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

  • Education

    It’s in the new Australian Curriculum, but do you need help with 21st Century Learning Design


    ELH LogoOur partnership with Expanding Learning Horizons means that we work together on a range of activities supporting the enhancement of teaching and learning with technology. Some of these (like the Windows in the Classroom program) are free for schools to participate in, whilst other activities are run as paid professional development activities.

    The next set of events from ELH are the 21st Century Learning Design program workshops later this month. They are a two day workshop, with online sessions to follow on from the activities you plan as part of the workshop. The objective is to provide appropriate support and training for teachers who are design lessons to reflect the changes in the Australian National Curriculum:


    There is a growing awareness of 21st Century Learning, especially since it has been reflected within the Australian National Curriculum. There is also a wide appreciation of its value, which is supported by a wealth of evidence from educational researchers. However, as yet, few teachers know how to design lessons to put it into practice.

    Here’s an opportunity to take the lead in your school and discover, as one participant puts it: “being a part of something new and exciting; allowing me to increase my skills and learning whilst teaching my students.”

    Over two days you’ll work together with other teachers in a collaborative and supportive environment to understand:

    • The six skill-sets today’s students will need in the workplace and their future lives
    • The innovative rubrics for measuring use of these skills in classroom and project work
    • How 21CLD links in with the Australian Curriculum
    • How to create a compelling case for 21st Century Learning in your school

    You’ll also learn how to code and redesign your own curriculum, to get you started on implementing 21st Century Learning  on your return to school. An online discussion with fellow participants six weeks later will give you the opportunity to share your successes and discuss overcoming any roadblocks you may have encountered.


    The program costs $795 for the two day workshop, and are running in:

    • Sydney – 26/27 November
    • Perth – 26/27 November
    • Melbourne – 2/3 December

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register for the 21st Century Learning Design Program

  • Education

    Announcing the Microsoft Australian Teachers Blog


    Australian Teachers Blog Header

    My colleagues have been talking for a while about creating a more teaching-centric blog for Australia, focusing more on the teaching and learning side of technology. And a couple of weeks ago they launched the Microsoft Australian Teachers Blog, which is all about technology in the classroom. It will grow out to become the one stop shop for all of the key tips, tricks and local stories.

    Even better, rather than being the product of a single person, there’s a whole team of people writing stories for it, including Pip Cleaves, who’s well known from her time in NSW Department of Education, and a range of guest bloggers including teachers and school principals. Alongside articles about new technologies for teaching and learning (like the recent post about the enhancements to Office Web Apps to allow students to collaboratively edit documents in real time), you’ll find stories like the one from Stacey Quince, Principal for Campbelltown Performing Arts High School, who talks about the journey her school has had to take in ‘learning to unlearn’ in order to change the way that they do things.

    One of the areas that everybody will find useful is the Windows 8 Education Apps page that contains curated links to hundreds of Windows 8 apps to support specific curriculum subjects, as well as topics such as study skills, or knowledge construction. Pip has been collating lists using Pinterest, which makes it really easy to keep a dynamic list of apps that can be easily added to as new apps get recommended or published.

    Our aim is for this Education blog and the Teachers blog to complement each other, rather than duplicating each other. So you may want to add both to your RSS feeds list, or your browser Favourites list, so that you’ve got the full picture of every it of news from the Australian Microsoft Education Team

    Learn MoreRead the Microsoft Australia Teachers Blog

  • Education

    What skills do I need for the future?


    Office 365 Header

    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 skills requirements for tomorrow's best jobs, which analysed the current and future jobs market to understand what skills employers are currently looking for, and will look for in the future.

    Learn MoreSkills Requirements for Tomorrow's Best Jobs:
    Helping Educators Provide Students with Skills and Tools They Need

    IDC did their analysis by scanning 14.6 million US job postings for six months this year and identified the 20 most common skills required for those positions. They also used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, including data on 2010 employment and forecasts for 2020, to understand future employment trends, and to identify 60 occupations that have above average growth potential and salary potential between 2013 and 2020.

    Which roles are going to grow fastest in numbers and salary by 2020?

    IDC categorised all of the data into groups of roles to produce the following chart:


    So by 2020 we’re going to see more demand for people to work in medical, sales and marketing, education, IT and managerial roles. These roles in the chart are expected to account for 28% of new jobs in 2020, with a median salary that’s 51% higher than for all occupations.

    What skills are needed for the high growth employment roles?

