Category: ILTPP News & Updates

Amazement in their eyes’: Reading Coach uses AI to help students create their own stories

By Bill Briggs

Have we got a story for you.

Actually, let’s rephrase that: Author Kayleen Torres has a story for you. And here’s how it starts:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, dwelled a most curious feline known as Luna. Luna, a monochromatic domesticized cat with piercing emerald-tinted eyes, had a deep-seated yearning for adventure and exploration beyond the norm. 

Kayleen’s enchanting plot ultimately twirls and twists to reveal that Luna struts into a soccer stadium where some athletes invite her to join their game. Turns out, Luna can seriously boot the ball with her fuzzy paws. Soon, that green-eyed kitty with the daring spirit becomes a star.

“Her team wins because the cat, like, scores a goal – or something,” Kayleen explains. “A cat is, like, my favorite animal.”

Yes, the author is 10 years old.

A fifth grader at Baldwin Academy, an elementary school near Los Angeles, Kayleen created her tale using the new version of Microsoft Reading Coach. The free tool now harnesses generative AI, which helps learners produce their own stories. They can pick their characters and settings – all while working at their reading level.

Fifth grader Joshua Munoz reads aloud a story that was freshly generated by Reading Coach.

Kayleen is one of several hundred students in the U.S., the U.K. and India now testing the enhanced Reading Coach as part of a public preview. The pilot’s largest group spans about 75 students in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, which includes Baldwin Academy.

“They love it,” says Ana Ruiz, a fifth-grade teacher at Baldwin Academy. “Every student can choose what they want it to be. I have students who read at a ninth-grade level, kids who need reading support and students in-between. Being able to pick a reading level is such a game changer.”

Reading Coach – one of the Learning Accelerators available via Microsoft Education – also directs students to read their stories aloud into a computer microphone. It then detects the words they find challenging and guides them to independently say and practice those terms.

For Kayleen, her practice words included “principal,” “little” and “cool.” She uses Reading Coach about once a day, she says, often on a computer at her home in La Puente, California.

“With AI, it’s different from all the other stuff (at school) because you make it yourself,” Kayleen says. “I like the feeling of that. I like to do the stuff that I make.”

At home or at school, kids can use Reading Coach as a Windows application or a browser-based experience.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Microsoft
Othniel Tucker
Account Executive
otucker@microsoft.com

Why Is Data Security Important?

Most K-12 technology directors can’t stop talking about cybersecurity. But have you ever wondered why?

The truth is there are many reasons why safeguarding personal data is essential. From reputational damage to student safety, the list is practically endless.

Luckily, we’re here to explain in simple terms. Read on to learn why data security is so important to your school district and what you can do to protect sensitive information today.

WHAT IS DATA SECURITY?

Cybersecurity. Information security. Data protection.

Call it what you want, but the definition remains the same. Data security is the process of protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access and exposure. More specifically, it involves implementing as many security measures as necessary to stop insider threats, cyber attacks, data breaches, and other incidents from manipulating or leaking personal information.

You might wonder: How does that differ from data privacy? It can get confusing, so let’s break it down.

Both involve protecting sensitive information, but they work a little differently:

  • Data security refers to the security policies and controls your school district uses to prevent data loss, data erasure, or data leakage. In other words, they maintain the integrity of your information.
  • Data privacy is more concerned with access control. It involves making strategic decisions about who and what should be able to see certain kinds of data. For example, a student wouldn’t need access to a fellow student’s grades, just as one staff member shouldn’t be privy to a colleague’s email.

Notably, both processes impact one another. Poor data protection, such as allowing a breach to happen, can violate a student’s data privacy if their personally identifiable information is exposed.

3 TYPES OF DATA SECURITY

When cybersecurity professionals talk about data security, they normally refer to one of three broad categories:

  1. Endpoint security: This refers to security measures that directly impact hardware, such as school laptops and computers. It may involve monitoring how students and staff use these endpoints or installing malware protection onto the device.
  2. Network security: Data flows across your school network, which means it can be intercepted if not protected. That’s why schools usually implement data encryption, which ensures files can’t be read even if they’re accessed.
  3. Cloud security: Over 90% of school districts use cloud computing, such as Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. This category, as the name implies, aims to protect data stored in cloud applications like Google Drive, Microsoft Word, etc.

