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Loop and LoopRSP August Newsletter


Hi everyone - This is just a quick update on Loop and LoopRSP matters.


 


1.     Transition to N4L.


Thanks to a mammoth effort by N4L, the Loop engineers, school technicians and Network Tasman Limited (NTL) we have successively moved all schools onto the N4L.

Four quadrants of Loop activity had to be accommodated in a new model:

   Connectivity, internet, firewalls (for those who chose) and filtering – have passed over to N4L


   “Edserf “- the colleges’ shared server system, now operates over both the ‘legacy Loop’ (provided by NTL) and the N4L.


   “Crystal” - the Loop’s cutting edge IAM, SSO and provisioning service, has been established as an independent service now available through the cloud to any NZ school.


   Advice, guidance, advocacy and LoopRSP PLD…. is in limbo until we see what comes through Learning Technologies Advisory, the IES programme and whatever else becomes available.

This has not been without its challenges and there are still a few teething problems but the vast majority of feedback has been very positive indeed.  We believe we will meet the key objective of no school receiving a lesser service than it did when on the Loop. 

I can’t speak highly enough of N4L’s commitment to finding effective solutions to complex challenges. They have worked their butts off to ensure a smooth transition and in following up when issues occur.  Likewise we are absolutely indebted to the commitment of the Loop team who have worked tirelessly on this project.

We hope that for most schools, this has been a relatively seamless process.  Remember, that from August onwards, that instead of paying a Loop fee you will now be invoiced by Edserf and Crystal if you are using their services.

The annual accounts have been audited.  Given that we started the resource-hungry transition planning in November and it gathered pace through February and March, the small $5000 deficit recorded for the year to March 31 is a very pleasing result.  The accounts are attached.

Finally, can I just thank those who have written to the Loop team expressing their appreciation for all that has been achieved for schools.  These endorsements have been greatly appreciated.

 


2.     Next steps for the Loop.


 While the Loop has now ceased offering services for fees, it still exists.  The expertise and relationships developed could still be leveraged to help schools – it’s just a matter of seeing how this might be best achieved.  So, once the dust settles and we have tidied up the Loop’s financial and contractual obligations, the directors and the Loop Trust will be looking at the “where to next” questions.  You can expect a communication in Term 4 outlining the possible options and seeking feedback. 



3.     The LoopRSP Programme.


Essentially, the LoopRSP formally ended at 30June – at least as a programme funded by the MOE.  However, we have at least three immediate initiatives still in play.  These include:

Our two repositories of information, resources and links.  The first is the LoopRSP website - which, while a little out of date, still has information from presenters and the various initiatives we have undertaken.  The second is the Future Focused Learning website which I am gradually developing as a repository of the best learnings and resources gathered over the last few years.  It's still very rough and a “work in progress” but there are a number of resources that people might find interesting.  Examples include: Talking with your community, “Platting the Weave” and Defining Future-focused learning.

 There is a commitment to maintain two interest groups - although these will need to be self-funding.  One is for the secondary school ICT Directors and the team of people they work with.  The other is a primary Lead Teachers’ forum.  The intention is to foster the relationships that have been established and offer an opportunity to collaborate around pertinent issues.  However, exactly how these two groups will operate is a little uncertain at this point so “watch this space!”


 The third initiative is in response to requests from a number of schools for support with after-school PLD sessions with staff around the use of Google Apps for Education.  As part of building ongoing sustainability, we have primed up a small team of local Google Apps experts (“GAFE Busters”) to offer schools PLD events tailored to the needs of individual schools. If you are interested in using the GAFE Busters as part of your professional development programme then just drop me a quick email.


One of the very clear messages from schools has been their desire to maintain the collaboration around learning with digital technologies and future-focused learning that we have initiated through the ICT PD clusters and LoopRSP.  Exactly how we will be able to achieve this is unclear. 

I am taking a break now – but will be back on deck at the start of October (after the election!) to begin working on how we might leverage government initiatives to help us sustain support for schools

Hope this is a useful update – and please email me if you have any questions.


Many thanks
Charles Newton  



Introducing Crystal


This new page introduces Crystal - the tool the Loop and LoopRSP are sponsoring to help schools manage life in an increasingly cloud-based environment.


Crystal manages and expands the capability of a school’s SMS, network directory (LDAP) and cloud interface to support learning in the increasingly web-based environment.


