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I’ve come across implementations of SharePoint in schools where it has been rolled out as another vanilla IT service – a bit like a shared network drive, or a plain portal. And the IT team are so overloaded with projects that they haven’t had the time to personalise the look and feel to make it suitable for each class, subject or interest group. Of course, they’re not all like that – as my 10 of the best SharePoint school websites and 10 of the best Australian education websites built on SharePoint lists show.
So wouldn’t it be good if we could solve the design problem, so that you can roll out a unique and compelling design for your Office 365 website, and give control to every teacher and specialist so that they can customise their design so that the History page is exactly what the History teachers want, and the Art page reflects what the Art Department want? And that design worked on your laptops, tablets and even your students’ phones?
That’s exactly the problem we solved last week, when nSynergy launched Mosaic with us at the EduTech conference in Brisbane.
Mosaic is a free, Office 365 SharePoint template built specifically for schools, to help you create and customise collaborative and engaging, interactive online learning spaces which support and accelerate learning outcomes. Mosaic lets you create your classroom in the cloud.
Built in partnership with Australian company nSynergy, and in consultation with educators from around the country, Mosaic helps schools harness the power of Office 365 Education by providing a modern user experience with intuitive and personalised interactions that inspire discovery. It creates beautiful learning spaces with simple drag and drop tools for teachers, to connect the classroom to any student, anywhere and on any device, at any time. Mosaic extends the power of Office 365 to accelerate learning outcomes.
Free to download from the Office Store from the end of June, Mosaic is powered by the LiveTiles design tool, and is available on any device, helping schools use Office 365 more effectively for collaboration and communication. Through Mosaic we’re enabling schools to respond and adapt to changes in the education sector, ensuring that both students and teachers have the best and simplest tools at their disposal to improve their learning experience. It brings the ease of use and flexibility to design your own virtual classroom, and hands the power back to the teacher to focus on teaching and not trying to manage the tools to teach.
It makes anytime, anywhere learning a reality by allowing learners and educators to work and collaborate both in and away from the classroom.
To find out more about Mosaic, head to the website where you can view a short video demonstration and register your interest to be contacted upon launch day.
Are you going to EduTech next week? Would you like to be able to develop practical strategies that help you turn some of the great ideas into concrete plans? The team at Expanding Learning Horizons have created a training event, running in Brisbane in the two days before EduTech, that’s setup perfectly to help.
Now that 21st Century learning has been reflected within the Australian National Curriculum, with the introduction of the General Capabilities, teachers must know how to design their lessons to develop key skills for work and life in the 21st Century. The two-day course (1/2 June) enables both teachers and educational leaders to gain a clear understanding of 21st Century skills, providing an explicit framework for improving both classroom and school outcomes. And with Bruce Dixon and Travis Smith talking (two of the Australian speakers I love to be challenged by), there will be plenty of content to help you create your action plans.
It will provide an excellent framework for evaluating everything you’ll see over the following two days at the EduTech conference.
The training course costs $495 for two days, and you can find the detailed agenda and venue details below:
Find out more: ELH 21st Century Learning Design in Action - 1/2 June 2014
We’ve got a webinar coming up in two weeks for Australian schools:
The subject of our next school-focused webinar is “How do you give your students better learning experiences with a rich, interactive collaborative environment that will prepare them for the demands of a 21st century workforce?”
We’ll show you how Microsoft Office 365 Education could enhance communication and collaboration in your classroom and inspire new ways of teaching and learning. We’ll take a look at how St Andrews Anglican College are using Office 365 Education to enhance communication across the school and improve student outcomes. And you’ll hear how your school can take advantage of these very same opportunities at no cost, with the Student Advantage program.
The speakers are two of my favourite experts – Mark Tigwell, who works with NSW schools, and Fiona Sims, who’s the manager for Office 365 Education in Australia. And the session includes a live chat feature so you can get instant answers to your own questions. You can find out more, and register below.
The webinar is at 4pm AEST (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) on Wednesday 14 May.
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 that look at what’s the next big thing. A lot of the attention has focused on the MOOCs coming out of the US – like edX and Coursera – which some of the big Australian universities have signed up for (The University of Melbourne aligned with Coursera, whilst The University of Sydney aligned with edX). But it’s not a one-way street across the Pacific - there have been plenty of local MOOCs developed within Australia.
Deakin University’s open learning space, Deakin Connect, is a purpose-built platform developed in conjunction with a Microsoft partner, Janison, which enables Deakin University to innovate in assessment, as well as online learning. Rather than try to test and measure student success, the course prompts learners to create and share rich evidence of their attainment of learning outcomes. Peers can award credit badges, signifying that they believe the participant’s exhibit shows mastery of learning outcomes. These can be shared on social media platforms including LinkedIn and Facebook.
