EdTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Education https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/rss.xml en Digital Signage Growth Helps K–12 Schools Get Their Messages Out https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/digital-signage-growth-helps-k-12-schools-get-their-messages-out <span>Digital Signage Growth Helps K–12 Schools Get Their Messages Out</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/21/2018 - 09:49</span> <div><p>Cluttered bulletin boards, garbled loudspeaker announcements and missed memos are becoming a thing of the past as a growing number of schools turn to digital signage. The tools make communicating with students, staff and parents easier, more effective and even less expensive.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.technavio.com/report/global-education-technology-global-digital-signage-market-education-sector-2017-2021" target="_blank">recent report from Technavio</a> found that revenue from digital signage in the education market is <strong>expected to grow 10 percent</strong> <strong>by 2021</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>How Schools Use Digital Signage</h2> <p>Technavio analyst Jhansi Mary J says schools are finding <strong>plenty of uses for digital signage at an affordable price tag</strong>, including:</p> <ul><li>welcome messages and videos during events</li> <li>notifications about curriculum, assessments and emergency situations during regular school hours</li> <li>time-bound dayparting information</li> <li>different messages for specific audiences on a school campus (e.g., lunch menus near the cafeteria, building directories in the main entrance and announcements in hallways)</li> </ul><p>Apart from these factors, Jhansi also says, “Digital signage displays <strong>add to the aesthetic appeal of the campus</strong> as they declutter hallways and corridors from bulletin boards and posters.”</p> <h2>Tackling District Communication Challenges</h2> <p><a href="https://www.kleinisd.net/" target="_blank">Klein ISD</a>, one of the fastest-growing districts in Houston, recently adopted 50 large-format TVs for digital signage as part of a three-year technology growth plan.</p> <p>Chris Cummings, director of IT for Klein ISD, says with the scale and pace of a growing district, finding effective ways to communicate can be difficult, but <strong>digital signage is helping the district </strong>tackle that challenge.</p> <p>“Whether it is helping students stay informed of upcoming events and deadlines or creating student ownership and loyalty to the campus, schools use the signage to share important information, schedule updates or even promote student successes,” says Cummings.</p> <p>He also says the <strong>flexibility of digital signage creates time and cost savings</strong> for the district: “Campuses enjoy being able to brand and share their content for the entire school to see without having to print paper. This saves considerable time and money. They can promote activities to students while using the same technology to guide parents to the corresponding events.”</p> <p>Looking forward, Cummings says, the district hopes to<strong> leverage digital signage for safety purposes </strong>as well. “As we integrate solutions and centralize management, getting critical information to a large student body in a timely manner will become possible. This guarantees the necessity and importance of digital signage in our campuses,” says Cummings.</p> <h2>Mobile Integration Engages Digital Natives</h2> <p>Digital signage also offers <strong>mobile integration</strong>, so schools can push information to devices like smartphones. (This also lets staff use mobile devices to update, operate and monitor digital signage systems.)</p> <p>That’s a <strong>major boost in a school’s ability to communicate effectively with both parents and digital natives </strong>when you consider the large-scale adoption of mobile devices both inside and outside the classroom.</p> <p>In a n<a href="https://www.pearsoned.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-Pearson-Student-Mobile-Device-Survey-Grades-4-12.pdf" target="_blank">ationally representative survey </a>released in 2015, the last time this data was made available, education publisher Pearson found that 53 percent of 4th and 5th graders, 66 percent of middle schoolers, and 82 percent of high school students regularly used a smartphone.</p> <p>Add to that findings from a <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/12/evolution-of-technology/" target="_blank">Pew Research Center report </a>that show 77 percent of US adults own a smartphone, and it’s clear that connecting digital signage with mobile devices is an <strong>effective way for schools to get their messages out</strong>.</p> <p>As Technavio’s Jhansi puts it, “Delivering the same content to the users' devices can <strong>further accelerate connectedness</strong>.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/wendy-mcmahon"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/Wendy%20McMahon.jpg?itok=Xyyy8FhB" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/wendy-mcmahon"> <div>Wendy McMahon</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=wendymcmahon&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Wendy McMahon is a freelance writer and general tech geek who has been writing about technology for over 10 years. Follower her on Twitter at @wendymcmahon.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 21 May 2018 13:49:29 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40831 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 3 Tips for Switching to Cloud for VoIP https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/3-tips-switching-cloud-voip <span>3 Tips for Switching to Cloud for VoIP</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/18/2018 - 16:18</span> <div><p>School districts moving their phone systems from old-style analog or digital private branch exchange to cloud-based Voice over IP expect to benefit from <strong>lower overall costs, higher quality and modern features</strong>. But it’s important to lay the foundation in order to reap the rewards. Making the switch means <strong>revisiting security mandates and ensuring the network is sound and prepared</strong> for VoIP. Here are three tips for making the switch:</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Get Started with the Right Bandwidth</h2> <p>Cloud-based VoIP doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth, but it’s not tolerant of poor-quality bandwidth either. Therefore, <strong>don’t share your normal internet circuit with VoIP traffic</strong>. Take advantage of low internet service prices and <strong>add a second internet circuit dedicated to your cloud-based VoIP</strong>. The cost should easily be covered by the money you don’t spend on analog or digital services from the phone company. Plus, a second circuit comes with a nice bonus: You can fail over from one to the other for improved reliability.</p> <p>Of course, there’s a catch: Internet traffic is asymmetric — much more download than upload. VoIP traffic is the exception to that, very symmetric, with equal volumes of inbound and outbound traffic. This means that <strong>your standard low-cost asymmetric DSL circuit won’t do</strong>; you’ll need fairly hefty upstream bandwidth for cloud-based VoIP. It doesn’t have to be symmetric, but for a typical VoIP codec, you’ll need at least 50 kilobits per second per expected simultaneous call; 100Kbps is even better. If you’re using a 64Kbps codec, bump that to 100 to 180Kbps — and for voice and video at the same time, multiply those numbers by 10.