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

  • Education

    Perth and Melbourne Education Partner Training - places still available for December

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    Invitation to Microsoft Education Authorised Education Resellers

    This event is for Microsoft Partner Network members and Microsoft Authorised Education Resellers

    We’ve had consistent feedback from our partners that our education-focused training for you has been hitting the mark, and you’d like to ensure that it reaches all of the people in your teams, as well as keeping you completely up-to-date with changes in the market and our education portfolio and strategies. This month we've been running interactive workshops in Sydney and Brisbane, and the final two are just around the corner in the next two weeks. We’re heading to Perth on 4th December, and Melbourne on the 11th, alongside the Office 365 Ignite summits.

    The format that we've been using is a roundtable discussion, and with the help of slides, whiteboards and customer stories, have been able to cover each attendees individual agenda.

     

    Growing your reach in a changing marketplace.

    Education is in the midst of historic transformation and the rise of technology in the classroom is creating tremendous opportunity for our partners. Just about every government and school system in the world is considering digital access programs and, starting in 2015, new global standards will assess how well schools are helping students develop 21st Century Learning Skills, including critical thinking, technical aptitude and collaboration, driving education institutions globally to look for solutions that will help them effectively integrate technology.

    Microsoft and its partners are uniquely positioned to enable this transformation by providing creative and robust solutions across enterprise management, security, support services, and learning solutions. In this training, focused primarily on sales readiness, participants will deep dive into the Education opportunity, learn the Microsoft vision, as well as how partners can grow their business by selling and deploying solutions across Windows, Office, and Azure to accelerate common education scenarios.

    A single day covering cloud solutions for education built on Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.

    Keynote

    The day will start with an overview of the global and Australian education marketplace, and how you can respond to the hot topics that are currently top of mind for education decision makers within the schools, TAFE and universities market.

    Morning

    During the morning, we will take a deep dive into Office 365 Education, and how you can help customers tap the communication, authoring and collaboration capabilities, as well as exploring the integration opportunities that will help you sell and deploy solutions in the education market.

    Afternoon

    During the afternoon session, we will review customer-specific scenarios, to help you to quickly identify appropriate solutions for different segments of the education market, and meet the customers’ requirements. This will include a look at third-party solutions for specific scenarios. The afternoon will close with a look at how the Microsoft Azure cloud helps you to deliver customer solutions.

     

    There's still a few places available around the table. Use the links below to sign up:

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    Microsoft Perth – Wednesday 3 December
    Microsoft Melbourne – Thursday 11 December

    This event is for Microsoft Partner Network members and Microsoft Authorised Education Resellers

  • Education

    Open Data in Education–Sydney Open Data Day

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    Two of our partners, Socrata (based in Seattle, they’re an organisation with deep expertise in open data) and Altis (a Sydney-based data  specialist who have completed a huge range of data projects with Australian education organisations) are running the “Sydney Open Data Day” briefing on 6 November, with a special focus on education data.

    Sydney Open Data Day

    The briefing is a fast-paced hour, at 11AM on Thursday 6th November, at Australia Technology Park (in Eveleigh) Sydney. It’s an opportunity to learn about open data initiatives and programs in NSW and the US. During the session, Rustum Abdurahman of the NSW Department of Education & Communities will discuss how Open Data helps to: 

    • Break down data silos by making data available and consumable 
    • Streamline access and understanding of data for citizens and internal stakeholders
    • Publish the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation open data, for use and innovation by the developer community

    Keynote Speakers

    Rustum will be joined by Kate Harrington, Strategic Policy NSW Open Data, & Chris Rieth, former director of Open Data and Open Performance for the State of Maryland. Chris and Kate will be sharing their experiences implementing and managing an open data initiative.

    For an idea of the kind of Australian data that’s published through the Socrata system, take a look at the NSW CESE Datahub (where they publish data such as school lists, school locations, student enrolments, and even a list of school calendar websites) and the City of Melbourne Open Data hub (where there’s data like the locations of public artwork, bins, public transport routes, and even parking sensor data – but unfortunately no education data yet)

    Make a dateHope to see you there: Register for the Sydney Open Data Day on 6th November

  • Education

    Reimagine Sydney - a briefing about change and digital disruption

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    There’ still an opportunity to register to attend the Reimagine event in Sydney on 29 October, at the Royal Hall of Industries from 9AM-12:30PM

    The briefing isn’t just for education customers, and offers a learning opportunity from the experiences of transformation happening in other industries.

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    The briefing will cover the Microsoft vision for platform and productivity – how we will empower people and organisations to do more and achieve more. But technology is only part of the story, because as the impact of technology changes so does the role of IT itself. And the IT people within an organisation become responsible for a digital transformation, and working with others to support the cultural change that technology enables (and requires!).

    This challenge exists with every organisation, whether it’s a big bank, an electricity company, or an education organisation like a school or university. And so we’re seeing new job roles emerging – like Chief Digital Officer and VP of Student Experience. These new roles are often being filled by people with a deep understanding of technology, backed by the skills to effectively manage visionary change.

