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

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  • Blog Post: Building a MOOC in the cloud, using Microsoft Azure

    It would be fair to call MOOCs a phenomenon ( Phenomenon: Something notable: something that is out of the ordinary and excites people's interest and curiosity ). They have created an enormous amount of interest and curiosity – and jumped up to the top of the agenda for ‘EdTech futurists’ and any reports...
  • Blog Post: Webinar on cloud privacy and data sovereignty

    The benefits of cloud computing for public sector organisations run right across the public sector, including education.  But as executives explore the opportunities, they often become concerned about data security and the privacy risks associated with online services – and justifiably so. We’re...
  • Blog Post: Identity management in the cloud (or how to avoid the need to login every two minutes)

    Many education institutions in Australia are using Active Directory for their identity management. Typically, when a new student or staff member starts, they have an account created in the Active Directory (in many cases, this is done automatically by their student management system). That then allows...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Australian datacentres–the impact of last week’s announcement

    Did you catch the announcement last week that we are planning to significantly expand our cloud services in Australia, by the creation of a new Windows Azure ‘major region’ for Australia? Which means that when complete we’ll be delivering Azure services locally from Windows Azure Australian datacentres...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Full agenda for the 2013 Microsoft Australia Education Partner Summit

    Last week I announced the date for the 2013 Microsoft Australia Education Partner Summit – on Monday 25th March in Sydney, and the fact that we've got Anthony Salcito kicking off the event with his characteristically engaging story telling on the future of education, and our role in supporting...
  • Blog Post: University of Washington - Moving business intelligence to the cloud

    International case studies are always good to review, because sometimes you see things that aren't being done in Australia, and give useful ideas for solving problems for Australian education institutions. Of course, many international education organisations run in a very different way to Australian...
  • Blog Post: The Technology behind NORAD tracks Santa

    Yesterday I told you about NORAD Tracks Santa – a website and group of apps where parents and children can track the progress of Santa on Christmas Eve as he travels around the world delivering presents to all the children who have been good this year. Although these days children think that...
  • 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: Today's online ESSA Science test in New South Wales

    It’s on again, the annual online science assessment (the ESSA test) that brings all year 8 students, in all Government, Catholic and Private Schools in NSW, together on one day to do an online science assessment. And it's happening right now, with help from Microsoft's cloud services. Each year this...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure–training for education developers in Brisbane

    If you're a developer, and you're wondering how to start using cloud services to help build a more scalable, or more easily deployable application, then make a date for 10th December in Brisbane. Our developer evangelists are running a free three day workshop for Developers, Architects and Development...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure pre-purchase offer

    Microsoft's cloud system - Windows Azure - is being used in education more widely, and there are plenty of conversations going on about how educational partners can move their applications to be hosted on Windows Azure to reduce the cost of expanding their service (because you can just expand a service...
  • 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: Using the cloud in the public sector–the Windows Azure InfoKit

    My colleagues over in the US create and update a handy one slide summary of Windows Azure resources that are specifically designed for developers using the cloud in the public sector – either because they are in public sector organisations (including education ones) or for people developing apps...
  • Blog Post: How to choose the right Cloud service in Windows Azure

    My colleague Andrew Coates is a developer evangelist in Australia who loves Windows Azure. I recently sat through a training session with him, where he showed us all how to create a Windows Azure trial account, and deploy our first cloud-based application ( if you're a regular reader, I have to agree...
  • Blog Post: Office 365 partner training

    Microsoft partners in Australia have access to a wide range of training and development programmes. Most of our product training for different roles (eg sales teams, deployment specialists etc) is available online, so that you can complete the training when and wherever you want. Here’s some of the ones...
  • Blog Post: Discounts for education customers at TechEd 2012 in Australia

    We’ve just announced registrations are open for TechEd Australia 2012, in September in the Gold Coast. Every year, TechEd brings over 2,500 IT Professionals and Developers up to speed on the latest Microsoft technologies. And with 10 tracks over 4 days, there’ll be plenty for everyone to...
  • Blog Post: Top 5 education apps that will be developed in the Cloud with Windows Azure

    Walking down the corridor after I wrote about the Windows Azure DevCamps this morning, a colleague who’d read the post asked me what kind of apps would be developed next in the Windows Azure Cloud for education. So I reeled off the list of apps that I think we’ll see. And he told me that...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure DevCamp–learn to build for the Cloud

    If you’re in Sydney, and you are (or would like think of yourself as) a developer, then you might want to devote a day to discovering how the Cloud could make a difference to your projects. I’m losing count of the number of projects I’m hearing about where developers are using the Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: What does the Cloud do in education, as well as create jobs?

    According to an IDC study “ Cloud Computing & Worldwide Job Creation ”, it’s forecast that nearly 14 million new jobs will have been created worldwide by cloud services around the world. In Australia, it’s forecast that cloud-related jobs are going to grow 129% between 2012...
  • Blog Post: Is my data safe in the cloud? Part Two – CSA STAR

    Yesterday, I wrote the first part of “ Is my data safe in the cloud? ”, looking at the work we’d been doing with the Cloud Security Alliance STAR (Security, Trust & Assurance Registry) project – which is an industry-wide initiative to make it possible to compare security practices across cloud services...
  • Blog Post: Is my data safe in the cloud? Part One – CSA STAR

    If you are putting, or considering putting, your data into the cloud, then you’ll have thought about security considerations. But the way that you think about cloud data security may be very different from the way that you consider the same issues when it comes to data held on your own servers...
  • Blog Post: Best practices for migration to the cloud

    Every week, I hear of a new education customer who’s moved some part of their IT provision onto a Windows Azure cloud service. Sometimes it’s been the move of a complete service – like cloud-based email or collaboration tools – and other times it’s a part of the core IT infrastructure that’s supporting...
  • Blog Post: The NSW Science ESSA test - the background monitoring service

    Yesterday I wrote “ Why put assessment in the Cloud? ” about the project last year for students in New South Wales in Australia to complete the statutory Science examinations online - replacing a paper-based system that had been used for years. As well as the time-saving and paper-saving, one of the...
  • Blog Post: Why put assessment in the Cloud?

    One of the often-quoted benefits of using Cloud computing is that you can provide for big bursts of activity by using the flexibility of massive datacentres being built around the world for this. And that if you want to use this service, you simply pay for the bit you use. It means that you can activate...
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