Doug Levin

The State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2019 Year in Review

Doug Levin

Cross-posted at the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center: [link].

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Beyond Badges: Why Personalized Learning Advocates Need to Care about Blockchain

Doug Levin

Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart has argued that “ parent-managed learner profiles ” will by key to both enabling and scaling personalization in education.

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The State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2018 Year in Review

Doug Levin

Cross-posted at the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center: [link]. Public schools are relying on technology for teaching, learning, and school operations like never before. Yet, with the embrace of technology, K-12 cybersecurity incidents are growing both more common and more significant.

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Does Ownership of Instructional Materials Matter?

Doug Levin

If technology doesn’t disrupt the very notion of the textbook first, its future is surely digital.

Need Remote Learning NOW? Get Online Quickly & Easily With This Can’t-Miss Guide

Picking the wrong LMS can cost you. Don’t settle for a disconnected, hard-to-use, expensive system that doesn’t meet your needs. Follow these 12 steps crafted by Lambda Solutions' LMS experts, and find your perfect eLearning solution!

A Thinking Person’s Guide to EdTech News (2017 Week 35 Edition)

Doug Levin

Two news stories this week have turned my attention (again) to the issue of conflict of interest in education, technology, and public policy.

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Citizen Science, Crowdsourcing, Gamification and Cryptocurrency, Oh My!

Doug Levin

While I’d be the first to admit that there are both benefits and challenges to the fact that increasingly powerful technology tools are becoming ever more commonplace in our lives (in and out of schools), by and large I am decidedly optimistic about the long-term impact these new tools will have for individuals and society. For that reason, I am excited that this coming week the White House is set to shine a deserved light on one domain where the benefits of abundant access to powerful technology tools are most clear: citizen science. Coupled with the power of crowdsourcing , citizen science educates, engages, and empowers the public to apply their curiosity and talents to a wide range of real-world problems. The scope and variety of projects that students, educators, and other individuals can participate in is large and growing – and is leading to scientific breakthroughs that help us better understand the natural world , cure disease , and understand the complex systems that make up our natural and social world (with applications like climate and weather prediction ). In an interesting twist, some of these projects are even pursuing gamification strategies to attract and engage new citizen scientists in their efforts. While it may seem daunting to get involved, I’ve recently joined a few select projects via an open source distributed computing (middleware) platform originally developed at the University of California at Berkeley called BOINC. BOINC offers to “use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research.” It is a truly a one-stop resource for dipping your toes in this exciting space, with a variety of scientific endeavors from which to choose.*. One side benefit – for me – to conducting citizen science via BOINC has been the opportunity to learn more about cryptocurrency (i.e., Bitcoin and the dozens of other ‘altcoin’ variations) and the blockchain technology on which cryptocurrency relies. How so? In an interesting twist to gamification, individuals who donate computing time to BOINC are rewarded not only with points (each project highlights its most active users, who can compete with each other within and across projects – see, e.g., this F ormula 1 themed competition ) but also with the opportunity to earn Gridcoin.** It is an elegant idea: incentivize individuals to conduct citizen science by rewarding them with virtual currency that could be traded for fiat money. Points are fun, but they’ve got nothing on cash. *. So, should you have an interest in learning more about citizen science, crowdsourcing, gamification (and maybe even cryptocurrency, oh my!), be sure to tune in to “ Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People ,” a live-webcast forum hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Domestic Policy Council on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 from 8 AM-12 PM EDT. At that time, go to wh.gov/live to follow the livestream of the forum. You can participate by sending in your thoughts, comments, and questions to @WhiteHouseOSTP using the hashtag #WHCitSci. * Of course, if you are using a school’s or other employer’s equipment and electricity to run a citizen science distributed computing project, you’d do well to get permission first and not do silly things. ** Linking one’s BOINC account to the Gridcoin network does require some technical know-how, is not particularly well-documented at present, and subject to change as Gridcoin remains under active development. Some resources for those interested in learning more: Gridcoin , Gridcoin wiki , Gridcoin forum , and Gridcoin subreddit. A modest kickstarter project (“ PiGrid “) just launched to help make the BOINC-Gridcoin integration more seamless. While the story about Bitcoin (or altcoins, like Gridcoin) and their relationship to ‘real’ money is still being written – with plenty of naysayers , skeptics , and shady characters involved – I’m hardly the only one to observe that there is something going on here that’s significant. Virtual currency is already widely in use and accepted. Think about the way we earn frequent flier miles and trade those not only for flights, but hotel room nights, merchandise, gift cards, and even cash. Gold farmers and sellers have long been both a boon and pox to video game players and developers – with plenty of real world consequences for participants. The vast majority of my money is sitting in my bank’s database, and I use credit cards for most purchases. I hardly ever use physical (“dollars and cents”) money. It seems to me that the real and virtual worlds of money are already intertwined too much to be unwound. * For the record, don’t take me to say that Gridcoin is easily tradeable for or the equivalent of cash at present, is worth particularly much (or anything), or that I am offering investment advice. If you are intrigued about speculating your hard earned money in any potential long-term upside in cryptocurrency, you’d do well to read the classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds. The post Citizen Science, Crowdsourcing, Gamification and Cryptocurrency, Oh My! appeared first on Doug Levin | EdTech Strategies. Blog Distributed Computing Gamification Trends Bitcoin Blockchain BOINC Citizen science cryptocurrency GRC Gridcoin White House

