This is how your infrastructure should look before your next tech rollout

Follow these guidelines to create a technology infrastructure that support teachers and students

Most educational organizations want the classroom to change; to improve teaching and learning by leveraging technology. The terms blended and flipped learning are touted extensively as useful educational goals.

However, to increase the probability of long term success and to reduce teacher/instructor frustration, organizations need to ensure that the broader fundamentals are in place before asking teachers to change. This is true whether the organization is a large university or school district, an eLearning business, or a small school of a few hundred students. (Note that I am not talking about the success of the “lone experimenters;” the innovators and early adopters who will implement change no matter what the environment is like. I am talking about organization wide long term success.)

Fundamentals fall into a number of categories. I will consider one (infrastructure) in this article and others in companion articles.
If teachers walk into a lesson and the technology regularly fails, even for just a few minutes, they lose confidence. They become frustrated and lose commitment (and who could blame them?).…Read More

Acer launches no risk laptop seed program

K-12 schools can test cloud-based Windows or Chrome OS products for free, with no obligation to purchase

Acer has launched its new Acer Education Seed Program, which offers K-12 schools across the United States an opportunity to test either a cloud-based Acer TravelMate B117 notebook with Windows or an Acer C730E Chromebook with Chrome OS for free, with no risk, since there is no obligation to purchase.

This offer enables schools to explore the advantages of cloud based solutions – either Windows or Chrome – using award-winning Acer products designed specifically for education and determine which solution is the best fit for their school.

“Education has changed rapidly over the last decade, as schools have been working diligently to integrate technology across their curriculum, into their classrooms, and throughout administration to improve the education of students,” said Richard Black, vice president, marketing communications, Acer America.…Read More

Lenovo’s big updates to laptop and tablet lines

New updates include faster speeds and thin devices

lenovo-yogaAt the CES show in Las Vegas this week, Lenovo has introduced new upgrades to its laptop and tablet lines, adding faster speeds, new accessories, and lighter weights for a number of its product lines, such as ThinkPad tablets, its YOGA laptop-tablet hybrid, and ideapad laptops.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a lightweight tablet, weighing only 2.8 lbs. It is also the world’s first convertible featuring an optional Samsung OLED display that reproduces beautifully rich colors and deeper blacks. With a patented Lift and Lock keyboard that retracts keys in tablet mode, X1 Yoga also features an active pen that is perfect for highlighting and writing notes directly on webpages using the Microsoft Edge browser. The pen is also housed and charged inside the system so it won’t get lost.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a 14-inch business ultrabook notebook. Updates include more display options, increased memory and storage capacity, improved connectivity and a new lighter weight at 2.6 lbs.…Read More

Place your bets: An Apple tablet, laptop — or both?

Is Apple going to take a crack at a hybrid? Or is it eying a more conventional product? Those are burning questions that analysts and the supply chain are trying to figure out, CNET reports. Predicting Apple’s next move has become a sport. With the supply chain (in the case of Apple, largely the collection of component suppliers) the arena where, after some trial-and-error, a final product emerges the winner. Market researchers are the bookies, calculating the odds based on their best educated guess from supply chain sources.

The iPhone 6 is the latest example: the odds seem to favor a 4.8-inch (roughly) phone and, possibly later, a larger phone-like device…

Read more…Read More

Official: FBI probing school webcam spying case

The FBI reportedly is probing whether any federal wiretap laws were violated.
The FBI reportedly is probing whether any federal wiretap laws were violated.

A Pennsylvania school district accused of secretly switching on laptop computer webcams inside students’ homes is under investigation by federal authorities, a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the case told the Associated Press (AP).

For its part, the district says it never used webcam images to monitor or discipline students and believes one of its administrators has been “unfairly portrayed and unjustly attacked.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will look into whether any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws were violated by Lower Merion School District officials, the official—who spoke on condition of anonymity—told the AP on Feb. 19.…Read More

School district sued for using webcams to spy on students

Students reportedly have put tape over the webcams in their school-issued laptops in light of the allegations.
Students reportedly have put tape over the webcams in their school-issued laptops in light of the allegations.

A suburban Philadelphia school district used the webcams in school-issued laptop computers to spy on students at home, potentially catching them and their families in compromising situations, a family claims in a federal lawsuit.

Lower Merion School District officials would not comment on the accusation, but angry students already have responded by putting tape on their laptop cameras and microphones.

Sophomore Tom Halperin described students as “pretty disgusted” and noted that his class recently read 1984, the George Orwell classic that coined the term “Big Brother.”…Read More