Best Ways to Protect Intellectual Property in Academia

Intellectual property, as defined by the European Parliament Factsheet on Intellectual, industrial and commercial property, “encompasses […] inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs and models and designations of origin, and artistic and literary property”.

In other words, it refers to any data you originally produce. It is a remarkably precious resource, primarily for its value in predictions and making decisions. For example, data gathered from a group of people’s communication and writing style can serve to filter those desirable for a certain position, like a function of an office or university program.

The way people use language is one of many predictive factors a college admissions officer can use, if we’re talking about application success rates.

The study was conducted by Gary Lavergne, James Pennebaker, Joey Frazee, David Beaver, and Cindy Chung, from the University of Texas, Austin.

Their data-driven approach to college success trends showed that using impersonal, concept-centric language in writing contributed to a higher GPA than using subjective, narrative-centric language. This trend was present throughout the academic career pathway, from admission, through grades, to graduation.

This is just a small example, but data in academia has enormous power and potential. Therefore it is imperative to properly protect one’s intellectual property in the realm of academic endeavor.

Know where your data is stored

In terms of intellectual property in the academic world, research papers, research proposals etc. obviously make up the bulk. The problem with keeping them safe is that they are rarely housed in a centralized manner.

That’s a natural consequence of the decentralized nature of research beyond the individual level. Even individual efforts, such as student research papers, are often housed with third parties like writing assistants.

On the level of institutions, data will shift and migrate to follow the interests and goals of different research teams, funding agencies, and every single individual among the student body and staff.

So, to set up a solid foundation for security, it is imperative for academic institutions to prioritize, and then itemize, their data.

Make a list of every topic, area, or problem that your institution is currently researching, either independently or as part of a joint effort. Then decide which ones have the most priority, which data is the most sensitive.

Next, record in detail for each research effort who is working on it, from where, and with whom it might have been shared. From this, determine which data is the most vulnerable.

Compare the two, and prioritize protecting the information that is both sensitive and vulnerable. Follow up with either category, based on your institution’s goals and policy.

Enlist the researchers themselves

Data security is more than a team effort, it is a network effort – it has to be if you want it to succeed.

Of course universities have their own IT teams and go-to cybersecurity people, but they are merely the first line of defense. For a comprehensive and effective data protection strategy, everyone involved has to contribute.

Staff and students endanger proprietary data on the daily, typically unaware. The most common risks include copying and distributing research to and from various cloud storage solutions and personal devices.

In order to reduce the risk, universities and other academic institutions should utilize their research inventory (built by the above mentioned itemization). Identify the teams and individuals whose data is being the most mishandled. Determine who is the most likely to be a victim of data theft in any form. Then invite those people into a conversation and warn them, and teach them how to keep data safe. The more effectively you convey that their own personal work is at risk, the more likely they will be to follow through with security measures. Provide real-life examples of high-ed data theft to strengthen the message.

Increase the security of off-location research

In other words, tend to the safety of data produced in collaborative and remote efforts. Working on the go and linked with colleagues from all over is a staple in academia. Especially this year, with everything going virtual, research data is bouncing around online more than ever.

However, just because it’s always been done doesn’t mean it’s been done right. Theft of intellectual property is easier now that everyone is working from home, as the boundary between personal and professional devices, storage, and files is all but dissolved.

Continuing from the previous point, incite collaboration between technology departments and researchers. Cybersecurity teams need to understand the research processes and data sharing patterns.

For example, assess the way university staff and students utilize SaaS platforms to handle information, methods, and results. Inspect their use for the common small-scale errors that might result in genuine data safety threats.

In summary

There are many specific steps and strategies you can take to keep your academic data safe. You can put measures in place to control access to and possible use of university databases as well as individual documents.

You can review and rework research procedures and collaboration policies. You can even go ahead and get law enforcement agencies involved in devising solutions.

At the end of the day, whichever specific approach you decide to employ, remember that institution-wide cooperation is key. Establish due rapport between researchers, both among staff and students, and members of the IT department or cybersecurity team.

