Ransomware attackers head back to school

Just when we thought the painful trend of ransomware attacks on public schools might be waning, news arrived of a massive incident. Over Labor Day weekend, the country’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, experienced a ransomware attack. The district serves 600,000 students and described “significant disruptions affecting access to email, computer systems, and applications.”

There was good news, though. The district appeared to catch the attack early, shut its systems down and avoided more serious problems. A lot of the time these attacks result in the loss of social security numbers and all kinds of other data, amounting to a serious violation of children’s privacy. For such a large district, this could have been catastrophic. LAUSD’s impressive response likely resulted from some smart preparation.

LAUSD was unfortunately not the only school to be victimized this year, and in other cases, some of the consequences appear to have been more severe. Staff at Cedar Rapids, Iowa schools saw their personal information stolen this summer, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, and even medical history information. …Read More

Royelles Launches Industry’s First Inclusive Mobile Gaming Metaverse Dedicated To Educating And Empowering Young Girls

WASHINGON D.C., June 14, 2022Royelles, a global educational gaming (Ed Gaming) platform empowering girls and non-binary individuals through inclusive play, today announced it’s official launch. Royelles is on a mission to disrupt the $180B+ mobile gaming industry through transformational storytelling and inclusive role modeling, in an effort to dismantle the global identity crisis disproportionately impacting girls. 

A female-founded platform for girls, Royelles aims to bridge the gap between girls’ potential and their dreams, and ignite their curiosity and confidence towards solving the world’s biggest problems in STEAM. Royelles’ gamified mobile play platform meets the demands of 21st century 6-12 years olds, and their adult influencers. Powered by AR, AI, and voice technologies, the newly launched, learning-based mobile app is anchored in fierce female avatar personas and real-life super(s)heros with inspiring professions across science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

“We believe that everyone deserves to be bold, fearless, and undaunted architects of their destinies,” said Múkami Kinoti Kimotho CEO & Founder of Royelles. “Our mission is rooted in opening the window of possibilities to every girl, so that they know that they are fully equipped to realize their greatest potential. And, that their difference is their superpower.” …Read More

Ripple Effects Offers Access to Its Educator Ally Program to Support Teachers’ Social Emotional Needs

SEATTLE – May 26, 2022 – As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, educators found themselves in unfamiliar territory as they dealt with new technology and concerns over in-person learning while also caring for their own children. These anxieties served to heighten an already stressful profession. According to the 2021 State of the U.S. Teacher Survey conducted by The RAND Corporation, teachers were almost three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than adults in other professions. Additional independent research indicates that 54 percent feel unprepared or very unprepared to respond to students’ behavior problems.

To give educators much-needed support in the classroom, social emotional learning pioneer Ripple Effects, today announced that through June 30, 2022, it is offering complimentary access to its staff professional development wellness program, Educator Ally. This solution equips educators with the tools they need to address their own stressors as well as students emotional and behavior problems more effectively.

“When educators have the proper tools, their stress levels decrease,” said Heidi Johnecheck, chief impact officer for Ripple Effects. “As they continue to deal with the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is more crucial than ever to give educators the infrastructure they need to help build their classroom management skills and manage student behaviors in a personalized, supportive and non-judgmental manner. We want to extend as much help as possible to educators and we hope that using Educator Ally will give them the vital tools they need to be their best in the classroom.”  …Read More

Case Study: How Weston School District Built a Digital Strategy with Digital Signage, 15 Minutes at a Time

(May 12, 2022) –– Rise Vision has released a new case study of Weston School District, a small school district which serves three rural communities of Cazenovia, Hillpoint, and Lime Ridge, Weston and has a student population of 300 students. While Weston School District doesn’t face the problems a very large school does, it does face its own challenges.

Amanda Keller, who has been social media and public relations director at Weston for the past 4 years discussed the district’s challenges of its students across 12 years of compulsory education. Back in 2018, Weston struggled with keeping families updated with printed, physical newsletters.

