Secure network access led to successful learning initiatives for this eSN Hero Awards winner

One of three eSN K-12 Hero Awards winners, Daniel Olivas was nominated by Identity Automation and was selected as a winner for his strategic thinking and leadership in critical district IT and IT security initiatives.

The pandemic has accelerated the transition to remote and hybrid learning, and it made school districts the number one target for cyberattacks. As the fifth largest school district in Texas, Austin Independent School District was no exception. Guided by the motto “AISD Anywhere,” the district used the pandemic as an opportunity to provide over 100,000 students, teachers, staff, parents, and other users with secure access to classroom tools from any Wi-Fi network.

As Network Analyst at Austin ISD, Daniel Olivas led the implementation of an identity-centric zero trust security strategy that ensured this access was not only user-friendly, but secure. Unlike traditional, perimeter-focused approaches to security, Austin ISD’s zero-trust approach assumes all network traffic is untrusted until an identity has been verified–a critical step to securing a digital ecosystem that can be accessed from anywhere.…Read More

BenQ Announces New Education Smart Board Models That Come Standard With State-of-the-Art Features

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Oct. 5, 2022 — BenQ, an internationally renowned provider of visual display solutions, is empowering K-12 and higher-ed educators and students with its new educational BenQ Board smart displays. Comprising the Premium RP Series, Mainstream RM Series, and Entry-Level RE Series, the interactive displays feature state-of-the-art yet intuitive tools to enhance learning comprehension, engagement, and collaboration for in-person, virtual, and hybrid classrooms. This includes germ-resistant screens with up to 40 touch points, license-free EZ Write interactive whiteboard and annotation software, InstaShare wireless screencasting, speakers, X-Sign Broadcast PA capabilities, and Cloud Classroom Management featuring single sign-on to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and more.

“There’s no question about the benefits of interactive displays in the classroom, but not every display is created equal,” said Bob Wudeck, senior director of business development at BenQ America Corp. “Educators today need to be able to start their lessons from the classroom display as easily as they would any computer. Likewise, IT staff need to be able to configure and manage them seamlessly alongside other devices. That’s why we’re shaping the future of education with our broad lineup of BenQ Boards, which come standard with all the tools and resources schools need to jump-start their interactive experience at no extra charge. Nothing should stand in the way of learning.”

The 4K 20-point multi-touch BenQ Board Entry-Level RE Series opens the door to affordable smart whiteboard technology, boasting BenQ’s premium yet standard features — ClassroomCare, EyeCare, EZWrite, InstaShare, and more — and is available in 65”, 75”, 86”, and 98” sizes. The Master RM Series adds front-accessible USB Type C ports, a six-microphone array with noise cancellation and speech enhancement, remote with spotlight and digital pointer, germ-resistant stylus, and more. Unleashing the full potential of BenQ smart board technology, the next-generation Premium RP Series builds upon the innovation with an onboard subwoofer, Dolby Digital Plus surround sound for lesson clarity in class and online, an eight-microphone array with noise cancellation and speech enhancement, Tap and Teach NFC tag reader to instantly log into the network or cloud services and access personal settings, Duo Windows to run apps side by side, an air ionizer, and smart sensor technology for motion detection that enables BenQ’s advanced EyeSafe® screen settings to protect eyes and provide the best user experience and for BenQ’s ClassroomCare technology that monitors temperature, humidity, and air quality. The Master RM and Premium RP Series are available in 65”, 75”, and 86” sizes.…Read More

Students’ emotional growth continues beyond classroom walls

As the days of summer dwindle, many parents are looking at the fast-approaching new academic year with a sense of uncertainty and unease. A nationwide teacher shortage has left schools scrambling to fill critical vacancies in a matter of weeks. And tensions over mask-wearing may soon return to a fever pitch as a rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations is already leading some public school districts to announce a planned reinstatement of controversial mandates.

Last year, as educators across the country did their best to transition children back to in-person learning environments amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, school districts nationwide saw a startling uptick in reported student misbehavior, ranging from in-class tantrums to incidents of outright physical violence. An overwhelming majority of public schools also reported marked increases in disrespectful behavior towards teachers, as well as chronic absenteeism, during the 2021-22 year. 

Much of this can be interpreted as the emotional fallout from the schedule disruptions and personal losses many children experienced due to the pandemic. Prolonged social isolation and family instability during important formative years has led to increased anxiety, depression, and even suicide ideation among kids of all ages. Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association, declared this decline in youth mental health a national emergency.…Read More

How to prepare new teachers for virtual learning

While the pandemic accelerated the demand for virtual learning, it’s clear that online pedagogy is now an integral part of an educator’s toolbox. As part of this shift to hybrid or virtual learning models, today’s educators face a new set of demands – it’s not just about teaching the curriculum; it’s about understanding and leveraging the tools that make learning possible and beneficial. 

As many of our interactions move online or become increasingly integrated with the digital world, teachers and the universities that prepare them need to shift as well.

Expanding Possibilities with In-Person and Virtual Learning…Read More

5 tips for a positive back-to-school experience

Heading back to school can be an exciting yet challenging time for students, teachers, and parents alike. While many school systems are returning to full in-person learning, some students are taking advantage of virtual or hybrid learning models their school may offer.

Hybrid learning serves as a great option for students–however, in the early days of pandemic virtual learning, teachers noticed the need for stronger tools and resources in order for them to create the best possible learning experience.

With the hybrid learning model here to stay, many teachers are continuing to struggle with keeping their students engaged, while some learners find it difficult to stay motivated and pay attention to instruction.…Read More

eSN K-12 Hero Awards Program nominee: Spotlight on FLVS

Educators have always deserved praise and recognition–that has never been more evident than during the pandemic, when they prioritized student safety among heroic efforts to keep learning going virtually, in hybrid environments, and finally, for full in-person learning. These efforts are exactly what the eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards Program recognizes.

Sponsored by JAR Systems and SAP Concur, vendors can nominate as many individuals or organizations as they’d like. The program recognizes the dedicated efforts of education professionals across K-12 departments, including IT, curriculum, instruction and administration.

eSN Editor-at-Large Kevin Hogan sat down with Kelly Goodman of K-12 Hero Awards Program nominee FLVS, along with Jim McClurkin from sponsor SAP Concur, to chat about post-pandemic education and innovation.…Read More

Why digital formative assessment is critical in today’s classrooms

The accelerated digitization of today’s classroom impacts every aspect of instruction–from attendance to summative assessment and everything in between. As educators have shifted to the hybrid environment, they have had to make significant changes in the way they approach formative assessment.

Formative assessment is a wide-encompassing term that allows teachers to monitor student progress. In person, this can mean a variety of things like thumbs up/thumbs down, class review games, exit tickets, science activities, and more. As classrooms moved to an online or digital format, the approach to formative assessment had to be considerably changed to meet the needs of a digital landscape.

Digital Formative Assessment Programs…Read More

How I use digital curriculum in my math classroom

Prior to the COVID pandemic, technology integration in my high school math classroom was mainly used in two ways: discovery-based activities and homework assignments. Finding applicable resources for discovery-based learning that would fit into existing lesson plans was not always easy.

Along with that, the curriculum supplement that came with our new textbooks was starting to replace some of the traditional paper-and-pencil work that we had been doing. Being suddenly thrust into distance and hybrid learning situations for the next year and a half pushed me to find additional, more efficient ways to blend technology integration into my teaching.

In this article, I am going to briefly cover some of the tools and practices that I found to be most useful, in all classroom settings, as I continue to try to move toward an effective blended learning style.…Read More