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August, 2012 - Education - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The Australian Education Blog
Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

August, 2012

  • Education

    Creating surveys with the Excel Web App in Office 365 for education

    • 7 Comments

    The free version of Office 365 for education includes web versions of the main Office software – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – in addition to the email, collaboration and communication capabilities included within the online Exchange, SharePoint and Lync services. Of course, that's great for editing and working on documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and the beauty of the web service is that we can keep updating them for you as we add new features – you don't have to take on the responsibility for updating software across a pile of machines.

    You can see the new features being added in the future to Office 365 through the preview versions. And we've just released the preview for Office 365 Enterprise (which is the version that Office 365 for education is based on).

    Here's an idea that you can use them for, that might save you bucket-loads of time.

    Using the Excel Web App for surveys and questionnaires

    Thanks to  my colleague James Marshall in the UK, there's a good explanation of how you can easily create online surveys and questionnaires, and get the answers into a neat Excel spreadsheet. It's great for a range of scenarios, like:

    • A lecturer wanting to get opinion and feedback about a lecture immediately after it finishes.
    • A group of students doing a data collection exercise with their classmates.
    • A senior leader wanting to get feedback from parents about a school event (i.e. sports day, school theatre production)
    • A teacher running a competition.

    The beauty of forms in the new Excel Web App is that they can be shared in a few clicks, and accessed on a variety of devices, making it easy for users with laptops, tablet devices, smart phones or pretty much any device with a browser to contribute. And you can make them public, so you can use them for parental surveys etc

    Here's a screenshot from a survey that James published as an example (you can try it out on this link: http://aka.ms/vumdyw)

    Excel Web App Survey

     

    Learn MoreYou can read James' post on how to create a survey in the Excel Web App over on his excellent UK Education Cloud Blog (plus loads of other useful Office 365 for education information)

  • Education

    My current computer–why I've switched to a Samsung slate

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    Each working day I spend between 5 and 8 hours working with my current computer. And it was only last week I realised my setup was quite different to everybody else, as I looked around the meeting table. Almost everybody else was using a laptop, whereas I've made the leap from laptop PC to slate PC permanently. So I thought I'd share it with you:

    My regular computer: Samsung Series 7 slate PC

    Samsung Series 7 slateUp until May I was using an HP laptop – which I was very happy with. Good performance, nice graphics, and plenty of storage etc. And because I thought of myself as a power-user, I didn't think I'd be able to cope with a less powerful computer – and that seemed to include all the early slate PCs, which were good to demo with, but not something I'd considered as my every day PC.

    But then I got my hands on a Samsung Series 7 Slate PC with all the bells and whistles I needed, and I'm running it with the released version of Windows 8. The one I've got (the sexily named XE700T1A-A05AU) has all the key ingredients I wanted:

    • A touch display: You know, I never imagined I'd be making this the No. 1 requirement, but ever since I moved to Windows 8, it's a must have – especially when I'm sitting at home on the sofa, or taking it into meetings
    • A pen: just like touch, it's now a 'must have', as I take it to meetings and use it as a slate, and am using OneNote more and more for notes, as well as using handwriting recognition instead of an on-screen keyboard
    • Plenty of storage: this one's got a 128GB SSD drive
      I've found that for me 100GB is the minimum drive, because I cart a lot of videos and presentations around with me, and whilst I've got them backed up in the cloud, I have that synced to my computer so that I can always get to them when I'm offline.
    • Decent graphics: this one has got onboard Intel graphics which are good enough for me for everything but games.
    • TPM chip: which means my drive is fully encrypted, so that all of the professional and personal data is secure if I lose it or somebody else gets their hand on it
    • Plenty of RAM: this one's got 4GB of RAM, which I'm finding is more than enough with Windows 8
    • A small dock: Whenever I'm standing or sitting at a desk, then I plug it into a dock. Which gives turns it completely into a laptop – with keyboard, mouse, second monitor and wired network connection
    • It's light: weighing in at under a kilogram
    • It's got a SIM slot, for internet on the go: Although I haven't actually used it, as I tend to just use the Internet sharing of my Lumia 800 – it means I use the data included with my normal phone subscription, rather than to have a second mobile subscription for my computer. Which means I'm always using the WiFi connection, whether that's at the office, at home, or out and about.

    Here's my typical desktop setup, with a second monitor plugged into the docking station, and a normal desktop keyboard and mouse. So it means that whenever I'm at my desk, I've got the perfect setup with a big screen, and then I can just grab it from the docking station and walk to a meeting just carrying the PC and a pen, without all the other stuff. So my bag is a lot lighter than it used to be.

