In this episode, Ricky discusses the Ed Tech news of the week including a new education tablet from Microsoft and shares a free objectives builder tool created by the University of Central Florida.
Ed Tech News RunDown
Prepare for RansomWare Recovery
A story from Ed Tech Magazine explains ways that K-12 schools can best prepare for ransomware recovery. What is ransomware you might be asking… and it is basically having hackers hijack your data. You may have seen this in the news… hackers take over your stuff and ask for money in order to give control back to you. And while this may seem like stuff out of a movie, it is happening to schools multiple times since 2016. 60% of the schools have elected to pay the hackers to get their data back. The education has responded with resources to to encourage better security and even has threatened to strip schools of title 9 funding if they don’t practice “reasonable methods” to secure data. And while there are nuances to discuss about handling a ransomware event, this article deals specifically with recovering afterwards. They recommend investing in frequent backups which could eliminate the need to pay a hacker, Also they need to create ways for quick recovery and restoration of data… backing it up is great but if systems aren’t in place to restore the data quickly and efficiently it doesn’t help quickly resolve the issue, finally they recommend services that have built in disaster recovery like DRaaS which is incorporated into Microsoft’s Azure platform. The need for protecting data is important and equally important is the ability to restore data after a loss. Small schools or districts should really pay attention to this as those are easier targets for ransomware hackers.
5 Tips to get over your Ed Tech Fears
A story by E School News gives us 5 tips for getting over your ed tech fears to help engage and empower students. And although we can assume our audience is not afraid of ed tech, these tips are valuable for the general uncertainty that new and emerging ed tech can bring. Their first tip is that we don’t need to know the answer. Teachers often feel that they have to know everything before they teach or use something but this is unrealistic. Instead think of this as an opportunity to demonstrate effective practices to search for and learn to use unfamiliar tools. The 2nd tip is try tools that connect your classroom to other classrooms. They mention that FLipGrid has a new feature called Grid Pals that helps build those connections. 3rd is piggybacking on the 1st tip, we don’t need to know all the tools. Let your students help each other figure out tools they want to use. 4th, go off script… if soemthing isn’t working, be willing to change it up. And number 5, Read Books… Get inspiration and see how others are being successful with ed tech, perhaps that and the other 4 tips are what you need to lose your fears of using ed tech.
Ed Tech Should Only Enhance Teaching
An opinion piece from the Tech Advocate talks about how tech should only be used to enhance the teaching and learning process, not replace it. The author, Matthew Lynch, talks about how easy it is to get dazzled by ed tech. VR is fascinating, especially to those of us who remember filmstrips that beeped when they needed to be advanced. His assertion is that the awe of what ed tech could be takes us away from critically analyzing its role and effectiveness in the teaching and learning process. He makes a very interesting analogy about the need for teaching things like spelling since everything has spell check. The reality is that it has been proven that knowing how to spell aids in reading comprehension. So the replacement of teaching and learning with ed tech solutions may solve one problem but increase or create another. This is an argument that will continue as we adopt ed tech especially if you are looking for it to be the magic bullet. At the end of the day as ed tech leaders we have to be aware and speak out about the ways ed tech is used and highlight ways to improve teaching and learning by using ed tech as a tool to accomplish better learning as a whole.
Improve Behavior with Ed Tech
An article by Ed Tech Magazine talks about ways that technology can help prevent or mitigate bad behavior in the classroom. The article gives a few ways that technology is doing that right now. They mention a school that is using a tardy kiosk that late students enter their info and get a quick printed tardy ticket to be allowed into class. By making the process automated the students are able to get into class much quicker than handwritten passes which minimizes teaching distractions as late students come in. They also mention how software can help lock screens on devices to help students stay on a particular app to remain focused or to help them from cheating during an online exam. Finally they mention that you can have them engage using other electronic devices during class that helps minimize their need to be on personal devices like phones. Even if these solutions are not groundbreaking, they still use ed tech as a tool and in these cases a tool that could actually help students improve their behaviors.
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