e7 in action at Netherfield Primary School

e7 in action at Netherfield Primary School

Assistant Head Nadeem Shah explains how iPad is helping to engage students at Netherfield Primary, an inclusive urban primary school in the second most deprived quintile in the East Midlands whose head teacher was recently named teacher of the year at the Pride of Britain awards

You provided staff with iPad devices back in 2012 – what were your main goals in doing so?

We wanted to introduce staff to the new technologies available. With iPad, that was mostly
the vast App Store, that would open up so many new opportunities for the children, and also the touchscreen technology that made it so accessible for students and for adults. We took an educated guess as to whether people would be totally involved with it, and they were. Some of our staff who were maybe reluctant ICT users actually turned to keen ICT users very quickly.

Was it important to you that staff got comfortable using the devices before handing them out to pupils?

Absolutely, which is why we invested in having 18 for staff across the school, mostly in areas where we were going to deploy iPad devices to students. When we had the whole school iPad training session it was just such fun. The laughter around the staff room was fantastic. The staff engaged very much straight away, and giving them that time to go away and get familiar with the iPad first meant that they were able to engage fully with the learning on the iPad in the term that followed. It was absolutely the right decision to make.

What made you decide it was time to trial a student 1:1 scheme?

We need to keep up with the times. ICT is constantly evolving and developing, and this is what they’re used to at home. They have access to this kind of technology on a daily basis, and if we don’t provide them with it in school then very soon […] children aren’t engaging with ICT because the technology that we’re using is obsolete, and then the learning across the curriculum can be at a disadvantage. We obviously want to keep up to date so kids are engaged and involved with new technologies as they happen.

Why did you choose the e7 Project?

We stumbled across the e7 Project and are delighted we did. We were at a seminar where Apple and some education agencies were running a session, and one of the teachers mentioned that they were having an e7 rollout and that the Jigsaw24 team were at the event. In our inimitable style we tried to crash the party and see if any more iPad devices were going.

Did you have to do any work to prepare for the trial?

Yes, we had to make sure the WiFi was capable of handling the workload, so we actually had some guys from Jigsaw24 in to do a survey for us. We’re really glad we did it because it brought up some blips and some gaps as well as some over-use of the WiFi – where the signals were too close and bouncing off each other. We had a bit of a redeployment and moved around some of the access points, and it made a big difference.

Talk us through how you used the iPad devices during your e7 term.

We had 16 based in our Foundation unit along with ten staff ones. We had eight in our Nurture provision classes, and then the other 16 around school to be booked out. They were out in every class, all the time. We had to create a separate log out book for the tablets because they were being used so often and so positively, to move the students’ learning on with the fantastic array of apps available, so that was brilliant.

Tell us a bit about how you went about finding apps for your classes.

Because we were able to give staff the opportunity to try out iPad over the holidays, they
found some fantastic stuff app-wise that we were able to install, and as the weeks and months progressed we would have regular weekly meetings where staff would talk about apps that they’d found and recommend that we should roll them out.

GarageBand was phenomenal for our music tuition. What has been particularly good for us has been being able to target specific aspects [of apps] to pupils’ individual learning. So if a whole class is doing something, you can tailor the apps to suit their individual needs and learning gaps.

It’s not just, ‘Right kids, you’re all going on this program’; they might be going on different apps, or they might be going to different aspects of the same app to hit their individual needs, which is perfect for us. Rather than generic teaching, it’s all about personalising the learning, and iPad and the apps are a fantastic tool to help personalise learning for the children.

What were the main benefits of the trial for students?

We specialise in supporting children with challenging behaviours, and this is a fantastic carrot for them to have. I’ve got a pupil with me now who’s a great example of a pupil who’s gone from having specific difficulties to really turning himself around and getting on in class, and the iPad has been a fantastic tool for doing that. Not only does it engage the children, who want to learn through those devices, it supports them in being occupied but in a positive way, a learning way.

