SPPS iPad Settings: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Saint Paul Public Schools is engaged in transforming student learning and instruction through a  1:1 personalized learning environment that includes an iPad for every student.
 Information below provides a detailed view of security and technical information related to student iPads.

  • What is Personalized Learning?

    Every child has unique learning needs that SPPS believes can best be met through a tailored form of instruction called Personalized Learning. There are many ways to personalize the learning experience for our students. Personalized Learning includes providing multiple ways for students to gather and share information, making lessons more relevant to a child’s race, background or experience; or integrating technology to allow new approaches to problem-solving.

    How do iPads Support Personalized Learning?

    Taking advantage of all the tools that technology makes available is one way to personalize learning. Saint Paul Public Schools chose to integrate technology using the Apple iPad. After piloting the iPad at several schools, Saint Paul Public Schools found it to be an “all-in-one” multimedia tool. This digital tool engages the widest range of learners to learn more.

    What is the vision for Personalized Learning in SPPS?

    While the physical environment will vary by school, the classroom experience will be consistent in providing personalized instruction tailored to individual learning needs. Students will have options to access information and express ideas in culturally relevant and engaging contexts. Classroom environments will support flexibility, student choice and decision-making.

  • SPPS Device Modifications

    Features and abilities below have been modified on student iPads as part of SPPS security and management controls.

    • Email: Students only have access to SPPS email accounts. Personal email are not accessible.
    • Apple iTunes Store: Access to the Apple iTunes store is disabled.
    • Adding Accounts: Logging in to Apple ID, Email, Facebook or Twitter accounts is disabled.
    • iPad Name Lock: iPad name is set to the beginning portion of student Google Email address.
    • Locked Wallpaper Image: SPPS Device Management sets wallpaper to a standard lockscreen image. Students are not able to change their wallpaper image.
    • iPad Passcode: A 6 digit passcode is required for safety and security.
    • Keyboards & Grammar: Predictive text and grammar corrections have been disabled. Students are not able to add additional keyboards at the device level.
    • Siri: Siri has been disabled.
    • Some features for students with IEP's and Special Education are customized per IEP Case Manager.
  • iPad Security & Privacy:

    All student and staff iPads are pre-configured with functionality customized for education. Saint Paul Public Schools actively works with several security vendors to create and update security policies. Most relevant to this conversation is the “JAMF” mobile device (iPad & Macbook) management system. JAMF is a Minnesota - based company, one of the leading companies nationwide and worldwide managing Apple devices. Some of the features our JAMF management system controls on student iPads include:

    • Internet Filtering: Student iPads have pre-installed internet filtering. Adult content is blocked from student access, as well as social media site such as Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok. While no content filter is 100% foolproof, our Technology Services team is responsive in continually adjusting filters to keep students safe and protected.
    • App Store / FaceTime / iMessage: Although SPPS uses Apple iPads, many apps and tools are not relevant or desirable for the classroom (either physical or virtual!). Pre-installed device management features block apps such as the Apple App Store, FaceTime, iMessage and other tools. Students cannot add their own personal Email accounts, and throughout most of the school year students are unable to reset (erase) their own iPads due to the difficulty of setting the device up again and/or circumnavigating the security management features.
    • Self Service App Store: Students and staff have access to a special ‘app store’ on the iPads with over 400 apps that have been reviewed for content, data privacy and security guidelines. More information about the App Approval process and Security Review can be found at: spps.org/apps
  • Student Privacy, Tracking & Location:

    • External “LMS” companies including Seesaw, Schoology and others sign contracts and data sharing agreements with Saint Paul Public Schools. Student Data privacy is of the utmost importance to all. Student data is NOT tracked by these companies after our students leave or move to the next system. Often, these companies are unable to see into our systems because of the security and privacy policies set by both sides, intentionally. Students and staff authenticate into these systems with their school username and password. When SPPS deactivates or changes that account password, the student account in Seesaw or Schoology is inaccessible.
    • Camera and microphone use on the iPad is controlled on an app-by-app basis by the student. When opening an app for the first time, the iPad will prompt students to ‘allow’ access to the microphone and camera. This pop up can be confusing for many students (and staff). It does not mean the app is listening or watching the student from that point onwards. Students must always tap ‘record’ for the microphone or camera to begin recording. If students disabled the camera access by default, they would need to go to the Settings app and enable access every time the app was opened. They would still have to tap ‘record’ once in the app.
    • Student location tracking is not allowed for third party apps. Location tracking of the device is reserved for security and lost device procedures by a core group of Technology Services staff. General staff do not have ability to view device location. Student location tracking is one of the items prohibited by the SPPS apps review process and in accordance with Federal education guidelines.
  • Family iPad Settings and Controls:

    Families have the ability to further customize the apps and websites accessible to their student at any time with a built-in feature called “Screentime”. Popular parental features of Screentime include:

    • Setting a ‘bedtime’ for the iPad (the iPad will shut off automatically at 8:00pm, for example)
    • Only allowing SPECIFIC websites
    • Blocking specific websites (for example, Youtube)
    • Limiting the time on any specific app or website
    • Families set a 4 digit passcode to manage the restrictions and functions in Screentime.

    Read more about setting up Screentime on the student iPad here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208982

  • Digital Citizenship for Educators & Students:

    • Digital citizenship is an overarching concept that includes appropriate and responsible use of technology by staff and students. As members of 1:1 iPad learning environment, we all contribute to the security and data privacy of our community.  
    • In compliance with the federal Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Saint Paul Public Schools provides students with lessons on digital citizenship, online safety and privacy, and appropriate online behavior. 
    • The district also encourages teachers to revisit digital citizenship topics frequently with students during the school year. Staff complete training courses on Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, Copyright and more each fall. These guidelines are to be used as they curate digital resources and activities for students throughout the year. You can read more about Digital Citizenship on the Personalized Learning Website: https://www.spps.org/Page/24014
    • Your email mentioned Youtube videos and auto-play algorithms. Youtube suggests videos based on a few factors, including the type of video that was just watched as well as your own viewing history. Unfortunately, there is not a current ability to disable the ‘suggested videos’ at the end of a video. This has been a common critique by educators worldwide of Youtube. Youtube is working on a ‘Kids’ version which would address some of the requests, but it may also lack the necessary content to provide to our students. Our Technology Services and Personalized Learning teams continue to pursue this topic, with the understanding that our existing wifi filtering and management controls protect our students from adult or undesirable content.
    • Students and Families sign a Technology Use Agreement at the beginning of each year addressing Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety as well as iPad Use/Care. Your family will be asked to review the Technology Use Agreement during the iUpdate form at the start of school. You can preview information on the Technology Use agreement here: https://www.spps.org/Page/23994