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April, 2013 - Education - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The Australian Education Blog
Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

April, 2013

  • Education

    What's included in Office 365 education? How much storage do you get?


    If you're considering using Office 365 Education - which gives you web versions of Office apps, as well as SharePoint collaboration spaces, Exchange email, Lync communications and SkyDrive storage services – you'll probably love reading about the 'software boundaries and limits' – or what I'm going to call the "I get all this for free?" list.

    What's included in SharePoint online in Office 365 Education?

    You'll want to read the Office 365 service descriptions for SharePoint Online for yourself, but here's what I understood from a quick glance.

    With Office 365 Education (the free service) this is what you get:

    • 10GB base storage
    • Additional 500MB storage per user

    Which means with 10,000 users, we'll give you 5 Terabytes of storage to get started with Smile

    • Site collection maximum of 100GB per site (eg for a course collaboration site)
    • Up to 3,000 site collections
    • Additional 7GB of storage per user in their SkyDrive Pro
    • A public website default storage of 5GB, with a max of 100GB
    • Maximum file size of 250MB per file

    And the best bit I saw? The limits are exactly the same for Education as for our Enterprise customers, except that education customers get it free….

    Learn MoreRead the full data "SharePoint Online: Software boundaries and limits"

  • Education

    When does Windows XP support end? Less than a year


    If you've got any computers running Windows XP around your school, TAFE or university, then you've got less than a year to do something serious about it.

    Windows XP is more than 12 years old now, as it was launched in 2001 - and like all good things, it's coming to an end. In less than a year in fact. Windows XP officially ends it's supported phase on April 8, 2014 – which means that after that time we'll no longer issue security updates or provide tech support.

    You might think that it seems a bit sudden, but we have been warning about the end of life of Windows XP for a while (I nudged gently last year), and Windows XP has been around a lot longer than most other technology you and your students use every day (like the iPod, Xbox, iTunes, 3G Phones, LinkedIn, Skype and Facebook – all of which have been invented since Windows XP).

    There's no shortage of advice designed to help you move to later versions of Windows (and almost every education customer in Australia will already have the licences for later versions of Windows), including Windows deployment guidance, Jumpstart programmes, and the excellent Springboard series on TechNet.

    And if that isn't enough incentive, think about what you might lose when your old XP systems become unsupported and don't get security updates. Not only a greater risk of malware, but the fact that some systems come to a halt (take a look at where you're still running Windows XP and it's likely to be 'mission critical' systems like Point of Sales in your uniform shop/campus store, or some backend system that's running a key piece of software like a student reporting system, which will cause eruptions in the office if it stops).

    There's plenty of technical advice, but my main piece of non-technical advice is: Get started on your plan before it's too late to get finished on the implementation before 8th April next year.

    Learn MoreRead more on the end of Windows XP support

  • Education

    Queensland–welcome back from the break


    Good morning Queensland schools. Hope you enjoyed your break

    I know, work intruded a bit with some planning and prep, and you were only just starting to wind down and suddenly it's back into another semester.

    Whilst you were away, we planned a few things, so I thought I'd give you a quick post-holiday run down of things you might have missed.

    It's okay, nobody else minds, it's just between you and me, as lots of other states are having a similar break this week.

    Microsoft School workshops in Brisbane this Friday…

    We're running two different workshop/seminars on Friday for Queensland schools, with a chance to catch up with new stuff, and most importantly to hear Travis Smith bring together his passions for learning, school leadership and technology.

    There are two opportunities to catch it on Friday 19th at our offices in George Street:

    School leaders can drop in for the "Leading Contemporary Learning in schools" session, at 8AM, for 90 minutes of strategic talking, debating and discussion. This is the time where Travis puts his own experience as a school leader on the line, and talks about the pedagogical direction to investing in new technology, and the ways to avoid leading a white elephant project. He's a great speaker, and loves nothing more than a good debate, so it'll be a good way to end the week.

    Travis has been a classroom teacher, a school leader, and worked in the Education faculty at Monash University, so he's got a pretty broad perspective, and he's brilliantly entertaining too.