It’s important to remember that not all security measures carry over from one category to another. Some districts mistakenly expect network security tools to safeguard cloud data when that isn’t always the case. That’s why it’s best to have an additional layer of cloud security on top of your endpoint- and network-based data security solution.

 


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

David Waugh
Sales and Marketing Vice President
303-415-3643
dwaugh@managedmethods.com

Learn More About ManagedMethods

Tech Out Your Classroom

Incorporate technology into K–12 classroom design 

Technology is pervasive in today’s world — including the classroom. Schools everywhere are turning to technology to enhance their classrooms and provide students with the best possible learning experience. They use technology to make spaces more learning-friendly and focused in countless ways: to support the existing curriculum, broaden students’ access to information, meet students where they are in their development, address mental and physical health (including alleviating teacher burnout), and integrate with the portable technology students are adopting. 

Interactive Whiteboards 

One way to use technology to make classroom spaces more efficient is by using interactive whiteboards. Interactive or smart whiteboards are large touch-sensitive displays that are connected to a computer and can be used to display images, videos, text, and other multimedia content. These whiteboards allow teachers to access and display course materials quickly and easily while allowing students to engage with the material in a more interactive way. In addition, interactive whiteboards can be used to facilitate communication between students and teachers, which can help to foster a more collaborative learning environment. Boards like the i3Touch E-One have a realistic-feeling writing surface, which allows you to save work and accommodate streaming multiple screens at once. Since it replaces existing whiteboards and can be wall-mounted, it takes up no floorspace. This makes it perfect for space-conscious classrooms.  

Charging and Power Solutions

add power for charging

In a post-covid era, individual tablets or computers are common in classrooms (and often required for student use). But all those batteries need a boost now and then, so offering enough charging options is essential. Towers are a great solution for classrooms where desks or tables are arranged in groups. Why? They offer equally accessible outlets or USB ports in the center instead of the walls, and they take up minimal floor space. If device storage is more of a concern in your classroom, then consider a tower that charges as it stores group tablets or laptops.

 


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Please contact the Demcom inside sales department for everyday orders and general inquiries. Please reference C10903 for contract pricing or inform them you are an ILTPP member.

McKenzie EncarnacionInside Sales Specialist

mckenziee@demco.com

For larger projects needing installation or design, please contact the Demco Business Development Representative

Lynne Gruneberg, Business Development Representative
608-242-2374
Fax: 800.730.8094
lynneg@demco.com

Learn More About Demco

Demco Portfolio 

 

HOW AI CAN HELP STUDENTS LEARN DIGITAL SELF-REGULATION

This post is sponsored by Deledao.

Can AI help students learn important skills like digital self-regulation? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more than just a buzzword; it’s changing the way we think about what is possible in education. This includes the support students need to make sure they can navigate digital spaces effectively – both inside and outside of the classroom.

This past year, over a thousand students participated in a study powered by AI to help them improve their self-regulation skills in a digital environment. The study was made by Deledao and showed that 82% of students improved their self-regulation skills. Today on the blog, we’ll take a look at Deledao, their AI tools, and how their technology can support students with digital self-regulation skill-building this school year.

What is Digital Self-Regulation?

Digital distractions are a major obstacle to effectively integrating technology into classroom instruction. It’s easy for students to become distracted with multiple tabs open on their browser and the Internet at their fingertips. Digital self-regulation is a skill that students can develop in the classroom and take into their everyday experiences navigating online spaces.

Digital self-regulation requires them to self-assess, make choices that are right for them in the moment, and stay focused on the task at hand. Students can employ this skill in multiple settings both inside and outside of their classroom. This skill-building doesn’t happen by accident but through the intentional choices teachers, schools, and districts make to prepare students to navigate digital spaces effectively.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Deledao Education
Jasen Whetstone
Account Executive
469-525-5208
sales@deledao.com

Find The Right Chromebooks For Your School

Explore a variety of Chromebooks for your specific education needs—optimized for video conferencing, coding, and content creation, always connected devices with built-in cellular broadband functionality and more.