You’re not just saying ‘Here, play on this game,’ it’s about learning. And it’s a fun way for them to engage with their learning, he’s telling me. The opportunities that they may have had to switch off in a classroom, which led to negative behaviours, become much less of an occurrence because they’re engaged in their learning full time.

How have parents responded to the scheme?

It’s been great, the parents are getting involved and the kids are coming in saying ‘We’ve downloaded this app at home, Sir, have a look at this one, it’ll be great for what we’re doing at the moment’, so the home learning is being engaged in that way as well.

Did you encounter any problems, and if so how did you overcome them?

There’s always the funding thing. Obviously ideally we want one per person full time, but the funding issue involved in that is what it is. Because they were so popular, getting them to everyone who needed them was an issue, but it was workable because we had what we had. I think if we had any more it would have been easier.

The one issue we did have was that we weren’t able to get Apple TVs working, but straight away Chris came to me and said that he’d found a solution to that at another school, so we should be able to use them effectively now.

What were the key factors in deciding whether or not to keep the iPad deployment?

Once that resource had been in school and the children had access to it, there was no way we could take it away from them. The learning that they’d done, the enjoyment they got out of it and the engagement that they’d had meant we couldn’t. And the staff ’s faces when we said that the iPad deployment was going back were, ‘What are we going to do now?!’

How did you find working with the e7 team?

Great! Chris was always at the end of the phone.

I’d often call him or send him an email and to his credit, he was available at hours I wasn’t expecting him to be. I’d send an email at nine, ten o’clock at night expecting him to pick it up in the morning, and I’d get a reply within a couple of minutes nine times out of ten. And he was local as well, so if there was an issue we couldn’t handle over the phone or digitally, he would pop in either for an extended period of time or on his way to somewhere else, so the support was always to hand, prompt and of a very professional standard.

We’re just delighted with the project and long may it continue!

Want to know more about the e7 Project? Give us a call on 03332 409 333, email e7@Jigsaw24.com or visit our site. For all the latest news, tips and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page

App of the Week: Sage 50

App of the Week: Sage 50

Sage’s powerful accounting tools have been going down a storm on Macs and PCs for some time, but less well known is the Sage 50 app, which lets you access your Sage 50 Accounts data on your iPad or iPhone.

What is Sage 50 and what can you do?

Sage 50 on the iPad is a secure accounting service that basically lets you access all-important accounts information from Sage 50 Accounts 2012 or above, no matter where you are! Designed for large organisations where you’ll need to be able to keep up to date with accounts on the move, this mobile app lets you:

– Demo data built-in to the app to experience functionality without having to have a live connection
– Dashboard, Profit & Loss, and Headline reports provide an overview of company financial position
– View details and transactions for customers, suppliers and bank accounts
– View and create invoices, sales orders, quotations and manage stock take
– View transactions on customers, suppliers and bank accounts
– View price lists and product details and manage stock take
– View projects and related activities

How does Sage 50 work?

Sage 50 works alongside your existing Sage 50 Accounts software, and provides quick and easy access to accounting tools on your iPad. All you have to do is download the app from App Store, log in using your existing Sage 50 credentials and you will be able to do all of the above.

One favourite feature

The user interface. Sage 50 takes many of the tools you’ll likely be used to in the full software versions and makes them friendlier to the iPad’s UI. As you can see from the screenshots below, this has an almost dashboard-like approach to it, with a clear breakdown of the different tools available down one side.

That being said, bear in mind that this is meant to give you access to information on the move, and is not an extension of the desktop version, so don’t go expecting it to do everything you can in the office.

How much is Sage 50 and where do I get it?

Sage 50 is completely free from the App Store, but as I mentioned before, you’ll need to be running Sage 50 Accounts 2012 or a more recent version to be able to log in. Download now.

Sage 50s baby brother: Sage One? 

The Sage One app comes in four parts: Accounts (£10 pcm), Payroll (£5) and Cashbook (£5 pcm), with an Accountant Edition for anyone who becomes so confident that they start offering financial advice to other companies.

