How Parents Can Secure Kids Online Amid Coronavirus School Closures

Multi-Lingual, Step-by-Step Guide and Video Tutorial Help Guardians Protect Children Online 

March 20, 2020 — As schools prepare to close to the majority of children across the UK, SANS Security Awareness, a division of the SANS Institute, is providing a free “Secure Your Kids Online” resource kit to help parents and guardians protect their kids online. 

Coronavirus has resulted in schools across the globe moving to an eLearning format, where education moves out of the classroom and into the home.

SANS Director of Security Awareness Lance Spitzner explains: “eLearning from home is a new experience both for kids and their parents. With this technology, and boundless access to information and people, comes potential risks. ‘Secure Your Kids Online’ was created to enable families to safely and securely make the most of learning from home by arming parents with the skills and knowledge they need to help guide and secure their children.”

Education is ultimately the best defense children have against today’s cyber risks. ‘Secure Your Kids Online’ helps parents develop good online values and behaviours within their children. This includes: 

·       ideas for establishing rules to keep kids safe; 

·       to whom they should report problems in the event someone is being a bully or inappropriate;

·       what types of information they can share and with whom; 

·       the types of sites that are okay to visit. 

Prior to accessing written resources, it is recommended that parents and guardians review the short video first. Direct links to content within the ‘Secure Your Kids Online’ resource kit are included below. 

·       Video that summarizes how to best secure your kids online;

·       Additional resources to learn more (primarily for companies that want to help employees secure their kids).

For additional details on SANS Security Awareness, including timely blog posts detailing how to create a secure work-from-home experience for parents as well as children, visit: 

https://www.sans.org/security-awareness-training

About SANS Security Awareness 

SANS Security Awareness, a division of the SANS Institute, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cyber security risk. SANS Security Awareness has worked with over 1,300 organizations and trained over 6.5 million people around the world. Security awareness training content is translated into over 30 languages and built by a global network of the world’s most knowledgeable cyber security experts. SANS Security Awareness content and training is world-class and available to a global audience. The SANS Security Awareness program includes everything security awareness officers need to simply and effectively build a best-in-class security awareness program. For more information about training programs, please visit: https://www.sans.org/security-awareness-training/products

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner’s qualifications via over 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master’s degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet’s early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org

BUILDING A COMMUNICATIONS COMMUNITY: EDUCATION COVID 19 CRISIS COMMS UNIT FORMED BY SOCIAL AND BRADSHAW ADVISORY

As organisations across the UK are working overtime to develop communication management plans to respond to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a community response is needed to support organisations to speak to their communities, stakeholders and staff.

Social, the integrated communications agency, and strategic communications specialists Bradshaw Advisory, have teamed up to help the education sector with a range of crisis communications services.

The closure of universities, schools and nurseries is hugely impacting families, students and the educations system, from managing without school meals and educations resources, to taking time off work to care for children at home.  An unprecedented move by the government during this period of uncertainly, this partnership wants to help you support staff, pupils and families using clear messaging that helps them understand how to adapt to this ‘new norm’.

Both agencies have direct experience of managing communications during regional and national crisis situations, with an understanding of the pressures that come with working in this environment. The team is made up of ex-journalists, seasoned PR professionals and political experts connected to the heart of government.

With extensive experience in the social housing sector, Social has provided an out-of-hours press office service and crisis communications support for several major housing associations. In addition, the team has expertise in HMG’s crisis communications and response to multiple domestic and international crises, including leading crisis comms teams in Whitehall and overseas.

John Quinton-Barber, founder and chief executive of Social, said: “As a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have seen first-hand where our clients need help and empathise with communications professionals who are working in these volatile and fragile times. There is a lot of fear and misunderstanding out there, and our agile team are experienced in quickly helping clients to put strategies in place which will ensure business as usual during these testing times. We’re already working alongside the C-suite and in-house teams, complementing their existing departments and adding vital additional support in getting the right messages out to their networks.”

Tom Lees, managing director of Bradshaw Advisory, said: “We understand that organisations and businesses are faced with many operational challenges at the moment – and it’s at this time that the flow of clear and accurate information to internal and external audiences is critically important. Collectively we have worked in many different crisis situations and have developed the specialist experience that we are now deploying to support our clients to tackle the pandemic.”