Take careful stock of all research data that your institution currently owns, and see where each item is housed. Establish what is at greatest risk of theft and where the most sensitive data is.

Finally, address the issue of remote collaboration. Assess the backstage workings of the shared storage your researchers might use, and find a way to mitigate the risks of transferring professional files onto private devices.



AI in Guidance and Career Counseling

The conversation around the proactive use of artificial intelligence in the recruiting and hiring process is increasing. Companies have reaped the benefits of AI use in customer acquisition and retention, eCommerce strategy, and sales techniques. Success in these areas has become a gateway for using AI to build powerful internal teams as well.

AI has shifted the way hiring and recruiting teams interact with applicants and vice versa. Younger applicants have a unique opportunity to prepare themselves for this transition by leaning on their guidance and career counselors in school.

A career counselor is responsible for helping students navigate any factors that impact their career development. AI’s role in everything from the screening to the interview process is especially important to share with students to ensure they have the best possibility of landing their dream careers.

Here are three things guidance counselors should know about artificial intelligence applications in the hiring and recruiting process to best equip their students to interact with AI systems.

AI Led Interviews are Growing in Popularity

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted all of us to use digital platforms for most things in our daily lives, including job interviews. Companies started using video-interviewing platforms like HireVue to conduct part of, if not the entire interview process for various positions.

The video-interview process is generally as follows:

  1. They go on to the platform
  2. Enable use of their webcam
  3. Record their responses to interview questions on video
  4. Submit those video-recorded answers

The candidate’s answers are recorded and then saved to the platform and sent to the employer. The employer can choose whether they want AI involved in the screening process for these recordings. If they opt for this choice, AI can recommend a candidate based on similarities to current employees, the desired enthusiasm and demeanor of a successful match, or the length of their answers.

The tricky part about these AI-led interviews is that why a candidate is deemed not a good match is hard to pinpoint. So, helping students prepare for such interviews can be challenging if you try to help students mimic the characteristics of someone who’s already moved on to the next round.

Recommend that your students study the company that solicited them for this AI-led interview. They should gauge whether their personality fits the company culture, their abilities match the job description, and they’re in alignment with the company’s mission. They should prepare answers to common video interview questions to ensure they’re prepared with a natural response that will communicate that way on video. They should also be encouraged to be authentic even if they aren’t sure they’re a perfect match for the company.

Resume and CV Optimization are More Important than Ever

A professional, polished resume is and always will be an integral part of career development. It’s even more critical when companies decide to use AI in their screening, recruiting, and hiring processes. One of the most common uses of AI in recruiting is during the application and resume/CV screening process.

Many companies use artificial intelligence software to screen applications and resumes and extract those that meet preset criteria. These criteria could include keywords in the vacancy advertisement or specific job responsibilities or skills.

Make sure you go over the job description and ad in detail with your student. Identify any skills, role criteria, education requirements, and so forth that match your student’s current abilities, experience, or potential. Ensure the specific wording from the job description is in their resume or CV so that AI can recognize it and move it up in the ranking.

Social Media Presence Matters

Many companies are also using AI to screen potential candidates’ social media profiles to identify any potentially harmful or inappropriate behavior on these platforms. Company leaders emphasize maintaining a positive brand image. If an applicant’s social media activity threatens this, they most likely won’t move on in the hiring process.

We’ve all read stories about employees being written up or fired for harmful social media activity or, better yet, their dangerous activity outside of the workplace being uploaded on social media platforms. Companies have expanded these same investigation efforts to influence who they hire just as much as who they keep on board.

Encourage your students to be mindful of what they post on social media and how they engage with others. Educate them on how companies pay close attention to the way candidates conduct themselves online and aren’t afraid to disqualify them based on a negative online presence.

