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Issue 106 - Term 1 Week 6

Issue 106 - 2024 | Term 1 | Week 6

Sitting sitting a NAPLAN test on laptops

NAPLAN 2024 starts on Wed 13 March. We all want to ensure a smooth experience for students. It's important to confirm all devices to be used for testing meet the technical requirements provided by ACARA. To help, the T4L team has prepared important advice around each of the four supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iPad and Chromebooks. ALSO: Please join the NAPLAN Team Viva Engage community for the latest NAPLAN technical updates.

Chromebook changes: Some issues were identified with the 2024 NAP Chromebook LDB (v5.6.7). Emails were sent in Week 4 to schools where ACARA advised that all schools revert to the Chromebook locked down browser (LDB) used for NAPLAN in 2023. Students will access the LDB via kiosk mode.  For schools with DoE-enrolled Chromebooks, no action is required as this change was deployed from Wed 21st February.

What schools should be doing now regardless of device type being used?

  • Prepare students for NAPLAN by using the demonstration tests provided.
  • Arrange headsets/headphones for all students.​
  • Plan resources for charging devices before, during and after tests.​
  • Complete Device Checks and ensure devices are performing well. ​
  • Schedule classes to ensure resource availability for each test.​
  • Consider splitting classes into smaller groups to make tests easier to manage.
  • Turn on all devices and ensure the latest system updates are installed.

The day before, please ensure devices are fully charged, you have spare devices, headsets and mouses available and have a system in place for preparation and swapouts.

Classwork modules were added to Microsoft Teams Class teams in 2023. This great feature allows teachers to organise their resources for classes, such as assignments, files and links, under specific headings to make it easier for students to find. However, a recent update means teachers can now re-use modules from previously created classes. This is a great time saver for when classes are created at the beginning of the year and the teacher wants to reuse an assignment, or group of resources. These modules can be copied into a new team but sit as a draft, ready for publishing to students. Peter Noakes from our Digital Support Team has put together a brief video to demonstrate the steps involved to organise content in a Class Team and then copy the modules to another team. 

We're excited to announce another addition to our range of stem.T4L kits, with the launch of our brand new Podcasting kit! This kit includes a RodeCaster Pro 2 mixing desk, 16 dynamic microphones and 12 DoE-enrolled Chromebooks. This allows students to create high quality audio recordings they will be proud of. The Podcasting kit is designed to allow either the whole class to collaborate on a podcasting activity, or for the class to be broken into smaller groups and working together on a variety of different activities that will support the final production. Watch the quick video below to find out more about this exciting new kit! The Podcasting kit is available to book now for schools to receive from Term 3 and onwards. Bookings are made through the stem.T4L kit booking system.

Schools across NSW with newer WiFi installations that are built to department network standard NS2018 or newer, have access to a new wireless service! DOE-Guest is a new guest network for visitors that can be added to your school's WiFi. This allows visitors to the school to join their device to the school's wireless service, to gain access to the internet for the day, without the need for a department user account! When the visitor connects to the doe-guest SSID, they'll be automatically directed to a captive portal. They'll need to type in the email address of a staff member at the school and submit their request. That staff member needs to then check their email, then confirm the access for the visitor as a sponsored guest. Student-level internet filtering is automatically applied to their access, which lasts for 12 hours. If your school has NS2018 or newer WiFi, you can now log an EDConnect ticket to request Guest Access be added to the school's WiFi service!

EBS will be decommissioned in all NSW public schools by the end of June 2024. Almost 900 schools have successfully decommissioned EBS with others decommissioned in batches as they are scheduled. We are excited to announce that Sentral has uplifted their product and successfully piloted Groups (i.e. Roll Classes), Rooms, Staff, and Auto Injector Management functionalities. Schools currently using Sentral and/or School Bytes will be decommissioned in Term 1, 2024. Check the decommission schedule on the EBS decommission site. We continue to work with all remaining suppliers (Compass, Hero, Millennium and Impromation), to include this required functionality. Drop in online sessions are also available – register via MyPL.  “The MyPL session was perfect. The information provided was relevant and helpful.  Plenty of time to ask questions.  It was great to have suppliers available to answer questions”.
 - Charlestown East Public School

Sign-Up with Google option on a website

In the past, when wanting to join a new online service, many students would simply choose the "Sign up with Google" or "Continue with Google" option, if offered. They then use their department Google account, because it's a convenient way to sign into a service, without the need to remember a username and another password. While it can be convenient, it can also be risky. Different websites ask for different levels of access to your Google account. Sadly, many don't read/understand what's requested and grant the access anyway - just so they can use the new service. 