Social has experience working across public and private sectors including working with local authorities in Bath and North East Somerset, Bradford, Cambridge, Kirklees, Leeds, Middlesex, Tameside and York.  The agency also has extensive experience working across the housing sector Barratt Homes, Knowsley Housing Trust, Laurus Homes, McTaggart and Mickel and United Communities Housing Association.

Tom is a recognised expert in reputation management, corporate and political communications, and running high-impact campaigns.

Schools have turned to online learning solutions to cope with expected upcoming school closures across the UK

Online education platform Up Learn has reported a surge in demand from educators preparing for upcoming school closures across the UK.  The Edtech company, which counts Holly and Sam Branson (children of entrepreneur Richard Branson) and venture capital firm Forward Partners amongst its backers, has seen a seven-fold increase in month-on-month school sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many teachers are desperately trying to put together resources and video calls to continue their teaching online. Some are wisely turning to EdTech for a proven ready-made solution,” Up Learn Founder and CEO Guy Riese stated, “Educators are using Up Learn to supplement teaching and ensure students have access to learning material as part of instructions to prepare for closures across the UK that could last months.”

More than 100,000 students have signed up to the all-in-one online A Level courses that Up Learn offers. The platform guarantees all students an A-A* or their money back and reports a 97% A-A* success rate amongst students. Additionally, they have seen record levels of enquiries from concerned students and parents.

“Social distancing is necessary to ensure we all stay safe, but students shouldn’t have to put their education and futures at risk,” Mr Riese added, “Our thoughts are with those negatively affected, and we continue to support students during this difficult time.”    

Up Learn was founded by Guy Riese in 2016 to make the most effective learning experience in the world accessible to all.  Investors include Holly and Sam Branson (children of entrepreneur Richard Branson) and venture capital firm Forward Partners. 97% of students that complete Up Learn courses achieve A-A*. Up Learn guarantee students that complete courses an A-A* or a full refund.

Up Learn courses contain everything that students need to achieve top grades in the most efficient way possible. Content is produced by a world-class team of educators using applied cognitive science. AI provides students with real-time feedback on their performance. Students can sign up for a free trial at uplearn.co.uk; prices start from £24.99; scholarships available.

BenQ unveils next generation of Interactive Flat Panels for the classroom

Internationally renowned technology manufacturer, BenQ launches the next generation of RM Series Interactive Flat Panels (IFPs) for primary, secondary and further education institutions.

Available in four sizes: 55” (RM5502K), 65” (RM6502K), 75” (RM7502K) and 86” (RM8602K); new features include BenQ’s exclusive EZWrite 5.0 software, AMS Cloud Storage, Instashare collaboration software, 4K Android OS, voice control and compatibility with BenQ’s collaboration InstaShow WDC20 device. 

Key to the success of the first RM Series was its combination of durable hardware with intuitive user-friendly software, while putting the user’s well-being at the forefront of its design, which BenQ has continued into its latest offering.

Dedicated to encouraging the well-being of its users and providing a more comfortable viewing experience, BenQ incorporates its TÜV-certified Low Blue Light and Flicker-Free technologies into the screens, protecting students’ eyes from blue light emissions and flicker that may cause adverse health effects.

Enabling a variety of teaching styles and users of all levels of technology competency, the inclusivity of the BenQ’s own EZWrite 5.0 software and floating toolbar aids teachers with quick access to annotation tools, capture screen grabs, and save and share notes. 

Chris Goff, head of education technology and Pro AV, comments:

“The latest advancement to our RM Series demonstrates BenQ’s commitment to developing technology specifically designed for education. Many of the new features in this latest version are in response to what our users have requested. We’re listening to what requirements teachers need in order to complement teaching styles and classroom necessities, while also supporting school IT infrastructure with future-proofed technology.”

Designed to be intuitive and flexible, the cloud features make it easy for teachers to save files to their personal cloud storage and access for future lessons from any device. A cross-platform solution, personal devices on different operating systems are compatible without excluding individuals from contributing in group sessions.

