6 tips to begin an elementary esports program in your school

The benefits of esports are well documented. A significant body of research has found that students who participate in scholastic esports programs benefit from increased emotional regulation, academic achievement, and graduation rates.

These benefits only scratch the surface of the positive consequences for students participating in scholastic esports. Thus far, conversations around esports have centered on collegiate and secondary levels, however, a recent change in the winds has shifted the conversation to elementary esports. 

My question: Why haven’t we started this conversation sooner?…Read More

4 tips to start meaningful conversations with students

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” It’s a question we ask students as young as kindergarten. I personally had the pleasure of watching my own kids answer this question at their kindergarten graduation (“dog breeder” and “ninja” – so proud!).

Of course, this shouldn’t just be a question we ask in kindergarten and again in senior year. All students—regardless of their backgrounds and future aspirations—benefit when they have the opportunity to explore and reflect on their future plans throughout their entire K-12 journey.

So how do we make this happen?…Read More

Personalize your digital PLN in 3 steps

I am currently in an online doctoral program at Winona State University. One of our recent discussion queries required answering the following prompt: “Share three pieces of your own PLN that you think would be helpful to the others.”

I wasn’t quite sure if I should share platforms, tips, or connections, so I will be sharing three things I wish I would have considered sooner than later.

1. Drop the IRL

I have listened and visited with Angela Maiers–an educator, consultant, and speaker–a number of times. One thing that she frequently shares in her keynotes is around dropping the “IRL” (in real life) mentality when talking with your online PLN. For those who connect with you virtually, a digital relationship is IRL. You may never physically meet these individuals due to logistics, geography, or time and that is ok. Such relationships do not necessarily become instantly more meaningful when you meet in the same moment of time or space.…Read More

3 ways to personalize your digital PLN

I am currently in an online doctoral program at Winona State University. One of our recent discussion queries required answering the following prompt: “Share three pieces of your own PLN that you think would be helpful to the others.”

I wasn’t quite sure if I should share platforms, tips, or connections, so I will be sharing three things I wish I would have considered sooner than later.

1. Drop the IRL

I have listened and visited with Angela Maiers–an educator, consultant, and speaker–a number of times. One thing that she frequently shares in her keynotes is around dropping the “IRL” (in real life) mentality when talking with your online PLN. For those who connect with you virtually, a digital relationship is IRL. You may never physically meet these individuals due to logistics, geography, or time and that is ok. Such relationships do not necessarily become instantly more meaningful when you meet in the same moment of time or space.…Read More

School’s offline for summer: 3 tips for easy device reclamation

Across the country, millions of students have been learning remotely since March 2020. According to the US Census, nearly 93 percent of people in households reported their children engaged in some form of distance learning this year. With that in mind, as another school year ends, device reclamation is more distributed than ever.

For school IT teams, this means a chaotic time when the district’s computers–especially those the students use for learning–must be accounted for and inspected for usability ahead of the next school year. Device collection is always challenging, but never more so than this past year that saw education institutions rapidly scaling 1:1 programs to enable remote learning.

Whether you’re approaching the device reclamation period or are looking for ways to improve it next year, there are a variety of decisions and steps that IT teams can take to ensure that end-of-year device reclamation is as painless as possible.…Read More

5 reasons to not pass on password protection

For many of us, not a day goes by that we aren’t logging into an account for various tasks, entertainment, or work. As such, we’ve all heard stories of failed password protection…the cousin who had their bank account emptied after their account was accessed or the friend who had their data stolen from a company-wide hack. 

Beyond the stories we share, recent statistics tell an even more compelling story in favor of strong passwords. Here’s how: according to recent studies, 81 percent of breaches at companies or organizations leveraged stolen or weak passwords (2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report) and one million passwords are stolen every week (2019 Breach Alarm). 

Although no password is uncrackable, increasing the complexity of the password can make the process more difficult and has proven an effective method for dissuading hackers, ultimately keeping your accounts and information protected. Check out these five tips to inform a more secure password strategy:…Read More

Oransi Offers 5 Tips for Schools Seeking Better Classroom Ventilation to Help Stop COVID-19 Spread

Experts agree that ventilation in schools is inadequate and many administrators seek clarification regarding best practices to improve classroom air quality and reduce infectious disease transmission.

School administrators continue to struggle with selecting the right ventilation system for classrooms, as more states reopen schools for in-person learning. The U.S.-based air purification company, Oransi, offers the following guidance for schools that will allow them to select the right ventilation products, the first time, thereby helping to avoid any delay when reopening.

To achieve good indoor air quality the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states there are three strategies:

1) source control (removes the source of the pollutant),
2) ventilation (brings in fresh air from outdoors)
3) and air cleaning (through use of an air purifier).

For school ventilation there are two options: a HEPA air filtration system or an HVAC ventilation system. Knowing which option is right for a school depends on the efficiency (percentage of particles of a given size that are removed by the air filter with each air pass) and if enough air is moving for the room size.

Commercial HVAC systems are expensive, time-consuming to upgrade, and generally use lower efficiency air filters that do not remove fine particles such as viruses – allowing them to pass back into a room’s air. However, upgrading or installing an HVAC system is the right solution if there is a very large space to clean – usually larger than 1,500 square feet – and removing viruses or fine particles is not a concern. But a new HVAC system may not be realistic when a school’s budget is limited or the campus buildings are older and source control and proper ventilation cannot be achieved. In this case, HEPA air purifiers may be the best supplemental solution for a school’s budget and layout.

But how can schools select the right HEPA air purifier? Oransi offers the following tips:

1) Based on the recommendation of Harvard University School of Public Health, look for 5 air changes per hour (ACH). If a school’s existing Commercial HVAC system provides 3 ACH, then the air purifier selected would need to provide 2 ACH as a supplement.

2) Look for a portable air purifier with a HEPA filter.…Read More