Rather than apps in the traditional sense, these are web apps that let you track your business performance, manage incoming and outgoing assets, invoice clients and manage pay runs for up to 15 staff. You can also work online with your accountant, use the app to manage relevant contact information and create highly visual, easily to parse reports to communicate progress.

One of the biggest benefits of Sage One is that it’s fairly easy to use for the accounting novices out there.  Sage One cuts through all of the complications in more fully-featured software, simplifying the process for small businesses and sole traders. To give you an idea of the size of business you’re looking at, the Payroll app comes in three different pricing options; the largest of which is for up to 15 employees.

Want to know more about using apps for business? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on twitter.

Telestream Wirecast 4.3 is now available!

Telestream Wirecast 4.3 is now available!

Telestream have just announced v4.3 of their Wirecast streaming solution, a free update that brings bug fixes and new features to Wirecast and Wirecast Pro. The headlines from this release include:

Live thumbnails which let you use the shot window to monitor live source shots in realtime. This “makes the process of switching between multiple live cameras faster and more manageable”, according to Telestream.

The countdown clock for recorded media displays the remaining time of any recorded video, so you know exactly how long you have left to prepare for the next switch.

Improved Teradek integration via Teradek’s newly-developed Stream Reader plug-in for Wirecast Pro means that Cube, Brik and Bond users can import live HD video directly into Wirecast.

A more complete list of new features can be found in the Wirecast 4.3 release notes, which, as always, we recommend you read before downloading.

Download Wirecast 4.3 for Windows 

Download Wirecast 4.3 for Mac

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Sony offer 24 months’ 0% finance on F5, F55, PVM monitors and more!

Sony offer 24 months’ 0% finance on F5, F55, PVM monitors and more!

From 20th May to 31st August 2013, Sony  are offering 24 months’ 0% finance on orders of qualifying products over £8000. Which products qualify, you ask? Well, the headliners are the F5 and F55, which we’ve been lusting after for some time now, but here’s the full list:

For help putting together your perfect £8000 package, give our team a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

 

Sony’s PMW range get v1.20 firmware update

Sony’s PMW range get v1.20 firmware update

Sony have released a free firmware update for the PMW-100, PMW-150 and PMW-200, adding i.LINK DVCAM input and improving Auto Focus, Auto Knee and ATW, among other things. The full list of changes follows, courtesy of Sony. 

New features for your PMW-100


1.) i.LINK DVCAM Input – 
Stream signal recording via i.LINK DVCAM input is available

2.) TLCS Operation
 – The range of selectable items has been expanded to improve TLCS operation. The default value of AGC Limit has changed from 12 to 9. The setting values of AGC Point have changed from E98, E95, E92 to E98, E95, E92, E77 and the default value has changed from E98 to E77. The A.SHT Point value cannot be larger than the AGC Point value. The default value has changed from E87 to E77

3.) Selecting AUDIO IN Reference Input Level
 – The default value of Audio Input has changed from -40 dB to -60 dB

4.) Auto Focus
 – Auto focus performance is improved. Focus instability near the focal point and with a high-luminance background has been reduced


5.) Auto Knee
 – Emphasis of white for an object with a high-luminance background has been reduced

6.) ATW – 
ATW performance is improved. When ATW mode is set to Natural, automatic adjustment for wider brightness range when shooting outdoors is available.

New features for your PMW-150

 


1.) i.LINK DVCAM Input
 – Stream signal recording via i.LINK DVCAM input is available.

2.) Adjusting the Brightness of the EVF Screen – 
The default value of EVF has changed from ±0 to +30

3.) Selecting AUDIO IN Reference Input Level
 – The default value of Audio Input has changed from -40 dB to -60 dB


4.) External Device Connector
 – A message will be displayed if a USB device which is not supported by this unit has been connected


5.) Auto Focus
 – Auto focus performance is improved. Focus instability near the focal point and with a high-luminance background has been reduced


6.) Auto Knee – 
Auto Knee performance is improved. Emphasis of white for an object with a high-luminance background has been reduced


7.) ATW – 
ATW performance is improved. When ATW mode is set to Natural, automatic adjustment for wider brightness range when shooting outdoors is available


8.) Matrix Adjustment – 
Can be put on OFF in PICTURE PROFILE SET.

