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

May, 2013

  • Education

    A short video for training when rolling out Windows 8 for teachers


    If you are using Windows 8 for teachers’ laptops, then you might want to make a note of this video, from the Windows team. It’s a great way to explain how to use some of the new features of Windows 8, and the way that you can have both existing Windows software as well as the new Windows 8 apps. It’s good for students too, but I’ve often heard from education customers that making change is often more difficult for staff, so if you are planning to roll out Windows 8 for teachers, then this video is a great start to your staff training day.

    In addition to the video above, there's a whole host of other Windows 8 videos on the WindowsVideos channel on YouTube

  • Education

    Business Intelligence in schools - Dashboards in SharePoint 2013


    Rod Colledge, is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for SQL Server, and an expert on the technology side of the use of Business Intelligence in education in Australia. For a living, he helps Microsoft customers with their own business intelligence projects, through his business at StrataDB. But in his role as a Microsoft MVP one of the things that he’s been able to do is record a series of short videos of examples of using business intelligence in education, to show some of the simple things that are useful for school leaders and teachers.

    Today’s video is a demonstration of using SharePoint 2013 dashboards, for an education BI project - in this case creating a NAPLAN summary dashboard for a school. Once the report is created, it becomes a dynamic, clickable report that users can use to break down their own views of the data.

    The demo is using a dummy dataset in dashboard designer, using SharePoint 2013 and PerformancePoint

    If you’d like to know more about Rod and his projects, you can find out more on the StrataDB website or email Rod directly

  • Education

    Business Intelligence in schools–a short demonstration of setting up alerts


    Rod Colledge, Microsoft MVP, of StrataDBRod Colledge, is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for SQL Server, and an expert on the technology side of the use of Business Intelligence in education in Australia. For a living, he helps Microsoft customers with their own business intelligence projects, through his business at StrataDB. But in his role as a Microsoft MVP in his spare time he speaks at conferences, writes books, and shares his knowledge freely.

    One of the things that he’s been able to do is record a series of short videos of examples of using business intelligence in education, and the new features in SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft Office 2013, to show some of the simple things that are useful for school leaders and teachers. I’ll share one video every day for the next week, as I think they are ideal for showing to colleagues to start a discussion about how they’d like to use data in your institution, and whether they can start to use some of the features of the latest software releases.

    Today’s video is a demonstration of a key feature for an business intelligence in education project - the ability to set alerts automatically, to allow you to 'manage by exception', rather than having to trawl reports looking for outliers and identify performance issues manually.

    The example that's used here (with a dummy dataset) is using student absences to generate alerts, and uses Microsoft SQL Server 2012, and PowerPivot reports.

    If you’d like to know more about Rod and his projects, you can find out more on the StrataDB website or email Rod directly

  • Education

    Register now for the 2013 Microsoft Australia Partner Conference


    Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2013

    Registrations are open for the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2013 (APC 2013). And the early bird discounted ticket offer closes this Friday (17 May) – which saves you $172 off the normal fee.

    Even better news, Australian Gold Competency Partners get two free tickets – so quick, grab them before somebody less worthy in your team does Smile

    These are the three key reasons the APC organising team give for attending:

    • See new products in action and learn more about our strategic investment areas for the year ahead
    • Take advantage of networking opportunities on a massive scale with Microsoft leadership, sales and product teams
    • Experience first-hand a showcase of Microsoft products in real-world business scenarios aligned to customer needs

    APC 2012 imageAnd, as usual, we’ll be doing a whole load of things to make it even more valuable for education partners, including giving you the chance to book 1:1 sessions with our Account Managers across our team, and get deep insight into the trends and stories across the education market. I’ll publish more details on who’s attending, and how to grab a slot in their diary next month, but for now I’d recommend that you get your APC 2013 place booked and confirmed. Especially if you’re hoping to be jumping up on stage to collect your Education Partner of the Year Award…

    What: Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2013
    Where: Cairns
    When: 20-22 August 2013

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register for Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2013

  • Education

    Microsoft Australia Partner Awards 2013–winning Education Partner of the Year


    Microsoft Australia Partner Awards (MAPA) 2013

    It’s that time again – your opportunity to gain fame and fortune for your business and for the great projects you have done in the Australian education market this year. Yep, we’ve opened entries for the 2013 Microsoft Australia Partner Awards, and yet again there’s an entry category for ‘Australian Education Partner of the Year’.