I’ve attached a case study (see below) which explores why the Deakin University approach has been different to other universities, and how they have been able to focus on the educational outcomes they have been aiming to achieve, rather than compromising their educational journey to match somebody else’s technology. And their results so far – with registered participants from 80 countries, and having learners pay a fee for their work to be accredited by Deakin University (one of the first in the world to make a successful step towards a new accreditation business model through the MOOC).
As Wendy Palmer, Head of Learning Design from DeakinPrime, says in the case study:
In the case study, Wendy also talks about the learning journey, for both DeakinPrime and the MOOC students:
Content curation was the other major focus of the project. Rather than write lots of online learning, we’re actually using the system as a means of elegantly ordering information that’s already out there, pulling it together into a structured learning journey. Janison’s Course Builder really helped us to do that very quickly and simply. I’ve worked on many other Learning Management Systems and what I can do in an hour on the Janison CLS, I know would have taken me days in other systems. So, not only do we have an excellent system for elearning we also benefit from rapid deployment…
A lot of the MOOC learning systems are in the format of just a video with associated multiple-choice questions. One week we decided to try this format for one of the modules. We got a real backlash on the discussion boards with comments like: ‘We’re so disappointed, we didn’t think this was that sort of course’. We had actually planned to use this format more. We ended up changing from multiple choices to an FAQ format, and then directing users to resources so they could research them further if they wanted to find out more. We didn’t receive any negative backlash from that. The system enabled us to adapt really quickly to learners’ expectations and requirements. We have the flexibility to change the courses as we progress and to give our users the learning experience they need.
The DeakinConnect MOOC is built upon the Janison Cloud Learning System (CLS) which provides a platform being used within Australia for learning management, distance learning and online assessment, in educational, government and commercial organisations.
Read the full DeakinConnect MOOC case study
On 14/15 May 2014 we’re running a training event for developers of education applications and services in Sydney. It is a two-day detailed training workshop that will help partners to develop for the Office 365, Office and SharePoint platform. The workshop is for developers and architects, and will mix integration theory with hands-on development practice. Although this workshop is primarily for commercial developers, it may also be of interest to developers within education institutions who develop apps and services for a wide base of users.
The timing of this training is important, as the existing large number of Office and Office 365 users in Australian education institutions (both students and staff) is expected to increase rapidly as a result of our announcement that the Office Professional Plus suite is available for students free of charge through qualifying institutions (details here) for their school and home computers (as well as their iPad, Android and iPhone devices). In Australia, that could mean a leap in education users of Office, and offer new opportunities to create apps that support students, teachers, schools, TAFEs and universities.
Apply for participation in an App DevCamp for Education Partners and work alongside Microsoft experts to learn how to build apps for Office 365 and SharePoint.
The new Office has a focus on cloud, making it easier for partners to build applications that integrate with Office and Office 365, and bring these to market and to users through an online store. For education customers and partners, this is good news. Customers will be able to add custom apps within their personalised Office environment and partners will benefit from a new opportunity to build and sell education apps for the many millions of Microsoft education customers around the world. For Education publishers and content partners, this offers the potential to build apps which can co-exist with the rich tools of Office applications. Education ISVs have the opportunity to extend their solutions by building apps that support specific processes in education – whether it's to handle approval of staff cover; to manage assignment submission; to extend the functionality of a LMS by building apps for SharePoint; to build and publish lesson plans; to manage the booking of resources; to build a ‘parent permission’ app which allows a parent to say ‘Yes’ with one click when reading a form….a million and one relevant, simple, single-button type controls. Building apps for Office and SharePoint is a good opportunity.
The new Office has a focus on cloud, making it easier for partners to build applications that integrate with Office and Office 365, and bring these to market and to users through an online store. For education customers and partners, this is good news. Customers will be able to add custom apps within their personalised Office environment and partners will benefit from a new opportunity to build and sell education apps for the many millions of Microsoft education customers around the world.
For Education publishers and content partners, this offers the potential to build apps which can co-exist with the rich tools of Office applications. Education ISVs have the opportunity to extend their solutions by building apps that support specific processes in education – whether it's to handle approval of staff cover; to manage assignment submission; to extend the functionality of a LMS by building apps for SharePoint; to build and publish lesson plans; to manage the booking of resources; to build a ‘parent permission’ app which allows a parent to say ‘Yes’ with one click when reading a form….a million and one relevant, simple, single-button type controls. Building apps for Office and SharePoint is a good opportunity.
If you are building education apps, we would like to offer you the opportunity to apply for a place at this DevCamp provided specifically for our education-focused ISVs and Publishers.
