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  • How to Join the 2022 CCIU CS Twitter Chat

    Posted by Kammas Kersch, STEM Services Coordinator & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 1/18/2022 10:35:00 AM

    Now more than ever, it is important for educators to feel connected and be part of a community. For years, educators across the world have been building these relationships by establishing professional learning networks (PLNs) using social media. One strategy for having discussions and meeting virtually with like-minded educators is by participating in a Twitter chat. 

     

    What is a Twitter chat?

    Twitter chats are live conversations between Twitter users. The conversations use a common hashtag, which begins with # followed by text. Chats are typically themed for a particular audience such as science, education technology or school leadership. Most chats are either 30 minutes or an hour and include questions posted every few minutes. 

     

    How do you participate in a Twitter chat?

    Chats are scheduled at a particular time, so it is important to identify the schedule and topic. When the chat starts, you will want to search the hashtag on Twitter and filter to see the most recent posts. Once the chat begins, use the Q1 A1 format to read and respond to questions. 

     

    In the example below, the hashtag for the chat is #CS4CC. It is important to include the hashtag in both the question and the answer posts as this is how other users will find and interact with your responses. It is helpful to include A1 in your responses to make it clear which question you are answering.

     

     

     

    Once you have posted your response, refresh your Twitter feed to read the responses of other participants. By commenting on their responses and including the chat hashtag, you can share ideas, ask questions and learn together while growing your network. 

     

    Ready to participate in a Twitter chat?

    You can browse a number of great chats by referencing this February 2021 article published by ISTE. Pennsylvania educators are invited to join the #PAECT chat which takes place the second Thursday of each month at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Chester County Intermediate Unit will be hosting a chat for all educators on Tuesday, January 18 at 5:00 p.m. as part of our CS4CC 2022 Asynchronous Conference using the hashtag #CS4CC. See you there!

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  • How to Engage in CS Ed Week 2021

    Posted by Kammas Kersch, STEM Services Coordinator & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 12/7/2021 4:15:00 PM

    Each December since 2009, students and educators across the globe have celebrated Computer Science (CS) Education Week to bring awareness to the need for all students to be taught computer science. CS Ed Week 2021 provides us with the opportunity to reexamine what CS is, why it is important for our students, and how we can get involved.

    What is computer science?

    In its simplest definition, computer science is the study of computers and computing systems. It is important to note that computer science education includes a wide array of concepts and that computer programming and coding are just an aspect within the field of computer science. Through collaboration with several CS education organizations, K12CS developed the K-12 Computer Science Framework, which is now heavily relied upon to implement computer science curriculum. The framework identifies computer science education as including five core concepts: computer systems, networks and the internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and the impacts of computing. Through computer science education, students become better problem solvers and are able to apply critical thinking skills to all subject areas.

    Why is computer science important for our students?

    As of November 2021, Pennsylvania has averaged 16,926 open computer jobs each month, with each job having an average salary of $89,590, according to the 2021 State of Computer Science Education. In teaching our students computer science, we are connecting them to a career field they may not otherwise know exists or feel confident to pursue. In 2020, while 6,211 students took AP computer science exams, only 27% of those students were female and Black/African American students were 2.7 times less likely to take the exam than their white and Asian peers. Through computer science education, we can close these gaps and ensure all students can see themselves as computer scientists.

    How can I get involved in CS Ed Week 2021?

    1. Host an Hour of Code- Every K-12 classroom can get involved with CS Ed Week by participating in an Hour of Code. The Hour of Code site provides fun, engaging activities for every grade level that can be done with or without technology.
    2. Connect with a Computer Scientist - One way to introduce computer science to students is by introducing them to computer scientists! Utilize video conferencing or invite a community member to your classroom to teach your students what it means to be a computer scientist.
    3. Plan for CS K-12 Education - Review the CS K-12 Framework and the CSTA standards to begin thinking through what computer science education can look like for your students. Participate in SCRIPT strategic planning to develop a vision and take steps toward bringing your vision to life. 

    Join us at our CS Summit on Thursday, December 9! Enroll here, www.cciu.org/cssummit

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  • Caring Customer Service in Schools

    Posted by Michele Mislevy, Instructional Media Specialist & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 11/12/2021

    At the core of school functionality, customer service is a critical responsibility of school staff. High-quality customer service is a way for schools to establish mutual trust and respect, which is essential to strengthening school representation, branding, and personal well-being (Lucanus, 2020). This responsibility requires school administrators, teachers, and staff to listen, understand, and respond to the needs of their stakeholders because this can impact relationships between all school stakeholders, staff retention, and the attraction of school engagement by parents and students (Griffith, 2001). No matter how big or small, each of these interactions is a building block that builds trust and care within the school community. If school staff establishes a shared definition of the term customer while recognizing that customer service helps to build relationships, then the implementation of effective research-based customer services strategies can be implemented to improve school culture and climate (Griffith, 2001).

