BETT 2017 Guest Post: XMA – “ClassLink: New and Improved”

Our next guest blog post from a Microsoft Partner exhibiting at bet comes from XMA. With a wide portfolio covering computer hardware, software, printing, infrastructure and associated services, XMA focus on supporting teachers and pupils in improving learning outcomes through the sustainable use of technology.

Find XMA at BETT 2017 on stand E205, to see how they can help students, teachers, and academic institutions get the most out of technology.


ClassLink: New and Improved, by XMA

Its our mission to support teachers and pupils in improving learning outcomes through the sustainable use of technology. Schools today are using a wide range of technology, it’s no longer just a desktop PC in a room, or laptops that are part of a class set of devices.

At XMA, we’ve been talking to schools about their use of technology and we want to make it easier for everyone – students, teachers, senior leaders, governors and the network support team to use the fantastic technology that’s available to them.

At Bett this year we are releasing our new version of Classlink which will help schools get the best out of technology in their school, make it easier for teachers to control that technology and for students to do great things.

Providing a safe learning environment

Since the introduction of the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance in September this year, schools have more responsibility than ever before to make sure their students are kept safe in school when using technology, and can ask for help whenever they have a concern or trouble. With Classlink, students can report a concern to a nominated member of staff in the school. This allows them to report anything online but also, crucially, anything in or out of school that is worrying them and need help with. Once the student has raised this concern, the member of staff is alerted straight away meaning that if necessary, that child can be helped immediately.

The safeguarding team also have a number of tools available to them to help identify any problems across the school, including keyword and phrase matching when students are using technology to help identify any students who may be involved in activities which could place them at risk.

Powered by Netsupport DNA, the latest keywords and phrases schools should be monitoring are automatically added so the safeguarding team can be confident that if a student is involved in activities that could place them at risk, they can provide support to them.

Cloud Applications

The range of cloud-based applications available for schools today is brilliant, from Sway and Microsoft Forms, through to the OneNote Class Notebook, and many more mean that everyone in a school can produce exciting, inspiring work, and don’t need to be in school to produce it. With the plethora of cloud-based applications available today, there’s often the requirement for students and teachers to remember multiple usernames and passwords so they can use these great apps. We are bringing to schools the Classlink Cloud App Launcher which, with a single set of credentials, allow them to access their school’s cloud based applications. This reduces classroom disruption and reduces the network support team’s work of continually resetting usernames and passwords – Users even access all their apps through one easy to remember web address.

Keeping control of the classroom and involving everyone

Technology is great when its used in teaching and learning, but sometimes it’s too easy for students to go off-task. With Classlink Remote Learning, teachers can have complete control over the computers being used in the classroom or ICT suite. Through a simple to use console they’re able to blank screens, use co-browsing and much more. Classlink Remote Learning allows teachers to bring in to discussions the more reluctant students in a class, through the Q&A function or the shared whiteboard, where students can contribute without having to go to the front of the class.

Helping users help themselves

It’s an easy mistake to make – just at the time it’s due to hand in that crucial piece of work you accidentally delete the file. When this happens, the network support team need to restore a version of the file from backup which could include lost work or out-of-date information, not to mention the disruption caused by the loss of this work. With the File Restore Utility, a user has the ability to recover their own files meaning no lost work, no disruption and no extra work for the network support team. With a couple of clicks of the mouse, that work which could have been lost forever is back!

Making management easier

Being able to manage users on the network with a simple tool allows the network support team to concentrate on planning and developing the use of technology in a school, rather than spending time on mundane tasks .

With the Classlink Management Tools, the most common network management tasks, largely around user account management can be quickly and easily actioned. The Classlink Management Tools utilise Microsoft Azure, and one of the many benefits of this is they can carry out these tasks from anywhere, at any time, whether that’s in or out of school or on-the-go. For schools that have part-time ICT support, primary schools for example, their technician doesn’t need to be in school to carry this work out.

Sustainable ICT

Being able to get the most from the technology in your school means that ICT spend can be focused on where it’s really needed. With Classlink, the network support team get access to the powerful features of Netsupport DNA which saves them time with proactive alerts from the technology in their school, such as low server disk space, licence compliance and more. The network support team can help reduce the ICT costs in school by being able to easily identify hardware utilisation, allowing them to upgrade or redeploy technology, rather than replacing it. The network support team can gain a deep insight in to the use of technology in their schools and look at how costs can be saved, from reducing energy costs through to printer utilisation and control, through to deploying settings for power management.

All the information available to the network support team can be easily shared with other stakeholders in the school, for example the Senior Leadership Team, using reports that can be scheduled and shared.

We can’t wait to show you Classlink and demonstrate all of its powerful features. Please join us on the XMA stand E205 to see how we can help students, teachers, everyone get the most out of technology.

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