New features for your PMW-200

 

Auto flange back adjustment must be performed after installing this software. Refer to Auto Flange Back Adjustment Guide + Chart for details.

1.) i.LINK DVCAM Input
 – Stream signal recording via i.LINK DVCAM input is available


2.) Adjusting the Brightness of the EVF Screen
 – The default value of EVF has changed from ±0 to +30


3.) Selecting AUDIO IN Reference Input Level
 – The default value of Audio Input has changed from -40 dB to -60 dB


4.) External Device Connector
 – A message will be displayed if a USB device which is not supported by this unit has been connected


5.) Auto Focus
 – Auto focus performance is improved. Focus instability near the focal point and with a high-luminance background has been reduced


6.) Auto Knee
 – Auto Knee performance is improved. Emphasis of white for an object with a high-luminance background has been reduced


7.) ATW
 – ATW performance is improved. When ATW mode is set to Natural, automatic adjustment for wider brightness range when shooting outdoors is available


8.) Matrix Adjustment – 
Can be put on OFF in PICTURE PROFILE SET
Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

How to stay on top of your Autodesk licences

How to stay on top of your Autodesk licences

We’ve banged on about how we think every Autodesk user needs a subscription, we’ve told you about all their latest offers, and now it’s time to reveal what comes next. Keeping your Autodesk licences in order and making sure all your subs are in sync can look like a tricky business, but we’ve got our team on hand to help.

Consolidating your licences

If you’re a busy facility with ten copies of Maya, five of MotionBuilder and a few copies of 3ds Max just in case, the last thing you want to do is waste time performing admin tasks for eighteen different products, each with a different serial number, each of which were forgotten by everyone about ten minutes after the software entered the building. One of the (totally free!) services we can provide is the consolidation of all your licences for each Autodesk product, so you’ll have one serial number that covers all your Maya licences, another for all your MotionBuilder ones and a third for 3ds Max. Far easier to manage, no?

Aligning your renewal dates

Alas, subscription plans are not indefinite. At some point, your time will be up, and you’ll need to pay for the next year, three years or what have you, and if you’ve got a lot of subscriptions to manage, that can become a major budgeting headache. If you’d like to align your licences and subscriptions so that all of them expire at once, or clusters expire at the same, convenient time, we can help with that too. Give our team a call (or ask the fella on the end of the phone when you call up to buy) and we can arrange to have your licences and subscriptions expire when it’s convenient for you, making it easier to budget for renewals.

We can either help you produce a plan of what you need to renew and when in order to get out of whatever rats’ nest of licences you’re trapped in and into a smooth software management workflow or, if you’re already organised, we can arrange it so that any additional licences you take on expire at the same time as your existing ones.

If you’re phone-phobic, there’s always the Autodesk Subscription Centre

The Autodesk Subscription Centre is where you can track your own subscriptions and licences, and keep an eye on which are coming up for renewal. As well as being the place where you access all your Autodesk 360 cloud benefits, the Subscription Centre is where you go to request access to an older version of your software should you need it, download new releases and request any serial numbers that you’ve lost, so it’s well worth a bookmark.

Visit the Autodesk Subscription Centre

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Telestream Episode 6.4 is here!

Telestream Episode 6.4 is here!

Telestream have just announced the arrival of Episode 6.4 – a free update to Episode, Episode Pro and Episode Engine v6 encoding solutions. The goal for this latest release? To make it easier for you to integrate Episode Engine into your workflow and handle high volume workflows.

