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More Schools Receive Free Technology Through SecondLaunch Initiative

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) received an update on the SecondLaunch Initiative at its October board meeting. The initiative, which was created by the West Virginia Department of Education in June 2015, continues to expand its reach, providing much needed technology to students throughout the state. Now, in its third year, SecondLaunch has saved the state $3 million in technology costs and has provided more than 8,000 computers to students in 47 counties.

Computers and other technology equipment are donated to SecondLaunch from West Virginia government agencies as well as private industry. Equipment is then wiped, cleaned and upgraded to meet the requirements of the programs used in schools. Computers, monitors, keyboards and mice are packaged together for ease of use and assembly, and schools can pick the computers up at the SecondLaunch warehouse in Charleston.

“Through the SecondLaunch Initiative, we are working to ensure that all students have access to technology and resources they need” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “Our goal is to have the program in all 55 counties, and work with educators to make sure that a lack of resources is never an obstacle for educators to provide the best education possible for our students.”

In addition to state agencies, private industry has also joined in and donated equipment to SecondLaunch.

“The program’s success depends on the donations we receive,” said David Cartwright, who oversees the program. “We have been fortunate to form a partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in West Virginia, who has become a generous and recurring participant. Our hope is to expand our private partnerships so we can continue to see the program grow.”

SecondLaunch helps students interact with the technology they will encounter in life after high school, whether it be college or the workforce. Some of the state’s earliest learners also have access to the SecondLaunch materials, allowing West Virginia students to utilize 21st century learning resources every day.

Learn more about the SecondLaunch initiative by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/technology/showcase/

Those interested in donating equipment to SecondLaunch can email David Cartwright: .

GCEDA Broadband Public Meeting Notice

The Free Press WV

As the lead economic development arm of the the Gilmer County Commission the GCEDA’s President Jeff Campbell provided the following information at last weeks County Commission meeting:

The Gilmer County Economic Development Association will be making an application, on behalf of the County, for a West Virginia Development Office Community Development Block Grant for Broadband Planning.

The WVDO has set aside $700,000 of funds for this year with grants due by October 31, 2017. 

A broadband planning grant for a county may be between the amounts of $50,000 to $75,000. 

The GCEDA has budgeted for the 2017 Fiscal Year - $10,000 to pursue a broadband grant/project a portion of which will be used for a consultant to handle the grant application and the remainder as a match on the grant to ensure we receive one. 

The majority of the county has negligible broadband, with the exception of those areas around the College or where Shentel has service. 

The planning grant would be used to create a engineering design for a wireless broadband project for Gilmer County, like Upshur/Randolphf/Barbour consortium.

The Upshur/Randolph/Barbour consortium was awarded a grant from the USDA for $3.0M for a fixed wireless solution which will serve 9,000 residents and businesses with between 10 and 100 megabyte downstream service from tower based wireless internet.

The application is currently underway with an initial public meeting on Wednesday, October 11th at 6:00 pm at the Glenville Inn. 

This is one of two mandatory meetings required by the CDBG process and will inform the public of the grant opportunity and take public comments. 

We would request all the Commissioners make the meeting if possible, but at least one attend. 

A second mandatory public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 25th at 6:00 pm at the Glenville Inn where the application will be presented and further comments taken. 

Additionally the County Commission will need to adopt a Resolution at its second October meeting on October 20th in support of the grant application.


Respectfully,
Jeff Campbell
President GCEDA

Weekly Update for Gilmer County High School

The Free Press WV

Students at Gilmer County High School enjoyed viewing the eclipse with the eclipse-approved sunglasses provided to Gilmer County Schools’ students by Glenville State College.

Students were treated to popsicles during the eclipse by Mrs. Butcher.

Everyone enjoyed the afternoon and the viewing party.



The Free Press WV

David Brannon, a 7th grade student at GCHS, was invited to speak to Mrs. Sandy Pettit’s Business & Marketing class at Glenville State College on August 23.

David’s presentation was on couponing and the GSC students were amazed at his knowledge of couponing as a business and corporations and their subsidiaries.

When asked by one of the GSC students what he wanted to be when he grew up, David replied, “I want to be a CEO.“  David is the son of David and Izetta Brannon of Cedarville.



The Free Press WV

Lindsay Chapman, junior, and Baylee Wellings, senior, both were medalists at the Charles Point Cross Country Meet in Bridgeport on Saturday, August 26.

Medals were awarded to the top 30 runners in high school boys and girls and middle school boys and girls.

Lindsay placed 28th and 30th.

Lindsay is the daughter of Lora and Jimmy Chapman of Burnsville.

Baylee is the daughter of Jenny and Tom Wellings of Glenville.

A Cyber Terrorism Strategy in WV is Important to Safeguarding Election Systems and Voter Databases

The Free Press WV

The most challenging war we may need to fight in the future will be in cyberspace. It’s a fight I am preparing for as your Secretary of State.