     

    There are some simple actions you can take to provide excellent customer service:

    • Intentionally listening: When engaging stakeholders, take the time to give all your attention to the request in front of you. You may be the first interaction someone ever has with the school, district or intermediate unit so put your best foot forward by being genuine and authentic.
    • Treat the person like you want to be treated: Demonstrate empathy and clarify the request so you hear what is needed. Be prepared to apologize if there is a complaint and explain that you will help make things right.
    • Strategize how you can help: Sometimes it will be a simple thing you can do yourself, and other times you may need to pass this request on to someone better equipped to help. Expect to follow up to make sure that the customer’s need is met.
    • Be proactive. Try to look ahead at ways in which you can offer help before a request comes in. Is there something you can communicate or do ahead of time? Is there a process that can be streamlined or information that could be posted online to get ahead of common requests?

     

    Unfortunately, there isn’t always a solution and that’s okay! Just do your best to help out! Providing excellent customer service can build deep and lasting relationships with all stakeholders in the community. Think about the next “customer” you will encounter: what opportunity will you have to provide excellent “customer service”?

     

    If you would like support in developing your school community’s culture of customer service, please reach out to Innovative Educational Services (IES), who can provide a variety of cohesive trainings to an array of school employee audiences about how to provide high-quality customer service to meet increasingly diverse needs. 

     

    References

    Griffith, J. (2001). Do Satisfied Employees Satisfy Customers? Support-Services Staff Morale and Satisfaction Among Public School Administrators, Students, and Parents. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31(8), 1627–1658. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02744.x

    Lucanus, A. (2020). Aligning Your Customer Experience With Your Brand Promise: Why Customer Service Matters in Schools. Teachers Matter, 48, 8–9.

    Shuman, J. C., & Twombly, J. M. (2002). Everyone is a customer: A proven method for measuring the value of every relationship in the era of collaborative business. Dearborn Trade.

     

    Innovative Educational Services (IES), a division within the Chester County Intermediate Unit, integrates curriculum and assessment, STEM, educational resources, and technology to transform educational experiences for all learners, both children, and adults, through professional learning, instructional design, events, staffing support, student activities, and customized services.

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  • Four “How To’s” for Building Your Ransomware Defense and Response

    Posted by Bryan Ruzenski, Director of External Technology Services & Molly Schwemler, Digital Media Specialist on 9/30/2021 1:00:00 PM

    Ransomware: the scourge of modern information technology. In the span of a few years, Ransomware attacks have gone from a fringe concern to the primary cyber threat facing organizations worldwide. Ransomware poses a particularly dangerous threat to education agencies because of the more open nature of our networks, relatively lower cybersecurity funding and legacy systems as compared to the private sector.

    How do these specific challenges impact technology professionals and those in education? It means that educators, administrators and education technology professionals bear the weight of an immense amount of responsibility. We are entrusted with the safety, both physical and emotional, of our children. In addition, we also must ensure that tax dollars are used efficiently and not wasted. In an increasingly digital society, these needs for safety and financial stewardship also include the security of our children’s information and the financial responsibility to protect digital data from malicious attackers. The safety and security of critical school district data, files and records and district systems are a top priority for all technology professionals in education. Neglecting these crucial areas can leave sensitive district and student information vulnerable to cyber threats, including malicious software attacks, intentional server or website overloads, social engineering, accidental deletion of critical records and, of course, ransomware.

    As we strive to protect the security of student information and financial resources and Ransomware attacks remain on the rise, we’re bringing back of few of our trusted “how to” strategies for ensuring the security of vital district and school data. 

    1. HOW TO PROACTIVELY DEFEND DATA

    Regularly scheduled backups of all data over a secure infrastructure are critical for avoiding data loss in the event of an attack, server failure or deletion. To save on bandwidth following an initial full backup, incremental backups can be set up so only changed data is backed up after a full backup. Our Rubrik solution uses an "incremental forever" backup model to ensure fast backup times, efficient use of storage and appropriate bandwidth usage. Ideally, you want multiple backup copies. It is best to backup data to an offsite location and replicate to a remote location so that it is securely accessible in two places.

    2. HOW TO PREVENT CORRUPTION

    Now that you’ve scheduled your backups and made multiple copies in secure locations, that must be enough to ensure your information is safe, right? Not yet. Your backups themselves could still be vulnerable. The data that you stored in an offsite and remote location needs to be encrypted and protected from changes. Creating encrypted and protected backups enhances the safety of your data as it is now immutable (unable to be changed) once in storage.

