Upgrading to Windows 10

As discussed at our Whangarei Hui, Microsoft has extended the MARS licence for Computers in Homes to include Windows 10.  This means we can now move towards providing families with Windows 10 operating systems.  It is important that families are trained on equipment with the same software (operating system and application software) as that is on their take-home computers.  The Stepping UP modules used for Computers in Homes training will be progressively updated for Windows 10, but this should not be a deterrent in making the move from Windows 7.  Trainers are expected to be able to use the Windows 7 material as a guide in the meantime and explain the differences for Windows 10.

Families already in training

These families will already be using Windows 7 and therefore should be provided with Windows 7 computers when they complete their training.

Training being provided at a new hub

Hub equipment with a Windows 10 image should be purchased for the new hub as well as for families when they complete training.

Training being provided at an existing school hub

Schools already have access to Microsoft software under a centralised agreement with the Ministry of Education.  We would expect that schools are already considering upgrading to Windows 10 if they haven’t already done so.  Check the situation with the school training hub before starting training.

Training being provided at a community hub

We can offer to assist the community hub upgrade their computers to Windows 10 before training starts.

  1. Contact Jackie Lawrence at Conbrio/The Ark with an order for the number of Windows 10 licences required.
  2. Jackie will send a custom laptop, a switch and the licences.
  3. The community hub then plugs in all the existing computers at the hub that they want to upgrade to the switch (just replace the existing switch temporarily)
  4. Plug the laptop into the switch and then, using the second network port on the switch, plug into the internet connection (this is needed for management as the upgrade files are all on the laptop).
  5. Turn on the laptop and then turn on the PC’s.
  6. The new install will happen automatically, including appropriate drivers and the standard CIH image.
  7. When finished activate Windows and Office and create the recovery partition provided with all CIH computers.
  8. Provide the necessary licence information to Jackie at Conbrio for her to advise Microsoft.
  9. Box up all the bits (laptop and switch) and courier to the next site (as instructed by Jackie)

Windows 10 now available for MARS

Brian Lawrence at Conbrio advised me today that Microsoft has now included Windows 10 in the MARS (Microsoft’s Authorised Refurbisher Scheme) licencing programme, which means we can now plan to migrate our standard Computers in Homes image from Windows 7 to Windows 10.   Sue Kini is taking a look at what this might mean for the Stepping UP modules that we use for Computers in Homes training and will report on this at our NCCG in Whangarei.  I am proposing that we ask our refurbishers to start supplying computers with the new image from the start of September, but we will hold off on a firm decision until we meet in Whangarei.

Connected Learning – opportunity to provide feedback

I expect that coordinators will recall the presentation by Marina Dixon from the Ministry of Education at our recent hui in Wellington.  She showed us a sample of the “Connected Learning” resources the Ministry has been developing.  These have now been published and can be accessed online .   The resources are aimed at helping teachers make the most of digital technologies in everyday teaching and learning. The main audience for these resources is primary school teachers who are relatively new to the use of digital technologies to support teaching and learning.   Marina has invited feedback from CiH Coordinators on the four pilot resources:

  • ‘Me and my students’ – this tool introduces teachers to a student inquiry approach which supports 21st century skills such as student agency and demonstrates, through video, how digital tools can be used to support the skills of student inquiry.
  • ‘Start me up’ – this is a series of quick and easy online, interactive learning modules for classroom teachers who are new to, and less confident in, using digital technologies to support teaching and learning.
  • ‘Show me around’ – this is a ‘virtual tour’ or interactive video showcase of innovative teaching and learning practices supported by digital technologies in a school which is advanced in its use of technologies to support learning.
  • Connecting me’ – this is a quick search tool which makes it easier for teachers, principals and parents to find relevant Government-provided information from multiple websites which supports the integration of technologies with learning.

How you can help:

During the pilot phase, the Ministry is keen to seek feedback on these resources from groups like the 2020 Computers in Homes team who liaise with parents and caregivers around the use of digital technologies.   Feedback could cover topics such as:

  • how useful you think these resources will be for the intended audience
  • any comments on content, design or technical aspects
  • ideas as to how we can make these resources better targeted to the intended audience, and/or
  • ideas as to what resources we can create in the future to add to the Connected Learning Resources set.

Please send any feedback on the Connected Learning Resources to Marina by 31 August 2016.

New Registration Form for CIH Families

As from today (1 July 2016) all coordinators are required to use a new  FamilyRegistrationForm when registering families.  This is required to capture some additional information about participating families, including date of birth and children’s names and birth dates.  We have an online version of this sign-up form in the secure area of the CIH website (Coordinator Resources):


Coordinators are required to transfer the data from the registration form to the online form and this will populate our google sheets.

This is the first step in a new integrated approach to data capture, where CIH family data is entered in one place only, something many of you have been asking for, for some time.  This is a work in progress, so there might need to be some manual back office updating before everything is working as we need it, but we have to start somewhere.

It has already been suggested that maybe families could enter the data themselves as part of their first class.  This is a possibility (assuming they have the confidence to do this) but the forms would still need to be completed manually some time before the start of the first class, as they are also used to help schedule classes at a time that suits everyone.

Anyway, let’s give it a go and we can improve our processes as we move forward.

