Update 4: The answer is – let’s ignore the issues . . . ?

On October 14, 2013, I sent the email message below to Superintendent Erin Prince, Cheldelin Principal Jeff Brew, Cheldelin Assistant Principal Lisa Krause, Technology Specialist Rob Singleton, and Board Member Tom Sauret.  What response has there been in any form after 10 days?

Absolutely nothing.  Continue reading “Update 4: The answer is – let’s ignore the issues . . . ?”

Update 3: these iPads will be handed out . . . now!

The school is ratcheting up the pressure on parents to sign up for the iPad insurance program, accept a device, etc.   They are rolling out the devices this week, Oct 17-18, to students.  I remain unable to get any responses to any of my concerns, not from the school board, not from the district staff, and not from the principal or assistant principal.

The interesting thing about the paperwork sent home is that it does not present any options for not participating in the program.  So I wrote my own cover letter, my wife and I signed it, and we stapled it on top of their paperwork packet and terms.  I include it below, both for archival purposes as well as in case others are looking for a similar letter to use as a template for their own concerns. Continue reading “Update 3: these iPads will be handed out . . . now!”

Update 2: The parent iPad “discussion” night

On October 3, there was an optional parent information and discussion night at Cheldelin Middle School regarding the iPad rollout.  The breakdown of the evening was four events, with only the first event including everyone:

  • Introduction, motivation, and sales pitch by Erin Prince, Superintendent, and Jeff Brew, Principal
  • A session on the insurance program and AppTrak
  • A demo/tutorial on use of the iPad for literature classes
  • A demo/tutorial on use of the iPad for science classes

During the first session, a lot of “Isn’t this great?” presentation material was offered, with none of the issues or concerns we have raised mentioned or even hinted at in any form.  This is despite the district having been first contacted by me on September 4, and all of the email exchanges which said they understood there were some issues to work through.  This is despite the lack of any substantive answers or responses to any of our concerns.  This is despite the school district staff repeatedly asking me to attend in person, which was a bit of a hurdle for me schedule-wise since I had to get out of Portland in a rush to make it at all. Continue reading “Update 2: The parent iPad “discussion” night”

The “living” document about the iPad situation

The document we have posted regarding our concerns and issues with the iPad rollout in our school district (http://www.metasoup.com/wordpress/?p=12) is meant to be a “living” document.

As comments roll in, and we get updated information, we will add to and evolve the document itself.  There may be better citations, studies that prove us wrong, or studies that strengthen our current views.  That’s part of this exercise: publishing the letter and accepting that the situation is not static.  If you comment, we will not quote you directly without your consent.  Any references to published studies, news articles, or other topical materials we will try to read and understand in a timely manner. Continue reading “The “living” document about the iPad situation”

Alarm Over the School iPad Bandwagon

Raising Alarm Over Electronic Devices To Be Sent Home With Kids

Posted: September 30, 2013; Last Update: October 1, 2013

This letter is for three purposes regarding the roll-out of Apple iPad devices to our children from the local school district:

  1. To observe that children and their families will be exposed to significant and real risks;
  2. To educate parents about the risk factors and issues around the use of such devices for schools in specific;
  3. To raise important questions that the school district has not publicly answered before launching and then expanding this program.

In summary form, the concerns this letter addresses include:

  • The school district is placing Internet-enabled remote-controlled video web-cams in the hands of our children via the iPad devices and mandatory school-installed software. By sending the devices home they put children at risk of being covertly observed, tracked, or photographed, as has already happened in other school districts;
  • The school district is requiring parents to either purchase an insurance program for the devices issued to their children, or else take on full personal financial responsibility for repair and/or replacement;
  • The school district will not be able to prevent children from hacking the iPads and bypassing content restrictions and controls, as has been widely demonstrated in other school districts;
  • No scientifically accepted data has been presented for the improvement of education outcomes iPads to date;
  • Fundamental questions regarding purpose, criteria, and success or failure metrics have not been discussed or presented to the community;
  • No sustainable financial framework behind the adoption of these devices has been formulated.

Continue reading “Alarm Over the School iPad Bandwagon”