Three Things to Know about the New Title IV SSAEG Program Guidance

Doug Levin

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant (SSAEG) program (as authorized by Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act ).

IRS Official to Schools: “One of the Most Dangerous Email Phishing Scams We’ve Seen”

Doug Levin

“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns.

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Study: One-to-One Laptop Programs Improve Student Learning

Doug Levin

Newly published, peer-reviewed research out of Michigan State University and the University of California, Irvine suggests that one-to-one laptop programs improve student academic achievement in K-12 classrooms. The primary author of the study ( Binbin Zheng, Ph.D.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

This Evening’s Homework Requires the Use of the Internet

Doug Levin

A new study conducted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation , the Family Online Safety Institute , and myCollegeOptions (with data collected in March 2015) suggests that the use of technology and the internet is commonplace in the American high school experience: 98.5%

10 Things To Know about the Future of Blockchain in Education

Doug Levin

I recently availed myself of the chance to join and learn from many of the leading innovators and thinkers in the emerging blockchain industry at the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s DC Blockchain Summit 2016 , which billed itself (accurately, I think) as “a dialogue at the intersection of industry, regulation, and innovation.” The event had a strong financial services theme, although I met audience members engaged in a wider array of fields (including healthcare and social media). Given the growing interest in the topic and recent blockchain-related announcements specific to education by organizations such as Sony , MIT Media Lab , and the Holberton School – to say nothing of the visions advanced by BadgeChain , the KnowledgeWorks Foundation , and Learning is Earning 2026 – I thought it might spur some interesting dialogue if I took the time to share my current musings on the topic. To that end (and based on my DC Blockchain Summit experience), here is my current list of the top 10 things to know about the future of blockchain in education. One , with the release of a new book ( BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTION: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World ) from Don and (his son) Alex Tapscott coming in May 2016 focused exclusively on the potential of blockchain, expect to hear much more about the technology in the popular press. Both Don and Alex spoke eloquently at the Blockchain Summit about the topic, and while the Tapscott’s are decidedly optimistic about the technology’s present and future, I also was struck by their calls to ensure that the technology is implemented in ways that generate positive social benefit, most especially for those who are currently disenfranchised in this country and around the globe. I am eagerly awaiting the chance to read the book. Two , Bitcoin serves as the most prominent proof-of-concept that blockchain technology can work. Currently, over $6 billion in value is stored in the Bitcoin blockchain, which itself is secured by roughly 7,000 nodes (individual computers simultaneously connected via the internet to the Bitcoin blockchain) distributed across the world (according to current estimates by Bitnodes ). However, Bitcoin is not synonymous with blockchain, nor is it even necessarily the best example or tool for every blockchain application. In fact, there is tremendous innovation in the blockchain field right now, with numerous entrepreneurs and technologists piloting enhancements to the Bitcoin blockchain. This continuing innovation is particularly important, because some of the technical and governance challenges facing the Bitcoin blockchain are real doozies. Three , blockchain technology is – at its core – a federated, cloud-based database. Unlike other databases with which you may be familiar, a blockchain database preserves the history of every change ever made, is fault tolerant, encrypted, and immutable. Multiple parties are required to approve changes, while unauthorized changes (and hacks) are rejected. It is these key features that together provide the trust in the database (whether it exists on the public interent or on a private intranet) that leads people to see it as a mechanism to store and transfer goods and information of value. As the hype picks up and new exciting names and edu-brands get bandied about, never forget: blockchain is just a (special) database. Four , there are pros and cons to building applications on top of public (permissionless) blockchains, like Bitcoin. Chief among the benefits are the number of nodes already working to maintain and secure the blockchain. (This is one of the features of this technology and why a public blockchain like Bitcoin’s can actually be more secure than a database on a private server). Cons of public blockchains are likely to include the fact that most were not designed to support third-party applications as their main use case and therefore may not be optimized for their use and/or hold out the possibility of forking in ways that break third-party applications at some point in the future. Public blockchains – from