Infosys Springboard To Increase Access To 21st Century Digital Skills and Opportunities

Infosys Foundation USA | U.S. Chamber of Commerce FoundationInfosys Foundation USA, in collaboration with Infosys, announces the launch of the Infosys Springboard learning program in the U.S. to empower educators, students, and aspiring professionals with digital skills to be successful in the 21st Century. Infosys Springboard includes content across the digital learning, maker education, and professional life skills continuum.

The integrated digital skills program includes three lifelong learning offerings: ‘Educating the Future’, ‘Upskilling Today’ and ‘Reskilling for Tomorrow’ – meeting all learners where they are on their digital journey, irrespective of background or educational development.

Kate Maloney, executive director, Infosys Foundation USA – “We know that technology jobs are exploding across the US, however only 51% of US public high schools teach computer science. It is imperative that we all work together to ‘start early’ investing in the generations who will need digital skills to thrive in the 21st Century economy. Infosys Foundation USA is all-in to support the commitment to bring lifelong digital skills across the U.S. so that all can fully participate in the technology opportunities of the future.”

Across its three offerings, Infosys Springboard aims to democratize access to digital learning that empowers aspirants across the spectrum from K-12 teachers and students to post-secondary learners, all the way to professionals seeking to reskill. The initiative will be led by a dedicated team of experts, curriculum partners, non-profits and a global network of leading educational institutions, to offer these online programs free to diverse learners:

Ravi Kumar, president, Infosys and Chairperson of Infosys Foundation USA, “Our goal has long been to put our digital expertise and capabilities to work to improve society, arming people with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the future. Challenges resulting from the pandemic have continued to reinforce the urgent need for accessible instruments of digital learning for people from all walks of life. That’s exactly why we believe the expansion of Infosys Springboard in the U.S. is an important investment in our students, educators, workforce, and the digital infrastructure of our country.”

Instructure Makes Learning More Accessible To Schools In International Markets with New Channel Partner Program

Instructure Considering Sale Options - PhilOnEdTechInstructure, the makers of Canvas, has launched a channel partner program, which will allow the company to expand rapidly to new international markets and address the complex educational needs of higher education and K-12 institutions worldwide by providing them access to its Instructure Learning Platform.

The program is specifically tailored to assist partners in emerging markets and key countries where educational institutions are looking for more robust, flexible solutions to the unique learning challenges facing students today. The Instructure Learning Platform offers learning management, assessment, content, online programs and analytics built into an easy-to implement and use system.

While Instructure’s global market share has grown significantly in recent years, the channel partner program is expected to spur rapid growth in APAC, EMEA, and LATAM markets. Instructure’s flagship product, Canvas, is a market leader among a crowded LMS landscape and is seeing broad adoption worldwide.

Among the greatest challenges educators face today are creating flexible online learning programs, engaging students with technology in the classroom and assessing student learning with timely, actionable data that drives instruction.

Benefits to Partners

Channel partners now have the opportunity to join forces with one of the fastest-growing edtech platforms in the world. Canvas is currently available in 34 languages and counting. The Instructure Channel Partner Program has a tiered structure with expanded benefits for higher tiers. Instructure has invested in deep, collaborative sales relationships with value-added resellers.

“As educational institutions worldwide seek to open access to learning, edtech solutions such as Canvas become even more important in making student success more equitable. Instructure’s Channel Partner Program extends opportunities to key partners that can help identify needs and fulfill with the support of a global edtech leader,” said Jack Jackson, vice president of Global Channel Sales at Instructure.

With the new program, potential partners now have additional ways to realize revenue, beyond reselling products, with opportunities such as implementation, training and support services.

The program will include a channel partner onboarding process, including a partner management platform, extensive training, ongoing sales enablement and marketing support from Instructure’s dedicated channel team. Instructure’s program offers clear compensation and incentives to foster a mutually-beneficial relationship with partners. All partners will be assigned a dedicated channel account manager and be eligible for market development funds (MDF), deal registration and back-end rebates.

Instructure is excited to partner with world-class distributors across the globe such as QBS. “Our teams are eager to enable Instructure to broaden and deepen their partner base across Europe through our QBS community of valued partners. Instructure is the category leader and initial interest in their partner program is very impressive,” said Dave Stevinson, CEO of QBS Technology Group.