User identity data is taken from the school’s network and SMS and used to populate local and cloud services through a managed, secure, reliable and cost effective process.



LoopRSP March Newsletter 2014.

Action required:

Read this Newsletter - then follow the links below to register for upcoming workshops with Mark Osborne and Tania Coutts.

There is one unallocated timeslot - Morning (9:00 - 11:30 am) Thursday 8th May.  Fee $400.  Email me if interested. 

Recent Events

Secondary ICT Directors Forum.  This was held on Tuesday 18 March and focused on managing users in the increasingly web-based environment (Google, Hapara, Moodle) and progress in planning for the Loop/N4L merger.

 Please note:  There will be a similar forum for primary schools as soon as we have the finalised plan for the merger and a confirmed timeline.  Meeting details will be circulated soon.

Confirmed events

 Mark Osborne is returning to work with individual schools across Nelson and Marlborough. During his visits we have scheduled several open sessions that will be of interest to all schools – see below.

‘Google Apps for Beginners’ - with Tania Coutts.  If you are interested in having Tania work with your school and/or teachers you need to fill in the questionnaire

Ray Burkhill will be working with Marlborough secondary schools – date and arrangements to be confirmed.


Events under Consideration 

A Creative Commons Licensingseminar with Mark McGregor from Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand www.creativecommons.org.nz  to be held in Blenheim.


Just a quick heads up!

 Here are two events that may be of interest:

·       Orewa BYOD Conference

·       Ulearn 2014 in Rotorua

 Also, a number of schools are grappling with Modern Learning Environments.  Remember that Core Education has a great set of resources here.

 

Chromebooks for Trial

 To date three schools have borrowed the project’s two Chromebooks to try in their schools. It’s Marlborough’s turn next so if you are interested drop me a quick email at c.newton@iconz.co.nz

  

Tentative Details of the Mark Osborne Visits – the full schedule is here.  Please click on the hyperlinks to register. 

There is one unallocated timeslot - Morning (9:00 - 11:30 am) Thursday 8th May.  Fee $400.  Email me if interested. 

a)    We have scheduled three community evenings for boards, parents and interested community members: 

Nelson – Tuesday 8th of April

Blenheim – Tuesday 15th of April

Motueka – Tuesday 3rd of June

 More details once arrangements are finalised. 

b)    We are offering for events for principals and senior management:

·       Principals Breakfast in Nelson – 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Thursday 10th of April.

·       This will be followed by a morning for senior management teams. People can choose to attend both events if they wish.

·       In Blenheim - Secondary Principals' Breakfast 7:30 till 9:00 am on Tuesday, 15 April. 

·       Lunch and Open Forum for Primary Principals and Lead Teachers 12:30 to 3:00 pm. on Tuesday 15th of April.


c)    For teachers we have two general sessions:

·       For all interested teachers on Thursday, 8th May in Nelson from 12:30 till 4:30 p.m.

·       A Lead Teachers’ afternoon in Nelson on Wednesday 4th June 12:30 till 4:30 p.m. 

I will be circulating more details as arrangements are confirmed – but please note these dates in your diaries now.

  

"Managing in the Cloud" 

 One of the emerging challenges for schools is managing the supervision and provisioning of students across the increasing number of cloud-based applications teachers are using. This is rapidly becoming a major headache especially for larger schools!

To support this dimension and to automate as much of the process as possible, Geoff Scrimgeour and Barry Benbow have been doing a huge amount of work with the leading schools to develop an effective IAM and provisioning service (tagged "Crystal" - http://www.crystal.school.nz/Crystal/Crystalindex.htm) that can manage identities, provision accounts and provide management tools to help those with IAM responsibilities.

This will be a focus on the planned Forum for primary schools. The LoopRSP programme and a Loop are supporting this work as it is becoming mission-critical to effective teaching and learning In the Cloud. 

 

 

Taking Nelson to Gig Speed!

You may have heard that Nelson is currently third position in Chorus’s Giga-town competition. (Nelson Mail article).  Yes, it’s part of their marketing strategy. However, it’s a great opportunity for Nelson, the e-Town and birthplace of the Loop to become the G-Town!

 But we need your help by encouraging participation in the schools’ competition for both Juniors (years 1-8) and Seniors (years 9-13). (Details here)  Check it out and help ensure the ‘next generation’ is able to study, work and live in a connected Nelson.  Also, if you haven’t registered your support for Nelson then please do so here. Sign up, encourage at list one friend and hit the hashtags. Every vote counts!