    Samsung Series 7 slate in a desktop setup

    With this setup, I've got something that works as a great desktop computer, and then is good for carrying to meetings. And if I'm using it at home in the evenings, then I tend to use it with touch and the new Windows 8 apps (for things like reading Twitter and blogs). The portability is a big bonus in our Sydney offices, where every desk is setup as a hot desk – I can sit at any desk in the building, and there's already a large monitor, keyboard and mouse ready to go.

  • Education

    Microsoft Bring Your Own Device in Schools whitepaper

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    BYOD in schools whitepaperThere's been a lot said about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in schools, and plenty of commentary on blogs and the Twittersphere. It's a fast-moving subject, almost like 'building airplanes in the sky' – it sometimes feels like BYOD strategies and vision are being created as we go along.

    And the debate has been joined by two pedagogical leaders who have produced a Microsoft BYOD whitepaper for schools. Bruce Dixon (from the Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation) and Sean Tierney (from the worldwide Microsoft Partners in Learning programme) have both been passionate advocates for 1:1 learning programmes for many years, and have just published their first 'Bring Your Own Device for schools' whitepaper. The aim is to examine the potential deployment models from teaching, learning and IT management perspectives.

    As their introduction says:

     

    The ongoing debate regarding the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model in schools warrants deeper analysis to help educators and institutions understand this provisioning model and its potential benefits and pitfalls for learning. This discussion paper sets out to investigate the myths and understand which questions should be addressed when considering allowing students to bring their own devices, and which option might be best suited to a school or system’s culture. It is intended to stimulate discussion around what constitutes best practice 1-to-1 learning.

     

    As well as plenty of detailed analysis and debate within the white paper, there's also a handy table that helps to describe the different capabilities of the various devices that are available for a BYOD scenario:

    BYOD Capability Taxonomy - from page 5

    It's a great way to classify the differing capabilities across a range of current and future devices.

    I think that one of the best aspects of the white paper is that it talks about the alternative models – presenting five potential models, and discussed the benefits and considerations of each. It also goes into five key questions to ask to help you decide whether a BYOD model is right for your school. And then talks through consideration for planning and implementation procedures.

    The conclusion section starts:

     

    BYOD is a trend that needs to be carefully examined in an education context to ensure that the models we deploy are successful. At the heart of good 1-to-1 learning is equity to ensure that all students have equal access to technology-rich experiences, and simplicity to ensure that it is easy to manage and sustain.

     

    and finishes with an absolutely key point:

     

    Schools need to be vigilant and protective of the foundations of equity of access on which all of our education systems are firmly founded. With this in mind, all stakeholders – teachers, parents, students and principals – need to work through the tough decisions early to drive home the best outcomes for all students at all times.

     

    Learn MoreYou can either download the BYOD for schools whitepaper, or if you're in Australia, drop Richard Ryan an email and he'll pop a couple of printed copies in the post

    For more info on Bring Your Own Device, here's a link to related BYOD articles

  • Education

    Meet with the Education Account Managers at APC 2012

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    APC 2012 logo

    The Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2012 is in three weeks (4-6 Sept). To help our education partners get more from the three days, we’ve decided to get the whole Microsoft Australia education sales team up there, to give you the chance to have 1:1 meetings with our customer account managers. If you are working in particular parts of the country, or segments of the market, then booking 1:1 sessions with some of the team has got to be one of the best ways to get really specific advice to help your sales strategy. As we discovered last year, it's also a very big opportunity for you to ensure our account teams know about your solutions, and can talk to their customers about them.

    Meet the Microsoft Australia Education Team at APC 2012


    Government Schools

    Jane Mackarell, Microsoft New South Wales Government Schools & TAFEs

    Jane Mackarell is the new Microsoft Account Manager for New South Wales Department for Education and Communities (DEC). In a 1:1 session, Jane will be able to share information on the way that the new NSW DEC licensing will help partners to implement new solutions at a lower cost to the customer, and what software is available to each school and TAFE licensed in NSW. NSW has 2,176 state schools and 11 TAFEs    
    Mark Tigwell , the Account Technology Specialist (ATS) for NSW education, will also be at APC to meet with you. 


    Emilio Parente, MicrosoftVictoria Government Schools & TAFEs

    Trudi Grant is the Microsoft Account Manager for Victoria’s Department for Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). Although she's on holiday during APC, the other member of the team, Emilio Parente, the ATS for Victoria Education will be at APC and available for meetings. During a 1:1 session, Emilio can share how our current agreements can be used by partners to offer new business solutions to DEECD, and how the licensing model reduces the cost of these solutions at DEECD, school or TAFE level. Victoria has 1,548 state schools and 18 TAFEs.     