    The IDC report looked at the top skills required for all occupations, and the analysis showed the top five skills employers are looking for were:

    1. Oral and written communication skills
    2. Detail oriented
    3. Microsoft Office
    4. Customer service oriented
    5. Organisational skills

    It’s notable that Microsoft Office was the only software package that employers called out within the top 20 skills list. Microsoft Office is at number 3, PowerPoint is at number 11, and Word is at number 13. The full list of top 20 skills is on Page 7, Figure 2 in the IDC report.

    When they correlated the top skills against the top growth occupations, they found the correlation got stronger – the top 5 skills were in even higher demand in these roles (and 16 of the top 20). The most common skills that employers are looking for are cross-functional, rather than occupation-specific skills. As IDC put it (on page 9):


    This high concentration of cross-functional skills suggests that high school students require "job readiness" and not "job training" for success. The skills most needed for the best jobs cut across many occupations, so educators should consider focusing on the skills with the broadest applicability to success. In contrast, skills associated with specific occupations are less applicable for the broader occupation set, implying that they should receive less emphasis in general high school curricula.


    Communication, integration and presentation skills (CIPs) are required for about 40 percent of all positions and make up 11 of the top 20 skills that are required by 39 percent of the fastest growing, highest paying positions. As Cushing Anderson, program vice president of Project-Based Services at IDC says in the report:

      Of the more than 11,000 skills we examined, it is interesting to see the play between hard and soft skills. Many of the top 20 skills reinforce the other; the skills we identified are not taken in isolation but rather are a golden set of skills that are consistently important. Seventy percent of the high-growth, high-wage occupations frequently require at least one of the top 20 skills.  

    IDC make a series of really important points on Pages 14/15 about the assessment of communication, integration and presentation skills capabilities.  They assert that assessments should be used to demonstrate students’ mastery of material and help improve the teaching and learning process. And IDC calls for programs to include formative adaptive assessments, performance-based tasks to demonstrate communication, integration and presentation skills capabilities, and appropriate technologies to facilitate consistent administration and evaluation of assessments. They also caution employers that it is unrealistic to expect schools to prepare students for specific jobs or even a specific industry, and that they must assume the responsibility of training new career entrants in the job-specific skills the occupation requires.

    The whole report is worth a read, both for the data points it includes, and for the help it contains for advising your students (and their parents!) about what lies around the corner in the job marketplace.

    Learn MoreSkills Requirements for Tomorrow's Best Jobs:
    Helping Educators Provide Students with Skills and Tools They Need

  • Education

    NSW Schools Roadshow 2013


    This time next week my colleagues from the NSW Microsoft education team will be running the first of 9 roadshows for schools. They are going to be on the road until the end of the month, visiting Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Wollongong, Sydney, Campbelltown, North Ryde, Wagga Wagga and Dubbo. And presumably the bus between the venues will be full up, as the roadshow involves Acer, Adobe, IC Central, Intel and Lenovo too.

    The day is going to be facilitated by Pip Cleaves, who’s well known to many across NSW for her work as a Professional Learning consultant for the Interactive Classroom rollout in the Hunter Central Coast Region, the DERNSW Program both at Hunter Central Coast and State levels and Peer Coaching coordination across the state. She is a Microsoft Peer Coach Master Trainer, Adobe Education Leader and Microsoft 21st Century Learning Design Master Facilitator.

    Although the event is tilted towards NSW government schools, it is actually open to any school, and any pre-service or TAFE teacher.


    NSW Microsoft Schools Roadshow 2013In a global economy driven by innovation, knowledge and intense competition, it is more important than ever to engage students in learning. We need to offer students the opportunity to develop collaboration, critical thinking and creative skills to ensure they can successfully compete in the 21st century.

    Through this complimentary hands-on workshop, Microsoft, Adobe, Intel, Lenovo, Acer and IC Central will show you how to leverage your school’s existing technology to empower your students with skills they will need to be successful.

    Your chance to discover

    We invite you to explore with us how technology can be used to engage students in the learning process, while providing them with opportunities to develop 21st century skills. This will be a full day, hands-on professional learning session focused on getting the most from your school’s existing software and devices. We will show you technologies that are just around the corner, allowing you to explore future possibilities.



    8-9 – Registration and coffee

    9-9.30 – How can we make 21st Century Learning Real? How can we work with the challenges of BYOD, Tech Support, IT Integration in Learning that we face daily?

