Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about how the press covers technology in education: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The best antidote to the edtech filter bubble I’ve found is to read widely and critically. Today, I’m pleased to re-launch the ‘reading list’ feature on this site to share some of what I am reading about technology in education that you are unlikely to read elsewhere.
Hackers will target anyone and anything, be that hospitals, the police, or other hackers. Even though the year is just getting started, schools have already faced a wave of phishing attacks designed to steal sensitive employee tax information. The IRS has called this “one of the most dangerous email phishing scams” they have seen.
It is inevitable that the education sector will experience data breaches and be subject to cyberattacks. One recent phishing attack has become so widespread and so damaging that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) itself has issued public guidance for schools on how to respond. Please share this information widely, educate yourself, and work with your schools to mitigate the risks of handling personal data of school employees, students, and their families.
While it’s common for a federal agency to switch policy directions after a change in leadership, FCC Chairmain Pai’s decision to rescind a data-based public report on E-rate modernization is a highly unusual decision that – at the very least – looks awful. Indeed, to expunge the public record is clearly a political move.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that he will step down next month and leave the Commission. From the perspective of K-12 schools, the importance of his contributions to E-rate modernization are hard to overstate. Indeed (and with all due respect to friends and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Education), the adoption of revisions and enhancements to the E-rate under Chairman Wheeler’s tenure may very well be the lasting legacy of the Obama Administration with respect to education. With Wheeler’s departure and based on what we can surmise, the E-rate under a Republican FCC shaped by PEOTUS Trump will likely face a new set of challenges.
Federal support for the effective use of technology for teaching, learning, and improved school operations – driven primarily by executive actions at the White House and via politically-appointed leadership at the U.S. Department of Education – could get halted, shifted or eliminated on the first day of a Trump administration.
What does the Trump Administration mean for educational technology advocates? There is a lot we don’t know, but one thing we can expect is new leadership and a new agenda at the FCC. One issue to watch: efforts to rein in the universal service fee, which could put pressure on E-rate funding and related efforts to close the ‘homework gap.’
New U.S. Department of Education guidance offers insights into how the new state block grant program will operate under ESSA, including its educational technology provisions. While the guidance is (debatably) human-readable and targeted primarily to state department of education lawyers and staff, this post offers advice on the three issues you need to consider as you slog through its 47 pages.
The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), perhaps the signature 1:1 laptop program in the nation, has generated controversy and struggled with results. It is now at risk of being brought to an end. One contributing factor: despite a 10+ year statewide track record of implementation, there is a lack of high-quality research on the program’s effectiveness in contributing to student learning. It’s a missed opportunity.