Cyberspace is a new frontier for terrorism, one that threatens far out of proportion to its cost. A non-traditional cyber attack on American infrastructure could happen without a single aircraft or boot on American soil. For example, one skilled Russian hacker sitting in a Moscow basement could potentially wipe out an entire city’s electrical grid here in the United States, causing indeterminate suffering for hundreds of thousands of people for an extended period of time.

Similarly, the integrity of elections and voter databases have become targets of nefarious international cyber attacks. In 2014, two years before our recent national election, Ukraine accused Russia of launching a series of coordinated cyber attacks attempting to control the outcome of that country’s presidential election. Similar accusations against Russia have been made by officials in Germany, Austria, Norway, France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

On August 19th, President Donald Trump elevated the country’s cyberspace operations to full combatant command status. Those active in the military understand exactly what that means. This move will substantially strengthen the country’s effort to protect our people, government and critical infrastructure against cyber terrorism and cyberspace threats.

This new focus on U.S. Cyber Command (CyberCom) will improve the control and response to time-sensitive cyberspace operations by consolidating them under a single military commander leading some of the most talented technology professionals in the world.

The most important part of the President’s announcement is the support the new Command will be able to offer to the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure, which now includes election systems and voter databases.

Over the last six months, I’ve relied on my education and military background to help lead a national effort to improve the communication between the federal government and state elections officials. The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) endorsed my recommendation to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide secretaries of state with security clearances. The move was approved and now allows CyberComm and the National Guard to communicate directly with the secretaries.

Since taking office, I’ve focused on recruiting an Information Technology team of professionals who understand the threat that cyberspace brings to the Secretary of State’s office. We’ve developed a three-prong strategy to deal with cybersecurity in the Secretary of State’s Office: Protection – Detection – Correction. 

Our primary focus is on protection. But we aren’t foolish enough to believe that, despite our best efforts, there aren’t hackers out there creative enough to find a weak link in our process. That’s where our detection and immediate correction strategies kick in.

Cybersecurity is not just a concern for my office. I want to encourage law enforcement officials and government administrators at all levels to educate themselves and stay updated on cyber threats, technology, and the improper use of computers to create havoc in cities large and small. Shutting down or contaminating water systems, air systems, traffic systems, or electric power grids would create immediate chaos. Law enforcement agencies need to work closely with community leaders and the utility industry to identify and assess possible vulnerabilities.

You’ll be hearing more from the Secretary of State’s Office in the coming weeks as we announce new initiatives and partnerships to protect our critical elections systems. As your Secretary of State, I will always remain vigilant in the protection of your voter information.

Mac Warner, Secretary of State - Before being elected West Virginia’s 30th Secretary of State, Mac Warner had a 23-year career in the United States Army. He retired as a Lt. Colonel after having served in countries throughout the world. He is a graduate of West Point and the WVU School of Law. He earned his Master’s Degree in International Law from the University of Virginia.

Eclipse-Chasers Should Be Cautious While Driving

The Free Press WV

Interest in the biggest coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the U.S. has been growing leading up to the big event on Monday. With all the buzz surrounding this celestial event, AAA East Central cautions those seeking an ideal location to view the eclipse to be mindful of traffic congestion and distracted driving.

AAA East Central’s driving tips for the “Great American Eclipse”:

  • Choose courtesy. Be watchful, alert and courteous of others on the roads, highways and interstates.
  • Do not drive distracted; don’t use a cell phone or other devices while driving.
  • Don’t look at the eclipse while driving and don’t take photos while driving.
  • Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder during the event. 
  • To view and/or photograph the eclipse, exit the highway to a safe location.
  • While operating a vehicle, don’t wear eclipse glasses.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists along smaller roads. 
  • Anticipate heavy congestion, especially on the interstates in the path on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.

 

The Free Press WV

Claims About Net Neutrality Used Biased Data, Researcher Says

The Free Press WV

As the Federal Communications Commission considers reversing net neutrality, researchers say a key assumption for the move does not hold water.

In his argument to revisit the Obama-era rule designed to protect a free and open Internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai cited a paper published in an academic journal that maintained the agency had failed to consider the economic impacts on industry.

But Jefferson Pooley, co-author of a new study published in the same International Journal for Communication, says Pai’s position is based on a paper riddled with factual errors and unsubstantiated claims.

“We showed that this core claim was incorrect, that, in fact, economists had been perhaps more active in coming up with the net neutrality rules than ever before,“ Pooley states.

Pooley’s team also found that the article cited by Pai was paid for by CALinnovates, a PR group that specializes in promoting policy for AT and T, an internet service provider that Pooley says could benefit if open Internet rules are reversed.

Proponents of rolling back net neutrality say regulating ISPs as a utility hampers innovation and investment.