Episode v6.4: the highlights

This latest update is optimised for higher volume workflows, so anyone who’s thinking of upgrading to Pro or Engine from their current Episode setup should definitely give it a look. It adds support for .SCC and H.264 web captions, allowing you to insert closed caption data into MPEG3 and H.264 video streams – you can also add CLAP data to .MOV outputs. A new video rotate filter adds more filters to your inbox, allowing your to rotate source footage 90 degrees or 180 degrees, and flip it horizontally or vertically.

Workflow-wise, the most pleasant addition is the fact that you can now recreate sub-folders scanned via a monitor within the deployment root folder, and automatically mirror folder structures. There are also 20 levels of priority in Episode 6.4 versus three in Episode v6.3, while your workflow history, workflow displays, maximum bandwidth control and API performance have all been given a bit of a spruce.

Take a look at the full Episode 6.4 release notes here

Download Telestream Episode 6.4

Want to know more about the latest Telestream releases? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow@Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Avid offers first Symphony 6.5 free trial!

Avid offers first Symphony 6.5 free trial!

As the first quarter of 2013 winds down (where did that go?) we say goodbye to some fantastic offers from Avid. But if you missed out on their massive Symphony 6.5 discount because you weren’t sure Symphony was for you, we’ve got good news: there’s a free trial out. 

Avid Symphony and Nitris DX

You can now head over to the Avid site and download a free 30-day trial of Symphony 6.5 or Media Composer 6.5. Okay, so you don’t get access to Symphony’s full complement of Boris Continuum Complete plug-ins, but you can get used to massive timesavers like ScriptSync and PhraseFind, and if you have a Nitrix DX interface you can use the Universal Mastering toolkit to give your projects an extra polish.

Download your 30-day free trial of Media Composer 6.5 or Symphony 6.5 here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Rolling out 1700 iPhones in one day with LNT Group

Rolling out 1700 iPhones in one day with LNT Group

When they decided to roll out 1700 company iPhones in a single day, all with their company app pre-installed, LNT Group knew they would need a formidable Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. We set them up with the ideal solution for their deployment, and helped them get the best price for their ever- growing number of licences… 

 

Making staff feel like ‘part of the family’

Comprised of five different companies and delivering everything from care homes to race cars, LNT Group have grown from a family company to a firm of almost 2000 employees. “We decided to roll out smartphones now because as our company grows across the UK, we’re finding it harder to make people feel like part of the core business, part of the family here at LNT,” explained Leigh Ellis, LNT Group’s communications and marketing developer. “One of the ways we thought we could do that was to give everyone in the company a mobile device, so that they could be involved in the company remotely.”

Leigh and his team chose iPhones because existing users in the company had fed back that “iPhone was really easy to use, people just seemed to be able to pick them up and use them straight away, without the need for much training.” There was also the feeling that a smartphone would “feel like a present” more than a standard device, and give employees the inclusive morale boost that LNT thought was needed.

Developing an in-house app

As well as handing out iPhones, the company decided to build their own in-house app, iLNT. “Although we could probably have found a solution of apps that worked together to create what we needed, we thought that if we created one app that had it all in one place, it’d be much easier for staff to use,” explained Leigh. “Some of the things that people can use our app to do include receiving the latest news and updates from the group, so that they know what’s going on here at head office and feel like part of the family. We also wanted them to be able to communicate with us, and again that’s another feature of the app. They can send us suggestions, they can send messages direct to the chairman as well.”

As well as keeping staff up to date with the latest company news and allowing them to send key messages to individuals or sectors within the group, iLNT allows staff to clock in and out, book holidays and perform other HR tasks – all of which helps to encourage staff to use their phones every day and therefore give LNT Group the best return on their investment.

Deploying 1700 devices

The LNT Group’s chairmen felt that making an event of the iPhone launch and giving everyone in the organisation their device on the same day was key to creating a buzz about the scheme and making sure staff were excited by it. However, it meant that LNT Group’s eight-strong IT team would have to roll out 1700 devices at once, register them to the company, install iLNT on each and handle any teething problems – all in a single day.

