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How to Run a Video Call Test

By News and Info

We recommend that schools run tests of video call module before using it for real parents’ evenings, to ensure it will work as well as can be on the day.

It is also vital that networks/firewalls are configured to ‘allow’ the video calls to take place on the school’s network and teacher ‘devices’ (see more on this at the bottom of this article).

The two tests we suggest are below:

Test One: Run a Network test using the Twilio Network Tester:

https://networktest.twilio.com/
Please also note the information at the bottom of this post about information for your IT team.

Test Two: Test with Teachers

Schools should check that the devices teachers plan to use are compatible with the video call technology. This can be done simply by asking teachers to login to their Parents Booking account and click the ‘Video Settings’ button on their Dashboard. This will allow them to test their internet browser is compatible, and that their webcam and microphone work. Teachers can also run the ‘network test’ detailed in Test One above.

The instructions (PDF file) for teachers on how to join the video calls goes into further detail on internet browser and device compatibility.

This blog post details how to set up a more cumbersome but in-depth test, where you set up fake parent accounts and have teachers and ‘fake parents’ book appointments between each other.

Information for Edinburgh Council schools:

At the time of writing schools/teachers should not use the LTAD network for their view meetings as this seems to be blocking the video meetings (although it does seem to work at some schools). Please advise teachers to use either the LTAP_P or LT_Open networks.

Information for HP Laptops/Computers

One school has reported that where there were issues with the camera and mic not working on HP laptops and computers, this was resolved by removing the Cyberlink YouCam application.

Information for your IT/server team:

Media / UDP Network Settings :

Schools need to allow Port 443 / HTTPS traffic and IT/network teams should be aware these video calls will happen over an encrypted peer-to-peer (P2P) connection, making any network adjustments required.

Ensure *.Twilio.com URLs are whitelisted.

Smoothwall users should add Twilio.com to ‘authentication exceptions’ in Smoothwall’s policies. Some Smoothwall users have also had to modify the’ default outgoing policy’ to allow ‘any internal interfaces’ to access ‘any external interfaces’.

We’re also aware that adding chunderw-vpc-gll.twilio.com into to the SSL Inspection exceptions for a firewall has been of significant help to some schools, including those who use Sophos SG UTM.

We are also using Twilio’s Irish (ie1) “media servers”, which use the Twilio IP address ranges listed below:
52.215.253.0 – 52.215.253.63
54.171.127.192 – 54.171.127.255
52.215.127.0 – 52.215.127.255
3.249.63.128 – 3.249.63.255

New parents’ website design

By EdTech Discussion No Comments

We have recently given the parents’ area a fresh lick of paint. Below are some screenshots which show how some of the website now looks. As well as looking more modern and ‘cleaner’, the website now looks even better at mobile and tablet resolution. We hope you and your parents will appreciate the upgrade!

Setting up a video test ‘session’ between teachers and ‘fake’ parents

By EdTech Discussion No Comments

Use the instructions below to set up a test without having to involve real parents. This testing process suggests diving teachers into two groups (half are to login with their usual teacher login, and half will pretend to be a fake parent):

  1. Login to Parents Booking as an admin
  2. Go to the Parents page and create (or upload, see below) some fake parents, and at the same time create fake students.
    N.B. You do not need to give the fake parents an e-mail or telephone number.
  3. Write down/remember the parent and student names and student DOBs, because the “parents” will use these as their logins later. When creating the students, add them to a new “Test” registration group, this will make the next few steps easier.
    N.B. As an alternative to creating lots of fake students, you can download and then upload this spreadsheet of fake parents (Scottish/SEEMIS schools should use this version).
  4. Go to the Teachers page and add the students from the Test reg group to the teachers who are going to be part of the test (OR make a new, fake teacher and add the students to them).
    N.B. We suggest making a new subject for each teacher called “Video Testing” and adding the ‘Test’ reg group students to this.
  5. Once the students are added to the teachers, make sure the half of the teachers who will be testing by logging in as a teacher have been sent a password or have set up their login. To do this check if the teachers have a e-mail address against their account on the Teachers page.
    If they do, you can skip this step.
    If they do not, type/paste an e-mail in for these teachers and press ‘Save Rooms/Emails’ at the top of the page to send teachers their login. This will change the ‘Login Setup’ column to a blue Password Sent message. If this is still showing red and ‘Not Configured’ you can tick these teachers and press ‘Email Password Reset’ at the top of the Teachers page.
    N.B. Make sure teachers users log out of Parents Booking, if they were logged in recently as a parent/admin/teacher, before they try to reset their password or they will not be able to set up a password from the link in the e-mail, and instead will see an ‘Access Denied’ page).
  6. Create a parents’ evening for the ‘Test’ registration group, at the dates and times you want to have a test on.
  7. Have the fake parents book some appointments, either via the admin area > Manage Booking or via the school’s parent login page, before the video meetings are scheduled to take place. Meetings which are booked become video meetings, so having bookings between teachers are parents is important.
  8. Then, lastly, have everyone login 5-15mins before their appointments and join the video calls, to make sure the video calls work.