Chromebooks offer a new way for teachers to manage their classrooms and instruct their students. Your school can choose from a full range of sleek, powerful, and ready for anything models with varying power levels and capabilities that help technical leaders effectively manage a fleet of devices and keep everyone safe without sacrificing performance or sophistication.

  • Simply Versatile – Customize each device with a variety of tools, applications, extensions, and preferences that can serve student needs and fit teaching styles.
  • Fast and Reliable – Rapid boot-up and charging, long battery life, durability, repairability, and offline mode keep devices ready for daily use.
  • Productively Efficient – Stay connected to the school community while maintaining an organized virtual desktop with separate work streams and exceptional storage capacity.
  • Safe and Secure – Built-in security keeps sensitive files and personal data safe from cybercriminals without having to install additional antivirus software.

Contact Your Dedicated ILTPP Resellers For More Details:

Joel Anderson
Bluum
Sales Director- Central Territory
612-455-3668
joel.anderson@bluum.com

John Buttita
CDW Education
Sales Manager
877-325-3380
johnbut@cdw.com

Maggie Matherne
Howard Technology Solutions
K-12 Inside Sales Representative
601-399-5814
mmatherne@howard.com

Matthew Butler
ITsavvy
Client Executive Public Sector
630-396-6307
mbutler@itsavvy.com

Christine McConnell
JourneyEd
Senior Account Manager
636-238-5606
cmcconnell@journeyed.com

Kyle Thomas
SHI
SM SLED Manager
732-564-8526
Kyle_Thomas@shi.com

Tim Peters
Trafera
Account Manager
651-209-1098
tim.peters@trafera.com

Kajeet Expands K-12 eduroam Access with New Integration

SmartBus, Connect Suite, and Smart Transit customers now have access to eduroam integration

MCLEAN, Va.May 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Kajeet®, the leading wireless connectivity and device management provider for education, government, and commercial markets, today announced the immediate availability of the eduroam (education roaming) global network access service for SmartBus, Connect Suite, and Smart Transit customers. As a federated authentication service, eduroam allows participating institutions to provide access to their wireless networks to users from other participating eduroam institutions. It is the global standard for secure authentication and authorization developed for and by the research and education community.

As one of the first leading K-12 network service providers to offer eduroam integration, Kajeet offers its customers who want to become eduroam subscribers or hotspot providers a zero-touch model to authorize educational users and provide secure authentication for their own students, faculty, and staff to Kajeet-powered networks. The integration will allow users to access the school bus WiFi network using their home institution logins on school-provided or personal devices. Authentication of each user is processed automatically through the Internet2-operated eduroam infrastructure. The same process can enable access at a community center, public park, school parking lot, or on local mass transit, such as buses, shuttles, trains, or ferries.

“Kajeet’s eduroam integration offers a significant advancement in secure WiFi access for educational users,” said Michael Flood, senior vice president, Public Sector at Kajeet. “With this integration, our customers can provide safe and easy WiFi access for their students, faculty, and staff, without having to worry about unauthorized use and with a significant reduction in security threats. We are excited to work with Internet2 to expand our educational network and better serve our customers.”

Visiting students, faculty, staff, or researchers from qualifying educational institutions can use the eduroam network with no additional setup or login processes. Institutions can join eduroam to allow their users access to eduroam globally whenever and wherever they travel. Both host and home institutions have access to secure reporting to understand the benefits of their participation for their own users and educational roaming guests.

Existing Kajeet customers may contact their Account Manager to inquire about enabling eduroam. Any entity with compatible 4G and 5G routers can connect with Kajeet to learn how its solutions support secure educational access in their community and join the Kajeet network to offer eduroam access.

