Friday, 22 April 2011

The 'Super Systems' are coming. Are we ready?

The Future

Super System Functional Requirements
Everything is shifting to the ‘cloud’. The Australian Curriculum is delivered entirely on-line. You no longer purchase large servers and massive storage. You pay for “hardware as a service” hosted in the cloud.  The need to purchase and install software locally has been replaced with “software as a service” and Web 2.0.  Soon, users will bring their own devices to school, get a connection to the internet and then have all the tools they need for creativity, communication, collaboration and inquiry. Catholic Dioceses around Australia have completed a project to deliver high speed broadband to their schools. Now they are exploring ‘cloud based’ super systems with components such as: parent portal; on-line planning and reporting; mail; personal space; learner profile and student analytics, to potentially change the way we do business. In that mix, we need to remember our 21st Century Learner, who comes to us connected, empowered, and free to create and distribute to a global audience. From the time the 3pm bell goes to signal the end of school to the time a parent says “So what did you do at school today”, a student with nothing more than a mobile phone could have: created a website online; uploaded video to You Tube; contributed to some global conversations; downloaded music (legally or illegally) and accessed anything they desired on the web. This would be without filters, editorial guidance or any fear of being held accountable for their actions.
Our commitment to create life-long learners is also a commitment to create responsible digital citizens and part of that has to be providing the facilities where students exercise creativity on-line and (possibly) make all the mistakes and errors of judgement that young people make.
Whilst we wait for these super systems to unfold, our strategy is to ensure our LANs are ready for ‘connected students’ and our workforce is preparing  for the shift to the ‘cloud’. We are inviting our teachers to “play” in the “student as on-line creator” space, our technicians to explore the implications of “cloud” services that shift core infrastructure away from our Schools and Diocesan Offices,  and our leaders to engage in dialogue about the policies and guidelines required to support this unchartered territory. MyInternet will continue for as long as we can because it serves the needs of our P-5 cohorts. Google Apps has been rolled out to target Years 6-12 and to encourage staff to give power and control to their students so they can be creators and publishers on-line. (It is no more power and control than any student with access to a connected device would have when they are not at school.). BUT when students use our systems in response to our agendas, we get to guide their behaviours, shape their attitudes and advise them on issues such as safety and acceptable use. We also have the power to capture, close down, or delete their work and hold students accountable for their actions. A student has no anonymity when they use the systems we provide but we want them to be anonymous when they are on the ‘open web’ as part of the strategy for keeping them safe.  

Google Apps was selected because it is a $0 cost option that provides us flexibility and insurance at a time of great change and uncertainty. It not only lets us explore changes to pedagogy, but also changes to ICT delivery. Neither TCEO office nor a school builds it, hosts it or monitors space usage. It gives the user a lot of power to protect their work or determine who has access. And it gives us a lot of information should we have to audit a student’s activities within the suite. When a super system eventually rolls out, any work done by staff or students in Google can be added or linked to from within sites or documents created in the new system. Finally, if the super systems prove to be less than their “marketing hype”, we have all the tools we need to get on with our core business (creating, communicating, collaborating, and inquiring).

Friday, 1 April 2011

2011 School Visit Checklist for the Tech Team

Our schools have Technicians and ICT Reps.
Technician Duties for all the schools we support
Let's call these baseline because if these things are not working, then anything we add over the top will have issues.  
  1. The Domain Bot is working correctly
    • New users are created on the domain, on MyInternet and on DataJug;
    • the change password, change group1  and change forwarding address2 features work properly from DataJug. These can no longer be carried out from MyInternet once the LDAP transformation is complete.


Note: Ryan, SMMC, BCHS, St Anthony's are now on LDAP like the primary schools. That means there is auto account generation on the school curriculum domain, MyInternet and Google.

