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I’m always surprised when I speak with people who expect schools to innovate without support from the outside. Every innovative program I have been involved with has included strong partnerships with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other community-based organizations. With a shared vision and purpose, partnerships between schools and the community have resulted in some powerful programs and practices.

My personal interests have led me to partnerships with many organizations in the following ways.

Task: Engage teachers, students, and their families in geographic-information systems (GIS) to enhance their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills and develop a global awareness of the relationships among human health, the environment, community-planning efforts, entrepreneurship, and their own ability to become involved in community development and renewal.

I received funding to develop a GIS curriculum for middle school students. Using Garmin eTrex global-positioning-system receivers, we conducted a workshop led by a GIS expert in which middle school teachers were given the GPS devices and directed to use them on a scavenger hunt. The photos of the hunt show everyone totally engaged; the positive feedback was almost overwhelming.

I’ll be happy to email the GIS curriculum I have developed to anyone who is interested.

Task: Improve the design and implementation of virtual courses that educate students about how to recognize their own cognitive-processing styles through experiential learning, demonstrations, and experimentation to master subject matter.

I designed projects around three styles of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. I then color coded these projects and had students choose the one that would best help them demonstrate the skill of mastery. At least once during the year, each student would have to do a project from one of the other two colors, forcing them out of their comfort zone and thereby allowing them to grow in these areas, too.

Task: To support innovative brain-research curriculum that teaches students the effects brain problems have on behavior and the important role nutrition plays in the health of their brains, which subsequently influences their ability to think and make intelligent choices.

Psychiatrist and brain-imaging specialist Daniel G. Amen worked with thirty-eight ninth graders at an alternative school in Orange County, California, to teach them about their brains. He held twelve student-information sessions (one hour each) with a hands-on activity (forty-five minutes each) and digitized his experiences in the classroom.

As the project director on a grant, I sponsored workshops after the curriculum had been tested for preservice and master teachers to learn about the science of the brain and how children integrate knowledge from their environment. Amen now offers this curriculum with videos of his classroom instruction and presentations of the research material.

Task: To model earth science and natural science curricula that highlight the global importance, impact, and urgency of preserving the fragile ocean, land, and space ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands; one curriculum will use GIS handheld technology and Internet software to help Hawaiian students identify sacred sites and preserve them in their communities.

I have written several grants in this area that, because of government budget cuts, were not funded; however, I am going to implement this program on Oahu this year with a set of archaeologists who will work pro bono with teenagers.

I look forward to reading about your experiences in any of these areas. As an educator, I like to hear of new ideas, and I love to share them. Tag! You’re it — it’s your turn to talk.

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How To Choose Vendors For Massive It Changes

We are in the midst of massive change. We are using ever smaller devices to do increasingly more things, the applications are often running in some unknown location and hackers are finding ever more creative ways to get around our increasingly inadequate security.

When this kind of thing happens the vendors that survive the needed change are those that anticipate it.  Let’s talk about that this week.

With the amount of change going on it is hard to blame any technology vendor or IT shop for living tactically, basically operating by resourcing whatever the most painful problem of the moment is.  This is like treading water. Yes you stay alive, but if that big storm comes in and you aren’t prepared you’re still dead and a big storm is coming.

As you anticipate your future you want to start adjusting your strategic relationships to vendors who are either anticipating a similar future or in the strongest position for the next most likely future, so you have a hedge in case you’ve guessed wrong.   For instance it currently looks like we are moving to a future where devices are increasingly able to anticipate your needs, where robots take over menial tasks both inside and outside companies, and most of your decisions come from fact-based analysis of customer and market data.

If that future comes about, the company with relationships with firms driving that future – as opposed to struggling not to be killed by it – will be far better positioned to weather the coming storm.  This means you should be favoring companies that are sharing an aggressive move to next generation technology that dovetails with the future your firm is anticipating.

And you should have your own strategic people meeting with them regularly to understand their view of the future and make sure your view is as right as it can be – and theirs remains in line with your view.

