Leading A Not-Yet-Digital School

This week I have the privilege of attending the Leading A Digital School conference in Melbourne, Australia. It’s run by iwbNet and so far – after the first day of three – it’s pretty good.


My main reasons for going are for the leadership, change management and policy development stuff. Today has already been brilliant for those areas of focus. A case study of a school’s journey into BYOD (Bring Your Own Device – although all these Aussies keep calling it BYOT); a plenary presentation from the former Director of Instructional Technology from a successful U.S. school district; networking over lunch with new friends sharing experiences and ideas; sharing policies for BYOD implementation & digital citizenship… My brain’s a little overloaded!

This quote from Jill Hopkins‘ plenary session really hit me:

“Every school in the world is already a BYOT school. It’s just a question of whether they’re willing to admit it, and what they do with it.”

I know the future is BYOD, and the future is beautiful. But for those of us still in the transition phase, how do we support teachers and students when BYOD is not yet fully implemented? Every school is already a BYOD school, and that includes us. Eventually, we will have the digital citizenship and BYOD policies in place and teachers trained. In the meantime, the challenge is to facilitate effective learning, taking advantage of the BYOD devices that are already in (some of) our students’ pockets, safely and responsibly. I would truly welcome your ideas and resources! Please share in the comments below so others in our position can benefit too. 

You’re Not As Good As You Think You Should Be

You’re Not As Good As You Think You Should Be.

“Oftentimes we are witnessing people’s best moments and yet we are constantly measuring ourselves against them. It is okay for us to strive for these moments, but it is not okay to constantly measure ourselves against them.”

A great reminder! My goal is to keep this in mind this term… while still striving, of course 😛 Check out the full blog post for more gold.

Heartbleed Bug – Educating Staff

In my role as e-Learning Coordinator for my school, I sent this email out to staff to explain the Heartbleed bug. Feel free to use it yourself with your own staff, and/or give me feedback if you spot any errors.

Hi all,

Please read this.

You may or may not have heard of the “Heartbleed bug”. The short version is, there is a bug in the security protocol for some websites on the internet. The trouble is, the “some” is in fact “many” — including the really common ones.

This is not a virus; it’s more like a broken lock on the front door. And last week the world realised that the front door hadn’t been locking properly for the last two years.

See this list of common websites to check which are safe, which are still unsecure (ie don’t bother changing the password yet!) and which are fixed but need an immediate password change. I’ve summarised the most common ones for you here:

As at 10:00am Monday 14th April, you need to change your password now for the following sites:
Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Bing, Pinterest, Blogspot, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Netflix, Weather.com, Etsy, Vimeo, Flickr, Blogger, Dropbox, Prezi, Soundcloud

For your peace of mind, it is very unlikely that your internet banking has been compromised, as they use a different type of lock for their front doors.

While we’re here talking about password security, here are a few pointers:

  • Don’t re-use the same password across multiple important accounts.
  • Best practice is to use a random password for everything, but in practice this is a nightmare – I recommend using password management software (like Apple’s KeyChain software) to generate and remember them all for you
  • If you create passwords yourself, try using this structure to generate a really good one that’s still easy to remember:
    • think of a sentence that has meaning to you
    • take the first (or second or third etc) letter from each word in the sentence
    • replace a few letters with numbers or symbols (or just insert a few randomly)
  • Once you’ve typed this a few times it will be easier to remember.

It is worth doing this properly. Even if you make only two or three really good passwords and then re-use those across multiple sites, that’s still better than one password which is just a word or modified word, used on all your accounts for everything! Using a word or phrase and swapping a few letters or numbers out is not sufficient.

More information about the Heartbleed bug:
Detailed overview (official site for public awareness, set up by a Finnish cybersecurity company): http://heartbleed.com/
An alternative detailed overview: http://www.cnet.com/news/heartbleed-bug-what-you-need-to-know-faq/
Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartbleed_bug
How the bug works (explained in a cartoon) – Wikipedia
How the bug works (explained in a cartoon) – xkcd

Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Kind regards,
e-Learning Coordinator

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