the perspective of public institutions like schools – also bring with them the baggage of their main use case (which for many is as a virtual currency). Moreover, I’d be surprised if many schools would be willing to associate themselves in any way with some of the unsavory characters of the crypto-currency world. It is for all these reasons that many of the experts at the Blockchain Summit predicted that companies and institutions new to blockchain would first deploy private (permissioned) blockchains , at least until they are more comfortable with the technology. While private blockchains require custom development and a commitment to navigating the security requirements (including ensuring the availability of a sufficient number of distributed, always-on nodes), they can be built specifically to suit their primary use cases. Five , given the fact that public policy regimes (regulations and laws) are routinely challenged by the introduction of new technologies, some will be interested in tracking the development and implementation of blockchain-related policy in DC and the states (and around the world). The good news is that there are two organizations already dedicated to that very task: The Coin Center , a non-profit research and advocacy center focused on the public policy issues facing cryptocurrency technologies such as Bitcoin; and, The Chamber of Digital Commerce , the first Washington, DC-based trade association representing the digital asset industry. For what it may be worth, I’ve also seen (very) occasional pieces on blockchain-related topics from the big think tanks (including Brookings, Cato, and New America). Expect more to come as the technology implementation matures. Six , for those that are tech-savvy and interested in learning more about the technology underlying blockchains or even in deploying it yourself, it is now easier than ever. Here are some easy ways to get started: Get involved with the open source Hyperledger Project. Administered by the Linux Foundation , the project “is a collaborative effort created to advance blockchain technology by identifying and addressing important features for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers that can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally.” Spin up a test blockchain network in one click (after registration) via IBM Bluemix. IBM appears to be positioning itself as a major player in the design and deployment of enterprise blockchain technology. Download and run one of the many ( literally hundreds ) of altcoin nodes, such as Ethereum (optimized for ‘smart contracts’), or the socially-conscious Gridcoin or Curecoin (which – in different ways – encourage users to devote computing resources to computationally-intense science projects while they secure their blockchains). Many of these altcoins maintain a robust user community that would provide an entry into the wider world of blockchain technology. (In full disclosure: I’ve been running a node on the Gridcoin network myself for the greater part of a year and it has greatly helped increase my understanding of the underlying technology. If the value of Gridcoin rose to be worth what Bitcoin is worth, I could buy a whole lot of nice things. Also, I’ve heard pigs might someday fly. I am not offering investment advice, I am not pumping Gridcoin, and I am not encouraging you to be silly with your money. Spend a little time/money, learn a lot.). If you are ready to pull the trigger on your own education blockchain application and are daunted by the prospect of building and maintaining it yourself, you can even hire people (like IBM or these guys or maybe these guys ) to help you design and deploy your own private blockchain. Just note that most everyone is focused first on financial services use cases. Seven , beyond understanding at least in a general way how the distributed database technology that powers blockchain works, it is important to understand the general types of problems facing institutions (like schools) that blockchains appear to be good at solving. According to IBM, these include: eliminating paperwork. updating/re-engineering (“extinguishing antiquated”) processes. creating transparency. So, while we can imagine ways to disrupt and disintermediate schools via blockchain (each with various non-trivial policy/regulatory and social challenges to overcome), the most likely scenarios to take root (in my opinion) will be those that allow schools to be more efficient and responsive. This parallels how it appears to me that blockchain is playing out in the financial services sector: as near as I can tell, global banks and stock exchanges are not dumping their assets to buy Bitcoin (or deploy Bitcoin-based services), they are deploying blockchain technology to make their current offerings better and more efficient. Eight , understand where blockchain technology seems to be getting traction (or has clear or potentially promising use cases): the transfer of money (i.e., remittance) , including the buying and selling of products; holding title in property (or other assets) ; voting ; identity management ; and. smart contracts. What big categories of use cases did I miss? Nine , given all this, let’s call the question: what are the most likely scenarios for big implementations of blockchain in education? Is it likely to be this (seemingly) benevolent, disruptive future for