The best offense is a good defense, and the adage certainly applies when it comes to a one-to-one device program. Chromebooks or tablets can be stolen or lost, so it’s up to IT to do what it can to mitigate risk.
For instance, Valerie Truesdale, chief of technology, personalization and engagement for North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, says she teaches kids about keeping their devices safe, but she has another plan in place if all else fails. Truesdale employs the cloud-based Google Admin console feature that turns the Chromebook into a “dumb brick” as soon as it is reported missing. “It’s a powerful disincentive,” she says.
For example, the SmartRow solution features an LCD monitor that shows information such as the current temperature, while the Liebert APM UPS has an LCD monitor that shows the expected battery runtime if a power outage occurs, says David Snyder, Goshen’s technology director.
The district has set the temperature in its racks at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if it exceeds that by a certain amount or if power goes out, the Liebert system promptly alerts the IT department. “If anything gets wonky, we get an email,” Snyder says.
After a historic vote, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the new secretary of education on Feb. 7, 2017.
After a tied 50-to-50 vote in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence cast the first ever tiebreaking vote in a cabinet nomination, The New York Times reports.
As a long-time proponent of school choice in K–12 education, DeVos' position on other issues, particularly those in higher education have been unclear.
eSchool News reports that in the past, DeVos has been an advocate for educational technology as a way to help students have a choice in the way they learn.
Although serious violence in elementary, middle and high schools is rare, nearly three-fourths of public schools experienced at least one incident of violence in the 2009–2010 school year, according to a 2016 Rand Corp. study, "The Role of Technology in Improving K–12 Safety."
The following 12 technologies can improve school safety:
When Dr. Sally Lindgren, director of technology and innovation at Great Prairie Area Education Agency (GPAEA) in Ottumwa, Iowa, created Room 21C — a flexible classroom that includes movable furniture paired with technologies such as Promethean ActivTable displays and large-screen TVs — only one such room was in use. Today, seven districts in Iowa have redesigned learning spaces that follow the 21C model.
Infrastructure is not a major issue to bring computer science to schools, according to Eugene Lemon, president of the Golden Gate chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association.
“To me, the bigger issue is the lack of trained staff, of teachers, to teach computer science concepts,” he says.
Lemon’s is a common refrain. While some states like Rhode Island are providing access to necessary training, districts elsewhere may be on their own.
Thanks to a new Swedish entrepreneur, kids have yet another way to learn STEM skills, eSchool News reports. Curly Bracket, developed by Johan Wendt is a textbook with a twist: It’s a graphic novel. When the protagonist Curly solves a problem, she uses computational thinking and elements of coding to find the answer.
“In the book, Curly doesn’t solve her problems using any super powers; she simply pays attention to her studies and learns as a coder would. This is what we want to introduce to all kids,” says Wendt in the article.
Curly Bracket started with an October 2016 Kickstarter campaign and books will be out in February 2017.
Makerspaces, like any other new technology initiative, take some trial and error before they can succeed. However, there are strategies you can take that will help your project go more smoothly. Below, find four best practices for building makerspaces that help students reach for the stars.
1. Marry Analog and Digital
While 3D printers, mini computers and robotics might come to mind when thinking about a makerspace, experts say it’s important not to forget the basics such as arts and craft supplies, Legos, scissors and cutters, grinders, metal, sewing machines and Styrofoam – or whatever works in your school. “Kids love cardboard,” agrees Chris O’Brien, the founder of Lower Bay Learner’s Guild, which helps New York schools create makerspace and project-based learning spaces. “They can use it for any number of things. It excites the imagination.”
2. Teach Your Teachers
While the proliferation of technology within the classroom has made it customary for districts to provide some form of entrée to the internet, many are now faced with the task of revamping existing wireless networks to optimize manageability and accommodate the explosion of mobile devices across all campuses. These six tips can help IT professionals and school administrators prepare.
The Sandy Hook tragedy has proved to be a major turning point in the way that schools think about and respond to crises, says Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International, which works with schools to improve their security posture.
“Before this, a lot of officials had not been willing to empower their teachers and facilities staff with the authority and tools they needed to respond immediately to threats and emergencies, but that’s all changed now,” he says. “As a result, schools are willing to use more and new kinds of technology, and vendors are responding with innovative, user-friendly technologies and products.”
Here are some of the latest and greatest security capabilities available to schools: