If you hadn’t already heard, this week Coretek celebrated our 20th birthday. We are very proud of this achievement and decided to celebrate in style!
On Monday (our actual Birthday), we enjoyed pizza, cake and decorated the office with balloons. Then at the weekend, we had a team activity at Go Ape Southampton where everyone braved heights of up to 40 feet to do their best Tarzan impressions. The day finished off at Red Dog Saloon for some gigantic burgers!
A massive thanks for all staff and clients who have helped us reach the 20 years in business, we couldn’t have done it without you!
BETT Show 2019 is now over for another year. We were there so read on to find out what we saw, what we liked and what the future holds for technology in education over the next few years.
If you didn’t already know, BETT is the largest educational IT trade show in the country and one of the biggest in Europe. It is THE place to find out about the latest ICT technology and exhibitors include Microsoft, Dell, Google, Adobe, Smart, Promethean and many more.
For anyone who has read any of our previous BETT show reviews, there is always a recurring theme that emerges every year. A few years back iPads were everywhere, more recently “cloud” was the buzzword at every stand.
This year however, there was no clear standout trend throughout the show, which was surprising. Having said that, one thing that we noticed is that there is a clear shift back towards more tactile, physical tech this year. There were numerous robots, roamers and control devices throughout the arena. On the TTS stand, an off-road programmable robot was negotiating big dirt hills, ramps and bridges with ease. A great way to make learning basic programming fun. Programmable Lego was also very popular in this year’s show, with SAM Labs having some really interesting displays on their stand with elaborate Lego robots and models being used by the pupils.
AV is always a big part of the show and we made a point to see what the biggest brands like Smart, Promethean and Prowise had to offer. As for any changes since last year, there have been very little. IFPs (Interactive Flat Panels) surpassed Interactive Whiteboards as the AV standard in schools a few years back and they have been available in various sizes for some time. The new models on offer may be slightly thinner but we saw no noticeable difference from current models.
All of the big names had demonstrations on their latest apps and programs for education. Microsoft are putting a great deal of effort into the educational market with Office 365 and Minecraft proving very popular. Adobe had some great demonstrations showing their Creative Cloud apps like Adobe Spark for easily producing video slideshows and Adobe Premiere Rush for video editing. Impero announced their latest update to their classroom monitoring software with a simpler, cleaner interface and new features to help with GDPR compliance.
An interesting change this year was an increase in cost-saving measures and ways for schools to purchase technology on a budget. There were several refurbished PC stands and even budget price projector lamps. Whether this can be attributed to the impending Brexit or a reduction in school budgets, this will be worth watching over the next few years.
Our personal highlight of the show had to be the DeLorean over at the ClassVR stand, which was an exact replica of the model from the Back to the Future films. This was certainly a head-turner!
This year’s BETT show was great fun as always and it was great to see what new technology is out there. See you next year!
Today is a very special day…it is Coretek’s 20th birthday!
We would like to extend a MASSIVE thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this impressive milestone. From staff past and present to all of our clients, we could not have done it without you!
To celebrate, we are looking forward to having a team day together in the next few weeks so watch our social media to see how we get on. We are also planning something special later in the year to say thank you to our incredible, loyal clients who have played such a big part in helping us reach our 20th year.
For those who are unaware of our “origin story”, Coretek was born 20 years ago when our founder Garry Miller was working as the IT manager of a global chemical company. Frustrated with the lack of competent and reliable IT organisations, he created Coretek to provide a better level of service and to help organisations like his.
From the very beginning, Coretek was built on the promise to provide IT support services with exceptional customer service and technical support expertise as a “seamless extension to your organisation”. The goal being to help people avoid the time and stress of IT firefighting and to provide long-term guidance with the scalable systems to help organisations succeed.
Things have changed a great deal since 1999! Back then the internet and Google were in their infancy, everyone was terrified of the much-hyped millennium bug and smartphones and social media didn’t even exist.
A lot has changed at Coretek over the last two decades too. We have moved office, we now operate our own UK-based cloud environment and are proud to provide support to thousands of users, across 10 countries.
We are still passionate about helping our clients succeed by providing exceptional IT support and services and are very much looking forward to seeing what the future brings!
Today is Safer Internet Day 2019. Every year, this represents a great opportunity to open up a dialogue about how to use the internet safely and what can be done to ensure everyone is safe online. This is a global event that helps educate young people and their parents on what steps they can take. According to educational software company 2Simple, this message reached 3 million people in 2018!
Here is the aim of the event, from the official site:
“The campaign’s slogan, “Together for a better internet“, is a call to action for all stakeholders to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, and especially for younger users.”
So, how much do you know about safety and consent on the internet? The Safer Internet Centre have put together a short quiz that you can take to find out. You can find the test here:
How did you get on? Did you get full marks? Let us know what your scores are and if you are an e-safety expert or if you need to go back to the classroom!
Coretek are proud to announce that we have been successfully accepted into the JOSCAR register and are now recognised as a fully compliant supplier for several defence companies and major organisations.
JOSCAR stands for the Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register. The JOSCAR register is a central register of approved suppliers which are used by several major defence organisations including BAE Systems, NATS, Airbus and the MOD when implementing new projects.
This register is strictly invite-only and requires successful completion of a qualification process.
Being included on the JOSCAR register is somewhat of a coup by Coretek and something we are very proud of. It means that we join an elite group of suppliers that have been hand-picked by some of the most established organisations in the country.
This seal of approval means that our current and future clients can have extra confidence in Coretek and our services as we have the capacity and technical ability to deliver on projects of this scale.
In addition, all of these organisations have strict security requirements and this is becoming more and more important to clients of all sizes, especially in the wake of GDPR. This again helps to inform our clients that we meet these high levels of protection for their systems and data.
