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Friday, September 25, 2015


This summer the ELI Facilitators from each grade level met for training. This group of second grade teachers decided once wasn't enough for them for collaboration and planning. They decided to get together once a month to swap ideas about how to integrate technology into their curriculum.  They shared ideas such as tools for the interactive whiteboard and how to manage their small group instruction. 





Monday, September 21, 2015

October is Cyber Security Month

- these notes were passed to us by ALSDE.
Scott Crews
Coordinator, Networking and Operations
Information Systems
Alabama Department of Education

Vulnerability
Vulnerabilities are bugs in software programs that hackers exploit to infect computers.
Security vulnerabilities can be found in any software product, leaving users open to attacks. Responsible software vendors, when aware of the problem, create and issue patches to address the problem. There are companies that pay researchers or ethical hackers for new vulnerabilities. There are also hackers that sell new vulnerabilities on the black market. These zero-day attacks refer to exploiting vulnerabilities before a patch is available.
To reduce vulnerabilities, you should run the latest available patches on your operating system and any installed applications.

Spyware
Spyware is software that permits advertisers or hackers to gather sensitive information without your permission.
You can get spyware on your computer when you visit certain websites. A pop-up message may prompt you to download a software utility that it says you need, or software may be downloaded automatically without your knowledge. When spyware runs on the computer, it may track your activity (e.g., visits to websites) and report it to unauthorized third parties, such as advertisers. Spyware consumes memory and processing capacity, which may slow or crash the computer.
Good antivirus and endpoint security solutions can detect and remove spyware programs, which are treated as a type of Trojan.
Social Engineering
Social engineering refers to the tricks attackers use to fool victims into performing an action. Typically, these actions are opening a malicious webpage or running an unwanted file attachment.
Many social engineering efforts are focused on tricking users into disclosing usernames or passwords, allowing attackers to send messages as an internal user to further their data stealing attempts. In April 2012, hackers distributed a malware campaign pretending to be an email about a revealing photo of the recipient that was posted online. The email body featured a variety of messages with an attached ZIP file, which contained a Trojan.
Subject lines used in the spammed-out malware campaign included: RE: Check the attachment you have to react somehow to this picture FW: Check the attachment you have to react somehow to this picture RE: You HAVE to check this photo in attachment man RE: They killed your privacy man your photo is all over Facebook! NAKED! RE: Why did you put this photo online? Keep your wits about you, and your antivirus up to date, and you should have little to fear.

Phishing
Phishing refers to the process of tricking recipients into sharing sensitive information with an unknown third party.
Typically, you receive an email that appears to come from a reputable organization, such as:  Ì Banks Ì Social media (Facebook, Twitter) Ì Online games Ì Online services with access to your financial information (e.g., iTunes, student loans, accounting services) Ì Departments in your own organization (from your technical support team, system administrator, help desk, etc.) The email includes what appears to be a link to the organization’s website. However, if you follow the link, you are connected to a phony copy of the website. Any details you enter, such as account numbers, PINs or passwords, can be stolen and used by the hackers who created the bogus site.
Sometimes the link displays the genuine website but superimposes a bogus pop-up window.  You can see the address of the real website in the background, but the details you enter in the pop-up window can be stolen. To better protect against phishing attacks, it’s a good practice not to click on links in email messages. Instead, you should enter the website address in the address field and then navigate to the correct page, or use a bookmark or a Favorite link. Phishing attacks via email are beginning to include an offline aspect to convince well-trained users to still leak information. We have seen phishing schemes use phone numbers and fax numbers in addition to websites. Anti-spam software can block many phishing related emails, and web security software can block access to phishing-related websites.

Cookie
Cookies are files placed on your computer that allow websites to remember details.
When you visit a website, it can place a file called a cookie on your computer. This allows the website to remember your details and track your visits. Cookies can be a threat to confidentiality, but not to your data. Cookies were designed to be helpful. For example, if you submit your ID when you visit a website, a cookie can store this data so you don’t have to re-enter it the next time. Cookies also have benefits for webmasters, as they show which webpages are most used, providing useful input when planning a redesign of the site. Cookies are small text files and cannot harm your data. However, they can compromise your confidentiality. Cookies can be stored on your computer without your knowledge or consent, and they contain information about you in a form you can’t access easily. And when you revisit the same website, this data is passed back to the web server, again without your consent. Websites gradually build up a profile of your browsing behavior and interests. This information can be sold or shared with other sites, allowing advertisers to match ads to your interests, display consecutive ads as you visit different sites, and track the number of times you have seen an ad. If you prefer to remain anonymous, use the security settings on your Internet browser to disable cookies
Browser Hijacker
Browser hijackers change the default homepage and search engine in your Internet browser without your permission.
You may find that you cannot change your browser’s homepage once it has been hijacked. Some hijackers edit the Windows registry so that the hijacked settings are restored every time you restart your computer. Others remove options from the browser’s tools menu, so that you can’t reset the start page. Browser hijacking is used to boost advertising revenue, as in the use of black hat SEO, to inflate a site’s page ranking in search results. Browser hijackers can be very tenacious, as well as sneaky. Attackers use clickjacking, also known as a UI redress attack, by inserting multiple transparent, or opaque, layers on a webpage.  This technique can trick a user into clicking on a button or link on a page other than the one they were intending to click on. Effectively the attacker is hijacking clicks meant for one page and routing them to other another page, most likely owned by another application, domain, or both. Although these threats don’t reside on your PC, they do affect your browsing experience.