In October 2023, Google enforced all school education authorities around the world to assess and APPROVE or REJECT all 3rd-party apps for students. In NSW Education, the AssessedIT database informs schools about what sites are approved for Google sign-up by students. Students that attempt to sign-up with their department Google account to sites that are not approved, will receive an error message and be unable to proceed.

Did you know that you can use Canva to engage your students using Ready-to-teach lessons or by building a new lesson using your favourite learning resources? You can add activities to your lessons with any mix of content, including presentations, videos, whiteboards, worksheets, and more. There are thousands of free, ready-to-teach resources and lessons available where you can upload and include your own materials. Or simply start building from scratch. With more schools diving into how Canva can work in the classroom, why not visit Canva's Create your Own Lesson guide to learn more right away?  Never tried Canva?  Find out how teachers and students access it via single sign-on.

So many schools use Apple technologies with their students every day. Apple Classroom is a powerful teaching assistant on iPad and Mac that helps teachers guide learning, share work and manage student devices. In this free online session, your teachers and the school's Apple administrator will learn how Classroom makes it easy to guide students on effectively using their devices and apps at school and also provide you with great insight into each student’s progress. Register to join Apple Classroom sessions to be held on March 6 at 3:30PM and March 7 at 12:30PM. Other upcoming free Apple PL events will be added to the page and may be well worth considering.

The Australian and New Zealand Google for Education team recently announced their free 2024 Learn with Google monthly webinars! They'll focus on the classroom, with a range of topics to help teachers and school staff to use Google for Education tools to positively impact learning and teaching. Register for any or all of these webinars to keep informed about the latest features and updates in Google tools, and provide you with ideas for using them in the classroom. The 45 minute live webinars occur on the third Thursday of each month at 3:30pm and if you cannot join in on the day, register to receive a link afterwards to view on-demand. Please share this with other staff at your school and consider booking these dates as a great after school PL session in the staffroom or library!

Imagine Cup Junior (ICJ) is an exciting global student challenge for students aged 5-18 years. They'll learn about technology and how it can be used to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. It’s a great introduction to technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity, and is suitable for all levels - especially beginners! Through ICJ, teachers use provided lessons with their students, form teams, and apply these lessons to dream up a concept or idea to make a difference in their local community or world around them. Students then explain their concept in a PowerPoint template and record a video to illustrate their concept. No coding is required, and the competition is open to any student who is interested in learning more about technology. Entries must be uploaded by May 8, 2024.

Teachers being assisted by a Digital Support Team member

Is your school looking at their next steps with technology and digital learning? Do you need a hand with professional learning, twilight sessions or SDD events? You can now submit an online request to access our Digital Support Team, who are available to provide support online or via in-school support models, with professional learning and events. There are three different request options to suit your needs:  

Events Request Form: If your school, Community of Schools or professional networks are running an event, we’d love to support where we can, with speakers, presentations or sessions. Content can be tailored to suit the needs of your event.  

Digital Support Team Request Form: If your school needs support from the team for planning, examining how technology can support your school SIP, or in-school professional learning, use this form to discuss your school needs.  

STEM PL Form: Whether you have borrowed a stem.T4L kit or purchased equipment, put a request in for support for STEM at your school. Whether it be planning, programming or teaching, the team is available to support your school’s needs in this area.  

These forms are also accessible via the T4L website

MS Publisher as a software product for Windows, will be no less than 35 years old when Microsoft ends support. We've had 14 different versions over that time, and in many schools it was the go-to tool for producing newsletters for parents, staffroom posters, certificates and all manner of printed visual pages and documents. The problem has always been that Publisher never escaped Windows desktop. There's no version for Apple devices, there are no mobile apps and it's not in MS365 in the cloud. Products such as Canva or Adobe Express have further simplified what was traditionally known as desktop publishing, by making their tools available anywhere on any device. So even though October 2026 is quite a long runway until Publisher's demise, it's a great opportunity for wedded users at your school to try something new!

A common question we receive is, how can we share videos hosted on the department's website without needing to send people to the webpage that it can be found on? Brightcove is the corporate video hosting and streaming platform many organisations use, to have videos playing on their websites. Sites like the NSW DoE and ABC Education use Brightcove. But unlike YouTube, if you want to embed one of their Brightcove videos on your own site, or in Google Classroom, or even just to email to others, it's not so simple. That is, unless you know the magic embed URL. This is the URL you need:

Copy the URL to Notepad and make it one line. This quick video explains how you can get the exact embed URL you need for any Brightcove video you find on any website!


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?