How to protect your district from ransomware attacks

As with almost every industry, COVID-19 has required educational institutions to embrace digital technology for remote learning and student, teacher, and internal administrative meetings and collaboration.

Web applications are adapting the learning experience, and streamlining the way educational institutions work. K-12, college, and university campuses are increasingly reliant upon these digital technologies.

While campus IT departments work hard to accommodate the diverse needs of users, IT complexity has created many challenges. Cybercrime is up, and no school or university is immune. The new “learn from anywhere” environment has dramatically increased the number of remote students, faculty, and administrators, who are on the frontlines of a growing cyberwar.…Read More

How IT leaders can thrive in the post-COVID era

This school year is unlike any other. More than 90 percent of households with school-age children are engaged in some form of distance learning from home, while college students are navigating a variety of hybrid remote learning environments. These new learning environments present challenges for educators and school IT leaders alike.

Related content: How COVID put a spotlight on equity

As educational institutions of all sizes are weighing how to keep students engaged while also ensuring their safety, IT departments are faced with a difficult task – how to keep operations running regardless of the learning environment.…Read More

Why technology must be invisible during ed tech roll outs

One district leader shares his philosophy for invisible tech roll outs that focus on goals, not tools

invisible-techWhen it comes to classroom and infrastructure technology implementations, it’s the equipment, software, and apps that usually take center stage. Rob Dickson thinks he’s found a better way to approach K-12 technology implementations, and in his mind the tech itself is not the focal point. In fact, Dickson, the executive director of information management systems (IMS) at Omaha Public Schools, thinks the equipment and tools being installed and put to work should be “invisible.”

“Implementing a project should begin with a vision,” writes Dickson, in a post for SmartBlog on Education. “Technology shouldn’t be the main focus but a vein running through a strategic plan touching every objective and outcome, providing the highway to efficiencies and collaboration. Every district is different across the country, with different views, demographics, policies and procedures.”

Dickson, who has been in his current position for six months, bases his philosophy on the fact that technology should be viewed as a utility that’s provided by the district, rather than a key driver or central focus, during implementation. “Just like gas, water, or electricity, the technology is the utility or the service that’s being provided,” says Dickson, who developed the idea during a recent cloud-based Office 365 implementation, “we shouldn’t be focused on the technology itself, but on the actual learning and benefits that students and teachers get from it.”…Read More

5 essential tech checks for 2015

Is your tech ready to rock in the New Year? Follow this simple checklist and find out

checlist-techIt’s hard to believe, but 2015 is already upon us. For technology directors and IT personnel, that means a whole new year of fires to put out, devices to fix and networks to repair.

Amid all the chaos, it can be easy to let general maintenance slip under your radar. But in my years as a tech director for districts around California, I realized that staying on top of the small things helped me be more prepared to handle big issues as they arose.

So I came up with five essential “tech checks” to complete at the beginning of each calendar year, and I hope they’ll be as helpful to you as they were to me.…Read More