Renascence School Education News - private school

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Has technology made your child vulnerable?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Does the rest of the world know more about your child than you do?


When Facebook first became popular, kids did not understand the permanence of social media posts or how a “private” post could be circulated to millions of people. Today most kids know the risks of posting inappropriate pictures, disclosing travel plans, and making caustic comments online.


Now parents are being forced to address a new set of challenges. The latest threats come from RFID (radio frequency identification) chips and search engine, social media, and credit card data collection.


RFID chips are used to track items at a distance. With recent prices drops, governments and private companies are embedding these chips into many things including driver licenses, credit cards, and clothing. In the right hands the information is helpful, since it can help curb credit card fraud and reduce shoplifting. However, the technology also makes it easy for criminals to track and take advantage of children.


One of the most concerning trends is information sharing between data collectors (driver license agencies and credit card companies) and police departments. Although information on police misconduct is not well publicized, some publications are suggesting that thousands of police officers are involved in criminal behavior including violence, drugs, theft, and forcible sex. As a result sharing detailed personal information with these agencies puts our kids at risk.


The second problem is equally troubling. Internet companies like Google and Facebook are collecting and selling personal information on their users at an alarming rate. The information is not only sold to companies who are interested in targeted marketing, but also to organizations that use the information for other purposes. This means criminals can get very detailed information on almost everyone, including children.


The challenge is we need to access and use information to function in the 21st Century. As a result, it is not realistic to prohibit our children from using the Internet. Instead we need to talk with our children about the issues, so they can minimize the information they release and are aware that criminals likely have all their personal information.


Then parents need to reduce the amount information they allow their children to place on the web and should demand the right to opt out of RFID programs. Most importantly, we need to support companies that allow us to protect our privacy.


We deserve to know more about our kids than Google, Cola Cola, and the government.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Los Angeles schools chief to seek halt to computers-for-all program

Reuters – Sharon Bernstein

“Los Angeles schools chief Ramon Cortines on Friday signaled he is ready to abandon a troubled plan to provide a computer to every student in the second-largest U.S. public school district, a reversal of a policy championed by his predecessor. Cortines said the district could not afford the program, which aimed to provide iPads and computers to the district’s 640,000 students, along with teachers and many administrators. “We are committed to providing technology to our children -whether it be desktop computer labs, laptops or tablets – to help prepare them for the 21st century,” Cortines said. “However, as we are reviewing our lessons learned, there must be a balanced approach to spending bond dollars to buy technology when there are so many brick and mortar and other critical facility needs that must be met.” Cortines made his remarks amid tense labor negotiations between the Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles. Earlier this week, both sides said they were deadlocked in negotiations over raises, class size and other issues.”(more)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Computer Time: How Long Is Too Long?

The Huffington Post – Kiki Prottsman

“Students are spending more and more time with technology these days. They’re looking at monitors in class and at home. They use screens for education, for recreation, and for information. Our children are surrounded by computers, tablets and cell phones…but how much is too much? Thinkersmith has reviewed the research and observed students from kindergarteners to undergrads, and have developed our own guidelines that serve us well for classes and camps. In general, Thinkersmith recommends that students spend no more time sitting in front of a computer than you would expect them to be able to sit still for a book. If, for example, a kindergartener would comfortably listen to their teacher read for fifteen to twenty minutes, then that should also be the time limit for a kindergartener’s computer activity. This approach works fantastically up until around the sixth grade…”(more)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Should computer science courses be mandatory?

