October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) started in October 2004, and from 2009 until 2018, the theme was “Our Shared Responsibility”. This means ensuring security is a collective responsibility between corporations, governments, and citizens. This year the theme is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” Below are 5 ways we can all take collective responsibility and protect ourselves.

Password vs. PassPhrase

Sites like useapassphrase.com demonstrate the value of longer passwords versus short complex ones.  A password like “Wave1234%” can be cracked in about 1 minute, but “wave ocean sun%” will take 18 centuries to crack! In fact, using a longer password in the form of a passphrase with the required uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation makes it more secure and easier to remember.

Use Different Passwords

Do yourself a favor and don’t repeat the same password across applications or store them in your Notes app. How can you have a different password for the hundreds of applications and sites you use? Password managers such as LastPass and 1Password are examples of a better solution. To login to the manager, the user will choose one master password. When logging into applications, your device or the program’s browser extension will supply the specific username and password. For extra security, the manager will generate long and complex passwords.

2 Locks are Better than 1

You may have heard the terms, “Two-Factor Authentication”, “Two-Step Verification” or “Multi-Factor Authentication”. At its basic level, this is an additional password in the form of a code generated through a text message, an application, or a physical device in your possession. In addition to your password phrase, you have this second layer of protection to prove your identity. Sites such as G Suite for Education, Microsoft Office 365, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have this capability. For more information, visit https://twofactorauth.org.

Compromised?

If you suspect foul play, visit these sites to learn about security breaches:

Have I Been Pwned – https://haveibeenpwned.com/
Firefox Monitor – https://monitor.firefox.com/

You can also use these sites to monitor and protect yourself from future incidents. If your email or password are listed, change your password on the affected site(s) and anywhere else you may have used it.

Don’t Get Hooked by a Phishing Attempt

Phishing is generally an attempt through email to get you to click on an attachment or a link to gain access to your device or login credentials. This could also be attempted through social media, texting, or even a phone call. Take Google’s phishing quiz/tutorial and click through the Show Me prompts to learn what to look for. In case of any phishing-like attempt, notify your technical support team so that they can notify others and help protect you.

More Resources

Here are some additional NCSAM resources
National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies and Homeland Security
NCSAM 2019 Toolkit

Checking the Checkboxes: NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Checklists are widely recognized as important tools for many professions. Atal Gawande, a surgeon and the author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, writes about checklists used in medicine and aviation to achieve better and safer results by ensuring that all necessary steps in a process, no matter how small, are completed. The checklist principle can by applied technology in K-12 schools and specifically to the area of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity issues are regularly in the news, as illustrated by the number of incidents (681 at the time of this post) reported on the K12 Cyber Incident Map. The quantity of incidents increases each year, and it is the responsibility of the school district technology leader to ensure that either these incidents do not happen in the first place, or that the impact on people, time, and money is lessened. For many of the same reasons that medicine and aviation professionals adopted checklists, technology leaders should consider adopting a checklist like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), which provides the functions, categories, and subcategories to form a high-level checklist of cybersecurity measures needed at an organizational level. The 5 major functions of the framework are Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover and there are 23 categories and 108 sub-categories. This is the ultimate checklist for cybersecurity.

See the full NIST CSF
Google Sheet Format – http://bit.ly/webinarNISTchecklist 

The checklist is complex, and several organizations provide free resources to help technology leaders to understand and apply the framework. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) has a set of tools, controls, and benchmarks that can be used to help identify, protect, detect, respond and recover. CIS SecureSuite provides free membership to schools that include tools, resources, and webinars. The Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) is also available through CIS, and it provides advisories and notifications, webcasts, malicious domains/ip reports, and awareness/education materials.

