Month: January 2023

Ed. Dept. Outlines How Schools Can Use Federal Funds to Sustain Tech Programs

School districts have a host of options for using federal funds to support digital learning programs started during the pandemic, a top U.S. Department of Education official told school district and state education leaders.

In a Jan. 25 letter to K-12 leaders, Roberto Rodriguez, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the department, emphasized that any tech investments made with federal dollars need to be part of a broad strategy to bolster teaching and learning.

“Technology itself is not a panacea,” he wrote. “Technology can help improve learning and educational outcomes for students only when teachers are well supported with appropriate resources and have an opportunity to integrate technology with high-quality instruction.”

The letter—which aims to offer advice and clarify existing laws and regulations for K-12 leaders, not direct spending decisions or make policy changes—comes as recent ed-tech investments approach a critical juncture. Within the next several years, many digital tools purchased with billions of dollars in one-time COVID relief funding will need to be replaced, almost certainly without another federal windfall to cover the cost.

At the same time, many schools—particularly those that serve high numbers of children living in poverty, students in special education, and English learners—still don’t have the technological infrastructure they need to close achievement gaps and help kids recover academically from the pandemic, the letter noted.

Schools generally have until the fall of 2024 to use the last of their federal COVID relief dollars. Though early spending was sluggish, most districts are on pace to meet that deadline, according to a tracker created by the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

The department’s recommendations can help districts still pondering how to use the remainder of their relief funds, Kristina Ishmael, the deputy director for the Office of

Microsoft cloud outage hits users around the world

  • Outage impacts Microsoft cloud platform Azure for hours
  • Multiple Microsoft services including Teams and Outlook hit
  • Microsoft says most customers now have service restored
  • Shares down 3.2%

Jan 25 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said on Wednesday it had recovered all of its cloud services after a networking outage took down its cloud platform Azure along with services such as Teams and Outlook used by millions around the globe.

Azure’s status page showed services were impacted in Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Only services in China and its platform for governments were not hit.

By late morning Azure said most customers should have seen services resume after a full recovery of the Microsoft Wide Area Network (WAN).

An outage of Azure, which has 15 million corporate customers and over 500 million active users, according to Microsoft data, can impact multiple services and create a domino effect as almost all of the world’s largest companies use the platform.

Businesses have become increasingly dependent on online platforms after the pandemic caused a shift to more employees working from home.

Earlier, Microsoft said it had determined a network connectivity issue was occurring with devices across the Microsoft WAN. This impacts connectivity between clients on the internet to Azure, as well as connectivity between services in data centres, it said.

Microsoft later tweeted that it had rolled back a network change that it believed was causing the issue and was using “additional infrastructure to expedite the recovery process”.

Microsoft did not disclose the number of users affected by the disruption, but data from outage tracking website Downdetector showed thousands of incidents across continents.

The Downdetector site tracks outages by collating status reports from various sources including users.

Microsoft’s cloud business had helped shore up its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Tuesday. It

How Google’s Android tweaks might play out

In a surprising move, Google said it is going to change some of its policies specifically for India in order to abide by the directives issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Mint examines the changes:

What has Google committed to do?

The key changes include allowing handset makers to license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their devices; providing Indian users with the option to choose their default search engine on Android phones; updating Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes that will allow partners to build non-compatible or ‘forked’ variants of its Android operating system. Google is also extending ‘user choice billing’, piloted since last September, to all users. It means all app developers will be able to use third-party payment methods while distributing apps through Play Store.

Google is to comply with which CCI orders?

The CCI, in two different orders issued in October last year, fined Google 1,337.76 crore and 936 crore respectively—the first for abusing dominance in the Android marketplace through agreements that limit access to its competitors, and the second for abusing dominance with its Play Store policies, which required developers to use Google’s built-in payment systems to sell services and digital items through the Play Store, and pay a commission. Through the two orders, CCI asked Google to allow third party payment systems and change licensing agreements with device makers and developers.

Photo: Mint

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Photo: Mint

Do the changes comply with the directives of CCI?

Competition lawyers said the changes do comply with CCI’s orders to an extent, but the company has itself said it will continue appealing against some directives. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal is set to hear Google’s appeal soon. Lawyers said this case could go on for over a year, and hence it might be

Apple: Questionable Positioning On Future Tech (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Projection on a woman

brightstars

Thesis

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a tech giant in search of future growth, and in my view it’s yet to find a clear avenue to get it. It has performed favourably compared to other big tech companies in the

Graph of Apple return

Seeking Alpha

Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards move to Bluffs venue

The red carpet will be out at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in Council Bluffs on Sunday for the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards.

