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Llandovery College

Technical

TheHub

The installation of a Moodle System has allowed staff to place resources online for students to access removing the need for the ad-hoc approach that the staff here had adopted.

TheHub has been well received by the staff at Llandovery College and has not been pushed upon them.  The staff have been actively seeking out training and requesting courses be created for them to allow them to use it as part of their teaching.

There are many different ways of delivering learning using TheHub, and there is no one size fits all, every teacher, student, and lesson is different and because of this there has been a flexible approach to course creation.

Where classes are based in an IT room the entire course can be delivered using TheHub with all classroom resources being accessed in lessons, including worksheets, classroom powerpoints, and assignment hand in.

Where classes are not IT based such as BTEC Sport, TheHub is being used as a document store where the students can obtain copies of worksheets, access resources to help with their learning and also submitting assignments back to the teacher for marking.  The BTEC Sport students all use their personal laptops for their course to allow them to access materials and work efficiently throughout their course.

Booking System

There is now a booking system in place for booking out IT classrooms, it is slowly gathering pace with departments starting to book IT rooms, and resources using this system in place of an e-mail request or asking around other teachers.

As our resource bank develops and we have more equipment that can be loaned out to departments the use of the booking system will become more ingrained into the culture of Llandovery College.  This system is simple to use and allows staff to easily book equipment, rooms, mini buses and any other equipment that we wish to add to the system.

It will also allow us to run basic reports to see how many times a resource is being booked and help to structure future purchases.

Helpdesk & Digital Inventory Software

We now have our own in house IT helpdesk system, which will be further developed to provide a FAQ & Self guided training portal in conjunction with TheHub.

This is still in the early stages with only a few members of staff logging support tickets in this way, but as we move forward this will become the main method of creating tickets for the IT department. Currently the helpdesk has already allowed us to be proactive by reporting on the state of the network including system updates, anti-virus, hard disk space, printer toners and much more.

CCTV

We have identified the need to reinstate CCTV around the college site, there are remnants of old CCTV systems in many areas of the college, which will be re-connected, tested, and if possible put back online, in conjunction with the new Ubiquiti equipment, this will allow us to make use of existing equipment where possible, and cover areas of vulnerability with a new IP based CCTV system.

All of the cameras that will be in use will be accessible by computer system and will have a retention time of 7 days.

The server for the new system has been built using an old decommissioned server, saving the college money whilst providing a secure network accessible store for the CCTV system.  The cameras for the system are starting to be installed now, and should be online in the near future.

Removal of IT Support Company

The college used to employ the services of I-IT for IT support, this agreement was put in place when the college was left without any IT technical support staff on site, and has managed to maintain the college systems in the time that they were contracted.  

The money saved by removing the services of I-IT has allowed the college to employ two technical staff which will allow for development of the IT systems with a clear focus on the educational offering that the college wish to deliver.

I-IT will still be in contact with the college in the shape of assisting with the delivery of development projects, starting with the implementation of Office 365.  This will allow students & staff to access their documents away from site on any device, and also allow the college to offer free software to any employee or student.

Design In-House

It was identified that we were paying in excess of £15,000 in design costs per year for our posters, flyers, booklets, adverts etc.  By utilising the skills of Iain Field we have managed to save this money and offer a better quality of service by allowing the marketing department to have free access at any time, resulting in a better quality finished product which is exactly what the college wants rather than what the financial time constraint dictated.

Website Updates

After working with the marketing department on the design of a few leaflets, it was raised that both Iain and Mike have the ability and skill to update the college website in house, this will save a further £3,000 per year that we were paying to simply keep the website up to date.  This will allow for the money to be spent on developing new features of the site, rather than simply maintaining it.

Llandovery Archive

We are in the process of creating a web accessible, paid service for access to the historical archive of Llandovery College.  This will be built as a subscription service, offering access to photographs, videos, documents and much more. There will be an online ordering section to this site allowing people to order a physical copy of a photograph or document for a small fee resulting in a new revenue stream for the college.  

This all started off with a brief conversation with DWJ about how he could preserve the photos and videos of Llandovery College.

Windows 10

The college was still running Windows 7 on the majority of its systems, which will go fully end of life on January 14th 2020.  We have developed the new Windows 10 system to be fast, functional, and reliable to help deliver classes across the curriculum.  This has been implemented with careful consideration for which version of Windows 10 to install. We have opted for the LTSB (Long Term Service Branch) version as this will give us the most stable platform in which to build our network.

It has however raised the issue of some systems being incompatible with this new operating system which will have to either be replaced, or an alternative system introduced.

Online Learning System to Enhance Y12 Lessons

As the Year 12 lessons are being delivered remotely by our external partner they are reliant on a good level of interactivity and communication with their online tutor.  The platform favoured by our external partner is Webex, this was trialed by the students for a few lessons, which resulted in the need to find a better platform as the tutor could not see the students clearly from a central webcam, nor could he see their screens to see what they were actually workin on.

I communicated this back to our external partner and offered them a solution.  As they were unable to implement the solution in a quick enough timescale I decided to build the resource myself and implement a virtual classroom which allows the tutor to see all of the students via their webcam, the students to share their screen, and for them all to interact on a shared virtual whiteboard for collaboration.

Since this has been implemented the classes are seen as a real benefit and enjoyed by the students in the class.  The tutor has commented that delivery of the lessons is made easier using this method rather than by using Webex and other third party applications.

Moving forward we could develop this to allow our college to deliver lessons outward and create a source of revenue from this.

Reinstatement of retired servers

There were a couple of old HP servers that had been retired in 2015 in the server room, these were no good for use within the main part of the network, but were ideally suited to their new roles of CCTV server, and Archive server.  

All we had to do to prepare them was to install some new hard disk drives (sourced from old stock already in the college) and reconfigure them.

This will allow us to run these systems at no cost to the college for a few years to come.

Teaching

Delivered lessons to Year 9.

I have been delivering computer science lessons to year 9 after working with Robin Edwards to design the course for them with a view to prepare them for taking the Computer Science GCSE.  As the GCSE syllabus is now more complex than ever and heavily focused on programming it is important to get them started at as low level as possible.

Delivered GCSE Computer Science J276 to Year 10 & 11

Year 10

These students are starting with J276 this year, and have made good progress with some reasonable grades coming through from short class based testing.  They are on target to achieve their predicted grades so far.

Year 11

The students in year 11 were handed to me with a description that they were ready for examination and had already covered the entire J276 course.  I started the year with a test paper and found that the students were achieving around 12 / 80 or a grade 1. The strategy for lesson delivery for them was to focus on revision of topics already covered.  This has been working as the Mock exam paper that was sat recently has seen an improvement in the grades although there is still room for improvement.

Assisted our external partner with Year 12

The Year 12 course has been delivered by Adrian Harrop who is an online tutor with our external partner , I have been assisting them with the delivery of the lessons while using the virtual classroom that I have put together.  I have also been the on-site contact for the students and helped them when required.

Develop KS2 & 3

Whilst teaching the upper school I have also identified other skills that the students are missing and have worked with Robin to ensure that these are now added to the curriculum from a younger age so that students are prepared for the tasks of Computer Science in later years.  Skills such as how to use Microsoft Office to display information correctly, and not to use word art at every opportunity.