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Ten Things We Learned at MPICT 2015

Bay Bridge

I spent two days at the Winter 2015 ICT Educator Conference in San Francisco recently.  In between my usual administrative duties, I was able to attend several conference breakout sessions that covered a variety of topics, from program development and best practices to the basics of cloud computing and cyberforensics.

Below are ten things I learned.

1. “Digital badges” could be the next big trend in certification.  Imagine if a hiring manager could use Google to search for job candidates using a set of specific digital badges (skills) the job demanded.

2. There is real value in teacher “externships” in which teachers spend time as interns, working in a real-world business environment.  In addition to increasing knowledge, this can stimulate thinking, improve teaching, elevate enthusiasm, and also provide a glimpse into the current workplace culture.  One digital media instructor who spent time at a Silicon Valley company couldn’t believe how widespread instant messaging was among employees or how laid back the corporate culture was.   Deadlines were still important, but less so day-to-day punctuality.  These lessons, he thinks, will change the way he manages his classroom.

3. Though digital security breaches are a problem in the health care industry (29 million health record breaches since 2009; 7 million in 2013 alone), about half of all breaches are caused by employees in two categories: “unintentional employee actions” would include lost laptops, “intentional non-malicious employee actions” would be the unwise sharing/loaning of passwords.

4. William Playfair may be the father of “big data.”  He invented pie charts, line graphs, and bar charts (someone had to, right?).  The amazing example presented at the conference: Playfair’s careful plotting in 1821 of the price of wheat over a 200-year span.

5. Cold e-mail invitations to business and industry leaders are rarely effective.  One school sent thousands of e-mails for a special speed networking event, but the only business and industry leaders who attended were those who also got a personal phone call invitation.  Keep that in mind as you’re building your business panels.

Transamerica Building

6. When it comes to cybersecurity, state laws are often more specific and use less antiquated language than federal laws.

7. Today, 99% of devices that can be connected and networked… aren’t.  What this means is that there are plenty of opportunities for the booming “internet of things.”

8. We may need to start thinking of digital security not in terms of who you are, but in terms of what you do.  That is, rather than granting access to John Doe, the access should be granted based on John Doe’s specific job duties and responsibilities.  This may require more work from IT departments to change digital permissions and network access as people are promoted.

9. The IT workforce gap persists.   By 2020, there may 1.4 million new computing jobs, but only 400,000 new computing graduates to fill them.

10. Hot clam chowder always tastes great in San Francisco.

 Wharf dinner
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