LGFL BULLETIN – NUMBER 20 July 2004 1.
ACTIONS FOR LEA’S ...........................................................................1
PROGRESS REPORT - LONDON LEARNING THROUGH ICT ...........4
CONTENT DEVELOPMENT ..................................................................6
UPDATE FROM DIGITALBRAIN...........................................................7
UPDATE FROM EQUINOX....................................................................9
10. GETTING START WITH LGFL VIDEO-CONFERENCING ...................11
Actions for LEA’s
The LGfL online shop is available at: http://shop.lgfl.net. For a school to register, the nominated administrator should visit: http://shopregistration.lgfl.net. Minutes from 15th June 2004 LGfL Portal Development Group meeting can be found, using your LGfL login, at: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/accounts/subaccounts/leainfo/web/Portal%20Develo pment%20Group/Portal%20development%20Group%20minutes%2015th %20June.doc LEAs wishing to participate in a pilot of the London School Project Information Bank should contact Tim Stirrup at firstname.lastname@example.org. For full details of the changes made by Digitalbrain to the LGfL Portal/VLE, visit: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/web/newdevs/home/
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LEAs that have yet to complete template “case studies of interesting practice”, available on-line at: http://info.lgfl.digitalbrain.com/lgfl/accounts/subaccounts/info/web/ICT%20 Strategy%20for%20London/?status=1Upload%3d32complete&verb=list should do so as soon as possible and return to the project team at LGfL (email@example.com). Please feel free to add additional fields to the template to reflect local circumstances. Access to the newly-created ’Virtualpru’ staffroom can be located at: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/accounts/virtualpru/ To visit other virtual staffrooms visit: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/accounts/content/web/Virtual%20Staffroom/Virtual% 20Staffroom%20menu/ The OLOT information CD is freely available Edwina Dunn on 0208 408 4483. Any topic you would like to see included in the new portal for Network Managers and Technicians, email firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com or telephone: 08700 63 64 65 (Option 1) to report slow system access or poor performance. To report a website that has either been categorised incorrectly or not categorised, email the URL to: firstname.lastname@example.org To sign up for a USO account, contact your LEA LGfL representative, or email: email@example.com. Multiple users should email: firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain appropriate documentation. For details of portal site releases, and to access the roadmap, visit: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/web/LEA%20Portal%20Community/resources/Devel opment%20Requests%20-%20Monthly/?verb=list
School Connections URL Filtering Since January there has been a facility for users to contact Equinox regarding miscategorised sites which are then corrected by Equinox within the Customer Support Centre (CSC). Previously these requests were handled by Netsweeper in Canada and there were significant delays at times. This facility was promoted at sector meetings, FAQs were sent out to LEAs and guidance posted on the portal. Since January Equinox has only been asked to re-categorise 550 sites. With over 1100 sites using the filtering and a clear working 4 months of the facility being available and publicised, we can see that in 100,000 site-days of usage, 550 requests have been generated into CSC for site re-categorisation. This is 1 request per 2 schools in 4 months! Either things are going very much better, or users are still not notifying Equinox about their problems. We suspect there is a fair amount of the second option going on. Equinox very much wish to maintain a continuing trend of service improvement, but greatly need schools to report what the problems they are experiencing – please encourage schools to report URL filtering problems to the CSC and consider sending them a specific communiqué on this subject – many thanks.
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Latest advice from Equinox is that many schools and LEAs are now opting to operate Netsweeper with the ‘No-Cat’ category allowed, as well as human review. This means that when a new or unknown page is requested it is allowed but simultaneously submitted for categorisation to the artificial intelligence engines. This avoids frustrating delays for the user and gives better pace; it also however raises the risk of allowing uncategorised pages which should perhaps be blocked, in the same way that other ‘fail open’ systems (Websence, RM, N2H2) do. Over time more and more of the major elements which make up the sophisticated Netsweeper system are being located within the LGfL rather than in Canada; at present arrangements are being made to locate dedicated artificial intelligence servers here rather than being dependent on those in Canada. It is recognised that with the huge size and volatility of the Internet, the perfect, failure-proof filtering system will probably never exist and the adoption of Acceptable Use policies and appropriate practice by schools will always be a feature of best practice in this area.