New Features for 2020/21

By Software Updates No Comments

Welcome back!

We have spent the last six months building lots of exciting new features for Parents Booking (which, as you may know, is our new name).

To help explain these changes, this blog article covers them all. You can click on a topic and more information will be opened in a new tab.

List of changes in the latest Parents Booking release:

If you have any questions please do contact hello@parents-booking.com or support@parents-booking.com.

Disconnect Students from Old Teachers/Classes

By Software Updates No Comments
Disconnect Teachers

Our newest software release showcases a great new feature which automatically “disconnects” students from their old teachers/classes.

Let’s begin with an example: You uploaded the whole school’s data four months ago, and now it’s time for a new parents’ evening (whether that’s just for a year group or the whole school). No doubt class lists will have changed, for example students joining/leaving classes, ‘rotations’ meaning classes are now taught by different teachers, or even staff joining/leaving the school. In the past this might have meant your students and classes were still “linked” to the wrong teacher.

By default, from now on, any data upload you run will automatically “disconnect” students from their “old” teachers and classes. This means that Parents Booking will take for granted that the data you are uploading is the whole and honest truth. This should make parents’ evenings extremely accurate, and mean schools have an even easier time setting up parents’ evenings.

However, be careful. Under certain circumstances, for example if you choose to upload some data for just one subject, the students you upload will be disconnected from all their other teachers/classes UNLESS you un-tick the “Remove students from their old teachers/classes” setting at the top of the Upload Data page, before you run the upload.

Creating Teacher Logins/Accounts

By Software Updates No Comments
Teacher e-mail setup

Schools have asked us in the past if teachers can be given their own logins. This is now possible, and is vital if a school is going to be using the video calls module for their parents’ evening.

However, the “School Staff” login/account that schools have used until now still remains available as an option for schools who do not want to have to create logins for each teacher, and for schools who are not using the video call module there is no requirement to create accounts for teachers.

To create teacher accounts/logins:

You can now create personalised logins/accounts for teachers, any time, by inputting their work e-mail address into the ‘E-Mail’ field (see figure 1) on the Teaches page, and then pressing ‘Save Room/E-mails’.

Once you press ‘Save Room/E-mails’ (see figure 2), the e-mail addresses are saved and the teachers are sent an e-mail with their username and asking them to choose a password.

There is also an option to use the tick boxes beside the teachers, or ‘Select All’, on the Teachers page, and and press ‘E-mail Password Reset’ (see figure 3). All ‘selected’ teachers will be sent an e-mail explaining that they need to login to Parents Booking and reset their password.

Once teachers have chosen their own password, they can login to Parents Booking and check their appointment schedules, join their video meetings and create ‘1-to-1 video meetings’ (this can be disabled in Set Up School > Preferences). Teachers will not be able to join video meetings unless accounts have been set up for them.

The progress of teacher account setup is shown in red, blue and green.

  • Red / “Not Configured” means the teacher has not been sent a password reset e-mail.
  • Blue / “Password Sent” means the teacher has been sent an e-mail asking them to reset their password, but they have not done so yet.
  • Green / “Setup Complete” means the teacher has chosen a password, set up their account and is able to login.

Upload “data” from SIMS ID

By Software Updates No Comments

Schools who use SIMS can now use it to upload their pupil, parent and teacher “data” to Parents Booking in one click, using SIMS ID.

 

If you would like to use SIMS ID for your data upload, or want to know more about this option, fill in the form below and we will contact you ASAP:

 

    Help with identifying ‘leavers’

    By News and Info No Comments
    Identifying Leavers

    Our newest software release features a great new feature: help identifying students who are now “leavers”.

    Next time you run a data upload, you will be shown a notification on your Dashboard if we think that some students have left the school but are still in our database. Rather than delete the students automatically, we’ll show you a list and you can either mark the students as having left (in which case we will delete their record from our database) or you can make them as still being on the school’s student roll.