Archives For November 2011

The internet provides a wealth of information which can be used to enhance the classroom and learning environment. Sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Google Earth and Wikipedia allow pupils to gain a wider perspective and increase the potential for quality in their work. Nevertheless, with power comes greater responsibility. Some young people are downloading large portions of information and pasting it directly into their essays without crediting their sources and in some cases, not even verifying if this copied information is even valid. The biggest issue arises from young people not understanding the correct protocol when directly copying imagery or information into their work. It is important that they understand the options available and what exactly plagiarism is as they may think that they have done nothing wrong. In some cases, it is possible to accidentally plagiarise but this is no excuse and it is imperative that work must be checked closely for content and consistency.

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Your child will have probably used the Google search engine to find web pages for work and for hobbies. However, there is a large percentage of inappropriate content which could also be accessed through the search engine.

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Cyber bullying is on the increase and is one by-product of social networking sites and mobile devices. Due to the ‘always on’ nature of these systems, bullying and harassment can take place at any time and in any place. Some of this bullying can take form of sending threatening or intimidating text messages, Facebook messages, ‘Frape’ (See http://web.sidmouthcollege.devon.sch.uk/ictblog/what-is-facebook), abuse over instant messaging services such as MSN messenger & Facebook chat as well as teasing someone in a public chat-room. Due to the more anonymous ‘detached’ nature of the virtual world,some people who don’t usually bully may find it easier to bully and be bullied as they there is no physical reinforcement of their actions at the time. A comment online may only be in jest, but can be taken the wrong way as there is no way to gauge emotions on the net, this can manifest itself into a serious problem and result in serious cyber bullying.

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Windows 8 (currently known as Windows Developer Preview) is the upcoming installment in Operating Systems produced by the Microsoft Corporation. Many new fundamental changes are hinted along with revisions to the current Windows 7 operating system. The most significant change to the new version of Windows is its primary interface. The log-in screen and the ‘Start’ button have been given a big overhaul and now give users a more integrated, streamline experience (which has been optimised for touchscreen computers). To find out more about the next version of Windows, open the guide (link below) to find out more.

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There are a few different options available to you if you are unfortunate enough to loose some of your data depending on what hardware you have and what level access you have on your computer. Windows 7 has the option to restore previous versions (although this may not be enabled by default). Previous versions are either backup copies—copies of files and folders that you back up by using the Back Up Files wizard, or shadow copies—copies of files and folders that Windows automatically saves as part of a restore point (Shadow copies can be copies of files on your computer or shared files on a computer on a network.). You can use previous versions of files to restore files that you accidentally modified or deleted, or that were damaged. Depending on the type of file or folder, you can open, save to a different location, or restore a previous version. To learn more about this, click this link.

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Sidmouth College uses a virtualised environment on which we run our servers. A server is a special computer that is programmed to carry out a specific role. This ranges from holding staff and pupil documents to controlling the college’s heating system. The college uses a VMWare platform to enable multiple ‘servers’ to be run off a single physical machine. One advantage is the physical footprint of our cumulative server systems is a lot smaller as we no longer have a large number of physical servers, the power consumption is a great deal lower which has positive environmental and economic impacts and virtualised servers run off a single virtualised hard disk file in normal operation. Due to it being a single file, it means that back-ups can be created with ease and restoring from back-ups in the possible event of a failure, this method is far easier than traditional tape backup. Major modification of hardware can also be accommodated without disrupting the virtualised environment of Windows Server as this could present a serious issue in a physical environment.

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Is your computer running too slow? Do you want to upgrade your hardware but not sure how? Sidmouth College’s computer surgery can assist you with all computer based issues & questions and provide free support to all college staff, pupils and their parents. If you wish to take up this offer, simply complete this form stating a date and time and the Network Support Team will contact you in due course to finalise details. Please do remember to fill in as much detail as you can about the problems you are experiencing as well as putting ‘COMPUTER SURGERY’ in the subject box as this will assist in a timely turn-around of your question or issue.

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Sidmouth College uses a programme called PaperCut to manage all 60 networked printers and photocopiers in and around the school. Students are given ‘£3.00’ of printer credit a week which enables them to print 30 A4 Black & White sheets or 6 A4 colour sheets to available devices. If students require more printing credit to print out school work or coursework then they can see their teacher who can give them printing vouchers – these come in ‘£10.00’ denominations and pupils can add these to their printing account. To do this, they can click ‘Details…’ on the balance screen which appears in the top right hand corner of their screen when they log-on. This will then prompt for their log on details again – once signed in, select ‘Redeem card’ and enter the unique alphnumeric sequence displayed on the card.

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