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Windows 11 SE Education Devices Launch — THE Journal

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Mobile Computing

Windows 11 SE Education Devices Launch

Devices running on the all-new Windows 11 SE for education began
shipping Tuesday. These include a new Surface SE device from
Microsoft itself, as well as Intel- and AMD-based devices from Acer,
ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and others.

Windows 11 SE, introduced back in November, is a cloud-focused
operating system purpose-built for education. It offers cloud
management through Intune for Education, improved accessibility,
simplified user experience and foreground application boost. The
significant differentiators
between Windows 11 SE and Windows 11/Windows 11 Pro for Education
are: Windows 11 is upgradable from Windows 10 while Windows 11 SE is
not; Windows 11 runs all Windows applications, while Windows 11 SE
does not; and Windows 11 supports devices with greater than 8 GB RAM
and 128 GB storage, whereas Windows 11 SE does not.

As part of the new device rollout, Microsoft announced its own
Windows 11 SE-based device, the Surface Laptop SE, a 2.45-pound,
11.6-inch laptop running on an Intel Celeron processor (N4020 or
N4120). It offers 4 GB or 8 GB RAM, 64 GB or 128 GB embedded MMC card
for storage, Intel UHC Graphics 600, USB-A and USB-C, a 1 megapixel
front-facing camera, 2W speakers, mic, Bluetooth 5.0 SE and 2×2
802.11ac for WiFi. It starts at $249.

Several of Microsoft’s partners have also launched new devices
today.

Acer unveiled the TravelMate
Spin B3
, which offers support for Wi-Fi 6. It will be available
in April for $329.99.

ASUS is offering the BR1100F
with Windows 11 SE, which supports Wi-Fi 6 and 4G LTE in some
configurations.

HP
has launched a new line of education laptops called Fortis
. The
Fortis lineup comprises both Chromebooks and Windows 11/Windows 11 SE
devices. The Windows 11 SE devices include the HP ProBook Fortis 14″
G9 and ProBook Fortis 11″ G9. They will come pre-configured with
Windows 11 SE starting in April, according to information published
by HP. The 14-inch model without Windows 11 SE is available now
starting at $369; the 11-inch model currently starts at $399 without
Windows SE. HP said pricing will be updated closer to ship time for
the Windows 11 SE models.

HP’s other new education devices in the Fortis line include the
ProBook Fortis 11″ G10 and 14″ G10. Both of those will be
available in April, with pricing to be announced later.

HP’s 14-inch Fortis 14″ G10 Chromebook is available now for
$349. An 11-inch G9 Chromebook will ship in June.

Lenovo has launched two new models for education, the 10w Tablet
and 10w Yoga. Both support Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE. The Lenovo
14w, 100w, 300w and 500w laptops are also now available with Windows
11 SE, according to information released today by Lenovo.

According to Microsoft, Dell will offer Windows 11 SE on the
Latitude
3120 and 3120 2-in-1
, although as of this writing, that is not a
configuration option.

Microsoft also indicated that Dynabook is launching a Windows 11
SE version of the E10-S,
which, as of this writing, comes configured with Windows 10.

Microsoft indicated that Fujitsu, Positivo and JP.IK are releasing
Windows 11 SE devices as well.

Further
information can be found on Microsoft’s education blog
.

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Texas CIO Report Calls for New Law Requiring K–12 Schools to Report All Cyber Incidents — THE Journal

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Cybersecurity & Data Privacy

Texas CIO Report Calls for New Law Requiring K–12 Schools to Report All Cyber Incidents

Expansion of Digital Signatures, Regional Joint IT Operations for Local, State Agencies Also Proposed

The Texas Department of Information Resources, in its newly released Biennial Performance Report, has asked the state legislature to require Texas school districts to report cybersecurity incidents to its office within a minimum reporting timeframe.