    3. HOW TO RECOGNIZE A RANSOMWARE ATTACK

    Backing up data that is already corrupted doesn’t do any good. You can develop customized actions and monitoring to help protect against Ransomware attempts. Consistent monitoring, as well as the attention of technical professionals, can detect and report potential signs of a Ransomware attack, like unusual file changes (files added, deleted, changed, encrypted). Our Rubrik solution uses machine learning over time to distinguish unusual file activity from normal file usage.

    4. HOW TO RECOVER FROM AN ATTACK

    In the unfortunate event of an attack, be prepared for the recovery process. If the previous strategies have been implemented, it will be much easier and faster for your team to recover compromised files, either to their original location or to a completely new location. With a detection system like the one included with Rubrik, you will be notified of a suspected compromise and can begin taking steps to recover right away. Your first action would be confirming if the alert is a true attack or a false-positive. If it is an attack, you would move to recovery and restore the last “known-good” backup to a standby server. Then you can resume normal operations while you work with your incident response team to investigate the attack.

    Although cyber attacks can impact our systems when we least expect it, practicing and incorporating these strategies and tips into our usual security process can help us to not only react more effectively when our cybersecurity is threatened but also to prevent issues before they occur. If you are specifically concerned about any of the cybersecurity threats or lack of existing districtwide solutions to the issues detailed in this post, you might also benefit from discussing Rubrik as a potential solution!

    If you would like to learn more about how Chesconet can help you detect and recover from a Ransomware attack, please contact Bryan Ruzenski, the Director of External Technology Services at the CCIU. Bryan can be reached at 484-237-5026 or bryanr@cciu.org.

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  • Preparing Your Teen Driver

    Posted by Kelsey Mattia, CCIU Communications on 6/22/2021

    [Estimated Read Time: 2:54 Minutes]

    Learning how to drive can be stressful for both teenagers and parents, but it doesn’t have to be! Spending time with your teenager to help them feel comfortable in the driver’s seat can make a world of a difference when they’re first learning how to drive.

    If you’re wondering where to even begin, we’ve got you covered!

    Before setting off for the first time, whether it’s on the road or in a parking lot, make sure to give your teenager a tour of the car’s interior. Explain what each control is and how to operate it. The following list of controls is a great place to start:

    • Gas pedal versus brake pedal
    • Transmission
    • Parking brake
    • How and when to adjust mirrors
    • Turning signals
    • Emergency/Hazard lights
    • Headlight controls (don’t forget the high beams!)
    • Dashboard warning lights
    • Interior lights

    Once your teenage driver feels comfortable inside of the vehicle, it’s time to begin driving! Start out in an area where there are no other drivers, such as an empty parking lot. Remember, this is a brand-new skill your teenager is learning, so it will take some time for them to get into the swing of things and feel comfortable behind the wheel. Start off slow and begin by focusing on driving in a straight line and stopping smoothly. Once this is achieved, move onto something difficult, such as driving in reverse or parking.

    Keep in mind, this will take time! If it’s frustrating for you it is probably frustrating for them as well, so allow them to learn at their own pace. Also remember to praise them for doing well and encourage them if they are struggling – which they probably will struggle, as learning something new can be challenging.

    Once they are comfortable driving in an empty location, ease them into driving on the road. Remember to take it slow and let them go at their own pace.

    Here are some things to keep in mind when your teenager is ready to drive on the road:

    Do’s:

    • Start in a residential area
    • Graduate to more congested roads at their pace
    • Advance to higher speed limit roads
    • Drive on larger, multi-lane highways last (at first, stay in the far-right lane so your teenager can get used to the highway)
    • Go over what to do in an emergency or during bad weather

    Don’t:

    • Rush your teenager into scenarios they aren’t ready for
    • Distract them (they have enough to pay attention to!)
    • Backseat drive (you may have more experience, but they are in the driver’s seat)

    Want to know more about best ways to prepare your teenage driver? The following is a list of resources you can use to learn even more about teaching your teenager to drive:

    • Young Driver (PennDOT)
      • This article from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) includes a brief explanation of PA’s graduated driver licensing law, such as requirements and rules for learner’s permits, junior licensees and unrestricted licenses. It also includes a short quiz that young drivers can take to test their road knowledge.
    • Do You Know How to Parallel Park? (PennDOT)
      • Another great resource from PennDOT that focuses on perhaps the scariest part of the driver’s license road test: parallel parking. It provides a step-by-step explanation and even includes an infographic detailing how to parallel park safely.
    • Teen Drivers (PennDOT)
      • A directory sharing multiple resources available throughout PennDOT’s website.

    Do you have other ideas or strategies for teaching your teenage driver? We would love to hear them - share a comment below!

    Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about any of our driver education services or driver’s license testing centers, visit our Driver Education & Testing website.

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