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

  • Education

    The Consumerisation of IT, and education - presentation slides from Melbourne

    • 0 Comments

    When I was down in Melbourne speaking at a Fujitsu briefing for schools I said that I’d put the slides up onto this blog - and then I forgot. Fortunately, I’d also given out my email address, so I got an email reminding me about my promise….

    I had the opportunity to talk at the issues surrounding the consumerisation of IT - and what it means for schools when you’ve got a broad range of devices arriving on your campus. They they may not all be owned and managed by your IT team, so it potentially turns an already-difficult job into a nearly-impossible one! Although the event was focused on schools, in reality this is impacting every sector of education today.

    Although I haven’t got a recording of the session, you can download the slides here, which will hopefully be useful to people that were there, as well as some of those who weren’t (although, without the words, some slides will make absolutely no sense!)

      Learn MoreDownload the 'Consumerisation of IT - and it's impact on Education' slides

    • Education

      Education ministers back new national standards in four subjects

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      Icons_books_blueThe Education Review website carried the story this week that the state and federal education ministers have agreed a common set of future assessments standards to go with the new Australian curriculum:

       

      State and federal education ministers have endorsed assessment standards for the new Australian curriculum and a framework for national teacher registration.

      They have also got behind a proposal to fund professional development for principals and a national model to identify students with a disability.

      The standards by which students will be assessed are to be streamlined nationally in the new curriculum subjects of maths, science, English and history, school education Minister Peter Garrett says.

      "We already had the content, now we have the validated standards against which students will be assessed," Garrett said after the ministers met in Melbourne last week.

       

      As you think about the future in schools in Australia (either because you’re in one, or because you are a supplier to them), then there’s a clear trend that’s likely to follow this, based on what’s happened in other countries around the world - expect to see increased focus on those subjects where there’s both a national curriculum and agreed national assessment standards.

      In Australia, that means that maths, science, English and history will get an increasing focus as the national curriculum is rolled out, until both the curriculum and assessment standards for other subjects are agreed.

      Learn MoreRead the story "Education ministers back new national standards" in Education Review

    • Education

      The value of data visualisation in education

      • 0 Comments

      By all accounts, we’re already, or soon going to be, drowning in a sea of data. The amount of data being generated every day, hour, minute or millisecond continues to climb exponentially. This is true whether we’re talking about our home lives or professional lives. There is so much data we can barely keep up, and we’re only at the beginning of the data tsunami.

      This is an issue for education too, because, as McKinsey identified, in the journey from a ‘good’ education system to a ‘great’ one, there is an assumption that we already have high quality performance data available. But having high quality performance data isn’t just about the volume or accuracy of the data - it is also about how easily understandable and usable it is. (This is at the heart of the difference between ‘databases’ and ‘business intelligence’ in education. The challenge we face is about producing useful information, not just data.

      Which is why this video is so powerful - and a great way to explain to colleagues that simply collecting data, and putting it into spreadsheets and reports, is only part of the challenge of making it ‘high quality’ data.

       

      The Value of Data Visualization from Column Five on Vimeo.

    • Education

      The debate between employers and the education system

      • 0 Comments

      I’ve been in Australia for 9 months today, and one of the things that I’ve noticed is that the Australia media only focuses on a few issues in relation to schools - and a lot of it is about political, rather than learning-centric, issues. So I was heartened to open the Sydney Morning Herald today to see a story about education that isn’t focusing on the narrow debate about funding (don’t get me wrong, school funding is important, but it seems to have dominated the reporting on education for the last six months, at the expense of media coverage about learning-related topics). The story, on page five, was headlined ‘Employers want HSC geared to workforce’, and reported on a review to be published by the NSW Business Chamber. (Although this story had a a specific New South Wales focus, the same pattern will exist in every state, and I know it exists in many countries - it seems that every year the Institute of Directors in England produces a similar report).

      Icons_teacherStudent_blueAs it’s a report in the News section, it focuses on a complaint-response structure - in this case, employers calling for more core subjects for the HSC, better quality vocational courses and minimum standards for literacy and numeracy, with the NSW Board of Studies responding that literacy and numeracy is high up their agenda. It also went on to say that the chamber believes that 9 out of 10 vocational courses won’t lead to a qualification ‘adequate for a 21st century labour market’.

      Whatever else this may imply, there’s a couple of significant points in here for the suppliers of ICT services for schools in NSW:

      • The literacy and numeracy skills of students are high up the agenda for key stakeholders
      • We should expect continuing change in the configuration, breadth and diversity of courses
        This will be a major challenge, when considered alongside the data that half of NSW teachers are due to retire by 2016 - with a similar statistic in other states.