    9.30-10.45 – Productivity with Windows 8 - Intel Showcase – Hands on Session: Windows 8

    10.45-11.15 – Morning Tea

    11.15-12.30 – Collaboration with Office 365 - Microsoft Showcase – Hands on Session: O365 - One Note  / Win 8 Apps

    12.30-1.30 – Lunch & ACA/MOS Certifications

    1.30-2.45 – Creativity in Education – Adobe Showcase – Hands on Session: Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements

    2.45-3.00 – Conclusion


    Devices, software and apps will be provided for the duration of the day

  • Education

    Spending your holidays working in the office? There is another way


    Loryan Strant, ParadyneLoryan Strant, who's a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for Office 365, is also CEO of Paradyne, one of our Office 365 for Education partners in Australia. It’s tricky, running a business and creating a work-life balance, which Loryan wrote about on his blog in September in ‘Focus on fatherhood’, and followed it up with ‘Working outside of business hours’, I asked him if he’d write a guest blog post about using the same technology in schools, TAFEs and universities. And here it is:


    Try a new holiday destination: the cloud

    School holidays are a great time to see new sights, spend time with the family, enjoy the summer heat by the pool, and overall not worry about coming into school/the office/the classroom for work.

    What if you could have all that, but still be just as productive by working from home?

    Often when we work with schools to deploy Office 365 they focus on migrating student mailboxes so as to free up internal resources and reduce costs. And why wouldn’t you – it doesn’t make sense any more to provide Exchange mailboxes on-premises when Office 365 is free.

    The holidays present schools with a fantastic opportunity – something very rarely experienced by the commercial world: a large period of time when all of your users are not “working”. In the commercial world this is generally only seen on public holidays or between Christmas and New Year (if that). For schools however they have several breaks of 2-3 weeks per year when IT departments can perform major infrastructure work with affecting the users.

    While Office 365 can be implemented and used at any time of the year we find that many schools prefer to do this at the end of the calendar year when the holiday period is longer and there is more time to saturate the Internet connection with mailbox migration traffic.

    Just because the students are on holidays and have mentally taken a break, doesn’t mean that the school has stopped working. With many of the schools we’ve worked with at Paradyne various elements of school administration teams continue to work. While the attitude and attire are more casual there is still plenty of work to be done. As well as this, teachers need to start planning for the next year and preparing. But why does all this have to be done at the school?

    Sure – taking work home is not a new concept. SharePoint Online and SkyDrive Pro make this even easier in that users can access content on any device be it a Windows 8 PC, Mac, Android tablet, or Windows Phone. With SkyDrive Pro the data can be synchronised so it can be accessed offline making the ability to work remotely more of a reality.

    How though, can faculty work together if they are working remotely? Sure they can call each other on their mobiles but how do they actually work together. That’s where Lync Online comes in. Often neglected as part of the offering but one of the most powerful tools in the Office 365 for Education suite – and available completely for free.

    While some schools may prefer to not provide an instant messaging solution like Lync to students, the service can still be enabled for faculty – even if their mailbox is still on-premises. Deploying Lync Online is one of the easiest and quickest wins in any Office 365 deployment and allows the users to screen share, whiteboard, instant message, and audio/video conference with up to 250 of their peers in HD.

    Do some of your staff use Skype? No problem – Lync can federate with Skype and support audio communications.

    If you deploy Lync Online in your school your staff will thank you. Not only will it lower the need for them to walk across campus to see someone for a few minutes to work on something together, it can lower their need to come into the office at all – allowing them to spend more time with their family and enjoy their holidays.

    Deploy Lync Online as part of Office 365 for your school these holidays. It’s free and it’s easy (especially when you use a partner).


    Learn MoreLoryan’s team at Paradyne have some good case studies of education and non-profit organisations where they implemented Office 365.    
    You can see them all on the case studies page on the Paradyne website.

  • Education

    The next wave of One to One Learning- Professional Development webcast series


    Microsoft PIL Webcast header

    Our worldwide Partners in Learning team run a series of Education webcasts focused on providing deep insights into teaching and learning. They are run from the Microsoft global headquarters in Seattle, and feature presenters from around the world. Fortunately for us in Australia, they are scheduled to run twice during the same day, and the one that runs at 5PM Seattle time is Australia-friendly! The next one is on Friday 8th November

    One to One Learning the Next Wave - webcast

    In the morning of Friday 8th November in Australia 
    (10AM – QLD; 10:30AM – SA; 12 Noon – NSW/VIC; 9AM – WA)

    It's been a while since the very first 1-to-1 program in Australia, (1990), U.S.'s Anytime Anywhere Learning in (mid 1990's), One Laptop Per Child (mid 2000's) and many school and district initiatives. We've learned a lot, experienced success and made mistakes. This session brings together major thought leaders in 1-to-1 from the US, the UK and Spain to propose 1-to-1 - The Next Wave. We'll briefly describe the previous waves and why we think it's time to reflect, rethink and refresh. Join Lord Knight, Neus Lorenzo, Leslie Wilson and Pamela Livingston at will share their ideas and invite your questions. If you now have or are considering 1-to-1 learning, it will be worth your time to attend. This webcast will be particularly relevant to Australian schools as they plan for a post-DER world, now the Federal Government funding for 1:1 access has finished.