</p> <h2>2. Don’t Let Your Firewall Slow You Down</h2> <p>Most unified threat management firewalls — the most popular for schools — will cause brief slowdowns as they scan for viruses or perform other threat mitigation. UTM slowdowns are imperceptible to web browsers but conspicuous with VoIP traffic. So while you’re installing a second circuit, <strong>consider getting a second firewall </strong>at the same time.</p> <p>The good news is that you don’t need to pay for a UTM subscription. Dedicating a second firewall to a single application — cloud-based VoIP — means that you can use a simpler configuration and don’t need to apply all of the subscription-based UTM features, such as URL filtering, anti-malware and intrusion prevention. You’ll need to <strong>choose a firewall that has a good VoIP application layer gateway and customer support</strong>, but that’s about it. As always: Test before you commit. Not every firewall is compatible with every phone system.</p> <h2>3. Don’t Worry About LAN Segmentation</h2> <p>In large VoIP networks, people often go to great lengths to segment their LAN data and VoIP traffic with special VLANs, 802.1p quality of service and other complicated features. That’s fine — it won’t hurt anything. But a typical school’s gigabit LAN with 100 or 200 stations per subnet is not going to have a problem mixing VoIP and other data traffic.</p> <p>Of course, every network is different, and if you do have very high loads (for example, if you’re running disk-to-disk backups over the same LAN), <strong>segmentation might help</strong>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/joel-snyder"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/author/Joel_Studio_Headshot_180.jpg?itok=TYcy4rmk" width="58" height="58" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/joel-snyder"> <div>Joel Snyder</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Joel Snyder, Ph.D., is a senior IT consultant with 30 years of practice. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of security, messaging and networks, Dr. Snyder is a popular speaker and author and is known for his unbiased and comprehensive tests of security and networking products. His clients include major organizations on six continents.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 18 May 2018 20:18:05 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40826 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 New Wi-Fi Standard Will Boost Campus Connection Speeds https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/new-wi-fi-standard-will-boost-campus-connection-speeds <span>New Wi-Fi Standard Will Boost Campus Connection Speeds</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/17/2018 - 16:23</span> <div><p>There’s a new Wi-Fi standard in town, and it could be a <strong>game changer for K–12 school</strong> <strong>districts</strong>. <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/article/3215907/mobile-wireless/why-80211ax-is-the-next-big-thing-in-wi-fi.html" target="_blank">Network World</a> calls 802.11ax “the next big thing” that actually lives up to its hype. </p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">What Is the 802.11ax Wireless Standard?</h2> <p>Everyone knows <strong>what happens when a Wi-Fi network is at capacity</strong>. Too much streaming, tweeting and videoconferencing on a local network can grind activities to a halt.</p> <p>But data is about to fly much faster. The current standard for wireless LAN is 802.11ac. Created and maintained by the <a href="https://www.wi-fi.org/" target="_blank">Wi-Fi Alliance</a> and the <a href="http://standards.ieee.org/findstds/standard/802.11-2012.html" target="_blank">Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)</a>, the <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2014/09/sifting-through-80211-alphabet-soup">802.11 family of specifications</a> guides everyone from chip makers to networking professionals to build and connect devices that work together. However, <a href="https://gigaom.com/2014/06/12/next-phase-of-wifi-80211ax/" target="_blank">as early as 2014</a>, the IEEE was already looking toward <strong>new technology to skyrocket wireless data speeds</strong>, resulting in the newest member of the family — 802.11ax.</p> <p>802.11ax will be standard within the next few years. <a href="https://itpeernetwork.intel.com/intel-announces-802-11ax-chipsets/" target="_blank">Intel and other manufacturers</a> have announced that they’ll have <strong>802.11ax chipsets ready in 2018</strong>, and several sources, including <a href="https://www.pcworld.com/article/3269364/network-router/wi-fi-gets-quicker-with-80211ax-but-buying-early-might-offer-few-advantages.html" target="_blank">PCWorld</a>, say we should start seeing 802.11ax in new devices by 2019, with full implementation a few years after that.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">How 802.11ax Will Improve the Modern Classroom</h2> <p>The new standard was <strong>designed for a world where people upload and download millions of gigabytes</strong> of data. In the arena of K–12 education, this means more possibilities for conducting data-heavy activities using Wi-Fi, for anything from computer-aided design to machine learning. </p> <p>The technology behind 802.11ax is <strong>estimated to boost data speeds four to 10 times faster</strong> over existing Wi-Fi because of a much more efficient allocation of data. Using a number of strategies, 802.11ax will use the same Wi-Fi channels that are currently used, but maximize the capacity of those channels. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/article/3215907/mobile-wireless/why-80211ax-is-the-next-big-thing-in-wi-fi.html" target="_blank">advantages</a> will be:</p> <ul><li>Much faster data speeds, at least <a href="http://www.ni.com/white-paper/53150/en/" target="_blank">four times as fast</a>;</li> <li>Less congestion, as more data flows through channels more efficiently; and,</li> <li>Better battery life, for several reasons. For one, the client, like a computer or a phone, doesn’t have to work as hard if the data is traveling much faster. Another new feature of the new standard is called “<a href="https://blog.aerohive.com/how-will-target-wake-time-help-mobile-devices-and-iot-in-802-11ax/" target="_blank">target wake time</a>,” or TWT, which increases the amount of time devices sleep, conserving batteries.</li> </ul><h2 id="toc_2">How K–12 School Districts Should Prepare for 802.11ax</h2> <p>The advantages of 802.11ax are in hardware, not software. According to PCWorld, new hardware will be backward-compatible, meaning that new routers, access points and other equipment will support 802.11ax standards, as well as previous standards. So the good news is that <strong>campuses can upgrade in stages</strong> and won’t need to overhaul hardware all at once.</p> <p>Additionally, according to an article from <a href="https://thehivecommunity.aerohive.com/s/article/802-11ax-Explained" target="_blank">The Hive Community</a>, as more clients adapt to 802.11ax, they will use bandwidth more efficiently, freeing up airtime for older devices and <strong>improving the overall effectiveness of the system</strong>.</p> <p>Overall, education technology professionals should keep a watch on 802.11ax to stay on top of what products are available and how they can fit into and enhance current campus networks.