Compatibility with BenQ’s collaboration tools, the Instashare app and InstaShow WDC20, a plug-and-play device, enables up to nine devices to be sharing content directly to the screen at once. Voice and remote controls provide extra flexibility for teachers to operate the display from a distance. 

The RM Series is available now, please visit BenQ.co.uk for further information and to book a demonstration.

Twitter: @BenQBusinessUK

Erasmus Darwin Academy improves connectivity and access to online applications with a new high-performance WiFi solution from Redway Networks.

Erasmus Darwin Academy has improved wireless connectivity and digital interaction at the school with a new high-performance wireless solution from education WiFi experts Redway Networks.  The new solution has given the school a robust network capable of controlling and managing all its network devices with uninterrupted access to its student management information system.

Erasmus Darwin Academy is a mixed secondary school that provides pupils with a unique educational experience that blends modern and traditional approaches to teaching and learning. The school takes full advantage of the internet to support its innovative teaching and e-learning practices so a reliable wireless network is vital.   

Existing WiFi causing excessive broadcast traffic

Gareth Hughes, Network Manager at Erasmus Darwin Academy says: “Dependable wireless connectivity is really important for us as staff and management need continual access to our student management information system and we have 550 computers that support over 1,000 students. He continues: “With more teachers using laptops to move around the school and sixth formers bringing their own devices (BYOD) to school our existing WiFi couldn’t cope. The old wireless was causing excessive broadcast traffic and was degrading the whole network.  Due to the intermittent wireless, staff were also having trouble accessing our SIMS system which holds all our student records so constant access is critical for tracking student information.”

Erasmus Darwin Academy identified it needed a new wireless solution so reached out to Redway Networks as it knew the company was a specialist wireless provider to the education sector.

One stop assistance from Redway

Gareth says: “I initially approached Redway Networks for a network audit as I’d heard brilliant reviews about the service and products they offered and as we’re a small team with minimal resources, we need a supplier who could provide us with a ‘one stop assistance’.

Once the audit was complete, it was obvious that the school’s six-year-old Ruckus network couldn’t support its requirements and after a full product consideration the school chose a new Cambium cloud management solution.

Gareth says: “Cambium was a good fit for our school as it had all the enterprise wireless options already enabled and I especially liked the five-year support bundle that came with it”.  

As the existing infrastructure was already in place at the school Redway Networks managed the project to configure the new Cambium access points with the school’s existing infrastructure. 

Redway Networks gives an outstanding service

Gareth says: “The communication from Redway Networks was excellent. They were clear on how the project would be run and assigned us with a project lead who gave us an outstanding service throughout.  The access points were installed during half term and it was an easy switch over.  We were on Ruckus on Friday and when students returned on Monday, we were using our new high-speed Cambium WiFi”. 

Fast, reliable WiFi that keeps pace with the school 

Erasmus Darwin Academy now has a highly resilient Cambium cloud managed wireless solution that provides fast, reliable WiFi with complete control and visibility of the network for prioritising applications and enforcing policies at the edge of the network.

Gareth says: “Our new cloud managed access controls are great as I have full visibility of all the devices on our network and the ability to control applications based on the user, device and location.  This is important for BYOD into school as we can instantly block devices on the network if required.  The access controls also help with troubleshooting, for example, if a member of staff has a technical issue it can be fixed from the web portal remotely”.  He continues: “We can now provide fast WiFi services to all our students, staff and guests through the portal without slowing down our network and students can use applications and digital media without interruption”.

Gareth concludes:” Redway Networks delivered on all its promises and made the switch over to our new wireless a simple process.  Our next project is planned for 2020 and I will definitely be using Redway Networks again as its WiFi expertise and service was excellent”.

Periods don’t stop for pandemics: order and distribute your free period products now!

As we face these incredibly uncertain and challenging times, one thing is certain: periods will continue. 

Our organisations, the Red Box Project and Free Periods, have always fought to ensure that every young person has access to the period products that they need when they’re at school. But now it looks like schools will be closed, perhaps for some time. 

We need schools to take urgent action to ensure that their students continue to have access to essential period supplies. 

Since January 2020, all state-maintained schools and colleges in England (including primary schools!) have been able to order free period products for their students under a new Government-funded scheme. Guidance on the scheme and how to place orders is available from the Department for Education here. If you have any problems placing your order, you can call phs (who are running the scheme) on 01827 255500.

