Why the Modern Data Center Needs More than Legacy Security
With thousands of student records at stake, data security should be every leading educator’s priority. The data center has made rapid development with virtualization and cloud computing, but many school and districts continue to use traditional legacy security, leading to unnecessary complexity and opening the door to potential breaches of personal data.
Deep Security 9 from Trend Micro™ offers advanced protection from disruptions and data breaches, all managed from a single multi-function dashboard. Its seamless integration across multiple cloud environments empowers users to continue doing what they do best with peace of mind.
ED releases long-awaited college ratings system
The Obama administration on Dec. 19 is releasing the rough outlines of a much-anticipated college ratings system that may grade schools on such factors as graduation rates, loan repayments and post-graduation income. Many details remain to be decided over the next few months, with some wary colleges and universities sure to protest any measurements that might hurt their reputations.
Without committing to any criteria, the U.S. Department of Education listed factors that it said could wind up in the final ratings system expected to be completed by the start of the 2015-16 school year. Those included the average net price after financial aid, federal loan defaults, the percentages of students who are low-income and the first in their families to attend college, and enrollment in graduate programs.
Officials emphasized that any grading system would not numerically rank schools or assign them A-F grades but instead would probably place them in such categories as high-performing, average or low. Special attention would be given to schools that improve.
Addressing concerns that the proposal could hurt schools that enroll large numbers of low-income students, Department of Education leaders said they may group schools by admissions selectivity and program offerings so that, for example, a California State University school does not compete against an Ivy League campus or an engineering college with one that mainly trains teachers and social workers.
Ted Mitchell, the U.S. undersecretary of Education who oversees higher-education issues, described the framework as "a work in progress" and said he was confident the final system would provide clear measurements on "elemental building blocks of quality, accessibility, affordability and outcomes."
In an interview, Mitchell said the plan's grouping of colleges would "avoid creating perverse incentives" such as schools pushing out low-income students or dropping majors that may not lead to very lucrative careers. And he said that four-year schools that grant bachelor's degrees would be judged separately from two-year community colleges that offer associate's degrees.
SETDA launches digital learning implementation guide
A new and free resource addressing six focus areas aims to help school leaders implement digital learning initiatives effectively.
The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning (GIDL), from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), is a free web-based resource to support school and district leaders as they work to ensure that investments in digital learning spark positive results.
“Digital learning is more important today than ever before. Our students are digital natives and when students utilize technology in the classroom, they are true 21st century learners," said Tom Luna, Idaho’s superintendent of public instruction.
GIDL was developed through the input of state educational technology leaders who collaborated across state lines to develop guidance and aggregate resources for, and examples of, effective digital learning implementation. SETDA is proud to have partnered with the Tier I GIDL sponsors, Copia and Curriculum Associates that contributed related resources.
The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning is free to access here.
SETDA also will host a free webinar for educators and other interested parties on January 15, 2015 at 2 p.m. ET, which will feature the insights of state educational technology leaders on effective digital learning implementation and on how to best use The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning. Reserve your seat today by visiting http://tinyurl.com/setda-digitallearning.
“With the announcements of new state and federal investments in support of digital learning, including $1.5 billion annually in new E-rate support for school broadband, it is critical that leaders consider the full range of issues in implementing and scaling up new digital learning opportunities,” said Douglas Levin, executive director of SETDA. “Our intent in releasing The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning is to help schools and districts assess, plan and execute digital learning opportunities more effectively.”
Disney donates $55M in apps, books
At the White House Summit on Early Education, The Walt Disney Company announced a $55 million in apps and books through First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and educational materials to educators and programs serving children from low-income families.
The commitment is part of President Obama’s Invest in Us initiative, a challenge to business leaders, philanthropists, advocates, public officials and the public to build a better nation through high-quality early childhood programs for children from birth to age five.
The donation is part of Disney Publishing Worldwide’s launch of Disney Imagicademy, a new, innovative learning brand for families with children ages 3 to 8 designed to inspire a lifelong love of learning and creativity.
Disney Imagicademy offers parents a way to expose their children to fundamental educational concepts in a fun and uniquely Disney way, combining the Disney characters and stories families love, with a research-driven curriculum developed in conjunction with top academic and education experts.
(Next page: Details of the grant)
“For almost 100 years, The Walt Disney Company has captivated generations of children through experiences that not only entertain, but inspire them to explore, create and imagine,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We are proud to help expand access to early childhood education in America through a $55 million in-kind donation—including hundreds of thousands of apps from our Publishing division’s newest brand, Disney Imagicademy."
As part of the three-year commitment, Disney will provide $5 million in Disney Imagicademy apps to First Book and other non-profit organizations, and $50 million in books to help foster a love of reading in young children from low-income families. In addition, Disney will provide $1 million in funding to First Book to spread the magic of storytelling and help children in need gain access to critical resources around the country.
“We’ve worked hard to bring these types of learning tools to children in need, and now thanks to Disney and the strength of our network, Disney Imagicademy is accessible for free to kids in need throughout the country the same day it is available to the general public,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “Disney’s in-kind donation over the next three years is First Book’s largest gift targeting early childhood programs.”
First Book research shows that the after-school programs, shelters and clinics, museums, libraries, Head Start classrooms and others that make up the First Book Network are in need of web-based tools and interactive learning programs that help children read, learn and achieve, both inside and outside of school. Through First Book, the first two Disney Imagicademy apps – Mickey’s Magical Math World and Disney Imagicademy Parents – will be available for free through the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.org) for teachers and educators that serve children from low-income families at the same time these products become available to the general public.
Making learning limitless
The education technology movement has shifted from an experimental phase to the new norm. Standards are changing and teaching methods are evolving because students today are better enabled to not only understand technology in the classroom, but are the drivers for the change.
On Dec. 12, leaders from Samsung, NAF (National Academy Foundation), SOTI, and the Verizon Foundation are joining students in Omaha to roll out the National Academy Foundation Samsung School Solution Initiative. Each device has SOTI MobiControl installed to help students and faculty experience a classroom without walls.
Sitting with students, we witness the command and confidence they have when using technology, wanting to learn more. Teachers become facilitators and coaches; students direct their own learning. These students want to share their knowledge and collaborate more than ever before.
(Next page: More details on the learning program)
When we hear quotes like “Elearning has impacted my grades because whenever I need to turn in something I can have it right there. I don’t have to go to a computer or charge my computer at home to do it. I can just do it on tablets; it’s really easy it’s really convenient I can do it almost anywhere,” it helps us realize the true impact of what technology is making possible.
We sat down with several students to learn more about what benefits they get from the tablets. What we heard was eye opening. The confidence and pride they have in being able to utilize cutting-edge technology was great.
Teachers and administrators are tasked with bringing technology to students. A paradigm shift is taking place because traditional ideologies no longer seem to apply. For example, organizations such as NAF (National Academy Foundation), Samsung, the Verizon Foundation, and SOTI have partnered to deliver Samsung School’s digital classroom package to schools and students in inner-city communities.
The initiative delivers modern teaching with technology and devices combined, creating new possibilities for educators and their students. The program dynamically blends technology with educational content, increasing the impact of the curriculum.