Whats the deal with these iPads?

IPads were introduced to Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) in 2015. It was a new way for students to be interactive with their work. The iPads bring education to life with hands-on work. Students have specific access to apps such as Dictionary, Calculator, Schoology, and Campus Portal. While some apps are allowed in SPPS, others aren’t. Although we were given an iPad, some restrictions applied. The App Store, Messages, FaceTime, and more, are not allowed. With this information, it had us thinking: Why aren’t students rewarded with the App Store if they are maintaining their grades?

With this question, we took the time to talk to Mr. Peterson. He is the iPad coordinator here at Highland. He takes care of all the Troubleshooting problems and has helpful hints with not only iPads but anything technology. We talked to Mr. Peterson to get as much information as we could on the iPad. Here are a few of the highlights:

Why don’t we have the App Store?

  • It is because not all apps are school appropriate. The district has a filter where they manage which apps we have access to.

Why do other schools have their App Store?

  • Private schools might be breaking the law about the iPads. They have different rules. It could also be they are managed differently. The way that we manage the apps means that we have to consider all ages in our choices about which apps in are in our self-service.
  • There are some apps they could have for specific ages, but also have to be aware of middle schoolers.
  • Self-service is the only service that does the job of maintaining, but it doesn’t do everything, it’s not able to give “age appropriate apps” (feature request).
  • Some apps are connected to some federal laws, and we get a federally mandated price for our Internet, so part of the fear is that we could lose our education radar for our Internet if we got caught giving apps that kids aren’t supposed to have. Strict guidelines.

With group projects, and people living far, why don’t you think they should have Skype and FaceTime, in your opinion?

  • I think the district should do whatever it can to get video conferencing enabled for students to use or Skype.
  • They have been reviewing Skype to make sure that it wouldn’t be too much on the system, so they have been running tests on them, and they haven’t been going well on there. They keep saying that they will (Enable Skype) but end up failing. It’s an ongoing project that they need to rush and enable the app.

While talking to Mr. Peterson, he mentioned CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) governs the filtering of Internet access, acceptable use, and digital citizenship education. The Children’s Online Privacy & Protection Act (COPPA) governs the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information collected from children under age 13. While the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records.

These three laws work hand and hand to ensure Internet safety across our district. The App Store was removed when the district learned they were violating CIPA, COPPA and FERPA laws. The solution is to shut down the App Store.

For more information about these laws, please visit: https://www.spps.org/cms/lib/MN01910242/Centricity/Domain/11270/OverviewofCIPACOPPAandFERPA12.2015.pdf

Overall, while many students don’t enjoy their iPads, it’s a helpful resource. These iPads, as Mr. Peterson puts it, are to help personalize learning and transform learning for each student.

There are complications when it comes to having a reward.

There are district laws that prevent us from having our the App Store on our iPads. While our App Store dreams are crushed, there is still the possibility of having Messages, FaceTime or Skype, all helpful tools for group projects.

As we continue to use the iPads, the District will continue to find the best way to operate and execute it properly.

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