K-12 cybersecurity vendors: Is the threat already in your house?

K-12 vendors are key components in all aspects of K-12 education. From operational needs such as attendance and payroll to learning applications for reading, science, and mathematics, vendors ensure school districts operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

But K-12 vendors are also one of the greatest single sources of cybersecurity vulnerability for schools and districts. The U.S. Government Accountability Office asserted that “cyberattacks carried out directly against edtech vendors […] tend to have an especially severe impact on K-12 because they affect a large swath of students across multiple school districts at the same time.”

In fact, K12 SIX’s annual report asserted that 55 percent of reported school data breaches in 2021 were connected to incidents originating from district vendors.…Read More

5 tools every school tech director should use

Teaching methods have changed dramatically over the last few years, leading to numerous electronic resources entering the classroom. This makes school IT a formidable challenge—security experts have to juggle budget constraints with heavy traffic on the network due to a huge number of connected devices.

There is no stopping the use of technology to enhance student engagement and learning. Therefore, cybersecurity concerns are increasing along with K–12 schools’ dependence on technology.

While no network is impervious to assaults, a reliable and effective network security solution is crucial for safeguarding student data and decreasing districts’ vulnerability to data theft and sabotage.…Read More

Clearlake Capital-Backed Discovery Education Acquires Pivot Interactives

Charlotte, NC Discovery Education, a global edtech company backed by Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Clearlake”), announced it has acquired Minneapolis, MN-based Pivot Interactives SBC. Led by a team of science teachers, practitioners, and students, Pivot Interactives develops dynamic cloud-based activities and labs that actively engage students in the authentic exploration of real scientific phenomena. Terms were not disclosed.  

The acquisition of Pivot Interactives supports Discovery Education’s mission to prepare learners for tomorrow by creating innovative classrooms connected to today’s world. Pivot Interactives will complement Discovery Education’s other successful digital services supporting science education, which include  Discovery Education’s K-12 platformMystery Science, the  Science Techbook series, and  STEM Connect

Pivot Interactives is Discovery Education’s second acquisition this month, having also acquired  DoodleLearning…Read More

HMH Unveils Major Platform Enhancements to Empower Educators and Engage Students Heading Back-to-School Nationwide

BOSTON, /PRNewswire/ – As students and teachers nationwide head back to school, learning technology company  HMH today announced major enhancements to Ed, HMH’s connected teaching and learning platform, that will offer an even more streamlined experience to empower educators and engage students. Seamless integrations with Google Classroom and Clever, as well as refinements and new features to many of HMH’s core, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, provide powerful connected teaching and learning experiences that drive positive outcomes—all from one platform.

“At HMH, we know that an innovative, connected approach is what educators need to make the most of their time and resources and meet all students where they are,” said Greg Collins, SVP of Platform at HMH. “This back-to-school, a streamlined Ed experience will equip students, teachers and administrators with powerful integrations like Google Classroom and Clever, enhanced embedded assessment, joint solutions like Amira + Saxon Phonics & Spelling and evolve the overall HMH platform experience.”

Critical Integrations…Read More

PowerSchool to Launch Connected Intelligence, First Fully Managed Data-as-a-Service Platform for K-12 Schools

FOLSOM, Calif — PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC), the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America, today announced it has launched Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool®. Partnering with  Snowflake via the  Powered by Snowflake program, Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool is the first fully managed K-12 Education focused Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform. It provides school districts and education agencies with a unified, global, fully managed, and secure platform. With Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool, school districts retain sole ownership of the data and have the ability to collaborate with internal stakeholders and external partners efficiently and securely.

