design.
    Vincent Farina had a plan when he left the Marines to pursue his degree in game design.
  • Sales Tax Holiday for appliances this weekend

    Sales Tax Holiday for appliances this weekend

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:49:17 GMT
    You can buy appliances tax free this weekend Sept. 19-21 but they have to be energy and water efficient, Florida Department of Revenue announced this week.
    You can buy appliances tax free this weekend Sept. 19-21 but they have to be energy and water efficient, Florida Department of Revenue announced this week.
  • NewsMore>>

  • President visits MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa

    President visits MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:37 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:37:55 GMT
    President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive at MacDill Air Force Base Tuesday.
    President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive at MacDill Air Force Base Tuesday.
  • Man attacks 80-year-old woman in Winter Haven robbery

    Man attacks 80-year-old woman in Winter Haven robbery

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:10:31 GMT
    Winter Haven police are looking for a man they report attacked an 80-year-old woman during a robbery.
    Winter Haven police are looking for a man they report attacked an 80-year-old woman during a robbery.
  • Three Tampa Bay area Arigatos close. Leaves workers payless.

    Three Tampa Bay area Arigatos close. Leaves workers payless.

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:56 PM EDT2014-09-17 01:56:39 GMT
    Employees of three Arigato Japanese in the Tampa bay area are fuming mad. “It's a shame that they're treating us this way” said server, Jamie Burns.No warning. Just closed, for good! One in Clearwater, another in St. Petersburg, a third in Tampa... Shut down!
    Employees of three Arigato Japanese in the Tampa bay area are fuming mad. “It's a shame that they're treating us this way” said server, Jamie Burns.No warning. Just closed, for good! One in Clearwater, another in St. Petersburg, a third in Tampa... Shut down!
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • AJ's Wedding Pictures Released

    AJ's Wedding Pictures Released

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:03:37 GMT
    Two months after their wedding, A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb released their pictures to the entertainment show and website Extra.
    Two months after their wedding, A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb released their pictures to the entertainment show and website Extra.
  • Police: Major Drug Dealer Arrested in Baldwin County

    Police: Major Drug Dealer Arrested in Baldwin County

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:20 PM EDT2014-09-16 19:20:18 GMT
    Police have arrested an illegal alien in Baldwin County following a 7 month investigation into the sale of cocaine and marijuana.
    Police have arrested an illegal alien in Baldwin County following a 7 month investigation into the sale of cocaine and marijuana.
  • "Pants Robbers" Identified by Police

    "Pants Robbers" Identified by Police

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 2:18 PM EDT2014-09-16 18:18:46 GMT
    Bodacius Denson, 21 (left) and Marquis Roper, 23 (right)Bodacius Denson, 21 (left) and Marquis Roper, 23 (right)
    The victim stated two subjects, one armed with a handgun, demanded his pants, which contained his wallet and property. 
    The victim stated two subjects, one armed with a handgun, demanded his pants, which contained his wallet and property. 
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • The 10 cities with America’s worst drivers

    The 10 cities with America’s worst drivers

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:25 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:25:20 GMT
    Driving in cities on the East Coast doesn't sound too appealing, based on the latest edition of the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Of the 200 most populated cities in the country, 9 of the 10 places where it's least safe to drive are located in eastern states.
    Driving in cities on the East Coast doesn't sound too appealing, based on the latest edition of the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Of the 200 most populated cities in the country, 9 of the 10 places where it's least safe to drive are located in eastern states.
  • Florida Missing Child Alert: 15-year-old girl

    Florida Missing Child Alert: 15-year-old girl

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:23:50 GMT
    Lindsey Turner (left) could be with Hailey Vallier (right).Lindsey Turner (left) could be with Hailey Vallier (right).
    A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for Lindsey Turner, a white female, 15 years old, 5 feet 02 inches tall, 140 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, a smiley face scar on inner right wrist, last seen in the 1900 block of W 60th Street in Hialeah.
    A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for Lindsey Turner, a white female, 15 years old, 5 feet 02 inches tall, 140 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, a smiley face scar on inner right wrist, last seen in the 1900 block of W 60th Street in Hialeah.
  • 'Real Housewife' Teresa Giudice selling New Jersey home before sentencing

    'Real Housewife' Teresa Giudice selling New Jersey home before sentencing

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:54:06 GMT
    Photo Courtesy Today.com via ZillowPhoto Courtesy Today.com via Zillow
    After pleading guilty to a money fraud scheme, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Joe and Teresa Giudice have put their ornate suburban mansion on the market for $3.999 million.
    After pleading guilty to a money fraud scheme, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Joe and Teresa Giudice have put their ornate suburban mansion on the market for $3.999 million.
Powered by WorldNow

555 Broadcast Dr,
Mobile AL 36606

Telephone: 251.479.5555
Fax: 251.473.8130
Email: news5@wkrg.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.