For more information about eduroam, please visit:  https://get.kajeet.net/free-eduroam-enablement

About Kajeet

Kajeet provides optimized IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver safe, reliable, and controlled internet connectivity to nearly 3,000 businesses, schools and districts, state, and local governments, and IoT solution providers. Kajeet’s private network solutions simplify private wireless to allow customers to design, install and manage their own private wireless networks, while also offering a scalable IoT management platform, Sentinel®, that includes visibility into real-time data usage, policy control management, custom content filters for added security, and multi-network flexibility. Since 2003, Kajeet has helped thousands of organizations connect over a million devices around the world. To learn more, visit kajeet.com

About eduroam

eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, world-wide roaming wireless service developed for and by the international research and education community. Internet2 is the operator of eduroam in the U.S., with more than 1,000 eduroam-subscribing organizations. eduroam allows students, researchers, and staff to roam and find connectivity at more than 3,000 locations in the U.S. and more than 33,000 worldwide. To learn more, visit incommon.org/eduroam.

Request free eduroam enablement


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Kris O’Connor
EDU Sales Executive, Kajeet
815-260-7960
koconnor@kajeet.com

Ryan Frohle
Account Manager (Install Accounts)
240-482-3499
rfrohle@kajeet.com 

Learn More About Kajeet

Illinois Esports Conference RSVP

Bytespeed will join the Illinois High School Esports Association (IHSEA)  in hosting the 2023 Illinois Esports Conference on Saturday, April 15th, in Franklin Park, IL, from 9 AM-5 PM.  (East Leyden HS).

The IHSEA is a not-for-profit organization started and run by Illinois educators.  The organization is committed to providing the tools and opportunities for high school students to participate in this fast-growing sport at a very affordable price.  This year’s conference will focus on helping new schools bring Esports to their communities and strengthen the existing membership programs.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn more about how to get your program off the ground!  Please RSVP in the link below to show your interest and get more details on the schedule of events. If you have questions, contact our Bytespeed Account Manager, Brian Hoots.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Brian Hoots
Account Manager
218-227-0479
bhoots@bytespeed.com

Learn More About ByteSpeed

What Differentiates AEPA From Other Purchasing Cooperatives?

Buying agencies demanding high standards of ethics from their purchasing cooperatives need not look further than AEPA.

By Ted Witt, AEPA Board Member

School district purchasing agents — and every person in the chain of acquisition for supplies, equipment, and services — work within the public’s trust. These employees must obey laws and regulations. However, they must also meet higher ethical obligations for a standard of fairness that earns the confidence of their constituents.

 

The Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) is a multi-state non-profit organization comprised of Educational Service Agencies / political subdivisions organized through a Memorandum of Understanding between all participating states.

We are a true “cooperative” that serves to leverage purchasing power to benefit all schools and agencies, regardless of size, with the ability to purchase at equal buying levels.

Learn More About AEPA!

The Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP) is the member state agency representative for Illinois. Through our partnership with AEPA, we provide access to nationally bid contracts that are awarded locally to support the initiatives of education technology throughout the state. If you have additional questions about our current contracts, please let us know by emailing LearnMore@iltpp.org.

What your district should know about the state cybersecurity grant

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

  • The good: Reinforcements are on their way. The federal government created a new grant program to ease the burden on school districts in their constant battle against an increasingly malicious cybersecurity landscape.
  • The bad: The extremely tight window to apply for funding passed on Nov. 15. Nonetheless, there’s still a chance your school district can receive a slice of the $1 billion pie.

Let’s explore the ins and outs of the federal government’s new State and Local Cybersecurity Program (SLCGP). From the details and requirements of the program to how your district might benefit, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about the opportunity.

WHAT IS THE STATE AND LOCAL CYBERSECURITY GRANT PROGRAM?

In November 2021, President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bill gave state and local governments resources through which they could improve roads, bridges, broadband, and other essential components of their infrastructure.

Through this legislation, Congress also established the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative that empowers the federal government to make targeted cybersecurity improvements within state, local, and territory government agencies. A total of $1 billion will be distributed over the next four years.

Okay — so what does this mean for your school district? How does this involve K-12 education?

According to K-12 Dive, schools cannot directly apply for the program. However, they can work with state and local governments to acquire funding. Per the SLCGP’s fact sheet, local governments are defined by law as a county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, or a school district. Likewise, a minimum of 80% of the state allocations must be passed down to the local level (i.e., school districts and other local entities).

That means schools can still access federal funding, albeit with a few caveats.

 


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

David Waugh
Sales and Marketing Vice President
303-415-3643
dwaugh@managedmethods.com

Learn More About ManagedMethods