      Question: Does what you do contribute to alleviate the problem? If the answer isn’t immediately obvious, is it important enough to refocus?

    • Education

      This week’s events - webcasts and in-person - 17-21 October 2011

      • 0 Comments

      There are four webcasts to know about this week - one education-specific one (the Tech Tuesday) and three more general technical ones.

      All of the timings for the webcasts are AEST (Australia East Coast time).
      See ** below for more details on how the webcasts work

      This week’s webcasts

      Microsoft Education Partner story - Dimension Data

      Dimension Data were one of three finalists for the Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year Award 2011 for their work in helping schools and universities to deploy Cloud services to their students (through Live@edu and Windows Azure). Read more about their Live@edu case study in South Australia

      Tuesday 18th October 11AM-12PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

      What's New in Manageability for Microsoft SQL

      Microsoft SQL Server "Denali" has many new features and enhancements. With a focus on manageability, this session tours new features including Contained Databases, Distributed Replay Utility, User Defined Roles, SQL Management Studio enhancements, and PowerShell. The session is demo-intensive and provides you clear guidance and strategy in the upcoming release of SQL Server.

      Tuesday 18th October 2-4PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

      Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office 365: How to Set Up a Hybrid Deployment

      Exchange Server 2010 was designed to support hybrid deployments of on-premises and cloud users. Come and learn how rolling out an Exchange 2010 server in your current Exchange environment prepares you for seamless integration with Exchange Online. Whether you are piloting a few users or moving a large part of your workforce to the cloud, we give you the technical details on Exchange-to-cloud integration that you need to be successful.

      Tuesday 18th October 2-4PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

      Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012: Overview

      The public beta is here – so be amongst the first to see what is coming in the next generation of IT monitoring. This session provides you with an overview of the capabilities in Operations Manager 2012 (which will help you to decide whether you want to try out the beta).

      Friday 21st October 2-4PM AEST - Register here for the webinar


      Future webcasts

      Date
      Title
      Register Here

      25 October

      Tech Tuesday - IT Academy in Education
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      25 October

      An IT Pro View of Windows Azure

      Find out more, and register

      28 October

      What Are the Bridges between Private and Public Cloud?

      Find out more, and register

      1 November

      Microsoft Office 365: Deployment Overview

      Find out more, and register

      8 November

      Tech Tuesday -The Microsoft Office Suite in Education
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      8 November

      Upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server Code-Named "Denali": A Comprehensive Look

      Find out more, and register

      11 November

      Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012: What’s in It, and How It Enables the Building of Private Clouds and Federation to the Public Cloud

      Find out more, and register

      15 November

      Tech Tuesday - Learning Management Systems in Education
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      15 November

      Taking Office to the Cloud: Integrating Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows Azure

      Find out more, and register

      22 November

      Tech Tuesday - Microsoft Partner story - nSynergy
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      22 November

      Managing Windows Azure Applications

      Find out more, and register

      22 November

      Integrating Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

      Find out more, and register

      25 November

      Integrating the Microsoft System Center Stack for Process Compliance and Automation

      Find out more, and register

      29 November

      What’s New in Microsoft SQL Server Code-Named “Denali” for SQL Server Integration Services

      Find out more, and register

      6 December

      Microsoft Lync 2010: Audio, Video and Web Conferencing Architecture and Experience

      Find out more, and register

      ** By running them as webcasts, our aim is to allow you to get the latest news, without travel costs, or event fees. And with all of the advantages of being able to watch an online webcast whilst also being able to do other things if necessary.

      All of the free webcasts this week are one hour sessions, and combine presentations and live demonstrations.

      You’ll need to register in advance, and you’ll then receive a Calendar note as well as info on how to join the Live Meeting online. All of the timings given are for Australia East Coast time.

    • Education

      The Microsoft Virtual Academy - a resource and an exemplar?

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      When I wrote about the Australian IT skills shortage (Where are the IT jobs) earlier in the week, I highlighted that research had identified a growing need from employers for applicants with very specific Microsoft skills sets - eg experience in virtualisation and cloud computing, as well as product specific skills. And I’d mentioned the Microsoft IT Academy programme as one route for institutions to help their students get recognised certifications.

