Bolstering cybersecurity with Zero Trust

Like all other sectors, the pandemic expedited digital transformation in education. School districts and universities around the globe found themselves making years’ worth of changes rapidly, as the coronavirus shutdown resulted in a mad dash to a new, fully remote “normal.” As schools continue to make sense of distance learning strategies, it is imperative that they factor long-term cybersecurity considerations into their plans.

Each day since the pandemic began, educators and administrators are forced to confront systems that have seen an overwhelming and tremendous surge in usage. The process of implementing new e-learning technologies at scale created significant gaps in security. In fact, according to one report, “the average number of weekly attacks per organization in the academic sector increased by 30 percent July through August of 2019.”

Given the number of individuals involved in, and affected by, the education system, the idea of “move fast break things” may leave those who lack a proper cybersecurity infrastructure at a particularly high risk from cyber threats. Prioritizing cybersecurity in education has never been more pertinent.…Read More

Can AR be the antidote to virtual classroom shortcomings?

Schools across the country are well into their second go-round of distance learning at this point. Things seem to be running more smoothly than the first attempt last spring–however, we are still experiencing growing pains to say the least.

Students, parents, and educators have all expressed serious concerns regarding distance learning. In a survey done by The Education Trust, a statewide poll found that 90 percent of parents are worried about their children falling behind academically due to coronavirus-related school closures.

One of the most difficult adjustments to this change, especially for teachers, has been the adoption of digital tools that aid distance learning. We’ve all become much more acquainted with Zoom and Google Meets.…Read More

Book Uses Neuroscience to Reduce Conflict

With COVID-19 changing the way we work and live, combining those spaces in unprecedented ways, and happening concurrently with massive political divisions and economic distress, the potential for destructive conflict is increasing. Jeanine Hull—former corporate lawyer, now author, certified Conflict Transformation mediator, conflict engagement coach and public speaker—shows how to use this challenging time constructively to deepen relationships by changing the way you think about and respond to conflict. Her new book, Making Peace with Conflict: Using Neuroscience to Ease Difficult Relationships, is a scientifically comprehensive guide and is the first book that explicitly ties recent revolutionary trauma research to the way we deal with conflict.

“We all know how miserable conflict is, but very few of us have experienced the benefits conflict can bring, such as deepening trust and strengthening relationships,” said Hull. “Like navigating a labyrinth, the process of harnessing the connective power of conflict lies in trusting the process, putting one foot in front of the other and maintaining progress toward the center—a place of integration, peace and ease. Using clear and easy-to-understand language, my book uses neuroscience to educate you how to engage with and move through the unpleasantness of conflict to better your professional and personal lives.”

Notably, Hull helps organizations and families create an environment that values diversity of opinions (which can often lead to conflict—or worse, silence) with Rules of Conflict Engagement to normalize and respect diverging opinions. These Rules of Engagement make it safe for everyone to give their best to their jobs, families, communities and volunteer organizations.…Read More

3 ways lesson planning is like following a recipe

Recently, when a friend shared a recipe on Facebook for a pumpkin cheesecake (yum!), it reminded me of the time I tried to make my own cheesecake. I purchased all the ingredients and some new equipment, including that special pan that snaps around the cake. Unfortunately, I missed a step. I did not soften the cream cheese properly. All these years later, I’m recalling myself with four different spoons in the bowl, trying to maneuver my creation and figuring it to be an utter failure. Because I did not want to waste my ingredients, let alone my fancy new bakeware, I pressed on. In the end, the cheesecake was delicious, but the preparation was a bit of a horror story.

Not too long after my attempt to make the cheesecake, I became a teacher (trust me, I’m going somewhere with this). And recently, it occurred to me that lesson planning is like following a recipe.

Like following a recipe, lesson planning ……Read More

Blog: Technology Creates Dynamic Insights at Tampa Preparatory School

At the Tampa Preparatory School, the mission is to provide students “a preparation for life with a higher purpose than self.” Each classman must abide by an honor code and resolve to make a positive difference both in the school and outside world by being honest, respectful, trustworthy, and fair.