Chris T has raised some points below and I have included my comments by way of a response:

Chris:  Actually, I’ve had another look at this form and think there’s some other things missing.  There’s no provision for providing contact details for prospective participants.

My response:  There is provision for a physical address and a phone number.  What other contact details would you expect, given that it is highly likely applicants would not already have an email address, or if they did, no computer to access their email.

Chris: There’s no “features and benefits” for prospective participants.  For example:  They are entitled to a computer, subsidised internet connection and tech support.  

My response:   I guess this could be added, but I would have expected this to be explained at the parent information evening or through other communications.  The registration form is really just intended as a registration of interest and to help trainers plan a suitable training time.

Chris: You could also cut down on space by replacing the table under the question “what time suits? and put Morning/Afternoon/Evening on one line and Days of the week on the next line.

My response:  This becomes a problem when “Tuesday Morning”, “Wednesday Afternoon” and “Thursday Evening” all suit.



Toggl for Time Management

Coordinators will recall Sylvia’s presentation on Toggl at our Nelson hui.  I have been meaning to post the outcome from the discussion following her presentation about a sensible set of ‘project’ categories  for you to use to monitor your lives and find out where all the time goes.  It would also be really useful feedback for us when we try and scale the coordinator and delivery partner roles and develop new support roles.  So if anyone has joined the Toggl world, please feel free to share your reports with us.  I am not so interested in week-by-week reports as I know your workloads fluctuate wildly, but what would be good is a three or six month report.

The categories agreed were:

  • BYOD
  • Finance Related
  • General Admin
  • Kiwiskills
  • Media and Community Liaison
  • Meetings (incl NCCG)
  • Net Sign Ups
  • Rejuvenation
  • Reporting (incl surveys)
  • School Liaison (incl Graduations)
  • Stepping UP
  • Technical Admin (Ordering, fixing etc)
  • Training Set Up
  • Travel

Engaging subcontractors

Computers in Homes coordinators have delegated authority to appoint subcontractors to assist with the delivery of certain aspects of the programme.  Specifically this includes:

  • Computers in Homes trainers to deliver 20 hours of training for groups of participating families
  • Stepping UP trainers to deliver 2-hour training modules (noting that our preference is to progressively migrate these costs to libraries)
  • Technicians to provide technical support for families, as required, for 12 months post graduation
  • Technicians to carry out Warrant of Fitness checks on computers at 12 months (applies only to families from the 2014-15 funding year and earlier)
  • Rejuvenation Surveys to complete the 12-month “follow up” survey

Templates for all these subcontracts are available in the secure area of the Computers in Homes website.  These MUST be completed and signed before any work is undertaken. A copy must also be sent to the 2020 Trust Contracts Director for any subcontractors engaged by a 2020 Trust contractor.

Most contractors are following these procedures but we felt a reminder was timely because a situation has recently arisen where a subcontractor was engaged without a written contract and there was confusion about responsibilities when a problem arose.

We also suggest that at least one written reference be sought whenever a new subcontractor is engaged and that a copy be attached to the contract.  This is especially important for people who will be required to go onto school grounds for training families and for technicians who may be required to go into CiH family homes.

Police checks not required for parents attending CIH Training

One of our coordinators has been advised by a school she is working with that parents coming onto the school grounds for Computers in Homes training will need to be police checked, especially families not known to the school, who may be participating from another school.  This seemed a bit strange to us, so we checked with the Ministry, and guess what, we are not the first to encounter this concern.  The Ministry has a very clear guideline about schools’ responsibilities for this matter.  Worth taking a look  at the guideline as this relates to other people coming onto school properties as well.  But what is very clear is there is no requirement for police checks on parents or other visitors to the school (with the Board’s consent).

Online forums for technicians and trainers

Sue Davidson and Ivan Lomax have kindly agreed to moderate two online forums, one for CIH technicians and one for CIH trainers.  All technicians and trainers are encouraged to join the respective forum and then use this to raise issues and suggest solutions.

The following links should be provided to all CIH technicians and trainers;  they can then self-register and request membership.  As the registration process is open to anyone who has the links, Sue and Ivan will be verifying their authenticity before approving their membership.

Tech forum = https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6947886

Trainers = https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6947852

Private lessons for CIH families

Sylvia has been approached by her CIH tutors asking if they are able to provide private lessons (for a fee) to former students.  These are two older woman who have just started using computers and did struggle a bit in a class situation. They have approached the CIH tutor together, offering to pay for her time to provide additional support. One of the CIH participants has a disability that means she can no longer write so she is particularly motivated to learn more. Her grandchildren are helping but are younger so don’t yet know enough to help as much as she’d like. She also lives on the outskirts of town and can’t easily travel.

My comment:  We need to make sure that tutors do not put any pressure on participants to pay for more training – especially when we offer Stepping UP for free. It is clear from the above situation that the participants have approached the tutor and so this seems absolutely fine to me.

Di’s comment: As long as the tutor is not doing the lessons in the name of Computers in Homes, i.e. not using us as her credentials for private business or cash employment, this should be fine.  This was what the volunteer hours of the CIH Buddy was meant to be for, but we recognise this has proved to be too hard to manage in most regions.