      The Microsoft Virtual Academy

      imageA colleague has also reminded me about the Microsoft Virtual Academy, which is an online training centre which uses some of the characteristics of game-based learning to motivate learners. It’s free and open to anybody, not just those students in formal education institutions, and focuses on a range of Microsoft cloud-based technologies. As the site says:

        Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is a fully cloud-based learning experience focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. You can access a variety of training content online and become one of the renowned experts in the IT Pro community around the world. MVA provides its users with a virtual university experience: the student can select a track and study the material and then do the self-assessment. By doing so, they will collect points that will promote them to a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Level. Students on MVA can get access to all the information, statistics and advancements of their training career, allowing them to maintain a long-term relationship with Microsoft. Learning through MVA is free of charge, and you can study the contents at any time and at your own pace.  


      There are currently 310,000 students registered, and they’ve collectively taken 290,000 self-assessments (of which 6,000 were within the last week).

      Topics covered include:

      • Clustering
      • Hyper-V
      • Office 365
      • Private Cloud
      • Public Cloud
      • Security
      • SQL Azure
      • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
      • Virtualisation
      • Windows Azure

      The whole system runs in the Cloud, as it’s built on Windows Azure. This means that the data can be made public, or kept private, and the system can scale up as the student base grows.

      The MVA league tables

      Game-based learning

      The interesting game-based learning aspects of the MVA site are things like the league tables on the right. All of the courses have specific points allocations (based on level, type of learning activity etc), and as learners progress through courses and assessments, they can accumulate points to move through the bronze/silver/gold/platinum levels. And on their profile they can also see their position in the national and global league tables.

      The assessments are not a replacement for the formal certifications which are required to reach Microsoft certified status (eg MCP or MCSE), but it is an interesting twist to delivering learning activities, and really interesting to see how many individuals voluntary sign up for and complete courses and assessments.

      Who would have guessed that over a quarter of a million students would sign up for a virtual academy?

      What does it mean for the future of Learning Management Systems?

      I’ve been watching the Learning Management System market change over the last couple of years, as we’ve moved away from a monolithic, ‘enterprise’ mindset for learning management. Instead of thinking that the answer lies in a big, central, controlled learning management system, we are starting to see organisations use a mixture of different systems to deliver and assess learning activities - and the MVA is a good example of something built for one specific purpose.

      In the future of learning management systems, I think we’re going to see more of these custom portals, delivering learning on specific subjects, and a greater need to integrate the learning and assessment data across them - rather than having only a single system per institution that can deliver courses. We’re a long way from solving the challenges this fragmentation delivers, but we’re definitely on the journey. If you work in a school or college, how would the courses in the MVA help you to reach your teaching and learning goals? And how would you link it to what goes on in your classroom, and your own assessment and data systems?

      Learn MoreGo to the Microsoft Virtual Academy

    • Education

      Future Works Skills - The challenge for the assessment system

      • 0 Comments

      Future Work Skills 2020 reportThere 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 not a difficult read - they’ve worked hard to boil a lot of different information down into a concise 13 page report.

      They’ve identified six disruptive shifts that will reshape the workforce and 10 key skills needed in the future workforce:

      • Sense-making
      • Social intelligence
      • Novel and adaptive thinking
      • Cross-cultural competency
      • Computational thinking
      • New-media literacy
      • Transdisciplinarity (A completely new word to me!)
      • Design mindset
      • Cognitive load management
      • Virtual collaboration

      It’s worth reading the report to get the idea of what they mean by each of these skills - it made sense to me, and made me think more clearly about my current working environment, and the skills I have to use to succeed in it.

      At the end they point out five big implications for educational institutions, whether they are schools, TAFEs or universities, and also the implications for businesses and government policy makers.

      But there’s one big implication missing in their summary. How do you assess these skills using today’s assessment model? It’s another example of a growing gap between current assessment systems and the needs of the people that consume those assessments (eg higher education institutions and employers).

      Alongside Cisco and Intel, Microsoft are sponsors of a global project, Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills, at the University of Melbourne. This is reviewing assessment of collaborative problem-solving and ICT literacy, but clearly the challenge is much bigger still than even this project, with 250 researchers and 60 universities taking part, can tackle!

      Learn MoreRead the full "Future Work Skills 2020" report

    • Education

      BI Executive Forum 2011 - Sydney Melbourne and Canberra

      • 0 Comments

      BI Executive Forum Banner

      Over the next three weeks, we’re co-hosting three ‘BI Executive Forum' events with Oakton in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. It’s not specifically about Business Intelligence (BI) in Education, which means there will be opportunities to learn about the application of BI in various industries - and see how it applies to business intelligence in education. And possibly the best bit is that you don’t just hear about change from a technology perspective, but get to hear users talking about the business issues and the process changes that can be driven through better use of technology solutions. At the Sydney and Canberra event, this includes a speaker from the NSW Department of Education and Communities.

