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Weekly News Roundup 4th December

In this week’s newsletter we learn that the children’s technology company Vtech has been hacked. We also discuss new research which shows that half of teachers rarely use technology. 

VTech hack affects millions of children’s personal information globally
The app store database for VTech, the electronic toys and educational material company, has been hacked. The ‘Learning Lodge’ was hacked on 14 November 2015 and the store has since been suspended. The store contains games, e-books and content which can be downloaded onto VTech devices. VTech has announced that around 5 million customer accounts and related kids’ profiles have been affected around the world. Information taken from accounts includes names, gender, children’s date of birth, email addresses, passwords, secret questions, IP and mailing addresses and download histories. Credit card and banking information was not included in the breach according to the company. VTech discovered the hack 10 days after it happened. The company has announced that it has now informed all customers in the database about the hack. Customers were informed that VTech would carry out ‘a comprehensive check of the affected site and implementation of measures to defend against further attacks.’ More can be read here.

Half of teachers ‘rarely use technology’
Research commissioned by the cloud-based learning platform, Canvas, has found that half the teachers surveyed said they ‘rarely’ use technology in the classroom. The survey was carried out with 500 primary and secondary school teachers, from both public and private schools. Over a third of all teachers said they felt unsure how to integrate technology effectively into their teaching, leading many of them to not use it at all. Over a third of teachers however felt that if used correctly technology could improve student performance, indicating that if given enough support teachers are positive about the potential of technology. The Canvas research argues that further training and support must be provided to teachers to allow them to make greater use of technology.

It is also argued that in many schools the introduction of technology is not accompanied by sufficient improvement in infrastructure. A previous report published by the British Educational Suppliers’ Association (BESA) found that two-thirds of primary schools and over half of secondary schools are under resourced in wifi connectivity. In response to concerns over teachers’ ability to integrate technology, the Department for Education has previously announced a £3million investment in a ‘master teachers’ network which will provide peer-to-peer support and training. An upcoming report for Techknowledge for Schools finds that although most teachers in our research schools feel confident and positive about the use of mobile technology, there remains scope to offer further support to those who are less confident.

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