World Gratitude Day

SMES Mrs. Harvey's Class

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Parent Empowerment Night @ Simmons on Digital Ethics

The 1st "Parent Empowerment Night" at Simmons Middle took place on Sept 6th at 6:30pm. Principal Brian Cain, Instructional Technology Coach Jeff Richardson and School Resource Officer John Barnes of the Hoover PD shared with the 57 parents that attended.  Topics discussed included digital ethics & safety, responsible use of social media, boundaries for kids with their digital devices and overall safety and decision making in the online world. The goal of the presentation was to empower parents with information relevant to their concerns and challenges of raising their kids to be ethical participants in the digital world. As a school system, we work hard to teach our students that they must thoughtfully allow their beliefs, values and moral compass guide their decisions in the digital space just as they do at school or home. It's an increasingly difficult world to navigate but one of the most important things we can do as a community is keep talking about it, sharing relevant info, voicing concerns and pouring our attention and wisdom into the kids. Hopefully the conversations that were started will continue and we hope to host more Parent Empowerment Nights in the near future. If you are interested in attending a similar event, please click here and let us know.    

Click here for Linked List of Popular Social Media Sites & Age Requirements

Click here for Handout that was shared.
Click here for the Slides presented.
Common Sense Media's Parent Resources on Social Media-VERY USEFUL

Click here for the Image Above if Links don't work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gaming Club

32 4th grade students from Rocky Ridge Elementary participated in today's first session.

What is GAMIFICATION? It is the focus on using game thinking and game mechanics to turn a dull task into something engaging and perhaps even competitive. It involves implementing methods used in the development of games, but applying them to a real world scenario.

"Gamer's always believe that an EPIC win is possible and there is always reason for trying and trying now!" Jane McGonigal




Monday, September 14, 2015

It's a small World

I feel like I might need a virtual passport this week at Hoover High School. It is exciting to see the global connections that technology make possible for our students.   Ms. Ort is doing a google hangout connection to Peru with  "Canopy Meg"  (Margaret D. Lowman, Ph.D) to learn about the world of biodiversity high above the floor of the rainforest and the innovations that allow this challenging ecosystem to be studied. 

Mr Frost is working with the coordinator of the Royal Academy of Music Confucius Institute in Copenhagen about setting up a virtual field trip for his students to learn about Chinese classical music. The Royal Academy is host to a variety of Chinese musicians from the Central Academy of Music in Beijing. The program draws a cultural connection between us, Europe and China. 

All the  IVECA teachers , Mrs. Morris, Mrs Thomas, Mr. Frost, Mrs.Gibson, Ms. Lamborne, and Ms. Bearden are all training with Eunhee Jung, Ph.D. Founder & Executive Director IVECA International Virtual Schooling. Through the school curricula integrated with the IVECA program, students in different countries will perform individual or group projects in their classrooms according to the weekly activity topics provided in the IVECA web platform. The topics will consist of activities such as personal introductions, comparison of school lives and cultures, discussions of cause and effect, and finding solutions regarding international issues. The completed project is posted on the IVECA discussion board and students from each country provide feedback or share their ideas with each other, once or twice a week, in a semester. Communication methods include text messages, images, and or audio/video files, which the students produce with teachers’ guidance/assistance. We had a great experience last year with some of our classes partnering with some classes from Korea.
 Ms. Ort is ready to go and says she has plans for using HCS technology resources to do several projects this year .  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

HCS Elementary Teachers Learn about Google Sites

HCS Elementary Teachers had the opportunity to attend a Google Sites Training on Sept. 1 from 3:15 to 4:15 at Old Berry.  The turnout and excitement for this session was incredible.  Overall about 40 teachers from across the district attended the session and started creating their Google site.  Many teachers are learning so that their students can start creating Google Portfolio Sites.  A Google Portfolio is an electronic collection of evidence that shows the student's learning journey throughout their school years. There will be another session offered in October to continue with the growth and development.  Hope to see everyone there!