Airplay Prank Disrupts Math Class and Frustrates Students

By Jonli Keshavarz, Staff Writer

// Learning quadratic equations is a daunting task in itself, but being bombarded via Apple Airplay with vulgar images and music from an unknown source during a lecture turns the difficult into the impossible.  

  An Acalanes student abused technology for the sake of a prank on September 22 during Math teacher Harriet Kaizer’s seventh period Algebra 2 Trigonometry class. The class was exploring Quadratic equations when Kaizer’s Apple Airplay connection was taken over by a student’s iPhone. The student using the Airplay network projected pictures and remotely played vulgar music during class. When asked to comment on the incident, the suspected perpetrator declined.

 “Somebody, somewhere, could have been outside of the classroom, or could have been inside the classroom, and he or she kept popping up on my Apple TV,“ Kaizer said.

  This prank occurred several times throughout the entire period. At first the students thought that the hacker was in the class. However, this was not the case. Airplay allows some distance between the Apple TV and the iPhone. The Airplay capability resulted in the student being able to remotely intercept the network without having to be near the classroom itself.

  The students in the class initially found the prank clever and funny. This reaction soured as the interruptions proved to impede the day’s lesson.

  “I thought it was very funny but after the sixth time it got old,” sophomore Lucas Varela said.

  Sophomore Bronte Torralba shared a similar view with Varela.

  “It was borderline annoying. We were really rushing through the lesson.” Torralba said.  

  Due to the numerous interruptions and Kaizer’s attempts to regain control of the Airplay network, students were left to learn the material on their own.

  “It was a pain because at the end of the day I had to reteach myself the entire class.” Varela said.

  “We were all very distracted and even when I asked for help from my classmates, nobody really knew anything.” Torralba said.

  The takeover of the Airplay wasn’t the first or last time such an incident has occurred. On September 27, during Kaizer’s seventh period Algebra 2 Trigonometry class, her Airplay was once again briefly intercepted by a student. The student attempted to play the popular holiday song “Jingle Bells”. Kaiser quickly locked the network and used her new password to shut out the intruder. This time there was no laughter, just the relief that the hacker was shut out before the class could be further interrupted.

  Multiple hacks have taken place across campus. Kaizer alone experienced them twice on the same day. The first hack took place during her second period class and the second hack occurred during her seventh-period class.

  “I’ve heard through students that it has happened in other classes,” Ms. Kaizer said.

  Associate Principal Andy Briggs has encountered these student hacks outside of Acalanes.

  “I know it happened to Las Lomas before I came here,” Briggs said.

  The hacks at Las Lomas were fueled by a lack of security and lack of knowledge of the technology.

  “Back then we didn’t have any ID or Airplay passwords,” Briggs said. “They weren’t secured and anybody could just jump on.” Briggs said.

  In the end, the solution to Kaizer’s problem was to create a password for the Airplay network.

  “A student in seventh period helped me figure out hope to put a password on my Apple TV, and it hasn’t happened since.” Kaizer said.

  Luckily for both Kaizer and her class, the hacker didn’t expose any important or sensitive information. The incident was at its core a prank.

   “Technology is all about management, ” Briggs said.

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