We urge every eligible institution to order their free period products as soon as possible and to take action to distribute those products to their students – before schools close. 

Student steams ahead with STEM

A Keighley College student is having her work published in an official booklet promoting women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Masie Eccles from East Morton recently visited the Hitachi Rail site as part of International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The County Durham plant welcomed females from schools across the north to learn about roles including engineering and marketing. The students heard from workers who spoke about routes into careers and job responsibilities.

The visit was organised through Bradford Council’s Careers Technical Education (CTE) partnership and Industrial Centre of Excellence (ICE) scheme, who worked with Community Rail Lancashire and Bishop Line Community Rail as part of their ‘Women in STEM’ project. The initiative aims to educate young women about typically male-dominated career opportunities related to STEM.

Following the event, Masie submitted inspiring poem ‘You’ll see’which celebrates powerful women. Her poem has been selected to feature in the ‘Women in STEM booklet 2020’ published by Community Rail Lancashire, engaging young women from diverse backgrounds to produce inspiring writing to express their views.

The booklet was launched at the ‘Women in STEM Celebration’ event hosted by Community Rail Lancashire at the Railway Museum in York. The event raised awareness of STEM career pathways for women and highlighted how the rail and community rail industries are working passionately towards creating a more inclusive place to work.

Masie’s tutor, Lizzie Sagar at Keighley College, said: “We were over the moon to hear that Masie’s poem had been selected for this extraordinary booklet. Her writing underpins women’s determination to achieve their full potential. At Keighley College, we’re dedicated to providing our students with the skills and experience needed to establish careers in STEM.”

UK schools close and more than 15,000 people across Europe offer free childcare for healthcare professionals

As schools set to close across the UK on Friday for an undetermined length of time, Yoopies, the largest European childcare platform, is launching an appeal to all students and childcare providers to volunteer their childcare services to help support healthcare workers and essential industries. We anticipate mounting pressure on hospitals in the coming weeks, and are now urging students and childcare providers to register as a childcare volunteer to support hospital staff. Call for childcare to support workers in essential industries The online childcare platform Yoopies is contributing to efforts across Europe and the UK to help healthcare staff in public and private hospitals access last-minute childcare. CEO of Yoopies, Benjamin Suchar, has said “As hospitals begin to experience more and more pressure, particularly with school closures, the issue of childcare for healthcare staff is an increasing concern. Yoopies is committed to contributing to efforts across Europe to offer childcare support during this particularly intense and stressful period.” In 24 hours over 15,000 people across Europe have registered their availability to volunteer during the coronavirus outbreak. Alongside this measure, Yoopies UK has massively reduced its price for Premium membership from £29.90 to £7.90 for the rest of the population with a full refund guarantee if families can’t find somebody, allowing parents to find a childcare provider quickly. Francesca Chong, manager of Yoopies UK comments, “As an increasing number of families need access to childcare, and with many people potentially out of work, we want to ensure childcare remains accessible and affordable for British families.” Volunteering during the Coronavirus Outbreak Following Yoopies’ call for action, a huge number of users contacted our Customer Support team, offering voluntary childcare service to families who needed it most. In light of this solidarity, Yoopies has now launched the feature “Volunteering during the Coronavirus Outbreak.” Every new applicant who registers on the website will be able to select an option showing on their profile that they are willing to volunteer their childcare services for the families of healthcare professionals and other essential service workers. This feature aims to help healthcare professionals with children to find childcare on a volunteer basis, enabling them to go to work. Yoopies’ CEO Benjamin Suchar commented “I was absolutely amazed at the solidarity of our community coming together, thousands of babysitters have answered our call to offer their service for free, and I thank all who are contributing to this positive movement”.

Tech company pledges free remote phone service to all UK schools to support their communication challenges during Coronavirus outbreak

CircleLoop, the cloud-based phone system for business, today announces that it will fund a pledge to provide free business telephony to any school, healthcare provider or charity who is facing remote working challenges, due to the unprecedented outbreak of Coronavirus across the country.