Pooley maintains the failure to disclose industry funding amounts to “information laundering,“ making it possible for the FCC chairman to cite an academic publication without any trace of AT and T’s fingerprints.

He says it’s important for the public, and public officials, to know whose interests are behind research.

“We would probably dismiss a claim that AT and T made directly against net neutrality, since they stand to gain financially,” Pooley states. “So instead of making the argument directly, they funded academics who published an article in an academic journal.“

Pooley adds that CALinnovates threatened legal action against the journal and the University of Southern California, its host, unless material involving the firm was removed.

The FCC is accepting public comments on its plan, called “Restoring Internet Freedom,“ through Monday at www.fcc.gov.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Top STEAM Students to Attend National Youth Science Camp in WV

The Free Press WV

The brightest young minds from across the United States and eight other nations will be descending into the mountains of West Virginia for the annual National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) on June 14.

“Each state’s Governor has conducted a competition to select two students from their home state to jet into Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV, to join other top students from Central and South America for a month of learning, research, and dialogue encompassing topics in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts,” a spokes person said. “Situated deep in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, Camp Pocahontas will be the rustic home of over 100 students for nearly four weeks as they work and study side by side with top experts in STEAM fields from around the globe.”

Delegates will participate in a wide variety of activities that challenge them beyond their traditional learning while at Camp Pocahontas. Opportunities in art, music, and drama, as well as a myriad of outdoor activities including mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, caving, and mountain climbing afford each student an incredible range of experiences.

In addition to their time in West Virginia, delegates spend three days in the nation’s capitol participating in tours of national museums, meeting with US science policy makers, and attending a Senate luncheon in their own honor, sponsored by United States Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

“Our goal at NYSCamp is STEAM enrichment and leadership development,” said John Giroir, Director and alumnus of the National Youth Science Camp. “We focus on engaging delegates with a broad spectrum of STEAM subjects and challenge them to set their sights on the stars. A number of NYSCamp alumni have and are trailblazing in many STEAM fields, which impact our world.”

About the NYSCamp: Operation and financial support for the NYSCamp is coordinated by the National Youth Science Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization) with support from the State of West Virginia, the US State Department, and donations from alumni, corporations, and foundations. Through these valuable investments, delegates chosen from each state attend the NYSCamp “free of charge”, which allows these students to be selected based on academic merit and achievement, regardless of financial ability.

The staff of the NYSCamp, the NYSF and the State of West Virginia welcome these students from both hemispheres for a month of intense education,enrichment,  and adventure.

Started in 1963 as part of the state’s Centennial, the National Youth Science Camp is celebrating 54 years of operation. The NYSC has supported nearly 6,000 students over the past 54 years, providing a rigorous STEAM enrichment program in the mountains of West Virginia. This program has been a well-established response to the documented need for improved STEAM education among promising young minds across the country. This year, top STEAM students from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago will also participate through support from the US State Department’s Bureau of Exchange and Cultural Affairs.

NYSCamp is run by the National Youth Science Foundation, whose mission is to inspire lifelong engagement and ethical leadership in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related professions through its proven educational model for mentoring, challenging and motivating students. By building strong communities among students, teachers and professionals, NYSF programs complement, broaden and enhance the traditional school curriculum leading to careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related professions.

Progress Report on $160M Settlement with Frontier

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Frontier Communications has increased internet speeds for approximately 36 percent of customers impacted by its estimated $160 million settlement with West Virginia.

Frontier Communications entered into the settlement to resolve complaints about internet speeds provided to its customers. The agreement, announced in December 2015, marked the largest, independently negotiated consumer protection settlement in West Virginia history.

“My office continues to closely monitor Frontier’s compliance with our settlement,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This agreement improves connectivity for thousands in West Virginia. It’s also crucial to helping the state compete in this ever evolving world of digital technology.”

The multi-faceted agreement requires Frontier to invest at least $150 million in capital expenditures to increase internet speeds across West Virginia and lower monthly rates for affected consumers.

Frontier, to date, has spent $72.6 million in capital expenditures, funds which the company reports has increased internet speeds to 9,910 customers throughout West Virginia, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report filed with the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Office, between 2013 and 2015, received multiple complaints from customers paying for Frontier’s high-speed service, which advertised internet speeds up to 6 megabits per second.

Many consumers advised their Frontier service was slow or did not meet expectations. The subsequent investigation found many customers expecting internet speeds “up to 6 Mbps” frequently received speeds 1.5 Mbps or lower.

Frontier denied any allegation of wrongdoing and entered into the settlement to resolve disputed claims without the necessity of protracted and expensive litigation.

The settlement specifically required Frontier to invest $150 million, in addition to its $180 million in planned upgrades as part of the federal government’s Connect America Fund II program.

The discounted monthly rate set bills for approximately 27,500 affected customers at $9.99 – a reduction expected to cost Frontier $6.25 million per year, which will shrink with time as the discount remains in effect until mandated improvements allow Frontier to increase existing download speeds.