    Lord Jim Knight, who’s co-presenting in the webcast, was responsible for the UK government’s programme to provide a free home computer to pupils in the 15% of households with the lowest socio-economic circumstances in the UK, the Home Access Programme from 2010. The scheme was innovative in many ways, with parents being able to walk into a number of retail stores with a special voucher and walk out with an approved computer that met the scheme’s certification process. As somebody who was deeply involved in the programme in the UK, I know that Jim has deep knowledge and passion for 1-to-1 programmes, built on a real set of ‘been there, done that’ experiences! (You can see some of the basic info on the Home Access programme on a blog post I wrote 3 years ago)

    Presented by:

    imageLord Jim Knight, Former Schools Minister, United Kingdom
    Jim Knight was the longest serving Schools minister in the UK government led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown; he also served as Rural Affairs minister and Employment minister. He attended weekly Cabinet in the year running up to the 2010 General Election, and was made a Lord by the Queen after that election. Jim's main policy interests are education, employment, skills and digital technology.


    imagePamela Livingston, Senior Product Manager, Schoolwires
    Pamela Livingston is Senior Product Manager at Schoolwires and previously led technology at K-12 schools. The author of ISTE's book "1-to-1 Learning : Laptop Programs That Work"


    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register, for the webcast
    The website lists the time in US Pacific Daylight time as 5PM on 7 November, which is on the 8th November for Australia. At noon for those in NSW & Victoria; 10AM in Queensland; 10:30AM in South Australia and 9AM in Western Australia

  • Education

    Have you signed up for the Brisbane Education Partner Summit this Friday?


    Our last Education Partner Summit is in Brisbane this Friday, 1st November, and there are still places available for partners to attend. We’re meeting with Microsoft Education Partners including the Microsoft Authorised Education Resellers, to provide an in-depth training programme to help our partners develop their education IT business.

    We’ve structured the day to allow you to attend just the morning or afternoon session, depending on your particular interests.

    The agenda for the day in Brisbane is:

    Time Session Overview


    Microsoft in Education overview

    An introductory overview of Microsoft’s Education business, our strategy, the current market trends across the education sector, and a review of key opportunities for Microsoft partners selling into the education market.


    The local education market

    An opportunity to hear from your local education-focused Account Managers responsible for the Microsoft relationship with schools, TAFEs and higher education institutions. You’ll get our view of the strategic challenges and opportunities, as well as the state of local school and TAFE devolved decision making. We’ll also describe the Microsoft licensing agreement coverage, so that you know what pre-existing Microsoft licensing agreements you can leverage on, and where there are opportunities to help customers’ save money or introduce new efficiencies.


    Office 365 for Education

    Office 365 for Education is Microsoft’s key cloud service for students and staff that enhances collaborative learning and communication. With pricing starting from ‘free’ (or complimentary, as the lawyers call it), and continuing up through a range of services up to full voice capability to replace PBXs, the software and services opportunity for partners is huge. In this session we’ll explore the product proposition, licensing, and partner services opportunities.


    Morning Tea



    Windows in the Classroom

    An opportunity to get an experience of a Windows in the Classroom session – which is a 2 hour hands-on seminar program normally delivered to school leaders and education decision makers. A Windows in the Classroom hands-on session positions Microsoft in the context of learning and classroom practice, and is delivered by professional educators on behalf of Microsoft. The sessions demonstrate the value of the Windows platform in concert with Office applications, Lync, Learning Suite, and the many other tools that enhance learning in the classroom for teachers and enable students to build 21st skills.

    We’ll conclude this session by breaking down the resources used during the session to consider how they will help you to sell devices, software and services to your school customers, and how you can engage Microsoft’s team to support your sales opportunities.





    Education Apps on Windows 8

    The ‘apps’ market offers new opportunities for our education partners, as well as new ways of working for education institutions. This session will look at key Windows 8 education apps, and consider what it takes to make a great education app. And then hear from a local app developer about their story.


    Education Solutions strategy

    In the last session of the day, we’ll look at the market for complex education solutions focused on the business needs of education institutions. These conversations about solutions often don’t involve the IT department until the very last stage, as they are addressing business challenges such as raising standards of achievement through learning analytics, or developing more effective student recruitment and lifecycle management.