The training is designed for developers/architects building apps for Office & SharePoint (for both on-premise and Office 365 customers) and will offer the opportunity for delegates to meet with subject matter experts from Microsoft.
There is no fee for the event itself. Microsoft will provide lunch and refreshments during the 2 day event. You are responsible for any other expenses including accommodation and travel to/from the event.
To register for the Sydney Edu DevCamp, please click here. Once completed, you will be contacted with confirmation of your place. Space is limited, so register early.
Date: May 14-15, 2014 Location: Sydney, Australia Level: 300 Audience: Architects / Web Developers in the Education sector
Microsoft and University of New England would like to invite colleagues from other universities and TAFE Institutes to the first Australian hosting of the Technology Enriched Instruction workshop on April 3 and 4 2014 at the UNE Futures Campus in Parramatta. Attendees with a range of teaching experience and roles are welcome to this free workshop-based event, which is designed to be of interest to anyone who would like to be well informed about key developments in learning, teaching and technology.
As co-hosts, Microsoft and the University of New England have designed the event to help showcase both global developments and local enthusiasms, providing opportunities to explore developments from a range of perspectives and contexts. This workshop, based on the TPACK framework, is designed to help TAFE and university faculty improve their use of technology in their teaching and instruction. It assists educators to develop competencies that will enable them to plan systemically for the selection, utilisation and evaluation of technology tools and resources in a pedagogically appropriate manner.
Day Two of the event will provide insights into trends and technology use in higher education lead by the co-hosts, Microsoft and UNE, which will also include a Futures Campus tour and a closing panel debate titled “Content knowledge isn’t important anymore.”
Day 1 8:30AM Welcome & overview of the day 8:45AM Morning workshop session Lunch 12:45PM Afternoon workshop session 5:00PM Wrap-up and evaluations 5:30PM Evening networking and refreshments
Day 2 9:00AM 21st Century Skills. 21st Century Careers. 21st Century Learning 9:45AM UNE Office 365/Lync Project Overview 10:15AM Futures and the role of technology 11:00AM Video futures and higher education Lunch 1:00PM Spotlight on online assessment 2:15PM Panel debate 3:30PM Event close
More information about TEI, and the supporting programmes at http://www.pil-tei.com
Make a date: Register for the Australia TEI Forum
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 running a webinar tomorrow (12 March) at 2PM AEDT, where we’ll tackle the sensitive issue of data privacy head-on to reveal both the potential pain points and how your organisation can mitigate the risks.
The ability to offer new services. The potential to improve operating efficiencies. Deepening customer engagement. There’s no disputing the upside of the cloud. But balancing individual privacy, corporate security and state sovereignty in this brave new world can prove challenging. In the webinar, our cloud experts will: Explore the potential risks cloud computing presents Share our experience in how real the risks are Offer insights on how to overcome them Reveal what’s needed to undertake a cloud-risk assessment – and how to share your findings with managers
The ability to offer new services. The potential to improve operating efficiencies. Deepening customer engagement. There’s no disputing the upside of the cloud. But balancing individual privacy, corporate security and state sovereignty in this brave new world can prove challenging. In the webinar, our cloud experts will:
Two senior Microsoft Australia employees will share their experiences of compliance and security, explain the impact of cloud computing and shed light on data privacy, security and sovereignty.
Chief Security Officer, Microsoft Australia Shaun Tipson
Senior Attorney, Microsoft Australia The webinar runs tomorrow, Weds 12 March, at 2PM AEDT.
If you’re designing learning activities, or curriculum planning for 21st Century skills, that require students to demonstrate or develop 21st Century skills, then there’s some help in the form of a new app for Windows 8. 21st Century Learning Design is a tool developed to help teachers in assessing where their current and planned activities develop 21st Century skills, and guides teachers with structures and further learning resources that will help curriculum planning for 21st Century skills.
21st Century skills development is being rolled out in schools across Australia to help teachers prepare for the PISA test in 2015 (which will assess students’ collaboration and communication skills) and curriculum planning for 21st Century skills in the new National Curriculum.
Students around the world need advanced skills to succeed in the globalised, knowledge-based world of today. 21st Century Learning Design helps teachers design lessons and learning activities to build students’ 21st century skills. The professional development program is based on rubrics developed and tested in one of the largest ever international studies of 21st Century Skills – the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project.
In the Windows 8 app, materials are presented in an easy to use, highly interactive way. It will help teachers to identify and understand the opportunities that learning activities give students to build 21st century skills. Each learning activity is any task that students do as part of their school related work - it can be an exercise that students complete in one class period or an extended project that takes place both in and outside of school. The rubrics incorporate a research-based methodology for coding learning activities to ensure you are embedding 21st century skills in your teaching practices, and the Rubric for Student Work provides a framework to assess students’ development of 21st century skills.