Initiative to Fight Identity Theft

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has embarked upon a new initiative in the fight against identity theft, in particular theft that involves the skimming of credit and debit cards.

The Attorney General, in a letter to gasoline stations and convenience stores across West Virginia, requested information on ways to raise skimming awareness and prevention among business owners, managers and consumers.

“Importantly, this letter is not a part of an investigation into your business,” Attorney General Morrisey wrote. “We are asking for your input. With your help, our office hopes to create guidelines and strategies for helping retail gas and convenience store owners prevent and reduce skimming.”

Skimmers – handheld devices and others attached to gasoline pumps and automated teller machines – allow identity thieves to steal credit/debit card information from the card’s magnetic strip.

The devices store the stolen data until it is transferred onto a counterfeit card. Thieves then use the counterfeit replica to charge an untold number of purchases onto the cardholder’s account without authorization.

In some instances, thieves also use unauthorized cameras to record the consumer’s personal identification number.

Skimmers are increasingly difficult to detect due to advancements in technology, however consumers should watch for anything attached to a gas pump or ATM card slot. Susceptibility also can occur at restaurants, retail establishments and anywhere consumers lose sight of their card in making a purchase.

The Attorney General urges consumers to always use their chip card as opposed to swiping the magnetic strip. Also, they should cover the screen when typing PIN numbers, never share or write down such passcodes and refrain from choosing easy or obvious passwords, such as birthdays, a mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of a Social Security number.

A few things that can help those who fall prey to skimming include:

  • Place a fraud report with credit reporting agencies.
  • Contact your financial institution.
  • Order credit reports.
  • File a police report.

The Attorney General’s letter can be read at http://bit.ly/2pnFUnn.

For more information on skimming and identity theft, see a full brochure at http://bit.ly/2aaCejm.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of identity theft should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1.800.368.8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304.267.0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

Five Technologies To Avoid In The Classroom-And What To Use Instead

In a technology-dependent education culture, are there some technologies to avoid? And if so, why, and what are better alternatives?

One of the most popular articles on eSchool Media is a surprising one to the editors: “6 apps that block social media distractions.” This story, which seemed  a bit counter-intuitive for us to write (being a tech-cheerleading publication in nature), has held the top spot by a massive margin for almost three years now; which had the editors considering the question, “Are there technologies that should simply be avoided in the classroom?”

Of course, the editors then had to ponder what would make a technology easier to avoid than try to implement, and came up with a list of broad technologies and technology trends that either A) caused, rather than eased, more problems and concerns in the classroom, and/or B) were not evolved enough to make an actual difference in teaching or learning.

And, not wanting to simply talk technology trash without offering some useful information, the editors then came up with the technology options that may be better suited for the intended classroom task.


5 Technologies to Avoid in the Classroom


1. Social Media:
This was the easiest to choose, thanks to our reigning king of articles mentioned above. Though social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great for informal, personal use, most of education still has problems implementing these larger social media platforms for meaningful teaching and learning without running into privacy, security and cyberbullying headaches.

Better Option? Classroom-created forums. Many technology-savvy educators have deduced that perhaps the best way to mitigate social media distractions while still allowing for collaboration and discussion is to use a classroom or subject-specific forum or platform. In fact, according to EDUCAUSE, one of the core functions of the post-LMS era is to use a “next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE)” that “supports collaboration at multiple levels and make it easy to move between private and public digital spaces. The NGDLE must also include a requirement to move past a “walled garden” approach to locking down a course’s LMS, and instead enable a learning community to make choices about what parts are public and what parts are private.”

Outside of cloud-based or platform-enabled communication spaces, some apps even allow for project and assignment-only collaboration and organization, such as Slack (which Stanford uses for team communication and work management) and Trello (a project management app). Both are available for Android, as well.


2. Games
: There’s a lot to be said for gaming in specific areas of education, like for learning how to code or applying mathematical concepts to real-life technology. In fact, eSchool News recently wrote an article touting the benefits of game-based learning and describing how schools are effectively using game-based learning with great results. However, for the average non-STEM heavy course, using actual games to learn is still in its research infancy as to whether or not games provide any major benefits to learning. Compound this with the unfortunate reality that most gaming is still male-centric, doesn’t usually allow for multi-player experiences, and is new to many educators, the time it takes to vet and properly implement games may be more of a hassle than it’s worth.

Better Option? Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR). With AR or VR, educators can still boost student engagement while incorporating some of the best characteristics of visual technology: interaction and visual learning. With AR and VR, teachers can help students better understand abstract or difficult concepts, take learning outside the classroom while still incorporating technology, and strengthen emotional engagement in course material–all while incorporating the traditional gaming characteristics of play and humor. Read more about AR in K-12  HERE , as well as apps for AR HERE . Read more about VR in education HERE , as well as how some schools are seeing massive STEM gains with VR  HERE .