In a storm you and your vendors have to work together as a well-oiled team. The technology storm that we can see coming is likely to be one of the biggest, actually the biggest, the market has ever experienced.

We are not only anticipating redesigning data centers, we are beginning to ask, particularly in the mid-market, whether companies even need data centers. And because of the increasing level and frequency of threats we are moving away from perimeter and client side solutions to SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) technologies aggressively. We’re doing this because we now have to assume our perimeters will be compromised and focus on rapid response.

We have MU-MIMO coming out in wireless, which will obsolete all of our Wi-Fi access points and optical switching, obsoleting our routers and switches over the next few years. And even how we access our systems is finally undergoing change, because passwords simply aren’t secure at all anymore.

This means you likely should be spending as much time talking about the future with your vendors as you do talking about what they want to sell you right now.   You don’t want to invest in another Sun, Digital, Netscape, or Palm. You want the vendor that is core to your mission critical strategy to be around when you need that strategy to weather the coming storm. If there has ever been a time to anticipate the future it is now, because we are facing the mother of all technical changes and she is coming in more like a hurricane this time.

What It Takes To Be A Rockstar Smartphone Brand In India?

First showcased in a video by our editor-in-chief, these points are some key criteria to fulfill in order to be a ‘Rockstar Brand’. As we offer on what a brand should offer, you can also get to know which brands satisfy your need for a smartphone.

What makes any smartphone brand a ‘Rockstar’ brand

Marketing gives you the boost

It is an important key for any smartphone brand in becoming a ‘Rockstar’ brand. The reason is that marketing is the first tool that shapes a customer’s perception towards a brand. A brand’s presence and positive visibility is a crucial aspect when a consumer goes out to buy a smartphone.

In terms of marketing, Vivo and Oppo are two strong brands in India. Now, Xiaomi is coming up with a strong market presence to compete against these two.

Product defines who you are Features matter

These smartphones are the ones that bank on providing multiple features. Some brands provide a custom UI on their Android phones and add features to it. Features on a smartphone can be selfie cameras, selfie flash, dual cameras, 18:9 aspect ratio and much more.

For example, Oppo and Vivo are the brands selling on features like camera and music. While their hardware is compromised, the features have given them a grip over a large chunk of the market.

Specifications matter even more

These are the smartphones that may not offer many features but come with good specifications. If you use your smartphone for heavy tasks, a phone with good specifications will do the job for you. For specifications, you can see phones from OnePlus and Xiaomi making it to the top.

After-Sale services matter the most

While brands focus on increasing their sales by manifolds, after-sales is also as important as selling the product. Once a brand has sold the product to a consumer, the quality of service they provide will determine whether they retain the customer.

The price and speed of providing a service also matter. If you provide speedy service at high cost, you may not lose a customer and if your service is slow, the consumer will switch to a better brand. For us, the scope of service also covers providing timely Android and security updates. By doing so, a brand comes one-step-closer to becoming a rockstar brand.

Consumer Connect gives you an edge

A brand that maintains a strong connection with its consumers will be able to provide better products and make quicker improvements when there is an issue. For example, the OnePlus forum is an active community where users discuss their smartphones and are offered expert support.

Something more than the others

It takes a lot of effort and time to make any smartphone brand into a ‘Rockstar Brand’. Availability of a brand is another important aspect here. A brand should be good at what they do and their products shall be available in the market through any medium.

Also, different smartphone brands have their own ‘X-Factor’ which is one USP of their products. If a brand rightly taps into their USP, they definitely show the potential of becoming a Rockstar brand.

Concluding the piece

Your product and the way you provide after-sales determines the consumers you attract and more importantly the consumers you retain. By connecting to your users, you are offering yourself a chance to listen to what your consumer has to say. This way, you will be able to act faster and better.

