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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Five Obstacles to Security in a Bring Your Own Device School

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

For years, schools have been fighting to keep students from bringing their own laptops, phones and tablets to school – mainly because of security and access control. How can you stop students from using these devices for activities that are not allowed on school grounds, especially when connected to a school network? Technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, however,…

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Managing BYOD Security in a K-12 Classroom Environment

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

For years, students have been bringing their own devices into classrooms and schools. Those schools often maintained strict policies regarding their use, requiring that they remain off during school hours, but as the number of devices has increased and their relative use in the classroom has as well, many K-12 districts are running BYOD pilot programs. If your district is…

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ClassLink Releases Revolutionary New Version of LaunchPad for iOS 6

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

A new release of iOS, the operating system used by Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, usually means a host of new possibilities for app developers. When iOS 6 was released earlier this year, ClassLink took the opportunity to completely transform how students and teachers can use their flagship LaunchPad product on their Apple devices. Much of the shift is…

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Introducing the BYOD Guidebook from ClassLink!

By | Blog, Ed Tech, Uncategorized | No Comments

In the effort to make technology more accessible for our students, there are quite a few obstacles. Budgetary concerns are at the forefront. To address those concerns, visionary educational leaders have started advocating that students should be allowed to bring their own devices to school for educational use, in an effort called Bring Your Own Device or BYOD. There seems…

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Engaging Students through Modern Tools and Interfaces

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

Students have long been expected to bring a backpack full of tools with them to school every day. Paper, pencils, pens and notebooks – the academic tools of the trade. But technology has often been closely monitored. Schools have provided computer access in libraries – closely monitored by network firewalls – and sometimes allowed laptops in classes, but rarely was…

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Expanding Possibilities with BYOT Policies

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

There are plenty of arguments for and against bring your own technology. School districts are finding time and again, however, that the things they had worried about are often easy to address or avoid and the benefits are substantial. How substantial? Consider just a few of the major issues faced by today’s teachers and schools and how BYOT addresses them….

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Communication and Collaboration, the fastest growing skill requirements today…

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

Communication and collaboration, these may be the fastest growing skill requirements today. There’s no doubt that critical thinking and tech literacy are important as well, but in my organization and nearly every other organizations I know, it’s the collective communication and collaboration skills that everyone counts on. Schools that excel in communication and collaboration skill building are schools that succeed. …

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Why the Time Has Come for BYOD In Your School

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

BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is one of the hottest buzzwords in education right now. It’s also a shock to the system of many old-school administrators and educators who have spent their careers fighting the outside devices students would bring into their schools. It’s no secret that the beepers of the mid-90’s are vastly different from today’s smartphones, tablets,…

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Get the eRate Edge for Your School in 2012

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

For the 2012 year, eRate funding will be available for distribution to schools in the amount of nearly $2.3 billion. These funds and telecommunication discounts will be dispersed to schools and libraries to take advantage of. With the new eRate season right around the bend it’s beneficial to have some extra guidance as your school prepares an application. The following…

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Top Ways Schools Use Social Media Tools

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

Use of smart phones, tablets, and mobile devices are receiving the green light in more and more of today’s schools, but a recent reader poll by eSchool News makes it clear that while social networking pages are a fun, interactive and quick communication path with students and parents – it’s still on pause. Social networking within the majority of schools…

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Traits of a Successful 21st-century Educator

By | Blog, Uncategorized | No Comments

Many of today’s education-geared discussions and articles are largely centered on evaluating what skills are needed for students to prevail, but what teachers? A recent poll begged the question to readers, what skills are needed for an educator to be successful in the 21st-century classroom?   Responses were centered on teachers being a guide to students, and less focused on…

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Distance Education from an Undergraduate Perspective

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

A recent NCES  analysis uncovered that 20% of all undergraduates had taken at least one distance education class during the 2007-2008 academic year. These findings surpassed those observed in both 1999 to 2000 which was at 8%, as well as in 2003 and 2004, which was observed at 16%. The study takes into consideration distance education as defined as a course taken for…

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Impactful Classroom Solutions – for the here and now!

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

As school administrators consider where and how to implement cloud strategies some of their teachers are already ahead of the curve. More and more, educators are moving to the cloud by leveraging cloud-based tools, and in doing so are adding 21st century skills to student learning! Former senior education consultant from the University of Montana, John Kuglin is an educator…

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10 Real Ways to Model Technology

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

Teaching veteran Heather Wolper-Gawron touches upon the latest news in education, curriculum design, educational policy and moreon her blog TweenTeacher. More recently, she wrote about “modeling” technology within the classroom versus “using” technology in the classroom. ClassLink thought this model of how to teach technology to students for interactive academic development was useful and worthy of sharing, but first, what’s the difference? How is…

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ClassLink Webinar Leadership Series – Upcoming Event!

By | Blog, PD Services, Uncategorized | No Comments

Join us on October 6th at 1p.m. for a free webinar as ClassLink gathers subject matter experts in the Instructional Technology field to analyze the topic of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Our focus will be on, How will we make them into essential tools?   Many schools today are encouraging tech devices as learning tools in the classroom, while others are still…

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The Value of Tech-centric Classrooms

By | Blog, Career and Technical Education, ClassMate, Uncategorized | No Comments

Let’s resume our discussion from Tuesday, shall we? In Small steps, Big moves  we relayed the concerns put forth by this TNYT article In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores, which posed questions of technology’s true value as it continues to advance within schools. This piece referenced the high cost of technology, stating that there is no testing done or evidence…

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Small steps, Big moves

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

As of late, it seems many teachers are vouching for a technology-centric classroom – allowing their students to work in group laptop sessions, blogging about an article they’ve read, or inserting new and interesting ways to bolster academic development, such as rap renditions (as mentioned a recent ClassLink blog, Alternative Teaching Methods). It’s no surprise that 7th grade English students are studying…

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The Importance of K-12 Classroom Arrangement

By | Blog, ClassMate, Uncategorized | No Comments

School’s back in session! Summer 2011 has almost officially wrapped up with the majority of teachers, principals and students back at school. The overall classroom enviroment is bustling as the buzz of what’s to come this school year permiates the air. Both students and teachers are getting back into the swing of the daily grind as class schedules, studying and homework all take a front seat. When possible,…

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