5 Ways Tech Can Be Used in Schools

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There have been huge advances in technology in recent years. Technology has begun influencing nearly every aspect of our lives and education is no exception. Children are growing up with technology and becoming much more tech literate than many older generations. Since technology has saturated every industry, it’s vital that students learn how to use technology to the best of their abilities. That means it’s up to educators to find ways to integrate technology into schools for the benefit of their students.

Gather feedback

A great way to get students comfortable with using technology while also improving your teaching methods is through gathering their feedback using technology. You can set up a survey form students can fill out online. If your students are older, you can incorporate social media profiles, such as Twitter, as well. You can create a hashtag unique to your class.

Let students be creative

Your students are going to frequently use technology in their daily lives, so they’ll know the basics of navigating the software and hardware that you’re using. Give your students the chance to explore software programs on school computers or online resources and use those to be more creative. Encourage them to create videos and presentations on a specific topic in class or even a podcast type project that can educate the rest of the class about something related to class.

Make it fun

Students are more eager to learn when they’re enjoying doing so. With technology, there’s an endless amount of resources you can use to make learning more enjoyable for your students. You can use sites to set up quiz games in a jeopardy format or find fun videos your students would enjoy. You can also encourage students to work on projects in groups and come up with fun ideas for their projects.

Educate on technology

While your students will know the basics of using common types of technology and resources online, there are also plenty of ways you can educate them further about tech. As you’re using technology in collaboration with your lessons, incorporate knowledge on how to use higher level technology, such as recording and editing equipment or minor coding and design tips. You could help a student discover a passion that they may want to one day turn into a career.

Create a class webpage

It’s fairly easy to create a webpage for your class. You can make this page public or password protected so that only your students can access it. Create a forum page where students can have class discussions, post questions about homework, or share their answers to questions. A class website makes it easier for students to work together and share ideas, all on a medium you can monitor.

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5 Tips for Writing Fantastic Emails

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While we all spend time writing countless emails for professional and personal reasons, many people do not know how to write quality emails. We’ve all received emails, often in a professional capacity, where we aren’t sure what the person is trying to communicate or what they need from us. Sometimes, emails get confusing in the daily hustle and bustle of life, but there’s no excuse for many of the common mistakes we see in emails. If you want to be viewed as a competent professional, it’s important that you craft good written communication, no matter who you’re emailing or what you’re discussing. Here are some tips for crafting fantastic emails that can enhance your professional image.

Consider if an email is necessary

Before sending your email, think about whether or not you actually need to send the email. Could the issue be better handled through a phone call? Could you wait until the next time you see the person? Too often, information gets lost through email and tone is misunderstood. If it would be easier to ask your question or provide an answer to something, simply get on the phone with the person. You’ll save yourself time and can avoid possible issues.

Meaningful subject line

As you start your email, make the subject line relevant to the email you’re sending and keep it clear and concise. People too often send emails without a subject line, which makes the receiver less likely to open them since they do not know what they’re about. Create a short, clear subject line such as “meeting this Friday” or “quick question about x project.” Emails with a meaningful subject line make communication much easier and are clear on the topic being discussed.

Think about what you’re saying

When you write your email, put thought into what you’re saying. Make sure your tone is what you want it to be and that you’re not writing excessively. Consider different ways your message could be interpreted and edit it to make it as clear as possible to avoid confusion.

Make the words matter

Every word in an email is important. Avoid writing extra sentences that do not actually pertain to what you’re trying to say. While you do not want to be too short and you should be polite, it’s also important to make it as concise as possible so your question or response is clear and doesn’t get lost in fluff.

Proofread before sending

Finally, once you’re done with your email, proofread it. The last mistake you want to make is sending an email filled with grammar and spelling errors or that’s missing an important part of the message you wanted to convey. Make sure you’re spelling your recipient’s name correctly and that you’re actually sending the email to the correct person!

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How to Keep Your Family Safe Online

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Technology and the internet is such a major part of our lives. It’s an incredible resource that has made so much knowledge readily available and makes communication easier. There is an endless amount you can streamline and accomplish thanks to technology, but there are risks as well. It’s important to educate yourself and your family on the ways to stay as safe as possible online.

Change your passwords

Far too many people make the mistake of using the same password for every account and never changing it. Many people choose to use a combination of names or important dates as their passwords. Too often, these passwords are simple to figure out for hackers because this information is actually usually readily available. Consider using an online password generator to create a completely random password and then update it every few months. Get a notebook where you can physically write down all of your passwords in case you forget them.