Additional ways to learn about ways to begin checking the checkboxes of the NIST CSF are to attend workshops and conferences that are offered by organizations such as the Learning Technology Center (LTC), Illinois Education Technology Leaders (IETL, State Chapter of COSN), and Illinois Digital Educators Association (IDEA, formerly ICE and is the State Chapter of ISTE). In addition to learning about ideas and discovering resources, another reason to attend professional learning events is to build a network of people who are encountering and sharing many of the same experiences.

To give you a headstart, here is a checklist of items that you can use to begin the process of learning more about the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, so you can start checking the checkboxes and make an impact on your school environment.

Build Your Network

Research and Learn

Sign Up for Memberships

Attend Professional Learning Events

E-Rate Fall 2019 Check-In

For many school districts, now is the time to shout, “Show me the E-rate money!” The 486 confirmation and 472 BEAR invoicing forms are now ready to be filed. These two forms are the most overlooked in the program, but take just minutes to file. Last week applicants also received a notice from USAC asking them to update yet another form, the 498 banking form. All of these form numbers, deadlines and requests can make your head spin! In order to expedite the process, please review the following sections to ensure E-rate funds are successfully collected.


486 Form:  This form is required for ALL funding in the E-rate program. It is filed after an applicant receives a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) from USAC with confirmation that your requests made in the 471 forms are approved. The form is filed in the EPC, on-line portal and can be located in the upper right of the landing page. It is due 120 days after receiving the FCDL or start of service. If the FCDL was dated on or before July 1, 2019, then the form must be completed by October 28, 2019. If your FCDL is dated after July 1, then you have a bit more time to file. The form asks you to confirm service starting dates and verify that you are meeting CIPA requirements. DO NOT check all of the boxes without reading the form. Doing so could delay funding and cause the form to enter manual review. Most applicants will check only the boxes indicating eligibility for the program, recognition of discount terms and the first of the CIPA options, stating filtering is in place to prevent students from accessing harmful content on the network. Ordering of services and equipment should not be made until this form is completed. The form should be completed now for the FY19 (2019-20) year. 


472 BEAR Form:  This form is required for any applicant that did not receive discounts on the bills eligible for the program. If discounts were provided, the service provider filed an alternate form to collect funds from USAC, and only passed on the undiscounted portion to the district. If the applicant paid full price for the goods and services, the BEAR will allow reimbursement directly to the district. This funding is usually referred to as a ‘lump sum reimbursement’ by those working in the program. The form is filed in the traditional system and can be found by visiting the USAC website, choosing schools and libraries from the top option, then forms on the side panel under Resources and Tools. Filing the form will also require a PIN signature to sign in. If a new PIN is needed, one can be requested with a customer service case in the EPC system or by calling the USAC customer service bureau at (888) 203-8100. A BEAR form will need to be filed for each service provider, and will require information found on the 486 confirmation letter or FCDL. Many applicants will need to file a BEAR for some services, even if they received discounts on other services. It’s a good idea to make contact with service providers to confirm dollar amounts and invoicing agreements before submitting the form. The form should be completed now for on-going services in FY18 (2018-19) and one-time purchases already made for FY19 (2019-20). The BEAR 472 deadline for on-going services in FY18 is October 27, 2019. Missing this deadline may result in loss of funding and/or will require an appeal to the FCC. Request for reimbursement of one time FY19 charges can be made as soon as order and payment have been completed, there is no need to wait until the end of the funding year to collect.


498 Form:  This form is only required if an applicant is receiving funds directly from USAC (filing or planning to file a BEAR 472). The form provides official banking information for automatic funds transfer. The notification from USAC last week requested that all applicants go into the form and indicate a business type. This is a new requirement related to new legislation for the FCC. Applicants are asked to choose the business type that most accurately represents their entity. Up to three choices may be made, and ‘other’ is an option for those who do not identify with one of the listed options. At least one business type must be selected in order to process funding disbursements. 498 forms will not go through an additional approval process if the bank account and routing information are not changed.