Currently, public schools in Texas are required to notify the Texas Education Agency of cyber incidents that result in unauthorized theft, duplication, transmission, use, or viewing of student information that is “sensitive, protected, or confidential as provided by state or federal law.” And the Texas Business and Commerce Code says that includes encrypted data, too, if the threat actor has the decryption key.

But, as the Texas Association of School Board discusses at length in several website guides for districts, neither of those laws explain much beyond that — and neither law requires the TEA to publish or share any accounting of the cyber incidents that are reported by school districts. Historically, the TEA has considered such data to be exempt from Freedom of Information laws.

The BPR, released Nov. 16, also requested legislative action to expand DIR’s pilot program with Angelo State University in West Texas that established a Regional Security Operations Center to provide university students with hands-on cybersecurity experience and give boots-on-the-ground support to local taxpayer-funded agencies — including K–12 school districts — that need assistance with major cybersecurity incidents.

The BPR tracks state-funded agencies’ technology progress in fiscal years 2021 and 2022; highlights their technology accomplishments; lists areas of concern; and recommends policy and legislative changes to improve the effectiveness of IT operations at state and taxpayer-funded agencies.

“Over the past two years, state agencies in Texas showed significant progress in delivering secure, innovative technology that makes government more efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable,” said Amanda Crawford, DIR’s executive director and Texas’ Chief Information Officer, in a statement announcing the report’s release. “I applaud the hard work and effort of state agencies which, along with the support of the Texas Legislature, drive the state of Texas to lead the nation in delivering a secure, digital government through well-designed, innovative, and efficient technology solutions.”

The 2022 BPR is available on the DIR website at https://dir.texas.gov/strategic-planning-and-reporting/biennial-performance-report.

Other legislative recommendations relevant to public schools included in the new BPR:

  • Enable private sector peer-to-peer payment solutions commonly used by the public to provide additional payment methods for government services
  • Enable broader access to digital government services, streamlined processes, and digitization by expanding the use of digital signatures

In discussing the need for better, thorough incident reporting, the BPR states:

“Sharing information is essential for protecting public sector assets, personal or sensitive information, and critical infrastructure. State agencies and institutions of higher education are required to report certain types of security incidents to DIR within a minimum timeframe … suspected cybersecurity incidents, including breaches and ransomware attacks, to DIR. School districts report cybersecurity incidents to the Texas Education Agency and county election officials are required to notify the Secretary of State,” the report reads.

“Also, Texas law does not set a standard timeframe for local governments to report cyberattacks. This incongruent reporting of cybersecurity incidents may hinder Texas in tracking trends and understanding the scope and complexity of cyberattacks as well as how they may be related to another cyberattack. By requiring municipalities, school districts, and counties to report cybersecurity incidents to DIR, the state will have a more complete picture of potential threats and may be able to prevent future attacks, avoiding costly response and recovery efforts.”

About the request for funds to expand the RSOC pilot program, the report states:

The law authorizing the RSOC pilot program states the RSOC “may offer network security infrastructure that local governments can utilize and provide real-time network security monitoring; network security alerts; incident response; and cybersecurity educational services. Eligible customers of the RSOC include counties, local governments, school districts, water districts, and hospital districts,” according to the BPR summary.

“DIR’s vision for the RSOC initiative is to partner with additional public universities and establish RSOCs throughout the state to serve local entities and assist in protecting the state from cyber threats,” Crawford wrote in the report. “This vision aligns with a whole-of-state approach to cybersecurity that increases the threat protection and cyber maturity of all of Texas through collaboration and partnerships. DIR is requesting funding from the 88th Legislature to establish two additional RSOCs including one in the Rio Grande Valley and one in central Texas.”

Calls for More Digital Signatures and Blockchain Guidance

Another DIR recommendation that would impact public schools statewide, if lawmakers act, is for new legislation to enable broader access to digital government services, streamlined processes, and digitization by expanding the use of digital signatures.

