Security to ward off crime on phones

More consumers are buying smartphones. So more criminals are taking aim at those devices, reports the New York Times. Criminals still prefer PCs for stealing personal data, bank and credit card account numbers as well as for running frauds. However, most PC attacks focus on Microsoft’s decade-old Windows XP operating system, which is slowly being replaced by the more secure Windows 7. Over the next few years, hackers will have to find new targets.

With smartphones outselling PCs for the first time–421 million of the hand-held computers are expected to be sold worldwide this year, according to market analysts at IDC–the long-predicted crime wave on hand-held devices appears to have arrived. According to the mobile-security firm Lookout, malware and spyware appeared on 9 out of 100 phones it scanned in May, more than twice the 4-in-100 rate in December 2009…

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Graduate schools quantify your potential

In July 2009, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the nonprofit educational testing and research organization that administers the GRE, began offering the Personal Potential Index, according to U.S. News & World Report. This new evaluation tool is designed to quantify a student’s abilities in six areas: knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, planning and organization, and ethics and integrity. At no extra charge, Graduate school candidates who take the GRE can ask recommenders to rate them on a web-based form, and may send up to four reports to schools. The form asks recommenders to rate the student from “below average” to “truly exceptional” regarding 24 statements, which include “is among the most honest people I know” and “works well under stress.” For those who aren’t taking the GRE, but who wish to submit a PPI, the cost is $20 per report…

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Obama names Facebook, Intel and Comcast execs to new jobs council

President Obama named Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, venture capitalist John Doerr and Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts to his council on jobs and competitiveness, highlighting the administration’s emphasis on high-tech and media firms to help shape economic policy, reports the Washington Post. The White House named the members of the council after previously announcing AOL founder Steve Case would head the committee. The appointment of Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, was announced last week…

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Hands-on review: Motorola Xoom tablet

Just think: a mere 12 months ago, many of us were still debating whether a consumer-friendly tablet like the iPad would make any sense. Today, the iPad is a certifiable hit, a new iPad is on the way, slates from the likes of HP, LG, Samsung, and RIM are in the pipeline, and come Thursday, a formidable new player in the budding tablet market—the Android-powered Motorola Xoom—will land in stores, Yahoo! News reports. Suddenly, it’s raining tablets, a welcome development for gadget lovers. The Xoom won’t be the first Android tablet to take on the iPad, but it does bear the distinction of being the first tablet running on “Honeycomb,” Google’s new, made-for-tablets version of the Android OS. And while the previous Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Dell Streak 7 arrived with smaller, seven-inch displays, the Xoom’s roomy 10.1-inch screen invites direct comparison to the similar-sized iPad…

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On prank call, Wis. governor discusses strategy

 

Governor says the conversation won't affect his job.

 

On a prank call that quickly spread across the internet, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was duped into discussing his strategy to cripple public employee unions, promising never to give in and joking that he would use a baseball bat in his office to go after political opponents.

Walker believed the caller was a conservative billionaire named David Koch, but it was actually the editor of a liberal online newspaper. The two talked for at least 20 minutes–a conversation in which the governor described several potential ways to pressure Democrats to return to the Statehouse and revealed that his supporters had considered secretly planting people in pro-union protest crowds to stir up trouble.

The call, which surfaced Wednesday, also showed Walker’s cozy relationship with two billionaire brothers who have poured millions of dollars into conservative political causes, including Walker’s campaign last year.

Walker compared his stand to that taken by President Ronald Reagan when he fired the nation’s air-traffic controllers during a labor dispute in 1981.

“That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and led to the fall of the Soviets,” Walker said on the recording.

Read more Policy news:

ED to unions, districts: Can’t we all just get along?

Wisconsin protests grow as teachers balk at proposed legislation

Editorial: Public school employees under attack

The audio was posted by the Buffalo Beast, a left-leaning web site based in Buffalo, N.Y., and quickly went viral.

Ian Murphy told the Associated Press he carried out the prank to show how candidly Walker would speak with Koch even though, according to Democrats, he refuses to return their calls.

