Source: Lightspeed, http://goo.gl/scosS
(no endorsement/preference implied)

What kind of solutions does your school or organization use for BYOD Filtering? I’d love to hear from vendors with products and what their features are for this new area in K-12!


Although this blog entry focuses on filtering, it does encourage technology directors to crowd-source resources for BYOD filtering, as well as share what devices they’re jumping into, such as Android or iPad or something else.

We are going to a BYOD model next school year. We will be giving the “have-nots” a laptop (maybe Linux or Windows). In order to stay CIPA compliant I need to provide filtering for these laptops when not on campus. I may also have a need for filtering IOS and Android. I am looking for a cloud based filtering  service for these devices. I have looked at Barracuda (but it does not work with Linux, based on what I read), I have also looked at Lightspeed. (but I noticed a lot of you abandoning it on this list)

An esteemed colleague, Bryan Doyle (Bastrop ISD), suggests keeping the following features in mind:

  1. It had to be capable of managing the SSL connections for Google Apps to work
  2. No client side software
  3. A remote filter for devices that are off the network (just in case we need to go that route)
  4. BYOT support to ensure an easy way to create a way for users to agree to the District’s Responsible Use Policy and also authenticate to the network if they have district credentials.
  5. A less expensive recurring cost
  6. 24×7 support is very important
  7. Override functionality is also an important feature
Ed Newman has come up with a list of neat questions for BYOD implementation…
  1. Do you have a wireless infrastructure that will support a device for each student?
  2. Do you have a wireless infrastructure that will support (2.4/5 GHZ b/g/n)?
  3. What do you plan to do if your wireless infrastructure will not support the wireless radio in a personal device?
  4. How are do you plan to handle connectivity issues with the personal devices?
  5. Do you have a way to handle mobile device management?
  6. Do you plan to deploy Virtual Applications or Desktops to end user devices?
What additional questions would you ask? Question #6 is a fascinating approach because some districts are choosing to let schools use what device they want but pushing a “standard virtual desktop” that give everyone a uniform experience and access. One of the tools used includes Virtual Bridges (this is not an endorsement).

To facilitate clarity on features that school districts need, I’ve started a GoogleDoc and opened it up for fellow technology directors to crowd-source what they think is appropriate in 3 areas: 
  1. Filtering features
  2. BYOD Questions
  3. Districts deploying Android vs iPad
Source: Apple Insider, http://goo.gl/DTvAO







Some suggestions for filtering from Texas Tech directors include the following:

Considerations when you’re going BYOD/iPads:
  1. How will it handle GoogleApps https:// ?
  2. How do you handle filtering for devices that are district-owned and go into students’ backpacks? Do you have them “phoning home” where “home” is the district or filter tool? Here’s how someone put it: “That being said there is generally an assumption (at least in our community) that a district device is automatically filtered at all times.  So if you are sending a device home I suggest you make sure you discuss exactly how that device may or may not be filtered when it is not on your network.  That way everyone is on the same page with what to expect (whether you filter or not).”
In regards to that second question, I found this observation at the end of the article, When Web Filtering Comes Home, to be enlightening:

We are working on this very issue, and we have found it is almost impossible to send home the device filtered with iPad2’s deployed to 735 middle school students. We are using JAMF Casper to deply apps and were hoping it could allow us to turn off Safari and only use a safer browser called K9 to provide filtered Internet access. However, Apple only alllows Casper to force 500 devices to check in at a time. Also, all a student has to do is turn off his wireless access on the iPad, and his device will not update to remove Safari. It’s really been an uphill battle with the iPad. Our netbook projects at the elementary level do have filtered Internet at home.  

Here’s the big question: if parents provide Internet access for their family, who are we to monitor what happens at home? The kids are on the Internet all the time on their phones. It’s not filtered.  I think trying to decide what a family does with Internet access is one step too far. We provide the device at home. It should be up to the parent how it’s used and how they monitor it.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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