How difficult is it to make a backup?

Sunday, December 19th, 2010 | security, technology | 2 Comments

So many people don’t make backups – and lose their valuable data when a mishap occurs – that one would think it is a complex task.  Not so!  It is possibly one of the easiest things you have to learn to do.

Since your computer or laptop acts as a hub for your classroom technology all the data is stored in its memory – the data projector, interactive whiteboard, scanner, printer and all other devices you use draw their data from the computer. That means you only have to backup the data on the computer and the functioning of all other devices will be safe.

By the way, the word backup is used both as a noun and a verb: you backup the data when you copy it and in the process you create a backup.

Different backup strategies exist, but for a classroom the simplest one suffices.  If your computer is linked to the network of the school, enquire how often backups are made, and whether the data you create will be included in the general backup.  If this is not the case, then ask your technology supplier or a technical person at the school, how to do a backup.

The backup procedure is simple – you just make a copy – and this can be done on any secondary storage device, such as a memory stick.  This stick must then be stored in a safe place – not in the same bag where you keep your computer!  For safety sake, some people make two copies and keep them in different places.

The important thing about backups is that they must be done regularly.  Some people make a backup once a week.  If you don’t do a lot of data creation, a weekly backup may be sufficient.  But bear in mind that if you should lose data, all work since the last backup will be lost.  If you decide to do a backup of your entire system once a week, but you are working on a very important document, you may want to make a special interim copy of that document so that, if the worst comes to the worst, you at least have an up to date copy of that piece of work. 

When you get into a car, putting on a safety belt is not optional.  The same is true of backups – they are mandatory.  The day you’re taking a chance may be the day you really need the protection.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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What happens if I lose all my data?

Sunday, December 19th, 2010 | security, technology | 1 Comment

Once you start working with technology in the classroom you’ll soon be accumulating lesson plans, lesson presentations, worksheets, pictures, learner score sheets and other information that you’ll use and re-use.  After a while, when you add up all the hours you’ve spent on creating these things, and allocate a monetary value to each hour spent, you’ll be surprised to find that the value of the information you created exceeds the amount you’ve paid for your hardware and software.

If you lose your equipment, you will be able to recover it by means of your insurance policy.  But what happens if you lose your data? 

“Lose my data!” you may gasp.

Yes, many things can cause you to lose your data:

When your computer is stolen you lose your data with your machine – you will be able to replace your computer but there is no way of getting the data back.

A virus attack frequently wipes out all the data on the computer, or leaves it in such a state that it is of no use to you.

An accident – dropping a computer or knocking it off a table or spilling a cup of coffee on it – may damage the hard drive of the computer to such an extent that the data on it can’t be recovered.

At times the hard disk of your computer crashes unexpectedly – though no fault of your own.  If that happens you are at risk of losing all your hard work.

A sudden power surge may corrupt all the data stored on your computer.

It makes sense to protect the investment you’ve made in your data.  The only way to do this is through a backup – this means making a copy of all the data you’ve created and accumulated.

Once you’ve made a backup your data is safe.  It doesn’t matter what happens to the computer – the loss of a computer does not mean you’ve lost your data.  You simply load the copied data onto a repaired or new computer and carry on working as before. 

A backup is your insurance policy – a very cheap one – that will protect you in case you lose your data.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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