education and the workforce imagined by the ACT Foundation and the Institute for the Future ? Or, are solutions more likely to focus on re-engineering ponderous bureaucratic ‘back-office’ operations (where Blythe Masters, late of JP Morgan Chase, argues the opportunity is – along with representatives of IBM, NASDAQ and others I heard on stage at the DC Blockchain Summit)? As I think about big, paperwork-laden problems in the education sector that are ripe for re-invention, these are some that come to mind (from an admittedly U.S. K-12 perspective): Student transcript/degree/test score/record validation and transfer, including those associated with college admissions. Student mobility within and across states is a big issue. Consider, too, international students interested in studying in the U.S. (or U.S. students interested in studying abroad). Lots of paperwork, existing databases, and challenges that blockchain could streamline. (And, at the risk of kicking a hornet’s nest of sorts, I’d set badges , enhanced student records , credit for informal learning, and the connection to workforce participation aside. There are other issues facing those ideas gaining traction that have nothing to do with blockchain technology, and I think much headway could be made with ‘traditional’ student records management without cutting off innovation for the future). Educator credentialing/certification/re-certification (including across state and national lines). Given issues with tracking teacher background checks you could deal with that, too. Management and tracking of school assets (like property, buses, furniture, textbooks, library books/journals, and technology). Schools lose track of things – all the time. If we want to push this use case out even further, school assets on an education blockchain could even be insured via smart contracts. Management of student privacy and parental opt in/opt out permissions. Given efforts to manage identity on the blockchain, it is conceivable that such a system could provide parents (and students themselves, when they are of age or as appropriate) with much more fine-grained control of who and under what circumstances their information is shared (and only what is necessary to share). Anyone who thinks the current state-of-the-art is working well just isn’t paying attention. Lots of upside. Management of special education/school lunch/attendance records. Ok, I get that this is a grab bag of ideas, but they share certain characteristics: each of these issues involves a huge amount of paperwork, that passes through many hands, that begs to be streamlined and made more efficient. Distribution of federal/state programmatic funds or private grants. The benefits of distributing funds this way is that they would be easily and immediately auditable and could allow funders to target their support to needy populations directly with a much slimmed down bureaucracy. Done right, it could even help slay the ‘waste, fraud, and abuse’ dragon. Distribution and payment of student loans , including support for various repayment schemes via smart contracts. There are dozens of big ideas to pursue for education blockchains that would serve to make education institutions more transparent, more efficient, and more responsive. Oh, and here’s the real kicker for blockchain boosters: there is zero reason for most of the people involved in these process improvements – from policymakers to administrators to those on the front lines – to ever know they are running blockchain technology. They used to do work in one set of databases. Some day they will do new work in another set of better databases. As people transition from one to the other, they will even run shadow databases/blockchains to ensure that the transition from old to new functions as expected. Ten , most of the current focus of blockchain is on building and transferring value. It is predominantly a financial services industry product, growing as it has from the success of Bitcoin as a currency/asset. However, if this technology is to serve social good, save taxpayer dollars, and help us better focus resources on improving outcomes for students, it will have to be by design. It is conceivable that blockchain technology could be deployed in ways that decrease privacy, increase government oversight and regulation of schools and learning, either reify or introduce new modes of structural discrimination, and cost taxpayers not less but more money to operate schools. That is a scary prospect and one for which we all will need to hold education policymakers accountable. One place to start is in better understanding this new technology. There are fascinating and powerful ideas underlying this technology. I fully expect to continue tracking its evolution and implementation across sectors – and hope to be able to remain engaged directly in its application in education. So, please share your ideas and questions by leaving a comment below. Expect future posts from me as new ideas and issues arise. Personally, I remain optimistic and can’t wait to see where we will take it. The post 10 Things To Know about the Future of Blockchain in Education appeared first on EdTech Strategies. Blog Credentialing Distributed Computing Trends #DCSummit Alex Tapscott Badges Bitcoin Blockchain Chamber of Digital Commerce Coin Center Curecoin Don Tapscott Ethereum Gridcoin Hyperledger Project IBM

