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Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

  • Education

    Adelaide workshop on learning technolgoy

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    We're running a workshop for teachers and school leaders in Adelaide in late November, and based on feedback from previous events, I can recommend it as a great way to get up to speed with ideas for how the technology already in your classroom can help boost teaching and learning (plus there’ll be new ideas with new technology too!).

    Not in Adelaide? There will be others around the country, so I’ll keep my eyes open for the list as it’s published.

    Workshop the latest technologies for learning

    Students learning on their own smartphones and tablets and in the cloud. Schools managing their own data and technology platforms. With so much changing in your school, deciding what's right for your students takes careful consideration.

    Talk through the issues and explore new technologies in this practical hands-on workshop, guided by experienced educationalist and Microsoft Education Master Trainer Pip Cleaves.

    She'll help you wrap your head around new thinking using Microsoft technologies in your classroom, with proven approaches and the latest devices. Workshops are complimentary and devices are provided so you can experience Windows 8 and Office 365 in action

    You’ll get the chance to meet Microsoft's latest tablet: the Surface Pro 3 and see how you can use it to fire up new learning experiences at your school.

    Agenda

    8:30am Register and get your device
    (Good news: It’s a hands-on workshop. Bad news: you only get to borrow the device for the workshop, not take it away Sad smile)
    9:00 - 9:45 Why does technology matter and why should your school care?
    9:45 - 10:45 Hands-on: Windows 8 devices
    10:45 - 11:00 Morning tea
    11:00 - 12:00pm Collaboration, creation and problem solving using Office 365
    12:00 - 12:30 Lunch
    12:30 - 1:45 Hands-on: Office 365
    1:45 - 2:00 Preview: Microsoft Surface Pro 3
    2:00 - 2:30pm Q&A, next steps

    About the facilitator

     

    Pip Cleaves is well known to many in NSW Department of Education & Communities for her work as a teacher and professional learning consultant in the Hunter Central Coast Region and State Offices for both the Digital Education Revolution 1-to-1 Laptop program and the Connected Classrooms Program. She is also a Microsoft Peer Coach Master Trainer, Adobe Education Leader and Microsoft 21st Century Learning Design Master Facilitator.  Through her company Design | Learn | Empower, Pip continues her journey to support schools, teachers and students to integrate 21st century skills and technology into their learning.

    Date and venue

    Tuesday 25 November: Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register

  • Education

    Paradyne briefing for schools in Melbourne–12 November

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    The team over at Paradyne are running an education briefing at our offices in Melbourne early in November, which will cover Office 365 Education and the ways that other schools are using it to support their teaching and learning goals.

    They are also going to feature Docusign to talk about one of my pet hates – the permission slips that come home from school which require me to (1) find the slip (2) find a pen (3) give the form back to my daughter and (4) keep my fingers crossed that the form reaches school. I know permission slips are frustrating for schools too, for almost the same reasons as they are for me, and also because staff spend valuable time record keeping, chasing and general permission-slip-time-wasting-stuff. If your school is currently sending permission slips home for parents to sign (or even worse, for me as a parent, emailing them home and expecting parents to print them, sign them, and then send them back) then you might get an insight into how you can make everybody in this loop happy!

    And they’re also partnering with the Staples team to show off some of the cool new Windows devices that have hit the market ready for next year.

    Amazingly, they are going to get that all over with by lunchtime, so you’ll be back in school for the afternoon!

    Agenda for the Paradyne Office 365 briefing for schools

    8.30am - Guests arrive - greeted by the smell of coffee

    8.50am - Welcome by Travis Smith, Microsoft

    9.00am - Overview of Paradyne and Office 365 by Paul Krasey, Paradyne

    9.20am - Description of classroom solutions by Daniel Anderson, Paradyne

    9.50am - Advantages of digital permission slips, DocuSign

    10.00am - Real education examples by David Humphreys, Brighton Grammar on Office 365, OneNote and Windows 8, and Launceston Church Grammar School (Lync video recording) on Yammer and SharePoint - personified their SharePoint with Go247

    10.30am - Hardware solutions by Staples - Surface Pro 3 & Lenovo tablets, using pen, showing live changes, examples of students using this hardware and the tie to software/solutions