    At the event, three invited speakers will share their stories of change:

    • Sean Elwick, Head of Information Services at Aurecon, will share his view on the disruption to the role of IT, and how he personally lobbies for digital change within his organisation.
    • Anthony Stevens, Director of IT Operations from KPMG, will share how their business has empowered its people to be more mobile, more responsive and more productive in order to create great experiences for their customers.
    • Belinda Thompson, BDO’s Chief Information Officer, will share how the company is using the cloud to support its people and better connect with its customers – and what it all means for her team’s relationship with the business.

    To find out more and register for either of the Reimagine events, then use the links below:

    Make a date

    Register for Reimagine in Sydney on 29 October

  • Education

    PhotoMath: Should you ban Windows Phone in the Maths classroom?

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    Remember when calculators were banned in the classroom, because it made calculation too easy? Well, in the same spirit there’s going to be a maths teacher somewhere that will decide to ban their students from having a Windows Phone in their maths classroom. And all because of PhotoMath and how it makes it too easy to solve mathematical expressions.

    It’s really simple to use….

    Point your phone at a maths equation:

    Photomath (1)

    PhotoMath shows you the solution:

     

    Photomath (2)

    ..and the steps to solve it:

    PhotoMath (3)

    OneNote and stylus to the rescue for creating complex equations!

    Thanks to OneNote, I’ve also found it can solve complex equations…

    First, I hand wrote the complex equation that I wanted straight into OneNote (with my Surface Pro 3 stylus)…

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    …then I used the OneNote “Ink to Math” function:

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    ..and OneNote inserted it into my document as text:

    image

    …which I then (maybe bizarrely) scanned and solved with PhotoMath

    Apparently, X = 5 over 2, with 11 steps to a solution:

    PhotoMath (4)

    There are three thoughts running through my head now:

    1. I’m actually going to be able to help my daughter with her HSC maths homework (but I’m never going to reveal how!)
    2. We’re hitting Arthur C Clarke’s Third Law:  “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
    3. If you’re a maths teacher and your students discover the app, what are you going to give them to do as homework? Maybe you’ll ask them to create mathematical expressions that they can solve, but PhotoMath can’t?

    Learn MoreLearn more about PhotoMath or just download it straight to your Windows Phone here

    Footnote: The microblink team behind PhotoMath have also released an SDK for Maths Equation Solving, so I can imagine we might see this functionality being built into other apps too!

  • Education

    How OneNote helps students with assignment, notes and getting organised

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    Yesterday I shared a video (How OneNote makes a classroom difference) from Carey Academy in North Carolina, who shared how they were using OneNote to support new ways of teaching and learning. Today, I’m going to share the next part of the story, which is their students’ perspective on how they use OneNote to support their learning through things like note-taking and helping organise assignments.

    The thing I noticed in this is the way that the students talk about how it helps them to take control of their own learning – like the student who talks about handing in their homework assignments:

      imageYou can just do your homework. You don’t even have to turn it in. They [teachers] can just look at it at 8 o’clock in the morning when it’s supposed to be due.  

    And the other student who’s taking advantage of the fact that OneNote syncs your notes and content across all the different versions, as it runs on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android phones (and even watches):

      imageI have OneNote on my personal computer, my school computer, my tablet and my phone.  

    Here’s the full video:

  • Education

    How OneNote makes a classroom difference

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    I spent some of this weekend with the Microsoft Expert Educators from Australia and New Zealand, as they gathered together to discuss the future of teaching and learning (to see some of the things they talked about, take a look at their #mseduweekend conversation on Twitter). One of the tools they kept coming back to was OneNote – as a note taking tool, as a learning tool and as a presentation tool.

    There’s a bunch of developments happening with OneNote at the moment, and before I write about those, I thought it would be helpful to share a couple of videos on OneNote, and how schools are using it. The video below is less than 2 minutes, and provides a good introduction to the ways that OneNote can support new ways of teaching and learning.

    Learn MoreGo to the OneNote for Teachers website for useful resources for teachers

  • Education

    Research says the pen is mightier than the keyboard – and other useful education research nuggets

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    Like to talk about pedagogy and 'research driven education', but don’t want to read all those long academic research papers?

    Well, here's some really important academic research, but in TL;DR format:

    First, the reason that my colleagues and I often talk about pen input on Windows tablets:

     

    Students who used laptops to take notes learned less than students who used paper due to a more mindless and word-for-word style of note-taking.

    Note that this isn’t about laptops versus paper – it’s about the fact that students taking notes with a keyboard learn less than those who use a pen (like I do with OneNote and the stylus on my Surface Pro 3)
     

    Source: Psychological Science Journal

    Secondly, evidence that simply encouraging 1:1 or BYOD computers can actually lower student achievement:

      Students who multitasked on a laptop during a lecture scored lower on a test compared to those who did not multitask, and students who were in direct view of a multitasking peer scored lower on a test compared to those who were not.  

    Source: Computers and Education magazine

    And finally, support for the view that stand-and-deliver lectures should end:

      Undergraduate students in classes with traditional lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, active learning methods.  

