Digital Smarts Blog

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15
Jan

The ”Internet of Things”

There are predictions that everything you use on a daily basis, from your toothbrush to your car, will one day be connected to the internet, or the “Internet of Things” as the trend is being called. Although companies may be rushing to create apps and embed chips in everything from your blankets to your shoes, it’s unclear whether consumers are as hot on the “smart everything” trend.  One of the biggest issues is simplicity and ease of use.

Research firm Accenture found in a global survey released recently that 83 percent of people who’ve used smart devices such as fitness monitors, home security systems and even smart thermostats have had frustrating problems getting those devices to work. Just over one-fifth of those surveyed deemed smart devices “too complicated to use.” Nearly as many also said that they had problems just setting up the devices, and once they did get them working, 19 percent said that they felt the products didn’t work as advertised. Those problems may be dampening enthusiasm for the revolution that Web-oriented companies are trying to foment, but don’t be surprised if you start to hear more and more about the “Internet of Things.”

14
Jan

Using Technology to Keep Parents in the Loop

Is your school looking for ways to expand and deepen communications with parents? eSchool News  recently featured an article on how two districts are trying to use technology to foster two way communication in new and different ways. The article discusses the interactive programs and apps that the districts are using, including parent portals and Student Information Systems (SIS). Alerts are sent to keep parents in the loop on what is going on in school, such as when grades fall below a certain number. The key to successfully implementing such a system is to make sure it is simple, reliable and easy to use.

14
Jan

Using Technology to Keep Parents in the Loop

Is your school looking for ways to expand and deepen communications with parents? eSchool News  recently featured an article on how two districts are trying to use technology to foster two way communication in new and different ways. The article discusses the interactive programs and apps that the districts are using, including parent portals and Student Information Systems (SIS). Alerts are sent to keep parents in the loop on what is going on in school, such as when grades fall below a certain number. The key to successfully implementing such a system is to make sure it is simple, reliable and easy to use.

13
Jan

Losing That iOS Passcode Can Spell Disaster

Apple’s recent announcement to change the way it handles personal information has many customers grateful for the increase in security, however it has come with some complications. Since the company does not keep a record of the passcode on your device, they also have no way of helping you if you forget the code, or need to get into someone else’s device should they become incapacitated. The only options are to either reset the device and then restore its contents from an iCloud or iTunes backup, or reset it and lose any data that hasn't been synced up to third-party sites. Since there are no other options, there is the possibility that you can lose your data, and it can happen with Androids as well.  Rob Pegoraro of USA Today has some tips to prevent this from happening to you.

13
Jan

Losing That iOS Passcode Can Spell Disaster

Apple’s recent announcement to change the way it handles personal information has many customers grateful for the increase in security, however it has come with some complications. Since the company does not keep a record of the passcode on your device, they also have no way of helping you if you forget the code, or need to get into someone else’s device should they become incapacitated. The only options are to either reset the device and then restore its contents from an iCloud or iTunes backup, or reset it and lose any data that hasn't been synced up to third-party sites. Since there are no other options, there is the possibility that you can lose your data, and it can happen with Androids as well.  Rob Pegoraro of USA Today has some tips to prevent this from happening to you.

12
Jan

Protecting That Gadget

Whether you have a brand new phone or one that is several years old, the cost to repair or replace a broken device is one that most people want to avoid. When it comes to protecting your phone, the number of options available can be overwhelming. USA Today recently ran an article called How to protect your new gadget, covering the basics on choosing a protective case, insurance and even waterproofing your device.

12
Jan

Protecting That Gadget

Whether you have a brand new phone or one that is several years old, the cost to repair or replace a broken device is one that most people want to avoid. When it comes to protecting your phone, the number of options available can be overwhelming. USA Today recently ran an article called How to protect your new gadget, covering the basics on choosing a protective case, insurance and even waterproofing your device.

9
Jan

Facebook’s New Data Policy

Facebook has announced it is updating its data policy, with the new terms going into effect on Jan. 30, 2015. If you want to know what data Facebook gathers, take a look at www.facebook.com/about/privacy/update. This Data Policy provides some interesting information that you may not know, such as the fact that if Facebook is used to make a purchase in a game or to make a donation to a cause, your credit or debit card information can be stored and your location can be tracked.

9
Jan

Facebook’s New Data Policy

Facebook has announced it is updating its data policy, with the new terms going into effect on Jan. 30, 2015. If you want to know what data Facebook gathers, take a look at www.facebook.com/about/privacy/update. This Data Policy provides some interesting information that you may not know, such as the fact that if Facebook is used to make a purchase in a game or to make a donation to a cause, your credit or debit card information can be stored and your location can be tracked.

