Okay, I finally played around with restrictions on my class set of iPods. I am not a big fan of censorship, and banning things, I prefer to have things open and teach appropriate behavior/use of tools. Afterall, the world outside of school does not have filters, students need to learn how to self regulate.
Anyway, as I updated the iPod cart I began looking into the restrictions on the devices. You can limit content and what can be adjusted on the iPods and lock in those restrictions with a four digit code. I set two iPods up with restrictions to see what would happen. You can restrict the following items; Safari, YouTube, iTunes, Installing Apps, Deleting Apps, Locations, Accounts, In-App Purchases, ratings for multimedia and apps, and game center settings.
I locked down the two iPods restricting everything but Safari and YouTube, since we have a firewall and filtering system here in school which would control what can be accessed from those apps. The restrictions were not worth the effort, they not only blocked others from working with the iPods, but they blocked me. I could no longer use the cart to update apps and information, I had to go into the iPods individually and unlock the passcodes to make adjustments. The process was going to be too cumbersome. I need to be able to make adjustments to apps and such from the cart.
By limiting the “accounts” my students would not be able to log into school email using the email app on the device. I also have the students using Evernote and Google Apps, they would be locked out of adjusting those accounts with the restrictions on. I took the restrictions off for those items also.
It was a nice, short experiment that proved to me to keep restrictions to a minimum. I did lock down the Game Center, and restricted media to PG-14. This was mostly for superficial reasons, the students cannot access the Game Center because they do not have my iTunes password. The students are also limited to what they can actually download to the devices and I have made a habit of not putting explicit material on them either.
Overall, for the time it takes to adjust the iPods it does not make much sense to put the restrictions in place for a high school setting. Unless you have a lot of free time with nothing better to do…