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

  • Education

    How do I set up Windows on a touch PC?


    The Microsoft IT team are the people responsible for keeping the Microsoft internal IT systems running and providing the users with support - in the same way that IT teams in schools/TAFEs/universities do. (And in the case of some universities, on a similar scale!)

    Work Smart GuidesPart of their role is providing training and user documentation for us - in the form of Work Smart Guides - which we use to get to grips quickly with new technologies available internally. They are simple user guides, on subjects as diverse as our unified communications systems, how to use our internal SharePoint etc. In your first month at Microsoft they are absolutely essential reading, as our working environment is so different from many organisations that new employees come from (for example, the Sydney office has no conventional telephones and nobody has their own fixed desk or office).

    The latest of the Work Smart Guides is “Using Windows 7 Professional on a Slate PC”, and just like many of the others, they have published it for our customers to use as well as part of the Microsoft IT Showcase programme. You can either use it ‘as is’, or for a starting point for your own user documentation. It includes tips on setup, the use and customisation of flicks and gestures in Windows, Internet Explorer and other applications, screen touch optimisation for things like menus and scroll bars, and calibration.

    The “Using Windows 7 Professional on a Touch PC” Work Smart Guide is a free download (PDF)

    Learn MoreYou can download all of the other 23 Work Smart Guides from this link.

    Find other blog posts related to the Microsoft IT Showcase programme

  • Education

    Business Intelligence in education - webinar recording


    I’ve been spending a lot of time recently talking about Business Intelligence in Education - both internally and with external organisations. Some of the work I’ve been sharing has come from colleagues in other countries, and I wanted to share some of the information further. I have two colleagues in the US Education team - Rob Curtin, the Chief Applications Officer, and Keith Ward, a Business Intelligence specialist, who recently ran a webinar on the subject (entitled “K-12 Analytics”) where they covered an introduction, an example of BI use in YES Prep Public Schools, and then gave a demonstration of what is possible using the Microsoft Business Intelligence products.

    Rob’s first slide was a great summary of the issues in Business Intelligence in education, and he explained a common problem he comes across:

      The biggest mistake that I see nationwide is when [business intelligence] is treated as an IT project. And business intelligence is absolutely about the “I” - information - more than it is about the “T” - technology. I would like to stress that, because I see more and more people focusing on the tools and thinking about what it is they are going to buy…they think somehow that the right tool will solve their problems.  

    He outlines three key points to successful BI

    • Fund the project - shift the resources into the project delivery and execution, not the product acquisition, because you probably already have the tools.
    • Focus on content - because you probably already own the tools, you can focus on the outcome, which might be adoption or culture creation, or building student insight, teacher improvement, or improving public accountability
    • Measure success by adoption - if you’re looking for a culture of data-driven decision making, then you need to measure the broad uptake of what you’re creating, because that’s a measure of the culture you are creating.

    If you have an interest in the use of business intelligence in education, whether it’s for improving student performance through effective learning analysis in an individual school, or looking at data analysis across a school system, then I’d recommend finding some time to watch the recording of the webinar.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Learn MoreFind other related blog posts about "BI in Education"

  • Education

    The Microsoft Australian Partner Roadshow is coming to Melbourne and Sydney next month



    We’ve just announced the dates for our ‘Big Picture Experience’ for Microsoft Partners, in Melbourne on 22nd November, and Sydney on the 30th November. These are free events, only available to registered Microsoft Partners, where there will be a chance to catch up on the latest Microsoft news and developments, and see how our products and services can complement each other to help you to deliver solutions for your customers.

    Compared to the Australian Partner Conference, which is a more conventional ‘conference’, we’ll be providing a much more flexible and interactive day, and by getting on the road, hopefully more of your team will get a chance to come along. The other thing to know about the event is that you don’t need to commit the whole day - you can drop in for a few hours at some point in the day, and stay as long as we can keep you entertained and informed!

    As the invite says:

      This event is not a talkfest. You won’t be sitting in a conference hall, trying to stay awake. Instead, you’ll explore real life scenarios that will show you the tangible impact of Microsoft technology advances.  

    The scenarios are:

    • Insights 24/7 - how to make decisions smarter and in real-time
    • The Future of Productivity - using a ‘day in the life’ scenario
    • Ultimate customer experiences - looking at the tools that will help marketers, sales and other customer-facing staff
    • Mission control - integrating private and public cloud, and learning how to adapt, adopt and deploy new cross platform services as never before.
    • The Modern Home - Explore the unlimited worlds of entertainment, gaming, connection, and learning that are possible when technology brings it home.
    • A World of Devices - @home, @work or @play, cool devices make our time so much richer - see, touch and play with the latest phones, PC’s and slates to your heart’s content


    If you’re not an education partner, then wait a day - I’ve got details on the customer roadshow coming tomorrow too….