    For teachers and IT managers, there's a 'Teachers and IT Managers in Schools' session a bit later on the same day, from 10AM until after you've had chance for decent lunch, which includes a session of Travis's wisdom, followed by some deeper sessions for teachers and IT Managers. The teachers session will be a hands-on workshop, whereas the IT Managers will get to geek out on management, security, usability, cloud and devices.

    Good news, this session includes plenty of Travis's wit and wisdom too.

    Can one of your students be a World Champion?

    Be a World Champion

    Although you've got until 15th June to get your students into our World Championship for Microsoft Office (yep, seriously) it's probably about time to get started with them. I once met one of the World Champions, and it was amazing to see the impact it had on her. Anyway, one of your students could be the next World Champion of Microsoft Excel. Or Word. Or PowerPoint. So find out how to enter, and see if you can be waving one of your charges off onto a flight to Washington in July this year. Find out more on the Microsoft Office World Championships here.

  • Education

    There’s a World Championship for Microsoft Office–and you could be going


    Microsoft Office Championships

    Seriously…There’s a World Championship for Microsoft Office, and it's been going for 13 years.

    Last year students from 52 countries gathered to compete for the coveted title of Worldwide Champions in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.   The competition attracted more than 285,000 unique candidates from 53 countries, and 113 student finalists participated in the final round of competition finals held in Las Vegas.  This year’s finals will be held in Washington DC and already entries have passed 400,000.  The last time we had a win for Australia was in 2006 when Tristan Horne from Kingscliff High in NSW won the global Excel competition. And last year Kathryn Hitchener a Year 12 student from Toowoomba Christian College came 8th in the worldwide Excel competition.  There aren’t too many students who can claim “finalist in the Microsoft Office Worldwide Competition” on their resume and while it is true there can only be one champion, from an teachers point of view every student who participates can win.  By achieving their Microsoft Office Specialist certification students can add a valuable credential to their resume, establish the basis for RPL in the case of further VET training, set themselves apart in a very competitive job market - and most of all give their own confidence, competence and proficiency a boost.

    imageThe 2013 competition qualification period ends June 15th, in time for the Australian National Championships on 27th June. And the winner of those will be packing their suitcase for the worldwide finals at the end of July.

    For information and to enter the 2013 competition visit

  • Education

    Microsoft Education Breakfast Briefing for school leaders–Leading Contemporary Learning



    In addition to the sessions for teachers and IT managers I mentioned earlier today, we're also running early-start sessions for school leaders in the next few weeks. They are a fast-paced 90 minute look at some of the key strategic opportunities and issues that schools are facing right now with technology adoption. They are being run by my colleague Travis Smith, who is an informed and entertaining speaker, so I can guarantee that it will be thought-provoking, as well as being a good investment of time. And because it finishes by 9:30, it's not going to eat significantly into the school day.

    (Given the amount of discussion (and hype?) around BYOD, I've always appreciated Travis for his grounded views on BYOD in schools, and the need to stay absolutely focused on the teaching and learning, rather than the device strategy itself)

    It's being hosted at the Microsoft offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and the details are below:


    Leading Contemporary Learning in schools

    With the technology landscape changing at such a rapid rate, it's easy to get lost in the latest idea or tech fad. Come and hear about some of the issues that will define the future of technology in education, including:

    • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in schools
    • Running effective, sustainable 1-to-1 technology programmes
    • Emerging technologies

    Microsoft invites you to join Travis Smith, one of Australia's leading authorities on technology in education for this executive session. After a career in the classroom and school leadership, including the Education faculty at Monash, Travis has developed exceptional knowledge of the links between effective teaching, learning and technology.

    Travis is now the National Education Specialist for Microsoft Australia. 
    Please join us for this opportunity to hear his thinking about education and technology and participate in our Q&A session.


    Venues and Dates

    The session runs from 8:00AM to 9:30AM on each of the following dates:

    Brisbane - 19th April - Find out more, and register here

    Melbourne - 6th May - Find out more, and register here

    Sydney – 9th May – Find out more, and register here

  • Education

    Microsoft Australia Education - School Seminars for teachers and IT Managers


    Header image for Microsoft Education SeminarsWe're running a series of Microsoft-hosted events for schools in the next few weeks, and the invite is open to teachers and IT managers to come along to any of them in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

    The events are morning workshops, followed by lunch and an opportunity to chat with other schools - and a chance to see some of the latest Windows 8 touch devices.