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/erika-gimbel.jpg?itok=COBsR_2x" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"> <div>Erika Gimbel</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erika Gimbel is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in B2B technology innovation and educational technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 17 May 2018 20:23:47 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40816 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Higher Education and K–12 Form Partnerships to Help Educators and Learners https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/higher-education-and-k-12-form-partnerships-help-educators-and-learners <span>Higher Education and K–12 Form Partnerships to Help Educators and Learners</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:46</span> <div><p>When K–12 schools need help, they often find it with higher education experts. And just as often, colleges benefit as much as the schools.</p> <p>That’s what Megan Tolin found when several schools approached her department for help with <strong>successful practices for blended learning</strong>. She’s the director of technology, innovation and pedagogy at the <a href="https://education.iupui.edu/" target="_blank">Indiana University School of Education, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis</a>.</p> <p>“It’s a way to help grow professionals in our area,” Tolin said in an <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/k12/k12/media/video/cosn-2018-k-12-and-higher-education-partnerships-boost-professional-development">interview with EdTech at CoSN2018</a>. “It also helps us as a school of education. It allows us to put pre-service teachers in classrooms where teachers are doing good work.”</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>K–12 and College Educators Use Data in Evolving Partnerships</h2> <p>In the past, partnerships between colleges and K–12 schools often centered around high-school-to-college transitions or programs that enable students to earn advanced college credit. Today’s collaborations focus more on social responsibility. That can take the form of <strong>formal research studies, professional development, or joint technology and curriculum initiatives</strong>.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.educationdive.com/news/u-of-chicago-cps-partnership-pays-off-in-big-ways-for-district/521395/" target="_blank">Education Dive</a> reports that researchers at the <a href="https://uei.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute</a> partnered with <a href="http://cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx" target="_blank">Chicago Public Schools</a> on a data-driven initiative to <strong>keep students on track to graduate</strong>. Every six weeks, the Institute gives school principals a “freshmen-on-track” metric for each student, and individual schools and teachers then use that information to determine the best academic intervention. So far, this successful program has been <strong>reproduced in 20 university-district partnerships</strong>.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.houstonisd.org/" target="_blank">Houston Independent School District </a>(HISD) and <a href="http://www.rice.edu/" target="_blank">Rice University</a> formed another successful partnership. HERC, or the <a href="https://kinder.rice.edu/houston-education-research-consortium" target="_blank">Houston Education Research Consortium</a>, aims to create evidence-based programs to close socioeconomic gaps.</p> <p>Although <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0162373715576074" target="_blank">it took nearly a year</a> for the university and HISD to create a longitudinal database, the results have been well worth the effort. To date, HERC has analyzed the quality of K–12 initiatives and policy changes to build better programs for both students and teachers. HERC now serves seven districts in addition to HISD.</p> <h2>Researchers Gain Access to Granular Student Data</h2> <p>Creating partnerships between researchers and practitioners has become more urgent than ever. In a <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0162373715576074" target="_blank">journal article</a> for <em>Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis</em>, authors Ruth N. Lopez Turley and Carla Stevens note that districts facing budget cuts benefit greatly, as <strong>research institutions can provide valuable support in gathering and analyzing data </strong>and in serving as an external decision-making resource.</p> <p>But <strong>universities also have much to gain from these initiatives</strong>. Without schools to supply data, many higher education researchers rely on national data sets, which rarely provide the specific information they need. Even if researchers can gain access to data, it’s difficult to use that research to directly affect specific K–12 institutions.</p> <p>Because such partnerships may involve sensitive student data, it is <strong>critical for participants to build trusting relationships</strong>. In the ideal scenario, <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0162373715576074" target="_blank">according to Turley and Stevens</a>, “Leaders from both institutions mutually agree with and are invested in the larger mission of the partnership, can communicate effectively across institutions, and are open and willing to learn from each other.”</p> <p>In a conversation with <a href="https://www.educationdive.com/news/u-of-chicago-cps-partnership-pays-off-in-big-ways-for-district/521395/" target="_blank"><em>Education Dive</em></a>, Dr. Janice Jackson, the CEO of <a href="http://cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx" target="_blank">Chicago Public Schools</a>, agreed. “There’s…this trusting relationship that allows us to give them access [to student-level data before the district even looks at it] and for them to be completely honest with us,” she said.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/erika-gimbel.jpg?itok=COBsR_2x" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"> <div>Erika Gimbel</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erika Gimbel is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in B2B technology innovation and educational technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 16 May 2018 14:46:49 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40811 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Review: Yamaha YVC-1000 Speakerphone Gives K–12 Collaboration an Audio Boost https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/review-yamaha-yvc-1000-speakerphone-gives-k-12-collaboration-audio-boost <span>Review: Yamaha YVC-1000 Speakerphone Gives K–12 Collaboration an Audio Boost</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/15/2018 - 08:32</span> <div><p>The <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Yamaha-YVC-1000-speaker-phone/3590322?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Yamaha YVC-1000 speakerphone</a> is designed to integrate easily into any environment, either to enhance existing communication devices or stand alone as the centerpiece of an independent system. Its ease of use, and the multiple roles it can play, make it <strong>perfect for a K–12 educational environment</strong> because connectivity and distance learning can be achieved with little or no IT support.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Unit Supports Several Microphones and Connections</h2> <p>Featuring a base unit and an external, unidirectional microphone, the YVC-1000 also supports up to four more microphones to <strong>cover exceptionally large spaces</strong>. With USB ports for connecting to a computer and RCA jacks for adding sound through a television or monitor, it’s <strong>ready to fill almost any audio need within education</strong>.