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Issue 103 - Term 4 Week 6

Issue 103 - 2023 | Term 4 | Week 6

A message saying that the New Teams client is ready to run on your device

In Week 9 last term, we turned on the option in Microsoft Teams desktop client to try the new version of Teams. Many school and corporate staff flicked the switch, and along with some cosmetic interface changes, discovered a faster, leaner and more reliable Teams experience.  Following that extensive user testing, and with Microsoft moving all their future Teams development to the new client, we're now ready to move all users to the new Teams experience. From next Monday morning (20 November), all staff and students that still use the old desktop client, will have the new Teams client automatically deployed. Once ready, users will be prompted to "Switch now" or "Switch when I'm not using Teams".

If a user wants to switch back to the old (classic) version of the Teams desktop client, they will be able to for a limited time. This is done by turning off the "New Teams" toggle in the 3 dots menu at the top-right beside their profile pic.

In our previous issue, we advised that the big leap to Windows 11 in NSW public schools was on its way, depending on successful completion of testing and feedback, during a trial that commenced in Week 3. With many thanks to the schools that participated and shared their user experience with the upgrade, a significant issue was identified, relating to automatic wireless connection upon build completion. As the team continues work to resolve the issue, the scheduled go-live for Week 5 had to be delayed. At this stage we have no confirmed new date, but the team is working hard to ensure a release prior to the school holidays, to allow interested TSOs to perform Windows 11 rebuilds over the break. Schools that participated in the testing will continue to have access to Win 11 builds for desktop devices. For those interested in the technical details of the wireless issue, please refer to this discussion on Viva Engage.

How can teachers use technology to identify, track and analyse changes in their students’ cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellbeing? Microsoft Reflect is an easy-to-use app that helps you create impactful daily or weekly wellbeing student check-ins, to gain insights and build a happier and healthier learning community. The app provides students with a voice, enhances emotional vocabulary, deepens peer empathy and provides feedback to the teacher. Reflect is an automatic tab when creating a Microsoft Class Team. You can also type ‘’ into your browser address bar for easy access, then share the link on any other online tool used in class. Students sign in using their accounts. Digital Learning Advisor, Rochelle Bennett has put together this short introductory video below. Let’s reflect on wellbeing so students can connect, succeed and thrive in their learning!

Using apps for digital book creation in class allows students to create products combining writing, illustration, photography and multimedia. Students can stretch their literacy skills through a longer-form story, poetry, creating a magazine or reflecting on their learning from a study unit. Teachers can also use these tools to create their own eBooks as well, like customised lesson books that present the desired learning through re-formatted existing teaching resources. In the past, creating eBooks often required using dedicated, sometimes complex and costly software, but today all of our schools have access to easy eBook creation tools with built-in templates for free, through both Canva and Adobe Express! Just sign into both with your department account. Here are some quick tutorials to help you get started:

Information Technology Directorate (ITD) changed the process for deploying newer versions of ChromeOS to our managed Chromebooks across NSW. This change ensures all supported Chromebooks receive OS and security updates more promptly. With more than 120,000 Chromebooks now enrolled, from a cybersecurity point of view, it's critical to ensure the latest updates are applied as promptly as possible. Rather than pushing each stable channel update to every device at the same time, potentially causing network congestion, ITD will progressively roll out the update initially to a very small, random test cohort. That cohort will be monitored to ensure there are no problems, with the remainder of Chromebooks updated over the following two weeks. The current update is called v117 stable. The update is silent and will not disrupt work. Future updates will follow on an approximately monthly cycle. Users can keep up with all the updated features of every new Chrome release from the Google team.

The Manage Staff Access icon

We’re thrilled to introduce the revamped Manage Staff Access (MSA) app for Principals and their delegates. Based on school feedback, we’ve added the following enhancements:

  • Intuitive matrix layout: More user-friendly, similar to Access Management Utility (AMU).

  • Bulk application assignments: Easily add or remove multiple staff members to an application in a single action.

  • Verify and repair: Resolve staff access issues with a simple click.

Principals already have Manage Staff Access available in their My Essentials page in Staff Portal. If you need to manually add it, follow these easy steps:

  1. Log in to the Staff Portal Profile Centre and select Add New Essential
  2. Search for Manage Staff Access then click Add

For more details, visit Access Management Experience.  Explore the revamped MSA app today and simplify your staff access management!

