Celebrating 40 Years - 2016
As warmer weather approaches, millions of Americans will be traveling on summer getaways. Regardless of where you are heading on your vacation, chances are that you will pack connected mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Once on vacation, most travelers will connect to Wi-Fi to find local hotspots, navigate new cities and countries, and share photos of trips with family and friends back home.
Public Wi-Fi networks can now be found almost everywhere and make it easy for anyone to connect to the Internet no matter where they are. These networks can be very convenient and offer many benefits for travelers, however, they do come with risks. Many public Wi-Fi networks are not secure, exposing you to online risks and presenting an opportunity for attackers to steal sensitive information. Recommended for when you are using public Wi-Fi networks:
- Think before you connect. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot–like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, or café–be sure to confirm the name of the network and login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Cyber criminals can easily create a similarly-named network hoping that users will overlook which network is the legitimate one. Additionally, most hotspots are not secure and do not encrypt the information you send over the Internet, leaving it vulnerable to online criminals.
- Avoid conducting sensitive activities. Avoid online shopping, banking, and sensitive work that requires passwords or credit card information while using public Wi-Fi. In addition, enable two-factor authentication on all sensitive accounts to add a second layer of security beyond just the password.
- Use your mobile network connection. Your own mobile network connection, also known as your wireless hotspot, is generally more secure than using a public wireless network. Use this feature if you have it included in your mobile plan.
- Keep software up to date. Install updates for apps and your device’s operating system as soon as they are available. Updates include patches and other fixes to strengthen the security of the apps and devices you own. Keeping the software on your mobile device up to date will prevent criminals from being able to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
June is Internet Safety Month. As we all know, kids are spending more and more time online as well as on their mobile devices. Children have been able to embrace technology in numerous ways, from being able to more effectively complete homework assignments to playing games online with friends. Though this increased connectivity has improved our lives in many ways, it also brings increased risks. For children and teenagers these risks include cyberbullying, online predators, and other online threats.
- Initiate the conversation. Kids look to their parents to guide them. Start conversations with your children early and regularly about practicing online safety. Find materials to help you start the discussion with your kids or students in the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit.
- Create an open and honest environment. Be supportive and positive when talking to children about online safety. Create an environment with kids where they can feel comfortable coming to you, or a trusted adult, if they see something online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Get your school involved. Reach out to your children’s school to see if they incorporate online safety into their curriculum. Encourage them to host an Internet Safety Month event, using ready-made resources from the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit.
Barb Gibson, Coordinator of Operations, shared some data regarding the first year of the Virtual Learning Center (VLC) project. Block Grant funding eliminated support for traditional Community Learning Centers and drop-out recovery programs. This past year, VLC programs graduated 58 underage students and 83 adults. By the end of May, underage students completed 720 credits and adults completed 657.5—another 87 credits should be completed by adults in the month of June. This will make for a total of 744.5. In 2014-15, there were 129 graduates and a total of 1,055 credits earned by underage and adults.
The Gifted Education program has completed its first year as a part of the Greenbush family of educational programs and services. As a result, over 130 students from seven school districts have experienced gifted education programing provided through Greenbush. This was a joint partnership between the Greenbush Special Education department and Tri-County Special Education Interlocal #607.
Jason Wright, Gifted Education Program Director, states, “Our first year of operation was not easy but has proven very successful. Students were able to take advantage of the great facilities and professional content knowledge available at Greenbush. We are thankful to have partnered with Tri-County in offering innovative gifted education services. Without this partnership, many of our students would not have otherwise had access to such rich programming options in their own school districts.” Mr. Wright continued, “I would like to especially thank the professional mentors, program consultants, and gifted education facilitators for their ongoing collaboration in making this program successful.”
To see a sample of the projects completed as a part of this new program, please take a look at the article and video produced by the John Deere Journal about the FIRST LEGO League team who recently returned from an international robotics and community improvement competition. You can also check out the final project of the multimedia cohort group by watching their student-produced live newscast on YouTube which includes a documentary on the St. Aloysius Church located adjacent to the Greenbush campus.