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Before students can take advantage of the latest innovations in technology, they must be able to access and use the systems available to them.
This report from the National Association of State Boards of Education looks at the role technology plays in schools and communities. As teachers adopt the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms, they must also prepare for new assessments. Project Red has conducted research on the correlation between technology use and student achievement. Improving STEM education for students must be a priority in order for students to be successful in a world that is increasingly becoming focused on computers and technology. Based in the UK, the Personal Inquiry Project focused on teaching students to “think and act like scientists.” Using a system called nQuire, students were encouraged to design and implement their own scientific investigations outside of the classroom.
MIT’s Game Lab has developed A Slower Speed of Light, a game prototype designed to help students understand the theories of physics. A K–12 expert explains how his school district used technology to give students a leg up in the classroom.
The learning environment can be as important to student success as quality instruction and course curricula.
During the K–12 webinar Time for a Network Upgrade, expert Tim Landeck discussed a few of the classroom assets now found in California’s Pajaro Valley Unified School District, where he works as director of technology services. District administrators took ample time to consider everything from the physical classroom setup to the technology that would be used by students. Read through the infographic below to find out which tools benefit students and teachers in Pajaro Valley Unified School District, and then listen to EdTech’s free, recorded webinar to learn more about the back-end technologies that power learning.
As students and administrators seek anytime, anywhere access to the cloud, higher ed IT teams must face their fears and get to work.
Blogging about the hottest education technology issues, these admin all-stars, IT gurus, education community experts and classroom leaders have proven their worth to their peers. In the ever-changing field of education technology, it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry happenings, and it’s even more important to understand current news in context. That’s where the Dean’s List comes in handy: It reintroduces higher ed stakeholders to a group of education technology thought leaders who share not-to-be-missed analyses of higher ed technology trends, challenges and opportunities. While there are a few familiar names from the 2015 blogger roundup, this year’s list features plenty of new blood — bloggers who were either chosen by the EdTech editorial staff or nominated by readers.
Leading workshops and speaking at education events across the country, Bryan Alexander is a true authority on the higher ed technology landscape. The Code Acts in Education blog began as a partnership between the University of Stirling and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to study the bond between computer code and education.
Churning out quirky digital sketches of the many ed-tech conferences he attends, Josh Murdock — or Professor Josh, as he’s known online — bills himself as a tech geek and life-long learner. Educator and researcher Bonnie Stewart has really carved a niche for herself, writing about a topic she's spent 15 years dissecting: the intersections of knowledge and technology. Penned exclusively by Mike Richwalsky, the executive director of creative services and e-marketing at John Carroll University in Ohio, this eight-year-old blog chronicles Richwalsky’s experiences with web development, the cloud and more. Ed-tech specialist Stephen Downes has spent more than 25 years in the field and currently works for the National Research Council of Canada. The Digital Bodies blog explores the ways wearables and immersive technologies will reshape education and media. An excellent resource for technology tips, the EmergingEdTech blog is devoted to inspiring educators and improving outcomes for students through gamification, adaptive learning technologies and more.
Educators who follow this eight-year-old blog stay in-the-know about all things education technology.
Educator and e-learning consultant Michael Feldstein manages this blog, which is written by authors handpicked from the ed-tech field. Guided by a belief in openness, the staff of the Duke Center for Instructional Technology uses their blog to discussion higher ed innovations such as massive open online courses, active learning techniques and Big Data. Social media monitoring and metrics are hot topics on the Gross, Point-Blank blog, but higher ed researcher and marketing expert Liz Gross also posts about everything from professional development to student-faculty interactions via texting.
Based out of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, the members of the Educational Technology department hope to give faculty and staff the tools and guidance they need to better serve students by integrating technology into classroom instruction. Another ed-tech resource born out of Ohio, the OH-TECH blog from the Ohio Technology Consortium details the innovations that are sweeping college and university campuses.
The Higher Ed Growth blog takes a big-picture look at the ways technology changes education. Published by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, this blog dives into the technical details of Microsoft Windows 10, HP office printers and other tools found on college campuses across the country. The bloggers over at the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) write about the policies and best practices surrounding technology-enhanced learning. Helmed by a trio of educators at York St John University in the United Kingdom, Technology Enhanced Learning tells higher ed faculty exactly what they need to know to get the most out of new classroom tools. David Hopkins may work as an eLearning Consultant at Warwick Business School over in the United Kingdom, but his observations about MOOCs and the ever-changing role of learning technologists are valuable around the globe. Written by members of the Information and Technology Services department at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, this three-year-old blog offers a peek at technology initiatives at the college and offers quick, easy-to-digest tech tips that higher ed faculty will just eat up.
