Category

Education

Cyber Safety

Many schools give parents mixed messages about technology?

By | Education, Latest News | No Comments

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?

By | Education, Latest News | No Comments

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

 

iPad

Old Devices Fund New iPads at O’Connor Primary School

By | Apple Devices, Case Study, Education, Latest News | No Comments

iPadLike most Principals, Stephen Delfs is constantly looking at ways to maximize the ROI that he makes for his school, O’Connor Primary.

With budgets tighter than ever, the school looked at ways of raising funds to replenish their old devices. They had 200 aging iPads to replace, so rather than selling the old devices to the community, Stephen looked at ways to be able to facilitate a quicker, bulk sale. When he went to market for a new fleet of iPads, one of the questions he asked vendors was, “are we able to exchange our 3-4-year-old iPads for credit to buy new ones?”.

Solutions IT was the only vendor that replied with a ‘YES’.

Solutions IT’s Technology Buyback Program is a fast and simple process that allows schools to exchange their old and unwanted devices for credit. All devices traded in are data wiped to factory settings, with data destruction certificates available upon request. Schools are part of a global, sustainable environment program with 98% of all equipment received refurbished and re-purposed both here in Australia and in developing nations. 2% of equipment is recycled back into usable materials, keeping harmful waste out of landfill.

Via the Buyback Program, O’Connor Primary School was able to trade in 200 iPad 2s and gain $10,000 towards brand new devices. The extra revenue received, along with Solution IT’s competitive prices, allowed the school to bump up their order and purchase the desired number of iPads without compromising budgets elsewhere.

“Understanding your options is the best way to budget effectively. Solutions IT quickly gave us an understanding of what our credit looked like and we were able to plan from there” Says Stephen.

The Technology Buyback process is simple:

  1. Create an inventory list of the equipment you would like to trade in
  2. Our buyback specialists will review the information provided and produce a buyback indicative quote
  3. Free collection from your school
  4. Fast diagnosis & payment

For more information, contact us today

 

 

How ZuluDesk has improved device management at Excelsior Primary School

By | Case Study, Education, Latest News | No Comments

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

By | Case Study, Education, Latest News | No Comments

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
[604kb]
[604kb]
[604kb]
[604kb]