By unifying all data under one comprehensive platform, segregated by school district, with built-in, stringent data security and governance controls, educators and school district or state-wide leaders will be able to take advantage of many benefits, including the following:

  • Increase equitable opportunities for all students. Connecting data from early childhood to adulthood can help improve a wide variety of initiatives aimed at supporting student outcomes and can even be leveraged within post-secondary support and workforce development.
  • Spend fewer resources managing data access and storage. Instead, educators can spend their time actually using data thanks to machine learning and analytics that create alerts if a student is exhibiting warning signs (e.g., an increased chance of not graduating on time).
  • Store education data securely and in one place. Access to all data in one place empowers educators and stakeholders with key insights to improve student outcomes.
  • Expand access to all data, including historic, current, future and any third-party data sources. This includes labor and workforce development data and secure inter-agency data sharing and collaboration, such as with juvenile justice, foster care, and other social services agencies, which aims to position all students for life-long success and their communities for positive social and economic futures.

“Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool gives state departments of education and school systems the ability to transform the economic and social outlook of their communities by bringing all their data together and giving them unprecedented ease of access, unparalleled performance, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their data is safely secured,” said Shivani Stumpf, Group Vice President, New Solutions of PowerSchool. “This innovative, all-inclusive data ecosystem that we’ve developed, and built on Snowflake’s Data Cloud, aims to help education leaders make the most effective and efficient use of data with greater agility, and to inform their investments so that they can focus on what matters most — improving student outcomes and preparing all learners for success.”…Read More

Are you teaching with Minecraft and Roblox? You should be

Millions of students use Roblox and Minecraft to create characters and build entire worlds. As educators search for ways to boost student engagement as they inject real-world relevance into their lessons, finding creative reasons to use these platforms in the classroom becomes their goal. Should you start teaching with Minecraft and Roblox?

“Why Minecraft? Why Roblox? Your students are already on these platforms and they absolutely love them. That doesn’t necessarily make for a great teaching tool right off the bat, but the engagement is there,” said Matthew Kreutter, a product manager for Connected Camps, during an ISTE Live22 session.

A Connected Camps team led session attendees through some brief examples of how they can begin teaching with Minecraft and Roblox with simple coding and building activities.…Read More

Microsoft and Optoma Partner to Offer Cloud Based Remote Management Solution for Audio Visual Displays

LAS VEGAS, June 8, 2022 – Optoma, a world-leading manufacturer of large visual display products, and the #1 DLP brand worldwide,* today announced its cloud version of the Optoma Management Suite (OMS)™, an intuitive display management solution, powered by Microsoft Azure, to streamline operations by monitoring, diagnosing, and controlling audio visual displays worldwide via a single platform.

Complimenting Optoma’s award-winning display products, the OMS remote management solution is compatible with other displays that are connected via PJLink, enabling easy integration into existing display fleets while offering differing levels of access and control for users, ensuring devices are securely managed.

“The collaboration with Optoma and Microsoft marks an important milestone in our IoT business’ partnership and boosts Optoma’s capabilities to focus on end customers and IoT operations at scale,” notes Jenna Lee, Head of Asia Technical Sales – Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions at Microsoft. “In strengthening our IoT partnership with Optoma through Azure IoT services, we aim to serve and empower Optoma’s IoT ambitions to enhance existing businesses, develop new opportunities at the global scale, and bring the best IoT solutions to the market.”…Read More

Los Angeles Unified School District Offers Spectrum Enterprise Stay Connected K-12 Solution to Families as a Way to Receive Robust Home Internet Access at No Cost to Students

LOS ANGELES – Charter Communications, Inc. today announced that it is working with the  Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the country’s second largest school district, to help thousands of families who lack robust internet connectivity at home enroll in the  Spectrum Enterprise  Stay Connected K-12 solution, which is provided at no cost for students. The Stay Connected K-12 offering is part of the District’s broader efforts to help close the digital divide in its communities and make it easier for all students to fulfill their academic potential.

Stay Connected K-12 provides schools the ability to offer high-speed, reliable broadband internet access directly to their students in their own homes so learning and teaching are uninterrupted. Participating families are not billed for the service.

“Without reliable internet access, our students don’t have what they need to learn,” said Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of LAUSD. “It’s as simple as that. Los Angeles Unified is relentless in our efforts to equip our students with the resources they need to achieve their full academic potential.”…Read More