What Is Spoofing? Definition, How It Works, And How To Protect From Attacks

At present, different types of cybercrimes are getting developed, and these are the prime cause of data loss in an organization. Among these, Spoofing is another harmful cybercrime where it becomes easy for criminals to disguise phone calls and email addresses.

Key facts to know about Spoofing

Cybercriminals use spoofing to hack the confidential information of an individual and organizations. Here all need to understand the critical features of Spoofing.

How does Spoofing work?

Often, users must understand that they have been spoofed and suffer from personal data loss. Here all need to learn how Spoofing works and how to stay protected from this online fraud.

While using Spoofing, cybercriminals at first try to gain your confidence. They will make you understand that spoofing communications are legit and that users will not face any harm. Typically, hackers use big and trusted company names to gain the users’ trust.

Different types of Spoofing

Email spoofing typically comes in three combinations false sender pretending to be a genuine one, missing sender address, and famous corporate branding.

Caller ID Spoofing − It is another spoofing where the caller calls from a number that may be from a legitimate source. The users will consider the call legit and will pick it up.

Neighbor Spoofing − This is also a type of caller ID spoofing where a call seems to be from someone you know or who resides near you. If you receive these fake calls, you will lose your data or can face financial fraud.

GPS Spoofing − Here, the hackers make the GPS users believe they are in a different location and headed to various destinations.

IP spoofing − It is another spoofing where the hackers hide their location from where they are delivering the emails or texts. In IP spoofing, the address of the scammers will look like a trusted source.

Protective measures against Spoofing

Several protective measures are necessary to follow to stay protected from spoofing.

Every mail users need to turn on the spam filter of the email. It will help filter spoofed emails, which will be transferred to the spam folder.

Experts suggest not opening an attachment or links sent from an unknown sender. You can also reach the sender directly to verify whether the mail is genuine.

Sometimes you may get a mail or text from a suspicious sender where you will be asked to log into the account. You should not log into the account and follow the steps mentioned.

You can opt for the File Extension setting. Here you need to go to the File Explorer and tap the “View” options. Now tick the box of the file extension. However, this will not keep scammers from hacking your data, but you can notice all spoofed extensions. It will not allow you to open malicious files.

It is also suggested to use reputable software for cybersecurity. Popular software will save you from potential data threats. This software will also not allow you to download unnecessary files and will prevent computers from malware. Well, here, you also need to keep the software updated to stay away from any threat.

Receive any message, call, or mail that tells you to provide your personal information. It would help if you waited to give that information. First, verify the sender’s authenticity before sending all data.

Above are the spoofing types and preventive measures that all individuals need to learn.

Microsoft Photos Not Working? Here’s How To Fix It

Microsoft Photos is one of the most used photo viewing applications in Windows. It is very easy to use, and many Windows users use it as their default application for viewing images.

However, even this simple app can run into errors and stop working. This error was first reported on Windows 10, but it can also affect other Windows versions. Sometimes, your photos may not load, an error message may show up, or the screen stays blank when MS Photos is not working.

It can happen due to issues like outdated software or app version, corrupted application files, or unsupported file formats. If you are also facing this type of issue, worry not, as we have compiled just the right fixes for you to solve this issue.

There are several methods you can use to fix your Microsoft Photos malfunctioning, depending on the cause of the issue. Before you begin, make sure to restart your computer and reopen MS Photos to see if it works.

If a normal application restart doesn’t fix the issue, you can try fully closing the application. Even if you normally close an application, it may still have some of its background processes or related services running.

However, you can fully close an application from Task Manager and restart it to see if it fixes your issue. Here’s how you can do so:

Press Alt + Ctrl + Del hotkey and select Task Manager.

Re-open the application.

Windows provides an in-built method to troubleshoot a store application or preinstalled application if it stops working or malfunctions, also known as the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter.

As Microsoft Photos is a store application and a preinstalled one, you can run the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter to check and fix it.

Follow the steps to do so

Use the Windows key + I hotkey to open Settings.

Follow the on-screen instructions.