</p> <p>Bluetooth capability <strong>supports wireless connectivity to a smartphone or tablet</strong>. When I waved an Android smartphone near the base station, it synced up in a few seconds via near-field communication. Thereafter, I could route audio from the smartphone through the YVC-1000, which provided deep and rich sounds. And, once synced, other people could join the call using the YVC’s external microphone.</p> <h2>Speaker Phone Optimized for Voices, Sounds</h2> <p>When connected to a computer, the YVC-1000 is designed to work with <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/microsoft/skype-for-business.html" target="_blank">Skype for Business</a>, which can detect the system and immediately integrate it as an audio option. It also works well with a variety of other videoconferencing tools.</p> <p>The base unit has good sound quality, with a nice balance of base and treble that seems optimized for voices, but <strong>also works with other types of sound and music</strong>.</p> <p><img alt="Q0318-HET-PR_Breeden_Yamaha-product.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/Q0318-HET-PR_Breeden_Yamaha-product.jpg" /></p> <p>To test for audio quality, I placed the speakerphone in a variety of environments: a small office, a large conference room and a large open area. The device is smart, automatically optimizing its audio settings over time as it operates. Users can press a tuning fork button on the main unit to <strong>prompt the device to immediately test its own settings</strong>. This takes a few seconds but does not interrupt device operations.</p> <p>The YVC-1000 speakerphone offers advanced audioconferencing and connectivity options in a simple package. Teachers and school administrators can <strong>tap into professional audioconferencing capabilities with almost no training</strong>, making this device an extremely apt addition to the classroom.</p> <h2>Voices Rise Above the Noise in Conference Room Test</h2> <p>The YVC-1000 speakerphone’s microphone includes an innovative technology called Human Voice Activity Detection, which enables it to pick out voices from noise. I put that special feature to the test.</p> <p>Despite its simple interface, the Yamaha YVC-1000 speakerphone is packed with advanced features often found only in high-end or dedicated room-sized conferencing systems. But the device goes beyond that.</p> <p>Yamaha has loaded an innovative technology called Human Voice Activity Detection into the YVC-1000. The technology is designed to <strong>distinguish human voices from other background noise</strong>, enabling people in meetings to speak normally, even if they are sitting far away from a microphone or are in a noisy environment. That extra noise could be anything from people working in an office to cars driving past on the street outside, or even the cooling fans on the computers in the same room.</p> <p>The overall audio quality of the YVC-1000 was good in near-optimal lab environments. For a challenge, I created a terrible conference room environment that included two large cooling fans and a portable AC unit blasting away, a radio just outside the door playing techno music (without voices) and another speaker at the back of the room with traffic sounds on a loop.</p> <p>In addition, participants were asked to sit all along the microphone’s maximum 32-foot range. The test involved people reading from a script (actually, a Tennessee Williams play) while the whole proceeding was remotely recorded over Skype.</p> <p><strong>The results were impressive.</strong> At no point was any speaker’s voice lost on the recording. Those sitting farther away sounded almost as clear as those sitting right near the microphone. And while the various background sounds were present, they did not interfere with the quality of people’s voices when talking, which the Yamaha YVC-1000 focused on and enhanced as they spoke.</p> <p>For comparison, a manual tape recorder was left in the same room, placed near the YVC-1000 microphone. On that device, those sitting farther away were very difficult to understand, and the background noise at times completely drowned out the voices of those who were speaking, which is what people in the room said the environment really sounded like.</p> <p>So, actually, the Yamaha YVC-1000 was able to record <strong>clearer voices and better sound quality</strong> than what existed in real life. That’s quite a feat for an inexpensive audioconferencing system.</p> <h3 id="toc_0">Yamaha YVC-1000</h3> <p><strong>Microphone: </strong>100 to 20,000 Hertz Unidirectional<br /><strong>Sound Pickup Range:</strong> 32 feet<br /><strong>Power Consumption:</strong> 20 watts<br /><strong>Audio Inputs:</strong> 2 RCA Jacks, USB 2.0 Port, Microphone<br /><strong>Dimensions: </strong>13.1x3.74x6.38 inches<br /><strong>Weight:</strong> 4 pounds</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/john-breeden-ii"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/john-breeden-ii.jpg?itok=qht_53sT" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/john-breeden-ii"> <div>John Breeden II</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=LabGuys&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>John Breeden II is an award-winning reviewer and public speaker with 20 years of experience covering technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 15 May 2018 12:32:11 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40806 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 4 Tips to Plan a K-12 Network Switch Upgrade https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/4-tips-plan-k-12-network-switch-upgrade <span>4 Tips to Plan a K-12 Network Switch Upgrade</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/10/2018 - 14:41</span> <div><p>As K–12 school districts work to expand and modernize their networks, administrators must address evolving requirements in connectivity, gigabit-class Wi-Fi and ever-growing traffic flows. Driven by these increasing traffic demands and advances in technologies,<strong> new network switches offer benefits in both capacity and utility</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/cisco.html?cm_mmc=vanity-_-cisco-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Cisco Systems</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/extreme-networks.html?cm_mmc=vanity-_-extremenetworks-_-NA-_-012018" target="_blank">Extreme Networks</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/hpenterprise.html?cm_mmc=Vanity-_-HPE-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Hewlett Packard Enterprise</a> and many others offer a broad range of enterprise-class switch products to meet demands stretching from the edge of the network to the data center and into the cloud. But the large number of products available presents a daunting challenge for district network planners and operators, often making it difficult to <strong>choose the right switch for a given application</strong>.</p> <p>While switches are often viewed as static elements that change very little over time, that isn’t truly the case. It’s important to consider the core requirements for your switch hierarchy, not just for today but also for the future. Here are a few <strong>strategies for planning a switch upgrade</strong>:</p> <h2>1. Start with Network Management Systems and Solutions</h2> <p>Network management systems are the critical element in the optimization of network and application performance, reliability and operations staff productivity. Because the capabilities of management solutions vary widely, it’s important to <strong>consider the features, functions </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> benefits essential to your organization</strong> — and to ensure that the selected products are fully compatible with and supported by your IT management system hierarchy.