In previous years, the T4L Computer Equipment Rollout has aimed to finalise deliveries during Term 4. This year however has been a little different. Due to the impact of the budget and various competing priorities, the regular delivery schedule has been delayed. In order to reduce the amount of administration burden in schools during this very busy time of the year, the delivery of devices will recommence early in February 2024. The school contact will be emailed at the start of 2024, to advise about a new feature in the T4L Rollout Order Form that allows schools to confirm the deliveries of their ordered items. This will also include the ability to download a fully populated SAP Equipment Register data import file, saving time with asset management.  If you have any questions, contact the T4L rollout team via:  

People say that technology always fails at the worst possible time. But there are logical steps anyone can take to diagnose any issue:

  • Printer not working? Try a different printer.
  • Is it ONLY happening to my device or my user account? Try another device. Ask others if they can replicate it.
  • Are there any error messages? Take note of them. What were you trying to do before they appeared?
  • Is it only in my building? Do other buildings work right now?
  • Is it only MY school? Ask a question in the ICT Support community on Viva Engage.
  • Personal email or account problem? It's best to call EDConnect on 1300 32 32 32

As Term 4 begins slowing down (as if it ever slows down!), Microsoft's Education team have prepped a series of four FREE online teacher PL events covering Minecraft!

  • 101: Let's build with Minecraft!
  • 201: Let's modify with Minecraft!
  • 301: Let's collaborate with Minecraft!
  • 401: Advanced - Redstone building and engineering!

A further PL session on Minecraft Hour of Code is also on offer. Get the full details and registration links and share these opportunities with others at your school that want to boost their Minecraft Education skills!

So many teachers in NSW extensively use Adobe tools in the classroom, or are planning to start using them with their students. But did you know you can formalise your learning and skills with Adobe apps and programs through the Adobe Creative Educator (ACE) pathway? Adobe invites all teachers to become Creative Educators, tailored for all KLAs and grade levels. Participants receive curated PL materials and invitations to virtual and in-person events. To recognize your PL you’ll earn badges for completing each level of the program. In November and December, Adobe's Education team are running a series of face to face (in Sydney) and online events, that will earn you ACE levels 1 and 2. Find out more and register here.

A retirement cake for a teacher

Every staff member at the NSW Department of Education is allocated a user account that delivers access to online resources and data that are important to their role. When someone ceases employment with the department, access to their staff user account is revoked automatically. But the timing of that revocation is dependent on the role they were in:

● Casual teacher staff accounts will expire 15 months from their last pay date (school placement). This allows for continual access to their email to take on new casual placements if desired.

● Temporary and permanent school staff that leave the department will have their user accounts expire 12 weeks from their final workday.*

● Corporate and contracting staff have their access terminated the day after their final workday.*

* Effective date of resignation. For temp staff, this will be the end date of their contract.

NOTE: Once accounts expire,  the full Staff Portal, corporate applications, department email, Microsoft 365 services, Google services, shared drives will all be inaccessible.

Along with following the advice on the Leaving the department web page, any staff ceasing employment should always keep important personal files separate, or back up personal content before leaving. Otherwise, you will risk losing access to your content. If any of your staff are leaving NSW DoE, please share this article with them.

Why should some staff consider getting the Microsoft Authenticator app on their smart phone or tablet? The department recently turned on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all staff when signing into Microsoft 365 services, while not using the department's network. The default method of MFA is either an SMS text or phone call sent to your registered mobile number. The MFA process must be completed before access is granted. But what if you are at a location where mobile phone service is not available and you only have access to WiFi?  That's where the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device will come in very handy. By installing the app and pre-configuring it while you do have mobile phone access, you'll be able to set the Authenticator app as an alternative, more secure option for MFA. No matter where you are - at home, or at a remote location - as long as your mobile device has internet services, the Authenticator app will help you to complete the MFA logon and grant you access to your work email and files.

Impersonation scams are common, asking you to promptly act on something. They could appear to be from anyone you trust – friends, family, banks or authorities. At work, they may arrive as calls, messages or emails from colleagues or HR. Learn how to spot impersonation scams with these simple steps:  

  • Slow down - ask yourself, “who’s really there”? 
  • Call the person back on their published number first 
  • Verify "family" or "friends" by asking a question only they would know 
  • For businesses, visit the website or call them back using the number on their website.

Visit the Be aware of scams intranet page to learn about trending scams and tips to beat scammers. Report phishing emails at work and personal scams to ScamWatch to help raise awareness and protect others. Then spread the word this Scams Awareness Week!

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?