 

 

Change of address for LoopRSP invoices.

With Nayland restructuring their accounting services, responsibility for the Loop and therefore the LoopRSP accounts now lies with the Loop.  Rhonda Andrews is continuing to manage the day-to-day accounts while Elaine Osborne is handling our monthly reporting and end of year accounts. To that end the LoopRSP Accounts address is now:

The LoopRSP

℅ Rhonda Andrews

27 Aston Place

Richmond

NELSON  7020

Email to rhonda.andrews627@gmail.com

 

End of a chapter

On a sad note – the LoopRSP contract is drawing to a close on 30 June so these will be the final events. Support for “Crystal” (see above) and the strategic work I am doing with schools will continue till the end of Term 2. After that, who knows......... that will be the next challenge we face.

Any comments, questions or suggestions then drop me a line at c.newton@iconz.co.nz

 Many thanks

Charles Newton


Loop Update for September 2013 - posted here

Want to try out your options - The Loop has two Chromebooks and two iPad mini's that schools can borrow to try out. Email me if you are interested.


Next Events confirmed or on the drawing board - please note the dates!


Hands on Beginners Guide to Google Apps sessions with Tania Coutts........

21st October in Nelson and 22nd of October in Blenheim

Tania will be offering "hand's on" sessions covering various aspects of Google Apps
There will be sessions in both Nelson and Blenheim.

Registrations are open. Click here for Nelson on Monday 21st. Click here for Marlborough on Tuesday 22nd.




We are also considering at a session on Microsoft 365 - if there is sufficient interest.  

Looking at a date in late November.



RECENT EVENTS


Mark Osborne in Blenheim on Thursday 29th August.

This will be another of Mark's Master Classes
Details and resources here


Presentation from Norcom around Chromebooks 

Norrcom Chromebooks Sessions


We will post their presentations when available. The Loop is looking to get two Chromebooks that schools can borrow to try out. Email me if you are interested.


Matt McGregor led us through the Creative Commons Licence process. 
This was a very informative and valuable session.

Here is Matt's presentation



Here is an informative presentation from Mark's recent Master Class


Three readings from Mark Osborne




Things you need to know about Google Apps for Education and security

Posted by Suan Yeo, Head of Google Apps for Education, Asia and Pacific

Schools and universities around the world are turning to Google Apps for Education to communicate and collaborate more efficiently. These tools are given to schools and universities for free because we are committed to supporting education and learning.

 We’re also committed to protecting the privacy and security of our users — and that includes students. Here are a few important things to know about Google Apps for Education and student accounts:

 Google Apps for Education is not ad-supported - Advertising is turned off by default in Google Apps for Education. So unless a school administrator chooses to turn ads on, students will not see any of them while using Google Apps services.

 Students and schools own their data - The data schools and students put into our systems is theirs, and we believe it should stay that way. If an education department, school or university decides to no longer use Google we make it easy for them to take their data away. Most importantly, Google does not sell students’ — or any other users’ — information.

 Student accounts are separate to other Google accounts - Student account information is never linked with any other consumer accounts they may open. In addition, Google Apps for Education offers schools a number of additional controls and security features. These include a 99.9% uptime guarantee, 24/7 customer support, greater storage capacity and the ability for school administrators to turn certain features on or off. As with all our accounts, we keep our users secure by filtering out spam and looking out for viruses and malware.

 Google Apps for Education helps thousands of schools and universities around the world to work more efficiently, collaboratively and securely. To learn more about how Google Apps for Education keeps student data secure, read our security policy.

 




Stop Press!!

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye has promised "further announcements" about the rollout of the N4L (Network for Learning) within the next 3 weeks read the details here.   Finally, we might get some idea of what is planned.

Also, great news for us. Because of the delay to the N4L rollout, the LoopRSP programme is to be funded for a further 12 months! Furthermore, we will continue to receive this funding even if the Loop joins the N4L. Shortly, I will begin seeking feedback from principals and lead teachers as to what we should be focusing on during this third year of the programme.

The Loop is hosting a visit by Carolyn Stuart, Education Sector Lead for the N4L, so she can broaden her understanding on the eLearning needs of secondary schools in the UFB environment. Nelson Girls and Waimea are hosting her for school visits and there will be a lunch meeting for any other elearning Durectors who would like to meet Carolyn.



