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Issue 100 - Term 3 Week 6

Issue 100 - 2023 | Term 3 | Week 6

A look back at past issues of news.T4L

If you asked us back in Term 2 of 2015 when we published the first issue of news.T4L whether it would still be going more than eight years later - and that we'd be publishing issue 100, we would have laughed. When you just focus on producing one issue, three times each school term, you typically don't think that far ahead. Nevertheless, here we are!

With 12 issues per year, the numbers slowly crept up - and as long as you keep producing what schools want, you keep going. Over 1,300 articles written, scores of videos produced and 82 ICT Thoughts of the Day later, we've developed a repository of information that our analytics tell us schools keep referring back to, via the news.T4L Archive

Thanks to all of our readers! It's your positive feedback and our ever-growing subscriber base that helps to keep news.T4L going. We look forward to letting you know about every new issue released on the Monday morning of every Week 3, 6 and 9 each term!

All users of cloud storage should carefully consider the options when sharing files/folders. To align with tighter cyber security guidelines, a change to the default sharing option will be applied whenever users share their Microsoft cloud content. This covers all Office 365 apps, OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams. The current default option when sharing files in Microsoft 365 is "viewable by Anyone with the link". Users that choose the default option may be sharing sensitive content more widely than intended. From COB this Wednesday, 23 August, the default sharing option will be set to prompt the user to choose Specific people or groups. When sharing files with students or staff at your school, to maintain privacy and security, you will need to name individuals distinctly, or use the available Microsoft security groups, via the use of autofill. Just start typing and matching names automatically appear. School-based groups are available for students (scholastic years and roll classes), teachers and non-teachers in all schools. To access these groups, type a tilde (~), then your school code - e.g. ~1936 - and scroll down the list that appears to see the different groups!  

As part of any new influx of devices to your school, such as from the T4L Rollout or discretionary purchase, it's worth considering whether new devices arriving should add to your overall fleet, or replace ageing equipment. Schools should always plan to ensure devices on their network are reliable and productive.  Do you know what devices are still connected in your school, how old they are and how often they are used? It's worth auditing your fleet from time to time to identify the specifications of each device - with the goal to retire the oldest and least productive devices, sooner rather than later. As devices age, they no longer get critical system and driver updates, making them vulnerable to cyber attacks. In addition, newer operating systems and software are released by vendors, that make older devices incompatible and obsolete. You can use tools like ICT Plus and UDM to help you to identify Windows devices, your Jamf Pro console for Apple devices and Google Delegated Admin for Chromebooks. If you need advice on these tools and planning to avoid device obolescence, please log a call for your local Digital Field Services to assist.

Say goodbye to stacks of paper and hello to digital efficiency! With Adobe's Prepare Form feature, converting PDFs into interactive fillable forms is a breeze. No more handwriting headaches - let parents and carers type directly into a form by embracing paperless school systems. The Prepare Form feature in Acrobat DC is simple and intuitive. The quick video tutorial below was produced by Kate Jones, one of our Digital Learning Advisers. Fillable PDFs can be distributed to the school community via your school's information platform, school web site or via email. Parents and carers can easily download, complete, save and email these PDFs back to the school, where they can be stored appropriately. No more worries about notes going missing or getting damaged at the bottom of the school bag. It also means that schools can save time and money on printing notes that often don't find their way home! More Adobe resources at the T4L site.

As new Windows devices start arriving in the school, remember to think about what version of Acrobat is needed on each device. Adobe Acrobat (DC) was removed from the initial eT4L Windows build four years ago. Only Acrobat Reader is pre-installed. This was done because the majority of devices in schools are used by students and if they never need to edit PDFs, there is little point deploying a complex, resource-hungry program like Acrobat to all devices. If there is a need for certain users to edit PDF files, the Acrobat package must be deployed separately from the list of Enterprise software in UDM to their devices. Once installed, it is necessary to sign into your DoE Adobe account with your department email address to activate it and other programs that are part of Adobe Creative Cloud. There is no need to sign in to use Acrobat Reader. Please explain these differences to staff and students at school to avoid confusion.

Google Web Designer running on a laptop

Many schools introduce website creation for their students in the form of Microsoft Sway or Google Sites or maybe even using Canva. But the next step up from that if you want to teach web design to your students, is Adobe Dreamweaver. While it delivers an industry-standard web design platform, it's also a giant leap in skillset needed for both students and staff, to take full advantage of the tool.