Services Update LGfL online shop The LGfL online shop is now ready for use, containing 41 suppliers of eLC approved content. The benefits to the school are that there will be extra discounts available, and that purchasing will be consolidated into fewer orders, thus minimising extra work for administrative and teaching staff. Each school that wishes to use the site has to nominate one person to be the administrator – this is most likely to be the person inside the school who now coordinates all the ordering. To register, schools visit this site: http://shopregistration.lgfl.net The shop is available here: http://shop.lgfl.net There will be a full launch of the LGfL online shop at the London Weekend Television studios. The date is to be confirmed. LGfL Visit to Rokeby School During June 2004, a number of LGfL staff were invited to present to Rokeby School in Newham. The school allocated a full staff meeting to the LGfL and benefited from an explanation of what LGfL is, how it can be used and how to find the content available. Whilst a useful event, it is felt that this sort of event could possible be best presented by dedicated ‘LGfL evangelists’, one for each sector; that can be invited to speak to groups of staff in a school or to groups of staff from a range of schools. LGfL Portal Development Group The group met on the 15th June 2004 at the LGfL offices in New Malden. Minutes of the meeting can be found at: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/accounts/subaccounts/leainfo/web/Portal%20Development%20 Group/Portal%20development%20Group%20minutes%2015th%20June.doc
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London School Project Information Bank LGfL considered developing a database with the intention of enabling LGfL users to obtain information regarding school details, however it became evident that there are other sources in the educational world that carry this data already – such as the DfES and Individual LEAs. The database concept has been extended to enable schools to edit their area – and in particular an area where they can add details on a number of projects they are doing inside the school and give contact details about who is responsible for the project. This information is then searchable by any user, returning those results that match. For example, a search on ‘boys literacy’ will return any school that is running a project that includes ‘boys literacy’ as a key term. Such a database for sharing knowledge does not exist inside London and would be a significant step to enabling knowledge sharing to take place at minimal cost. The school LGfL administrator would be the person responsible for entering the data. It would be good to have an LEA (or two…) that is keen to move on knowledge sharing to trial this in their schools. It is very much the case that the more people put onto the database, the more people will use it. It could therefore do with a ‘kickstart’. Please contact Tim Stirrup if you wish to take part in a pilot. LGfL@home The site is now operational. The ‘marketing material’ is being trialled and will be offered out to all LEAs in due course. LGfL Portal/VLE Site Release 8 Digitalbrain have released version 8 of the VLE. For full details of the changes, visit these pages: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/web/newdevs/home/
Progress Report - London Learning through ICT The London Learning through ICT project team have now completed the visits to all LEAs in London and including around 120 schools of all types. Confidential reports on the team’s observations during the visits have been sent to every LEA. The team are currently drafting an overall report of findings from the visits and drawing up recommendations for action across London to embed the use of ICT in teaching and learning and whole school improvement. This report will be discussed with the project advisory Group before being submitted to the London CEOs for their response to the recommendations. The report will be made public and include examples of interesting and effective practice in schools and LEAs across London. The aim is to submit a report to ALCEO by September as the basis for a plan of action. This action plan will focus on the way that ICT can contribute to solving the specific issues faced by education in London, as well as helping London to be ahead of the game on national issues. It will form the basis for the strategy to make London a leading centre for the use of ICT in education. The team are also working with London Challenge and the Specialist Schools trust to build up a database of interesting practice in use of ICT. This will be linked to the “families of schools” register and be available on the LGfL from September.
