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In the education sector, wearables have some big potential for both K–12 and higher education. Recent data shows that even more wearable devices could be coming to the classroom and campus.

In the latest prediction data from IDC, the wearables market will increase 20.4 percent this year and nearly double by 2021.

Campus Technology reports that 240.1 million wearables are predicted to be shipped in 2021, with watches leading the charge.

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The Education Department is going open.

EdSurge reports that resources created by the department's competitive grant funds will be required in the fiscal year 2018 to be openly licensed for public use, reproduction and distribution.

"It is the Department's experience, however, that copyrightable works created under competitive grants made by the Department generally have not been disseminated widely to the public," reads the new regulation. "We believe that the open licensing regulation we are adopting here will address these key problems."

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These days, more K–12 schools are having to defend themselves from rapidly changing cybersecurity threats, like direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks that occur during state-wide testing.

1. Hire a chief security officer. Districts face so many threats today, from DDoS attacks to hackers, that it’s important to have a CSO oversee the district’s security posture, says Deborah Karcher, Miami-Dade County Public Schools CIO.

2. Develop a relationship with your ISP. If the DDoS attack is large enough, you can’t mitigate it by yourself. Many internet service providers offer DDoS mitigation services, but if yours doesn’t, then consider hiring a third-party mitigation expert, says Edward McAuliff, chief information security officer at Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

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Microsoft Teams, a collaboration tool similiar to Slack, will now be available for education customers, ZDNet reports. In an announcement on a blog, the tech giant said the tool would now be available as a free add-on to Office 365 Education users, like universities.

"We recommend that IT admins enable Microsoft Teams and begin using it now within their IT organizations; and for targeted groups of faculty, staff, teachers, and higher education students," reads the blog post.

Teams channels allow for formatting, flags and attachments for collaborators. According to ZDNet, more integration with Outlook email will continue.

ZDNet reports that Teams will run on Windows, Android, iOs and web platforms.

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Field trips aren’t always an option for schools, for a litany of reasons — cost, location, timing and more. In California, one program brings field trips to students in real time with video conferencing.

California State Parks is expanding its distance-learning program, Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Schools, so that students can visit the parks without leaving their classrooms.

PORTS park rangers facilitate real-time interaction with students, taking them on virtual field trips through 10 California state parks, where they learn about redwood ecology, monarch butterfly migration and historical topics such as the California Gold Rush.

In one field trip, a ranger in a kayak takes students into a kelp forest by using a submerged GoPro camera and video confer­encing equipment.

High Impact Virtual Experiences

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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.

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Goshen Community School’s new Liebert power and cooling system provides system status information in real time and sends the IT staff email alerts if problems occur.

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.

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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.

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