At Flinders we were lucky enough to have had some recent investment in our IT resourcing. The “Slab” of iPads we have access to has been updated and it now contains the iPads which support apple pencil. 6 Years ago when we fought hard for our first set of iPads I was very excited about the possibilities that would open up to us and I used them well. We ran workshops teaching students to think critically when selecting apps (using TPACK, SAMR etc). You would think that I would even more excited to have access to this new set of tools. Please don’t think me ungrateful but, when I saw the email announcing this purchase, my heart actually sank a little. Surprised?
In the last six years technology has moved on and all that apple have to show for it is a faster piece of tech with a stylus. I know that the tools that I’ve been engaging in recently (Office 365) work around cloud computing that requires a user to log in and stay that way. An app iPad is not designed for use by more than one user. I knew that this was going to mean that, if I wanted to use some of the newer, cutting edge, collaborative platforms, I’d need to think very hard about the digital security protocols involved. With a windows or Mac operating systems these issues are solved immediately upon logging in and logging out of a device.
In this post I want to reflect on the iPad as a choice for working with Office 365 and how it’s iOS impacts on security protocols (ICT gen cap alert!) when you’re sharing devices amongst multiple students.
Digital Security Protocols:
I’m lucky enough to have a team at Flinders who pro-actively asked what apps we’d want on the new devices. Office 365 for an obvious one for me. Especially at the moment as my students are both working with and learning about how to use these tools pedagogically. It’s great that we have a folder on the devices which contains all of the Office 365 apps – including office lens. Doubly so because Safari doesn’t seem to want to work with O365 at all. Not even a little bit. This means that we’re forced to use the apps rather than running them in the browser. The problem is, as I alluded to earlier, an iPad used by multiple parties running apps which rely on cloud based platforms require us to sign in… and then remember to sign out.
Now, I dutifully showed my students how to do this and, in our workshop explained why. I also reminded them that this was something that they’d need to consider for their own future students. Teams was straight forward. Log out and you’re done. One Note… not so much and this is what surprised me. The digital security protocols for OneNote are significantly more complicated. Even after you log out, the next person who logs in can still see your Notebooks. They can’t write in there but they can see the content and the feedback in your personal student section. This poses a rather large risk to security and privacy.
How to get around the OneNote security issue
To get around this you have to remember that there is a two step process for securing your digital content when you leave the OneNote for iOs app. Not only do you need to log out but you also need to close each notebook you have open before you go.
To help my students with this I made Teams and OneNote Digital Security Protocol.
The work Flow of Teams in iOs
One of the things I love about Teams is that it behaves like a giant wrapper or bungee cord. It keeps everything in one place. There’s no more opening word, searching my documents etc. It’s all just there. You can flick through the apps and add tabs to the channels and have everything in one space. It saves so much time and avoids breaks in concentration caused by navigating your computer or apps. Imagine my surprise when I realised that the iOS version of teams can’t work this way.
The tabs where I have placed live one notes, word documents etc, are replaced with a list of apps. My students have to click the app, wait for the app to load and then access their document in a new UI. This means that they have to remember to switch apps when we move from the conversation tab in Teams to the content in the One Note etc. I didn’t like the way this felt. It felt very much like we lost some of the magic of Teams.
Can you help?
I’d be curious to know from anyone who has more expertise in setting up iPads whether there are settings that could be turned on to allow students to log in to a device and have all of their apps logged out automatically when they’re done.