Addressing Security Concerns In The New Educational Paradigms

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  • The recent incident of Edward Snowden and the issue of data surveillance has led many to demand increased regulations within the internet ecosphere. Over the years, the internet has grown with virtually no checks and balances, and the popularization of social media has also led to widespread usage of online platforms in different industries, including education.

    But similarly to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) regulations within corporate enterprises, there is also a need to be aware of threats within the digital educational paradigm.

    Innovation within Teaching

    The teaching models are evolving from audio-visual aids to smartphone apps with integrative learning approaches. Another new avenue is online learning environments to generate unprecedented learning behaviors. A recent project at the University of British Columbia resulted in improved English teaching for ESL students using Web 2.0 technologies.

    One of the important offshoots of the project is the ‘constructivist learning approach’, which uses social media to overcome issues within language acquisition. So, there is a lot of educational innovation growing out of social platforms. Also, they are aiding collaboration, feedback, engagement and communication between students and instructors.

    Teachers have been using social networking sites to share course information and also enhance concepts through video sharing. Hashtag and Facebook groups for courses are now a common occurrence, facilitated by a massive information flow taking place.

    Latest Concerns

    The notion of social media involvement in learning is pretty clear. However, it’s accompanied by concerns and questions of authenticity, as in other industries. The issues are compounded by the diversity of interfaces and also the devices that are available. More than half the globe’s population is connected to social media through smartphones, mobile devices, tablets, laptops, etc. This essentially increases the chances of intrusion.

    According to Trend Micro, at least 50% of teens share their usernames and passwords with someone. This makes both them and their contacts vulnerable to threat so it’s important that they invest in software that will deter malicious attacks. This is why has started offering security programs that will even protect against phishing on the social media networks that are so frequently used by this age group.

    It won’t be long before its contemporaries follow suit.

    On the educational front, safe technology integration is being pursued through information authentication and flagging false content. The Educational Technology Clearinghouse is worth mentioning in this regard. The resource is important for teachers and students as it highlights appropriate information about filtering, networking and how viruses can cause harm.

    On a governmental level, initiatives such as A Technology Society are collecting articles that are authentic and also providing protocols that can be implemented in institutions for safe use of social media and online avenues of education.

    The reason this resource stands out is that it also targets cloud computing and how its security can be enhanced. Therefore, students can differentiate between appropriate social channels and insecure ones in the online ecosphere.

    While social media and online tools will continue to further develop educational paradigms, the aspect of protection against threats should be prioritized. Educational institutes should develop an integrated approach, using all tools that are at their disposal, to ensure that all related stakeholders are made aware of the threats. 

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