For more information about the program, potential partners can visit https://www.instructure.com/become-a-channel-partner.

Smart Lockers A Safer System For Students and Staff

Josh Middlebrooks

By Josh Middlebrooks, president, Luxer One.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much globally and made people much more aware of the need to limit potential exposure to viruses. Smart locker systems are one of the changes that came from efforts to reduce unnecessary contact between individuals and that trend is likely here to stay.

Smart lockers allow schools, universities and other educational entities the ability to deliver necessary equipment, technology and other resources to students without cramming them into a bookstore, classroom or other place to collect. Because of this burgeoning and innovative technology, storing personal belongings and picking up packages is easy and hassle-free now at schools across the globe.

Access the materials inside is seamless: students can use their student IDs or smartphones to access them. The lockers also eliminate the need for keys or codes, and some allow students to charge their phones or tablets in the lockers using a USB.

What is a smart locker?

Smart locker systems include a multipurpose unit of lockers, each with a touchscreen and battery backup, providing a constant power supply, with compartments in various sizes, that can be placed outdoors or in, whichever best suits the student community being served.

Here is an example of how they work. In the school library setting, for instance, a student requests materials from the school or its library system. Librarians, administrators, and educators then gather the resources and place them in a locker for the student, who receives a notification letting them know they can retrieve their order. Next, they receive a one-time code to get into the locker, pick up their order and get on their way, with no other contact.

Outside of the library setting, the process is similar. For example, it can also be initiated by school staff and technical support. If a device or laptop ever fails or needs repair, the student can create a ticket and exchange the technology or device through the lockers for service. Same for any assignments or conducting school-related business.

The lockers give students the freedom to pick up learning materials, laptops, or other orders at any time, which offers them a tremendous amount of flexibility in their learning schedules. In addition, because the locker systems are so durable, they protect whatever is stored in them.

Sparking campus modernization

Using these locker systems for more than just mail or package pickup benefits colleges, high schools, universities, and other educational institutions. Operations at many schools were halted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to issues for students trying to receive mail or packages. That is when the idea for smart lockers caught fire. They became problem solvers by transforming the delivery of goods to students.

Continue Reading

Colby-Sawyer College To Receive $1.5M In Federal Funds For New Building For School of Nursing and Health Sciences

#328 Colby-Sawyer College - Forbes.comColby-Sawyer College is set to receive $1.5 million in federal funding to support the construction of a new home for its school of nursing and health sciences.

The $1.5 million, allocated as part of the 2022 government funding legislation signed into law last week, is among more than $62 million being directed toward New Hampshire-based projects as a result of the advocacy of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. These funds bring the college’s total amount raised for the $10.5 million project to $7.9 million.

“We are incredibly grateful to Sen. Shaheen for her continued support of higher education and of the college’s commitment to preparing future generations of healthcare professionals,” Colby-Sawyer president Susan. D. Stuebner said. “A new home for the school of nursing and health sciences will ensure that Colby-Sawyer is prepared to meet changing trends in healthcare education well into the future while also addressing the immediate workforce needs of healthcare providers both locally and across the country.”

Continue Reading

Top Cybersecurity Concerns For Education Leaders To Consider In 2022

Bob Turner

By Bob Turner, CISO for education, Fortinet.  

As if the education system hasn’t already dealt with enough difficult change in the past two years as a result of COVID-19, the shift to remote/hybrid school also laid bare the cybersecurity gaps faced by many districts. Bad actors took advantage of already vulnerable systems and struck hard.

Ransomware attacks have been relentless. There were a record-setting 408 publicly disclosed cybersecurity incidents in 2020 in the K-12 sector, across 40 states, according to the State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2020 Year in Review. Numbers for 2021 are still being finalized, but given what we’ve seen in terms of ransomware and cyber incidents overall, we expect them to be even higher.

Steps are being taken at the federal level; Joe Biden signed into law late last year the K-12 Cybersecurity Act to provide schools with more resources. But as we move further into 2022, ransomware attacks are still being perpetuated against schools even as districts try to bolster defenses. It can be hard to know where to focus first, so let’s examine some of the key things security IT teams should consider this year.