The Learning Technology Center of Illinois offers support for the completion of these forms. Video demonstrations of form completions are linked from our website (https://ltcillinois.org/access/erate/). Mindy Fiscus, Digital Access Coordinator is also available to answer questions at mfiscus@ltcillinois.org.

Lastly, please mark your calendars for the upcoming Form 470 & 471 Application Tour. ‘Seeing E-rate Clearly 2020’ will begin in mid-November and will run through the FY20 application window. Visit https://ltcillinois.org/access/erateworkshops/ for dates and locations.

LTC Monthly Tech Tips! – April 2019

PBL Idea Cards

The Buck Institute for Education’s new PBLWorks website features 63 downloadable projects for K-12 in English language arts, math, science, social studies, world languages, fine arts, health and physical education and other STEM topics.

https:/www.pblworks.org/

Add a Google Drive File to Multiple Drive Folders

Open Google Drive through your web browser and select a file or folder. Now press Shift + Z. You’ll see an “Add to Folder” pop-up. Next, select the folder where you wish to add the selected files and click OK. Your file will be in both places, without making a separate copy of the file!

Add Screencastify Videos in Google Slides

You can add Screencastify videos directly to your Google Slides with the Screencastify for Google Slides Add-On. Open a slide deck and click on Add-Ons, then Get Add-Ons. Search for the add-on and then click the “+ Free” button. Now, when you record a screencast using Screencastify, you can just go to your add-ons and add the video directly to the slide!

Organize your Google Keep

Using the Category Tabs for Google Keep Chrome extension allows you to use colors in Keep to organize your notes. Learn more about this process in this helpful article from Carlos Jeurissen.

Add Emojis to Google Drive Folders

Do you love a good emoji? Add some to your Google Drive folder/file names to spice them up! In order to do this, add an emoji keyboard to your Chromebook’s keyboard options, or simply search for an emoji keyboard in a Google search. When you find the emoji that fits your folder or file name, copy and paste it into the name area. Now you have an exciting way to organize your Google Drive! 🤗 🤩

Manage Your To-Do List with Google Tasks!

Have you taken advantage of Google’s new and improved Tasks feature? Tasks is now located in the sidebar of Gmail, Calendar, and all other Google apps! This great feature allows you to create checklists that are manageable throughout the Google Suite of tools!

Follow Twitter Hashtag without a Twitter Account

Have you seen a Twitter Hashtag advertised but you feel left out because you don’t have Twitter? Well, it is possible to follow conversations on Twitter without a Twitter account! For example, if you would like to revisit the conversation that took place during the recent ICE Conference, cut and paste the following URL into your browser: https://twitter.com/hashtag/ice19?f=tweets&vertical=default . As Twitter users post about the things they are learning and sharing at the conference using the hashtag #ice19, the posts will show up on this webpage. So even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can see what people are sharing from the conference.

Force Copy (and Preview!)

Do you know how to force someone to make a copy of a Google Doc? Did you also know that you can preview these documents before making an actual copy? Check out this 1-pager that shows you how to do both! Force Copy in Google Docs 

Is it a Snow Day or an eLearning Day?

It’s no secret that eLearning is a hot topic in Illinois these days. Given the change in the legislative language in Public Act 100-465 —that removed the previous statutory 5-hour requirement to define a school day— mixed with the snow and sub-zero temperatures of January, eLearning has come front and center.  Do our students need to be in front of us in order to learn, or can learning take place “anywhere” and “anytime” students have an Internet-connected device? This can be debated by both sides.

Regardless, we need to consider what is being done around eLearning, both by districts in our state as well as those in other states. The following is a list of school districts that have implemented eLearning days recently. Thank you to those that responded to the prompt on our LTC Statewide Technology group sharing these resources. If you haven’t joined yet, please do! It’s free, and there are educators that generously share their knowledge!