Next Events on the drawing board............please note the dates!

Mark Osborne in Nelson on Wed 19th June - in Blenheim on Thurs 20th June.
In Nelson......New Learning Spaces .........hosted at Hampden Street School.

In Blenheim on Thursday 20th there will be a "Big Picture" breakfast for principals and then a BYOD and Moodle workshop.


We have also secured Mark for a one-off "BYOD in Secondaries" session in Nelson on Monday 24 June. 
This will be hosted at Garin College. While it will focus on BYOD in the colleges, anyone is welcome. Details to be confirmed.


Hands on Google Apps sessions with Tania Coutts........around the 2-6th September

Tania will be offering "hand's on" tutorials covering various aspects of Google Apps
There will be sessions in both Nelson and Blenheim. Final dates and details to be advised.


Please note these dates....and expect more details later this week.




Recent Events

Loop AGM - will now be held as two separate sessions – the first in Nelson at the Honest Lawyer on Tuesday 28th of May and then in Blenheim at Bohally on Wednesday 29th May.

All schools are welcome as we will be having an informal Q&A session to help people get up to speed with developments in the Loop and how these complement what is happening nationally.


Tania Coutts was in Nelson on Monday 13th May and in Blenheim on Tuesday 14th May working with Primaries on Google Apps.

Donna Smith from St Hilda's ran a whole day workshop on Friday 10th May - working with Secondary English Teachers. This was an an excellent session!


A great big "Thanks" to Hampden Street, Richmond, Brightwater and Waimea Intermediate who hosted groups from Parklands on their "eLearning bus trip" to local schools.  This was a highly beneficial event!




Great to see a large number of you taking advantage of recent events.  Hope these were of value.  Any feedback would be much appreciated!  Just drop me an email.... c.newton@iconz.co.nz
  • Mark Osborne principals breakfast and two workshops on Thursday 18th April
  • L@S One Day Conference in Nelson on Friday 19th April.  

 




Other Term Two Events under consideration...... dependant on demand and availability.

 

·         A BYOD Update seminar where people can share experiences and best-practice.

·         A further visit from Mark Osborne to both Nelson and Marlborough

·         A follow-up session with Cheryl Doig in Blenheim

·         Sponsoring a "New Learning Spaces" project.

·         A one day workshop for Librarians and Library teachers following up on last year’s "best practice" visits.

·         An information session focusing on Scopia and desktop-to-desktop VC options.



Term Two Ongoing Support for Schools

 

·         “Help desk” advice and guidance for principals, eLearning Directors and Lead Teachers.

·         Elearning capacity audit and e-strategic thinking/planning support – as requested and via the “BuildingElearning Capacity” site.  

·         Technical support (as appropriate)  – and disseminating "best practice" technical and network management advice. 

·         Support around BYOD issues - including refining the checklist designed to guide schools implementing BYOD and mobile devices.

·         Consolidating links to a wide range of resources that schools are requesting via the LoopRSP and “BuildingElearning Capacity” sites.

·         Continuing to promote the Loop's Extranet and the valuable resources this contains.

·         Sponsoring Single Sign On development so this becomes a self-sustaining service.

·         Supporting Allanah King in her work with the eLearning Support Group - the Link Learning project extension. 

·         Complementing and supporting the work of the CORE Blended eLearning team working with various local schools.


 

 



The April 2013 Loop Newsletter is now available - check it out here




Want to know all about Blended eLearning?

Here is the enabling elearning   site.......http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Professional-development/e-Learning-PD#access



New Easy Access to EPIC

The Loop has negotiated with EPIC for a new front end to EPIC that doesn’t require a password.

Have a look.  http://epic.theloop.school.nz/



We also now have SSO access to Sumdog. Sumdog's free mathematics games engage students of all abilities. Sumdog is a trademark of Crocodile Clips (http://www.crocodile-clips.com) established in 1994. Last year, over 10,000 schools around the world took part in one of Sumdog’s maths contests. Students had a great time, and many teachers noticed a significant improvement in test scores.

You can manage your email preferences on your Sumdog.com profile page at http://www.sumdog.com/teacher/profile/edit



Hope you have a smooth start to Term 2 2013

Many thanks
Charles Newton
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