Uncertainty creates opportunities for bad actors

This year will experience the heightened cybersecurity threat level that the last two years saw. The year is still young, but we’ve seen schools across the country revert back to virtual learning as a result of the Omicron variant. Those types of shifts can too often open up potential opportunities for bad actors to strike, as cybercriminals operate on a “kick ‘em while they’re down” mindset. And we’ll continue to see malicious actors evolve their methods as needed to bypass or fool current cybersecurity efforts and continue their successful attack campaigns.

Circumstances make it clear that the focus for districts and schools must now become transitioning the short-term actions they initially took – both to facilitate virtual learning and combat cyber risk – into longer-term and more strategic cybersecurity approaches.

Continue Reading

Women’s History Month: How We Can Bridge The Digital Gender Divide

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

In the United States and around the globe, there is a gender divide. There is a clear education gap between men and women and even a technological one. These gaps become even larger chasms when looking at women of color. This leaves the question, on a global level: how do we bridge the education gap using technology?

What Is the Digital Gender Divide?

Before we can begin to look for solutions to the digital gender divide, we must first understand what it is. The technology gap itself can be broken up into two key components:

Globally, girls and women will have less access to technology than the other gender. This problem is exacerbated in developing countries.

Several factors can cause a lack of access for women, but the largest factor is stereotyping. In many countries, technology is not believed to be for women and many fear its usage would lead to discrimination from their male counterparts.

When it comes to global internet usage, 12.5% fewer women use the internet than men.

What Is Gender Equality in Education?

There is also a gender gap when it comes to education. Like the digital technology gap, there again must be a solid understanding of the vast disparity between genders in the classroom as well as equal access to the classroom.

While the education gap has shrunk in many highly educated countries, it persists globally. Globally, 16 million girls will never enter a classroom, and women account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.

Even in the United States, this education gap persists between black women and their white counterparts, both in quality of education and access to it. From lack of access to college-ready classes and being concentrated in schools with fewer resources, to the lack of black representation among teachers, the educational gender gap persists for women of color in the United States.

Continue Reading

State of The States: Education’s 2022 State of Affairs

Maureen Wentworth

By Maureen Wentworth, manager of strategic partnerships, Ed-Fi.

Last year flew by in the blink of an eye. We had some things to get excited about like unprecedented federal funding, tiptoeing back into offices, and limited in person convenings. We also faced some challenges and anxieties . . . like unprecedented federal funding, tiptoeing back into offices, and limited in person convenings.

With 2022 off to an eerily familiar start in some ways, we find ourselves better positioned to take on the challenges ahead. As a community, we’ve responded in big and small ways to the unprecedented need for data and technology to meet the needs of our students and educators.

We’ve identified three prevailing themes that state education agencies should keep in mind while mapping out priorities in this new year.

The urgency to modernize our data systems is again on display in 2022.

Over the course of the last year, about $190 billion in federal support was allocated through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and to be spent within the next two to three years. The Data Quality Campaign reports that “over half of all states’ ESSER plans proposed using these funds to strengthen data systems or promote effective data use “and 29 state plans describe state efforts to create new education data systems or modernize existing ones.”

We have seen firsthand the commitment to systems modernization in the strength and growth of the Ed-Fi Community. The year 2021 saw new projects and pilots launching in eleven states, and seven statewide implementations leading the way to new use cases and expanded opportunities for connected data.

In 2022, states will continue to push the Ed-Fi data model to support efforts in early childhood education, graduation pathways, educator preparation, and expanded analytics capabilities. The SEA Modernization Starter Kit, will help jump start efforts for states looking to implement real time data collection while leveraging the Ed-Fi Data Model and open-source technology tools that support students across their states.

Continue Reading

Modern Campus Adds Chief People Officer Jessica Phinn

Jessica Phinn

Modern Campus, a leading engagement platform for higher education, announced the appointment of Jessica Phinn as chief people officer. In this newly created role, Phinn will lead all aspects of human resources, from recruitment through onboarding, employee engagement and beyond. The announcement aligns with the wider focus of Modern Campus continuing its terrific growth, maximizing the potential of its over 400 team members to transform the higher education industry.

Phinn joins Modern Campus with a wealth of experience across more than 20 years of progressive human resources leadership at multiple large organizations, including Pepsi Bottling Group and Loblaw. Before joining Modern Campus, Phinn held the position of senior vice president, people and engagement at Nelson Education, Canada’s leading K-12 education company.