    11.00am - Conclusion and thank you by Paul Krasey, Paradyne

    11.10am - Q&As and individual conversations

    12.00pm - Event concludes

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register

    Wednesday, 12 November 2014 - 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM
    Melbourne, Microsoft Offices, Level 5, 4 Freshwater Place, Southbank

  • Education

    Education Partner Training days in November and December 2014

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    Invitation to Microsoft Education Authorised Education Resellers

    This event is for Microsoft Partner Network members and Microsoft Authorised Education Resellers

    We’ve had consistent feedback from our partners that our education-focused training for you has been hitting the mark, and you’d like to ensure that it reaches all of the people in your teams, as well as keeping you completely up-to-date with changes in the market and our education portfolio and go-to-market strategies. So we’re heading out around the country with training opportunities for partners in November and December, alongside the Office 365 Ignite summits.

     

    Growing your reach in a changing marketplace.

    Education is in the midst of historic transformation and the rise of technology in the classroom is creating tremendous opportunity for our partners. Just about every government and school system in the world is considering digital access programs and, starting in 2015, new global standards will assess how well schools are helping students develop 21st Century Learning Skills, including critical thinking, technical aptitude and collaboration, driving education institutions globally to look for solutions that will help them effectively integrate technology.

    Microsoft and its partners are uniquely positioned to enable this transformation by providing creative and robust solutions across enterprise management, security, support services, and learning solutions. In this training, focused primarily on sales readiness, participants will deep dive into the Education opportunity, learn the Microsoft vision, as well as how partners can grow their business by selling and deploying solutions across Windows, Office, and Azure to accelerate common education scenarios.

    A single day covering cloud solutions for education built on Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, and a look at the future of the desktop with Windows 10.

    Keynote

    The day will start with an overview of the global and Australian education marketplace, and how you can respond to the hot topics that are currently top of mind for education decision makers within the schools, TAFE and universities market.

    Morning

    During the morning, we will take a deep dive into Office 365 Education, and how you can help customers tap the communication, authoring and collaboration capabilities, as well as exploring the integration opportunities that will help you sell and deploy solutions in the education market.

    The morning will finish with an update on Windows 10, and the opportunities that exist for developing your market model for 1:1 and BYOD initiatives, to help customers keep learning applications and services running, and maintaining security, compliance, and data privacy.

    Afternoon

    During the afternoon session, we will review customer-specific scenarios, to help you to quickly identify appropriate solutions for different segments of the education market, and meet the customers’ requirements. This will include a look at third-party solutions for specific scenarios. The afternoon will close with a look at how the Microsoft Azure cloud helps you to deliver customer solutions.

     

    We’re coming to Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne next month

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    Microsoft Sydney – Thursday 20 November
    Microsoft Brisbane – Thursday 27 November
    Microsoft Perth – Wednesday 3 December
    Microsoft Melbourne – Thursday 11 December

    This event is for Microsoft Partner Network members and Microsoft Authorised Education Resellers

  • Education

    Open Data in Education–Sydney Open Data Day

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    Two of our partners, Socrata (based in Seattle, they’re an organisation with deep expertise in open data) and Altis (a Sydney-based data  specialist who have completed a huge range of data projects with Australian education organisations) are running the “Sydney Open Data Day” briefing on 6 November, with a special focus on education data.

    Sydney Open Data Day

    The briefing is a fast-paced hour, at 11AM on Thursday 6th November, at Australia Technology Park (in Eveleigh) Sydney. It’s an opportunity to learn about open data initiatives and programs in NSW and the US. During the session, Rustum Abdurahman of the NSW Department of Education & Communities will discuss how Open Data helps to: 

    • Break down data silos by making data available and consumable 
    • Streamline access and understanding of data for citizens and internal stakeholders
    • Publish the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation open data, for use and innovation by the developer community

    Keynote Speakers

    Rustum will be joined by Kate Harrington, Strategic Policy NSW Open Data, & Chris Rieth, former director of Open Data and Open Performance for the State of Maryland. Chris and Kate will be sharing their experiences implementing and managing an open data initiative.