The ceremony is returning to an in-person event this year for the first time since 2020. Awards will be presented to local visual artists, musicians and performers in a number of categories.

Lifetime achievement awards will go to painter, paper artist and installation artist Susan Knight, R&B drummer and musician Curly Martin and actor Cork Ramer. BFF (Benson First Friday) Omaha and its founder, Alex Jochim, will receive a cultural stewardship award.

Poet and performer Zedeka Poindexter and actor and producer Kerron Stark will be the hosts.

The evening will begin when McCormick’s 1894 bar opens at 5 p.m. for pre-ceremony drinks and food from Chef Around the Block. Guests also can browse through the Anne & John P. Nelson Gallery at that time.

People are also reading…

The ceremony begins at 6:30 and will feature several live performances.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $25 for reserved seats. They’re available at paceartsiowa.org or 712-890-5601. Food and drink is extra.

The Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center is at 1001 S. Sixth St. in Council Bluffs.

Lunar New Year’s Gala

Traditional Chinese instrument musicians and Yue Opera performers from Los Angeles will be onstage Saturday night at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St., for a Lunar New Year’s Gala.

The Nebraska Chinese Association is sponsoring the event to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. They promise a dazzling program highlighting Asian culture and history through pageantry, stunning costumes, exciting dances and beautiful music.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. program range from $30 to $60 and are available at ticketomaha.com or 402-345-0606.

Music of John Williams

Composer John Williams was nominated for an

PowerSchool Wins Two 2023 Top Ed Tech Products of the Year Awards

FOLSOM, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC), the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America, has received two 2023 Top Ed Tech Products of the Year awards from District Administration and the Future of Education Technology® Conference (FETC). PowerSchool’s Unified Insights™ MTSS was recognized as a winner in the Management Systems Technology category, and Unified Classroom® Naviance was recognized as a winner in the Upskilling & Credential Technology category.

“We are proud to have two of our products recognized by District Administration and FETC as we work to empower educators and students with best-in-class education technology,” said Marcy Daniel, Chief Product Officer at PowerSchool.

District Administration’s Top Ed Tech Products of the Year awards recognize products that offer groundbreaking and innovative services designed to empower educators and education leaders through education technology. This year’s submissions were judged on their innovation in the edtech space, with particular attention to how the tools are breaking new ground, how much value they add to education, how intuitive they are for users, and whether they deliver what they promise.

Over 200 submissions were received for consideration in the 2023 Top Ed Tech Products of the Year awards. Submissions were evaluated by the editors of District Administration and FETC organizers, with input from a panel of industry experts and analysts. The annual competition spotlights the most innovative new solutions on the market that are helping school leaders meet the ever-evolving education technology needs of their districts and schools. FETC attendees can join sessions on Thursday, January 26 to learn about the award winners.

About District Administration

District Administration print and digital media serve the top K12 leaders at virtually every school district in the U.S. with strategic information about how to most effectively manage their school districts. DA helps

Microsoft Azure-Based Kerberos Attacks Crack Open Cloud Accounts

Microsoft’s Azure AD Kerberos service, a cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) service based on Kerberos authentication, can be attacked using techniques similar to those used by attackers against on-premises Kerberos servers.

Kerberos is a widely used protocol used to authenticate users and devices via symmetric key cryptography and a key distribution center; it enables modern authentication mechanisms such as single sign-on (SSO). Because Kerberos authentication is a standard security measure for many enterprises, attackers have frequently tried to compromise or bypass the authentication servers using identity attacks that spoof legitimate users.

In the on-premises world, a pair of common identity attacks are the Pass the Ticket and Silver Ticket approaches, which allow an attacker to use stolen credentials or mint their own credentials, respectively, and authenticate with enterprise services. Both techniques continue to work to some degree against the cloud versions of Kerberos authentication servers, according to cybersecurity services firm Silverfort, which dubbed the cloud-based iterations of the attacks the Bounce the Ticket and Silver Iodide threats.

“Identity attacks that have existed for some time are still a risk as organizations move into the cloud,” says Dor Segal, senior security researcher at the firm. “Azure AD Kerberos is a new implementation but not a new protocol. Security teams need to be aware of this fact and put appropriate mitigations in place.”

The fact that variants of the two attacks still work in the cloud show that moving security infrastructure to the cloud has little impact on the threat, Segal says.

“The issues outlined could impact anyone using the new Azure AD Kerberos protocol,” he says. “While Azure AD Kerberos is still in initial stages of adoption, as with anything released by Microsoft, the scale of usage will increase. In the past, this type of lateral movement was an issue

Google Play: Google blinks ahead of deadline; makes several changes to Android and Play Store billing

Google has announced several key changes to the way it runs its flagship Android operating system for smartphones and the Google Play Store in India.