Helping Students Move Forward

Artificial intelligence is changing the classroom, and that success is prompting surrounding offices like yours to explore how impactful it can be for them. Furthering your education in guidance and career counseling and deepening your knowledge around technology’s influence on the recruiting process is one of the best ways to help your students move forward.

For example, becoming a Career Services Director is a tremendous educational pathway if you want to be responsible for ensuring positive work outcomes for students and alumni. You get to work with students on job placement, career advancement activities on campus, and accumulating resources. And you also have the opportunity to implement policy changes that better the way your department supports its students.

Help your students move forward by staying up to date on trends like AI in the recruitment and hiring process and sharing actionable tips with your students on how to navigate these emerging changes successfully.



Augmented Reality in Education: Looking Forward

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Augmented reality is one of the cloud technologies that bridgesthe gap between what you see and what you imagine. To define it more realistically, it is a technology that enhances the physically existing parameters of the real world to yield enhanced results. It integrates the existing with details that we artificially engineer.

For example, in the entertainment industry, there are AR-based games, which overlay digital augmentation over real-life sceneries and environments. Consider 2016’s Pokémon GO, for instance. The game made different Pokémon pop up on your usual surroundings and routes. Thus, making tying the game to ‘reality’ and making it more fun to play.  Snapchat filters are another prominent example of this technology.

Eventual Integration of AR

Currently, a survey estimates that by 2023, the world will have about 2.4 billion mobile users of augmented reality worldwide and its market will reach $72.7 billion by 2024. Considering that there were only 200 million users back in 2015, the sky-high rise in the figure is not ignorable. Needless to say, it is not only expanding its influence in the entertainment industry but is also expanding its influence in the educational industry.

Advances in Augmented reality are changing the face of app development and allowing for new innovations. Today, classrooms use apps like Dinosaur 4D+ for studying extinct creatures. These apps bring the images to life in a 3D space and allow students to rotate, zoom, and study each dinosaur in detail. Similarly, Google expeditions provide access to 100 3-dimensional expeditions. Each of these allows the students to see 3D objects in the classroom. Be it volcanoes, the moon, forest, and whatnot. Even a subject as dry and textual as chemistry is now fun to learn with AR-based apps like Element 4D. It allows students to study the chemical reactions, properties, atomic weight, and other relevant information using two paper cubes only.

Note that the Alpha Generation, i.e., the children born between 2010-2025, perceive this technology as more of a part of routine rather than an advancement or an exception, which of course, gives us more room for exploration and further discovery. In the future, we may witness the complete eradication of only book learning.

The technology is proving to be immensely useful in professional training and learning. For example, recently, NASA introduced a project called Sidekick. It aims to train the crew using virtual illustrations and instructions for effective learning. Even in military training, we see AR creating a virtual environment to better train the soldiers with the use of the equipment and enhance their skills.

Benefits of Augmented Reality in Education

Augmented reality is rapidly gaining success for a reason. There is certainly something that this technology can provide, and others can’t. Now, what exactly could these unrivaled benefits be? Let’s have a look.

1. Concept over Rote Learning

Perhaps the first and quite very obvious benefit of AR in the education industry is the fact that it makes the learning experience much richer. Reading something in a textbook and having first-hand experience with that same thing leave substantially different impacts. The latter will be more deep-rooted and is more likely to last than the former.

And it is most true for younger minds. A tap on their touchscreen or a click on their keyboard takes them to another world (of learning). Thus, preventing any possible deflections in focus. In this way, students are compelled to be present there in the lecture mentally to the best of their potential. Consequently, they rely more on on-spot learning and development of concepts rather than memorizing text before assessments and examinations.

2. Increased Class Interaction

According to statistics, about 80 percent of students are more likely to attend an AR-based class. About 72 percent of these are eager to participate, while 70 percent of students claimed the AR improved their learning experience and escalated their pace of getting a grasp on the subject. Quite evidently, AR-based learning levels up the interest of students by making the learning process fun and inviting.