3. Untested Apps and Online Tools
: Thanks to the explosive growth of mobile technology and its use in education, apps and digital resources and tools across a host of platforms are also available…perhaps dizzyingly so. Checking education apps and tools on any large platform, like the Apple Store, for educator-based comments and reviews is tedious; and often challenges like apps and tools that are never updated, or apps and tools that don’t actually perform as promised cause more headaches then they’re worth.

Better Option? Vetted apps and tools. Because of the overwhelming choice of apps and digital tools and resources that currently exist for education, some notable industry companies and organizations have taken the time to vet these tools for educators, using a selection process based on their own experience as well as feedback from teachers and administrators. For example, Common Sense Media reviews apps, digital tools and much more, providing feedback from educators when applicable. You can find their vetted apps here on eSchool News, as well as their “EdTech Eleven” monthly tool and resource picks HERE .


4. Anything That’s Not Accessible
: With the growth of online and blended education options, as well as digital tools and technologies, accessibility has become a hot-button issue in education. Accessibility not only applies to technology hardware and software, but to school websites, classroom content, and literally anything on the cloud.

Better Option? Consult IT First. During an EDUCAUSE 2015 conference, a panel of education IT experts were asked to discuss accessibility issues as they related not just to overall school technology, but specifically to classroom materials and technology. EDUCAUSE even has its own IT Accessibility Constituent Group that its members can consult for accessibility advice. You can find a rundown of proactive accessibility considerations from a recent toolkit  HERE , but it’s also a good idea to consult your school or district’s IT department before implementing any kind of new technology. A step-by-step guide for making online learning accessible is available  HERE , and video accessibility compliance steps can be found  HERE .


5. Device-Specific Technology
: In the war of iPads versus Chromebooks versus Androids, honing in on apps, platforms or branded software that are only compatible with one kind of technology is usually a mistake, thanks to the quick turnover of many of these devices. Also, technology that doesn’t work well with others (think older LMS’ that refuse to integrate with other school or classroom software) is not a smart, future-looking option.

Better Option? Interoperable, Device-Agnostic TechnologyAccording to educational experts, the best approach to supporting BYOD for instruction is the “device-agnostic” class. To help smooth out some of the BYOD-related bumps in the classroom, applications like Haiku Deck (presentation software), Tackk (a multimedia scrolling poster), and Snapguide (for creating step-by-step guides) are all offered in iOS, Android, and/or web versions. The latter, for example, uses a browser-based interface to allow students to access the application from any device–regardless of operating system–and use it online without having to worry about software incompatibility issues.

One of the newer entrants to the device-agnostic BYOD market is EXO U, a platform that allows teachers to share information and collaborate with students across multiple operating systems. Shan Ahdoot, CEO of the San Francisco-based firm, says such applications help educators get “everyone on the same page” quickly and effectively without wasting classroom time or IT resources. “The goal is to create a consistent experience from phone to laptop to interactive whiteboard,” says Ahdoot.

~~  Meris Stansbury   ~~

G-ICYMI™: WV’s Broadband Ranking

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

WV RANKS 48 IN REAL BROADBAND ACCESS IN USA

Frontier Communications and cable companies like Suddenlink are opposing the West Virginia Legislature’s latest attempt to improve high-speed internet across the state.

At a public hearing Friday, lobbyists for Frontier and the cable industry skewered parts of a bill (HB3093) that would authorize a pilot project in which three cities or counties would band together to build a broadband network and offer internet service to customers.

The industry lobbyists said legislation should target areas without high-speed internet — not places that already have service.

“When you spend taxpayer dollars and resources to focus on areas that already have broadband just so you can have a third or fourth choice, you are denying and depriving service to those who have none,” said Kathy Cosco, a Frontier executive and lobbyist.

Frontier and cable internet providers also oppose a section of the bill that would allow 20 or more families or businesses to form nonprofit co-ops that would provide internet service in rural areas.

Mark Polen, who represents the cable industry, said the bill should be changed to “make it clear these pilot projects and co-ops can’t be deployed where there’s already service.”

“That would be critical to the protection of our investment,” Polen said. “Anything that’s going to result in public subsidies being given to those that are going to overbuild private investment is not the proper policy. Let’s focus on the unserved areas and not allow this program to turn into an overbuilding initiative.”

Smaller internet providers like Bridgeport-based Citynet support the legislation. Citynet CEO Jim Martin told lawmakers that Frontier and the cable industry want to shut out competitors and protect their stranglehold on broadband service across the state.

“There is a reason they’re opposed to it, and that’s because this bill is going to enable competition,” Martin said.

Frontier, which is the largest internet provider in the state, also opposes a section of the bill that bars companies from advertising maximum or “up to” speeds. That measure aims to block firms from advertising internet speeds that they seldom — or never — deliver to customers.