“Maintaining our rapid growth requires creativity and passion at every level of the organization,” said Brian Kibby, chief executive officer at Modern Campus. “Bringing in Jessica as Modern Campus’s Chief People Officer positions us to continue our exponential growth by harnessing the talent and engagement of every member of our team. Her leadership will enable us to create a truly welcoming environment for everyone who’s joined Modern Campus recently through acquisition, while continuing our tradition of excellence in building a workplace that rewards and nurtures leaders.”

“Modern Campus has a well-earned reputation as a beacon for top edtech talent, and because of this and the highly engaged leadership team, it is a role that I found to be extremely compatible and one that I simply couldn’t pass up,” Phinn said. “I’m a firm believer that employees are truly a company’s most valuable asset, and with this I found a perfect match in Modern Campus. I am truly excited to join the organization and engage with all my new colleagues as they continue on their growth trajectory.”

Phinn holds a Bachelor of Human Resources Management from York University and is a certified human resources leader (CHRL).

The rapid growth of Modern Campus is due in part to welcoming five new companies in the past 12 months. The company acquired interactive campus map and virtual tour provider nuCloud in early 2021, followed by academic catalog and curriculum management provider DIGARC, and student engagement and development leader Presence. In January of this year, Modern Campus announced its acquisitions of leading higher education text-messaging provider Signal Vine and Augusoft, a leader in enrollment management for continuing education and corporate education programs.

Modern Campus partnered with Partners in Publishing on this executive search.

Managing A Successful BYOD Program For Education: 5 Rules and Recommendations

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Many workplaces and educational institutions have been operating in a high-risk, digital environment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More schools are considering implementing a bring=your-own device (BYOD) program as a result.

However, school administrators, parents and teachers have some concerns regarding students bringing in their own devices.

Adopting a BYOD program may not be feasible for all schools — whether it’s a lack of resources or poor understanding of how technology can be used in classrooms. Education professionals must learn the ins and outs of a BYOD program before implementing one.

What Is a BYOD Program?

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program allows students to bring their personal devices into the classroom for educational purposes. These programs are gaining popularity in educational institutions nationwide, and the trend will likely continue.

The Deer Park Independent School District in Texas is a good example. Chief technology officer Kari Rhame Murphy says that the transition to BYOD was surprisingly easy, but only because she and her team spent two years planning for it.

Aside from just schools, it’s not surprising that more employers adopt BYOD programs to benefit their employees. Consider all the people working from home — is it easier to let them use a personal device or issue one from an organization?

Continue Reading

A New, Strategic Role For Institutional IT: Delivering Student-Centricity

Amrit Ahluwalia

By Amrit Ahluwalia, director of strategic insights, Modern Campus.

Historically, education IT professionals have supported their respective colleges and universities from the behind the scenes. They’ve provided and maintained the critical infrastructure that allowed their institutions to serve learners, largely in the shadows, maintaining everything from server racks to campus Wi-Fi, to the printers in the library.

Of course, leading technology is no longer a “nice-to-have” for any business, and higher education is no different. Arguably, the technological infrastructure is as critical to helping set learners’ expectations of the institution as programming itself.

So, for the modern education IT professional, the most important topic they should be focused on is the student experience—both inside and outside the classroom.

By modernizing the digital experience being used to engage learners, IT professionals can help their respective institutions make massive strides to becoming environments better suited to the expectations of the modern learner, no matter their age.

Everyone today is first and foremost a digital consumer; they use Netflix, Amazon and Uber on a daily basis. Modern colleges and universities need to ensure students are able to access critical institutional information, resources and administrative tools when and where they want.

This means creating a secure environment that allows students to log into a portal to access receipts, request (and pay for!) transcripts and perform other bureaucratic and administrative tasks that are usually performed by front-line staff. It also means creating environments that automate adaptive communications, ensuring that learners are receiving relevant messaging from the institution through their preferred channels at the right time.

What’s more, IT has a role to play in supporting the delivery of high-quality academic experiences. That’s not to say the CIO will be teaching classes, of course. But it does mean creating an infrastructure that allows program catalogs—which are generally PDFs uploaded to the website—to be digitized and updated from a single location. It also means creating workflow structures that allow program approval processes to be automated and simplified, so that everyone from the program chair to the accreditation body is in the loop when something changes.

Continue Reading