COMPUTERS:

Classroom Computers Educational Digital Content Protect Children Reduce Wait Time Stop Software Pirates Prevent Identity Theft Anti-Virus Anti-Spyware Online Funeral Planning

Tablet Computers Find A Home In The Classroom

(NAPSI)-One of the latest developments in the computer field is already benefiting many students and teachers. Tablet computers seem to be finding a home in both the traditional and the electronic classroom.

Students say that by using tablets they can collaborate easily with their peers. Teachers find they can use tablets to monitor students' grasp of the material that has been covered.

For example, with software such as DyKnow Vision, teachers can send a "status request" during a lesson to gauge each student's level of understanding, without the embarrassing raise of hands. "I'm not using canned examples from a textbook any-more. I'm using real examples immediately pulled from the student's tablet," says computer science professor Roy Pargas at Clemson University.

Like many smartphones, tab-lets have touch capabilities built into the screen. Students can touch the screen on tablets to manipulate, interact and share content with one another inside and outside the classroom, which can foster an interactive environment.

With pen-based tablets, such as the HP EliteBook 2740p, students can take digital notes in their own handwriting as well as download and annotate slide presentations during lectures. Once outside the classroom, students can revisit their notes to study alone or share their notes with classmates.

Professor Dave Berque of DePauw University and his students use HP tablets with Intel Core Duo processors and DyKnow Vision software to take notes, solve problems and share solutions in his computer science class. They can also replay notes after class. As a result, he saw failure rates drop from 14 percent to 1 percent. Said Berque, "Tablet PCs make the classroom an interactive environment, and that tends to give a lot of feedback to everyone involved."

Tablets are more than an interactive tool; they can also save time. Instead of spending hours after class grading papers, teachers can mark papers electronically and then transfer the scores into an electronic grade-tracking system.

Many believe that with tablet PCs, the classroom can become a more interactive environment. Teachers and students alike can find success in all the touch capabilities that tablets have to offer.

To learn more, visit www.hp.com/go/hied or call (800) 888-0262.

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Vacations From School Can Be Learning Opportunities

(NAPSI)--Vacations from school can serve as opportunities for children and teens to brush up on essential skills-and reinforce what they learned during the school year.

Research shows that if students are not actively engaged in learning and practicing skills during vacation months, they lose some of what they were taught during the school year. According to the National Summer Learning Association, students typically score lower on tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning of the summer.

Many students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to keep their children engaged and interested in learning.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Schedule in visits to museums, trips to points of historical interest and exposure to nature through zoos and aquariums. All of these can be great learning experiences and lead to further reading and discussion.
  • Take your children to the library. If your child likes movies or television shows, watch them together and then encourage your child to take out books on related subjects.
  • Use online resources such as those provided by Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content to schools across the country.

These resources include:

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, an environmental sustainability challenge for grades K-12.

Ready Classroom, a program that educates parents, teachers and students of all ages about severe weather and disaster preparedness for classrooms, families and even pets.

The Take Me FishingTM "Explore the Blue" online initiative, which engages teachers, students and parents in the importance of outdoor recreational activities and conservation.

Energy Balance 101, a free wellness resource for elementary teachers, students and families, which aims to deliver tools and information to help students make decisions for a healthy lifestyle.

To access these free resources, visit http://school.discoveryeducation.com. Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, whose networks include Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

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Protecting Children From Cyber Bullying  And Other Internet Hazards

(NAPSI)-Parents now have a new ally in protecting their children from cyber bullying, online predators and exposure to inappropriate online content.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, cyber bullying and exposure to cyber predators are at an all-time high. More than 43 percent of teenagers report being victims of cyber bullying. In those cases, nine out of 10 victims knew the person or persons who were bullying them, and only 10 percent ever told their parents what was going on.

Fortunately, new technology can help arm parents and administrators against such threats, while helping to regulate and monitor overall Internet usage. The powerful new software can help protect children from cyber bullying, cyber predators and exposure to pornography. CyberPatrol Online Protection software allows parents to effectively monitor their child's behavior, including online chat conversations on several social networks, such as AOL, IM, Facebook and MySpace, as well as their website history.