If you are interested in finding out more, further details are available on the Hellios website – Joscar Defence Industry Explained
Following successful projects like our involvement in the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Coretek are proud to be involved in local and national industry and look forward to working closely with partners like BAE Systems in further exciting projects next year and beyond.
Office 365 now offers the ability to send encrypted emails, which is a fantastic way of securely sending any sensitive or confidential information via email. Here is how you enable the feature and start sending out encrypted emails in only a few steps.
Email encryption is a way of protecting the contents of an email message. This utilises technology such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) to achieve the encryption.
Email encryption is not necessarily required for every email that you send (although this is possible to configure), this functionality is particularly useful for sending out sensitive information such as passwords, login details, sensitive company information, intellectual property and finance details. The email encryption protects the contents of the email and prevents the recipient forwarding the email on or copying the contents out of the email.
The process of sending an encrypted email in Office 365 is actually very simple and doesn’t require any particular technical knowledge. Here is the process of how to send your first encrypted email.
If you access your Office 365 email via the browser using the app, follow these steps.
Make sure you have the Outlook open and click on New to compose a new email.
As long as email encryption has been enabled for your tenant, you should see a Protect button.
A grey bar will appear informing you that the email is now protected. If you wish to change the level of protection, click on the Change Permissions link.
You will have various options for protection, including Encrypt. If you simply want to encrypt the email, this option is fine. However, if you require additional security in addition to the encryption such as stopping the recipient forwarding the email on, these options are also available.
Here is a useful guide on the differences between the various settings: http://www.slashadmin.co.uk/exploring-the-new-office-365-email-protection-and-encryption-options/
Users of the Outlook 2016 application will need to go through a slightly different process. Again, encryption will need to be enabled by your system admin or these options will not be visible.
Start by clicking on New Email to compose a new email.
In the window for the new message, click on File and Properties.
Click on Security Settings…
Tick the checkbox for Encrypt message contents and attachments.
Compose and send the email as usual.
As mentioned, this functionality will need to be enabled in your Office 365 admin settings. Not all versions of Office 365 offer this functionality. According to Microsoft, these versions are eligible:
“Office 365 Message Encryption is offered as part of Office 365 E3 and E5, Microsoft E3 and E5, Office 365 A1, A3, and A5, and Office 365 G3 and G5.”
If you are unsure if you are covered under your subscription, consult your MSP or pop us an email and we can point you in the right direction.
To enable email encryption for your Office 365 account, you will need to sign into your Office 365 admin portal as a Global Administrator. From here, you need to enable the Azure Rights Management. This is straightforward and the steps can be found here.
Note that if you signed up for your Office 365 subscription from February 2018, this may already be enabled by default.
Once the above has been completed, all of your Office 365 users should be ready to go. Happy encrypting!
We would like to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and New Year! We will be taking a short break for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years’ Day and then will be back raring to go for 2019.
Here are our opening hours over the holiday period:
Christmas Eve – Open
Christmas Day – Closed
Boxing Day – Closed
December 27 – Open 9 to 5
December 28 – Open 9 to 5
Weekend – Closed
New Year’s Eve – Open 9 to 5
New Year’s Day – Closed
The Coretek team had a great time on Sunday dressing up as Santa and taking part in the annual Santa Dash for a great cause – Oakhaven Hospice Trust.
We joined hundreds of other Santas for a 3K dash around Lymington.
If you are interested in finding out more about the great work they do at Oakhaven or would like to donate, all the details are available on their website: https://www.oakhavenhospice.co.uk/santa-dash-2018/
Do you use WordPress for your business or school website? If so, you need to be aware of a hugely important update that’s coming tomorrow, 6th December 2018. It’s called Gutenberg and many are saying this is going to be the biggest change to WordPress ever seen.
The Gutenberg update (also known as update 5.0) is a complete overhaul of the WordPress editor, with a new layout and new features such as blocks that you can use to build pages and posts.
Yoast have put together a very lengthy post, which explains the Gutenberg update in detail.
If you would rather get stuck in and see it for yourself, you can try out a demo of the new editor here: Gutenberg Live Demo.
Firstly, the most important thing is to check that your plugins and in particular, your themes are compatible with the update. We recommend contacting your theme provider to make sure that it is compatible with the new update and if there are any other considerations you need to be aware of.
Yoast have put together a good article on this too, but in summary, it is probably worth holding out to let the initial bugs come out of the woodwork and perhaps wait until the next update.
If you aren’t sure about this change, WordPress have you covered. If you would rather stick with the old editor for now, you can download a plugin that will switch you back. You can download this here: WordPress Classic Editor.
Are you moving to Gutenberg or are you staying put? Reach out to us here or social media, we are very interested to hear your thoughts.
Adobe are the undisputed kings of creative software and their Adobe Creative Cloud CC is the industry-leading suite of applications for graphic design, web development, video production and more.
One of the titles included in the suite is Adobe Spark, which allows for quick and easy creation of graphics (e.g. posters), websites (e.g. online presentations), and videos (e.g. presentations).
Spark has been developed to make producing great work as fast and intuitive as possible, focusing on creativity rather than a steep technical learning curve.
All of which makes Adobe Spark a fantastic fit for education.
What’s even better is that Adobe are now offering Adobe Spark Premium completely free for schools! This usually costs £9.99 per user, per month so is well worth looking into.
If you would like to find out more about the offer and are interested in getting Adobe Spark for your school, here you can find out more information here: Adobe Spark Home
In terms of getting started with Adobe Spark here are some useful tutorials and resources, which walk through how to use the program and a couple of example projects.
Is your school using Adobe Spark or any other Creative Cloud programs? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.