  • Education

    Do you need a new job title in ‘the Cloud’?


    Amidst all the noise and fervour associated with the Cloud in education one question I have not, till now, seen properly addressed is what does the Cloud mean for the skills and responsibilities of IT professionals?  The team over at Microsoft Learning have just addressed this with a white paper Cloud Computing: What IT Professionals Need to Know. It provides useful insight into the whole issue of cloud-skilling an IT department and guess what – it is more complex and rewarding than simply changing job titles from systems administrator to cloud administrator (but the job title change is a good start).

    Slide: Cloud Role Evolution

    If you’re responsible for an IT team in a school, TAFE or university, one of the issues that you’ll need to consider going forward is how moving to cloud computing will impact on your team’s roles and responsibilities - and what new skills they may need to develop to succeed. IT managers and CIOs who want to deliver more value from their IT investments are going to have to be in the front line of cloud skills education — both for themselves and to build training capacity for their IT staff.

    This paper explores the advantages of moving to the cloud and outlines the skill sets IT professionals are likely to need to acquire. It identifies the roles - eg Cloud Service Manager or Cloud Developer - and also the skills development needs across critical IT job roles, including business liaison, datacentre managers, security specialists and software architects.

    Learn More

    Download your own copy of the white paper - Cloud Computing: What IT Professionals Need to Know


    There’s more information on the Microsoft Learning Cloud Services curriculum and certification here

  • Education

    Why social media matters in student recruitment - CRM in education


    We’ve just updated our Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to include a range of new capabilities focusing on social features - engaging with social communities, which can be both internal and external - as part of sales, marketing and customer service delivery. For CRM in education, this brings a much-needed set of capabilities for universities and TAFEs in Australia, where the role of social media, and engagement with the social communities, is becoming increasingly critical to key business drivers - whether that’s managing your institution’s overall brand, or engaging with prospective local and international students for recruitment purposes.

    Although some (marketing) people initially wrote off social media as a ‘fad’, there is now no doubt that it is driving student behaviours, and having a significant impact upon choices that they make. In the ‘Building Your Business’ video below, there’s one slide that explains why. It’s about trust. 90% of people trust their peers to make recommendations on things they are going to buy (and in today’s tertiary education marketplace, education is something students ‘buy’).

    Text: 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations for purchasing decisions; only 14% trust adverts; 70% trust other consumer opinions

    So here’s a question for the marketing people in tertiary education: If 9 out of 10 trust their peers, and only 1 out of 6 trust your adverts, do you monitor, manage and support the social communities that result in those recommendations? And do you do it with 6x as much focus and time as you do with your adverts?

    Hopefully, the background explains why we’ve put so much new focus into the social aspects of our Dynamics CRM system - because you need a tool for CRM in education that covers your conventional marketing (adverts, events, student enquiries) as well as the amorphous mass of social communities (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). It’s because there’s a bunch of opportunities (or potential lost opportunities) that come from effective student recruitment through social communities (after all, your existing ‘customers’ are the generation that uses social media more than anybody, and will have a massive amplification impact on your prospective students).

    Slide text: Business Opportunities with Social Technologies - Listen, engage, amplify, solve, innovate, analyse

    The trick with what we’ve done with Dynamics CRM is to integrate social tools into the existing tools your staff are using - whether that means surfacing LinkedIn profiles of your contacts into your email inbox, or your social communities through your CRM system. The key has been to integrate into the systems your users may already be using - Office, Outlook, Lync and SharePoint. In the first wave of updates to CRM, just released, our focus is on your internal communities - activity feeds to help people to collaborate internally, internal status and micro-blog updates, connections between people and activities.

    There’s a detailed presentation below, from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM YouTube channel, which explains the background to the changes (and includes the two slides I’ve used above), as well as demonstrating what’s now possible - including a demonstration of the app for the Windows Phone. Although it’s longer than the average YouTube video, it’s has a mass of useful context and detailed demonstrations. 33 minutes into the video, the Dynamics team share their future plans - on wider device support, ability to convert social status updates into user actions in your system and other areas.

    Learn More iconThere’s a broad range of Microsoft Dynamics partners in Australia - and three I’d explicitly mention because of their previous projects with tertiary CRM education customers in Australia:

    Need contact details for any of them? Drop me an email, using the ‘email me’ link at the top of the page

  • Education

    The Education Sessions at Australia Partner Conference - Part Eight


    This is part eight of a series, covering the Education sessions at the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference.
    Start at part one (The Microsoft Australia Education Team) here...

