Episode 161 – It’s a HOAX!

Tony and Patrick are back! We talk about snow and other important topics and there is the first ever Story Time with Uncle Tony and it is a good one! Check out the talking points below and as always please subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Virtual Reality – I am hopeful for its future by Patrick Cauley
    1. https://itbabble.com/2019/01/10/virtual-reality-i-am-hopeful-for-its-future/
    2. PSVR – https://www.playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-vr/
  2. Story Time with Uncle Tony
    1. Facebook copy and paste text to see posts from old friends
    2. Afraid to copy and paste
    3. Tony retyped it in TextEdit – instead of copy and paste
    4. Facebook linking these accounts due to same content (hypothesis)
  3. Consumer Electronics Show 2019
    1. Samsung’s MicroLED – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroLED
    2. LG rollable TV  – https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/12/17/18145866/lg-rollable-tv-ces-2019-commercial-sale
    3. New laptops
      1. LG Gram
      2. Cheaper Chromebooks
      3. Lenovo Laptops
      4. Apple Airplay on most TV’s

Download this episode HERE!

Episode 160 – AI Still Sucks

Tony and Patrick are back to wish you a Happy New Year and to spread a little ed tech love your way. This show is a good one to close out 2018 so check out the talking points below and as always, be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app!

  1. Good article or Facebook hit piece?
    Beware Silicon Valley’s Gifts to Our Schools
  2. Tony loves the new Ubuntu, more arguments for a Chrome Based environment and App Stream-  OR – just Ubuntu and Amazon without Google Overlords
    1. https://www.ubuntu.com/
    2. App Stream runs well – https://aws.amazon.com/appstream2/
  3. Crisis plan for IT departments
    1. You Need Power or You’re Gonna Have a Bad Time (Possible Blog Post Title)
    2. What happens in a bad day?
  4. AI Still Sucks
    1. Service that monitors G Suite and Office 365 schools.
    2. I looks at email and Google Drive/OneDrive documents
    3. Can read text in pictures
    4. Looks for drug mentions, violence or gun use, self harm, profanity and cyber bullying
    5. 91,661 issues reported – none that require any action from administration

You can download this episode from HERE!

Or listen to it below

It’s Time to Regulate Social Media in Schools

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

It is spring time, and once again I am planning a new network security plan for a school. The same issues as always, and the same questions.

All questions usually have answers with a price tag attached. Value in such planning is very subjective. After all, we spend money every year managing free apps on iPads, how does that make financial sense?

One question cannot be answered. Regardless of my due diligence and the school’s willingness to fund a comprehensive plan, students will still have phones. Those phones will have data plans. Those data plans circumvent all the work we do. Parents do not seem to care, because they are worried about having that device for logistics and emergencies.

These devices are addictive, and the applications are purely for entertainment and dopamine-driven feedback loops.

Yes, the network can manage the problem when students are on Wifi; but not when the students are on their own network.

Jamming signals is not legal in most countries, and localized jamming seems to cover very large spaces. Even if it was legal, it would impact other services.

I believe all problems can be solved, and I believe I have a solution for this one. Generically, I like to call it Social Media for Education.

Social Media for Education Explained

The core concept is simple. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., would offer an educational package. I firmly believe this should be a paid service for schools that can afford it, and free for schools that can demonstrate hardship. If you consider the cost of properly  blocking Apps on Wifi ($10-50 USD per student per year), this service would be viable if priced appropriately.

The social media companies would follow a Google Apps or O365 model for schools to join. They would require any person under the age of 18 to register as a student connected to a school.

For example, schools who sign-up would be given a school code, and could provide a student ID based roster for cross-referencing. Any person under 18 would be required to connect their profile to a school or education program of some sort(some students are home schooled or have other types of educational plans).

Unless they are connected to some type of educational plan, they simply cannot use social media until they are 18 years of age.

Schools who join would receive these benefits:

  1. Social media profiles are deactivated from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm everyday, in the timezone set by the school. This prevents VPN access from spoofing the clock.
  2. Schools could centralized a two steps homework system. Teachers would use Social media to circulate messages related to the school, and unless students confirmed all messages have been received (read), their profiles would not be activated. Although confirming a message has been seen does not equal work completed, it does mean the student acknowledged receiving the message. Blocking all other activities until all messages are cleared would prioritize the school’s notifications.
  3. Since all students can be identified and connected to a school or program, cyber-bullying would be easier to manage. Schools would need to make a request for data, but that data would connect to a student ID (most likely), and a verified location.

I have thought of more options, but, I would consider the above a tier one solution.

It Cannot Work Unless There is Regulation

It is clear from current practices, such as not enforcing the age restrictions for users, that social media companies will not offer services to schools that help disconnect students during their academic day.

In places like France, the government is physically banning phones from campuses. Other schools follow strict device confiscation policies. These measures only create a black market for phones, theft among students, and a burden on families who are victims of theft.

Trying to regulate property, and potentially facing liability issues related to property, is not the path to follow to solve this problem.

Governments need to simply require social media companies, or any company making a communications product, to provide the an identity and connection management system for those under the age of 18.

Those over 18 already have to use multiple methods to verify themselves when making new accounts. However, students seem to be able to join social media using devices and phone numbers that are not even legally in their own name. Think about that? I give my child a phone and number, they use it to join Facebook? How is that legal or even verified?

Not Enrolled in School = No Social Media

Compulsory Education around the world varies. Very few countries report having no compulsory education requirements.