    For an idea of the kind of Australian data that’s published through the Socrata system, take a look at the NSW CESE Datahub (where they publish data such as school lists, school locations, student enrolments, and even a list of school calendar websites) and the City of Melbourne Open Data hub (where there’s data like the locations of public artwork, bins, public transport routes, and even parking sensor data – but unfortunately no education data yet)

    Make a dateHope to see you there: Register for the Sydney Open Data Day on 6th November

  • Education

    Reimagine Sydney - a briefing about change and digital disruption

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    There’ still an opportunity to register to attend the Reimagine event in Sydney on 29 October, at the Royal Hall of Industries from 9AM-12:30PM

    The briefing isn’t just for education customers, and offers a learning opportunity from the experiences of transformation happening in other industries.

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    The briefing will cover the Microsoft vision for platform and productivity – how we will empower people and organisations to do more and achieve more. But technology is only part of the story, because as the impact of technology changes so does the role of IT itself. And the IT people within an organisation become responsible for a digital transformation, and working with others to support the cultural change that technology enables (and requires!).

    This challenge exists with every organisation, whether it’s a big bank, an electricity company, or an education organisation like a school or university. And so we’re seeing new job roles emerging – like Chief Digital Officer and VP of Student Experience. These new roles are often being filled by people with a deep understanding of technology, backed by the skills to effectively manage visionary change.

    At the event, three invited speakers will share their stories of change:

    • Sean Elwick, Head of Information Services at Aurecon, will share his view on the disruption to the role of IT, and how he personally lobbies for digital change within his organisation.
    • Anthony Stevens, Director of IT Operations from KPMG, will share how their business has empowered its people to be more mobile, more responsive and more productive in order to create great experiences for their customers.
    • Belinda Thompson, BDO’s Chief Information Officer, will share how the company is using the cloud to support its people and better connect with its customers – and what it all means for her team’s relationship with the business.

    To find out more and register for either of the Reimagine events, then use the links below:

    Make a date

    Register for Reimagine in Sydney on 29 October

  • Education

    PhotoMath: Should you ban Windows Phone in the Maths classroom?

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    Remember when calculators were banned in the classroom, because it made calculation too easy? Well, in the same spirit there’s going to be a maths teacher somewhere that will decide to ban their students from having a Windows Phone in their maths classroom. And all because of PhotoMath and how it makes it too easy to solve mathematical expressions.

    It’s really simple to use….

    Point your phone at a maths equation:

    Photomath (1)

    PhotoMath shows you the solution:

     

    Photomath (2)

    ..and the steps to solve it:

    PhotoMath (3)

    OneNote and stylus to the rescue for creating complex equations!

    Thanks to OneNote, I’ve also found it can solve complex equations…

    First, I hand wrote the complex equation that I wanted straight into OneNote (with my Surface Pro 3 stylus)…

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    …then I used the OneNote “Ink to Math” function:

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    ..and OneNote inserted it into my document as text:

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    …which I then (maybe bizarrely) scanned and solved with PhotoMath

    Apparently, X = 5 over 2, with 11 steps to a solution:

    PhotoMath (4)

    There are three thoughts running through my head now:

    1. I’m actually going to be able to help my daughter with her HSC maths homework (but I’m never going to reveal how!)
    2. We’re hitting Arthur C Clarke’s Third Law:  “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
    3. If you’re a maths teacher and your students discover the app, what are you going to give them to do as homework? Maybe you’ll ask them to create mathematical expressions that they can solve, but PhotoMath can’t?

    Learn MoreLearn more about PhotoMath or just download it straight to your Windows Phone here

    Footnote: The microblink team behind PhotoMath have also released an SDK for Maths Equation Solving, so I can imagine we might see this functionality being built into other apps too!

  • Education

    How OneNote helps students with assignment, notes and getting organised

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    Yesterday I shared a video (How OneNote makes a classroom difference) from Carey Academy in North Carolina, who shared how they were using OneNote to support new ways of teaching and learning. Today, I’m going to share the next part of the story, which is their students’ perspective on how they use OneNote to support their learning through things like note-taking and helping organise assignments.

    The thing I noticed in this is the way that the students talk about how it helps them to take control of their own learning – like the student who talks about handing in their homework assignments:

      imageYou can just do your homework. You don’t even have to turn it in. They [teachers] can just look at it at 8 o’clock in the morning when it’s supposed to be due.  