    Without a shadow of a doubt, winning any of the awards is a great way to raise your profile across the education marketplace, and you get a bonus of a snazzy logo to use in your marketing (and your spot on the Microsoft Partner Award Winners page).

    It's an effective way to raise your profile within Microsoft too

    Even just entering the awards raises your profile, as it means that your entries will be seen by the judges, which includes four key people in the Microsoft Australia Education business. Last year the judges learned about some new projects that they were able to discuss with customers, and helped create some new business opportunities for our partners.

    The deadline for entries is 28th May, and the winner will be announced at the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference in Cairns on the 20th August 2013.

    There are 24 categories that you can enter (although, obviously, your first priority should be Education Partner of the Year!).

    Learn MoreLearn more about the Microsoft Australia Partner Awards 2013

  • Education

    Is there academic pricing for Windows Azure? No, but there's something better…free Azure



    For many of our products and services, there's special education pricing – these typically give education customers up to an 80% discount on normal prices, or even go so far as providing some services (like Office 365) free for education customers.

    It doesn't apply to Windows Azure, as there isn't a specific Windows Azure Academic licensing price list. The basic Azure service is pretty low-cost already (renting a virtual machine on Windows Azure costs $2c an hour!), and some parts of the service are free to everybody – for example, with Windows Azure Web Sites you can run 10 basic websites for nothing in the cloud.

    So when you're looking to move some of your IT to the cloud – for example, to host a learning management system like Moodle on Windows Azure – you would just use our standard Windows Azure pricing.

    What could be better than Windows Azure academic pricing?

    So if there isn't special academic pricing for Windows Azure, why did I say that there's "something better"?

    Well, it turns out that if you want to use Windows Azure for teaching purposes, you can apply for a "Windows Azure Educator Grant", which will give you a 12 month free subscription to Windows Azure for faculty, and a 6 month free subscription for your students!

      Grant applications are designated for faculty who are teaching Windows Azure in their curricula as well as faculty preparing to integrate Windows Azure into their curricula. Educator Grant awards are subject to demand and availability.  Educators will receive a special 12-month pass for their exclusive use, and may request 6-month non-renewable passes for distribution to their students.  Each pass is valid from the date of redemption. Educators may apply for passes for each of the courses they are teaching, and may only distribute these passes to students registered as part of their educational institution.  

    What does the free Windows Azure Educators Grant include?

    There's a ton of different services and resources included within the free subscription for both staff and students, including:

    • 2 small compute instances for Cloud Services or Virtual Machines
    • 10 Shared Web Sites
    • 10 Shared Mobile Services
    • 35GB of Azure storage
    • 50,000,000 storage transactions
    • 750 Service Bus Relay Hours
    • Two 1GB SQL Web Edition databases
    • 8GB of data transfers in and out

    Azure was expanded last month, when we announced the availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.  This new service now makes it possible for you to move whole applications into the cloud, and puts us in the position of being the only global cloud provider with fully supported infrastructure and platform service offerings.

    How to apply for the Windows Azure Educators grant

    To get more information, and apply for a Windows Azure Educator Grant go to the Windows Azure Educators site. After receiving your application and verification of your faculty status, we will send you a grant letter to sign and send back to us to get passcodes for your Azure accounts. Neither you nor your students will pay for access to Windows Azure. Accounts are valid for 12 months for faculty and 6 months for students and can be extended if needed.

    Learn MoreFind out more on the Windows Azure Educators site

    To help you get started with Windows Azure in the classroom, there are plenty of resources, and course and lab material, at Windows Azure Resource Kit and on Faculty Connection Web Site. It includes an Introduction to Cloud Computing, Software & Tools and Course 50466B: Windows Azure Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

  • Education

    How education partners can make the most of the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference


    Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013

    The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013, is in Houston from 7-11 July. It's a global event that gets over 16,000 attendees from 160+ countries, and there'll be a large contingent as usual travelling from Australia. (Registration info for WPC is here)

    If you're a Microsoft partner who works in the Education market and you're planning to be there, then you'll be happy to learn that within the agenda there are a series of sessions specifically for education partners. It means that as well as getting up-to-speed with the Microsoft technology and business strategy, there is an opportunity to understand our product and strategy focus in the education marketplace. This is key for you if you are looking to develop your education businesses to better serve the needs of the different segments of education – schools, TAFEs and universities – and if you want to understand where Microsoft's strategy will support your business plans.