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The EdTech Trends You Might Be Missing

Doug Levin

Most mornings, over a cup of coffee, I do my daily reading of news about trends and issues related to education and technology – a practice I have more or less followed for at least the past 20 years.

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Confused about what ‘Open’ Means in Education? Inconceivable!

Doug Levin

I’ve established that I am a fan of open educational resources (OER) and think that K-12 educators and policymakers would benefit from thinking more deeply about the ownership of instructional materials.

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EdTech at School

This E-book is designed to support educators with case studies of education technology use at school.

Why Are We Biased Against Games for Learning?

Doug Levin

The topic of games for learning is garnering more widespread attention than it ever has, thanks in no small part to high-profile evangelism from folks as prominent as those at the White House and U.S.

How Should We Address the Cybersecurity Threats Facing K-12 Schools?

Doug Levin

Thanks to my invited participation in the National Governors Association regional summit, Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge , I thought I’d take the opportunity to briefly share my perspective on the high-level cybersecurity challenges facing K-12 schools, why it is an important issue (for schools and government), and what should be done about it. In so doing, I will endeavor to distinguish information technology security concerns from privacy issues, as well as from the broader security threats that may exist to students, school staff, and facilities. In general, there are a range of potential cybersecurity threats facing K-12 schools specifically, driven by motivations to: disrupt school operations; harm or otherwise take advantage of individuals associated with schools; and. disable, compromise, and/or re-direct school technology assets. Information technology vulnerabilities can be exploited by actors wholly external to schools (the prototypical online ‘hacker’), as well as by those internal to/associated with specific schools (including by school staff, students, families, and local community members). A few (non-exhaustive) examples of each class of threat may be instructive: Attacks to Disrupt School Operations. While disruptions to school operations can take many forms, in its most extreme form it can involve the complete lockdown of a school’s information technology assets, sometimes by external actors motivated by financial gain. Indeed, news reports document that school districts across the country – including Spring Lake Park Schools (MN) , Bigfork Public Schools (MT) , Horry County Schools (SC) , Rhinebeck Central School District (NY) , and Swedesboro-Woolwich School District (NJ) – have been victimized by ransomware attacks. Another common vector of disruptions to school operations – sometimes motivated by those more closely associated with schools – can be found in denial-of-service attacks on school districts or their vendors. Again, news reports of school districts and school vendors victimized by these attacks are not difficulty to find and include: West Ada School District (ID) , multiple school districts near Murrysville (PA) , and schools across the state of Virginia among many others. One final example of disruptions to school operations via exploiting information technology vulnerabilities involves the ‘defacement’ of school websites, such as happened, e.g., in Oklahoma City and Wilmington (MA) Public Schools. While these disruptions have real-world implications for schools, they do not necessarily involve a breach or unauthorized disclosure of school data or records. Nonetheless, to the degree K-12 schools rely on the internet and online tools and services for their daily operations, disruptions of school operations must be assessed as a threat. Attacks on Individuals in Schools. These attacks are perpetrated via vulnerabilities in school information technology systems (whether hosted locally or ‘in the cloud’ by vendors) and via lax security practices and (increasingly) social engineering of school staff, vendors, and students. Designed to harm, embarrass, and otherwise take advantage of individuals, this type of cybersecurity exploit results in the unauthorized disclosure of data about students, families, and school staff and represents a core threat to the trust that public schools are granted by their local communities. While legal experts debate the standards for legal liability for the harm caused by data breaches and what constitutes ‘personal’ data worthy of special protections , there are clear examples of significant issues of this type. For instance, as I’ve extensively documented , dozens of school districts have been victimized in 2017 alone by email scammers seeking W-2 tax forms via phishing attacks. Identity theft of children and youth – brought on by school data breaches and hacks – can be even more devastating. There are also examples of school IT security breaches that result in cyberbullying and other predatory behavior (beyond identity theft). While some suggest that schools would do well to shift IT management of sensitive information to third-party vendors with more expertise, this is not a panacea. School vendors have their own mixed track record of security (and encryption ) issues and many agreements between schools and IT vendors do