Thursday, 31 August 2017

DRET TV 2.0

DRET TV has undergone a big upgrade over the Summer - moving from Office 365 Video to Microsoft Stream. Without getting technical, all this means is that DRET TV looks somewhat different than before and has a few new additions. However, the concept is still the same - search, view and share educational, teacher-approved videos securely across the Trust.


So, let’s get down to the important stuff - what’s the same, what’s changed and what’s new?


What’s the same?
  • You can still access DRET TV from the web address “dret.tv” and our training channel from “training.dret.tv”
  • You use the same login details as before - everyone that had access before will have access now
  • You can still search for videos and browse through channels - the majority of the content will be moved over except in some cases where there is little or no usage
  • You can still copy and paste a videos web link to easily share it with others


What’s changed?
  • It has a new look and feel
  • Channel Owners now have more responsibility than they had before - they are able to create new channels themselves. We are calling the new title “DRET TV Manager”. Details have been emailed out to previous Channel Owners.


Click here to watch a short video that will take you through the basics of the new DRET TV.


What’s new?
  • Watchlists - you can now add videos into your own private space - so you can watch them at a later date or just queue them up for a DRET TV video marathon.
  • Following Channels - a feature that provides you with easy access to channels you are interested in. It’s useful if you are frequently accessing DRET TV and browsing for same channels, which you can get easy access to via a space called ‘My followed channels’.
  • Hashtags - you can add/click a hashtag in the description of a video to see other videos with the same or similar tag.
  • Interactive table of contents - you can now add time codes in the description of a video which when published will turn into a link, to allow the user to click and jump straight to that part of the video.
  • Links - if you add a link in the description of the video it will make it clickable to the user in order to jump straight to the link.
  • Liking videos - you can now like videos to to make an acknowledgement to the owner that you enjoyed the video.


If you’re interested in seeing some of the new features in action - click here to watch a short video.


If you are interested in becoming a DRET TV Manager - please click here to submit a request.

For any further support, queries or to book school training - please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the eLearning Team at elearning@dret.co.uk.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

So External Hard Drives and Pen Drives are going to be banned...

We've taken the decision to ban external hard drives and pen-drives from all Trust computers and from all of our premises with effect from 1st January 2018. From that date they just won't work when you plug them into one of our computers. This article hopefully points the way for how to continue to work successfully without that trusted friend. This could inconvenience people - people that use them and me*

Every school still has one or two people that carry everything to and from work every day on that external disc they bought four or five years ago - I know of one colleague who has more than ten year's material on there, and another that lost everything when the drive failed and they had no backup. The ban comes from a security review where these devices were identified as one of our highest risks because:

  • From a data protection point of view, we know people know not to put any kind of personal or confidential data onto one, but there is always the risk of human error.
  • These drives fail, and not many people are organised enough to back up their drive every day. Even if they don't have a mechanical failure, they get lost or damaged so easily.
  • There are many, many better ways to make sure you can get your stuff when you need it - and they are free and simple for our staff.

So here is a short video setting out how to make that step to say farewell to that hard drive or pen drive. Don't wait until 2018, act now!




If you're the kind of person that really does not want to mess around with all this "uploading and downloading in the cloud" nonsense there is good news at hand.... Google FireStream is coming to all PCs across our Trust in the next few days and creates for you a new drive - G: of course, that allows you to treat that storage in the cloud just like you would any other thing you plug into your computer.

* I rely on the "teacher who carries everything to school on their hard drive they bought in 2010" as a rich vein of humour for presentations and training sessions and will now need to think of a new joke and visual gag.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Google Certified Educator

We work with some fantastic teachers doing amazing things in the classroom, and the increase in G Suite for Education usage across our schools has been great to see. 

For staff that are confident G Suite users, we are in the position to be able to offer Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam vouchers that cover the cost of sitting the 3 hour Level 1 Google award.
If you're an educator who knows how to use Google tools in the classroom, this certification proves your proficiency.

If you are a DRET staff member who uses G Suite for Education, we are now accepting expressions of interest for those wanting to sit the Level 1 test.

If you are interested in taking the L1 certification exam via DRET, please click this link and submit the form. 

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is Friday 15th September.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Bobby Moore Academy - Once the Future, Now Very Much the Present




Bobby Moore Academy, the latest school to open in our network, is just having the finishing touches applied prior to opening. In September Year 7 will start their career with us in the primary building, transferring next year to the secondary site as reception join us in what will be an all through school. The setting - right up next to the Olympic stadium in the Queen Elizabeth park is special - goosebump special, but for those of us working in IT and eLearning at the David Ross Education Trust, it is goosebump special for so much more than that.



When we first conceived the IT for the as yet un-named academy several years ago and went through the exhaustive tendering process, we formed a vision for how technology was to work for our schools that was far more ambitious than anything that had been in place before. At that point each school was developing its own IT vision and as a Trust we advised, encouraged and helped. The design for this new school meant we had to properly debate and plan for how a network between schools would work - a vision that we've had in place for a couple of years now as dret.cloud. We also took the thinking we'd already developed around a much lighter-weight kind of IT system using Chromebooks and iPads and thought about what a school would be like if that was the point of departure, rather than the latest thing grafted on.

We wouldn't have designed the Star Classroom setup and rolled it out at all our academies (I think we now have crossed the two-hundred barrier) if it hadn't been for the thinking and planning for Bobby Moore Academy.


That's why going into a classroom there today and seeing the first teaching wall set out was strange. Because what was our ideal and vision just three years ago isn't new. What is now being prepared there for Year 7 is now established practice at a whole network of schools.

Just listening the the passion of Stuart Burns who is leading the new academy for every detail of the project and the experience that waits for the new students, and seeing the academy in the setting of QE park makes me wonder how, given the legacy free starting point quite how far they will go.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Coming Soon: dret.tv 2.0

We're sure that some of our staff will want to add videos to their dret.tv channels for the new term: this is just a short note to say "don't be alarmed" if you find the system looks slightly different.

Over the summer we've had a tidy up and moved the content to a new system called Microsoft Stream. There are a lot of big improvements in the way the system works and we'll be sharing guidance at the end of the holiday.


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Midsummer Post

Well it is nearly A Level results week - good luck to everyone who is waiting for exam results (and a thank you to all the people behind the scenes downloading results, preparing information and generally making results days operate so smoothly.

We're busy writing a lot of new material for the blog that will be released over the coming months, and have quite a few new things that we will be talking about in September.

If there is anything you'd like to see on the blog, please let us know (and we are looking for volunteers to write articles - please step forward!)