“Currently, a digital signature can be used to authenticate a written electronic communication sent by an individual to a state agency or local government if the signature complies with DIR’s rules as well as rules adopted by the state agency or local government,” the BPR explained. “Allowing more digital signatures in lieu of handwritten signatures, without additional rule-making, could lead to improved administrative efficiency and reduced costs.”

A final recommendation for lawmakers spelled out in the BPR is “provide guidance for distributed ledger and blockchain technology best practices.”

Nationally, a handful of U.S. universities have piloted using blockchain technology to store and share digital credentials such as academic records; although widespread adoption of blockchain for academic records at any level isn’t seen as likely to happen anytime soon, the DIR noted that 10% of state agencies have said they’re considering adopting distributed ledger-based systems.

View or download the full 2022 BPR at https://dir.texas.gov/strategic-planning-and-reporting/biennial-performance-report.

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Smart Technologies Rolls Out Android 11 Update as Part of iQ 3.12 Release for Smart Boards — THE Journal

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Classroom Technologies

Smart Technologies Rolls Out Android 11 Update as Part of iQ 3.12 Release for Smart Boards

Interactive whiteboard maker Smart Technologies has announced its iQ 3.12 release, which includes an over-the-air upgrade to the Android 11 operating system. The company says the automatic update includes better performance, features, and security and privacy upgrades, allowing more product cycle control and convenience for users.

Smart Technologies announced in Spring 2022 it was the first manufacturer to launch interactive displays supporting Android 11, with functions that relieve users from having to purchase new panels or modules. The November 2022 over-the-air update provides:

  • Android 11 upgrades to SMART V3 interactive displays with the iQ platform;
  • Greater interoperability and support for 64-bit apps; and
  • Improved iQ platform longevity using the Android 11 support timeline for patches and security updates.

In addition, all supported iQ displays will automatically receive these features, the company said:

  • Whole-class collaborative whiteboard improved with content attribution for student contributions from their devices;
  • New pedagogically designed ready-made resources for student contribution from devices;
  • Single-question assessments such as polls;
  • ‘Shout it Out’ brainstorming templates; and
  • Exit tickets and knowledge gathering.

Visit this page to learn more about Smart interactive boards for education and see this page for a comparison of Smart board displays and specs.

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Virtual Lab Environment Cyber.org Range Launched to Make K–12 Cybersecurity Skills Training Available Nationally — THE Journal

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STEM Training

Virtual Lab Environment Cyber.org Range Launched to Make K–12 Cybersecurity Skills Training Available Nationally

The
Cybersecurity
and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
and the
Cyber
Innovation Center (CIC)
in Louisiana, along with
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, have announced the expansion of
Cyber.org’s
new virtual lab environment, Cyber.org
Range
, available to teach cybersecurity skills to all
K–12 students nationwide free of cost through a Cybersecurity
Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP)

grant.

A
cyber Range is a cloud-based safe and controlled virtual environment
with access to the internet, but secure from private networks, to run
virtual machines in a web browser. Students practice cybersecurity
concepts, explore back-end IT systems in current use, and run labs to
get hands-on practice with real tools to defend against cyber
attacks. Cyber.org’s Cybersecurity
year-long course
includes 150 topics, including cyber
law and policy, Linux, networking technology basics, risk assessment,
cryptography, and a variety of other tools. Upon completion, students
can take the CompTIA
Security+ certification exam
. This can help prepare
them for intermediate-level jobs in the cybersecurity field.

“To
meet the cyber threats of the future, we need to start by preparing
for them today,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “That’s why
CISA is so thrilled to partner with Cyber.org, Governor Edwards, and
the State of Louisiana in opening the CYBER.ORG Range at the Cyber
Innovation Center. Early cyber education is critical to our national
security, and tomorrow’s cybersecurity professionals are sitting in
today’s classrooms.”

The
Cyber.org Range program will be piloted through the end of 2022.
Visit the Cyber.org
Range
page to learn more or to apply to be part of the
pilot program.

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