L.A. School District Shocked That Kids Would Figure Out How To Use iPads For Purposes Of Fun

If you hand out iPads to a bunch of adult employees and tell them the devices can only be used for work purposes, some of them will abide by those guidelines. Do the same thing with a school full of kids and most of them will be Tweeting and on Facebook in a matter of seconds. And yet the nation’s second-largest school district is shocked that several hundred students have taken advantage of a simple work-around that turns a boring school tablet into a fun tablet computer.

The Los Angeles Unified School District — not to be confused with the Manchester United Football Club — recently began rolling out its $1 billion program to get an iPad into the hands of every kid within a year.

But so kids aren’t playing games or social media-ing when they are supposed to be learning, the iPads are locked down, giving the students only very limited access to apps and the Internet… at least until the student deletes her personal profile and then has access to the device’s full capabilities.

The L.A. Times reports that students at one school immediately began tinkering with their new iPads once they realized they were useless outside of the school.

“I’m guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,” wrote the L.A. Unified School District Police Chief in a memo to senior staff. “I want to prevent a ‘runaway train’ scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.”

The district is mulling over ways to fix the iPads so that they will go back to being expensive, electronic textbooks, but in a school district with more than 600,000 students, one of them will figure out a way around whatever walls the school district throws up.

I say they should make this an ongoing project and, like the folks who put a bounty on the iPhone fingerprint scanner, reward students who are clever enough to solve whatever security riddles the school attempts to stymie them with.