A whole team of higher ed experts contribute to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog.
A resource for both higher ed students and faculty, the UW Bothell Learning Technologies Blog is all about technology integration and education innovations. The blogging team over at the Rutgers University Office of Instructional & Research Technology dishes campus tech news, as well as insights into ed-tech trends and tips aimed at helping IT managers at large universities.
All part of the technology team at Falmouth University in the United Kingdom, these passionate bloggers offer lessons learned from the many IT projects they've attempted at Falmouth.
Tips and how-to articles compose the bulk of the content found on TechDecisions, which means this multi-contributor blog is a great resource for higher ed IT professionals looking for guidance on digital signage, 3D printing, automation and more. Published by Loyola University Chicago, the Academic Tech Tips blog explores the capabilities of emerging technologies, walks readers through how-to explanations for today’s teaching tools and offers recommendations for classroom implementation. The recent rise of coding bootcamps brought with it plenty of new programming resources for educators, but researcher Neil Brown has been writing about the topic for years.
George Siemens, of Athabasca University in Canada, writes about the successes and challenges experienced by today’s digital universities. Top Hat may be a branded blog, but its coverage extends well beyond the company’s offerings: It offers ed-tech trend pieces and how-to articles designed to help educators improve student engagement in both K-12 and higher ed. When he’s not busy working as a senior instructional designer at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., Daniel Christian offers his own spin on the latest technology and education news. Professor and author Rey Junco sees first-hand how technology impacts today’s college students, but his in-depth research into subjects such as predictive learning outcomes and social media makes his blog an even more penetrating resource for educators. Openness, openness, openness: That’s the focus of The Ed Techie, a ten-year-old blog penned by author and professor of educational technology Martin Weller. Wondering how to design sticky MOOCs or how artificial intelligence will impact student outcomes? Training and professional development are essential to higher ed technology initiatives, and few people knows that better than Laura A.
An associate professor of information and communication technologies at the University of Regina in Canada, Dr.
As the name suggests, the NspireD2 blog aims to inspire higher ed faculty, staff and students to better integrate technology into everyday teaching and learning.
Higher education is in a uniquely vulnerable spot when it comes to ransomware, according to a recent report. Frank is a social media journalist for the CDW family of technology magazine websites. Thursday is World Backup Day, and attention across the globe is focused on how a solid storage plan can pay dividends in the event of disaster. The event, first held in 2011, is aimed at getting agencies, businesses and individuals to back up their files, as well as highlighting common ways data can be lost and options to back it up. Recently, hackers have been profiting from crypto-ransomware attacks — an exploit that silently locks down a server's data through high-level encryption, giving hackers the keys to the digital kingdom. In a March article in The Wall Street Journal, Chris Stangl with the FBI’s Cyber Division, referred to ransomware as “a prevalent, increasing threat.” Ransomware can infect data systems through a variety of vectors, but one of the more popular methods is through malware in email. Higher education institutions have become particularly vulnerable to “spear phishing,” where hackers disguise malicious e-mails with text that is personalized or in some way looks legitimate, according to the Beazley Breach Insights 2016 report.
In March, several Portland State University students fell victim to ransomware attacks after an email containing a virus was sent to hundreds of students over spring break, according to TV station KGW. The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports that these ransom fees can range from $200 to $10,000. Doug Jacobson, director of Iowa State University's Information Assurance Center, wrote a column for the Des Moines Register this month, addressing ransomware and how to very simply protect against attacks on data systems. However, Jacobson notes that certain ransomware attacks can detect backups and infect them with encryption malware as well, so it's best to store such backups in an offline device.

Perform regular backups of all critical information to limit the impact of data or system loss and to help expedite the recovery process. Emerging cybercrime trends, such as malvertising and ransomware, are creating significant challenges for school and district IT staff. For as long as there have been Internet users, there have been Internet abusers: cybercriminals who are out to steal victims’ information through any means possible. While the years have taught us that we probably shouldn’t hand over our bank account info to a questionable Nigerian prince, no amount of experience can prepare us for the overwhelming number of malware attacks seen today. Kaspersky Lab reports that over the course of 2015, more than 34 percent of users’ computers fell victim to one or more web attacks.