not offer sufficient protections (when such formal agreements exist at all). Attacks that Disable and Compromise School Technology Assets. I would argue that the potential to disable, compromise, and/or re-direct insufficiently secured school technology assets is the final major category of school cybersecurity threats. Consider these three facts: (1) school districts are increasingly investing in computing devices for students, teachers, and school operations (it is not uncommon for medium/large school districts to be supporting thousands of end user and IoT computing devices, such as security systems, VoIP telephony, and HVAC controls); (2) schools are increasingly connected to the internet via high-speed connections; and (3), schools systematically underinvest in IT leadership, management and support. Not great. Certainly, stories abound of school IT staff who find themselves overwhelmed in trying to contain malware and viruses within their districts – such as Lake Washington School District (WA) , Santa Rosa ISD (TX) , Cloquet Public Schools (MN) – costing thousands of dollars to repair, hundreds of hours of staff time, and causing significant disruptions to teaching and learning. Equally (or perhaps even more) concerning is the fact that weak security on school computers may make schools ripe targets for hackers seeking to obfuscate their identity and the origin of their attacks. Consider the case of Colton Joint Unified School District (CA), which was infected by a botnet designed to install adware software onto computers, generating installation commissions from unsuspecting adware companies. Should Schools Be Considered Critical Infrastructure for Cybersecurity Threats? There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose “assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.” Education is not one of them, but maybe it should be. School districts are the only institution that serves the nation’s roughly 50 million children and youth on a daily basis, providing educational opportunities, nutrition and health services, and offering custodial care that allows parents to pursue employment. School districts also are among many communities’ largest employers, involving the management of facilities, and the provision of transportation and food services. And, increasingly, school districts are investing millions of dollars in IT systems and services that demonstrably face regular and significant cyber threats. When school districts are victimized, it is our tax dollars that are spent in responding; it is our children’s and children’s teachers whose identities are stolen; it is taxpayer-funded IT equipment – in many cases funded via special levies and one-time funds – being repurposed to nefarious ends. As schools are increasingly relying on technology tools and services for their core operations, it is past due time for government at all levels to devote more concerted attention and resources to these needs. A Framework for Addressing K-12 Cybersecurity Threats. There is no shortage of advice for school CTOs and system administrators – much of it from technology companies – on how to better secure school IT systems via software and hardware products. Some of the advice and products are surely helpful; other advice and products may be digital snake oil. Nonetheless, the cybersecurity issues facing schools are not merely (or even wholly) technical failings, but symptoms of larger policy issues that we have yet to confront. Until state governments, the federal government, and the technology industry do so, the cyber threats facing our schools will continue to grow largely unabated. In my view, any meaningful framework for addressing this emerging policy issue at the intersection of technology and education will include strategies to: Set minimum standards for security practices for schools and school vendors; Hold schools and vendors publicly accountable to taxpayers and school communities for lax security practices and data breaches (e.g., via mandatory data breach notification and regular audits of security practices, including via automated tools); Assign legal liability to all parties at fault for not meeting security standards and/or for negligent actions leading to a successful cyber attack (including via more robust contract terms between schools and vendors – as well as via a robust, regulated cyber security insurance market); Build the capacity of school IT staff to manage technology assets, including via adequate staffing and regular trainings; Educate all administrators, teachers, and students on basic IT privacy and security practices , including ensuring all students have the opportunity to learn how to code (and pursue advanced STEM and computer science topics); Explicitly support open source software development for educational technology products, services, and tools; and, Ensure that a mechanism is established to provide centralized information sharing and guidance to schools on cyber security issues, including via conducting periodic studies to assess the prevalence and trends of cyber security attacks targeting schools over time. In sum, if we can’t generate the political will to address the school IT security issue head on, states and the federal government have no business pursuing school reform and improvement strategies dependent on technology. Blog Policy Security botnet cyber-security cybersecurity data breach DDoS denial-of-service DoS hacking malware National Governors Association ransomware viruses