Google recently published a new, free desktop app for HTML5 web design for both Windows and Apple Mac devices. Creatively titled Google Web Designer, it's a good intermediate step for students and well worth considering for your stages 4 and 5 IT programs. For eT4L managed Windows devices, it has also been recently added to DoE Software Catalogue for easy deployment to multiple devices.

The 2023-24 T4L Rollout closed on 11 August with orders from 2200+ schools. Data has been collated and vendor orders are soon to be raised. At this stage, delivery timing is not confirmed, however there will be no deliveries during weeks 9 & 10 this term, before restarting from Week 1 in Term 4. Couriers contracted to deliver to your school must unload into the school's nominated location. When taking delivery, it will greatly assist us if you:

  • count all boxes, only sign for received items
  • take note of any damaged boxes on the delivery docket. For concerning damage, you can refuse delivery of those boxes 
  • report all concerns relating to delivery of your T4L Rollout order to - including any photos taken
  • sign the consignment or proof of delivery note (POD) and legibly print the receiver’s name to help us with tracking issues.

If you have any questions about the T4L Computer Equipment Rollout, please contact the project team via email at:

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid. Some ransomware spreads across networks, affecting multiple computers and files stored on servers. Helpful advice:

  1. If you notice a department device exhibiting unusual behaviour, such as icons and file extensions changing appearance at speed, files and folders becoming locked, or a ransom message on your screen, disconnect the device from any network immediately - if wired, unplug the ethernet cable. If wireless, turn WiFi off in Windows
  2. Report the incident to EDConnect on 1300 32 32 32 (option 5 for IT)
  3. We will collect, analyse, reimage and return the device.

Please do not shut down or switch off the device. If you see any suspected infected device, never connect it to the network. Never reimage the device either, as this will delete all evidence of the crime along with clues about the criminals that initiated it.

Are you looking for extra resources to support your students with their learning? We have the NSW Student Learning Library just for that! You can access a suite of K-2 English and Mathematics learning resources to be used in class. They are also available for parents, carers and students to use at home! Check out a sample of some of our resources below. 

Teachers can find these resources on the Universal Resources Hub.

The Minecraft Education Teacher Academy provides self-paced learning modules that take you from Getting Started all the way through to Minecraft collaboration! The three modules focus on using Minecraft Education as a teaching and learning tool to support strong pedagogical practices. After completing this learning path, you'll be a Minecraft Certified Teacher and receive the badge as well as an invitation to join the Minecraft Certified Teacher community. This is a great way to get staff started with Minecraft in the classroom and a fantastic upskilling opportunity for staff that want to dive into immersive learning tools. Estimated completion time is three hours including in-game practice.

Our cybermarvel superheroes!

Register your class now for an Online Safety reboot in Term 4! Our Cybermarvel program this year will be jam-packed with fun and engaging activities for everyone! Teachers have some great webinars like Cyber Savvy Educator and Social media self-defence for school leaders. Parents and carers have Navigating online friendships and more!

Resources for Primary schools:

  • Ollie Online: Sing, dance, take care and don’t share (K-2)
  • Online resilience: Learn about banter and bullying and how apps steal your attention (3-4)
  • Be an eSafe kid: Protect yourself with device settings and a family tech agreement (3-6)
  • Thrive online: Learn to be clever online consumers (5-6)
  • Digital dilemmas: Show empathy and integrity online, don’t give in to peer pressure (5-6)

And for High schools:

In case you missed it, you can watch below the recording of the first drop-in session covering the new policy on students’ use of mobile phones in schools. The Digital Learning team has two more live online drop-in sessions to provide high schools with extra support as they prepare for the start of term 4. Register for Wed 23/8 at 8am OR Thu 14/9 at 3:30pm if you have any unresolved questions. Alternatively, you can email any locally specific questions to the mailbox for a quick response.

At the same time as we were putting together this 100th issue of news.T4L, we presented the 100th episode of Viva Hot Spots! Joining Greig and Stu for a live chat were the department's Chief Information & Data Officer - Josh Roberts, together with ITD's Executive Director, Digital Learning - Mark Greentree. Talking tech with these senior executive leaders in the department, to recognise a major milestone for one of the T4L team's communication channels for schools, was both interesting and informative. Click the play button below and celebrate with us!

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?