</p> <p>Carefully review organizationwide requirements for security, traffic policies, virtual LANs, logging, analytics, integrity and redundancy to ensure that the selected switches meet these requirements. Also <strong>examine compatibility with other management and operational tools and solutions</strong> — especially Wi-Fi management, where the potential for conflict with wired network management policies and settings is very real.</p> <h2>2. Perform a Network Requirements Audit</h2> <p><strong>Review your networks regularly</strong> — at least twice a year. It’s especially important to consider growth in the number of wireless access points and evolving throughput requirements as speeds increase, along with power requirements for APs, where 802.3at is replacing .3af. <strong>Examine operation logs and feedback identifying common and recurring pain points</strong>, noting issues such as insufficient capacity during periods of peak demand.</p> <p><strong>Consider fiber for long runs</strong>, along with upgrades to CAT 6 cabling where fiber isn’t required. While switches limited to 2.5 and 5 gigabits per second, per port, can mitigate the need for immediate cable upgrades, school districts today should at the very least be planning for 10Gbps.</p> <h2>3. Carefully Examine Capacity Planning Assumptions</h2> <p>Throughput has historically been the key performance metric for switches, but today the issue is overall solution capacity. Client devices have changed this dynamic by boosting mobile and wireless demands. <strong>Sufficient capacity is necessary for end-user productivit</strong>y, given that demand in any location can vary over time.</p> <p>With the addition of APs, the number of switch ports per physical switch is a vital concern. <strong>Stackable switches are a great way to address demands that grow over time</strong> while also simplifying management. It’s also important to <strong>consider trends in time-bounded traffic</strong>, like voice over IP, streaming video and multicast, along with support for class of service/quality of service, 802.1q and related capabilities.</p> <h2>4. Don’t Forget Physical Planning</h2> <p>While many elements of networking, such as management consoles, are moving into the cloud, <strong>K–12 schools will require that switches physically reside in their facilities for the foreseeable future</strong>.</p> <p>So, <strong>consider the physical space</strong> (usually in an equipment rack), power, cooling and wire runs required in each case when planning for installations and upgrades. Careful analysis of the number and types of ports required on each switch (or stack) is also essential. Finally, <strong>consider the operating environment</strong>: A wide variety of industrial, ruggedized and otherwise specialized switch products are available to meet requirements.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/craig-j-mathias"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/craig-mathias-400.jpg?itok=4crET8lz" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/craig-j-mathias"> <div>Craig J. Mathias</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Craig J. Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm <a href="http://www.farpointgroup.com/" target="_blank" title="Farpoint Group">Farpoint Group</a>, has more than 25 years of experience in wireless and mobility.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 10 May 2018 18:41:38 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40796 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 How to Implement Library Makerspaces in STEM Programs https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/how-implement-library-makerspaces-stem-programs-perfcon <span>How to Implement Library Makerspaces in STEM Programs</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:57</span> <div><p>What’s the best way to define a makerspace? For Laura Fleming, library media specialist at <a href="https://www.newmilfordschools.org/NewMilfordHighSchool" target="_blank">New Milford High School </a>in New Jersey, a library makerspace is a unique learning environment that <strong>encourages tinkering, play and open-ended exploration</strong> for all.</p> <p>Fleming, who also runs and manages her own business, <a href="https://www.worldsofmaking.com/" target="_blank">Worlds of Making</a>, says too often schools build library makerspaces just for the top engineering students or the gifted and talented students.</p> <p>“When makerspaces really work, they are open to the entire student body,” she says. “It’s really a <strong>mindset and a philosophy of education</strong>.”</p> <p>Fleming says whether the district sets up a makerspace in an elementary school library, in a middle school classroom or in a high school cafeteria, each makerspace has a unique quality.</p> <p>“Here in New Milford, we set aside a part of the library for our makerspace,” Fleming explains. “But much of this depends on a district’s budget and the resources they can bring to the project. A makerspace should be <strong>offered as a voluntary educational activity that the students want to participate in</strong>. We’ve found that when it’s required, the students will just do ‘what the teacher is looking for’ and much of the innovation and creativity gets lost.”</p> <p>Here are five ideas to follow from Fleming on how to set up a library makerspace that will <strong>foster creativity and expand on your STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum</strong>:</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Understand the Needs of Students in a Library Makerspace Project</h2> <p>So much of the success of a library makerspace depends on <strong>identifying the needs of students</strong>. Start by seeking student input. Some schools send out formal paper surveys, while others hold informal discussions in the classroom. Find out what activities they have done before, what they would like to learn or if they have attended any special science and math camps.</p> <h2>2. Assess the School’s Existing STEM Programs</h2> <p>When Fleming did an assessment at New Milford High School she found that robotics was only offered to the top 25 or 30 engineering students, the majority of whom were boys. Why not <strong>offer robotics in the </strong><strong>makerspace</strong><strong> to the entire student population</strong>? A school she worked with a handful of years ago didn’t offer any computer science programs. The school then started offering computer science and coding skills in the makerspace, and over the last several years integrated computer science into the curriculum. School officials can also take a close look at how the students score on state assessment tests and decide which areas for the makerspace to focus on.</p> <h2>3. Incorporate STEM Trends into Your Library Makerspace</h2> <p>There’s so much innovation in education today that teachers and administrators have to <strong>look beyond the walls of the school</strong>. One good example: The more Fleming read about technology, the more stories she saw about drones. In the past year or two, educators have had students do research and build small drones in the makerspace.