In other words, the threat landscape is not looking good — especially for schools, which have a large number of end users who are inexperienced in the ways of cybersecurity. Some Blackboard Learning users, for example, were targeted by a clever phishing scheme that asked them to click a link in the body of the email in order to unlock time-sensitive messages from their faculty administrator. Web-based attacks, such as malvertising, are also inducing major headaches among K–12 IT staff. What’s even scarier is that these attacks are becoming more pervasive: RiskIQ reports that the number of malicious ads jumped 260 percent between the first half of 2014 and the same period in 2015.
According to CNN Money, Horry County School District lived this nightmare in February, when administrators and IT staff had to decide whether to pay $10,000 worth of Bitcoins to hackers who were holding their files hostage. While the threat of ransomware is daunting, K–12 IT professionals can help close the door on attacks by making sure that school and district computers use only the latest versions of major browsers, which have controls designed to block malware. Beyond those basic defense tactics, schools and districts can choose to undergo a third-party security risk assessment to detect system vulnerabilities. This article is part of the Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology series.
A blogger is helping educators understand how to navigate the redesigned cloud storage service. Hundreds of schools have taken the plunge into Google's Software as a Service solution: Google Apps for Education. But since Drive has become an integral part of many educators' lives, navigating the redesigned service can be disorienting. Kasey Bell, the writer of Shake Up Learning, put together the how-to for Drive shortly after the service’s relaunch. Sales of the low-cost notebook running its Chrome OS dominate among notebooks and tablets, according to the search giant.
An upcoming report from IT industry analyst IDC pegs Chromebooks as the best-selling device in the market for K–12 tablets and notebooks this year, Google announced Monday in a blog post.
The search engine giant has made bold strides to secure the Chromebook's position in the world of K–12 technology. Chromebooks appeal to K–12 districts for a variety of reasons, including how quickly they can be set up, which simplifies the challenge of having a limited IT staff managing multiple devices. The company also has been making headway in the higher education side of the business through marketing efforts like the Chromebook lending library, which allows college students to rent a Chromebook from on-campus kiosks for a few days, free of charge. Oregon State University’s Alan Sprague says performance bottlenecks have all but disappeared since his team implemented software-defined storage. Jennifer Zaino is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in business and technology journalism. When unexpectedly heavy use of the virtual desktop infrastructure outgrew existing local storage capabilities at Oregon State University’s College of Business, Engineer–Systems Administrator Alan Sprague had an idea: What about software-defined storage (SDS)? His team chose VMware’s Virtual SAN (VSAN) solution, which Sprague says he appreciates for the fact that the storage layer’s capabilities exist within the kernel for the VMware ESXi hypervisor.
Some other SDS solutions enable access to storage management capabilities from within vCenter, but as a separate interface, which he doesn’t prefer. Software-defined storage is gaining followers across every industry, including higher education.
A component of the software-defined data center, SDS essentially abstracts storage management from physical hardware. Educational and similarly sized enterprise environments tended to adopt the open-source technologies related to SDS first.
IT leaders feel “there needs to be an alternative in the way that storage is managed and deployed,” Robinson says.
Oregon’s Sprague says one of the most appealing features of VSAN is that he can use a variety of storage hardware devices from many manufacturers — his team just drops them in and they work. Given the Biodesign Institute’s specialization in bioinformatics and other biomedical research — and the many new scientific machines pulling related data into its storage infrastructure — such flexibility is hugely important. The solution also supports thin provisioning for virtual disks, eliminating the need to dedicate full capacity to each center upfront, while still ensuring that each center will get the capacity it needs when it actually needs it. A lot of obstacles can be overcome in the SDS approach, which is well suited to scaling out. At the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Ryan appreciates the fact that its SDS deployment makes it possible to configure for optimal data redundancy. Software-defined storage delivers many advantages, but a few university IT leaders advise their peers to keep an eye out for some challenges.
Proper configuration at the start of implementing an open-source SDS system was critical to steering clear of risks such as data loss, says Paul McKimmy, director of technology and distance programs at the College of Education, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
Oregon State’s Alan Sprague notes that institutions that plan to repurpose drives to work with VMware’s VSAN should low-level format them first to ensure the system doesn’t mark them as part of an existing storage array and, therefore, not applicable for use in the virtual SAN. Simon Robinson, research vice president with 451 Research, says IT leaders must ensure that the vendors they speak to really offer SDS and aren’t just repackaging existing solutions under that name. While it is possible to leverage less expensive storage hardware in most SDS environments, Robinson cautions against replacing the most high-end enterprise storage hardware with the “cheapest drives out there and expect to get the same level of performance, resiliency and availability. Studies not only result in new technologies for the classroom, but also provide more information on the effects existing technologies have on student performance.