    Lance Baldwin, MicrosoftQueensland Government Schools & TAFEs

    Lance Baldwin, the Account Technology Strategist for the Queensland Department for Education and Training (DET), will be available for meetings, as Mark Kenny, the previous Account Manager has moved on to a new Microsoft role. Lance can provide a good overview of the Queensland state education market, and insight into the ICT projects that we have been involved in. Queensland has 1,235 state schools, and 13 TAFEs.



    Higher Education

    This year we have made changes to the way we manage our university accounts, which has increased the amount of account management each university customer will get. It means that we've now got three account managers covering higher education – rather than just one! Two of the account managers – Joseph Alvarez and Ken Rankins - will be at APC, and between them they'll cover the accounts of Lucy Segal, who'll be travelling overseas that week.


    Joseph Alvarez, MicrosoftJoseph Alvarez is the Higher Education Account Manager for the 14 larger universities across Australia (yep, you guessed it he's friends of the Frequent Flyer clubs!). Joe also works closely with CAUDIT (which is an industry wide group of the IT Directors/CIOs of all universities in Australia), so has a great insight to share on the current trends in higher education and the practicalities of our licensing arrangements for universities.  


    Ken Rankins, Microsoft

    Ken Rankins is the second of our Higher Education Account managers that is going to be at APC too. Ken is the account manager for a dozen of the universities around the country (Lucy manages the other 11). Although Ken's worked in the Microsoft Education team for a while, he's new to the world of universities, so he'd really appreciate meeting up with partners already working with higher education customers.


    If your business is working with a number of universities, then you'll probably want to meet all of the account managers at APC. Or, if there are just one or two universities that you want to talk about, then let me know which ones, and I'll schedule a session with the specific account manager(s).


    Non-Government Schools

    Vanessa Gage, MicrosoftVanessa Gage is the account manager for Catholic Education across Australia. Most of our work on this is done with the peak bodies for Catholic schools around the country, and Vanessa will be able to share how the schools across each of the Catholic consortia are able to access their respective Microsoft licensing programmes, and what schools are already licensed for (this is especially useful if you're looking to support schools to roll out cloud or on-premise infrastructure projects)


    Ken Rankins, MicrosoftKen Rankins gets to appear twice as he is also our national sales lead for all 2,815 private schools. His team work with the larger schools individually, as well as with the peak bodies for private schools. The importance of this group of schools is that most of them make their own independent decisions about ICT procurement.


    As many partners know, it can be tricky to get time with our Account Teams during the year, and they are rarely (if ever) all together and available. So this is a great networking opportunity, to learn more about the Australian Education marketplace, as well as to put faces to names (on both sides!)

    How to book your 1:1 meetings

    imageIf you are going to be at the Australian Partner Conference 2012, then you can book 1:1 meetings with the relevant members of our Education Account Manager team in advance.  

    It’s simple to do - Just email me, and let me know:  

    • Who you would like to meet (multiple meetings are okay)
    • Whether there are times when you can’t meet (all meetings will be scheduled during the tea/lunch breaks in the conference on the 5th and 6th September)
    • If there are specific subjects you want to discuss (helps the account managers prepare)  

    Not booked for APC yet? Do it here

  • Education

    Windows Intune in education–a step by step guide to implementing Intune

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    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Windows Intune for education, and the relevance of its new features to education customers. Of course, listing a set of new features with a single bullet point probably isn't enough to help you to understand how those features would actually work in an education network. For example, one of the new features I wrote about was the ability to deploy software applications with Intune - "Software application downloads – to allow you to make internal apps available to your users automatically on their mobile devices". But what does that actually mean you can do?

    If you really want to understand the capabilities, then can I recommend reading the Windows Intune 2012 Getting Started Guide, which has been updated for the June 2012 release.

    In the case of the software downloads I mentioned above, there's a detailed section on what is and isn't possible:

     

    Working with Licensed Software

    Windows Intune enables you to deploy and install licensed software applications to managed computers or make these applications available to selected user groups. In addition, this release of Windows Intune lets you upload licensed software and make it available to selected user groups. After you upload the software and make it available to selected user groups, users to whom the software is targeted can sign in to the Windows Intune company portal or the Windows Intune mobile company portal and view the licensed software applications that you have made available for them. They can then select the software applications that they want to download and install on their devices, and you can track software adoption across your organization. For example, after you make a mobile device application available for employees, you can monitor the number of users to whom the application is targeted, the number of users who attempted to install the application, and view details about each of the users 

     

    And, like other sections, it includes a screenshot of how it looks.

