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Automatic for the people

by Jonathan Whitley, Northern European Sales Director, WatchGuard

Posted by Rob Bertels | May 04, 2018 | Technology

As we are all aware, there is a burgeoning skills gap in our schools. Government recruitment targets have been missed for some five years in a row, leading to 10,000 fewer secondary school teachers being hired than intended[1]. Probably most worrying is that shortfalls are most severe in key subject areas such as maths, physics and computing. The crisis is so bad that the research by the Times Educational Supplement has shown that England will likely require 47,000 more teachers by 2024[2].

One of the solutions that appears to be gathering momentum is that of computers taking over more lessons, with teachers playing more of an emotional support role

The recruitment and retention crisis has led to an increasing amount of ‘out of the box’ thinking in view of closing the gap. One of the solutions that appears to be gathering momentum is that of computers taking over more lessons, with teachers playing more of an emotional support role. The feeling is that, in the future, computers could take over the more menial daily tasks – although what subjects are deemed the most tedious would no doubt be open to debate. This would allow teachers to take on more of a ‘pastoral carer’ role, that could be fulfilled with minimal training outside of, perhaps, simply being a good parent.

Whilst this may seem farfetched, it will be interesting to see if this does indeed become the future of teaching in our schools and colleges. After all, the ability for computers to automate the more menial tasks has already transformed several industries from banking to retail – as we have all experienced by the increasing lack of tellers and shop assistants at our local banks and supermarkets.

With the sheer wealth of data that needs to be sifted through to discover if and when a cyber-attack is occurring, automation is now a critical component of your information security arsenal

In the space of information security, automation has become a key factor in the ability to deflect rapidly morphing attack vectors. This is because there has been a huge increase in what is known as zero-day threats to aid malware propagation, where unpatched vulnerabilities in popular software programmes and apps used in schools are targeted. Because zero-day attacks are – by their very definition – new, means that traditional firewalls, IPS and Antivirus solutions can’t protect against them as they are unknown to the databases that they rely upon.

As the attacks themselves become increasingly automated, educational establishments have needed to increase their reliance on automation to supplement their aging information security defences. With the sheer wealth of data that needs to be sifted through to discover if and when a cyber-attack is occurring, automation is now a critical component of your information security arsenal. Further, by automating the more labour-intensive elements can help eliminate errors, false positives and ensure that IT teams only need focus on tasks that deserve their attention.

For more information please see watchguard.com

 
 
 

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/feb/04/30000-teacher-shortfall--secondary-schools-further-education

[2] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/teachers-to-care-for-pupils-as-computers-take-lessons-v9w7l97kl

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