Avoid talking to strangers

This rule is important to follow for yourself and your children. If someone contacts you claiming to represent a company you’re affiliated with, such as a bank or your insurance, do not give them any of your personal information or send money unless it’s in the way you typically do for your institution. Never give an individual person your personal details. Make sure your children understand this rule as well and know to never tell strangers where they live or agree to meet them in person.

Do not share personal information

Like I mentioned above, avoid ever giving personal information to another person. However, it’s also important to not share personal information in any other form. Avoid creating a document that has all of your passwords and account numbers on it; these can actually be fairly easily hacked. It’s also important to not share personal information such as your pets’ names, your birthdate, the birthdates of your family, your address, or other information that could be used to scam you or hack into your accounts.

Make sure a site is secure

If you get an email that says you need to change your password or provide login information by following a link, do not use the link unless it leads to a secure website that is clearly the one you usually use for your bank or whatever other account it’s linking to. People often try to scam others’ personal information by creating fake pages that look similar to an official site and then steal login information.

Use a safe network
When you log onto your accounts, make sure you’re using a safe and secure network. For your home WiFi, regularly change your password and make sure it’s a quality network. Outside of your home, avoid logging into secure accounts on public WiFi. If you do log into an account on a publicly used computer, use an incognito window or VPN and make sure you sign out and none of your information is saved.

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3 Tips for Keeping Your Smartphone Secure

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Your smartphone may be a small device, but it is a powerful piece of technology that you can use at your disposal to access the Internet, make important phone calls, and a litany of other things to increase your productivity. However, if you are not careful, your information and other pertinent features can be compromised by would-be criminals. Smartphone security is so very important, but not many know how to adequately make sure their phones are secure. Here are the best ways to go about properly securing your phone.

Make your PIN strong

Your smartphone’s PIN number is the first line of defense for security. If you are able to properly make a PIN that no criminal would be able to guess, you can protect your smartphone from infiltration. You have to make sure that your PIN isn’t short or predictable. Avoid making this number a date of graduation or a date of birth. The general rule of thumb is to make a PIN that is at least six digits in length. There are also smartphones that have multi-faceted security checkpoints such as facial ID and touch ID, so take advantage of those as well. The harder it is to unlock your smartphone, the more secure it’s going to be.

Avoid Third Party Stores

While you may have heard the temptation to download apps from third-party stores that are not a part of your smartphone’s main software, this could potentially lead to malware or other viruses being downloaded onto your phone because it is considered foreign material. This issue bodes especially true for iPhones, because the possibility exists to “jailbreak” it, causing it to be exposed to a many more harmful viruses that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. Stick to your main party’s app store and platform, and do not run the risk of third party apps.

Permissions

By knowing how your phone’s permission system works, you can limit how much data a certain app can collect from your person and who can access it. These limitations can be extremely important, because sometimes the app will request permission to access complementary features on your phone such as the camera and microphone, and that can be used to collect data without your consent, even when you aren’t using the app. Go to your “Settings and permissions” tab to undo anything you do not want to subscribe to.

Follow some of these tips, and increase your smartphone secure today. Avoid having your private information stolen.

5 Reasons You Need Great Online Customer Service

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Maintaining a quality customer service department is more important than ever before, now that the internet has created greater transparency. There are many reasons your business should focus on providing excellent customer service, but they can generally be factored down into these five areas.

Good customer service builds loyalty

When your company offers good customer service, it builds trust and confidence in the consumer. If they know their concerns are important and will be addressed, they’re likely to return to your business when they need more products that you offer. Most consumers would prefer to stay with a business that has a proven track record of offering quality customer service, rather than take a chance with an unfamiliar company.

Low prices cannot compete

If you still doubt the importance consumers place on customer service, take a look at any recent consumer survey. The majority of consumers will pay more for a product, if they know the company selling it will back-up the purchase with efficient and courteous customer service. Too often, consumers opt for a lower price and end up with a bad product that the company will not handle properly when customer service is contacted. Conversely, a low price won’t attract customers, if they think the customer service department will be difficult if there’s any issues with the product.

It’s a powerful marketing tool

While most people think about customer service as a means of addressing customer complaints, it can be a useful marketing tool as well. Consumers satisfied with the quality of service tell others about their experiences, which helps build a positive reputation for your brand. The happier you can make your clients with customer service, the more likely they are to refer others to you.