</p> <h2>4. Constantly Learn from and Evolve Your Library Makerspace</h2> <p>Based on Fleming’s research, certain patterns and themes began to emerge. At New Milford High School, she opted to develop makerspace themes on <strong>engineering and design, computer coding, robotics and molecular gastronomy</strong>, a science-based approach to diet. One elementary school she worked with took all the offbeat and childish ideas from its students and designed a “whimsey” theme. It was based on the students saying they wanted to do more projects with slime or they like to make things out of mud. It sounds childish, but it’s what the students wanted to do, and Fleming says the school developed learning activities around those themes.</p> <h2>5. Leverage STEM Program Supplies in Your Library Makerspace</h2> <p>Once the team finishes all of its research and planning, it’s time to buy the supplies. One of her more successful ventures at New Milford High School was with the <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/littleBits-Arduino-Coding-Kit/4567229" target="_blank">littleBits Arduino Coding Kit</a>. Fleming’s high school students beta tested the product and wound up writing code for learning environments for elementary school students. The high school students <strong>coded games and developed environments that let the elementary school students compose music and create digital art </strong>using the littleBits coding techniques.</p> <p>Above all, Fleming stresses that it <strong>requires proper planning for a </strong><strong>makerspace</strong><strong> to succeed</strong>. Do the planning, and school officials will find that when it comes time to make purchases, they will have planned programs and bought equipment that students can put to the best use possible.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/steve-zurier"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/steve-zurier-180.jpg?itok=TLLkquyK" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/steve-zurier"> <div>Steve Zurier</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="google-plus" href="https://plus.google.com/104137780822707730723?rel=author"><span>Google+</span></a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=@szurier&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Steve Zurier is a freelance technology writer based in Columbia, Md.  </p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 09 May 2018 15:57:26 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40791 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Holographic Tech Could Be the Next Big AR Offering in K–12 Classrooms https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/holographic-tech-could-be-the-next-big-ar-offering-in-k12-classrooms <span>Holographic Tech Could Be the Next Big AR Offering in K–12 Classrooms</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/08/2018 - 11:43</span> <div><p>Holograms have become somewhat less of an anomaly since Michael Jackson’s image <a href="https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7717042/musical-holograms-history-dead" target="_blank">moonwalked across the Billboard Music Awards stage</a> four years ago — and in time, the technology could start showing up in K–12 classrooms.</p> <p>Often referred to as a type of augmented reality, <strong>holographic technology allows viewers to see virtual objects projected into their physical space</strong>.</p> <p>To date, <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/microsoft-interstitial.html?enkwrd=Microsoft" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>’s HoloLens — a wireless headset introduced in 2015 — has been the most prominent holographic product on the marketplace. Data collected from audio and visual sensors help shape multidimensional digital models HoloLens users can interact with; HD lenses use an advanced optical projection system to generate the images.</p> <p>The wireless system lets users <strong>move around freely and communicate with each other</strong>, according to Dan Ayoub, general manager of mixed reality education for Microsoft.</p> <p>“You’re completely untethered,” Ayoub says. “Spatially, you and I could both have devices on, working on a problem together; you can see what I’m seeing and mark up my field of view.”</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Augmented Reality Fast Forwards the Learning Process</h2> <p>Although the current price point — roughly $3,000 — has made HoloLens a more popular choice for enterprises and universities, the technology has a number of potential K–12 applications.</p> <p>“We’ve aggregated a number of studies, and we’ve done our own, that show <strong>academic performance and engagement improves</strong>,” Ayoub says. “We’re effectively 3D beings, and in many cases, you’re trying to understand complex scenarios in 2D, which doesn’t always make sense. These devices enable all kinds of 3D learning opportunities.”</p> <p><a href="https://case.edu/" target="_blank">Case Western Reserve University</a>, a participant in an early HoloLens pilot, says Ayoub, has utilized the technology to teach electromagnetics and physics. In November, sparks and other holographic elements illuminated the stage during a dance department performance.</p> <p>Devices are primarily used, however, for medical school anatomy sessions, says Mark Griswold, professor of radiology at CWRU’s School of Medicine and faculty leader of the university’s Interactive Commons research center.</p> <p>“We received some initial data that <strong>students were learning anatomical structures at the same level as they were in the cadaver lab</strong>,” Griswold says.</p> <h2>Visualize Hologram Cost and Planning in the Classroom</h2> <p>Hypothetically, the <strong>technology could be used to illustrate concepts to younger students</strong>, Griswold says. For example, he wishes a centurion could have been circling the classroom when his son was learning about Roman history in seventh grade.</p> <p>“Seeing a shield and sword is so much more engaging than looking at photos in a book,” he says. “You could sit next to Thoreau at Walden Pond; name a historical era — <strong>you could do amazing things</strong>.”</p> <p>Schools, however, need to carefully consider how a big-ticket holographic tech purchase will affect other district resources, says Jaime Donally, a former math teacher and author of <em>Learning Transported: Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality for All Classrooms</em>.</p> <p>“It often requires instruction and technical support on multiple campuses. Somebody has to maintain the calendar and keep the devices clean,” Donally says. “As cool as it is, <strong>you need to think through technology like this practically</strong>. How would it be implemented?”</p> <p>Although the exact time frame remains unclear, Ayoub expects K–12 adoption will be more likely as holographic technology becomes more affordable.</p> <p>“Like any technology, things get less expensive over time,” he says. “As the price gets closer to the price for a virtual reality system, I expect more people to go to augmented reality. It has a more collaborative nature — <strong>the potential is so powerful for education</strong>.