The service will be offered free of charge for the next 3-months to any existing or new customers who need to facilitate remote, mobile or flexible working at short notice. The internet-based phone system can be live in a matter of minutes, following completion of a short online form, with no card or payment details required. It supports calling, call menus and greetings, voicemail transcription and a range of other features.

Since it was founded in 2016, CircleLoop has rapidly established itself as an alternative to the normal telecoms approach, as businesses continue to shift to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and cloud services generally. CircleLoop operates as a self-service tool and it works anywhere over the internet in desktop and mobile applications instead of using traditional desk-phones. As such, organisations required to self-isolate, but which may not have existing structures in place to facilitate remote working, can use CircleLoop to maintain connectivity and accessibility for their workforce, with immediate notice.

Damian Hanson, co-founder of CircleLoop, commented: “Here at CircleLoop we recognise the unprecedented issues that the Coronavirus outbreak is causing for businesses of all shapes and sizes. As a team we wanted to do something to try to make the pressures experienced by schools, healthcare providers and charities a little easier when needing to work remotely during self-isolation periods in the coming weeks.”

Schools, healthcare providers and charities looking to take advantage of this free service can sign-up instantly at https://www.circleloop.com/coronavirus

Interview with Jon Chapman, Founder and President, EVERFI.

Q: Give us a brief explanation of what EVERFI is?

Jon Chapman: For more than 12 years EVERFI has delivered digital, scalable, social impact education to Fortune 1000 companies, sports leagues, primary schools, and higher education institutions. EVERFI’s work has reached more than 30 million learners in the United States and Canada. We have recently been recognised by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.

Q: EVERFI has just bought UK company EdComs, which specialises in education that drives social change. What was the thinking behind that?

Jon Chapman:  As we have worked with our global customers, we have seen increasing demand internationally to address many of the same critical topics that we address in North America including programmes on anti-bullying, compassion, digital safety, financial literacy, mental wellness, prescription drug addiction prevention, workplace conduct, and many others. We were looking for a proven international partner to expand our ability to serve more  organisations internationally. We sought out a company that was experienced, with a similar portfolio of distinguished brands, had a superior track record, and a stellar leadership team. We found the perfect fit with EdComs. We are fully aligned in our mission and cultures, and collectively we will make a greater social impact globally for generations to come. 

Q: What are EVERFI’s plans for the UK and in what timeframe?

Jon Chapman:  We are currently tailoring our courses for the UK market so that we can help children, young people, and adults develop the skills they need to be successful in life and in the workplace. It is important that our content meets both the cultural norms of the country and the nuances of interpersonal communication. As our programmes are fully digital, they will be ready for the UK market in the next 3-6 months, although this will depend on the content, length of the course and the desired learning outcomes. Additionally, we are working with our global brands to build customised programmes to address topics that are specific to their social impact strategy or community engagement plans. 

Q: How can UK businesses and the education sector benefit from your presence in the UK?

Jon Chapman:  EVERFI is a proven leader in fully leveraging technology to deliver curricula that are aligned with established standards-based education.  We do this for our business partners so they can serve both external members of the communities they do business in or internally to those that they employ. In either case, our education is grounded in research and metrics so that we can track the impact within a particular community or subject area. EVERFI is also able to immediately offer courses to a limitless number of learners and in a scalable fashion that creates a unique impact as compared to non-digital methods. Our content advances the social good and works well within business and education environments. 

Q: How do you see education technology developing across the world over the next few years?

Jon Chapman:  We believe that increasingly educational content will be delivered to learners in an on-demand format. To remain relevant, education must be delivered to the learner where and when they want to receive the information.  For instance, within the realm of financial literacy education, we are noticing that when people need to make an important financial decision in their lives, they want financial education via their mobile devices. . We will continue to see the critical role that mobile devices and smartphones play in the delivery of education worldwide.  

Q: What are the differences between the education technology sector in the UK and in the US and Canada?

Jon Chapman: We see more similarities between these countries than differences. To be fair, each of these countries are leaders in education technology. There is a lot we can learn from one another — mostly around the overall learner experience and how to optimise that for maximum knowledge gain. There is no question that we all want our education to have a lasting effect and a direct impact on society. The most important role each country will play is ensuring we are delivering the right content in a way that will yield the greatest long-term impact.