      As John Brand, Vice President of the CIO Group at Forrester Research, puts it:

        Business intelligence is rapidly moving out of the domain of specialist practitioners and into the hands of ordinary users. But simply providing a platform for self-service reporting is unlikely to deliver the desired results. Organisations must recognise and understand the driving forces behind BI becoming a ubiquitous service. Moreover, organisational performance will increasingly be driven by those that successfully institutionalise the process of business intelligence throughout their organisation.  

      The three BI Executive Forums each have a range of external speakers and an expert panel - including analysts and customers - with hosted interviews and Q&A session. John Brand and Mark Jones, Director of Filter Media, will moderate the panel, comprising senior corporate and government leaders. The panels change at each event, and include NSW Department of Education and Communities, Australian Taxation Office, Airservices Australia, Infigen Energy, Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH), Salta Properties and Reliance Petroleum.

      The interactive Q&A session will offer the opportunity to be part of a thought leadership conversation around how to:

      • Use Business Intelligence and Business Analytics to drive organisational performance: better align resources, save money and drive corporate growth and innovation.
      • Identify bad data and access, analyse and provide the insight needed to monetise data.
      • Extract data and insights from your ERP systems and pre-existing platform investments.

      The event is going to be of most value to senior leaders in universities, TAFEs and state education systems. It’s the kind of event that you’d expect to pay a steep entry fee for if it was run by a commercial conference company, but because of our sponsorship, this series is actually free to attend for executive leaders.

      BI Executive Forum - Agenda

      7:30am - 8:00am

      Registration followed by hot breakfast

      8:00am - 9:00am

      Why Business Intelligence?
      How Collaborative, Managed and Familiar capabilities enable business users today and will evolve in the future.

      John Brand, Vice President of the CIO Group at Forrester Research

      9:00am - 9:20am

      Providing breakthrough insight across your organisation with Business Intelligence
      Or, in Canberra, “Insight and Accountability —the Path to Government Transparency”

      9:20am - 10:00am

      Panel discussion and Q&A: Managing the data deluge to drive a culture of performance
      Mark Jones will conduct keynote interviews before facilitating an interactive Q&A session:

      • Sydney: Infigen Energy and the NSW Department of Education and Communities.
      • Canberra: Australian Taxation Office, Airservices Australia, Infigen Energy and the NSW Department of Education and Communities
      • Melbourne: Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH), Salta Properties and Reliance Petroleum

      BI Executive Forum - venues and dates

      There are three events that you can sign up for:

      Learn MoreMelbourne, 19th October, Microsoft offices in Freshwater Place - Register
      Sydney, 20th October, Hilton Sydney in  George Street - Register
      Canberra, 3rd November, National Portrait Gallery - Register

    • Education

      This week’s events - webcasts and in-person - 10-14 October 2011

      • 0 Comments

      There are two webcasts to know about this week - one education-specific one (the Tech Tuesday) and one general technical one, as well as an opportunity to join us for a meeting in Melbourne for universities and TAFEs, to learn more about the use of Business Intelligence (BU) in Education.

      All of the timings for the webcasts are AEST (Australia East Coast time).
      See ** below for more details on how the webcasts work

      This week’s webcasts

      Microsoft Education Partner story - Polycom

      Polycom are manufacturers of communications devices, including handsets, video conferencing systems and the innovative RoundTable. They are involved in a number of education projects, connecting learners to experts and innovative teachers around the world.  Read more about the role of Polycom in linking 35,000 students across Tasmanian Polytechic

      Tuesday 11th October 11AM-12PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

      Virtualisation: State of the Union

      An opportunity to learn about Microsoft’s end-to-end virtualisation strategy - from the desktop to the datacenter, to the cloud. In this overview session we’ll review how Microsoft virtualisation products/technologies can be used to solve today's core IT issues (reduce TCO, increase application availability, improve business continuity, establish sustainable computing); deploy new computing models (desktop virtualisation); and build a foundation for a more dynamic IT environment (private cloud computing). Product overviews and demos cover Microsoft’s desktop (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, RemoteFX, App-V) and server (Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Dynamic Memory, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager) virtualisation technologies.

      Friday 14th October 2-4PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

      This week’s face-to-face briefing

      Business Intelligence in Finance - for Universities and TAFEs

      A reminder that we’re co-hosting a free ‘Business Intelligence in Universities’ event in Melbourne on the morning of Wednesday 12th October, at our Freshwater Place offices. It will be a focused roundtable event, where you’ll be able to learn from the experiences of other universities, as well as the speakers from Microsoft and CALUMO. The briefing will cover the ways that you can use your existing Microsoft technologies to help you with the challenge of managing complex finance and budgeting processes - to supplement the way that your existing university finance system(s) work.

