Virtual School Meanderings

April 7, 2014

[General] GCSN Newsletter – 7 April 2014

GCSNOne for my Kiwi readers…

GCSN Newsletter – 7 April 2014

Microsoft Office training 

 Unfortunately,  we have had to cancel our Microsoft Office 365 training on Wednesday 9 April because of lack of numbers.  Our apologies to the people who had enrolled.

 Can you please indicate your interest in attending these Microsoft courses in the future to

 These workshops are free and they provide a wealth of useful support for  teachers and students in  taking full advantage of the potential that this free cloud access to Microsoft Office provides.

 Microsoft has informed us that if schools in Christchurch are not interested in further training they will cancel the workshops which were planned for this year.

 N4L update  

 GCSN was delighted with the attendance of 41 secondary school personnel  at its briefing session with N4L.  The information provided by N4L was positive.  The N4L representatives stated that a number of Christchurch schools will be connected over the next few months.

 We are presently arranging for a similar session for primary schools in term two.

March 22, 2014

Press Release – A Turning Point for African Economies

This is from Thursday’s inbox…

Dear Michael,

I am contacting you about the 9th edition of the eLearning Africa conference that will take place in Kampala from May 28th – 30th, 2014.

I would like to know you would be interested publishing our press release in your website.

eLearning Africa is the largest gathering of eLearning and ICT supported education and training professionals in Africa, enabling participants to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as to enhance their knowledge, expertise and abilities.

At eLearning Africa 2013, 1,480 education and training practitioners, experts, researchers, newcomers and providers from 65 countries gathered during the three conference days at the Safari Conference Centre, Windhoek, Namibia. 86% of the participants came from African countries. The conference programme featured the work of 300 speakers and chairpersons from 43 countries, addressing all forms of technology-enhanced learning and including a rich mix of themes, topics and a variety of session formats.

Please find enclosed our last press release and a fact sheet about the conference.

I would be happy to provide you more information.

Kind Regards,


Andrea Ricciarelli
Communications & Public Relations






March 17, 2014

[General] GCSN Newsletter – 17 March 2014

GCSNOne for my Kiwi readers…

GCSN Newsletter – 17 March 2014

Forthcoming events

Secondary champions meeting.     27 March –  1pm to 3:30pm.     CDC building, 92 Cashel St

The Network for Learning  (N4L) team is sending representatives to this meeting.  N4L will be play a critical role in IT development in New Zealand schools, especially over the next two or three years.  We strongly encourage you to attend this meeting to get further information about the roll out of N4L services in Christchurch.  Principals may wish to attend this session as well.

Please sign up on the events calendar so we know how many will be there for lunch.

 Microsoft Office 365 course.    27 March  -  3:30 to 5pm.   CDC building, 92 Cashel St

A beginners guide and introduction around the set-up of Office365 and how to access Student Advantage for schools

  •  Student Advantage and how schools can offer free Microsoft Office to their students on home owned devices.
  • The possibilities and the products that the schools have access to under Office365 and the Student Advantage offer.
  • How to access Student Advantage and the possibilities of moving to this cloud based learning environment.
  • A technical session on the basics on how to set up Office365 in your school.

Please ensure you  register on the events calendar  if you wish to attend these workshops.  Please contact or phone 0212485485

February 18, 2014

[General] GCSN Newsletter – 18 February 2014

GCSNOne for my Kiwi readers…

GCSN Newsletter – 18 February 2014

Welcome back to 2014.  The year promises much for the continued development of digital learning in schools.

GCSN will continue to be able to provide advice and guidance to all principals and other school staff through 2014.   It is available to help individual schools or clusters of schools in the following areas.

  • Resolving ICT infrastructure issues (eg cabling and wireless)
  • Purchasing appropriate ICT equipment and services
  • Sourcing teaching and learning advice
  • Planning for ICT development
  • Working with the Ministry of Education and /or N4L
  • Involving parents and the community in ICT development.

In the initial instance, this service will be provided free of charge.  A small cost will be incurred for periods beyond three hours.

An important part of GCSN’s work in 2014 is to explore the establishment of a digital hub in Christchurch to serve the needs of students who have a particular interest and strength in digital innovation.  This service we hope will be available as an after-school activity in a central venue.

The next secondary champions meeting on 27 March 2014 will feature N4L.  The N4L organisation is sending a team to Christchurch.    Champions are welcome to bring any questions about N4L to this meeting.

Please contact , , or for further information on any of the above matters.

Forthcoming events

Secondary champions meeting.     27 March –  1pm to 3:30pm    CDC building, 99 Cashel St

 Microsoft Office 365 courses.  Keep an eye of the GCSN calendar and further newsletters for details.  Please ensure you register on the website if you wish to attend these workshops.

Three sessions scheduled for March, April and June covering accessing Student Advantage programme (free MS software for students), Outlook 365 setup and administration, Using Office 365 in the classroom and an overview of Windows 8/8.1 and how it can be used in the classroom.

December 16, 2013

[General] GCSN Newsletter – 16 December 2013

For my Kiwi readers…

GCSN Newsletter – 16 December 2013

This will be the final GCSN newsletter for 2013.

Thank you for all your support during the year.  And our very best wishes for a well deserved and relaxing break over the next few weeks.  2013 has been another hectic year for Christchurch education.

We are looking forward to 2014.  We are particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of working in a number of school clusters in developing plans for IT networks and working towards launching a digital innovation hub in Christchurch.

2014 will also see the roll out of the N4L with plans to connect 700 schools across the country.  We have been in regular communication with N4L staff who assure us that the programme is on track.  The trial with 20+ schools has been successful.  The trial  schools are reporting significantly improved download and upload speeds.  The financial benefit of fully funded fibre and internet access for the next eight years will be significant

GCSN will also be able to continue its work in 2014 in supporting all Christchurch schools in their IT development in such areas as infrastructure development, tendering and procurement and SNUPing processes and in continuing to facilitate development opportunities.

Please refer to our previous newsletter of 25 November for information relating to Windows XP Support ending in April 2014.

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