I'm not a fan of reading personal data but when it comes to kids, parents can be very persuasive. I believe what I'm going to explain here should be the parents responsibility but because we are providing the iPads they seem to think its ours. Every once in a while a parent or student may report abuse via our device. This is how we try to see what's really going on via a third party software app called DiskAid.
This is a one time buy of $30 and it has really been a great tool for a number of reasons. Many you can read about from the link above but here is quick look at how we have been using it.
Cyber-Bullying has come up as well as just inappropriate remarks to another student. In my school we do not allow any instant messaging app except for iMessage, we check randomly for IM apps and they know it. The students use iMessage quite well for communicating school work to each other and it is considered essential for our environment, in and out of the classroom. Yes, they use it to goof off as well and that's fine. Sometimes though it can get out of hand and this is where I come in, he said she said happens and for some reason the parents ask us to find out what happened.
A quick grab of the iPad during recess, I plug the iPad in to my computer with DiskAid installed and all will be revealed. Here's the best part. After the iPad is connected via USB, I have the option to enable over WiFi, as pictured above. Check that box and you can return the iPad to its empty desk and the student is none the wiser.
Lets high light the one we want from the list and click on Messages. Over the air, the iPad is Backed Up to your computer, allowing us to see all sorts of stuff but we will concentrate on Messages.
As long as the iPad is on the same wifi network as your computer, you will have this kind of access from now on.
We see all messages that are currently on the iPad. If the student has deleted the thread, well there's nothing we can do about that. Here we can see though that this kid has a lot of messages. 6595 to be exact. Hit the Copy To Mac button and you can download a txt document of a single conversation or Everything if you want. That can then be opened in any word processor and searched for the content your looking for but hoping not to find.
A little deeper and we also have the ability to open up the storage section and look at the camera roll while our student sits on the other side of the school attending to his studies.
Yep, that's right, total access to the camera roll. (This guys in to some scary stuff…)
There are many many places to go with this software as you can see above, from spying on the innocent to just general data gathering, I must say this is a great part of my arsenal in keeping this iPad mess in check.
Not everything is available over wifi, some features require a USB connection but most of what I need it for works.