Recent studies have focused on the correlation between technology access, computer literacy and student achievement. It offers suggestions for addressing computer and digital literacy to help students learn to use technology effectively.
In order to prepare for technology-based assessments, schools must be equipped with the appropriate technological infrastructures for administering those assessments.
Research is focused on providing students with new ways to access important STEM concepts and also build their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Conducting relevant, self-planned research helped students gain a better understanding of scientific principles and the scientific process as a whole.
Using a basic gameplay, students interact with laws of physics and a changing speed of light to help bring a realistic component to a complex subject. Studies such as this provide insight into how technology will look in the future and offer  a glimpse of the skills students will need to conduct their own future research or interact with this technology. And in today’s world, that means outfitting students and teachers with the right set of resources. And although tablets, Chromebooks, charging stations and document projectors all made the final cut, Landeck particularly praised the audio distribution system that the district installed in each classroom.
Be sure to grab a Must-Read IT Blog badge and give your site an award for this momentous achievement! He publishes his writings far and wide, but always leaves valuable insights for his blog, which covers open education, testing, higher ed staffing and more.
His blog covers the Orlando, Fla., technology scene, device- and app-specific advice and more. David Wiley believes open educational resources have the power to create measurable improvements in student learning outcomes. Earning EdTech honors for the fourth year in a row, he writes about online learning and the connectivist learning theory on his decades-old blog. It's penned by Maya Georgieva, an ed-tech strategist and author, and Emory Craig, the director of eLearning and Instructional technologies at the College of New Rochelle in New York. The staff members at Xavier University of Louisiana keep it updated with timely blog posts and brief, informative podcasts. Posts come at a regular clip on e-Literate and tackle the challenges facing the industry, often reminding readers of alternative perspectives. Read about hot topics such as the Internet of Things, plus online courses, denial of service attacks and more. Its focus on admissions means higher ed administrators will find this site particularly useful, but its articles on ed-tech trends should also appeal to the IT crowd. That means readers are treated to fresh, varied content related to classroom tools, open education, social media and more. Check here for the blogging team’s thoughts on open education resources, competency-based courses, gamification and more.

His Academic Computing blog is a go-to destination for learning about how coding is taught today.
He particularly focuses on online and blended learning and advocates for the development of an open platform for data and analytics in education. As both a lecturer and Google Certified Teacher and Trainer at the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, she knows the ins and outs of technology integration and is happy to share her tips with the higher ed crowd. Page through Learning Ecosystems to get your fill of artificial intelligence, education reform, cognitive computing and more. She’s an excellent resource for higher ed administrators interested in distance learning and instructional design. Head here to learn about research questions related to open education resources, the types of OER users, challenges to openness and more.. Head to Donald Clark’s Plan B blog for tips and insights from this ed tech entrepreneur, advisor and investor. Alec Couros writes about developing a framework for teaching open courses, building blended course environments, securing digital identities and more. It’s written by Chris Clark, the assistant director and learning technology lab coordinator at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
Backups are the first defense against such an attack; being unprepared could cost thousands of dollars.
One student had his computer locked down by the attack, leaving his dissertation paper inaccessible until a $600 ransom payment was received.
In 2015, the FBI received 2,453 ransomware complaints, with victims paying out $24.1 million, according to the Washington Post. I know everyone tells you to back up your computer, but when I ask people if they do it, about half say yes," Jacobson says. Ideally, this data should be kept on a separate device, and backups should be stored offline. Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks. For information on safely handling email attachments, see Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams. A Trend Micro article from March claims the company blocked upwards of 52 billion attacks last year. The massive amount of student data maintained by schools and districts presents itself as a prime target for cybercriminals who have a variety of web- and email-based attacks at their disposal. The malicious URL likely installed malware that would then spread to other computers on the network. And according to a recent Computerworld article, some cybercriminals have learned to shield their malvertisements from the probing eyes of ad networks and security professionals out to thwart their schemes. Cybercriminals are using this increasingly popular form of attack to deliver ransomware to victims’ computers. In the end, the South Carolina district chose to pony up the money, which may seem like the wrong move but is actually the FBI’s recommended course of action in these situations. IT professionals can then team up with experienced technology partners who have the skills and resources to plug security holes and provide school administrators, staff and students with some much-appreciated peace of mind. So when the search engine giant makes sweeping design changes to one of its many software components, teachers often need a primer for the basics. Teachers use Drive to store files and collaborate with other educators, making changes to documents on the fly. Thankfully, one of EdTech: Focus on K–12's top bloggers of 2014 created a handy cheat sheet to navigating Google Drive.