    And the other student who’s taking advantage of the fact that OneNote syncs your notes and content across all the different versions, as it runs on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android phones (and even watches):

      imageI have OneNote on my personal computer, my school computer, my tablet and my phone.  

    Here’s the full video:

  • Education

    How OneNote makes a classroom difference

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    I spent some of this weekend with the Microsoft Expert Educators from Australia and New Zealand, as they gathered together to discuss the future of teaching and learning (to see some of the things they talked about, take a look at their #mseduweekend conversation on Twitter). One of the tools they kept coming back to was OneNote – as a note taking tool, as a learning tool and as a presentation tool.

    There’s a bunch of developments happening with OneNote at the moment, and before I write about those, I thought it would be helpful to share a couple of videos on OneNote, and how schools are using it. The video below is less than 2 minutes, and provides a good introduction to the ways that OneNote can support new ways of teaching and learning.

    Learn MoreGo to the OneNote for Teachers website for useful resources for teachers

  • Education

    Research says the pen is mightier than the keyboard – and other useful education research nuggets

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    Like to talk about pedagogy and 'research driven education', but don’t want to read all those long academic research papers?

    Well, here's some really important academic research, but in TL;DR format:

    First, the reason that my colleagues and I often talk about pen input on Windows tablets:

     

    Students who used laptops to take notes learned less than students who used paper due to a more mindless and word-for-word style of note-taking.

    Note that this isn’t about laptops versus paper – it’s about the fact that students taking notes with a keyboard learn less than those who use a pen (like I do with OneNote and the stylus on my Surface Pro 3)
     

    Source: Psychological Science Journal

    Secondly, evidence that simply encouraging 1:1 or BYOD computers can actually lower student achievement:

      Students who multitasked on a laptop during a lecture scored lower on a test compared to those who did not multitask, and students who were in direct view of a multitasking peer scored lower on a test compared to those who were not.  

    Source: Computers and Education magazine

    And finally, support for the view that stand-and-deliver lectures should end:

      Undergraduate students in classes with traditional lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, active learning methods.  

    Source: Science Magazine

     

    By Theonlysilentbob (Own work), via Wikimedia CommonsWhat does that make you think about what you normally see when you’re at the front of a lecture hall or classroom that’s full of students?



    Learn More

    For more of this kind of research, take a look at:

    the education category on the Useful Science website
  • Education

    How do other education institutions solve their storage problems? Webinar

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    Education customers have vast quantities of data to be stored – and demand for more storage from users is growing all the time. There are three basic choices:

    • Keep adding storage in-house in your own datacentre (even if you’re a smaller school with a little stack of servers, it’ll quickly grow to become a datacentre!)
    • Push all of your data into the cloud (and when each student gets 1TB of data storage on our Office 365 service, that’s an easy decision for some sets of data)
    • Build a hybrid model, with some data in your own datacentre, and some in the cloud

    Although the hybrid model is the most popular (and let’s face it, that’s what most of your users are doing today anyway, whether or not you’ve sanctioned it) it also creates a new set of management problems as you constantly balance your data between the cloud and in-house services. And you need to keep control over your data wherever it is.

    If you would like to hear how others are tackling this problem, then I can recommend the Hybrid Cloud webinar we’re running in a couple of weeks on 22 October. There’s two reasons and four experts involved that will make this is a good investment of your time:

    St Catherine’s School in Sydney will share their journey to finding the right hybrid cloud solution, and talk about how this has changed what’s possible for the school. The two experts taking part from St Catherine’s are Rathika Suresh the Director of ICT and Graeme Wallace the Network and Infrastructure Manager.

    Microsoft experts Lee Hickin a Data Centre Solution Specialist and Ben Di Qual a Technical Solutions Professional, who will take you and your team through the ways a hybrid cloud storage solution reduces total storage costs and improves data protection.

    There will also be the opportunity to ask questions about how the various options would apply to your scenario, and so it’s better than reading a whitepaper or a website!

    The webinar “Rethink your approach to storage” is on 22 October 2014, at 1PM AEST.

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register here

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