    As Anthony Salcito, the Microsoft Vice President for Worldwide Education, puts it:


    With a cavalcade of new product releases, FY13 was a huge year for Microsoft and our partners - and we expect FY14 will offer even more opportunities for our partners to grow their businesses as these platforms continue to be adopted by our customers. We've had many important strategic wins with Windows 8, our OEM partners have hit the market with more than 120 Windows 8 devices, Surface is having an impact, and Office 365 for Education is growing so much faster than expected that we increased our targets by 1,000%.

    My team and I are excited to share with you strategies for success and why Education is one of the fastest growing and most important business segments at Microsoft.


    Global Education Partner Summit at Microsoft WPC 2013


    On Sunday 7 July before the main WPC kicks off with the Welcome Reception at 4PM, there is an afternoon dedicated to the Education Partner community, called GEPS@WPC (shorthand for the "Global Education Partner Summit @ Worldwide Partner Summit"). GEPS@WPC is our annual gathering of top global Education Partners.  This year more than ever you won't want to miss this event as we'll discuss the amazing opportunities the launch of Windows 8, Office 365 for Education, and the rest of the new lineup of innovative Microsoft products, is presenting to existing and new education partners.

      GEPS@WPC 2013 will be highly interactive with Partners and their needs at the centre.  It will feature both Microsoft and industry executive guest speakers addressing Microsoft's latest technologies with a look forward at the trends shaping the Education industry and their impact on our partners' business.  You'll have the opportunity to network and interact with other Microsoft Partners and Microsoft senior executives who are driving our efforts in Education.  

    Make a dateThe full agenda is on the GEPS@WPC website.
    Education partners attending WPC can register for the additional free GEPS@WPC day



    Education sessions during main WPC conference

    There are a number of education sessions as part of the main WPC conference agenda too, that sit alongside other breakout sessions (the way that WPC works is that there are big keynotes for all 16,000 attendees, then a choice of smaller breakouts for partners to choose between). These are:

    Education keynote address: Microsoft’s vision and strategy drive partner success in education

    Maximise your revenue potential by leveraging Microsoft’s big investments in the education market. Big Data, social, cloud, and mobility are key trends in the education market. In this session you can learn about Microsoft’s strategy and priorities for driving adoption and usage of the Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft Office 365 for Education, customer relationship management (CRM), and Microsoft SQL Server through investments in Partners in Learning, Shape the Future, and other sales programs that help our partner ecosystem grow.

    Devices and services in education; Shape the Future! and drive Windows 8 and Office 365 sales in the global education market

    This session will delve into Microsoft education programs and strategies for driving adoption of the Windows 8 operating system and Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft and its partners have built a pipeline with more than 100 million devices and more than 100 million Office 365 for Education assigned IDs through the Shape the Future program. This session will describe how you can leverage this progress to increase your revenue.

    How to build great apps that make money in education

    This session will explore the explosion in app adoption in education, and will share strategies for building great apps. You will also get tips for marketing and making money with apps for the Windows 8 operating system, for Microsoft Office, and for Microsoft SharePoint in education.

    Increase revenue and share through Big Data and relationship management growth in education

    This session will look at Big Data and analytics, combined with relationship management, in the fast-growing education industry. Understand how you can build and deploy solutions by using key platforms like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SQL Server, and help education customers make sense of Big Data and unlock the potential of personalised learning.

    All of these sessions can be seen on the session catalogue for WPC, alongside the main agenda 

    imageFor more information on the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, jump across to the WPC website.

  • Education

    Stories of Windows 8 early adopters in education


    There are plenty of examples of education customers who have made the switch to Windows 8, putting new touch devices into the hands of students to allow them to get the benefit of three different worlds in one device:

    • the ability to run software from previous versions of Windows (so that there's no need to rewrite curriculum resources or redesign courses for students);
    • the seamless connection to the new cloud services that are being delivered (for example, for the syncing of Office 365 documents across the cloud and back to the device for offline use)
    • the new world of touch apps that can deliver a different curriculum experience for students and teachers alike

    It's described pretty well by this slide below, that one of my colleagues uses. It shows that it's not about having an 'either/or' choice, but the ability to have both sides of the equation.