Gurnee District 56 in Lake County in is part of the state pilot program for eLearning. Their website includes an FYI eLearning section, a demonstration video, and tech support. Recently, they were featured on the news as well! Check it out here: https://youtu.be/xXJIgi59LKc

Also in Lake County, Libertyville District 70 offers a choice board of online and offline activities its students can participate in on eLearning days. Check out their middle school page (which includes FAQs as well as a parent feedback form) and their elementary school initiative.

McLean County, home to Tri-Valley CUSD 3, offers resources related to eLearning on its website for the elementary, middle, and high school.
These three districts are prime examples of how learning can take place even when the building is closed. To view more resources, check out our eLearning doc. If you have content to add to it, please email Nicole at nmzumpano@ltcillinois.org. Let us continue to learn from each other!

What is media literacy and why should you teach it in your classroom?

How many advertisements do you come across in one day- ten, fifty, hundreds, thousands? Some sources say we encounter 4,0005,000 ads a day all trying to persuade us to do something, believe something or buy something (while making money for their shareholders). We may not be consciously aware of seeing these ads, nor are our students who are exposed to the same content we are on a daily basis. Are students equipped to recognize when they are being manipulated? Probably not. Media literacy is a skill, not a topic. It is the responsibility of every educator; in every subject, in every school.

The goal of teaching media literacy is to educate our students on how to question what they see. Media literacy has dozens of “subtopics” that can be explored year-round in your classroom. This post shares some fun media facts, concepts, and resources to get you started.  

Media Literacy “Fun Facts”

  • Media is not good or bad; it is just a tool that delivers content.
  • Adults spend 12 hours, 7 minutes a day consuming media.
  • It is estimated that 6 companies own close to 90% of media.
  • Magazines print different editions for different areas and demographics.
  • Advertisers focus on women’s bodies as “parts of a whole”, so they always have something to fix.
  • Personification in advertising plays to our emotions and seeks to have us form “relationships” with products, giving alcohol names such as  ‘Jim Beam’ to imply that we are not drinking alone).

Media Literacy Concepts

  • Media constructs our culture.
  • Media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
  • Media uses different “persuasion” tactics to get you to do something, buy something or believe in something.
  • Media constructs fantasy worlds.
  • No one tells the whole story.
  • Media messages reflect the values and viewpoints of the media maker.
  • Individuals construct their own meanings from media.
  • Media messages can be decoded.
  • Media messages contain “texts” and “subtexts”. Each person creates subtext based on prior experiences, prior knowledge, opinions, attitudes, and values.

Nicole’s Favorite Resources

Digital Citizenship Week Recap

The Learning Technology Center of Illinois participated in Digital Citizenship Week October 15th-19th, 2018. Throughout the week, LTC staff curated and shared various digital citizenship resources through social media channels. Here are the full collection of resources from Regional Educational Technology Coordinators for use with your students.

For more great resources, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

3 Great Resources to Teach Digital Citizenship

Understanding how to interact with the digital world is more important than ever. Being an outstanding digital citizen is vital for our kids today. In this post, I’ve collected my favorite three websites that can help you, as an educator, prepare your students to be good digital citizens! The first website gives you, the teacher, background information and resources for your class. While the following two websites give kids a space to learn at their own pace, digital citizenship information through interactive quests or games. 21 Things 4 Teachers For any teacher who is new to teaching digital citizenship in their classroom, this website provides great resources on the nine themes of digital citizenship. The nine themes of digital citizenship are broken down into three categories, Respect, Educate and Protect.

