EdTech Should Have a Positive Impact

November 27, 2018

Education Cybersecurity Weekly is a curated weekly news overview for those who are concerned about the Education industry. It provides brief summaries and links to articles and news across a spectrum of cybersecurity and technology topics that are specific to the industry.

The University of Michigan warned its students to stay away from mining cryptocurrency. The question is how to eliminate the major loophole in the federal law?

Students continue cryptocurrency mining on university campuses

Edscoop on November 21, 2018

Not all students use university resources to write reports and essays for different disciplines. The University of Michigan warned its students to stay away from mining cryptocurrency,calling it a violation of university policy and comparing the activity with theft. Ravi Pendse, CIO at University of Michigan, said his team found “occasional” bitcoin mining activities on university systems that actually may disrupt all regular computing routines.

In some cases, attackers use phishing techniques to trick victims into clicking links that load cryptocurrency mining code on their computers, or infect websites with malicious code. The only sign of this that victims may notice is a slowing of their computer’s performance.

Ravi Pendse, CIO at University of Michigan

Interestingly, about 60% of cryptocurrency mining instances occurred in higher education, followed by technology and healthcare sectors. It can be easy for tech-savvy students’ cryptocurrency mining operations to go unnoticed with easy access to free electrical power and internet.

FERPA should be improved – student personal information is at constant risk

Elearning Inside on November 25, 2018

Earlier in November there was a noteworthy incident – Brooklyn students walked out over the implementation of the Summit Learning program, a self-directed learning curriculum on the personalized digital platform, developed by Facebook engineers. As it turned out, Summit collected student personal data and disclosed it to 19 other corporations. Afterwards, two organizers of the event wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking him: “What gives you this right and why Summit invaded our privacy in this way?”

Actually, the right is given by The Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (FERPA) that governs the protection of personal student data in school and, among other things, conditions under which it can be disclosed. According to it, the information can be disclosed to school officials which may be “a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions”. Thus, Summit Learning is fully within their rights to collect student data. The question is how to eliminate the major loophole in the federal law?

Emerging technologies improve students’ experience

EdTech on November 21, 2018

The latest EDUCAUSE report has a positive and encouraging conclusion: students benefit from exposure to emerging technology, so universities should work on expanding their programs.

Almost all interviewed students have access to some kind of personal device. However, less than 5% of respondents can implement virtual reality tools in their learning or use 3D printers. Although the integration of mixed reality headsets and other technology may be considered expensive, the universities are expected to invest in the emerging tools for public spaces like libraries, makerspaces, computer labs or active-learning facilities.

Furthermore, the educational organizations should also be concerned about students with disabilities. In 2018, 27 percent of students reported their institution’s awareness of their needs as “poor,” up 16 percent since 2015.

Developing computer skills together – how to reduce the digital divide between students and their parents

eSchool News on November 21, 2018

When it comes to emerging technologies in education sector, recognizing the power of families learning together can make a significant difference in school engagement and a greater success outside of school for all family members. One of the solutions to achieve this goal is hosting family tech nights.

How many topics you cover will depend on many factors including the size of the audience, the proficiency of parents and whether you intend to make this an annual event or something more frequent. The event may include the following goals:

  • Establish email accounts for parents who had never used email.
  • Demonstrate how to access their students’ attendance and academic records.
  • Show how to download essential mobile apps.
  • Discuss principles of digital citizenship.
  • Finally, assure parents who had no computer experience that we were all in this together.

Educating families and providing opportunities benefit both families and educational organizations.

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