Message about laptops and iPads
Thank you for supporting our young learners’ use of their laptops and iPads to “continue to grow and progress toward academic learning objectives and attend to their wellbeing” in this new world of online learning, as noted in our Continuous Learning Plan. We understand that this can be very challenging and welcome all of your questions about the configuration of the applications on the school laptops and iPads.
We have been very careful about setting up the devices to ensure that students are able to use them at home the same way that they can at school. We are limited in changes we can push out, we have to make the same changes to every user when we do, and we need to ensure that any changes we make do not inhibit the functionality of the device and its need to support the curriculum.
We understand that because the school manages the iPads and laptops this can cause challenges at home. If you have concerns about what your child can or cannot do with their device, we would like to offer the following suggestions:
- Enable parental controls from the router level in your home. Parental controls on home routers is a common feature that will give parents flexibility on what devices connect to and web content that they access. We cannot block individual websites on student devices and enabling parental controls could cause issues with laptop configuration that we cannot support in a remote environment. Some suggestions to configure your home router to limit what children’s devices can access can be found by clicking here.
- As much as possible, have children use their devices when you can provide the most oversight. We cannot push out tools that allow you to remotely access student machines. The privacy concerns here are too great and we particularly have the philosophy that students need to be taught how to manage their devices and impulses under the auspices of adults so our devices and systems are configured with this in mind. At the Prep School, during school hours, students are only allowed to use their devices when a teacher is supervising. At home, keeping the devices visible (e.g. in dining rooms or living rooms rather than bedrooms) and regularly checking in on what your child is doing can help to keep them on task and use the technology appropriately. For the same reason we do not recommend charging any device overnight in a bedroom.
- Talk about the types of activities you are comfortable allowing your child to do with their school iPad or laptop. At school, we tell students that the device has been lent to them as a tool for learning. In every class, they may not start to use their device until the teacher has given the okay. Teachers do not allow random internet surfing or watching of videos – students need to ask permission and be completing a specific task that makes sense at that moment. If you have other devices at home, you may wish to use the school iPad or laptop only for school work and put it away once that work is completed or to set up the applications and websites we use at schools on your personal devices that already have parental controls.
- Carefully read all Terms and Conditions before allowing your child to use any social media. We understand that UCC students are really missing one another and are desperate to connect. Most social media platforms have a minimum age of 13 to create an account. This exists because of the sharing of personal data (if a platform is free, your data is the product) and the challenge of navigating a digital world that requires a high degree of critical thinking, refocusing of attention and understanding of possible social miscommunications with a still-developing brain. As a school we cannot recommend the use of any social media that contravenes a platform’s terms and conditions. If you would like your child to connect with others, we suggest that this is done using accounts that you oversee.
In summary, student devices are sent home to support working on the curriculum from home. Although students have the option to use the computers or iPads for personal use, the intention is to support their school work. If you feel the need to have a machine that is fully locked down with remote viewing then please set up one of your personal devices with the configuration you would like. Thank you for your continued support of UCC and the continuous learning program.