It is not a comprehensive guide to the changes in Google Drive, but mean to be a quick cheat sheet for new users who are just getting acquainted with this suite of cloud-based tools," Bell wrote on her blog. Hundreds of school districts across the country have adopted the low-cost notebook for one-to-one device initiatives. The fall 2014 issue of EdTech: Focus on K–12 features an article on the lessons that school leaders have learned from their Chromebook rollouts. In October, Google announced that more than 40 million teachers, students and administrators around the world now use Google Apps for Education, the company's curated lineup of education-focused products. The cloud-based organizer helps to streamline the flow of assignments between teachers and students, using features from other native Google apps such as Gmail and Sheets.
Her work appears in publications including The Semantic Web Blog, RFID Journal, Smart Enterprise Exchange, and more. There was no money in the budget to invest in adding a physical storage area network, but a virtual SAN cluster that would absorb those existing drives and balance workloads for optimal performance could be accommodated.
With VSAN in place, Sprague’s worries about whether workloads are spun across the right drives and correctly balanced are gone.
IDC has reported that sales of traditional stand-alone systems could decline 13 percent through 2018 while sales of new system technologies — defined as all-flash, hyperconverged and software-defined — could grow by 22 percent. It presents educational institutions and other organizations with the chance to simplify disparate storage infrastructures — leveraging shared resource pooling and automated ­management, often in conjunction with commodity hardware — while gaining efficiency, agility and cost savings in the process.
Today, SDS manifests itself in everything from pure software-defined solutions for heterogeneous storage systems (such as VSAN), to hyperconvergence appliances using industry-standard components whose value lies primarily in their SDS capability.
At the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the university’s first interdisciplinary research institute, Scott LeComte, associate director of IT, enjoys similar capability with its DataCore SANsymphony-V SDS solution. The institute comprises about a dozen research centers, and storage has been segmented so that each center gets its own volume for easier management. Adding capacity merely entails buying an extra node, adding it to a cluster and rebalancing data across that cluster. Its cluster lives across three individual servers, each with 12 spinning disks and three solid-state disks attached, for what amounts to triple replication.
A truly centralized, software-­defined campus, according to the survey, could lead to benefits that include increased operational efficiency, improved continuity of operations, greater security and decreased operating and capital expenditures. Proper planning also helped McKimmy’s team enjoy the advantages of better documenting and management of storage resources down the line. Findings for helping educators use technology to meet students’ needs and helping schools develop an infrastructure to support future technology are also included. Students must also be able to navigate the systems effectively to avoid being at a disadvantage when it comes time to take the test. By making the code available to game developers, the study encourages other developers to create more games to benefit learners and help them understand some of the more complex areas of scientific research. You can also bookmark this list as a launch pad for exploring new content on these blogs as they amass even more great posts throughout the year.
Ben Williamson at the helm, it covers everything from the data analytics in education policy to life in innovation labs. That's why he has not only devoted his blog to the subject but also co-founded Lumen Learning, an organization that aims to realize the potential of OER. The members of the IT team at this Mississippi institution offer a model for how their peers can better handle web accessibility, Big Data and other challenges.
She worked in academia for nearly a decade before arriving at the University of North Texas College of Information..
As a former educator and literacy and curriculum specialist, she serves as the voice of the educator, providing districts with firsthand knowledge and expertise about the impact technology can have in the classroom. And Dell’s annual threat report states that from 2014 to 2015, there was a 73 percent jump in unique malware samples. After spreading through the local network, ransomware can encrypt a school’s files and require a hefty payment in return for their release. According to a July survey by Gartner, 85 percent of Chromebooks sold are used in education.
Front-end SDS layers have close ties to established storage players’ high-end hardware solutions. Multicampus colleges that opt for hyperconverged appliances with built-in compute, network and storage resources, as well as SDS technology, can simply repeat those deployments across all their locations — and they won’t require storage experts onsite in each one. Because the college didn’t have a software-defined storage expert on staff, the IT team brought in a systems integrator to aid with the initial configuration.
Researchers found that schools with a 1:1 student-computer ratio and those that met other key components had higher levels of achievement, leading to questions about how schools should refine their current technology programs to experience similar levels of success.
The concept has also extended to running some vendors’ storage services on public clouds in order to provide consistent experiences across public, private and hybrid cloud settings.

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