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Education

ClassVR STEM Showcase | Queen of the Apostles School

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Holly Jacob is a Year 5 teacher and Digital Technologies coordinator at Queen of the Apostles School in Riverton. ICT learning and technology is embedded throughout the school’s curriculum and is used to promote student engagement, motivation and excellence, and ClassVR plays a significant role.

The School’s STEM engineering process is modelled on Lee Crockett’s Future Focussed Learning Model using the 6Ds (defining, discovering, dreaming, designing, delivering and debriefing). To give the students an authentic experience with the process, the school looked at problems in the local environment and one of the focuses was on local bees. “The population of native bees are declining. A number of factors are contributing to this, so we used the 6Ds to explore further” says Holly.

To help the students understand the issues, Holly searched the ClassVR portal for VR videos of bees in their typical habitats. Holly explored the ‘Community Tab’ via the ClassVR platform and discovered a school in England who had uploaded a 360 degree video of the inside of a beehive. Not only does ClassVR have a plethora of classroom-ready content, but other users can create, upload and share thier own content too.

Holly was able to easily download the video to the headset for her class, “Our students were able to experience the inside of the beehive and see different roles of the bees. From there we discussed the importance of bees for pollination, the decline in numbers and the possible impacts. It was a great conversation starter.”

Queen Of The Apostles STEM

“ClassVR allowed us to see the bee’s living conditions and gave us great ideas for bee hotels,” says one of Holly’s Year 5 students. “As the native bees are not honey bees that live in hives, we wanted to make a safe resting place for them so they can continue to pollinate plants for us. It is very important to help them survive. We monitored our hotels daily and could see that they were becoming a home to a growing number of bees”.

The School was invited to present their learnings at the the Catholic Education WA (CEWA) STEM Showcase Day.

“We couldn’t take live bees with us so again we used ClassVR technology to demonstrate bees in their natural environment,” says Holly. “The preparation was minimal, but it had the biggest impact on the day. There were lines and lines of children wanting to see the beehive. It was a great starting point for engagement between my students and those visiting our stand. From there they could show off their bee hotels and discuss ongoing solutions. It was so lovely to listen to their conversations and see that those visiting our stand were walking away with a new consideration for bees”.

Ongoing learning is key at Queen of Apostles so the school’s next steps are to design more hotels and habitats for the bees using Minecraft EDU and upload the 3D image to the ClassVR headsets so other students can explore them in depth before creating the real thing.

Safety Bay SHS

Outsourcing Support Leads To More Stable Network

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Safety Bay Senior High School is a public co-educational high school with approx. 1100 students. They use a mix of iPads, iMacs, desktops and laptops and their full-time, on-site IT technician is a Solutions IT engineer. In the past, the school had hired their own technicians to manage the day to day running of the school’s ICT, and where needed had ad-hoc support from Solutions IT for escalation purposes.

With growing school numbers and the advancement of technology, the school was challenged with recruitment when in 2014 their technician moved on. “We needed someone who understood how a large Department school worked, had vast IT experience, someone who was an effective communicator and could also help lead change within the school. It was not an easy find.” says Clint Wiltshire, Deputy Principal

Clint Wiltshire“We have always had a great working relationship with Solutions IT so we were open to explore new concepts with them. The idea that we could have one of their staff fulltime in our school, with support of the entire company behind them was very appealing. We knew the company had the experience we needed, so there wasn’t a risk in trialling the idea and we haven’t looked back since.”

In the five years that the school has used this support offering, they have had 3 long-term engineers work inside their school, “during this period, based on the school’s needs, the engineers have always been a perfect fit, no exceptions. We are particularly impressed with Brennan who currently looks after our network. He understands our environment and has a vision which is supported by the wider company. It’s so beneficial that Brennan is able to strategise on our IT direction with his peers and management. This has positively impacted on our student outcomes” Clint explains. The school reports that the use of technology and infrastructure improvements have led to a more stable network, “this impacts on our ability to track attendance better and deliver engaging classrooms activities with a technology focus. Regular attendance of students has seen upward trend of 9.6% over last 3 years”.