Cosco said the measure unfairly stops companies from touting improved service. Frontier stopped advertising an “up to” speed in 2014, she said.

“If providers aren’t allowed to promote the service that’s available, it would be detrimental to the state’s economic development,” Cosco said.

Martin said his company would have no problem whatsoever with the ban on deceptive advertising. Internet providers would still be able to advertise minimum download and upload speeds available to customers.

“If you have a network and you’re comfortable with it, you should be able to advertise your minimum speed, and then stick with it,” Martin said. “It’s fantastic we aren’t going to allow for false advertising and representations of an ‘up to’ speed.”

Speakers at the public hearing also praised the bill for establishing procedures that would give internet providers quicker access to telephone poles used to hang fiber cable. Smaller firms said they sometimes have to wait months or years to use the poles.

But Cosco said the proposed changes conflict with Federal Communication Commission rules. And a leader of a union that represents Frontier technicians said the proposed pole procedures pose a safety risk.

“It would allow unqualified personnel from third-party contractors to transfer equipment on a utility pole to make room for a new provider’s equipment,” said Elaine Harris, who represents the Communications Workers of America in West Virginia.

ORIGINAL STORY 03.16.2017 – West Virginia lawmakers unveiled comprehensive broadband legislation Thursday that aims to spur competition among internet providers in rural areas and stop deceptive advertising about internet speeds.

House Bill 3093 would allow up to three cities or counties to start a pilot project by banding together and building a broadband network that provides high-speed internet service. Twenty or more families or businesses in rural communities also could form nonprofit co-ops that would qualify for federal grants to expand internet service, according to the bill.

“This is superb,” said Ron Pearson, a retired federal bankruptcy judge and broadband expansion advocate. “We’ve got to have competition in providing internet and other services that travel over fiber to households and businesses or we’re going to be stuck in the dark ages of competition in West Virginia.”

Lobbyists for Frontier Communications and cable internet providers already are raising objections to the legislation. The bill will face tough sledding in the Senate. Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, also works as Frontier’s sales director in West Virginia.

“We believe connecting West Virginia citizens is vital to our shared success, and any legislative proposal should focus on reaching the unserved and rural markets of our state,” Frontier spokesman Andy Malinoski said. “We are, however, concerned that House Bill 3093 may not accomplish that goal.”

Delegate Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, gave a 30-minute overview of the broadband legislation Thursday in the House chamber. Lawmakers have been working on the bill for months.

One of the bill’s key selling points: It requires no state funding — welcome news as lawmakers grapple with a $500 million budget deficit.

“We need revenue-neutral solutions to problems,” Hanshaw told lobbyists and fellow lawmakers who attended his presentation. “This is such a bill.”

In addition to broadband co-ops, the legislation would forbid internet companies from falsely advertising maximum download speeds — also referred to as “up to” speeds — while providing significantly slower speeds to customers. The internet firms could still advertise minimum internet service speeds.

Frontier, West Virginia’s largest internet provider, faces a class-action lawsuit over false advertising. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also has taken the company to task over internet speeds.

“This [section of the bill] protects consumers from deceptive advertising,” Hanshaw said.

The legislation also expands the powers of the state Broadband Enhancement Council.

The 13-member panel would be responsible for collecting data about internet speeds and broadband service across the state — and publishing the “mapping” information. Data would be collected voluntarily from internet providers and consumers.

West Virginia ranks 48th in the nation for broadband accessibility.

“More data is always better,” Hanshaw said. “It gives businesses looking to locate here a definitive tool they can use to make decisions on where to locate a facility.

” Also under the bill:

The broadband council would collect and distribute grant money. The council also would act as a “think tank” and make recommendations to the Legislature.

Internet providers could string fiber-optic cable in shallow “micro-trenches,” which are less expensive to dig than traditional utility trenches.

Companies wanting to expand broadband could place their fiber on telephone poles more quickly under new, expedited procedures.

A program would allow landowners to voluntarily grant easements for fiber lines.

~~  Eric Eyre Gazette-Mail ~~

4 Good Computer Habits Every Teacher Should Have

The Free Press WV

They say computers make life easier. They sometimes make our lives miserable.

How many of these habits are a part of your teaching life?


1. Back up your computer:
This may sound old-school, and you’ve probably heard people say it all the time; but let me tell you again that backup is the single most effective way to prevent data loss.

You may think data loss will never happen to you, but it happens to everyone at some point. It’s often too late when you realize it, the moment when you accidentally deleted a student’s assignment from your flash drive; worse yet, when your computer crashed all of a sudden due to unexpected errors. Having an up-to-date backup will avoid frustration and save you time to restore.

