On Friday, 12 May 2017, a large cyber-attack using it was launched, infecting more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries, demanding ransom payments in the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 28 languages. This type of malicious attack is classified as ransomeware.
The ransomeware concept is fairly simple. Once the package infects a system, it begins to encrypt all the data. The data is still on the machine, but it is not accessible unless the user enters a decryption key. In order to obtain the key, money must be sent to the “owner” of the ransomeware. Usually this money is requested in the form of cryptocurrency, to make it difficult (if not impossible) to trace the payment.
Ransomeware Targets Everyone
Schools often believe that certain security measures and protocols followed in the corporate world do not apply to them. There is often a consensus on-campus that technology needs to be friendly and open. Because of this cultural approach to planning technology many rules and regulations are simply not followed, especially if those rules and regulations are designed for extreme scenarios.
For example, it would be odd to find a school that did not have user managed passwords for email. When users get their email account, they change and manage their own password. However, if someone recommends that school personnel setup multistep authentication, that expires every thirty days, that recommendation is probably going to be rejected. Any multistep authentication process requires that users learn more about security and manage security more regularly. If a user makes a mistake, the delay for resetting their services is often considered unacceptable.
IT policies and procedures that would prevent a school from being a victim of ransomeware, or other sophisticated attacks, are going to be policies that create barriers and limits. These measures would slow people down at times, and restrict certain types of technology from being used on-campus.
I am always focused on the end-game. The end-game for students is the next level after they leave K-12. Preparing students to compete and succeed is difficult. There is always a huge debate over where time should be allocated, what subjects are more important, and what skills will be required ten years after graduation.
I do believe there are always trends, and finding those trends can be difficult. Most of the data we gravitate towards, is data that we are directed to look at. The trick to finding trends, is to find new questions to ask. In order to find those questions, I try and look at data through a variety of lenses.
College Admissions Data
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) publishes a report called the State of College Admission. I decided to research the 2014 and 2016 reports (data range from 2006-2015) after being very intrigued by a 2007 article titled, Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard.
Of course, evolution is not the same as progress. These kids have an AP history textbook that has been specially created to match the content of the AP test, as well as review books and tutors for those tests. We had no AP textbook; many of our readings came from primary documents, and there was no Princeton Review then. I was never tutored in anything and walked into the SATs without having seen a sample SAT question.
As for my bean sprouts project, as bad it was, I did it alone. I interview kids who describe how their schools provide a statistician to analyze their science project data.
I started to wonder, aside from academics, are university admission processes valuing all the extracurricular work students are doing, and all the stress and time involved in this competitive process. Many extracurricular options involve technology, and require significant investment in time and money.
The data from NACAC was interesting. There are four common summary columns: Considerable Importance, Moderate Importance, Limited Importance, No Importance.
I decided only to review the change of “importance” in the No Importance category. The first three categories are variable. No Importance is not variable, it is absolute, and reflects a definitive negative statement.
Tony and Patrick are back! This episode Tony discusses WiFi and we talk about Remix OSTony and Wifi email comment and a lot more. Check out the talking points below.
“Read every line item until you get it.” ~Michael Burry
During the last four weeks I have been reading literature, academic studies, and news articles on finance. I have studied graphs, looked through numerous sets of data, watched Youtube videos, and read two full books on asset allocation. I am doing this research in my free-time, because I want to make a new investment. I want to fully understand how to manage the investment, and the longterm risks involved. There is No App for This. This is work, and it will only get more complicated as I get more involved.
Adding to my research, I watched a few fiction and non-fiction movies about the 2008 economic crisis. Studying humanity’s failures on a grand scale is always enlightening. Through my reading, and viewing, of this event I learned that Dr. Michael Burry discovered the market problems by reading 1000s of individual mortgages. He instructed his staff to read 1000s of records as well and to interpret the data. There is No App for This. This is work, and it only gets more complicated as it develops.
The systems and tools that allow a few people to manage tens of thousands of data points, to connect the community, to inform families, and to track what is happening formatively are not trivial systems. These systems have Apps that allow for a few conveniences, but all the power and value is in the strategic and creative development of these systems by the schools that use them, not the companies that own them.
Tony and I are back! In this episode we talk about body cameras in the classroom and the official announcement that Chrome OS will support Android apps. It raises some questions.
You can download the episode HERE!
You can also listen below.
My district (heck I think the whole state) requires that teachers keep a record of each and every time I contact a parent or a parent contacts me. In the past I did this in a notebook but there would be a time when I didn’t have the notebook on me or when I forgot it at home and sometimes – the notebook sprouted some legs and went to hide somewhere in my desk 🙂
Now being a Google school I have devised a much better way to keep track of this. My first thought was I just make a spreadsheet and enter everything into the spreadsheet. The problem with that is that sometimes, I need to write a lot and the cell height or width may make it a pain to see what I’m typing. Then it dawned on me – why not make a Google Form and just enter the info there! I can even make a link at the bottom to submit a new form if I have multiple entries to add at one time.
OK, here is what my form looks like in all its illustrious glory.
Yep! There it is in all its glory. As you can see I have fields for this information
I should of put Reason for contact but I’ll fix that up for next year.
Now, here is the great part. Every time I fill out this form, Google automatically throws that data into a spreadsheet for me. It even adds in a timestamp (down to the second). So if I want to know how many times I called Johnny’s parents, I can easily go and find that info. Great. Check out the image below to see what it looks like. I have blurred out important information.
It might look a little crazy at first. Remember it is a record and a spreadsheet. I can sort by any column and I can of course search by hitting ctrl + F or command + F and typing in a student’s name.
It has also been a handy bit of evidence when I need to get and administrator involved. They usually want to know if I have made a contact with someone at home. This here is my proof and tends to help build a case for more support from the counselor and administration.
Overall this works for me, I can access it from any computer/device with Interwebs and sharing it with colleagues is pretty easy as well. I like it! What do you use to keep track of your record of contacting a child’s home?