Another thing that could cause your photos application to stop working is if the app is outdated. It is always recommended to update any software to the latest version, as outdated software is prone to bugs, errors, and security risks.

Furthermore, newer software builds are designed to be more compatible with the latest application versions. You can update your application from the Microsoft Store to see if it fixes your issue.

Open Microsoft Store.

Select Get Updates in the upper-right corner.

All your available updates will automatically start downloading.

Similar to updating Microsoft Photos, it is also essential to update your Windows OS to the latest version for the same reason. Newer Windows updates usually carry bug fixes and other extra features in them.

If MS Photos malfunctions due to a bug in your OS, a Windows update will help solve it. Here’s how to do so

Launch Settings from the start menu.

Select Download and Install if there are any.

If the above methods don’t fix your issue, you can try repairing the MS Photos app from Windows in-built settings. When you use this feature, Windows will try to repair the selected application that isn’t working correctly. Furthermore, repairing an application will not cause any loss of data.

Follow the steps below to repair your MS Photos application:

Launch Settings by pressing the Windows key + I key.

Select Advanced options.

If repairing the application doesn’t fix your issue, you can try resetting it. Doing so will clear all the application’s data and return its configuration to its default setting. If you have misconfigured or corrupted application data, it will help fix the issue.

While resetting the MS Photos will clear its application data, your locally saved photos will be unharmed.

Open Settings from the method above.

When you reset the Microsoft Store cache, it clears all your installed store applications cache data, including MS Photos. If this issue was caused by MS Photos’s corrupted cache, resetting your MS store will fix your problem.

Here’s how you can do so:

Press the Windows key + R key to launch the Run dialog box.

It will reset your Microsoft Store.

Lastly, you can try reinstalling Microsoft Photos to see if it fixes your issue. Reinstalling MS Photos will clear all application files and install a new working copy of the app. 

However, MS Photos is a preinstalled Windows application, and it cannot be uninstalled normally. You can use the Powershell tool to uninstall MS Photos and reinstall it back again from the Store.

Here’s how you can do so:

Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R shortcut key.

Type powershell and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open PowerShell as an administrator.

Exit PowerShell.

Reinstall Microsoft Photos from the Microsoft Store.

Bing Takes A Stance Against Poor Spelling And Grammar, Saying It Will Hurt Rankings

Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager at Bing, has been publishing a lot of useful blog posts recently with his latest one being how poor spelling and grammar can affect search rankings.

In this post Forrester takes a firm stance against poor spelling and grammar, explicitly stating it has an impact on search rankings. This is a stance Google has never taken, or at least they have never expressed their position on spelling and grammar as clearly as Bing has.

Google has their Panda algorithm in place that weeds out poor quality content and allows the good quality content to rank higher, but when judging quality content it’s unclear to what extent spelling and grammar comes into play.

It has been suggested by Matt Cutts, even as recently as this month, that site owners should be mindful of spelling and grammar when it comes to the content they publish. However, he has never stated that Google takes action against pages that routinely publish content with spelling and grammar errors.

By contrast, look at this statement from Bing’s Duane Forrester:

… just as you’re judging others’ writing, so the engines judge yours. If you struggle to get past typos, why would an engine show a page of content with errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error free content exist to serve the searcher?

Forrester explains Bing is judged by the quality of the results they show so they are constantly keeping an eye on the quality of content that ranks well, which includes looking at spelling and grammar. However, he is also empathetic to the fact that occasionally content with errors slips past the editors. It happens to everyone.

It doesn’t look like Bing intends to penalize those rare instances of content being published on a site that has a history of being relatively error-free, they’re more concerned with penalizing sites that routinely publish content with spelling and grammar errors.

Forrester also understands that some writers make mistakes without realizing it, even after careful editing, because they believe their way is the right way. So Forrester also provided in his post a few resources for how to identify and fix common writing errors.

This stance against poor spelling and grammar is an admirable move by Bing, I can’t help but wonder if Google will release a similar statement.

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