‘It was frustrating to put so much time into communication we knew would be outdated before it reached our families and community,’ Keller continues. ‘It was also time-consuming to create bulletin boards that were very limited in how we could use them. These bulletin boards also had to be recreated often to keep the images current.’…Read More

6 things you can do now to make smarter tech purchases later

The sudden switch to remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic caught plenty of school districts off guard, and they scrambled to find devices that were up to the task.

Now two years later, it’s time to begin planning to do it all over again.

Forward-thinking education leaders know that tech costs are an ongoing line item, not a one-time expense. Those one-to-one devices that were purchased with special funds during the pandemic will most certainly become obsolete and lose function – probably within five years.…Read More

5 tips to bring engineering into the classroom

STEAM education is critically important in the classroom, and engineering education is a key part of STEAM learning. And on World Engineering Day, the need for students to explore engineering and pursue it in college and the workforce has never been more apparent.

The 2020 Global Engineering Survey launched by DiscoverE, the organization responsible for World Engineering Day, found that 54 percent of respondents believe that there will be a shortage of engineers in the future, and a recent census survey found that only 27 percent of engineers are women.

Exposing students to the importance of engineering and giving them the skills required to be the problem solvers of tomorrow is crucial, but educators often don’t know how to integrate engineering concepts into their instruction. eSchool News connected with Lauren Harter, Senior Educational Developer for VEX Robotics, for some classroom engineering tips. Harter’s work in developing and bringing a series of educational robotic solutions, known as the VEX Continuum, to the classroom is aimed at helping to solve some of the world’s growing problems. …Read More

5 edtech opportunities that will emerge in 2022

There is a certain perspective that comes from being in the edtech industry for over 30 years, and while I thought I had seen it all, nothing could have prepared me (or anyone else) for a global pandemic. Not only did the pandemic upend our lives, it looks like we will be managing and battling surges and outbreaks of COVID variants for a lifetime or more. 

There are significant positives about how we as a society have learned to deal with COVID. Much as the problems in our medical systems, for example, have given rise to better and more efficient care, so can education benefit from rethinking its model.

The problems we’ve experienced educating students who are learning at home, either full time or in a part time model, spotlight needed improvements (particularly with equity of access) and spark new ways of thinking. …Read More

Twig Education Launches Twig Science Next Gen for Middle School

(Los Angeles, Calif.) October 28, 2021 —  Twig Education, creators of the leading elementary level science program Twig Science, today announced the launch of Twig Science Next Gen for grades 6–8.

Twig Science Next Gen for middle school is an investigation-based science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) solution developed for the three-dimensional Next Generation Science Standards. It transforms the standards into story-based modules in which students take on a range of STEAM career roles through various investigation types:

  • Hand-On Labs: Students learn through inquiry-based activities, solving problems and designing solutions using resources supplied in Hands-On Kits and other everyday items.
  • Digital Interactives: High-quality simulations based on real-world phenomena and authentic data, from the Gravity Simulator and Volcano Builder interactives to adventures like “The Great Air Race” and “Into the Abyss,” let students experience science in action.
  • Real-World Multimedia Field Trips: Through video and text, students shadow scientists and engineers around the world as they explore local, national, global, and space phenomena, deepening student understanding of STEAM practices and concepts.
  • Scientific Text Investigations: Students experience a variety of authentic scientific text types, including informational, narrative, descriptive, and argumentative, reinforcing the real-world science and engineering concepts of their learning journey.
  • Video Labs: Specially shot in the Twig studio, video labs enable students to take part in scientific inquiries and experiences that would be impractical to carry out in the classroom.

For Twig Science Next Gen, Twig partnered with some of the most highly respected organizations in the worlds of science and engineering education. Developed with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) team, three-dimensional performance assessments evaluate student attainment of NGSS Performance Expectations and prepare students for state testing. Imperial College London also acted as scientific advisors during the development of the program, which introduces students to multiple real-life STEAM professionals who inspire and motivate students and help them explain phenomena.…Read More