The introduction of a ‘Helpdesk’ ticketing system has seen a quick turnaround time in providing support to staff using technology, within 48 hours, “this helps us identify patterns, trends and issues that informs our planning, directly impacting on learning in the classroom”

2018 saw two more Computer Labs built, providing 53 more desktops available to students. Catering further for increasing learning needs in accessing online VET courses, STEM Club and mandated introduction of Digital Technology classes in Year 7 & 8. All easily supported and managed.

Safety Bay SHS

The support has also seen the successful rollout of ‘Transition to NAPLAN Online Trial’ in 2018, with limited disruptions in connectivity, no reports of hardware issues and promoting confidence that when conducting NAPLAN in 2019, review, updates and reconfiguration of our network will enable 440 students to complete successfully
Clint recognises that Implementing the right technology to enable collaboration and engage students is key, “Our students not only develop their critical thinking skills but progress a range of other skills that embrace the changing world, all enabled by this support”.

 

“Prior to this support offering, integration of innovative ICT programs was much more challenging and inconsistencies with the stability of our network, was a real barrier to staff accessing training or shifting pedagogical practice. What sets Solutions IT aside from other companies is their understanding on how IT can enhance the education sector and ultimately, the real impact that has on student outcomes”.

 

See all our Support Options here

 

Cyber Safety

Many schools give parents mixed messages about technology?

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Schools often give parents mixed messages about technology integration into learning, and it comes at the detriment to schools.

 

Inwardly schools often promote to teachers and students, the importance of technology for learning and preparing students for their future career and study. Outwardly however, the dominant message they give to parents is that technology is dangerous for children. This message can undermine and hinder the technology based learning that is happening in the school.

 

Let me explain this more.

 

Schools often hold regular parent information nights that focus on cyber safety. Online safety is of course highly important. These talks detail to parents the potential risks for children online, and the need for parents to be vigilant in protecting their children from technology. The speakers may provide relevant information however the underlying message to parents is that technology and the internet is dangerous for children. This instils fear in parents and a lack of confidence in technology holding any real benefit for their child.

 

This message of danger by schools is in direct opposition to technology integration in classrooms. It hinders parents’ support for technology use in learning. This is an important deterrent for school executive and teachers as parent buy-in is needed for it to work well!

 

This understanding comes from my extensive research with families regarding educational technology, and in response I have developed an online program that schools can provide for their parents that takes a more balanced and empowering approach. The interactive program “TechClever’, takes an hour to complete, and focuses on helping parents to understand and manage the risks for children online, as well as helping parents to understand the key learning, social and health benefits that technology can hold for children when it’s used in quality ways. The program can replace the traditional cyber safety talk or it can supplement it. 

 

The ‘TechClever’ program shifts beyond traditional cyber safety talks to provide parents with a healthy approach to children’s technology use at home and at school.  Parents can do the program at home, and it builds understanding of what schools do with technology and why. The program is designed to enhance confidence in parents, not fear. Think of it as an excursion for your parents. To find out more go to https://www.techclever.com.au/

Dr Joanne Orlando

Do our schools support students and families to use technology in ways which actually enhance learning?

By | Education, Latest News

We’re starting to have some real conversations about the impact of screen time on students’ development.   From one-to-one computing initiatives and using AI in the classroom to digital textbooks and education apps, the growth of technology in our schools represent a substantial shift in K-12 education. With this shift comes responsibility. What do we know about AI in education?  Do we understand the implications that technology brings to our schools? What research is out there and what does it mean for our students?

 

To help answer these questions we are absolutely delighted to have Dr Joanne Orlando as our opening speaker for the WA Education Summit.  

  

Dr Joanne Orlando is a leading analyst and commentator in the field of children, technology, and learning. Her work focuses on the evolving nature of children’s technology use and the ever-changing implications for their learning, social relationships, identity, and well-being. A key aspect of Joanne’s research is gaining first-hand perspectives from children on why they use technology in the ways they do. What she finds out in her research is often surprising and not what adults assume or expect.