3. Sensory Development

Augmented reality-based learning curriculums also contribute substantially to the sensory development of students. With books, students are merely using the sense of sight and ability to understand. During lectures, it is a combination of hearing, sight, and understanding. However, AR also involves the ability to feel. It ignites the spark of curiosity and often calls upon multiple senses at once. Thus, improving the overall performance of students in terms of senses.

4. Timeless Learning

Unlike traditional classrooms, augmented reality does not have any boundaries of time. Sure, you can read about the past in the books. But do you have the same degree of access to predictions? Can you possibly relive the past or get a realistic idea of the upcoming future? Perhaps, not.

Augmented Reality learning, on the other hand, equips you so. You can easily study the current aspect of a certain topic and swiftly transition into relevant discoveries of the past or possible realities of the future. You can easily have the students understand the timeline of development.

Final Words

Summing up, Augmented Reality is digitally enhancing our world. It is making its way into the education sector, where it can bring a new perspective to learning, and opening up newer, more engaging dimensions for exploration.



Educators Pivot to Pixlr Photo Editor as Affordable Cloud Based Alternative

At The College of Westchester we have had to deal supporting Adobe Photoshop while teaching remotely it presents several challenges to the high tech requirements and the cost. When Martin Stein reached out and suggested that I consider a post about Pixlr I asked for some testimonials from educators and he was able to deliver them right up. I’m glad to share them and raise others’ awareness of this cloud based alternative for teaching photoediting and elements of graphic design. – KW


Dear Pixlr for Education,

My name is Cam Pollock. I have been teaching Graphics and Photography for over 24 years. I am an Adobe Photoshop user. This virtual dilemma may have caused a tremendous problem for me hadn’t I run across Pixlr.

I cannot use Photoshop in the virtual setting for obvious reasons. I needed a photo editor that was web-based and worked well with Chromebooks. I will say that I chose Pixlr E because it has allowed me to teach almost exactly how I would teach with Photoshop. The students are getting a great editing education with your product.

Also, allowing us the ability to use the product at its higher level is a plus and is really appreciated. You can’t imagine the advantages this gives the teacher and the student. Thanks again and thanks for being there for us.

Mr. Cam Pollock

Graphics & Photography Teacher
Deep Creek High School, Chesapeake Public Schools, Chesapeake, Virg.


Dear Pixlr for Education,

I’m in Ontario, Canada, where schools have been closed due to COVID and students are learning  from home. Today, I’ll be extending my daughter’s work by having her learn how to scale and crop  images in Pixlr.

She’s excited to learn about photo editing.

Thanks for supporting education!

Mr. Stefan Somborac

Homeschooling Parent
Simcoe County District School Board , Simcoe, Ontario, Canada


Dear Pixlr for Education,

I’m so happy to hear you’re helping us make life easier and learning better! We are now remote, so I’m following up on these accounts; I appreciate your awesome customer service and the free access to premium features! Thanks again! You’ve made the “pivot” so much easier! Here’s hoping we don’t have to hear that word in 2021!

Ms. Leigh Michelsen

Business & Technology Teacher
Madeira High School, Madeira, Ohio.


5 Ways to Teach Public Speaking to Kids

Public speaking is a powerful skills, yet young students (and even older ones) are often rather fearful of it. In fact, it remains a common fear well into adulthood for many people.

Some kids are naturally good speakers and take to public speaking, while others fear standing in front of an audience and talking to them. Public speaking improves young people’s overall communication skills, increases self-esteem and confidence, plans and organize their thoughts, expresses their ideas in front of the class and develops leadership skills. It is an essential skill to learn and master. It is one of those skills that will help them in their educational journey and professional career.

Here are a few ways for kids to learn and practice their public speaking.

1. Games and Activities

There are a lot of engaging games and activities for kids to develop their public speaking skills.