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Action Those LEAs that have not completed the template of interesting practice, available on-line at: http://info.lgfl.digitalbrain.com/lgfl/accounts/subaccounts/info/web/ICT%20Strategy%2 0for%20London/?status=1Upload%3d32complete&verb=list are asked to do so and return to the project team at LGfL (email@example.com) as soon as possible. Please feel free to add additional fields to the template to reflect local circumstances.
OLOT Project A new ‘virtualpru’ staffroom LGfL, with the assistance of the On: line On track (OLOT) project and Brian Marris Deputy Head Teacher from Hillingdon Tuition Centre, have created a ‘virtualpru’ staffroom for London’s Pupil Referral Units. It is located at http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/accounts/virtualpru/ and can be accessed without the need for an LGfL login.
Brian Marris says, “The reason this has been created is to enable colleagues to communicate across borough boundaries, to share resources and ask for help.” Brian encourages you to visit the ‘virtualpru’ staffroom and help build a PRU community across your London Grid.
If you wish to see other virtual staffrooms that have been created go to: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/accounts/content/web/Virtual%20Staffroom/Virtual%20S taffroom%20menu/ The OLOT Information CD Update The information CD about the On-line: On track Project (OLOT) has been sent out to 27 requesters to date. OLOT has been created to support excluded, or at risk of exclusion, young people between 13 and 17, especially Afro-Caribbean young people. There is no charge or fee for participation in the project.
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The information CD has PowerPoint presentations outlining the project with screen shots of the completed NVQ1 ICT mapped themed content on drugs, music, hit-tech, relationships and human rights and suggested session plans for students to progress through the material and the full NVQ1 ICT mapping with related evidence indexes. This information CD is freely available. To obtain the CD, or to get more information, contact Edwina Dunn on 0208 408 4483. Funding for the OLOT project is provided from the ‘London Development Agency: the Mayor’s agency for business and jobs’ through the ‘European Social Fund Objective 3’ initiative. The OLOT project is being delivered by LGfL across all London LEAs.
Content Development Audio Network On behalf of the whole RBC community, the London Grid for Learning has signed a contract with Audio Network to supply a library of professional-produced backing tracks to all LGfL users. The content, to be stored on LGfL servers will be accessed through a meta-tagged search engine enabling LGfL users to download relevant high quality sound tracks for presentations and media coursework LGfL/RGS Geography Conference The LGfL Secondary Geography conference, hosted by the Royal Geographical Society, featured excellent contributions from Chris Durbin, Kate Russell and David Gardner, giving London colleague a focussed and creative picture of the uses of online resources. The conference also allowed staff to assess the relative merits of a number of commercial GIS systems. Faiths 2 The second slice of content from Espresso, Faiths 2 featuring Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism, has now been circulated to all LEAs with enough copies for all London primary schools. Gigajam This computer-based learning system for instrument tuition has been tested successfully as an online resource. In addition the LGfL-sponsored pilot in Wandsworth has been rolled out to the borough’s music teachers with much acclaim. Goldsmiths’ College ITT pilot This DfES-funded pilot on the use of the portal within the ITT community is coming to a very successful conclusion. See the results through the LGfL Projects section within Content News. The results augur well for the roll-out of LGfL access to all of London’s ITT community, staff and students alike.
