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Issue 85 - Term 2 Week 6

Issue 85 - 2022 | Term 2 | Week 6

Windows 10 v21H2 in-place upgrade

Microsoft has ended support for Windows v1909. This means that no more security updates will be released, leaving these devices vulnerable. The NSW Government mandated that NO out-of-support device can be on state government department networks. On April 8, we made v21H2 available via F12-rebuild. This is a wipe and reload procedure and many schools have already upgraded a significant portion of their Windows fleet of devices. ITD recommends that all student-use devices that are running v1909 be F12-rebuilt as soon as possible. For remaining devices that are still on v1909, we will enable 1909 to 21H2 in-place upgrades from May 31. This should update these devices without the need to wipe all content from them first. The in-place upgrade will silently download, then affected users will see a message saying that the upgrade is ready to install and will need a restart. Please advise them that the actual installation can take up to 60 minutes to complete from that point. It should be understood that some in-place upgrades are expected to fail, usually due to insufficient disk space. The upgrade will roll-back, but will keep retrying. These devices will require an F12-rebuild.  Please refer to the link above for more details about the in-place upgrade option.

Google Chrome is now set as the default browser and we are about to release some changes around Chrome extensions on managed Windows devices. Right now, no student can add extensions from the Chrome extensions store, to their Chrome or Edge browser on school-owned Windows devices. Staff can add ANY extension currently. From Wednesday 8 June, as a security measure, adding extensions will be locked down, with only whitelisted extensions available. Any approved extension can be installed by either staff OR students on managed Windows devices. Extensions that are not approved will no longer function. Schools can request new extensions be approved and whitelisted by lodging an online EDConnect ticket. More details about using extensions on Chrome and Edge, including the list of approved extensions are available on our Browser improvements page.

Back in issue 79 of news.T4L, we launched YouTube in a restricted mode, for all students from K through 10. All staff members and students in years 11 and 12 are also restricted, unless they first logon to YouTube with their Google account, to allow unrestricted access. YouTube's AI determines which videos are "safe" for viewing by children and blocks those that it deems are unsuitable. Teachers can check and instantly override blocks on videos that they wish to use with students. But there is no instant way to block videos that YouTube allows, that individual teachers or schools may deem unsuitable. Such videos can be reported to YouTube using the REPORT flag under each video, but each is individually reviewed and may not be blocked. To date, only a small number of K-6 schools have raised concerns about the ongoing availability of YouTube for their students.

Something has stopped working on your computer device and everything is pointing to it being faulty hardware. After some basic troubleshooting - as we conveniently included in our previous issue, you should probably confirm if the device still has warranty or not.  One clever way of easily keeping track, is by using a non-corrosive permanent marker, like the gold or silver ones, and neatly write the month/ year of receipt on the bottom of each device. Then it's just a matter of knowing how long the warranty is for each type of device. If you think your device is in warranty, log an EDConnect ticket to commence the warranty repair/replacement process.

  • 11.6" notebooks and Chromebooks - 2 years
  • 13" or larger notebooks - 4 years
  • Desktops and monitors - 4 years
  • Apple iPad - 1 + 1 year | Apple Mac - 3 years
  • MS Surface - 4 years | Go Tablet - 2 years

If you've ever logged a ticket with the department's EDConnect service desk about a technology-related matter,  you've probably discovered that some incidents or requests are quicker to resolve than others. Technology can be very straightforward, but it can also be very complex. EDConnect is the starting point of getting your issue resolved. They log the tickets, investigate, and in most cases the first person that takes your call is able to resolve it. But in some cases, your ticket needs to be escalated to the right team in ITD for inspection, action and resolution. In some of these cases, several separate ITD teams are involved and need to work together. But in the end, everybody wants to provide you the right resolution. If you ever have concerns about the resolution sent to you via email, the best option is to immediately phone EDConnect on 1300 32 32 32 and quote your reference number and provide all additional details. They’ll re-open your call if needed and chase anything that may have been missed.

Malicious emails and attachments

With the global increase in malicious online activity, staff across the department are seeing more emails containing potentially dangerous links or attachments. To help protect staff,  two new features in Microsoft 365 called Safe Links and Safe Attachments will be enabled. When you receive links or attachments, in either your Outlook email or on Teams, they will be automatically checked first to ensure they are safe. The Safe Links feature modifies links in emails and MS Teams, so they can be safely checked each time you click them. When you hover over a link, you may see the URL starting with followed by the destination address. When you click one of these modified links, you may briefly see the browser checking the link, before redirecting you to the destination page. This happens quickly, so you may not even notice. If the destination link is identified as unsafe, you will receive a warning message in your browser and be prevented from visiting that destination.  Safe Attachments virtually opens all attachments during transit to ensure they have no malicious content embedded. If you are sent an attachment that is unsafe, the system will prevent the email from being delivered, to ensure you remain safe. These features will be turned on for all school staff from Thursday 2 June.