    The sections in the Getting Started Guide include:

    • How to configure your environment
    • How to add computers, users and mobile devices
    • How to assess the health of your IT environment and assist end users

    Learn MoreDownload the Windows Intune Getting Started guide here


    Want more info? There's always the Windows Intune Product Guide, (it's an easier, higher level, read than the Getting Started Guide)
  • Education

    Windows 8 reaches 'Release To Manufacturing' stage–what that means for education customers

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    Windows 8 screenshotOvernight, we've announced that Windows 8 has reached the 'Release To Manufacturing' (RTM) stage. There's a pile of detail on the Building Windows 8 blog, including details on both the release of Windows 8 and the Windows Store. One of the questions I know you might have is when it means you can get it. Although the full retail release is scheduled for October 26th, Australian education customers will be able to get their hands on the full release version earlier through the subscription programmes, such as our Enrolment for Education Solutions (which is the Microsoft Volume Licence programme that most education customers use in Australia), or subscriptions like MSDN (the Microsoft Developer Network).

    The Windows Team Blog has details on the release dates through these schemes:

     
    • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
    • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organisations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
    • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume Licence Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organisation.
    • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
    • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
    • September 1st: Volume Licence customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
     

    So most education customers will be able to install the fully released version this month on their existing PCs!

    Learn MoreHead over to the Windows Team blog for more info on the Windows 8 release timeline

  • Education

    Office 365 for education training videos

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    Last week I posted a series of blog posts of Office 365 for education videos, produced by my colleagues in the US, sharing some of the things that Office 365 makes possible. And I realised that it would be helpful to stick them all onto one page, rather than four separate ones.

    They were created to help people not using Office 365 for education, to show them what is possible, and I think they would be really useful for schools, TAFEs and universities who are rolling out Office 365 to staff and students – they make great introductory videos for training – allowing you to start a session by demonstrating what users will be able to do at the end of a hands-on training hour!

    So here's all four videos:

    Office 365 for education – using Outlook and Lync

    Office 365 for education has Outlook and Lync built in, which enable instantaneous collaboration and communication between students and teachers, with email, IM, voice and video calls between users.

    This short video, produced by my colleagues in the US, aims to describe the whole process in just two minutes:

    Classroom on the go

    Office 365 for education means that students and teachers can be productive on the go by having access to class calendars, documents, and assignments all on their mobile devices.

    This short video, the second in a series of four, aims to describe the whole process in less than two minutes:

    Collaborating with a class website

    With Office 365 for education, you can collaborate from anywhere through SharePoint class websites. Students and teachers can simultaneously work together on the same document and share project and assignment information through their class site.

    This short video describes the whole process in just one and a half minutes:

    The Online Classroom

    Office 365 for education enables teachers to give online presentations so their students can learn from anywhere. These presentations can be interactive with the students and saved for future viewing.

    This short video, the last in a series of four, aims to describe the whole process in less than three minutes:

  • Education

    New South Wales Universities on Twitter

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    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I've started with New South Wales, but will look for the other states too.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Universities in New South Wales on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Charles Sturt University

    https://twitter.com/CharlesSturtUni

    Macquarie University

    https://twitter.com/Macquarie_Uni

    Southern Cross University

    https://twitter.com/SCUonline

    The University of New England

    https://twitter.com/#!/UniNewEngland

    The University of New South Wales

    https://twitter.com/UNSW

    The University of Newcastle

    https://twitter.com/UoNALUMNI

    The University of Sydney

    https://twitter.com/Sydney_Uni

    University of Technology, Sydney

    https://twitter.com/UTSEngage

    University of Western Sydney

    https://twitter.com/UWSNews

    University of Wollongong

    https://twitter.com/uownews

  • Education

    Victoria Universities on Twitter

    • 0 Comments

    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I started with university Twitter accounts for New South Wales, and now have moved on to Victoria.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Australian Universities in Victoria on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Deakin University

    https://twitter.com/Deakin

    La Trobe University

    https://twitter.com/latrobe

    Monash University

    https://twitter.com/MonashUni

    RMIT University

    https://twitter.com/RMIT

    Swinburne University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/Swinburne

    The University of Melbourne

    https://twitter.com/unimelb

    University of Ballarat

    https://twitter.com/BallaratUni

    Victoria University

    https://twitter.com/victoriauninews

  • Education

    Queensland Universities on Twitter

    • 0 Comments

    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I've started with New South Wales universities on Twitter, then covered Victoria universities on Twitter, and have now done Queensland too.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Universities in Queensland on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Bond University

    https://twitter.com/BondUniversity

    Central Queensland University

    https://twitter.com/DVC_CQUni

    Griffith University

    https://twitter.com/Griffith_Uni

    James Cook University

    https://twitter.com/jcu

    Queensland University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/QUTmedia

    The University of Queensland

    https://twitter.com/uqnewsonline

    University of Southern Queensland

    https://twitter.com/USQNews

    University of the Sunshine Coast

    https://twitter.com/usceduau

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