8
Jan

Bullying Handout

An excellent handout on bullying behaviors for parents was recently made available to download from the Glenview Elementary School in Oakland, California. The 2-page guide helps parents and teachers not only define bullying and recognize how it shapes the school environment, but to also understand how bystanders to bullying are affected.

8
Jan

Bullying Handout

An excellent handout on bullying behaviors for parents was recently made available to download from the Glenview Elementary School in Oakland, California. The 2-page guide helps parents and teachers not only define bullying and recognize how it shapes the school environment, but to also understand how bystanders to bullying are affected.

7
Jan

Helping Teachers Meet the Challenge of Smartphones in the Classroom

The policy debate over smartphone use in school is one that has been ongoing. The Edutopia Mobile Learning blog recently posted an excellent summary of how teachers are using smartphones to engage students and promote learning. Smartphones: From Toy to Tool has some great examples of how teachers are using smartphones in their lessons, and includes tips on how teachers can get started.

7
Jan

Helping Teachers Meet the Challenge of Smartphones in the Classroom

The policy debate over smartphone use in school is one that has been ongoing. The Edutopia Mobile Learning blog recently posted an excellent summary of how teachers are using smartphones to engage students and promote learning. Smartphones: From Toy to Tool has some great examples of how teachers are using smartphones in their lessons, and includes tips on how teachers can get started.

6
Jan

Potential College Applicants Wise Up on Facebook Posts and Tweets

There is evidence that high school students have received the message that whatever they post online can be reviewed during the college admissions process. Test prep company Kaplan has found that college admissions officers are finding fewer things online that negatively impacted that applicant’s chances of admission compared to the past few years. The decline comes as the survey found more students believe colleges are factoring social media into the application process. Despite the fact that social media searches are in fact becoming more common in the college admissions process, most colleges admit that grades and test scores are still the main factors, calling an applicant’s online persona a “wild card” in the admissions process.

6
Jan

Potential College Applicants Wise Up on Facebook Posts and Tweets

There is evidence that high school students have received the message that whatever they post online can be reviewed during the college admissions process. Test prep company Kaplan has found that college admissions officers are finding fewer things online that negatively impacted that applicant’s chances of admission compared to the past few years. The decline comes as the survey found more students believe colleges are factoring social media into the application process. Despite the fact that social media searches are in fact becoming more common in the college admissions process, most colleges admit that grades and test scores are still the main factors, calling an applicant’s online persona a “wild card” in the admissions process.

5
Jan

Schools, Social Media and Burglars

A Michigan school district recently used their new technology system to help solve a crime committed over winter break. Officials used social media to get out the message that a school building had been broken into, and shared photos and video of the young burglars taken from video surveillance footage. Within minutes they began to receive responses about the identities of the suspects and were able to supply that information to police.

5
Jan

Schools, Social Media and Burglars

A Michigan school district recently used their new technology system to help solve a crime committed over winter break. Officials used social media to get out the message that a school building had been broken into, and shared photos and video of the young burglars taken from video surveillance footage. Within minutes they began to receive responses about the identities of the suspects and were able to supply that information to police.

18
Dec

Instagram Becoming the Platform for Breaking News

An interesting new article predicts that Instagram users are beginning to use the site as a social news service instead of just for photo sharing. This would potentially make Instagram a serious threat to Twitter, which has hitherto managed to dominate the social-news niche. Instagram is easier to use than Twitter, but remains harder to search for or categorize information, something the company is well aware of and working on. Cofounder Mike Krieger tells users to expect improvements in searches in 2015.

18
Dec

Instagram Becoming the Platform for Breaking News

An interesting new article predicts that Instagram users are beginning to use the site as a social news service instead of just for photo sharing. This would potentially make Instagram a serious threat to Twitter, which has hitherto managed to dominate the social-news niche. Instagram is easier to use than Twitter, but remains harder to search for or categorize information, something the company is well aware of and working on. Cofounder Mike Krieger tells users to expect improvements in searches in 2015.

17
Dec

Posting Online –Lessons Learned

Middle-school students who are part of teacher Bill Ferriter's #sugarkills project recently learned some valuable lessons about writing for a public audience when a critic challenged the accuracy of one of their posts. In a blog post written about the class project, Ferriter discusses the lessons learned and shares his growing concerns about using an open forum to garner an authentic audience for student work. This is something you might want to take a look at if your children are posting their work online for a class project, or if they are sharing their own material on a personal blog. It is important to understand what can happen and appropriate ways to handle disagreeable commentators.

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