 

A key element of Joanne’s work is applying her analysis to a wide range of real world scenarios. Joanne works closely with leading technology companies,  sharing her research and insights to assist in the development of better products and practices to ensure children’s technology use is positive.

 

Joanne will be sharing her research on trends on children’s uses of AI and the implications for school learning and engagement. She will focus on the uses of artificial intelligence, the advantages of their uses, the skills and knowledge students are losing and gaining, and how their increasing reliance on these new directions in technology is effecting their learning and engagement in schools.

 

Dr Joanne Orlando

See more information on Joanne’s work here

#WAES19

Should games, game design and playfulness be a staple in today’s classroom?

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Educators are increasingly seeing the potential in games and their ability to keep students engaged. Games encourage many of the behaviours we want to see in our students, including curiosity and persistence. And tapping into those elements of game design that provoke increased levels of concentration can be a way to stimulate student engagement.

Taking one step further beyond playing games is actually creating them, turning kids from consumers into makers. Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie has been working in this space for more than 12 years, and has seen first hand in her work how teaching kids how to make games is a powerful way for them to learn, through direct hands on experience, key transferable skills that are critical for the future. These skills include problem solving, communication, team work and even better listening skills. Game design is also an excellent entry point to getting kids, especially girls into STEM.

Dr. Kate is game designer, innovation facilitator and explainer of the future. She has spoken at top academic and industry conferences, including SXSW (Austin), NXNE (Toronto) and TEDxPerth where she also worked as a speaker coach, and has been featured on MTV, NPR and in the pages of ELLE and the Australian Financial Review. She recently completed an Australia-wide speaking tour, hosted by the Australian Computer Society, where she spoke about the importance of playfulness, compassion and diversity in preparing for the future.

During Kate’s session at The WA Education Summit, she explains why games and play are critical for preparing for the future. This talk will show how understanding and leveraging games as a culture, a mindset and as a process are critical to preparing for the future of work and education. And overall, uncover why we need playfulness now more than ever.

#WAES19

Learn more about the WA Education Summit

 

How ZuluDesk has improved device management at Excelsior Primary School

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Excelsior Primary School is an Independent Public School located in the suburb of Canning Vale, Perth that teaches Kindergarten to Year 6. The school manages over 170 iPads. Many of these devices are shared between classes and year groups. Roschel Moore, Deputy Principal, explains how using ZuluDesk as improved the management of their iPads and has allowed the school to maximise their return.

 

The Challenge

“We were implementing a 1:1 program for our Year 4s and had a fleet of iPads that were shared throughout the school. Different groups of iPads needed to be managed in different ways. Prior to Zuludesk, in preparation for a class, individual apps had to be added via Apple Configurator and this was so time consuming. We had bought a number of apps for different year groups however as the iPads were shared throughout the school, keeping track both the devices and apps was tricky”

 

The Solution

After consulting with Solutions IT, Excelsior Primary School chose to implement Zuludesk to help manage their iPads

ZuluDesk is a powerful, cost effective Mobile Device Management System for wirelessly managing Apple Devices. Teachers and IT administrators have a convenient tool to administer devices for individual students, school classes, or even multiple institutions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this tool can do. For teachers, the feature of choice is that it can control all devices when delivering digital lessons.

 

The Benefits

Roschel instantly found that Zuludesk, minimised her ‘tech’ time and allowed more time to focus on the lesson, “Since deploying Zuludesk, we can easily distribute an app from device to device, over the entire school. Each iPad can be assigned multiple profiles which enables seamless device sharing.”

“We can manage what functions of the device are available, for example disabling the camera. We love that we can lock the iPad to a particular app to prevent unwanted distractions and can provide a filter to block adult web content being accessed on the device.”

“I can monitor what apps are installed and used on each iPad.  If a student forgets their pass code I can reset it remotely for them, simple. Zuludesk has allowed us to maximise the use of each and every device and most of all has allowed me more time to focus on the teaching and learning that this technology can enhance.”