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/erin-brereton"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/Erin%20Brereton.jpg?itok=b4T6k1ew" width="58" height="58" alt="Erin Brereton" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/erin-brereton"> <div>Erin Brereton</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=Erbrer09&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erin Brereton has written about technology, business and other topics for more than 50 magazines, newspapers and online publications. </p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 08 May 2018 15:43:36 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40786 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Q&A: Author and Blogger Matt Miller Explains How to Make a Classroom Digital https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/qa-author-and-blogger-matt-miller-explains-how-to-make-a-classroom-digital <span>Q&amp;A: Author and Blogger Matt Miller Explains How to Make a Classroom Digital</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/07/2018 - 15:15</span> <div><p>Before he became a full-time author, blogger and speaker, Matt Miller taught for more than a decade in public schools. His signature book, <em>Ditch That Textbook</em>, offers ways for teachers to use digital technologies to revolutionize the classroom with innovative teaching, mindsets and curriculum. <em>EdTech </em>talked with Miller about how teachers can move away from paper textbooks and deploy more digital technologies in the classroom. </p> <div style="padding: 5px; width: 260px; color: rgb(236, 236, 236); margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 15px; float: right; background-color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><img alt="Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" hoffman="" src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/matt-headshot-2_0.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 300px;" title="“Dan" /><p style="font-size: 18px;">Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook. Photo courtesy of Matt Miller.</p> </div> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH: </span>For educators interested in going digital or ditching textbooks, what’s the best way to get started?</h2> <p><strong>MILLER: </strong> I don’t mean to say that textbooks are evil, and we should throw them all out. They are a resource, just like anything else. I talked to some literature teachers recently and they said, “If I ditch textbooks, where will the kids read the story?” That makes sense. I think teachers can start with digital by looking for ways they can <strong>get away from marching chapter by chapter through the textbook</strong> and doing discussion questions and then the worksheet at the end. I really believe that when you incorporate technology in the curriculum it starts to move the needle for learning. Start by doing interactive slides with <a href="https://www.peardeck.com/" target="_blank">Pear Deck</a> or <a href="https://nearpod.com/" target="_blank">Nearpod</a>. It will get the students away from passively consuming information from the teacher and <strong>makes the experience more hands-on</strong>. Research shows that if students are doing hands-on learning, retention is better.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH: </span>How do teachers choose the app that’s best for them and their students?</h2> <p><strong>MILLER: </strong> A lot of it gets back to thinking about what the teacher wants to accomplish. What skills do they want the students to learn? What I find is once a teacher becomes aware of several different apps and digital tools, they start to see some <strong>connections between what the students need to learn and the specific features and benefits of the tools</strong>. If a teacher wants kids to discuss something they have read, and is aware of tools like blogs and <a href="https://flipgrid.com/" target="_blank">Flipgrid</a>, all of a sudden, natural pairings emerge.</p> <p>Teachers need to <strong>keep abreast of what’s out there</strong>. Hallway conversations work, too. If other teachers are having success with a tool, I find I have a better chance of having success myself. Teachers don’t even have to have a reason for using a tool right away. Just <strong>create a mental catalog </strong>of what’s out there. Then all of a sudden as the teacher plans a lesson, one of them will jump to mind.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH:</span> How can teachers move away from paper worksheets?</h2> <p><strong>MILLER: </strong> If teachers use worksheets, they have to ask if there’s a better way that they can do it? A lot of times teachers use worksheets because they want students to gain repetitions with new content. Paper worksheets usually ask dry questions that wind up not becoming meaningful repetitions. Research shows that <strong>whenever students have an emotional connection to something the information will stay in long-term memory</strong>. If we can rethink the repetitions, then we can avoid the worksheets. One option is playing a <a href="https://quizlet.com/live" target="_blank">Quizlet Live</a> game. Now, students are learning the content in a competitive, fun, collaborative environment. With that kind of experience, teachers are more likely to create rich repetitions that are memorable.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH:</span> What new tools do you suggest using from Google’s G Suite for Education?</h2> <p><strong>MILLER: </strong> A lot of schools are starting to dabble in augmented and virtual reality, the AR/VR space, as well as artificial intelligence. With AR/VR, students create content in AR and consume it through VR. A good example is <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/08/immersive-technology-schools-rise">Google Expeditions</a>, which has gotten more and more popular as schools get their hands on these kits. Schools are using the VR viewers so <strong>teachers can take students on immersive virtual field trips</strong>. Of course, Google Expedition kits are not cheap. However, I’m finding that teachers who work with it some are seeing some gains.</p> <p>On the AI side, teachers are using <a href="https://assistant.google.com/?utm_source=sem&amp;utm_medium=search&amp;utm_campaign=mgdi&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw8r_XBRBkEiwAjWGLlOP7-bXd00VVfbNfySOeaFUe3y50NGPMUEY5ZzvUsw2gpCkwAIvNuBoC-g8QAvD_BwE&amp;dclid=COD069mw9NoCFcxIDAod_QYHOQ#?modal_active=none" target="_blank">Google Assistant </a>and <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Amazon-Echo-2nd-Generation-smart-speaker/4934046?" target="_blank">Amazon Echo</a> in class more. AI can make teachers more efficient. Many teachers say time constraints often become a huge barrier and the AI tools let them set reminders that will pop up, keeping them on track when they have to shift to another topic. Teachers also ask Google or Alexa questions, which also cuts down on research time.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH:</span> With all this new technology, are we creating an even deeper divide between the technological haves and have-nots?</h2> <p><strong>MILLER: </strong> Absolutely. It will widen the achievement gap if we’re not careful. However, some of the <strong>new technology is fairly low cost</strong>. A <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Google-Home-Mini-smart-speaker/4942425?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Google Home Mini </a>starts at under $60, even cheaper if you catch it on sale. Then you can have one of those in the classroom. Even with VR, there are inexpensive options. Teachers can buy a <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Max-Cases-Google-Cardboard-EdTech-Team-Powered-By-MAX-Cases-virtual-reali/4910928?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Google Cardboard</a> viewer for just a couple of bucks. If a teacher can get a parent to donate an old smartphone and viewer, a teacher can have at least one VR viewer to cycle around to students at low cost.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH:</span> How can teachers make decisions on which hardware will create the best digital experiences for students?