Friday, 13 October 2017

Screen Time for Kids - should we be concerned?

Watch this TED talk by Sara DeWitt where she dispels the myth that too much screen time is ruining our kids.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Future of Work is uncertain, Schools should worry now!

Read this article published on the 26 September 2017 in Education Week and written by Benjamin Herold.

—Taylor Callery for Education Week

Automation and artificial intelligence are disrupting the labor market. What do K-12 educators and policymakers need to know?

Special Report: Schools and the Future of Work

Technological change, globalization, and climate instability are happening at an accelerating pace all across the world.

Artificial intelligence and automation are the engines driving much of the transformation in the workplace. Some experts even predict that 47 percent of today’s jobs could be done by machines within a couple of decades.

So what skills do students need to succeed in the uncertain, intensely competitive workplace of the future? Education Week begins answering that question in this special report, “Schools and the Future of Work.”

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Keeping your machine safe!

How does ransomware get on your computer?
by Justin Richter 

You can get ransomware if you click on malicious internet links, download malicious files, open infected email attachments or from a USB stick.

Precautions against ransomware attacks

Awareness is the best way to avoid any ransomware attacks,
  1. Keep Windows Operating Systems up-to-date. – run windows updates!
  2. Always back-up your important data in an external hard-drive or cloud storage such as OneDrive or Drobox
  3. Enable system protection or File History (restore points)
  4. Thoroughly check your emails before opening any attachments! Why did I receive this, who is it from?
  5. Where possible, disable the loading of macros in your Office programs.
  6. Disable your Remote Desktop feature whenever possible.
  7. Use two-factor authentication for your Gmail and windows accounts.
  8. Avoid browsing websites that are often the breeding grounds for malware such as illegal download sites, porn sites and gambling sites.
  9. Use, and regularly update F-secure!
  10. Have a pop-up blocker installed in your browser

Common ways a PC or laptop get infected (virus/Malware/Spyware)

 -  User accepting installation prompts without reading
an Internet advert or window pops-up that says your computer is infected with a virus and needs to scan or that software is required for you to install in order to download something. You accept the prompt.

-  When you’re installing ‘free software’ that you obtained from the internet and it has check-boxes already checked to install additional applications bundled with your download. You accept the prompt.

- Visiting / Downloading software/movies/music/pictures from unreliable or illegal sources
Many modern viruses can be hard-coded into the website data which is downloaded into your temporary internet files automatically just by loading the webpage.

- Opening email attachments without knowing who they are from and why you have been sent them.  Double check the sender’s email address and confirm that the mail is relevant.

- Plugging infected USB sticks and external hard drives into your laptop without scanning them first.

Malware - Malware is the blanket term for all malicious software designed to disrupt, damage or steal from a computer system (viruses, spyware and ransomware).
Spyware - software that enables a user to obtain covert access to information and functions.
Ransomware - a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. 

Friday, 25 August 2017

Plagiarism and Turnitin

The internet has opened the door to a wealth of information and sources for our students to use in their studies. However, the consequence is that it also makes it too easy to simply copy content off the internet and paste it into one's research task as one's own work.

Plagiarism is an extremely common problem and is often the result of a lack of knowledge, skills and conscience.

The challenges teachers face is to educate our students about academic integrity and plagiarism and to give them the tools and skills necessary to avoid plagiarizing.

Plagiarism is a serious ethical offence and can have severe consequences. Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Acknowledging that your material has been borrowed and providing the audience with the information necessary to find that source is a positive step to preventing plagiarism.

We have recently subscribed to an originality checking and plagiarism prevention service called Turnitin that checks a student's writing for citation mistakes and inappropriate copying. 

When a student submits a paper into Turnitin, the software compares the submitted work against a massive repository or database of texts, student work, books, articles etc and generates a similarity report which helps to identify possible instances of plagiarism.

Based on the results of the similarity report, a student has the opportunity to edit his work in such a way that all the sources that have been used have been acknowledged and cited correctly.

We have spent time helping our Grade 12 boys in their Life Orientation Research Essays. Using the referencing and citation tools in MsWord they have been shown how to cite their sources correctly and to generate the bibiography for their assignment.

All their assignments have been submitted through Turnitin and the boys have been able to re-work their essays whenever the similarity report indicated a high similarity index. This has been an important developmental and learning process for the boys in preparation for what they are likely to experience at University. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Jobs of the future

I enjoyed listening to Michael Chavez, Chief Executive at Duke Corporate Education, who was interviewed on the Kieno Kammies show. He chatted about the skills and knowledge our boys will need to succeed in work, life and citizenship. We need to teach our boys to become curious, to develop the ability to empathise, collaborate and look out into the world to find creative and innovative solutions to traditional problems. 

This interview is well worth listening to: 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Free, multimedia Internet safety presentations

We live in a digital age and our children are exposed to so much. NetSmartz offers free, multimedia Internet safety presentations tailored for specific audiences – parents and communities, tweens, teens, and younger children. Visit their site - there's some great material posted there.