Reduce conflict

You will never satisfy every single customer all the time, but how you handle complaints can be as important as the buying experience. When customers feel confident that you will attempt to resolve their problems, they’ll be more willing to return to your business.

Opportunity to connect

Today’s consumers expect a higher level of customization from their favorite brands and they like to feel as though they matter. Creating a quality customer service department, which is capable of addressing each individual concern, goes a long way toward achieving that goal. It’s a way to ensure that every customer can be satisfied and that they return to your company for their future needs.

Creating a quality customer service department may require a process of trial and error, but the effort will be worth it. Your brand’s willingness to put the customer first and address concerns to the best of your ability earns you consumer respect and engenders confidence in your business.

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4 Tips for Keeping Your Smart Home Secure

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The number of smart devices in the average home is growing at an incredible rate, but while these devices make life more convenient, they can also make your home more vulnerable to hackers who manage to make their way onto your network. If you want the best that smart technology has to offer, consider these four tips to keeping your smart home safe and secure.

Keep your gadgets updated

Unlike a computer that updates Windows automatically as long as it is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the software on most of your devices needs to be updated manually. This task might sound like a big hassle, but it helps keep everything more secure and prevent data breaches. Look at the manuals of your devices if you’re not sure how to install new updates.

Disconnect from the internet

Not all of the smart devices need to be connected to the internet to work, but they often are connected as part of their default setting. As a rule, keep everything that doesn’t require an internet connection offline whenever you can. If something does need to be connected to the internet, check to make sure that you have all the necessary privacy settings in place before doing so.

Buy good quality devices

Buying the most expensive and reputable brands on the market won’t guarantee safety for your home, but it is far better than paying for cheaper off-brand devices that could completely lack security measures. Brands such as Samsung and LG will be quicker to release updates and take care of any vulnerabilities in their devices, so don’t hesitate to spend more on your smart home, in the beginning, to set up a secure network.

Check your router

If there is just one security vulnerability in your smart home, it’s probably in your wireless router. Your router is the gateway to all of your smart devices, so make sure it’s locked down as tightly as possible. Use a secured Wi-Fi network with a strong password, and make sure that you keep it updated with the latest firmware.

As you can see, keeping your smart home secure is relatively simple. All of these tips are easy to follow, and most of them should be common sense in this day and age, but they do require your due diligence. It may be nice to have an automated smart home, but don’t think that it doesn’t require at least a little bit of work if you want it to stay safe.

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3 Pieces of Tech for Your Home

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If you’ve always wanted a futuristic home full of automated controls and robotic features, the future is now. Smart homes are becoming easier to attain and there are plenty of options on the market. Once you upgrade your house, you’ll realize how much more efficient it is to utilize smart technology in your home. It’s also not something you have to do all at once; you can take your time in purchasing smart devices and gradually getting used to them. Converting your home into a digitally automated dream house will be easy and satisfying with these three pieces of smart tech.

Lifx Mini Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Regular light bulbs are boring. They emit one shade of light and must be controlled manually. Additionally, unless they’re LED, they consume an excessive amount of energy. If you want to try something different and modern, purchase a Lifx Mini light bulb. They fit into any standard size light socket, whether it’s in a light fixture on the wall or a lamp. They can also emit 16 million different colors that are controllable via an application on your smartphone. The Lifx Mini is a smart bulb which means that its various other functions are also controlled digitally. It can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and is fully capable of being integrated into your other smart home devices.

Amazon Echo

The ultimate device for home automation, the Amazon Echo appears to be a simple speaker system at first glance. While this role is one of its most obvious functions, it can do so much more than simply play music. The Amazon Echo connects with Amazon’s smart network, known as Alexa. You can provide Amazon Echo with vocal commands to do internet searches, provide you with sports lineups, answer your questions, give you weather forecasts and updates, control your Amazon Fire TV, and connect to your other compatible automated home devices that control your lights, security system, garage doors, fans, and thermostat. Amazon Echo truly puts every aspect of your home within your reach with simple voice commands.

Nest Hello

You don’t have to wonder who’s ringing your doorbell with the Nest Hello smart doorbell device. This small electronic device is installed as a doorbell button on the front of your home. It possesses a high definition camera and provides you with 24/7 streaming. This streaming can be accessed anytime and anywhere using your smartphone so you can keep an eye on the front of your home remotely. You will have a 160° field of vision from the camera which allows you to see visitors and any packages that may be scheduled to arrive when you aren’t home.

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