    How Microsoft Academic licensing helps Microsoft partners

    How Microsoft Academic licensing helps you sell

    One of the questions that new partners often ask is “How does your licensing work in education?”. When they sell software solutions to education customers, they often rely on (or include) some Microsoft software components. For example, if a partner is selling a business intelligence solution for education that uses the capability of Windows SQL Server 2008, they will need to work out whether an education customer already has the server licence, or needs to buy a new one.

    So to help, during our Australia Partner Conference session, we gave a quick overview of how education customers in Australia license their software - and which software. It’s general guidance only, rather than specific for an individual customer - so treat it as an introduction!

    What Microsoft licensing is common for public education institutions?

    For public schools, TAFEs and state-funded universities in Australia, it is common for most customers to have a subscription agreement for their Microsoft software. Normally this is negotiated at state or national level (to get the best pricing) and covers all of the organisations below the main body. The common licensing agreements are:

    • Public Schools: Normally covered by a School Agreement or an Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES) agreement, that covers all of their computers.
    • TAFEs: Are normally covered on the same basis as schools
    • Universities: They’ll normally have an individual agreement, called a Campus Agreement or an Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES) agreement, that covers all of their computers.

    With these agreements, it normally means that the customers has licences for the Microsoft Education Desktop - which includes the latest Enterprise versions of Windows, Office and one of two Client Access Licences (CAL) suites:

    • Microsoft Core CAL - The Core CAL pack includes Windows Server Standard CAL, Exchange Server Standard CAL, SharePoint Server Standard CAL, Lync Standard CAL, Forefront EndPoint Protection Suite CAL and System Center Configuration Manager CAL.
    • Microsoft Enterprise CAL - Includes all Core CAL Suite components plus Active Directory Rights Management Services CAL, Exchange Server Enterprise CAL, SharePoint Server Enterprise CAL, Lync Enterprise CAL, System Center Client Management Suite CAL, and Forefront Unified Access Gateway CAL

    In addition, most customers also license their servers through their annual subscription agreement, using an option called ‘Enrollment for Application Platform’ (or EAP). This gives them server licensing for the products they choose.

    Which means that…

    So all of this means that you can assume your customer has licences for Windows 7, Office 2010 and also access to SharePoint, SQL server and Lync for IM and collaboration etc. And if they use the EAP option, they’ll also have the licences they need for Windows/SQL servers - although you will still need to check they have the right version licensed (for example, if they are using their SQL Server for Business Intelligence they will need the Enterprise version of the licence - see my overview about other reasons you need SQL Enterprise versions).

    What Microsoft licensing is common for private schools?

    For private schools in Australia, it’s also common for schools to have a subscription agreement:

    • Many Catholic schools will switch this year into a new national Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES) framework agreement. It simplifies licensing for the schools, because all they have to do is count their FTE staff, and they are then licensed for all of the computers they own (except for those that are given to a single student under a 1:1 scheme, which are licensed separately). And being a subscription, they always have the licences to the latest versions. There are still some buying their software under a Select licence, but this will reduce over time as they realise the immediate and long-term cost advantages of the EES scheme.
    • Independent schools may be on any kind of licence agreement - Select, Open, School Agreement and EES. Often it may be because they’ve not heard about how EES works, so it will be worth discussing it with them (as they would be likely to save money by using it).

    Which means that…

    Where a customer has an EES or School Agreement, you’ll find the customer will be licensed for the Microsoft Education Desktop - which includes Windows 7 Enterprise, Office 2010 Professional Plus, and one of two Client Access Licence (CAL) suites (see above). 

    If the customer buys their software through a Select or Open agreement, then they are less likely to have the licences for the latest versions across their whole school, and you’ll need to check more closely what they already have.

    How does this help partners?

    With many Microsoft customers in the commercial market, our partners will have to get involved in a deep discussion about the licences needed for a particular business solution to be implemented. But the situation tends to be much easier in education. Subscription customers are automatically licensed through their subscription for the latest version of key software, and many will have licensing for servers already sorted. As a partner, it means your discussion can focus on your own software and services, rather than their Microsoft licences. And where they do need additional licences, they will often procure those separately through their existing Microsoft Academic licensing agreement.

    You can find out more about our licensing for schools, TAFEs and universities on the Australian Microsoft Education website

    Learn MorePart Nine - Key successes of the last year, and next year

  • Education

    This week’s webcasts for education customers and partners 31 Oct - 4 November 2011


    There are two webcasts to know about this week - one education-specific one (the Tech Tuesday) and one general one for technical teams.

