UCISA SSG16 Day 3: Thinking, Hacking, Brilliance

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Day three ends on a high. Today has been about thinking differently. I think I’ll leave thinking differently. Considering I was not sure I’d enjoy SSG I sit here sad it’s over.

 

TOPdesk It’s not just for IT!

Sandra Gillham, IT Service Desk Manager, Keele University and Hannah Price, Senior Consultant, TOPdesk

Sandra found services at Keele were too disjointed. For example she described the student going back and forth between student records and ICT because one says they have a record and the other says they don’t. She wanted to do something about it. So she started by getting a 360 view of her students. She mapped all the services that feed in to the student journey. Students see one university, the don’t see that a University is made up of several disjointed departments. So she started to get other departments to start using the same service desk management software

Getting staff buy in wasn’t easy. Prying email away was difficult. Sandra asked the management to get their junior members doing the work. What will make their lives easier? What will make us more efficient? Slowly changing attitudes.

Continuing to improve with thinking skills

Chris Warlow, Teacher and Mathematics/Cognitive Education Leader, Birchgrove Primary School.

Chris works primarily with children in schools. His presentation is pitched at an appropriate level for us after last night. Chris works at a “thinking school” where students develop their thinking skills to ready them for life-long learning. He began with some brain teasers. A risky strategy, given last night’s frivolity. I am rubbish at brain teasers. Lots of ooohs and aaahs ensue as the answers are revealed.

He described the tools he uses with his students, I won’t detail them all. You can find details for all on that Google thing. Thinking maps are used to help students organise and visualise their thinking. Circle tools, bubble maps etc. Flow maps are used to help students sequence and order processes. Tree maps are used for classifications and grouping. Multi-flow maps for cause and effect. To see analogies Chris uses a bridge map.

Edward DeBono’s Thinking Hat – nope it’s not the name of an indie band. Each hat represents the following – objective, intuitive, negative, positive, creative and process. The hats are detailed online here.

Habits of Mind – thinking intelligently. Summed up by “think before you punch someone in the face”. Good advice at all stages of life.

What did I learn? I still hate comic sans. He looked like Professor Brian Cox. Getting people to think differently is so important. Harder in adults but doable.

Think and act like a hacker to protect your company’s assets

Paula Januszkiewicz, Security Consultant, CQURE

I started this hoping that Paula would tell us how the Matrix works. She didn’t. What she did was cleverly demonstrate the importance of information security.

Paula uses social engineering experiments to make her point. “You’d never say a blonde woman could be dangerous”.  Oh so wrong. She then tells the story of how she hacked in to a secure building utilising the “ladies first culture”. He opens the secure door and waves her in. Brilliant.

Awareness > behaviour (competence) > culture. I know > I do > We know and do.

Behaviour comes with awareness. Culture comes with understanding.

Passwords are really important. 15% of passwords were found written on and around the workstations at physical security tests. She then did a live demonstration of hacking passwords. I didn’t get it. But it was damned impressive. She used existing Windows tools ARGH? I know nothing but I know that ain’t good.

I got a bit lost here. She did clever techy things and I went to sleep.

Don’t pick up random USB sticks. PLEASE DON’T PLUG THEM IN. Don’t click on suspicious links in emails. This is called Phish Biting. Emails with what looks to be legitimate context. Be careful when connecting to public WiFi. Someone might be listening.

People are the problem. People take short cuts. They make mistakes. We avoid hard stuff. We need to make people aware of the issues. Unless they are aware they won’t change their behaviours and develop a culture of security.

Paula shows a frightening (yet curiously thrilling) world full of dark shadowy characters after my data. I’ve never thought of myself as that interesting.

What did I learn? Paula is a ninja. People are a problem.The world is scary.

The art of being brilliant

Andy Cope, Teacher and Author, Art of Brilliance

This is the second time I have seen Andy speak. Andy describes his work as “seeking out happy people and following them around”. Happiness is good for you and your well-being. It’s also good for the people around you.

Andy is brilliant himself and lives what he espouses. He’s a happy man. He’s funny. He’s engaging. Banish the four horsemen of negativity monotony, tiredness, complexity and news (and change). If you have any of those things in your life you will feel “minor glumness” in the pit of your stomach.

The same thinking will reap the same results

Stop the Monday vs Friday rhetoric. Pretend Monday is Friday. Be happy now. It’s not a destination. ‘Busy-ness’ is not OK, not an excuse. The fact is we buy fewer oranges because we don’t have time to peel them. Wow. What nonsense. Be like Bob the Builder. Yes we can. Chuck out the emergency pants. You know those grey ones at the back with a hole in. Wear your special pants.

What a way to end the conference. On a high. Choose to be happy. It’s going to be OK people, it’s going to be O.K. Think happy, be happy.

Three brilliant days

I loved UCISA SSG. Three days with wonderfully open, funny, clever and welcoming people. Thank you for letting this outsider in.

Links

UCISA SSG16 Day 1: People, Service, Duty

UCISA SSG16 Day 2: Boxes, Bees, Dance

Matthew Saunders: Ucisa Support Services Conference 2016 – Learning and Listening

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