Based on teacher feedback, the stem.T4L team are adding Merge Cubes into the Handheld VR kit. A Merge Cube is a curious looking cube that when coupled with an iOS app, turns into an incredible augmented reality (AR) experience! For visual-spatial learners, it puts their learning into the palm of their hand. From a virtual look at Earth's tectonic plates to a model of a Mars rover, students can interact with the AR object from every possible angle. With Merge Cubes and Nearpod VR as part of the Handheld VR kit, it further enhances the learning experience. Jump onto the booking system and book a Handheld VR or one of the many other stem.T4L kits, and visit the stem.T4L Learning Library for more info. 

Email has been a fact of our working lives for decades now, and all NSW DoE staff use Microsoft Outlook as their email inbox. It's expected that all staff regularly check their email and also respond to messages that need responses - in an appropriate period of time.  With busy workloads, this can be a challenge. But did you know there are tools built into both the Outlook desktop app and Outlook webmail to help you better manage your inbox? By applying some simple strategies, you can plough through your inbox quicker and respond to those important emails more promptly. Which emails are important? What should you deal with right now and which emails can wait? Watch this video to get some useful tips!

It doesn't matter what device you use - desktop, laptop, Chromebook, tablet, smart phone - even your smart TV. Every so often, something doesn't work the way you want. But rather than calling for help in the first instance, a simple problem solving tip is to restart the device. Even better, fully shut down the device, wait 30 seconds and then power it back on. Test what you had trouble with again and in many cases, the problem has gone! But why? A restart works because it wipes away the current state of all software on the device. Any code that‘s stuck in a misbehaving state is also cleared. When you restart, the device will bring the operating system up from scratch, relaunching every background app, so it will work as designed. If you use your devices so often that you only ever close the lid of your laptop, or you just leave your phone or TV in standby mode, you'll avoid many problems if you power them down at least once a week.

Apple wants to make every aspect of your school’s experience with Apple products to be simple and intuitive. That starts with support of your school's IT staff, at each step of device deployment. School ICT coordinators and Technology Support Officers (TSO), and even your external IT contractor will be able to better support your school through targeted professional learning. To assist, Apple is running multiple free one hour sessions in June, to learn about the latest deployment and management features for their devices.

  • Deploying iPad in Education - 4 sessions available
  • Discover Apple Classroom - 3 sessions available

More information and registration links are at

A photo of the latest issues of T4L Kids and magazine.T4L

We know there's a lot of love out there from teachers and students for both our regular magazines. So much work goes into producing each issue and this year, we're working extra hard to make sure that each of the pair complements the other around a specific theme. We want our teachers and our students on the same page!  Get the most out of tech with our 20th issue of magazine.T4L! Investigate new innovations in our lab and hit the Refresh button on your tech skills with some great tips for your techy classroom.  And as far as your students are concerned, we see every day that we all live in a world of influencers. In issue 9 of T4L Kids, you’ll meet a group of student influencers called the DOVES and hear about their plans for action. You’ll also find exciting tech to empower your own student voice, to share your passion about a concerning issue, or bright idea in your own community. Share these links with your staff and students!

If your school is arranging to get any new installation that connects to the school's ethernet or WiFi network that isn't a regular computer or printer, please inform your local ICT field services team. What kinds of installations are we referring to?

  • IP telephony and intercoms
  • Security cameras and closed circuit TV
  • School bells and personal address (PA) systems
  • Security alarm panel upgrades
  • Digital school signs
  • Extending the wired or wireless network

All of these additions can impact the rest of the school's network and perhaps even beyond. It's important to get the best advice before proceeding. Please log an online EdConnect call to let the local ICT team know about your plans and help you to make the installation as smooth as possible.

As reported in March, every Chromebook, regardless of brand, has an Auto Update Expiry date, or AUE. A Chromebook and its operating system - Chrome OS, are deeply integrated. Because of this, Google pre-sets an end-of-life date on every Chromebook. From then, it will no longer receive feature and security updates.  Google has published advice where schools can check the AUE dates of their entire fleet of Chromebooks. To help schools further, we've identified every model of Chromebook enrolled in the department's Google domain which Google has classified as expired. There are significant numbers of some of these models. No decision has been made as yet about the removal of these unsupported devices from our Google domain, but schools with these specific models should plan for their removal/replacement.  Some schools bought significant numbers of Chromebooks from retailers before availability on EdBuy.  It's these models in particular that are affected, along with the earliest models available through EdBuy and previous T4L rollouts.

Information Technology Directorate publishes three issues of news.T4L each term. Remember - share each issue with your staff! And if you aren't receiving an email notification as soon as a new issue of news.T4L drops, then you're missing out! So why not subscribe?