No Requirement Based on Previous Data
Oman 0 2007
Solomon Islands 0 2002
Cambodia 0 2008
Holy See (Vatican City) 0 2007
Tokelau 0 2007
Bhutan 0 2008

The world-wide impact of adopting social media regulation of this caliber would equate to those under 18 not being allowed on social media, if they could not demonstrate they were enrolled in some type of educational program.

Likely, many countries would not participate in such regulation at all. However, it really only has to be country by country. As international as these platforms seem to be, connections students have are usually very local. Most students have their primary social network within the school they attend. That means their social media time is literally just interacting with people they could easily look at and speak with.

If Facebook in India were not participating, that would not impact a school in Korea. If students were to move from country to country (or school to school), they would have to re-register. The meta data from that behavior alone would help confirm drop-out rates, possible issues within school districts, etc. I believe the unknown benefits of the data would be substantial. Observer effect issues and data manipulation by school administration would be reduced.

I have been working with teenagers since 2005. I have worked with students from over 100 countries. I have been a technology disruptor, more times than I have supported the status quo. I believe in BYOD programs, and any students I have worked with will confirm I empower them to lead and make decisions. I know when I see a problem in the plan and the patterns. I know when students are not engaged, and when they are not learning. Mobile devices with addictive applications are a real problem. The design is an addictive design, and the effects are powerful. I hate regulation, but unfortunately, I think we are there.


Schools – Get your head out of the sand!


I was reading an article yesterday about a Georgia girl who is suing some of her classmates for libel for bullying her on Facebook. When I told some people about this they kind of chuckled and mentioned that “I guess you can sue anybody about anything these days.” Then I went on to explain how this girl had been bullied for about a year and the school district, the police and Facebook didn’t take any action. Then the expression changes a little on the people I am talking to. It starts to sink in that this was not the first, second or third course of action for this family. I can understand Facebook passing it over. They probably get over a million reports of abuse every week. The sheer manpower required to go through them all is staggering. The police, I can also see them passing on this issue unless it presented a clear endangerment to the girl in question (which maybe it did at some points I just don’t know). Then it leaves me with the school. Here is there excuse for not getting involved. Since the actions happened outside of the campus they couldn’t take any action.

This angers me.

Read on past the break to find out why and be sure to leave a comment. We love comments at IT Babble.

Continue reading “Schools – Get your head out of the sand!”

Dad Shoots Daughters Laptop Over Facebook Comments

The headline,”Dad Shoots Daughter’s Laptop…” seems sensational but it is very true. It is referring to a viral video on YouTube where a gun totting, good old boy with an IT background finds a post by his daughter on Facebook despite her attempts to block her parents. The comments were, well, quite immature, bratty and disrespectful.

Here is how it played out:

  1. Daughter posts nasty “open letter” to her parents but blocks them
  2. Dad, an IT guy, gets past block and finds letter
  3. Dad reads post on camera and proceeds to respond to it
  4. Dad executes daughter’s laptop, wild west style with his 45mm
  5. Dad goes so far as to explain what bullets he is using and bills his daughter for them

I can understand how a father would be frustrated in a situation like that. But the headline should really read…

How we as parents imagine handling situations but think better of it!

Kids will be kids. If this girl did not have Facebook, she would have ranted and raved the same way to her friends at a sleep over or at the cafeteria. But venting to friends does not have a “paper trail” that the Internet is so good and keeping.

How many of our kids went off on us without us knowing when they got frustrated about chores or were simply having a bad day; or felt pressured to join the conversation?

But with the Internet comes a whole new level of “digital citizenship” that most of us are not prepared for, both kids and adults.

The daughter aired out her dirty laundry for all to see. Her dad caught her and did the exact same thing but took it too far. This father has obviously written his child off and probably does not care about the ramifications of this video. He posted it with intent. he posted it on her Facebook wall for her and her friends to see.

The dad has also now propelled himself into Internet infamy by doing what he did. His present or future employers may not be fans of his actions (vengeful, violent and more). Will he do the same in the workplace? Will he air out his dirty laundry if he finds runs across a colleagues email venting about the IT guy? It’s all kinds of bad.

Sure we think it…”Man I would love to smash her laptop on camera and show her!” But most of us take the high road. And I’m sorry, despite the bratty and spoiled comments of his daughter, she will remain his daughter. She is 15…not 18. It is his responsibility to teach her and guide her and be there for her.

Yes it is very painful to hear those words coming from your own child and worse yet to know that they were “semi-public”. But we as adults need to take the high road. Not to mention he wasted a perfectly good laptop that he invested money in.

Post a well crafted response to his daughter on her Facebook wall, letting her know how disappointed he is in her actions. He can post a link to the ebay page (a private auction) that will allow her to buy back her laptop. The money can then be donated to a charity.

Or, post your comments to your daughter and post a link to the charity that you will donate her laptop to but that she has the chance to raise money for the charity and that if she matches the cost of the laptop in donations, she will get her laptop back.

Hootcourse – Twitter educationalized


That is definitely not a real word. Anyway, in this post I am going to share with you the online service HootCourse.com. This uses Twitter as a means to create a back channel chat, but it has some nice features that expand it beyond just the normal chat room experience. Basically you use your Twitter or Facebook account to log into HootCourse and it will create a Twitter feed specifically for you. Not sure what that is? Then click on past the break to get all the educationalized information.

Continue reading “Hootcourse – Twitter educationalized”