Operational Developments LGfL Support for London’s Network Managers and Technicians A new portal site for all Network Managers and Technicians will be setup over the summer break. This new area of the portal will offer a discussion facility, downloadable resources, links, Q and A and general support for all the LGfL services. The area will be administered centrally by LGfL, ensuring it being as up-to-
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date as possible, with all the latest services and developments. Full information will be available in the September 2004 project bulletin. Any topic you would like to see covered by this portal, please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maintenance Windows Equinox will be changing the times of the planned maintenance windows. Currently they are 00:00 - 05:00 Wednesday and 00:00 - 11.00 Sunday. Some problems have arisen with sites who wish to operate on the Sunday afternoons. Some have been faced with problematic access or in extreme cases no access if maintenance has been carried out during these times. As the support lines are not manned on Sundays, Equinox has been unable to resolve the problem. Moving the Maintenance windows to 00:00 - 06:00 Tuesdays and 00:00 - 06:00 Fridays should resolve this problem. Donâ€™t Suffer in Silenceâ€Ś Occasionally slow access or poor performance on your network can lead to an issue with your connectivity. If your school network is suffering from these or similar symptoms, please remember to log a call with the help desk. We have seen occasions where a school has suffered for some time until the problem has been resolved due to not reporting a suspected problem to the help desk. Email: email@example.com or telephone: 08700 63 64 65 option 1 Web Alerts Please remember, that if you are using the Netsweeper filtering service, if you happen to come across a website that has either been categorised incorrectly or not categorised please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL. This will be turned around by the Web Alert team at Equinox as quickly as possible. Sign up for a Unified Sign On Account Please remember that all teachers and support staff can sign up for a Unified Sign On account (USO). This username and password will allow you access to the LGfL Sophos anti-virus system, LGfL Videoconferencing system and the LGfL support site. The services that the USO validates will expand over time, so now is the time to get signed up. To sign up to the USO, you can contact your LEA LGfL representative, or email email@example.com. If you have multiple users to sign up a spreadsheet is available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain this.
Update from Digitalbrain Digitalbrain are implementing enhancements in the following areas:Webmail A 'Mail Delivery Rules' preference option will be introduced which will allow you to filter mails into designated folders based on the mail subject, sender or recipients. As part of this implementation, a 'Junk' folder will be automatically generated and become one of your default mail folders. Mail moved to this folder manually or as a result of a 'Mail Delivery Rule' will be deleted after three weeks unless it is removed from the folder.
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Discussions When taking part in a mail discussion, you will be able to move from one discussion to the next by clicking 'back' and 'next'. You will no longer have to exit one discussion thread in order to read the next message. The thread you are replying to will be displayed while you write the message. Content Creation • The creation of learning modules has been greatly simplified in order to make the process quicker and more intuitive. • When editing a learning module page, you will be able to insert a table using the tool bar in the java editor. Access Control • When setting access controls on a folder or object, you will find that the instructions have been made clearer. • When someone is denied access to a page due to access control restrictions, the information they receive has been simplified. • Bulk sign up reports will include information about the intake year each pupil account belongs to. Account Creation and Administration • When reviewing your accounts through the 'Administer Account' icon in the tool bar, it will be possible to export a csv containing details about all of the accounts in your institution. • The creation of individual accounts has been streamlined and simplified so that you can specify the creation of a staff or pupil account without needing to prepare a csv file. • When creating accounts (using any of the available methods), you will be able to specify the home page template for these accounts. Search Options and Browsing • An integrated free text search will become available. This will be accessible via the 'Search' (binoculars) icon in the tool bar and will perform a keyword search on all metadata that has been entered. • The 'flash browser' will be replaced in all of the places it is currently used by an 'html browser', for example when browsing for access control groups or inserting a file. This will resemble the 'flash browser' but will not require the installation of flash on the machine on which it is used. It will also improve the speed of browsing. Toolbar references • On the Digitalbrain toolbar, references have been adjusted from My Digitalbrain to My homepage, Portal Digitalbrain to Portal Homepage, Homepage to Current Homepage, Visit User Digitalbrain to Visit User homepage Additional Enhancements • The colours you have selected for shared calendar appointments will be displayed when viewing the calendar on your homepage (colours are currently only displayed in the full page calendar view). • When you click on a tab that links to an external URL (outside Digitalbrain), a new window will automatically open. This will allow you to close down the new window without losing the page you were previously viewing.
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You will be able to access your portal by typing in www. in front of the URL you usually use as well as continuing to use the existing one e.g. http://www.school.lea.lgfl.net will be directed to the same place as http://school.lea.lgfl.net .