By activating special alerts for predators, parents are notified when "trigger words" are used in an online chat, whether it is in an outgoing or incoming message. Even more, the new Cyber Bully Alerts function notifies parents when a potential bully might be acting. Parents are informed about what was said so they can move to address any problems before potentially more serious circumstances ensue.

Further, alerts help protect personal information from being distributed outside the home. Parents can turn on a function that will alert them when specific information is being sent online. For example, if a child tries to send a stranger the family's address, this function will immediately send an e-mail alert to the parents.

Parents can customize preferences for each member of their household. They may select to filter inappropriate content, block specific websites, monitor and regulate each child's time spent on the Internet, and provide reports of users that tried to access a designated off-limits site. The option to receive monitoring reports and instant alerts via e-mail and remote access means parents can continue to follow their family's usage even when they are at work or away from the home.

The software is available to download for a free 15-day trial, with new Cyber Bully Alerts free to keep. Learn more at www.cyberpatrol.com.

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Eliminate Stress With Reduced Wait Time

(NAPSI)-If you are like most people, you hate waiting. Whether it's waiting in line for coffee or having the phone glued to your ear on hold, it's just frustrating.

Waiting can become particularly irritating when your technology doesn't keep up with the pace of life or work when you need it to. It's when you are watching the little hourglass spin while a program opens and you feel like throwing your computer or pulling your hair out that you are indeed suffering from "Hourglass Syndrome."

No, this isn't a medical condition, but it's something that many people can relate to. Intel Corporation, makers of processors or the "brain" inside computers, commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a consumer survey to see how widespread this "syndrome" really is. The survey found that the average computer user spends about 13 minutes a day waiting for technology. That adds up to almost three days per year just waiting…and waiting. The study also found that 66 percent of computer users are at least somewhat stressed when waiting for their computer and watching the hourglass spin.

One solution to minimizing these stressors can be found by using a computer powered by the new Intel® Core™ i5 processors, which tackle the dreaded hourglass head-on. These processors use Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which automatically adapts to an individual's computer performance needs, providing a boost when you need speed and conserving power when you don't--nearly eliminating the wait for some users. In fact, the processors are about twice as fast as those in three-year-old PCs for video-, photo- and music-downloading experiences.

Think the "Hourglass Syndrome" has you down? While you wait, you can try a short, fun stress test on the Intel Facebook page or watch an amusing video explaining "Hourglass Syndrome" at www.facebook.com/Intel.

For more information on the Intel Core i5 processors and Intel Turbo Boost Technology, visit http://www.intel.com/consumer/products/processors/core-family.htm.

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Keep Your PC Running Smoothly With Genuine Software

(NAPSI)-What you put into your computer can drastically affect what you get out of it.

Most people don't understand how a computer works. It just does. And when it doesn't, watch out--the sweetest person can turn into a rabid chimpanzee when e-mail, Facebook and morning news are suddenly stuck in a lifeless box.

Computer trouble feels a lot like car trouble. With so many moving parts, it can be frustrating to pinpoint the cause when something goes wrong. So what's the best way to keep your car running smoothly? Be careful what you put into it. Buying cheap tires is probably OK--if you don't mind the howling noise on the freeway or the slight risk that a blowout could send you careening off the road.

The same is true of the software you put in your PC. Counterfeit software comes from people who are copying disks and forging the packaging. And if they're willing to do that, why would they stick to the high standards of real manufacturers? Why wouldn't they add code of their own, embed advertisements or even try to log your keystrokes?

"There are many attractive deals on software to be found on the Internet. So many, in fact, consumers need to know how to identify the retailers that are reputable so that they don't end up with counterfeit versions that can do serious damage to their PC," said Keith Beeman, general manager, Worldwide Anti-Piracy, Microsoft Corp.

Recently, Microsoft conducted a survey that looked at perceptions and attitudes on computer security and counterfeit and nongenuine software. In the United States, not even half (41 percent) of the 308 participants said they know how to check if a product is pirated or counterfeit.