Respect Yourself/Respect Others

  • Digital Access
  • Digital Etiquette
  • Digital Law

Educate Yourself/Connect with Others

  • Digital Commerce
  • Digital Communication
  • Digital Literacy

Protect Yourself/Protect Others

  • Digital Rights & Responsibilities
  • Digital Health & Wellness
  • Digital Security

This background information leads into the quests the students can do for 21 Things 4 Students. 21 Things 4 Students Students can participate in quests to learn about the digital world through project-based activities. This curriculum is free and allows students to go at their own pace. The students will watch videos, read the material, complete surveys and see the results, and reflect on what they learn through various activities.  Each “thing” is standalone to the other “things”, so you may choose to assign certain topics from the 21 Things 4 Students activity list. Common Sense Digital Passport Common Sense Digital Passport has six interactive games for grades 3 – 5. Each game allows students to learn more about digital citizenship, safety, and etiquette. If you are hesitant about how to incorporate this into your curriculum, Common Sense has an educator guide to help you plan. The topics that are covered in the six interactive games include:

  • Security
  • Multitasking
  • Privacy
  • Upstander
  • Search
  • Creative Credit

Encourage Digital Media Literacy with Listenwise and Allsides

In today’s world, our students continually face claims of fake news and information from biased or unreliable sources. While this is often difficult for adults to deal with, it can be extremely challenging for students to navigate the constant stream of information available to them. An important aspect of digital citizenship is learning how to decipher what is quality sourced information, and what is not.

As teachers, we have the ability to leverage online tools in our classrooms that teach our students how to critically think through and evaluate online content. While there are many resources available on the internet, two stand out as great tools to assist students in learning how to consider the reliability of the information with which they come into contact. This quick video features Listenwise and AllSides as two great websites that assist students in recognizing arguments and critically thinking through their content.

 

What Does Your Tattoo Say About You?

Do you have a tattoo?  What’s the story behind it?  What does it say about who you are?  Tattoos have been around for over 5,000 years.  For centuries people have been marking their bodies for a variety of purposes; love, status, tribute, and medical just to name a few.  Today the tattoo industry is busier than ever, although an internet search for “tattoo removal” proves there are clearly some that regret the decision.  Is our online existence that much different? Do we not post statuses that declare our love, tribute, medical dilemmas and more, much like people tattoo their skin?  If that is the case, do we not regret some of our social media posts as well?

The term “digital footprint” is well known and represents what trace of us we leave behind when we are visible and active online.  It is a catchy phrase, but in my opinion not completely accurate. Footprints can be washed away. They can be covered over so they are no longer visible.  A tattoo is much more difficult to make disappear. Even in attempts to remove tattoos, there is always some trace of the scar (or ink) that remains. It is important to teach our students that what they do online never truly goes away. What better place to start than with us, the educators. As such, it is our responsibility to know what our online reputation looks like so we can help guide our students in developing theirs. As an adjunct professor my courses always include data mining. Sometimes, I give my students a “stranger” (aka a friend of mine that they don’t know) to find as much information on as they can (what’s fun about this one is I have them make a slideshow of their results and send it to the actual friend!). Sometimes I have them create a curriculum vitae of their online persona, using only the data they find about themselves online (that one can be an eye-opener!). In all instances, my graduate students (who are almost all in the education field) have a chance to take a “deep dive” into their online brand. The purpose of this activity? Once we have a clear understanding and feel the emotion of what we find online, albeit positive or negative, we are better equipped and invested in passing this on to our students.

Following are tips and resources to get started on your own data dive.

Tips:

  • Log out of all internet browsers before searching (being logged in will skew your results)
  • Use quotation marks when searching (i.e. “Nicole M Zumpano”)
  • Search using multiple search engines and browsers (i.e. Google, Firefox, Safari, Bing, Internet Explorer)
  • Search using your professional name (I go professionally using my middle initial; Nicole M Zumpano)
  • Search images
  • Search using your social media usernames
  • If married, search using your maiden name

Help Documents:

http://bit.ly/Data-Mine (This one lists several sites you can use to conduct a data mine on yourself)

http://bit.ly/Data-Adventure (This one is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” related to digital tattoos)

http://bit.ly/Tech-Check (Finally, clean up your digital life! This is a monthly “to-do” list to keep your digital existence in order!)

Being aware of the image you portray (or don’t portray) online is one of the first steps to a healthy digital literacy diet. Happy mining!