Quota Capacity • When viewing your files listings, you will receive a message telling you how much space you are using, similar to the following: 'Welcome, teacher. This is your Digitalbrain: Remember to delete old or unused files. You are currently using 2. 88Mb storage'. This will allow you to monitor the amount of space you and your students are using. Subject to passing our QA testing procedure, these enhancements will be released over the weekend-beginning 2nd July 2004. Portal Update: Release 8.0 - scheduled for early July This release will incorporate developments at the specific request of LGfL. Developments include: • The implementation of tables in web pages with the ability to add rows / columns within the java editor. • The smiley face icon in the Digitalbrain toolbar will be renamed to support usability . It will now say ‘My Homepage’ • It will be possible to download account details in an excel file from the administer accounts area to allow for sorting/cross reference, etc. • Bulk sign up reports will have the year info as well so teachers can easily sort into classes. • User Definable Homepage Styles that automatically set up when an account is created. • A quicker and simpler process for creating Learning Module folders and pages • A 'Mail Delivery Rules' preference option will be introduced which will allow you to filter mails into designated folders based on the mail subject, sender or recipients. As part of this implementation, a 'Junk' folder will be automatically generated and become one of your default mail folders. Mail moved to this folder manually or as a result of a 'Mail Delivery Rule' will be deleted after three weeks unless it is removed from the folder. • Tabs to URLs which are not with the LGfL portal (eg www.google.uk) will now work in a similar way to a 'pop up' window, so that customers can easily navigate back to the page they came from. • Threaded mail discussions will follow a mail discussion using a 'next reply' or 'previous reply' button. • Flash browser will be replaced with an alternative method of browsing. Further Details for LEAs For further details of site releases, and to access the roadmap, visit: http://www.lgfl.net/lgfl/web/LEA%20Portal%20Community/resources/Development%2 0Requests%20-%20Monthly/?verb=list
Update from Equinox At the beginning of the calendar year it was not unusual to have 250 – 300 open incident tickets within the Equinox CSC. Over the last six months many Equinox teams have been working towards a set of common goals - to increase the quality of our services, to ensure higher stability levels and above all to delight you, our 9 of 13
customers. Right now, we have just 24 open tickets in the CSC call stack, our lowest level since we started working with you. This is one measure that shows our goals are being successfully worked towards. One of the catalysts for this change has been the increased use of ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) best practice within Equinox. In the areas of the business where we have finished implementing these best practice processes, the change is obvious. This change is helping to drive the vision of being your top service provider when it comes to customer satisfaction.
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10. GETTING START WITH LGfL VIDEO-CONFERENCING Ensure that your camera, microphone and speakers are connected before you start. Step 1: Start Internet Explorer
Navigate to the address: http://video.lgfl.org.uk The LGfL VC server welcome screen will be displayed. Step 2: If this is your first visit to the Video Conferencing system, you may need to install the client end on your PC. If you have used this system before, you will be welcomed with a list of conferences available and can skip to Step 4 Click on the Download Now button to download the installer.
The client will now download and Open
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You will now be prompted to Accept the Agreement and click install.
Now click on Finish
Step 3: You will now be prompted to setup your client PC. Select a name for you or the site you are conferencing from. (This is the name that other VC users will see.)
Ensure that the correct video and audio source have been selected. Then click on Finish Step 4: The next screen will display the front end to the VC client. A list of the public conferences will be displayed. If you know the conference number you wish to join type the number in here.
To join a public conference click on the name of the room you wish to join.
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Step 5: To create a conference click on the Create Conference button.
You will now be prompted to log on. Enter your Username and Password. (This can be obtained by emailing email@example.com) You will now be prompted to configure your conference. 1.. Give your conference a name 2.. Select to enable audio and video 3.. If you do not wish your conference to appear in the public view room list select Hidden 4.. You can password protect your conference. 5.. Invite another party via email. (The recipient will receive an invitation and a link that will take them direct to this conference)
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