This is to comply with two rulings by India’s antitrust watchdog.

The changes have come a day ahead of the January 26 deadline put in place by the Supreme Court.

Google said it would introduce a licensing model for original equipment manufacturers (OEM), under which the device makers will be able to license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their devices. These apps, till now, came pre-installed on Android devices free of cost.

The US-based tech giant also said that Indian users would in future have an option to “choose their default search engine via a choice screen that will soon start to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India”.

MapmyIndia chief executive officer Rohan Verma, however, termed Google’s update on the CCI ruling an attempt to “dilute and delay the outcome of the CCI investigation & directives”.

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“It is unfortunate that rather than comply fully in letter, in spirit, and in time, with the orders of the apex court of India, Google is still attempting to dilute and delay the outcome of the CCI investigation and directives and defy the order of the honourable Supreme Court,” Verma said. On October 20, the Competition Commission of India fined Google Rs 1,337.76 crore and asked it to make several changes to its Android market policies to prevent abuse of its dominant position.

A week later, in a different order, the CCI again fined Google Rs 936.44 crore and asked the company to make several changes to its Google Play Store Billing policies to prevent abuse of its dominant position in that ecosystem as

Pinellas Arts & Entertainment: Signal Box Art, Out Of Eden Exhibit

LARGO, FL — Creative Pinellas and Pinellas County are joining together to create the 2023 ARTWorks Signal Box Project that encourages artists to submit original artwork to beautify Pinellas County by transforming the traffic signal control boxes into a collection of public art.

The purpose of traffic signal cabinet art is to deter graffiti vandalism on transportation infrastructure, beautify the rights of way and community, and support Pinellas County as an arts destination. The use of art on public infrastructure has been shown to prevent graffiti vandalism in the county, demonstrating that “Public Art Works.”

The Signal Box project will have two rounds of Call to Artists in 2023 with nins locations identified throughout Pinellas County. The first Call to Artists launched Jan. 20, and the first three Pinellas County rtists will be selected through a process that reviews their portfolio of work submitted, written design concepts and their history as a working artist in Pinellas County. The second Call to Artists will open in the spring and will seek six Pinellas County artists.

Find out what’s happening in Dunedinwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

This program is open to all Pinellas County-based professional visual artists, graphic designers, illustrators and photographers. Artwork may be abstract or representational.

“We are excited about this partnership with Pinellas County and the opportunity to create more work for local artists while beautifying these traffic signal cabinets in our community which is proven to deter graffiti vandalism,” said Creative Pinellas CEO Barbara St. Clair. “This ARTworks Signal Box Project adds even more to the great work already being done with signal boxes in Pinellas County and further enhances the Arts Coast experience.”

Find out what’s happening in Dunedinwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Pinellas County and Creative Pinellas have worked together to select

Early Childhood Education Leader Learning Without Tears has Highly Successful Presence, New Product Feature Intro at FETC 2023



Future of Education Technology Conference Showcased Real-World EdTech



CABIN JOHN, Md.


,


Jan. 26, 2023


/PRNewswire/ — Learning Without Tears®, a leading early childhood education company, marked the end of a highly successful EdTech conference,

FETC 2023

– the Future of Education Technology Conference – held in

New Orleans, LA

this week. FETC is a multi-day learning experience that showcases real-world solutions and expertise that impacts students, classrooms, schools, and districts. These innovations are shaping and improving the education landscape and were demonstrated alongside best-practices and current trends – all designed to leverage educational technology resources and improve student outcomes.

In live demonstrations, learning and education technology experts from Learning Without Tears, worked directly with conference goers to share best practices and breakthroughs that can be used to improve teaching and learning in their home schools.

“We were proud to showcase our latest learning innovations,” explained Learning Without Tears CEO,

Terry Nealon

. “We introduced the

Assessment Accelerator

, a new feature of our Keyboarding Without Tears® solution, designed to teach students how to improve performance in digital assessments. We demonstrated voice-enabled technology built into our

Phonics, Reading, and Me

™ program, which can hear and assess student reading, scaling the impact teachers can have. And we highlighted

Handwriting Without Tears

®, LWT’s first learning solution that focuses on handwriting — because we all know that mastering handwriting is the key to literacy and lifelong learning.”

Learning Without Tears highlighted its breakthrough literacy product, Phonics, Reading, and Me- a K–3 supplemental phonics program designed to help children learn the skills they need to become proficient readers. This literacy program provides an integrated print/digital instruction model and combines the powerful use of technology and assessment with embedded professional learning for teachers. Through a partnership with

Dublin

-based

SoapBox Labs

, Phonics,