Thursday, November 12, 2015

Student iPad YouTube Access at Home

A quick update on changes to YouTube access at home for middle school students.

We have deemed that certain content on YouTube is inappropriate for middle school students. YouTube is no longer accessible on iPads while students are outside our building's WiFi network (6-8th Grade).

We feel that there is more supervision and observation in the schools to keep it available while in the schools. Where at home, adult supervision can be limited.

We are looking to integrate an educational version of YouTube at some point called YouTube for Schools. This version will need to be setup and tested before deployed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Parenting in a 1:1 Night Recap

We welcomed parents of the 1:1 program for a hands-on iPad experience, sharing current survey data of iPad usage in the classrooms, and also to discuss the iPad in the home environment. All in 1 hour and 30 minutes! Phew!

This post is sharing items from the evening for anyone that missed it.


Google Classroom
The hands-on piece was fun as parents were given an assignment via Google Classroom to complete and hand in! This demonstrated the workflow between teacher and students and a taste of using Google Docs on the iPad. Both items, Google Classroom and Google Docs, are highly used in the classrooms. The whole Google Apps for Education suite of tools enables powerful collaboration tools across the board in a school district. Teachers, students, administration and surrounding community too!

Google based apps are available on any computer and on any browser that is connected to the internet. So students and teachers can all access them without an iPad.

Explain Everything
Another app often used with the iPads is Explain Everything. It is an interactive screencasting whiteboard app. Parents had a chance to use this app on a simple level to get a ‘taste’ of what it can do. Some parents even recorded their own voice and demonstration!

All 1:1 classrooms are budgeted to have media streamers connected to the large display (projectors) in classrooms. This enables any iPad in the classroom to be shared with the whole/large group - free from any cables. A teacher can walk around while demonstrating with their iPad, or even have a student share their iPad up front to demonstrate their work or thought process.

Teacher/Student Survey Information

A survey went out to 6-8 grade teachers during the month of October (2015) about iPad usage in classrooms. This is the second year 6th grade teachers have been part of the 1:1 program, first year for 7th grade teachers, and 8th grade teachers currently share carts on a cycle by department. 8th Grade teachers will be part of the 1:1 program next year.

On average, how much time do your students spend on the iPad each day in your class?
*Class periods are 45 min. long

How are students working with the iPads in class?

What are students doing with the iPads in class?

I have found the 1:1 iPad program promotes..
This was an open response text based answer by teachers. For the sake of length, I turned their responses into a Wordle.

iPads at Home

Usage of the iPad in the home environment is an important topic in our 1:1 program. Here are items shared during the night.

Content Filtering 

While students are in the schools and home, the content is filtered. In other words, non educational and inappropriate online materials are blocked. We subscribe to a larger organization that is continuously updating the filtering categories and inappropriate lists. Here is a sample list of sites that are blocked. The real list is much much too large to share in whole.
*Allowed in schools. Blocked at home with student iPads.

We ‘turn off’ internet access at 11:00PM at night and access is on again at 6:00AM.

Mobile Device Manager 

We also utilize a tool called a Mobile Device Manager to manage the deployment of apps and updates to our 1:1 devices. This tool also allows us to set more controls on the iPad itself. Here are a few examples;

Below is more information around iPad usage at home. These questions were gathered before the presentation and shared during the evening.

Is there access in the Wellesley Free Library? 
Yes! Thanks to your questions/responses, we have become aware of the issue and resolved it. The iPads are able to connect to the library's WiFi.

Is it appropriate to check the history of my child’s browser activity (sites viewed)? 
Yes! You have the right to check your child’s browser activity at any point. If you come across browser activity that was cleared or removed then this should prompt a discussion with you child about why.

How long will iPad be restricted? 
As long as your son/daughter is attending the middle school.

How can I (parent) block sites? Is this possible?
Have your son/daughter submit the request to the help desk or come down to the tech center.

Can we add apps?
No. This requires an individual Apple ID and we wanted to protect students from installing inappropriate apps. An individual Apple ID isn’t feasible with our management system as well.

When is it appropriate for us (parents) to check in student’s iPad and work?
Anytime! You have the right to view any of their educational accounts and content at any time.

Outside Resources

Common Sense Media is a San Francisco based non-profit organization that provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children. This is a great resource to use about iPad usage at home. Beyond the iPad alone, Common Sense Media is a powerful resource around all media and technology that families are exposed to in today’s world.