Murphy said he arranged the call Tuesday after speaking with two Walker aides, including the governor’s chief of staff. He placed the call using Skype and recorded it.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie confirmed that it was Walker’s voice on the call. At a news conference, Walker acknowledged being deceived but stuck to his message that the union changes were needed to balance Wisconsin’s budget.

“I’m not going to let one prank phone call be a distraction from the job we have to do,” Walker said. “The things I said are the things I’ve said publicly all the time.”

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Maine laptop program offers lessons in ed-tech implementation

Maine became the first state to implement a 1-to-1 laptop program.

Nine years after it became the first state in the nation to initiate a 1-to-1 laptop program in its schools, Maine continues to innovate with technology and has hired technology integrators to help its schools move forward. Jeff Mao, director of learning technology for the state’s education department, recently reflected on the groundbreaking program and its lessons learned with eSchool News.

“What we are doing [is] relatively bleeding edge. … There isn’t a book to read, there isn’t really a manual that says this is how you do it … but you are kind of creating it on the fly, and from that perspective there’s a lot of invention,” said Mao.

Mao said the biggest adjustment for the state and its school districts, which began the program in 2002, was not the machines themselves but the human element.

“I think some of the greatest challenges we’ve seen are really kind of on the human side of it, meaning teacher training, leadership—just the simple notions of change. Anything that has such a significant change in the way you can do business, I think that’s just hard for any large organization,” Mao said.

He said teachers usually put the most pressure on themselves when trying to adjust to a new teaching process.

“Schools are relatively risk-averse, particularly because innovation and change in education is a very difficult thing to measure and to quantify and to bottle,” Mao said. “Anytime you introduce a change, there’s a risk the change won’t go well.”

To try and adapt to the quick pace of new developments, many schools in Maine have added ed-tech “integrators” who help incorporate new technology into classrooms.

Mao said Maine teachers not only distribute technology to their students, but also benefit from its use.

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Digital citizenship curriculum targets fourth and fifth graders

Common Sense Media has launched a new version of its free digital citizenship curriculum, Digital Literacy and Citizenship in a Connected Culture. The new version adds student, teacher, and parent resources, including comprehensive lessons on cyber bullying, for fourth and fifth graders. The program, which empowers students to think critically and make informed choices about how they live and treat others in today’s digital media world, covers topics from internet safety and security to privacy, with a deep focus on cyber bullying and responsible digital behavior. Recent stories of the tragic consequences of cyber bullying highlight the need to teach kids how to prevent and respond to digital harassment, beginning at a young age, Common Sense Media says. The curriculum, which is based on the digital ethics research of Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, uses content that ranges from print and video materials to interactive components and real-life student stories to inspire kids to be responsible digital citizens. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators

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Court won’t let Conn. challenge education law

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Tuesday against hearing Connecticut’s challenge to the federal No Child Left Behind law, ending the state’s six-year lawsuit over how to pay for the stepped-up student testing considered one of the law’s cornerstones, the Associated Press reports. Connecticut was the first state to challenge the 2002 law, which includes provisions requiring yearly standardized tests for children in grades three through eight. Connecticut previously tested students in grades four, six and eight. The state’s lawsuit sought to push the federal government to either change its testing rules or cover the extra testing costs, which Connecticut officials say add up to many millions of dollars…

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Ind. Democrats flee to Illinois, block labor bill

Indiana House Democrats who fled to Illinois like their counterparts in the Wisconsin Senate say they’ll continue their boycott until Republicans assure them they won’t debate public education and anti-union measures the Democrats oppose, the Associated Press reports. The House Democrats won a small victory on Tuesday when their absence at least temporarily blocked a GOP-backed labor bill. Republicans, who control the House, planned to try again Wednesday morning to resume business…

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Report: Apple to unveil iPad 2 on March 2

If the latest chatter is true, we may finally get our first glimpse at the next iPad in a little more than a week, reports Yahoo! News. Kara Swisher over at All Things Digital says she has “multiple” sources who claim that Apple will hold a media event in San Francisco on March 2.

Apple has yet to officially confirm an event next week, but according to Swisher, the company “seems poised” to take the wraps off the long-anticipated iPad 2, with the event “likely” to take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts…

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