"Most customers don't know they've purchased counterfeit software. There is a large pool of people who are at risk for unknowingly purchasing counterfeit software that can do serious damage to their PC," said Beeman.

What consumers don't realize is that using counterfeit software is asking for trouble. For example, according to Microsoft and research firm IDC, more than half (59 percent) of the key generators and crack tools downloaded from peer-to-peer networks contained either malicious or potentially unwanted software. In an effort to help keep software pirates from victimizing you, here are some of the misconceptions about counterfeit software that were identified in the research:

  • I can detect pirated software. It's not that easy. Pirated software is big business--billions of dollars worldwide--so of course a lot's been invested in making the packaging look authentic. According to Microsoft, only 60 percent of people can identify counterfeit.
  • Using counterfeit software is wrong but it won't hurt me. Are you willing to bet your photographs, your privacy and your credit rating on that? Globally, 51 percent of respondents said that it is never okay to purchase counterfeit. Despite this, one-third said they have purchased a product they thought might be counterfeit and just over one-quarter purchased a product they knew was counterfeit.
  • Software is the same, whether it's genuine or counterfeit. A copy is not the same as the original--much less a copy that's been altered. Microsoft and IDC tested hundreds of counterfeit disks from all over the world. More than 40 percent would not install and nearly half contained code that didn't come from Microsoft. To highlight the danger, according to the Microsoft piracy perceptions study, 97 percent indicated it is important that their computer is secure from viruses and other threats.
  • It doesn't matter whom I buy software from online. Criminal syndicates halfway around the world go to great lengths to sell you pirated software online. The message from Microsoft is to do your homework when shopping online and if you really want to be safe, go to a physical store and buy your software in person.

Microsoft provides free and easy-to-use tools that customers can use to determine if their software is genuine. The How to Tell Web site, www.microsoft.com/howtotell, features pictures of recently seized software and guidance on what consumers should look out for when buying software online.

Software pirates make billions of dollars per year selling fake copies on the Internet. All things being equal, just ask yourself whom you'd rather give your money to--a company that provides jobs for local communities, builds great software and stands behind it or someone who was just smart enough to trick you into buying an illegitimate copy.

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Report Reveals Hackers' New Tricks

(NAPSI)-Have you ever seen a small but strange charge on your bank or credit card statement? Or clicked on a link in a status update on a social networking site? Or maybe clicked on a link sent to you via e-mail or instant message?

You're not alone, and you may already be a victim of a huge and growing problem--cyber crime.

The recent Internet Security Threat Report from computer security company Symantec, makers of Norton, revealed that there were more than 3.2 billion cyber attacks in 2009 alone, which equals one attack for every two people in the world.

And with technology changing at an ever-increasing pace, many of the things you thought you knew, even a year ago, are no longer true.

For example, hackers used to be "nerds" who knew everything there was to know about computers. Today, criminals can buy "crimeware toolkits" that allow someone with little or no technical experience to become a full-fledged hacker almost overnight. These kits let criminals create their own types of "cyber attacks" to steal your personal information.

These "cyber criminals" aren't only going after rich people and big businesses anymore. They've learned that it's much easier to steal a little bit of money from a lot of different people and they're using technology to do just that.

"It used to be that you could tell pretty quickly if your computer was infected," said Adam Palmer, Norton's lead cyber-security adviser. "Your system would slow down. It would do strange things or have a billion different 'pop-up' windows that you couldn't ignore."

However, that's not always the case now. "Today's cyber criminals have learned something important from the animal kingdom," said Palmer. "A good parasite never kills its host. The criminals don't want you to know you've got a problem on your computer. The longer they can go undetected, the more damage they can do and the more personal information they can steal from you."

Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself against these sneaky criminals:

  • Use an Internet security solution that combines anti-virus, firewall, intrusion detection, and vulnerability management for maximum protection.
  • Make sure that your security is up to date--many security suites offer automatic "live" updates as new threats are discovered.
  • Use passwords that are a mix of letters and numbers, and change them often. Passwords should not consist of words from the dictionary.
  • Never view or open any e-mail attachment unless you're expecting it.
  • Routinely check to see if your operating system is vulnerable to threats. A free security scan is available through the Norton Security Scan at www.symantec.com/securitycheck.
  • Review bank, credit card and credit information frequently to monitor any irregular activities. For further information, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has also released a set of guidelines on how to avoid Internet-related scams. See www.ic3.gov/default.aspx for more information.