    Windows 8 for students - about not making a compromise

    Over the last few months, there have been a number of case studies and stories appearing of educational customers who have made big bets on Windows 8 devices around the world. Some of the examples are:

    • The State of Maine, which is rolling out HP ProBooks running Windows 8 to every Year 7 and 8 child across the state. The Governor of Maine explained why in the announcement:
      "It is important that our students are using technology that they will see and use in the workplace. This is the lowest-priced proposal, and the laptops use an operating system that is commonly used in the workplace in Maine. These laptops will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their learning and give them experience on the same technology and software they will see in their future careers"
    • Seton Hall University, which chose to give all incoming students and returning juniors a Samsung Windows 8 tablet, along with a Nokia Windows Phone. They had piloted iPads and Android devices, but chose Windows 8 for a number of reasons, including students wanting Office, and the need for the IT department to have devices that were manageable and secure.
    • West Suffolk College have rolled out Microsoft Surface tablets to their administration staff, to reduce the amount of paperwork being used, and ensuring that staff could continue to use their existing Word, Excel and OneNote files.
    • South Illinois University are going to hand Dell Windows 8 tablets to their new students as part of a project, called Mobile Dawg, to modernise interactions on and off their campus – from digital textbooks, to student self service systems, and into their Desire2Learn Learning Management System.

    Sadly, none of the examples above is from Australia. I know that there are schools who have rolled out Windows 8 touch devices to their students, but at the moment I don't have their permission to write about them.

    So here's a plea – if you're in an educational establishment in Australia, and you'd be happy to have a chat with me about your Windows 8 story, then drop me an email and let's see if we can share your story here too.

  • Education

    Microsoft seminars for schools in Sydney on Thursday 9 May


    After the Brisbane and Melbourne events, at the end of next week, we're running a pair of seminars in Sydney for schools too on Thursday 9 May. It gives you a chance to look at Windows 8 and Office 365 Education, as well as chat with Microsoft staff and colleagues from other schools. And there's specific sessions for school leaders, IT managers, and classroom teachers.

    For IT Managers and teachers

    The sessions for IT managers and teachers start at 10:00AM on Monday 6th May, with a keynote from Travis Smith, and then the seminar splits to a hands-on workshop for teachers, and a deep dive session for IT managers.

    The seminar finishes with lunch at 12:30, and a chance to get your hands on the latest Windows 8 devices from OEMs, and plenty of opportunity for catching up with colleagues from other schools.

    Make a dateFull agenda, and booking details for the Sydney IT managers and teachers seminar are here

    For school leaders

    We're running the leadership session "Leading Contemporary Learning in Schools" from 8AM to 9:30AM on 6th May too. This session is also hosted by Travis Smith, who's been a school leader himself.

    He'll be taking a look at some of the key strategic opportunities and issues that schools face with technology adoption. It will include Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies for schools, how to run sustainable 1:1 programmes, and emerging technologies.

    Make a dateFull agenda, and booking details for the Sydney school leaders seminar are here

  • Education

    Colleague tip: Sports video coaching app for Windows Phone


    I saw a tip today that would be really useful to PE/PD teachers, others who act as sports coaches in their spare time, and also parents like myself.

    The question was:


    Does anyone know of a Windows Phone app that allows you to play back a video frame by frame?

    I’m trying to help someone improve their footy kicking technique by recording their action and showing it to them frame by frame.


    And the answer was:


    Video Coach for Windows Phone

    imageVideo Coach helps you help your athletes improve their form and technique with the use of your phone's video capabilities.  You can take a video of your athlete ( or anything really ) and replay the video in slow motion, pause the video, step through it, step backwards, zoom.  All this can be accompanied by a timer which will show you exactly how long specific actions took place.


    And like many other Windows Phone apps, there's a free download for trial mode if you don't want to put down the whole $0.99 cents to buy it straight away!

    Learn MoreLearn more about Video Coach for Windows Phone

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