Explore the dimension of 21st Century Learning Design, through rubrics and dimensions.
Evaluate your content against all or some of the dimensions.
Receive detailed breakdowns of your understanding of the dimensions.
Export your assessment results to detailed Word documents.
To aid curriculum planning for 21st Century skills, the app helps find exemplar units of work with strong 21st Century Learning Design aspects
Microsoft has partnered with two Australian Professional Learning providers to offer 21st Century Learning Design training for your school. This training is contextualized to Australian school needs and curriculum focus. Both Design | Learn | Empower and Expanding Learning Horizons would be happy to discuss your training needs and tailor a learning experience to suit your school. If you would like to find out more about the 21CLD Program from Microsoft directly, you can also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PowerBI is one of the most flexible ways to visualise data that I’ve seen (it’s just been released as part of the Office 365 service). And, what’s even better for me, is that it uses Excel as the starting point – which means that I’ve already got 90% of the skills needed to work with it. (I know I work at Microsoft, and therefore people expect me to be uber-geeky, but my technical confidence and competence is lower than many around me at the office, so I rate myself as a typical business user of technology, not a power user).
It allows you to quickly combine different sources of data (eg Excel spreadsheets, data sources within your organisation, as well as data from the web and from the Azure data market) and create a visualisation – like a conventional line chart or histogram, a scattergram, or interactive maps. To me, the beauty of PowerBI is that I can do this myself – and share what I’ve done with others.
Where I’ve found it really comes alive is when you can combine your internal data with data from other sources. I’ve seen examples of retailers connecting live tweets, foursquare checkins, weather and socio-economic data, connected together with sales data for individual stores. In some countries with strong open data programmes, there’s a wealth of data that would help build powerful analyses, and create data-centric stories.
One good example of visualising open government data came from our recent PowerBI competition, where Chris Webb from the UK used published data about road accidents to see what trends were appearing, and where there were particular patterns in the data.
Chris recorded a video as his entry, that shows how he went from a big set of CSV files to a visual analysis that ended up showing the road accident risk that exists for school children immediately before and after school. Unlike Australia, the UK doesn’t have 40km/h school zones, but perhaps this kind of story-telling with data might create the demand for them.
I’ve been working on creating some visualisations of Australian education data, but it’s a lot more challenging. In higher education there’s a wealth of published data through ABS, the Higher Education Statistics uCube and MyUniversity.gov.au – all of which can be modelled and connected.
But it only works in scenarios where there’s a commitment to open access to data. In the school education sector, it’s a different story – there seems to be a real paucity of publically available data for the sector. On the data.gov.au website, there are just 12 results for datasets on ‘schools’ – and there’s no national data there (and nothing of value relating to learning). Other data sites, like myschool.edu.au are designed to stop people using them to create data visualisations. But am I missing something? Is there a treasure trove of education data that could be visualised, published by the Australian federal or state governments? Or am I going to have to resort to worldwide comparisons using OECD & UNESCO data?
In the meantime, here's an example of using the PowerMap side of PowerBi to map some international education data.
We made an announcement at the end of last week about the name and easier access to the online versions of Office. I think this is important for Australian students and teachers, as it is now much easier for students and staff to be able to use Office on the web. Anybody can do it – they don’t need an Office subscription, nor do they need their school, TAFE or university to set up Office 365 Education access. So a student can login to Office Online* and start creating, editing and sharing documents, either alone or with others – from almost any device and without a subscription service (all they need to do is create a Microsoft Account, which can be done with any email address).
* Office Online is the new name for Office Web Apps, and includes the browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
* Office Online is the new name for Office Web Apps, and includes the browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
The Office team have put many of the details on the Office blog, and here’s a quick snip from there:
Sure, some of you are already using the online versions of Office. And with the recent addition of real-time co-authoring and more of the most commonly used features coming online over the last several months, we hear that you’re liking it. But we also know that many of the one billion Office users haven’t tried it yet and we want to change that.
Today we are making two changes. First, we’re renaming Office Web Apps to Office Online so you know where to find our free online experience. We heard from customers that the inclusion of Apps in our name was confusing. Are they something I install? Do I go to an app store to get them? No, to use them all you need is a web browser. Ah! You say. So it’s like Office, online. Yes, exactly. Office Online.
Secondly, a lot of you don’t know that we have an online version of Office because you just couldn’t find it. If you’re already using Office Online on OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) or on SharePoint at work, great. We’re glad you found it there. You can still use Office Online just like you always have. But we’re making it easier to find for the rest of you by introducing Office.com, a discoverable and shareable web page so that you can start using Office Online right away.
So now you have lots of different ways of ensuring that your students and staff can use Office:
Read more about Office Online
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You can see all related blog articles about Office here
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