For more information on the report and how to protect yourself from criminals online, visit Norton's site www.everyclickmatters.com.

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Don't Let Networking Make You A Target

(NAPSI)-Social networks are a growing Web destination--and a growing target for cybercriminals.

Facebook membership has grown to more than 400 million active users, a 229 percent jump over the previous year, while Twitter recently reported a 1,500 percent growth in new registered users during the course of a year.

But the risks have also grown. Webroot, a leading provider of Internet security software for the consumer, enterprise and SMB markets, has seen an increase in attacks on social networks in recent months, including a 23 percent increase in spam received on such sites in the past year.

A recent study by the company revealed how social network users still put their identities at risk:

  • 28 percent of users report they've never changed their default privacy settings.
  • 81 percent place no restrictions on who can see their recent activity.
  • 53 percent aren't sure who can see their profile.
  • 33 percent of users use the same password to log on to multiple social networks.

What Can Users Do?

Here are a few guidelines for safer social networking:

  • Make personal information private--Protect yourself by updating privacy settings on your profile to restrict or omit access to any personal data. If you use services that allow you to share, be especially careful to not disclose your location to the wrong people.
  • Read between the lines--Familiarize yourself with the social networks' privacy options to ensure you're taking advantage of any enhanced security features.
  • Be exclusive--Only accept friend requests, e-mails and site links from people you know, and even then, be selective about what you open.
  • Protect the password--As a critical line of defense, it is more important than ever for members to choose their passwords wisely, make them different from one site to the next, and change each at regular intervals. Incorporating numbers, letters and special characters like !, $ and * into your password makes it stronger.
  • Suite security--Make sure your computer has an added layer of security to stop attacks before they happen. By scanning your machine for dormant viruses with a free scan and an Internet security suite, you can proactively protect your PC.

Webroot offers several comprehensive Internet security solutions for consumers, including AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper and Internet Security Essentials.

For more information, visit www.webroot.com.

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The Benefits Of Advanced Funeral Planning

(NAPSI)-A growing number of people are finding both emotional and financial security in something that is also an important part of estate planning. They are preplanning their funeral.

Many are also finding that taking advantage of what preplanning has to offer may be easier if they do their homework about what they may want and the options available before they sit down with the experts.

Although some people may find it hard to talk about advance planning, it can be harder on your family if you don't talk about your wishes for your final arrangements. One way to tackle planning without feeling overwhelmed is to break up the process into more manageable steps.

Memorial or Funeral Service--Focus on the type of service you would want and how you can personalize that service, whether it's more traditional, somber or a unique celebration of your life. Decide if it should be a more intimate or larger gathering and consider music, readings or any other unique element to personalize the service.

Burial or Cremation--If burial is your preference, consider purchasing a cemetery plot in advance. If you decide on cremation, remember to make plans for permanent placement of the cremated remains. Consider a mausoleum or columbarium to give your family a physical place for visitation and reflection. This also prevents the possibility of the ashes being misplaced or discarded in later years if kept with a family member.

Select a Funeral Home--Compare the options available and the quality of service provided. With the right funeral provider, you can feel more confident that your wishes will be fulfilled and you won't feel uncomfortable asking questions or rushed into making selections.

Funding Options--One advantage of prearranging your funeral is that you can lock in today's prices for products and services that may be more expensive in the future. It's best to work with a professional to understand the particular laws and regulations that protect those funds.

Flexibility--Remember, not all providers offer the same services. For example, if you use a Dignity Memorial provider to prearrange your funeral or cremation service, you can enjoy the security of National Transferability of Prearranged Services. Should you move more than 75 miles from where your original arrangements were made, your prearranged funeral services are fully transferable and will be honored by any Dignity Memorial provider throughout North America.

For more information or to start preplanning arrangements, visit the Web site at www.dignitymemorial.com.

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