Oct. 25, 2016

Tracy Weeks : Ensuring Schools Can Keep Up with Demand for Even Faster Broadband

Dr. Tracy Weeks ()  is the Executive Director for the State Educational Technology Director’s Association (SETDA). Prior to joining the team at SETDA, she served as the Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer for the North Carolina...

Dr. Tracy Weeks (@tracyweeks)  is the Executive Director for the State Educational Technology Director’s Association (SETDA). Prior to joining the team at SETDA, she served as the Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the first senior state leadership position of its kind in the nation. In that role, Dr. Weeks oversaw the areas of: K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Exceptional Children, and the North Carolina Virtual Public School. She also served as the state agency lead on the development of the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan.

From 2008-2014, Tracy led the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the second largest state-led virtual school in the nation, as the Chief Academic Officer and subsequently the Executive Director. She holds a bachelors degree in Secondary Math Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology with a Statistics minor and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from NC State University. She is a NC Teaching Fellow, NC Education Policy Fellow, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

In this episode we discussed:

  • the importance of high speed internet in schools.
  • challenges school districts are facing when it comes to providing high speed internet in classrooms.
  • how to use school broadband resources to enhance access to broadband outside of the classroom.
  • recommendations for ensuring schools have appropriate infrastructure to accommodate growing demand for broadband bandwidth.




Mindset by Carol Dweck

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson



A large scale DDOS attack affected a large number of important and widely used sites on Friday, causing users to lose access to sites like Spotify, SoundCloud, Twitter and Shopify. The way these attacks usually work is that a hacker will overwhelm a particular site with junk traffic. However, in between the URL you enter into your browser, and the site’s IP address, are what are known as DNS providers that route you to where you want to go. This time, the attack was made on one of those DNS providers--a company called Dyn--making the hack even worse and more widespread affecting many different sites instead of just a single one. In addition, the hack was executed by aggregating notoriously insecure Internet of Things devices, like home security cameras, into botnets. The White House says the Department of Homeland Security is looking into the breach. To make things even creepier, one security researcher told Techcrunch that the attack looks more like probing-- a deliberate attempt to test the defense capabilities of the sites. Darrell Etherington has the story in TechCrunch.


AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable in an $85.4 billion deal. The deal comes amidst a wave of consolidation in the media industry, including Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUNiversal and Verizon’s acquisition of Huffington Post and proposed acquisition of Yahoo. AT&T also recently acquired DirectTV for $48.5 billion.

Time Warner’s media properties include HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS. Michael De La Merced has the story for The New York Times.


A new study by Girls who Code and Accenture finds that, without significant intervention by educators, parents and policymakers, the proportion of computer scientists in the workforce who are women will decline from 24% to 22% by 2025. The proportion of women computer sciences has fallen from 37% in 1995.

The report is optimistic, however, and concludes that women could account for 39% of computer scientists by 2025 if appropriate measures are taken.

Jessica Guynn has the story in USA Today.


A Russian hacker suspected of intruding into American targets has been arrested in Prague, but the authorities have not released the suspect’s name. But American officials familiar with the matter, but who asked for anonymity, told Ricky Lyman and Hana de Goeij at the New York Times that the suspect has not been linked to Russian intrusions into the Democratic National Committee. Two weeks ago, the Obama administration officially accused Russia of attempting to sway the U.S. elections by hacking into the DNC.


There is a sex scandal at the FCC. Fred Campbell at Forbes reports that a female employee working in the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO), which works to increase opportunities for minorities and women working in the telecommunications sector, was subjected to her male co-workers watching porn in the office. When she complained to her boss, Thomas Reed, the employee’s complaint alleges that she was given lower quality assignments. An Inspector General’s report into the employee’s complaint conducted in 2012, which we’re just finding out about now, concluded that watching porn, and the agency’s subsequent response to it, violated various ethical and administrative rules. And Still, as Fred Cambpell at Forbes reports, the FCC did nothing outside of forcing the employee watching porn to resign. The FCC’s legal team even attempted to dismiss the employee’s case in federal court--a court that found that the employee had been subjected to discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult”. Fred Campbell has the story in Forbes.


Finally, The Center for Responsive Politics reported last week that Silicon Valley-based tech companies are outspending Wall Street on lobbying activities in DC by more than 2 to 1. According to the Center, Silicon Valley spent $49 million on lobbyists last year compared to just $19.7 million for the five largest banks. Seleha Moshin has the story for Bloomberg.