  1.  All staff can connect to the school network from their classroom :
    • by detecting the wireless access point and autoconnecting;
    • by plugging in a blue RJ45 cable and using a live port on the wall;

  2. All staff have a laptop 3   and it is configured according to the "Getting Started Begining of Year" document on Sharepoint. That means
    • they have local admin rights;
    • their username/password match their datajug and network login credentials;
    • their printers are installed;
    • their drives are mapped;
    • they can print, access the internet, access network shares
    • and can leave files for students and collect files from students.

  1. When a staff account logs into a school machine, the login script functions correctly and they end up with the right permissions, the right mapped drives, internet access and printer access.
  2. When a student account logs into a domain machine, the login script functions correctly and they end up with the right permissions, the right mapped drives, internet access and printer access. They do not have local admin or the permission to install software.
  3. Student machines in labs and classrooms are working, being repaired on Warranty or being disposed of. (We will continue to phase out ex-defense machines and phase in laptops, netbooks and other portable devices for use in classrooms by KLA teachers.)
  4. The TCEO image is used for all staff and student devices OR the school has its own image available so new computers can be imaged prior to deployment to the school.  

What Does The School ICT Rep Need To do?

The school IT Rep is the first port of call to ensure the BASICS are in place and working as they should. The TCEO Tech Support team member relies on your ongoing feedback to know the system is working as it should. But your role is not just infrastructure. You have to bring infrastructure to the attention of teachers and learners and challenge both to make best use of it for teaching, learning and administration. 

  1. Ensure staff can connect via their laptops in their classroom. This includes knowing how to switch to blue cable in the event wireless is not working.
  2. Ensure all staff are marking their rolls online (using DataJug);
  3. Show staff how to register IT requests on HelpDesk. These requests come to you the IT rep first and foremost. (You can configure DataJug so it sends you an email each time a request is logged). Any request that can't be fixed by you the IT Rep needs to be "Forwarded To TCEO". This is a function on DataJug available to all ICT reps.
  4. Periodically check that the dataJug updates are happening regularly. A rep can check the last time DataJug pulled data from Maze and copied to DataJug by going to Admin, Account Management, Update Information.

  5. Make sure staff have the know-how and the access to achieve the "Expected Proficiencies for 2011"  particularly meeting the call to engage in 'Contemporary Learning'.  Some of the skills required to achieve these 2011 objectives include:
    • creating their own Google Sites page/site and using it to:
      • distribute resources;
      • engage students and others in discussion (using forums);
      • communicate dates and other information to students and class community.
    • sharing their units and assessment tasks with the diocese via the CTJ processes4 or with their classes and communities via Google Apps
    • using the Tandberg Movi Client for Video Conferencing OR Google Video Chat that comes bundled with their Google Apps mail account.
    • access to Scootle5 and embedding Learning Federation objects and Learning Journeys in units of work.
    • challenging staff to use Contemporary Tools. MyInternet is one such tool. 
  6. The Google Apps Rollout For the rest of 2011, Staff and students will be given instructions so they can move their mail, documents and sites stored on-line from MyInternet to Google.  
Click here then do modules 1 and 2 to set yourself up and gain 6 hours towards QCOT.

Google Apps is a suite of tools which combines all the functions mentioned in 5 above into one integrated suite. That means the same account (ie your datajug username and password) gets you into:
  • mail;
  • calendar;
  • documents;
  • sites (including blogs and wikis)
  • chat
  • Video or voice chat.
All staff and students have accounts NOW to the Google Apps suite.


1 This is the MyInternet group eg. Teacher, Student, Admin etc. "Teacher" is the group with most privilege on MyInternet-Robie Jayawardhana 25/01/2010 13:54

2 The Forwarding Address change is particularly important for staff using the accounts. Their MyMail needs to be forwarded to outlook. Also Outlook needs to be configured as RPC over HTTP so these staff have access to shared calendars.

3 We supply laptops for teachers at the school for 15 Hours or more. The school needs to supply laptops for other part-time staff.

4 Staff have been asked to upload units via Curriculum Developers so there is a layer of quality control.

5 Scootle access is achieved by sending all members of 1 school a particular link. Each staff member "self registers" using that link. Please see school librarian for this link.