Conversely, the educators and staff at Tampa Prep promise to create a place where young people can Think, Create, Be Themselves, Aspire to Excellence and Go Beyond. Students are encouraged to reflect and analyze on the path to personal understanding. They are asked to celebrate the imagination in geometric proofs and formal essays, on canvas, the computer, and stage, in poetry readings and morning assemblies. They are taught to respect people’s differences. And, they are guided toward winning attitudes in academics, athletics and arts so that they may meet the challenges that exist beyond their communities and experiences.

The academy offers concentrated studies in the academic areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Global Studies and Art.…Read More

Hey educators: Are you trustworthy? Here are 4 vital signs for identifying and assessing trust in schools

[Editor’s note: This post is the second in a new column for eSchool News. In her column on ‘Personal Development’, eSchool News Columnist Jennifer Abrams focuses on tangible takeaways, tools and teachings that all those working in schools can use to develop their leadership. Read more about the column and browse future content here.]

Trust is a big word. It may be just one syllable and it’s certainly not a word the Spelling Bee organizers would consider a great challenge (or have on their radar at all), but in more important ways it is huge.

Its dictionary definition is well-known, easily understood, and…meaningless, most of the time. Because in schools, it’s the connotation we attach to the word and the deep reservoirs of associated emotion that determine how we truly define it. Trust is unwieldy, vague, and fuzzy. It’s complex, huge, and complicated. And, by the way, it is essential: research says trust is critical to our schools moving forward.…Read More

Using politics to teach critical thinking

As high school social studies teachers in a swing state, election season is some of the most fertile ground for learning, and this past cycle—with all its splashy and expensive political ads—proved no exception.

Our students are all in their mid teens, which means in the next presidential election, they will be eligible voters. With so much information (and misinformation) swirling around our students, it was imperative for us to teach them how to think critically about the political process in an unbiased, nonpartisan way, giving them the power to sift through the reams of information we’re inundated with on a daily basis and decide what to trust and what to be skeptical about—and how to go about making those determinations.

Tools to Teach with Politics…Read More

Researcher asks: Does the SIS build or dismantle trust?

One researcher is poised to take a fascinating look at Student Information Systems and the data they collect

trust-sisFor all the hand-wringing, media attention, and proposed legislation over data and student privacy the academic research on the topic may just now be starting to catch up. And when it comes to the student data-collection linchpin that is the Student Information System, that research is just about nonexistent.

That’s according to William G. Staples, a sociologist, professor, and director of the Surveillance Studies Research Center at the University of Kansas. Staples has a history of researching both surveillance-related topics and also more standard sociological fare, and is the recent recipient of a small Spencer Foundation grant that will enable him to conduct some research with relevant school and public stakeholders around the SIS and how its data is being used in the interests of students. Staples recently spoke with eSchool News about his upcoming research.

eSchool News: How did you get involved in this line of inquiry? You’ve done some previous research into surveillance? …Read More

EDSITEment offers a grand tour of time and place

The EDSITEment site is a valuable resource for social studies, language arts, and art history teachers of any grade level. The site is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with the Council of the Great City Schools, MCI, and the National Trust for the Humanities.

A page called Top Humanities Websites links teachers with dozens of the most interesting and informative sites in their field. Links include the American Verse Project (http://www.hti.umich.edu/english/amverse), an electronic archive of poetry before 1920, and Oyez, Oyez, Oyez: the Supreme Court WWW Resource.

Our favorite link, listed under three of the four categories, is the American Memory Project (http://memory.loc.gov), a Library of Congress site that offers a fascinating collection of resources such as photographs, documents, maps, motion pictures, and sound recordings. Through the Motion Pictures link, we were able to download and watch some of the earliest motion picture recordings, such as Edison’s “The Great Train Robbery,” an 11-minute silent film recorded in 1903. …Read More