Indiana funds cybersecurity research to support school districts

Candice Dodson, Indiana's director of elearning, discusses cybersecurity and blended learning — and offers advice to other districts and states.

Whether it’s due to blended learning , open educational resources or one-to-one initiatives, educators in Indiana have spent the last several years earning the state a name as a leader in classroom innovation.

The Midwestern state has continued to bolster its commitment to all things edtech this year, Candice Dodson, director of elearning at the Indiana Department of Education, tells EdScoop TV. The latest examples are funding cybersecurity research for schools and launching a course access catalog.

Dodson’s team at the state education department is looking into ways to protect and support Indiana school districts around cybersecurity, including educating them about cyberattacks like phishing scams.

“Our state lawmakers realized that is something, as we’re all living and learning in this digital space, we have to be very attentive to cybersecurity,” Dodson says.

The online course catalog provides students in Indiana access to subjects and disciplines that may not be offered in their own districts. So, for example, if a student wants to learn Mandarin but her district can’t afford to hire a Mandarin teacher, she can go to the course catalog and take classes through a vetted online provider. “There’s assurances,” Dodson says. “People can feel good about sending a student through that.”

For districts and states wondering how they can set in motion the kind of momentum around edtech Indiana has, Dodson says it’s pretty simple: “Do not wait for someone to give you all the money or all the permissions. I say you’ve just got to get out there and start working, doing what kids and students and teachers need to move ahead. And then people will come along.”

Learn more about Indiana’s cybersecurity initiative and Dodson’s
advice for other school technology leaders:

What kind of impact are you seeing from that project so far?

What advice would you offer to others considering this type of project?

What edtech issues do you feel are most important for educators or technology directors to pay attention to this year?

What technology development over the past 25 years do you believe has been the most transformative in education?

As you think of where we are now as we move forward; what do schools need to make sure that technology is transformative and not just another tool to teach?

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