How to do? If you are using a PC or Mac, you can set up Windows System Backup or Time Machine to backup your computer regularly. For those important files, such as the students’ assignments and your teaching materials, make sure you also save at least one copy saved to an external hard drive. Another alternative that’s also convenient nowadays is online backup. For example, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox all make it easy for us to upload files to the cloud and their services are free to get started. See also: An appliance approach to data backup.


2. Clean your desktop and hard drive:
We all like to save files and folders to the computer desktop to make them easier to access. You probably never locate a file by clicking “This PC” (for Windows) or “Macintosh HD” (for macOS) because it’s a waste of time. But if your computer desktop looks cluttered with dozens of files, folders, or shortcut icons, it’s time to clean them up a little bit. Not only does a cluttered desktop affect your productivity, as files are harder to find, but it can even slow down your computer if you use a Mac.

Likewise, clean up your hard drive. Research shows that the first 50 percent of a hard drive performs better than the second 50 percent due to the way disk storage works. Also, if the internal hard drive of your computer is almost full, chances are everything will slow down and you’ll wait longer for your PC to fully startup, and apps won’t run any quicker than before.

How to do? Start by transferring large files to an external drive, then delete duplicates and remove third-party programs you no longer use. Last but never least, be more organized by having fewer folders to categorize all the files you have—your computer will be more productive and so will you.


3. Wipe your old computer or device:
Technology evolves fast. Chances are you’ll get a new computer (or a mobile phone) every several years. What about the old computer or device? You probably want to trade in or sell it; or if you’re kind, you may choose to donate it so teachers and students in poor areas can benefit from technology. But one thing you should remember to do before you let your device go—wipe out all data on the device. Wiping is critical because your computer or device may fall into wrong hands, thus putting your personal data at risk.

How to do? If you are a tech-savvy teacher, you know that data recovery is often possible even if you’ve emptied Recycle Bin or Trash or formatted a hard drive. For example, we all delete pictures or videos to free up space, but they can often be retrieved by photo recovery software. How do you erase these old devices? Visit your device manufacturer’s official website, do a quick search, and you should be able to find related guides.


4. Set strong and different passwords:
If you have a Yahoo account, you probably heard that Yahoo announced 1 billion user accounts were hacked, and that was right before the holiday season in 2016. I use Yahoo’s email services, and at that time I received a notification from Yahoo security center with one important message about changing my password. I also remember one day a friend shared with me this PCMag article. I laughed because I had exactly three passwords for almost all my online accounts because I hated to reset passwords for security concerns.

What to do? Even if you think you have a strong password that no one can hack, you might be wrong because yesterday’s clever tricks could be dated to protect today’s hackers. A few password principles you should have are: 1) always set a login password for your computer and important folders, 2) don’t save your password in any web browsers, 3) use unique passwords for all sites, 4) manage them with a password management tool like LastPass or Roboform, and 5) change passwords on a regular basis, just in case.

In the digital age, computers are like co-workers. Building good computer habits will not only boost your productivity but also help you live a healthier lifestyle. What other good or bad computer habits do you think teachers should have or get rid of?

Cyberbullying Is NOT A Technology Issue-Here’s How To Really Combat It

If schools and parents want to combat cyberbullying, they need to understand relational aggression first.
The Free Press WV

Cyberbullying continues to grow and present itself as a huge challenge for schools, government policy makers, stakeholders, parents and the community—but is regulating access to technology and social media the answer?

Though the online platforms may be relatively new, cyberbullying should not be separated from bullying. Both behaviors are about relationship power and control, otherwise known as “relational bullying;” therefore, it requires a relationship management-based type of approach in dealing with its impact and prevention.

When conducting my Digital Age Parenting classes, one of the things I share with parents is information about how their child is using a device to say and do things to hurt someone or put themselves in danger. However, the device is only facilitating the interaction between the person and the situation.

Dr. Satira S. Streeter, a licensed clinical psychologist and the founder and executive director of Ascensions Psychological and Community Services, explains that parents shouldn’t limit access to the internet; rather, more focus should be on the behavior instead of their child’s technology use.

Because the internet is now integral to learning and social interactions, focusing on technology alone, grounding children from using it at home, expelling children from school because of its misuse, and tougher laws are not the answers. So, then, what are the answers?


The Relational Bullying Basics

Relational Bullying (or Relational Aggression) is a form of bullying that common amongst youth and more so among girls. It involves social manipulation such as group exclusion, spreading rumors, sharing secrets, and recruiting others to dislike a person. Relational bullying can be used as a tool by bullies to both improve their social standing and control others.
And though relational bullying has been around for quite some time, the concept of bullying is getting more attention now than a few years ago. One of the reasons for this additional attention is the proliferance of cyberbullying caused by many youth feeling that apps offer anonymity, which can therefore decrease accountability—especially since many youth believe cyberbullying can’t be traced by law enforcement.

A number of lives have also been cut short due to the growth of cyberbullying.

