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

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  • Blog Post: The world’s first joint research centre for Social Natural User Interfaces is in Melbourne

    Yesterday we have the Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces . This is a joint research centre between the University of Melbourne and Microsoft Research, in partnership with the state government of Victoria and Microsoft Australia. The centre will explore applications of Natural...
  • Blog Post: What skills do I need for the future?

    When we announced the global Student Advantage programme, it meant that students could get the full Office suite when their institution subscribed for their staff (see ‘ The best way to get Office for student BYOD devices ’). Part of the reason that supported doing it was some new research from IDC on...
  • Blog Post: Education is the fastest growing user of unified communications

    I’ve been aware of the steady advance of unified communications at the expense of old-fashioned PBX telephone systems for a few years. Personally, my journey of unified communications started 6 years ago, when Microsoft started to replace our telephone handsets with Communicator 2007 software and...
  • Blog Post: Where the Microsoft research and development budget goes

    I've just finished reading a great article on PCWorld, titled " Meet Microsoft, the world's best kept R&D secret ", about the hidden work going on in the Microsoft research and development labs – and some of the projects that are being delivered in return for the $9.6 billion being invested...
  • Blog Post: Using the cloud as a supercomputer: How to analyse 63 billion genetic data points in three days

    In the good old days (you know, like five years ago) you needed a supercomputer to do massive data analysis jobs. University research departments either had to build their own, or buy precious schedule time on somebody else's supercomputer. You had to be pretty sure that your research was important,...
  • Blog Post: Analytics and Business Intelligence in US education–what are the lessons for Australian universities?

    Nearly two thirds of universities in the US reported in June 2012 that analytics (or business intelligence*) was a major priority for their institution, or some departments within their institution. And 84% reported that it was more important to them than two years ago. As a single fact, that doesn't...
  • Blog Post: Case studies that show how the Windows Azure cloud is used in higher education research

    Researchers in universities and elsewhere are using the cloud (and HPC clusters) in their research in order to reduce the cost, or increase the speed of reaching research conclusions. I was asked yesterday for a few examples of how the cloud is improving research, so having created the list, I thought...
  • Blog Post: Top 5 factors which affect student retention in Higher Education

    I've been doing some work recently on student retention and student attrition in higher education. You might have seen me writing about a Tribal presentation on data sources for inputs on student retention business intelligence systems . That work has also included an analysis across a number of different...
  • Blog Post: Do you know about Microsoft Academic Search?

    You know when you have been using something for a while, and you think that everybody else has heard of it too - and then you find out it's not as widely known as you think? eg because I use it all the time, I'd assumed that everybody knows that "Windows Key + E" launches Windows Explorer....
  • Blog Post: Lessons learned from DER Student Devices

    A few weeks ago, the Inter-American Development Bank released a report on the roll out of the One Laptop Per Child programme in Peru, where the government has put 850,000 laptops into the hands of school students. It created some controversy, especially as The Economist took a negative view on the outcomes...
  • Blog Post: Students and Technology - what can we learn from US research?

    Somehow I missed this at the time, but have just caught up with The ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology Report from 2011 , published by EDUCAUSE (an education group from the United States). They surveyed 3,000 students from 1,179 colleges and universities in...
  • Blog Post: Schools Workforce in Australia - Productivity Commission Report

    In November the Australian Productivity Commission produced a draft report on the Schools Workforce in Australia. It’s a draft because they are looking for comments and feedback by the middle of February. I’ve only recently had time to read it, and I thought I’d share a quick summary, because it’s (a...
  • Blog Post: Using the Cloud for research in Higher Education

    After two weeks of discussions with various groups in universities in Australia about using the Cloud for research in higher education, here’s a couple of press items that caught my eye that are relevant to the discussions: CSIRO to mesh Azure Cloud with HPC infrastructure According to ComputerWorld...
  • Blog Post: Student Recruitment - social media in student recruitment

    Varsity Outreach , a US-based marketing agency specialising in Facebook marketing for colleges and universities in North America, has just released a survey ‘ Facebook in Admissions ’ from 150 colleges across the US. The survey, called ‘Facebook and admissions’ contains a good insight into the use and...
  • Blog Post: Common and critical mistakes in using data to monitor student performance

    After writing about the new UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers yesterday , I spent time reading through the model, and thinking about how the information could be applied. I found some sections which were really useful in the context of Business Intelligence in education - how schools use their...
  • Blog Post: What skills do your students need to work in the world’s greatest workplaces?

    Hopefully it’s the same for you, but I rarely get that ‘Monday Morning’ downer. Of course, weekends are rarely long enough, but I can live with that. Maybe part of the reason for that is highlighted by the latest Great Place To Work survey , which highlights the 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces...
  • Blog Post: What's Next at Microsoft

    Microsoft is a big place - with tens of thousands of people designing, creating, coding and building things around the world. There’s simply too much going on to keep up with it all. With just under 100,000 staff, it’s the equivalent of trying to keep up with what’s happening in every...
  • Blog Post: Future Works Skills - The challenge for the assessment system

    There are a lot of projects underway around the world looking at the skills that students will need for the future workplace. I’ve just read the “ Future Works Skills 2020 ” report, which was completed by the the Institute For The Future on behalf of the University of Phoenix Research Institute. It’s...
  • Blog Post: What are the PISA tests?

    Every now and then you’ll read that Australia has done well/badly/averagely in the “PISA tests” - and there’s often an assumption about what that means ( Variously: schools are doing well/badly/averagely; teachers need more help/money/inspiration; learners can/can’t read...
  • Blog Post: Are education leaders more optimistic about online education than the public?

    The Pew Research Centre are a respected American organisation that shares research on issues, attitudes and trends shaping modern life. Although they tend to be US-centric, much of their research is unique and provides a helpful indicator to issues elsewhere in the world. ( I like their description of...
  • Blog Post: The Education Sessions at Australia Partner Conference - Part Two

    This is part two of a series, covering the Education sessions at the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference. Read part one (The Microsoft Australia Education Team) here I covered an overview of the Australian Education market - and to the relief of some, I didn’t spend time digging down deeply...
  • Blog Post: The Australian Government’s ICT strategy for Education

    There are all kinds of interesting documents that describe the Australian Government’s ICT strategy for Education, so here’s a summary of some of the key resources you can use to research the market. If you’re from outside of Australia, it’s important to know that there is a Federal strategy - which...
  • Blog Post: How important is ICT to academic success - the majority of US parents say ‘Very’

    Phi Delta Kappa - a US teachers professional association - use Gallup to carry out a poll of 1,000 Americans about their attitudes to education, teachers and related areas in the public schools system. There’s some interesting statistics in there (which made me wonder whether Australia is similar...
  • Blog Post: Building a more efficient research datacentre

    The Microsoft team that run our internal IT systems have to manage a complex and very fluid IT environment - just like you. And the It team are often at the leading/bleeding edge of technology (especially if you consider our habit of ‘ eating our own dog food ’). So they have some hard-won lessons on...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 to reach four out of 10 computers by end of year

    Last month, I wrote that two-thirds of PCs are still running Windows XP , and wrote about some of the things that hadn’t been created when Windows XP was launched ( Feeling nostalgic? Your students may not be ). It surprised me to hear that there are so many out of date PCs (as Windows XP is a decade...
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