</h2> <p><strong>MILLER: </strong> Again, not all technology has to cost thousands of dollars. The price points for a lot of the devices has started to come down. Schools don’t have to buy hundreds of tablets or expensive notebooks like they did in the past. They can get good, reliable <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/search/Computers/Notebook-Computers/?w=C3&amp;pCurrent=1&amp;key=chromebooks&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0&amp;enkwrd=Chromebooks" target="_blank">Chromebooks</a> for $250. With all the device diversity, <strong>teachers don’t have to go “all in” on any one device</strong>. I’ve heard of some teachers that have a variety of devices. They can pick and choose today.</p> <p>Each device has its own strength. Tablets are good for creating video. Chromebooks have a keyboard and are good for web browsing. Desktops and notebooks let teachers install high-powered software on them. So instead of looking at which device we like or which one is most powerful, teachers need to <strong>evaluate all the features and decide which one fits best with what they want to accomplish</strong> and which empower students to do their best work.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/k12/author/edtech-staff"> <div>EdTech Staff</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 07 May 2018 19:15:28 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40781 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Schools Must Invest to Protect IoT Devices https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/schools-must-invest-to-protect-iot-devices <span>Schools Must Invest to Protect IoT Devices</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/04/2018 - 11:39</span> <div><p>Worldwide spending to protect Internet of Things devices is <strong>predicted to reach $1.5 billion this year</strong>, <a href="https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3869181" target="_blank">research firm Gartner recently announced</a>. With spending at $1.2 billion last year, that’s a 28 percent jump.</p> <p>The massive dollar figure relates to the staggering number of devices that need protecting. <a href="https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3598917" target="_blank">Gartner predicted</a> that there would be 8.4 billion of them in use in 2017 — from TVs, cars and coffee makers at home to security cameras, lighting systems and thermostats at businesses and schools. That’s <strong>more internet-connected “things” than there are people in the world</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Understand the Security Challenge Facing Schools</h2> <p>All of these Internet of Things devices can <strong>make schools safer, improve student engagement and save schools and school districts significant money</strong>, according to a <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/06/iste-2017-iot-use-can-save-money-and-boost-security-infographic">2017 survey of K–12 professionals by CDW</a>.</p> <p>But this new, wide world of IoT connectivity has hurdles. Beyond the data shared by devices, many operating systems and form factors must be accounted for. Schools need to not only secure the devices currently on their networks; they must secure new ones as they come online.</p> <p><strong>Protection is needed on two fronts</strong> — for the devices themselves as well as the data that is being generated.</p> <p>In the United Kingdom, for example, a security firm discovered that <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42355665" target="_blank">dozens of schools’ internet-connected heating systems were vulnerable to an IoT attack</a>. Although uncomfortably cold students and faculty seems innocuous enough, <strong>an actual breach could do more harm</strong>.</p> <p>It was recently discovered that <a href="https://www.flvs.net/notices?source=homepage" target="_blank">a virtual K–12 school in Florida was subjected to a two-year data breach</a> involving students’ names and dates of birth, parents’ email addresses and teachers’ Social Security numbers — <strong>all the information a criminal might need to steal identities</strong>.</p> <p>“In its current form the IoT represents a considerable threat to consumers, due to inadequate regulations regarding its security and use,” states <a href="https://safeandsavvy.f-secure.com/2018/01/22/wake-up-call-the-time-to-secure-the-iot-is-now/" target="_blank">a report by F-Secure</a>, an IT solutions provider.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/11/iot-powers-connected-k-12-schools-future">David Andrade, a K–12 strategy specialist at CDW·G, writes</a>: “If you look at security breaches concerning IoT, it’s usually because things weren’t set up correctly. Schools should work with security experts when setting up these solutions.<strong> There’s a lot to learn for IoT newcomers</strong>, so it makes sense to get an expert involved.”</p> <p>One solution for schools using a cloud environment is a cloud access security broker, or CASB. This new class of provider <strong>monitors user activity in the cloud and enforces security policies</strong>. For instance, it could scan documents to prevent people from uploading unencrypted credit card numbers or personally identifiable information to a cloud drive.</p> <h2>Realize the Potential for IoT in Schools</h2> <p>With an eye on the benefits, <strong>nearly half of all K–12 schools already have a formal IoT strategy in place</strong>, according to CDW’s 2017 survey. Top use cases are interactive devices, security-focused technology and energy-saving resources.</p> <p>Interactive devices include <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/03/how-will-internet-things-impact-education">wearables that track activity or monitor engagement in class</a> as well as <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2016/07/districts-work-close-homework-gap">mobile hotspots and laptops that make internet accessible to students without access at home</a>.</p> <p>Security uses include smart/connected security cameras, wireless door locks or room access systems, student ID cards with radio frequency identification device chips, text-based emergency alerts triggered by sensors, and connected school bus tracking.</p> <p><strong>Energy-saving IoT applications are cutting costs</strong> as well as increasing student comfort. At <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/04/iot-helps-control-education-environments">Old Adobe Union School District in Petaluma, Calif.</a>, for example, district officials are monitoring the performance of connected heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems throughout all of its schools to regulate temperatures and troubleshoot problems.</p> <p>These examples support CDW’s survey findings: Most K–12 professionals say the <strong>IoT’s potential benefits outweigh the risks</strong>, and most expect to increase IoT spending over the next three years. The K–12 pros also acknowledge that IoT devices need security monitoring and analytics, data protection, identity and access management, and encryption — the types of investments that contribute to what Gartner says could be <strong>$3.1 billion in IoT security spending by 2021</strong>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/matt-morgan"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/matt_morgan_0.jpg?itok=hOngmz9B" width="58" height="58" alt="Matt Morgan" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/matt-morgan"> <div>Matt Morgan</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Matt Morgan is a contributing writer for <em>EdTech: Focus on K–12</em>.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 04 May 2018 15:39:56 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40776 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12