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How to control Ipad internet use

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by kindling_not_vessels, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. I work in a small intependent school - lots of kids with money, but, paradoxically, there is a very limited budget for me.
    Like many schools we have had the ususal non sense about misuse of Facebook etc outside of school hours. I'm trying to encourage pupils to bring their laptops in to school and am workling through the issues this will cause.
    To mimise network overload and enforce filtering I will give teachers a limited number of wifi dongles with pre-configured wifi access codes to pass out to pupils that needs internet access during their lesson.
    My problem is with Ipad users. I could use mac address filtering instead of access codes, but how do I enforce filtering if they have 3G, which many do ?
    Any ideas !
  2. If the student uses their own equipment and uses 3G to access the Internet via public telecoms equipment, there is nothing you can do. If you allow them access to a school wireless network that is MAC address filtered, your network will use your own router. That router will have its proxy server fixed by you, using your content filter service. Simple.
    BUT, don't expect the students to follow your rules. Our school has an Orange 3G mast on top and the signal is excellent throughout the school. The students can access what they should not through their smartphones and we are unable to effectively monitor or control it.
    Welcome to the real world. It will only be a problem for a short while, as mobile Internet technology rapidly overtakes wireless to router connection, and then the cat will truly be out of the bag.
    The majority of students at our school have iPhone 4s, decent smartphones like the HTC Desire HD, or iPads (loads already have the iPad 2 on order) and we can do nothing to stop them connecting using them. They can quickly pulg them into our school network using them as a USB device and then the content they have just acquired is on our internal network
    In effect, a school filter policy will become obsolete very soon. The dinosaurs that run education will not understand this, but our techies already know it and simply shrug when asked.
  3. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    Over the past two yeasr or so, I've been trying to persuade both our SMT and LEA that this time was coming very rapidly.
    The LEA as usual had a peceptive and effective answer ' ban all mobile device use in school for both staff and students' - Genius
    The SMT have formed a focus group to decide who should be on the committee which will choose the panel that will interview those who will research pupil and parent voice about this problem - projected reporting date Sept 2032
    As others have said, there is simply nothing you can do about 3G access
    All I have done is to change our acceptable use policy to cover all internet access by any device within the school area - Totally ineffective I know but...

  4. We have a no mobile device policy at present, they hand it phones and ipos etc at morning registration and get them back at the end of the day. It works fine for us.
    Our acceptable use policy already covers all devices.
    I was just fishing for ideas to allow pupils to use their Ipads. Hoping someone had a totally different approach that works, or some technical box of tricks I don't know about. Ho hum, suppose I'll just have to accept I won't be able to allow those devices in school.
    The problems unrestricted internet access would cause does not bear thinking about for young kids. I might not be able to prevent it once they are outside school, but I'm not putting up with it in school.
  5. You could try and block 3G signals inside classrooms. This might, actually, be practical - Homebase sell "magnetic" paint which is simply paint with iron filings in, painting your classrooms with that should pretty much turn them into Faraday cages. Handily, you'll also be able to use magnetic stickers all over the classroom, too. Of course, it will also block your schools wireless signal, so you'd have to install wireless access point in each classroom. You'd get a nice clean, strong wireless signal, though, with no interference.

  6. Ask 'em to use online Flash resources - that'll slow 'em down.
  7. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    You could always invest in jammers
    But bottom line, you can't do anything about 3g
  8. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Actually, there is technology that can be added to the switches in the school network that can break each connection down into dynamic subnets which completely manages the traffic over the internal network.
    But, of course, it costs money and it's questionable if it's worth doing in a school context anyway.
  9. How's this for a crazy idea?
    What about near open access to the web in school? Lets face it, that's exactly what they all have at home.
    Surely part of the crisis in ICT education is the big disconnect between students' own online life and this strange 'locked-down' experience they have inside schools.
    Ok... let the arguments commence!
  10. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    Unfortunately for your idea
    We,as teachers, continue to act in loco parentis.
    A reasonable parent would not want their child to access inappropriate material (****/poker/propaganda) So in order to fulfil our obligation we have to do our best to prevent this. The easiest solution for us is to filter and block.
    Yes I know in the average home this does not happen but we are charged with operating a more responsible level (...and do remember that this is a legal duty)
    Would that we could simply educate our charges and then they would self police
    The advent of 3G and other new technologies does not make loco parentis go away, it just means that it is going to be a damn sight harder to implement T.G. , for me at least, this will soon be someone else's worry.
  11. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    There is no argument it's a bloody stupid idea
  12. Just to comment on tayberry's point, while I appreciate the need for schools to have these systems, a lot of the lockdowns and restrictions I'm seeing schools put in place are pretty Orwellian. To them it feels like spying that they have no op-out for.
    No wonder they're trying to work round it by bringing in 3G devices, and schools will always be playing constant cat and mouse trying to monitor everything that comes through the school doors.
    There is a big disconnect between the online experience most schools offer compared to what's available at home, and while I'm not suggesting schools shouldn't have systems like these in place, I think it's also important to understand there is no perfect solution, and filters or no filters, students need to be taught how to be safe online.

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