Will New York Do the Right Thing on Facial Recognition in Schools?

Doug Levin

For those who care about the evolving terrain of student data privacy and civil liberties issues in schools, you may know that the actions of Lockport (NY) Public Schools – and their defiance of the advice of the New York State Department of Education – have become a defining case. Indeed, it is a story that I had previously covered on this very site (“ Facial Recognition Technology Has No Place in Schools “).

A Glitch in the EdReform Matrix: The 2016 EdNext Poll on Blended Learning

Doug Levin

Last year at this time, I had some words about the treatment of technology in the 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform.

6 eLearning Trends in Custom eLearning Solutions

Most digital learning trends focus too much on the "digital" and not enough on the "learning". It is not enough that content builders master available tools. We need a return to core learning fundamentals. Get Inno-Versity's eBook for 6 of the most important trends coming to digital learning.

The Fans, Fanboys, and Fanatics of OER

Doug Levin

I have a confession to make. I work in K-12 education in the U.S., and I am merely a fan – not a fanboy – of open educational resources (OER).** I suspect that some will claim that this is a difference without a distinction. Others surely see me as some sort of OER fanatic.

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Fake News about the Future of Education

Doug Levin

I’ve been at this technology in education thing for a long time – much of it as an analyst and researcher, some of it as a (pretty good) policy advocate. I’ve been funded by industry and provided advice to investors and brands.

Are Schools Helpless, Hapless When it Comes to IT Privacy and Security?

Doug Levin

Advocates would have us believe that school districts are incapable of making responsible decisions about technology-related privacy and security issues affecting students.

U.S. K-12 Educational Technology Policy: What is the Federal Role? (Part II)

Doug Levin

The Layers of ESSA: Educational Technology in Title IV – 21st Century Schools, Part A.

Custom eLearning: What to Consider as an L&D Manager

A custom eLearning project is an exciting opportunity, but any L&D Manager will also tell you it can be challenging. Inno-versity shares 5 points to consider before kicking off your project. These concepts are critical to addressing the most common pain points which, IF addressed, will ensure success.

Scant Details, Fuzzy Math in $500 Million Public-Private Computer Science Education Push

Doug Levin

[UPDATED]. Yesterday On September 25, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Education focused on access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. That memorandum directs ED “to the extent consistent with law, establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million in grant funds per year to the promotion of high‑quality STEM education, including computer science in particular.”

Scant Details, Fuzzy Math in $500 Million Public-Private Computer Science Education Push

Doug Levin

[UPDATED]. Yesterday, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Education focused on access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. That memorandum directs ED “to the extent consistent with law, establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million in grant funds per year to the promotion of high‑quality STEM education, including computer science in particular.”

Ensuring Access to Robust Broadband for ALL Students

Doug Levin

Benjamin Herold of Education Week has put together a real cracker of a series on the challenges of ensuring school broadband access in rural communities – and how E-rate (pre- and post-modernization) is helping to address the situation.

Facial Recognition Technology Has No Place in Schools

Doug Levin

Facial recognition technology is dangerous, and it has no place in U.S. schools for the foreseeable future. Says Evan Selinger, a Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology and a Senior Fellow at The Future of Privacy Forum, about the current state of facial recognition technology: Imagine a technology that is potently, uniquely dangerous?—?something something so inherently toxic that it deserves to be completely rejected, banned, and stigmatized.

Teachers’ Guide to Plagiarism

This article provides teachers with a step-by-step guide on how to handle plagiarism in the classroom: it examines the definition of the term "plagiarism" and its types with examples, describes common reasons students plagiarize, and provides tips for teachers to detect and prevent plagiarism among students.

Five EdTech Story Ideas for Education Reporters

Doug Levin

This week, education reporters from across the nation are gathering at the 2017 Education Writers Association National Seminar in Washington, DC. Among the topics they will focus on is technology in education (AKA "digital learning"). To that end, I suggest five story ideas for reporters interested in the topic. Blog In the News Trends #EWA17

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In the News: K-12 Cybersecurity Lessons Learned From ‘Constant Barrage of Attacks’

Doug Levin

Cross-posted at the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center: [link]. As quoted in: Herold, Benjamin. K-12 Cybersecurity Lessons Learned From ‘Constant Barrage of Attacks’.” Education Week. 19 March 2019. Relying solely on ad hoc efforts to manage school cybersecurity risk is like playing football without a helmet,” said Doug Levin, the CEO of consulting group EdTech Strategies, which operates the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center.

The Squeaky Wheel

Doug Levin

Sometimes it pays to be a squeaky wheel. Based on her (and her family’s) review of the unfavorable Terms of Participation in the Scholastic Art & Writing Award program, 8th-grader Sasha Matthews took to the internet to make her case.

For First Time Ever, Majority of U.S. Grade 3-8 Students to Test Online in Spring 2016

Doug Levin

Today, I’m pleased to release a new research brief entitled Pencils Down: The Shift to Online & Computer-Based Testing – U.S. K-8 Market (2015-16 School Year).

Key Elements for Successful eLearning Projects

Discover how this rapid development process creates engaging, custom learning solutions on a timeline that works for you, why a strong learning culture is important, and how to showcase your Return on Learning (ROL) using data to tell the story.