All posts by Berj Akian

Security of Equipment and Infrastructure (ISO Certifications)

By | Blog, Ed Tech, Security | No Comments

Below is a continuing series on security topics related to education technology and ClassLink. The original post is here. Infrastructure Security… Then and Now Back in the day (maybe not so far back for some schools!) network servers and other important computer equipment were kept in storage and janitor closets at the end of a hallway. These high tech broom closets served a…

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OneRoster from IMS… is it a spec or is it a standard? oh, and what’s the difference?

By | Blog, Ed Tech | No Comments

Every now and again I hear people use the terms ‘technical specification’ and ‘technical standard’ interchangeably when it comes to IMS Global‘s OneRoster. At first I too used to flip-flop between those terms and then I decided to research it a bit through conversations with the folks at IMS and some good ole’ online searching… here’s what I found. Turns…

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Laws, Regulations, and Industry Standards (FERPA, COPPA, Student Privacy Pledge and more…)

By | Blog, Ed Tech, Security | No Comments

Below is a continuing series on security topics related to education technology and ClassLink. The original post is here. Understanding Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Enacted by Congress in 1974, this federal law applies to schools and it governs the access and distribution of school educational records. The law differentiates between ‘Directory Information’ (e.g. student name or other…

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Security… Trust, but verify

By | Blog, Ed Tech, Security | No Comments

When we present ClassLink to someone new, we’re occasionally asked about security. The question doesn’t come up as often as it did a few years ago when school districts were still in the infancy of ‘moving to the cloud’. In some ways, I suppose, the reason for the fall-off on security questions is that we’re all growing more comfortable with…

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More on IMS Standards and Data Interoperability

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“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”   I’m a fan of this Einstein quote and of anyone who can take complex ideas and communicate them succinctly. Speaking of complex ideas… The following is part 3 of a running series on ‘Understanding Data Interoperability Standards’. (i know what your thinking, so much for being succinct!) Even with all the available…

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Horn or Halo Series – Interactive Whiteboards

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From the educators: “If anything the history of [IWBs] to date is still a case study exemplifying the misplaced philosophy driving a lot of IT in education, namely ‘introduce first and think about how to use it later.’” THE Journal. “With proper planning, preparation, and training, it is a powerful instructional tool, which can be adapted for use with a…

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Horn or Halo Series – Digital Note Taking

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From the educators: “We often assume students are familiar with best practices for using digital tools when, in fact, what happens is they tend to use in a substitution manner instead of a transformative one.” –Sabba Quidwa, Director of Innovative Learning for the University of Southern California and an Apple Distinguished Educator. “Before making a blanket statement that one device…

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Horn or Halo Series – Smartphones

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Background: The Simon, accepted as the original smartphone, was introduced in 1993, (pre-Internet!). It was clunky and described as ‘brick-like’ by some; but, it had voice, data, PDA and even fax capabilities. Fast forward to today and estimates are we will soon surpass 2 billion smartphone users. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, nearly three-quarters of teens have…

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Horn or Halo Series – Twitter in the Classroom

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Background: Twitter launched in 2006 as an microblogging platform and now has over 300 million active users. It’s concise nature (max of 140 characters) allows for everything from instant news updates to social activism, business marketing, and, wait for it…  educational innovation. Through Twitter, teachers have a way of sharing resources with each other and with their students instantly. The…

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Horn or Halo Series – YouTube

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Welcome to our first Horn or Halo post. Here we take controversial EdTech topics, ones that can be considered both good and bad for the classroom and discuss them. Each post in this series offers some ‘horns’ and ‘halos’ before coming to a verdict. Background: In April 2005 you could watch a single 18 sec video. Ten years later, YouTube…

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4 IMS Global Standards Affecting K12

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(This post is a follow up to a previous article. Read part 1 here.) Here are the big four IMS Global Standards worth knowing about for K-12: LTI (a.k.a. Learning Tools Interoperability; LTI Link; LTI Launch Link; LTI Connector) LTI is a Standard for authenticating a user into another system and getting back specific content. There are multiple editions of…

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Beginners guide to IMS Global’s Big 4 Standards for K-12

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With roots originally in Higher Ed, IMS Global Learning Consortium has become the leader for open technology standards across education including K-12, corporate and government.  It’s increasingly useful for tech leaders of K-12 institutions to have a working knowledge of IMS and what they offer the industry. Here’s a primer to get you started. Who made up IMS Global? In…

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Growth in Digital Content and Julie’s 4 C’s

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In a post on THE Journal, Julie Davis, educator, tech-enthusiast and author of “Thoughts On All Things EduTechie Oriented” blog, describes 4 key elements of tech integration in classrooms. Her insights are spot on and it’s no wonder given her hands-on classroom experience. Julie’s 4 C’s are Creation, Consumption, Curation, and Connection. Although these particular ‘C’s’ might be thought of as timeless,…

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Pen and Paper vs Laptops in the Classroom, and the winner is…

By | 24/7 access, Blog, Ed Tech Research, K-12, LaunchPad, Uncategorized | No Comments

When I read commentaries that downplay the value of technology in education I envision the author as the character Roz from Monsters, Inc. From the start of ClassLink way back in 1998, we have been helping students and teachers more easily access all their software and files, knowing that better access to good learning resources can lead to better educational outcomes….

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Big Data in Education

By | Blog, Ed Tech, LaunchPad, Uncategorized | No Comments

  Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the 2014 Data Summit & Expo hosted by the NJ Technology Council. NJTC was founded by @maxineballen and they are a great group of passionate people dedicated to helping grow technology and life sciences companies in New Jersey. The event was all about cloud computing, data centers, and Big Data. I participated in…

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