The Deseret News – Eric Schulzke

“The real challenge in American higher education is not that we don’t have enough college graduates. If New York Times columnist Charles Blow is right, it’s that too many of them are majoring in English, art history, or ethnic or gender studies, and not enough in science, technology, engineering and math. Take computer science, for example. Blow points to data compiled at Georgia Tech showing vast disparities in who is taking the computer science advanced placement exam. Blacks, Hispanics and women still lag significantly in computer science preparation, the study found, comparing the percentage of the population taking the AP computer science A exam to the population in the state. “No matter what strides we make — or don’t — in the march toward racial and gender equality in this country,” Blow asks, “is this an area in which the future will feel more stratified, and in which the inequalities, particularly economic ones, will mount? Is science education a new area of our segregation?” “Women make up nearly half the workforce but have just 26 percent of science, technology, engineering or math jobs, according to the Census Bureau,” the New York Times noted in a 2013 editorial. Blacks make up 11 percent of the workforce but just 6 percent of such jobs and Hispanics make up nearly 15 percent of the workforce but hold 7 percent of those positions.” The problem, STEM advocates say, is twofold. First, the jobs these students are avoiding pay better, and second, there are simply more of them.”(more)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gaming Can Give Troubled Teens Another Shot At Learning

Forbes – Nick Morrison

“Students who get turned off by education can struggle to see the point of schools, but one project is showing how gaming can give troubled teens another shot at learning. Games developer Kuato has already won plaudits for its work in schools, where students have to learn basic code to take a robot through an adventure/shoot-em-up game…But in a new departure, Kuato has gone into a school for students who struggle to engage with mainstream education, to see if coding can give them a reason to learn…the results suggest that creating games does have the power to switch students back on to education.”(more)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

FCC’s plan to reclassify internet has big K-12 impact

E-School News – Bridget McCrea

“FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing clear, sustainable, enforceable rules to preserve and protect the open Internet as a place for innovation and free expression. According to an FCC Fact Sheet the common-sense proposal would replace, strengthen, and supplement FCC rules struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit more than one year ago. “An open Internet allows consumers to access the legal content and applications that they choose online, without interference from their broadband network provider,” the fact sheet states. “It fosters innovation and competition by ensuring that new products and services developed by entrepreneurs aren’t blocked or throttled by Internet service providers putting their own profits above the public interest. An open Internet allows free expression to blossom without fear of an Internet provider acting as a gatekeeper. And it gives innovators predictable rules of the road to deliver new products and services online.” Evan Marwell, CEO of San Francisco-based EducationSuperHighway, says Chairman Wheeler’s proposals to protect the open internet include one key provision that will be very helpful to any school district or library that is working to bring fiber to their buildings. That is, by “ensuring fair access to poles and conduits under section 224,” the proposed rules will make it much simpler and more cost effective for school districts to obtain the rights of way they will need for fiber construction.”(more)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

‘Maker Space’ Allows Kids To Innovate, Learn In The Hospital

NPR – Noah Nelson

“All around the country, computer hackers, artists and other do-it-yourselfers are meeting up in “maker spaces,” to share tools and build cool stuff together, such as robots or musical instruments. Maker spaces are popping up in all sorts of places: school auditoriums, libraries, under tents at community festivals, and now, even at the hospital. At Vanderbilt University’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., the maker space comes in the form of a large metal cart, carrying materials and tools young patients can use to create objects…The point of this maker space isn’t just to give kids with long hospital stays something cool to do. It’s a pilot program designed by Krishnan to solve the problem of teaching science and math skills to kids inside hospitals.”(more)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Social media access challenges parents, educators

E-School News – Zach Tyler

“With smartphones and tablet and laptop computers now as common as pencils and notebooks in many classrooms, schools and parents alike are having to figure out how to guide students’ use of technology.”(more)

Monday, December 15, 2014

An Hour of Code for a lifelong skill

The Asbury Park Press – Catherine Galioto

“ASBURY PARK – Take the popularity of the Frozen Disney movie, and add inspirational stories of those in the computer science field, and you could inspire more children to take an interest in learning code. That’s the theme of this year’s Hour of Code, a free afternoon event that gave children a look into a field that organizers said not only helps develop problem-solving and creativity but is also an in-demand job skill.”(more)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

U.S. FCC raises schools’ Internet subsidy amid net neutrality protests


“(Reuters) – U.S. communications regulators on Thursday held the year’s last public meeting, where they voted to increase the largest U.S. education technology subsidy and protesters interrupted with calls for stricter regulations for Internet service providers.”(more)