Would you like to find our more about ZuluDesk for your school? Contact us today and speak to one of our Education Consultants to find out more
Identity Management

Identity Management for St Mark’s Anglican School, Perth

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Identity Management (IdM) is the process of controlling information about a user from initiation to termination across a number of platforms, in a simple and cost-effective way.  Such information includes detail that authenticates the identity of a user, and information that describes information and actions they are authorized to access and/or perform across multiple platforms. IdM workflows can influence all activities of a user and can propagate name changes, security levels and ultimately the user’s digital identity.

 

The Challenge

Like most schools, St Mark’s Anglican School works with a large number of systems and prior to IdM, tasks such as multiple account creations, provisioning of home directories and email set up, account termination were a manual exercise, per user. Each system then had to be manually updated if there was a change to a user’s details or security level. This was cumbersome, and a drain on the school’s ICT Team so they looked to Solutions IT to simplify the process to create a cost-effective solution.

 

The Solution

As part of the IdM project, Solutions IT designed and built a business rules driven solution that allowed St Mark’s to automate processes that control a user’s identity. The solutions leveraged Microsoft’s identity management server (MIM 2016), a platform that allowed the school to control user’s profile across multiple systems from a central area.

 

The Results & Benefits

Not only has IdM been beneficial to manage staff and student users, but the school can also manage their parent portal using part of the MIM offering. Parent users can reset their passwords easily using a self-service automated process created by Solutions IT. Parents simply click on a link when they forget their password and an email will automatically be sent to them to allow the parent to reset their password. There is no impact on the ICT team.

 

“Solutions IT were great to work with in configuring the system and working with us to achieve our desired outcomes” Mark Dodd, IT Manager, St Mark’s Anglican.

 

For help with your IdM project, contact us

Held Ransom By A Trojan Cryptolocker?

By | Education, General | No Comments

At 4pm on a Friday afternoon, St Simon Peter Primary School identified files on their Office Server that were encrypted.  From what was seen in the text files, it seemed that some of the server files were infected by a Cryptolocker and to unencrypt them, the user had to pay a ransom.  Shortly afterwards files on a second server was also identified as being encrypted.

 

What was on the servers? Only the most important school data!! The admin system:MAZE, confidential documents and admin documents had all been affected. Both servers were critical to the day to day running of the school so it was imperative that  the situation was remedied quickly.The school called us immediately.

 

As soon as we understood the issue, we advised them to shut down all servers and immediately unplug the network attached storage device used for their backups.  Soon after one of our technicians attended the school to retrieve the backups for testing.

Over the weekend we worked to test the files and identified that they were in fact encrypted by one of two newer Trojans: TeslaCrypt. Processes were put in place to remotely test each workstation for the presence of the Trojan and to log all suspicious activity. We were able to track down and identify the source workstation and user account enabling us to fully remove the Trojan.

 

On Monday morning we visited the school to test that the Trojan was contained.  Soon after all staff in the administration area were able to use their workstations with access to email and internet.  By lunch time all staff were able to log onto their computers. Data was restored from backup to the two affected servers resulting in full functionality being restored by the end of the day.

We performed a full health check and settings remain in place to prevent similar Trojans from executing.

Things you need to know about some of these new Trojans:

 

  • McAfee and other traditional virus scanners do not appear to detect it
  • It encrypts all files such as documents, photos, spreadsheets, databases, etc with military grade encryption which is virtually impossible to break
  • It demands a ransom to retrieve the encryption key and get back your files
  • The price of the ransom increases as time goes on
  • Paying the ransom to receive a decryption key does not always result in files being decrypted
  • It encrypts all files on local drives but also any mapped network drive (servers etc) and any USB device attached
  • It deletes volume shadow copies preventing easy rollback to previous versions of files
  • It will encrypt any backup files it finds so any backups living on an usb drive etc
  • A full health check of your network is highly recommended to help prevention