    We’ll share our insights on the growing solutions marketplace for high-level, business-centric solutions, and offer strategies for business development in these areas.

    You can register here - We’re at the Sofitel, from 9AM to 3:30PM on Friday 1st November.

  • Education

    How to build a buzz about Office 365 for your users


    You know what it’s like – you spend a long time managing a technology implementation project, and then at the last minute you get feedback that users aren’t ready for it. You hear things like “We didn’t know it was coming”, or “We don’t want to change anything because what we’ve got works for us now”. This can happen in any kind of organisation, not just education institutions, but sometimes it’s worse in education because there are some groups of users at the leading edge of change whilst you have others who absolutely refuse to adopt any change*.

    Although I can’t solve the whole problem for you, I can offer you a resource pack which will help you to manage the introduction of Office 365, and new Office applications.

    Office 365 Change Management Guide

    Office 365 Change Management Guide and resource pack

    Users are the key to realising the full potential of your investment in most IT projects, including in Office 365. To drive user adoption to its highest potential, you can use our proven change management strategy to clearly articulate the benefits of Office 365, build a community among your users, and provide the right help and support at the right times.

    In this download package, you'll find the Change Management Guide, which describes a proven, four-phase process that organisations have used to drive up new technology adoption and maximise their return on investment. A comprehensive set of samples and templates let you build a customised set of project planning documents and user awareness materials based on your specific needs.

    The download package includes:

    • Change Management guidance
    • Project planning workbook
    • Email samples
    • Policies and best practices templates
    • Presentations for introducing Office 365
    • Posters and other print communications
    • Help desk and support resources
    • End-user surveys
    • Videos

    Learn MoreGet the Office 365 Change Management Guide and resources pack

      I’ll leave you to decide which groups of users I’m thinking of!

    • Education

      What software is included in Office 365 ProPlus as part of Student Advantage


      Last week I wrote about the announcement of Student Advantage, which allows you to provide Office Pro Plus at no additional cost to all of your students, as long as all your staff are licensed for Office appropriately.

      I’ve been asked what’s included in the Office Pro Plus licence, and what devices can students use it on. And so I thought a handy table would be useful, summarising what Office apps are available for which devices, because even if you’re using Windows laptops as a standard device, it’s likely students will have their own device or smartphone that they will also be able to install Office on. The Student Advantage subscription allows students to run Office on up to 5 machines (PC or Mac) and also on up to 5 mobile devices (Android, iPhone etc).

      The products included are Office 365 ProPlus for PC, Office 365 ProPlus for Mac, Office Mobile for iPhone and Office Mobile for Android.  And, yes, this is full Office on the PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android platform and all are available for offline use. And remember these can be installed on institution-owned, student-owned or family-owned devices.

      Which Office applications are available in Student Advantage?

      The table below is my summary of what’s available for which device under Student Advantage (or are already available pre-installed on your phone, or free in the relevant app store).






      Windows Phone








      Office Web







      Office Web







      Office Web
























      For the iPad, in addition to Lync and OneNote apps, we recommend using Office Web Apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

      For information on what’s in each app on which device, then here are the links:

      Learn MoreLearn more about Student Advantage

    • Education

      Find out what's new for education customers in Dynamics CRM 2013



      There are now many education customers in Australia using the Dynamics CRM system for a whole range of different scenarios - student recruitment, alumni management, donation management, student retention, case management, event management, even OH&S processes. So the launch events for Dynamics CRM 2013 will be of interest to them as much as to institutions evaluating their strategy for the future.

      We’re heading out to four state capitals over the next 3 weeks, and in each you’ll have a chance to how Dynamics has evolved to deliver more amazing experiences every time.


      imageHappy citizens, students and patients, and healthy communities go hand-in-hand. Learn how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 redefines the way people connect to get work done and enables you to deliver better customer service.

      Government: First time resolution with one view of the citizen to improve the experience of government services with grants management and case management. Enjoy a centralised and consistent view of the citizen at any one time.

      Transforming education for the future: Deliver better education via a single view of the student. Connect schools, TAFEs and higher education institutions.

      Health and Social Services: Increase access to health specialists for people in remote, rural and outer metropolitan Queensland and improve service with one view of a patient’s history.


      The events are designed to help you understand the new features, capabilities and strategic direction for Dynamics CRM, and without having to spend all day out of the office.

      Sydney 7 November - 1.00pm to 3.00pm - Click here to register

      Melbourne 7 November - 1.00pm to 3.00pm - Click here to register

      Brisbane 12 November - 9.00 am to 11.00am - Click here to register

      Perth 13 November - 1.00pm to 3.00pm - Click here to register

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