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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Students using teachers' iPads

Students using teachers' iPads

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Teachers at my school were given an iPad in preparation for student iPads to be purchased for this year. Although we are expected to use it in our classrooms, the principal doesn't have a problem with teachers using it for personal things as well. Another teacher is asking if we would let her students use [our] iPads for one of her classes. While I don't have lots of personal stuff on mine, my school email is synced and easily accessed on my iPad. There's no way to password-protect the mail app, is there? Not sure how I feel about this. I trust the teacher, but kids will be kids (and a few of them in particular I don't trust a whole lot!). What do you think about this?

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Christopher W. Williams's picture
Christopher W. Williams
Director of Information Technology at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools

Recently we had a teacher ask a student to hold her iPhone and keys while she addressed an issue outside with another student. The iPhone was found near a bus stop a few blocks from the school. That same teacher went through 4 laptops last year from letting students borrow her computer. She didn't want to report it until it got to the point that she couldn't use the laptop. Keys were missing, screens were cracked, etc.

While I understand the merging of using one phone or computing device for work & personal use, in my opinion, those items should never be shared with students. As you said, "kids will be kids". You never know when a child will test their limits, or do something out of an act of desperation.

If the school owns the iPads, and has coverage on them, I don't see an issue with lending to another individual to use in a classroom setting, however, if the teacher has a history of abuse with technology, and she does not have that technology due to that issue, I would think otherwise about lending it out.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia
Facilitator

Hi Noelle,
This is a tricky one - and one that comes up a lot in school settings. Basically, the first thing that I would ask is, 'Do you feel comfortable with having your personal data on a school device?' Personally, I wouldn't be. In my system, staff devices are remotely monitored by the IT department, so we are always very careful about accessing or storing any kind of personal information.

So, if we accept that, then really the only issue is if there are materials of a private nature that are school related - for example, emails about students specific learning needs. In this case, I wouldn't be allowing students to use the device. The potential for them accessing confidential information - by accident or deliberately - is too great.

Regarding restrictions, you can lock down use of safari, camera, itunes, iBookstore and lots more through the settings app.

Hope that helps!

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