      Wednesday 12th October - 9-11AM at our Melbourne offices - More info here


      Future webcasts

      Date
      Title
      Register Here

      18 October

      Tech Tuesday - Microsoft Partner Story - Dimension Data
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.
      Find out more, and register

      18 October

      What's New in Manageability for Microsoft SQL Server Code-Named "Denali"

      Find out more, and register

      18 October

      Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office 365: How to Set Up a Hybrid Deployment

      Find out more, and register

      21 October

      Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012: Overview

      Find out more, and register

      25 October

      Tech Tuesday - IT Academy in Education
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      25 October

      An IT Pro View of Windows Azure

      Find out more, and register

      28 October

      What Are the Bridges between Private and Public Cloud?

      Find out more, and register

      1 November

      Microsoft Office 365: Deployment Overview

      Find out more, and register

      8 November

      Tech Tuesday -The Microsoft Office Suite in Education
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      8 November

      Upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server Code-Named "Denali": A Comprehensive Look

      Find out more, and register

      11 November

      Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012: What’s in It, and How It Enables the Building of Private Clouds and Federation to the Public Cloud

      Find out more, and register

      15 November

      Tech Tuesday - Learning Management Systems in Education
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      15 November

      Taking Office to the Cloud: Integrating Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows Azure

      Find out more, and register

      22 November

      Tech Tuesday - Microsoft Partner story - nSynergy
      Tech Tuesday’s are education-specific webinars, hosted by the Australian education team at Microsoft.

      Find out more, and register

      22 November

      Managing Windows Azure Applications

      Find out more, and register

      22 November

      Integrating Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

      Find out more, and register

      25 November

      Integrating the Microsoft System Center Stack for Process Compliance and Automation

      Find out more, and register

      29 November

      What’s New in Microsoft SQL Server Code-Named “Denali” for SQL Server Integration Services

      Find out more, and register

      6 December

      Microsoft Lync 2010: Audio, Video and Web Conferencing Architecture and Experience

      Find out more, and register

      ** By running them as webcasts, our aim is to allow you to get the latest news, without travel costs, or event fees. And with all of the advantages of being able to watch an online webcast whilst also being able to do other things if necessary.

      All of the free webcasts this week are one hour sessions, and combine presentations and live demonstrations.

      You’ll need to register in advance, and you’ll then receive a Calendar note as well as info on how to join the Live Meeting online. All of the timings given are for Australia East Coast time.

    • Education

      Where are the IT jobs?

      • 2 Comments

      I just read an interesting article on the APC magazine website, about the hot skills required in 2012 for IT jobs. If you’re thinking about the skills that students will need as they enter employment, then it’s a great article to share with your students (and if you’re hoping to influence students to choose a computing subject as they make future course choices, it’s a cracking article to share!). According to Peter Noblet at Hayes IT recruitment, and the Clarius Skills Index reports, there’s high demand for IT candidates across the board, with a forecast shortage of IT workers nationwide:

       

      The strongest areas of demand are related to growing use of virtualisation and cloud computing in large enterprises, says Noblet, with many organisations looking to implement Exchange 2010 and moving to a virtual environment that’s creating demand for Exchange, VMware, and storage candidates.

      Microsoft applications like Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Exchange, SharePoint and the Lync unified-messaging platform figure strongly in recruiters’ activities due to the ongoing demand for in-house corporate messaging and collaboration platforms: “organisations are captivated by the perceived benefits and capabilities of SharePoint,” Noblet says.

      The market has, he adds, been equally voracious for lower-level skills like Java and .NET development, as well as higher-level business analyst and project management nous. And cloud computing expertise, particularly because the sector is relatively young, may prove to be exceptionally valuable to employers.

       

      It goes on to quote Michelle Downing at Dimension Data Learning Services, talking about the demand for skills training by employers, with a over half asking for training in Microsoft technical skills, compared to 3% needing VMware and 2% needing Citrix technical skills training. Business related skills needed by clients include ITIL, project management and business analysis.

      If I was in charge of IT courses in an education institution, I think I’d have this whole article projected  on a wall of every IT lab!

      Learn MoreRead the full APC article "Where are the new IT jobs"

       

      NB Can I also put a plug in here for the Microsoft IT Academy programme, where your students can earn professional industry qualifications whilst still at school/TAFE/university, and bump themselves up the pile of job candidates!

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