    The agenda starts off at 10AM with a combined session for both teachers and IT Managers, and then splits into individual sessions for each group:

    10-10:30 - What the future holds

    Hear first-hand from National Education Specialist, Travis Smith, on how Microsoft is shaping the future of education technology, and giving both educators and their students a significant advantage in the classroom.

    10:45 – 12:30 Choice of:

    Teachers’ Hands-On Workshop

    This session will allow teachers and curriculum leaders to:

    • Explore new ways to integrate technology in the classroom for enhanced teaching and learning
    • Discover some of the new features of Windows 8 and Office 365 in an educational context
    • Get some hands on workshop time with Windows 8 devices
    • Network with other educators around technology in the classroom


    IT Managers’ Deep Dive on Windows 8 and Office 365 for Education

    We want to ensure that you are the expert when it comes to our new product releases, so this session will help school IT Managers to gain a better understanding of:

    • Management, Security, Usability, Devices and apps for Windows 8

    • Making your school more productive and cost effective through the use of cloud technology

    • How you can ensure your students have sustainable access to a no compromise learning device

    12:30 – Lunch

    We finish with lunch and a chance for schools to network while checking out some of the latest Windows 8 devices.

    Dates and venues

    Brisbane – 19th AprilRegister here

    Sydney – 9th MayRegister here

    Melbourne – 6th MayRegister here

  • Education

    Teachers and Windows 8 in education


    Each year teachers from around the world come together at the Partners in Learning Global Forum. This year, the camera crew that go along to the event asked those teachers for their thoughts on Windows 8, and the result is the compact YouTube video below.

    There's a great sound-bite halfway through from Camille Rutherford who's a Professor of Education from Canada, where she says:

      I like to think of our pre-school students and kids in kindergarten right now as the mouseless generation, they are so used to interacting with technology via touch.  

    It struck me as the first time I'd heard anybody talk about the 'mouseless generation', and it's a great phrase that summarises a lot of device usage by very young children these days

    The video above is the short (2 minute) version - there's a slightly longer version of "Why Educators Love Windows 8 for Education" also available.

    Learn MoreWatch more of the Microsoft Education team videos on YouTube

  • Education

    Microsoft IT-Girls Day 2013 - Sydney 6th May


    Microsoft IT-GirlsDo you work in a girls or mixed school in or near Sydney? Do you want to help to raise the profile of the IT industry amongst your female students?

    If you haven’t taken part in these events before, then you’ll be in a for a big surprise, as it shatters the image of IT as being a geeky, male-only preserve. As it’s a months away, we’ve still got some spare spaces (we have set a maximum number of 10 attendees per school due to high demand). Oh, and it’s free BTW – you just need to sort your transport (North Ryde train station is right around the corner)


    Microsoft is committed to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to reach their potential. We believe that technology not only enables people, but can also be a fantastic career opportunity; especially for young women! Microsoft IT-Girls is one of Microsoft’s signature programs to invest in the technology and engineering education of young women, attempting to raise awareness about the variety of exciting and meaningful careers available in the technology industry whilst dispelling the stereotypes typically associated with high tech jobs and the people in those roles.

    The 2013 Microsoft IT-Girls day will be held at Microsoft’s Australian headquarters in North Ryde, Sydney on Monday 6th May. The agenda is packed with workshops where girls will get hands on with the latest technology, learn about technology courses offered at universities, and listen to first hand experiences from a range of Microsoft women, from interns to senior managers.


    Please email Rachel Bourke if you would like more information (timings etc) and to express your interest in bringing students to the event. There is a restriction of 10 students per school to ensure every school has the opportunity to attend.

    The day is a free event – you just need to sort out your transport to North Ryde (we're near the M2/Lane Cove Tunnel, within a stone's throw of the North Ryde train station)

    Make a dateMake a date for the 6th May - Find out more, and register, by emailing Rachel

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