SCHOOL ICT NEWS BULLETIN No 141 - 13/02/2009

Published by Children’s Services


Increase in ICT equipment costs

Please be aware the Education ICT Market is experiencing the same strains as other areas of the world economy at present. During this quarter a large percentage of ICT Suppliers will be increasing their prices by a minimum of 15% due to the current rate of the US Dollar. This hasn't been seen earlier as many suppliers have held their pricing at previous rates, however suppliers are unable to sustain these prices any longer which will now start impacting across the board.

Non–approved suppliers are supplying some schools with computers which appear to be at lower cost. This is because in some instances the supplier has provided them with B Grade stock, Grey Import stock or stock that has been purchased in advance and held in a warehouse. This has meant that from a single purchase the school has discovered that a batch of laptops have inconsistent specification and key components missing causing problems with installation and stability of the system, in turn leading to potential additional costs.

All equipment sourced through ICT Solutions is provided through ESPO approved suppliers who work with us to maintain a consistent platform.

If you have any queries with regards to pricing please feel free to contact a member of the ICT Solutions Contracts Team.

Author: Rob Price

Photocopier Contracts

There have been a few schools that have recently been contacted by a photocopier dealer described as the LTM Group. This company is not an ESPO approved supplier of Konica Minolta or other photocopier equipment.

Please be aware that when any company advises you they can settle your existing contract and supply you with a cost effective solution, it is likely that the settlement will be paid off by the dealer but will then be incorporated into your new contract, increasing your quarterly payments.

Please seek advice from Leah Fletcher at ICT Solutions who will bench mark your quotes and check your contracts before signing, to make sure you receive and decide on the best value solution for your school.

Author: Leah Fletcher

School Website Configuration Changes

As part of the BT service improvements to the schools' broadband service, we have made configuration changes to some school websites. As a result of these changes a small number of websites may no longer be displaying correctly.

We recommend that you check that your school website with the norfolk.sch.uk address is displaying correctly. If there is a problem with your website, we have provided technical guidance below on steps you can take to resolve the problems. If you do not have someone available at your school who is able to implement these changes then please contact ICT Solutions.

Technical changes required:

If your website is not working correctly then please contact your third party supplier and ask them to double check that the host headers have been set up correctly for your website address. The following information may be of help to your supplier if you need to contact them:

Windows 2003 Servers – Microsoft provides step by step instructions on how to configure host headers at: Microsoft help – host headers

Apache servers – Host headers are provided as standard via Virtual domains. The precise implementation may depend on which version of Linux the supplier has (different versions can give slightly different variations on the httpd.conf file that is principally used to implement this). Apache HTTP Server (Version 2.2) instructions can be found at: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/vhosts

Author: Graham Cullender

ICT in Schools Conference 2009

ICT IN SCHOOLS CONFERENCE 2009 THE ROLE OF ICT IN TRANSFORMATION: OPPORTUNITES AND CHALLENGES – 11TH AND 12TH MARCH 2009 AT THE JOHN INNES CONFERENCE CENTRE

There is still limited space available to attend the ICT in Schools Conference 2009 The Role of ICT in Transformation: Opportunities and Challenges – to make a booking visit http://www.eficts.norfolk.gov.uk/conference2009/ and book on line before all availability disappears.

Norfolk has seen some exciting developments in ICT over the last few years and our annual ICT conference will be an ideal opportunity to celebrate some of these achievements. In addition to launching the next phase of our e–Learning Strategy in line with national developments and Norfolk e–pyramid.

The objective of this year's conference picks up this theme, and aims to share with schools some of the ICT challenges and personalised learning opportunities. Learning Platforms and other high profile technical developments provide a real opportunity for personalised learning: developing deeper learning, higher–order thinking skills and new levels of ICT competencies

The one–day conference will be run on two alternative dates, and will assist schools in making better use of the capabilities of their existing infrastructure, and in actively developing good practice in the use of information and communication technologies.

National keynote speakers will set the scene, while suppliers and hands–on workshops will demonstrate and enable delegates to explore:

  • Personalised learning
  • Engaging and empowering learners
  • Building the e–confident system
  • Obtaining joined–up technology infrastructure
  • Engaging family and informal learning
  • Innovative use of ICT

Norfolk pupils will be in attendance to share with delegates their experiences gained from being involved with transformational projects including:

  • Student Voice Project
  • Small Devices Project
  • Brain based Learning Project

This year's conference will also see the launch of Norfolk's e–Pyramid an online tool assisting schools to reach e–Confident status. Norfolk's e–Pyramid will be of benefit to all schools at any stage of their ICT development and will assist schools to decide the necessary step–change process required to adopt next generation learning. The tool builds on interrelated services of the e–Learning strategy and leads schools on a journey to achieve sustainable e–Confidence.

The conference will be a valuable opportunity for headteachers, governors and teachers to update their understanding of the ICT 'landscape' through the keynote presentations, take part in breakout workshops, meet and discuss with suppliers, and obtain updates on ICT strategy, current developments and initiatives from Advisory and ICT solutions staff, by attending surgery appointments.

To book online or to find out more about this years conference visit http://www.eficts.norfolk.gov.uk/conference2009/ or contact ICT Solutions Service Desk.

Author: Judy Houghton

Anti Virus / Anti Threat /Microsoft security patching software provision and Norfolk Code of Connection

Further to the last e–bulletin (No.140 23rd January) can you please ensure that your Anti Virus / Anti threat software is current and both Microsoft and Anti Virus / Anti threat software is updating.

All schools that have a contract with ICT Solutions receive managed antivirus for Symantec AV products and Microsoft updates (all contracts except small schools pack and bespoke contracts). These schools are also being monitored to ensure any security threat to the school network is dealt with immediately upon detection.

Unfortunately Children's Services have this week had to suspend Broadband connection services to two Secondary schools who manage their own Anti Virus provision whilst virus infections were removed and all computers cleaned and updated.

This has resulted in these sites not being able to use any online facilities to carry out curriculum and business functions for several days, and has also meant additional cost to these affected schools.

Please also be aware that USB memory sticks and other portable devices used at school, other sites and home can be potential carriers of viruses, so it is imperative that your security provision is up to date to deal with emerging threats.

If you are unsure if your school has an up to date security provision, please contact ICT Solutions on 0845 303 3003 for further advice.

Author: Stewart Parvin

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