Leigh immediately began comparing MDM solutions to find one that would ensure the rollout went smoothly. “I compared about 20 different companies in the market. I managed to narrow it down to about five that had all the features that we’d need, and the one that came out on top from an ease of use point of view, as well as many other things, was Absolute Manage. It really seemed to do everything we needed, and not only that but it did everything we’d have liked it to do as well, and it did it in an easy to use package.”

For the initial rollout, the key thing about Absolute was that everything could be automated. The iPhones would be enrolled on the group’s system automatically, and LNT could create their own app store to push out iLNT updates to employees who didn’t have iTunes accounts. “Originally we thought there might be some problems with it taking too long on each individual enrolment,” explained Leigh, “but we went to Absolute support about this and they were very forthcoming in giving us a solution where we could speed it all up and automate the process.”

Since the rollout, Absolute Manage MDM has continued to shine. “We can track all the devices, we can make sure that they’re all safe, and we can make sure that everything that goes out to the phones is secure and restricted,” said Leigh. “And in fact, if anyone’s not using their phone we can see that [using Absolute Manage MDM’s use tracking tools] and go to them and say, ‘what do we need to do to get you using your phone?’ It might just be a case of training, or it might be the case that they need something else on the phone so they can use it better.”

Supporting and maintaining the deployment

“The great thing about Absolute MDM was that we really didn’t need any training – the software just worked exactly how we expected it to and everything was where we needed it to be,” said Leigh. “We have a team of eight IT support staff here, and it’s been so easy that we haven’t even needed all of those to run the support for the phones. It’s down to one person to do it, and they’re managing that very easily. On the couple of occasions when we have needed support, [Absolute’s team] have been very quick.”

The response from staff

“The staff response to the iPhones has been excellent – better than expected, actually,” said Leigh. “When we rolled out this many phones we thought we might get quite a few teething problems, but actually staff have taken to the phones really well, they’re all using them every day, and we can see that from the tracking reports.”

“When I first found out about the iPhone scheme I was quite sceptical to be honest, I didn’t think it would work,” said Matthew Crumpton, LNT Group’s resident videographer, who uses the iLNT app to push out training videos to staff phones. “But now that I’ve seen it happen, it’s really impressive. I thought all the stuff about the new app and the things it can do was quite groundbreaking. It’s kept me in touch with all my work colleagues as I was up and down the country travelling with Ginetta and Ideal Care Homes, and it’s allowed me to do HR tasks – booking holidays, clocking in and clocking out when I’m in different places, it’s revolutionised the way I do my job.

“We can send out messages as often as we want to particular parts of the company, so if you only want to send out a message to construction or people in Ideal Care Homes or people in a particular care home, say in Newark, we can send out a message, and it keeps it feeling like a family business. And as the company’s grown and got bigger and expanded its staff, that we can still keep in touch like that is fantastic.”

Most of the staff have found it easy to get to grips with their phones, and any support issues are usually resolved quickly. “Leigh does receive quite a few calls every day, but they’re usually quick fixes and it’s usually just people who aren’t familiar with using the phones,” says Matthew. “Some of them were quite sceptical about using iPhones at first, but I think as their confidence in the phones grows and they see other staff members benefitting from them, they do start to use them a lot more.”

Constantly expanding the scheme

“With every member of staff here at LNT receiving a new phone, and new care homes opening every month, we’re constantly rolling out new phones to staff, and every time we do we’re constantly learning a bit more about how to roll out and get the best out of these phones,” said Leigh, who also makes sure that the iLNT app is regularly updated with new features. “For anyone looking to roll out mobile devices at the minute, I really would suggest Absolute as the main product to use. It’s really taken away a lot of time from our workload, and because it’s invisible to the end user, they don’t even need to know how to use it, it just works.”

“I think the success of the scheme here at LNT proves that it can be such a success at any company,” agreed Matthew. “We were new to it when we started, we threw ourselves in at the deep end and we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into, but it’s proved an amazing success and I’d definitely recommend it to other companies.”

For more about mobile device management and Absolute Manage, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook