As we have previously blogged about, the Department for Education has been running a project entitled SWIFT. Stage 1 of this project was getting high speed fibre internet connections to all schools in the state, of which they have almost achieved, there is one school in the state that has proven an extreme challenge. Stage 2 of this project was to then replace the internet filtering solution at schools with a modern, scalable and effective solution.
Brighton Primary School has now been migrated over to this new solution and we are very impressed. The improvements have been phenomenal. Staff and students see a whole lot less prompts to authenticate themselves, they can now see the full benefit of the speed of our fibre internet connection and just have a better internet experience.
Where the differences come in a big way can be summarised by the following;
- In the past, allowing a website or app through that was blocked required discovering a list of all of the servers it may access and allowing them all individually. Now, most apps and sites are listed as a “Application” or “Service” that we can allow or deny and it takes care of all the heavy lifting.
- Staff can now log in and allow any of the above apps or services for their class for a period of time. For example, if they are doing a lesson that requires them to look up the price of grocery items, the online shopping category is generally blocked, but staff can go and allow their kids to access Woolworths, Coles and Foodland for the period of the lesson they require it.***
- The reporting and analytics of this product are in a world of their own. We get the obvious reports of a direct search for something inappropriate, but more so, it also analyses students activity over a period of time and looks at commonalities with a focus looking for indicators or things such as self harm, mental health etc.
*** Staff haven’t been trained how to do this just yet, that is coming in a couple of weeks after leadership and ICT get used to the product first.