  • Story Time with Cards: Write names of people, places, and objects on separate cards. Place all the cards in a bowl, invite your kids to pick out any two cards, and tell a story connecting the two words in the cards. This will help children with the practice of speaking with prompts and preparing speeches.
  • Word Spin: Write random words on an individual piece of paper. Some example words – birthday, cheesecake, chair, slide, fairy, unicorn, good morning, etc. Once you have many cards, place them in a box and invite your child to pick a card and share the word or object’s history. This game aims to enhance their imagination and encourage them to speak fluently impromptu.
  • Q&A With the Expert: Write as many fun and inspiring topics on separate pieces of paper and then let them conduct an interview session.
  • Let’s Debate:Older children will enjoy this game as they develop an ability to think on their feet and learn to argue from both sides. Prepare a list of controversial topics and challenge your children to speak confidently for 30 seconds for the motion and 30 seconds against the motion. 
  • The Road Game: Ask your children to describe what they see in one minute in terms of shapes, colors and what is happening around them. This game can be played while driving, walking in the park, or using public transport. This game encourages kids to hone their observation skills which are vital to speaking well.
  • The Woot Game: Choose a common connecting word used in everyday speech such as; like, it, or be. Give a topic to your child to speak on for thirty seconds. Every time the chosen words appear in the speech, they should be replaced with the word ‘woot.’ Example: Woot is a bright and sunny morning!
  • The Imaginary Game: This game can be played in a group with family or neighbors. Ask each member to think of an animal or bird, or plant for one minute and talk about it. The other group members will ask questions on the size, color, where it is found,etc.

2. Use different apps available on the Play Store and Apple Store:

  • HiveBrain Public Speaking App: This app has been created to simplify public speaking and is used by students in the classroom. This app also includes guided meditations and self-hypnosis to help children relax and reduce their anxiety of speaking in front of a crowd.
  • Six Minutes: This app provides advice on teaching public speaking to children and PowerPoint presentation tips and speech delivery techniques.
  • Students must have a good vocabulary and lexical range to speak well. PowerVocab is a game you can share with your kids to practice their vocabulary.
  • BookWidgets: Create interactive games, quizzes, and exercises to teach your children public speaking. You can add images and words that every student has to use in their speech, and everyone will share a different story!
  1. Using Videos: Learning how to face the camera and communicate is an important skill nowadays. Encourage your children to record their speech, get comfortable with the camera and face the camera confidently. Watch the recordings later to note any improvements in body language, gestures, and eye-contact.
  1. Movies:
    • The King’s Speech: A movie that addresses speech stuttering and how it affects social interaction. The film highlights that practicing speaking will not make the problem disappear. It will help you to build confidence, determine when stuttering happens and how to work with it.
    • Larry Crowne: This movie highlights the importance of using humor and funny debates, the use of physical warm-up exercises to reduce the fear of facing an audience, and how to cover the entire audience with the practice of Visual Contact.
    • My Fair Lady (1964): This movie highlights the public speaking is a skill learned over time, a journey that improves with practice.
    • Rocket Science: This movie highlights many options to prevent and reduce stuttering, how to use an accent, whispering words and how to sing in your speech.
    • Kid President: This movie brings home the importance of being natural, speaking with confidence and humor. Kids usually have these qualities, and everyone should retain them to be better speakers.
  1. Public Speaking Coaching Classes: If your kid needs help with public speaking or if you have a kid that shows talent in that area, getting them professional coaching can make all the difference. There are some great options of training and coaching classes available in most cities and several classes offer lessons online as well that your kid can benefit from. Leverage the expertise of these classes and their coaches to help your kid excel.


Public Speaking is a much-needed and vital skill. Kids can turn into confident and natural speakers and lose their fear and inhibitions of public speaking when they are trained at a young age.

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Samidha Raj

Samidha Raj works as part of the content marketing team at PlanetSpark, a platform that provides online classes to K8 learners on “New Age Skills” like, English Communication, Public Speaking, Grammar, Creative Writing, Debating, etc. She is passionate about empowering the youth by educating parents about the importance of 21st-century skills. In her free time, you can find her watching documentaries or animated movies and organizing game nights (board games are her thing)!