    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

    Tech Tuesday - IT Academy in Education

    The Microsoft IT Academy is a programme that provides students with future-ready technology skills they need to be successful in careers. Read more about the IT Academy programme

    Tuesday 1st November 11AM-12PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

    Microsoft Office 365: Deployment Overview

    This session provides guidance for individuals responsible for coordinating and performing customer deployment and migration activities related to migrating customers from their current environment to Office 365 for enterprises. This session guides attendees through three key deployment project phases: Plan, Prepare, and Migrate, focusing on the tasks handled by partners and customers, and providing a high-level review of tasks handled internally by Microsoft services teams. This session does not cover processes that occur prior to deployment (Sales and Initial Assessment) and post-deployment (Operations).
    Note: This session is relevant for education customers, although the session covers generic Office 365, not specifically Office 365 for Education

    Tuesday 1st November 2-4PM AEST - Register here for the webinar

    Future webcasts

    Register Here

    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/two 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

    What skills do your students need to work in the world’s greatest workplaces?


    Hopefully it’s the same for you, but I rarely get that ‘Monday Morning’ downer. Of course, weekends are rarely long enough, but I can live with that. Maybe part of the reason for that is highlighted by the latest Great Place To Work survey, which highlights the 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces 2011. Out of 350 multinationals, Microsoft was ranked as the number one best place to work worldwide.

    imageBut what I wanted to highlight was a different point - as I looked down the list, it struck me that half of the top great places to work around the world are ICT companies. And that includes the top 4 (Microsoft, SAS, NetApp and Google). The remaining half are a diverse mix of transport, manufacturing and services companies.

    It’s a great justification to remind your students that they should continue to study STEM subjects.

    Want to land a job after you leave school? Get a good education.

    Want to land a job in the world’s greatest work places? Get a good education and get a technology qualification/skills.

  • Education

    The Kinect Effect - it’s only just starting in education


    It’s amazing to think that Kinect is only a year old. It’s set the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer device. And while it started its life as a device for games, it’s now being used by surgeons, teachers, musicians, data analysts for ideas the Kinect’s inventors hadn’t imagined.

    And here’s a one minute video summary of some of the things that it’s being used for. It’s the kind of advert you don’t see on TV. Perhaps it might inspire the next wave of innovation?

    (Can’t see the video - it’s on YouTube here)

    There’s a gallery of Kinect projects over on the Microsoft PressPass site, with a dozen other examples.

    Learn More

    If you want some more inspiring ideas of how Kinect can be used in education, then take a look at the (very) unofficial Kinect in Education site:

  • Education

    Did you know that there’s an international ICT competency framework for teachers?


    UNESCO have captured a great understatement with their introduction to the new framework for ICT in education:

      Two decades after the first mainstream rollout of computers in schools we have learned many significant lessons about ICT in Education and their potential transforming impact on national education systems. Yet, countries around the world face urgent challenges in harnessing the power of ICT in the classroom and beyond.  

    UNESCO have just updated their ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, which is an international model for use by education systems around the world to support teachers’ use of ICT in teaching and learning. It aims to help countries to develop comprehensive national teacher ICT competency policies and standards, and they position it as an overall component of national education strategy.

    I also think it’s a valuable framework for individual schools, or school systems, thinking about the development needs of existing teachers. It can be used as a self-diagnosis tool by individual teachers, or as a professional development framework for a curriculum department or whole school.

    What the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers contains

    Front cover of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers from UNESCOThe framework addresses:

    • Understanding ICT in education - policy awareness, understanding and innovation
    • Curriculum and Assessment - basic knowledge, how to apply it, and skills for a knowledge society
    • Pedagogy - integrating pedagogy, complex problem solving and self management
    • ICT - the tools
    • Organisation and Administration - from the standard classroom, to collaborative groups, to complex learning organisations
    • Teacher Professional Learning - from digital literacy, to the teacher as a model learner



    UNESCO’s framework emphasises that it is not enough for teachers to have ICT competencies to be able to teach them to their students. Teachers need to be able to help students become collaborative, problem solving creative learners through using ICT so they will be effective global citizens.

    The current version of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers is a 2011 update of the original version published in 2008, and is the result of the successful continued partnership between UNESCO and CISCO, INTEL, ISTE and Microsoft.


    Sometimes these types of documents can be quite theoretical and dry, but a lot of work appears to have been put into this to make it accessible to readers - for example, there are three tables which clearly illustrate the three levels of competency discussed, with examples from a teacher’s everyday life (on pages 10, 12 and 14). On their own, they’d make a great discussion resource for a professional development day or training course.

    Common mistakes when developing teacher competency with ICT

    In many sections, the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers also lists a set of common mistakes. For example, when exploring the use ICT to enhance teacher productivity, it lists three common mistakes as:

    • Trying to use all the available tools
    • Using ICT for a critical task when beginning to learn how to use ICT
    • Not persevering despite initial mistakes

    Download the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers

    Learn MoreDownload the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (PDF)

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