In the recent December 2016 case of a high school senior that committed suicide due to cyberbullying, the victim appeared to have done everything right: She told her father about the bullying incidents, and she also told the police. However, because the app used to bully her was one of anonymity, the police could not trace her harassers.

What more could have been done? We may never know the answer; however, this issue needs to be addressed within a broader social context and a range of developed and taught skills, rather than simply limiting access to technology and its platforms. After all, human behavior is learned.


1. Teach Resilience as a Skill

Teaching social and emotional resilience in schools and communities will have a greater effect than policy regulation or legislation in dealing with cyberbullying. Children should be taught a range of social and emotional skills early in school so that it will assist them in dealing with these issues. Skills like pro-social values, emotional skills, social skills and high-order thinking skills would better equip them should they be the victim of this unwanted behavior.

Lack of knowledge creates gaps, and allowing students to be part of the solution through their learning will enhance their ability to prevent and intervene in bullying situations sooner rather than later. If school is about preparing children for life, then digital literacy topics like cyberbullying should be no exception.


2. Create Better Resources

Scholars also need to be involved in the creation of materials or resources for the promotion of socially acceptable behavior, as well as front runners in raising awareness.


3. Allow for Community Involvement

Finally, platforms that allow for open discussions about what users do online and offline are also needed. Educating every area of our communities is just as important as the young people within them.

Dr. William Blake, principal of Stephan Decatur Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, says he and his administration spend 85 percent of their time dealing with conflicts between their students that began on social media or text messages. He says that by educating and raising awareness, and forming partnerships with school, family and community organizations like SafeCyber that educates communities on topics like cyberbullying, that number will begin to drop.


More Effective than Turning to Law

Because cyberbullying knows no geographical boundaries and commonly occurs outside of school, the ethical and legal issues regarding cyberbullying provide concern for teachers, schools and parents due to limited clarity. Therefore, I argue that initiatives and programs which focus on the enhancement of positive relationships and the development of behavioral skills are more effective in dealing with the impacts of cyberbullying.

~~  Reginald Corbitt   ~~

Computer Science Program Celebrating 30 Years at GSC

Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These occupations are expected to add new jobs in part due to a greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, expansion of the ‘Internet of Things,’ and the continued demand for mobile computing.

Glenville State College has a well-established Computer Science and Information Systems program that will be celebrating a 30 year anniversary in 2017. For interested students, concentrations are available in architecture & security or in programming, either of which can lead to a challenging and rewarding career.

After graduation students should be prepared to design, maintain, and troubleshoot networks; write, debug, and maintain applications in Java and C++; design, develop, and maintain websites using HTML5, PHP, and MySQL; and design and maintain databases using SQL. Students can quickly put their degree to use in entry level positions as a network engineer, database administrator, web developer, application programmer, or system administrator.

The Free Press WV
University students in Puebla, Mexico answer questions from a Glenville State College student about her web design project


Former students in the program cite personal attention from the experienced faculty as their favorite part of being a Pioneer.

“There are a lot of professors out there who teach, but rarely will you find ones who inspire. For me, it happened my first day working with Leslie Ward (GSC’s past website technologist and current computer science professor). I was struggling with going to a class because it felt repetitive. She pointed out that no two teachers are the same, and one might cover a different area on the subject of study. I ended up going and really enjoyed and actually understood the subject a lot more. The instructor went out of his way to try to make subjects more enjoyable and had us do projects that helped us think of out of the box solutions,” said recent graduate Kevin Carson. Before completing his degree, Carson had already started his own web design and tech business, Forever Logic, and has continued it for eight years now.

GSC’s Computer Science program has also taken part in Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) courses to expand global learning opportunities. Students in a GSC web design class worked with students enrolled in a business course at the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Mexico. During scheduled video chats throughout the semester, GSC students interacted with the students in Puebla and discussed business practices and etiquette in an international context. The collaboration culminated with a final project in which the web design students learned how to work with an international client to develop a website while the business students honed their English-speaking skills and learned about marketing to other cultures.

The professors in GSC’s Computer Science program are from a variety of professional backgrounds including information systems security, programming, database administration, and networking. The program is reevaluated constantly to match skills learned with expectations from industry professionals.

“I feel really lucky to be able to teach Computer Science courses at Glenville State College. I’ve had the good fortune of working for large organizations including the U.S. Air Force and Hewlett Packard, of being an independent contractor, and of working with small start-ups. It’s a lot of fun to be able to bring some of those experiences into the classroom to augment what we’re reading about in the texts. The small class size allows me to work closely with my students on projects, too, and I feel like I’m able to deliver relevant content more effectively as a result,” said Ward.

Students with a variety of existing skill levels are welcome to enroll in the program. Instructors in the program also administer the introductory computing skills course to all students, regardless of major.

For more information about the Computer Science and Information Systems program at GSC, contact 304.462.4123.

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