    Source: Science Magazine

     

    By Theonlysilentbob (Own work), via Wikimedia CommonsWhat does that make you think about what you normally see when you’re at the front of a lecture hall or classroom that’s full of students?



    Learn More

    For more of this kind of research, take a look at:

    the education category on the Useful Science website
  • Education

    How do other education institutions solve their storage problems? Webinar

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    Education customers have vast quantities of data to be stored – and demand for more storage from users is growing all the time. There are three basic choices:

    • Keep adding storage in-house in your own datacentre (even if you’re a smaller school with a little stack of servers, it’ll quickly grow to become a datacentre!)
    • Push all of your data into the cloud (and when each student gets 1TB of data storage on our Office 365 service, that’s an easy decision for some sets of data)
    • Build a hybrid model, with some data in your own datacentre, and some in the cloud

    Although the hybrid model is the most popular (and let’s face it, that’s what most of your users are doing today anyway, whether or not you’ve sanctioned it) it also creates a new set of management problems as you constantly balance your data between the cloud and in-house services. And you need to keep control over your data wherever it is.

    If you would like to hear how others are tackling this problem, then I can recommend the Hybrid Cloud webinar we’re running in a couple of weeks on 22 October. There’s two reasons and four experts involved that will make this is a good investment of your time:

    St Catherine’s School in Sydney will share their journey to finding the right hybrid cloud solution, and talk about how this has changed what’s possible for the school. The two experts taking part from St Catherine’s are Rathika Suresh the Director of ICT and Graeme Wallace the Network and Infrastructure Manager.

    Microsoft experts Lee Hickin a Data Centre Solution Specialist and Ben Di Qual a Technical Solutions Professional, who will take you and your team through the ways a hybrid cloud storage solution reduces total storage costs and improves data protection.

    There will also be the opportunity to ask questions about how the various options would apply to your scenario, and so it’s better than reading a whitepaper or a website!

    The webinar “Rethink your approach to storage” is on 22 October 2014, at 1PM AEST.

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register here

  • Education

    Sway–a unique way to present ideas and information

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    imageYesterday, the Office team introduced a brand new app to the Office portfolio – called Sway, and as the team say on the Sway blog:

      Sway is an entirely different way to express yourself and bring your ideas to life. When your ideas are born, you want to explore, visualize and share them—quickly and easily, wherever you happen to be, and on whatever device you have. You want your ideas to be understood. Sway helps you do just that. It’s a new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas, from your phone or browser. It is easy to share your creation and it looks great on any screen. Your ideas have no borders, edges, page breaks, cells or slides. Your mind is a continuous canvas, and Sway brings this canvas to life. Sway helps you focus on the human part: your ideas and how they relate to each other. Sway takes care of the design work—a Sway is ready to share with the world as soon as it is born.  

    There’s a really good Sway video from the team that shows the vision of what they are creating:

    You can read all of the details on the Sway blog, take a look at some sample, and use the links to sign up for the preview version of Sway.

    imageBut to whet your appetite, let me give you an idea of what’s possible with Sway for a complete novice! I created a Sway this afternoon, using a whitepaper I’ve been working on as a starting point. I’ve had no training, but just got stuck in and had a go at creating one. And I think the result is pretty impressive – even more so when you look at it on different devices, and see how it dynamically changes the layout to work on a big PC screen and a small phone screen! I couldn’t imagine how much effort I would have needed before today to create the same high-quality experience.

    Learn MoreView my Sway on Student Attrition in Australian Universities here

     

    What could you do with Sway? Publishing lesson notes? Getting students to create Sways instead of PowerPoints of their work? Publishing university research in a consumer-friendly format?

  • Education

    Reimagine - a briefing about change and digital disruption

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    Here’s a chance to attend a high level Microsoft briefing called Reimagine, in Melbourne on 9 October and Sydney on 29 October:

    • The Melbourne Reimagine event is at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, from 9AM-12:30PM
    • The Sydney Reimagine event is at the Royal Hall of Industries, from 9AM-12:30PM

    These events aren’t specifically for education customers, however nearly every time I speak at events, I find that education customers are learning from the experiences of transformation happening in other industry sectors, so I’d highly recommend these events as a way to hear stories which can act as signposts for change in your school/TAFE/university!

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    During the briefing, we’ll share the Microsoft vision for platform and productivity – how we will empower people and organisations to do more and achieve more. But technology is only part of the story, because as the impact of technology changes so does the role of IT itself. And the IT people within an organisation become responsible for a digital transformation, and working with others to support the cultural change that technology enables (and requires!).

    This challenge exists with every organisation, whether it’s a big bank, an electricity company, or an education organisation like a school or university. And so we’re seeing new job roles emerging – like Chief Digital Officer and VP of Student Experience. These new roles are often being filled by people with a deep understanding of technology, backed by the skills to effectively manage visionary change.

    At the event, three invited speakers will share their stories of change:

    • Ben Issa, Head of IT Strategy at ING Direct, is one person who is leading change. Having pioneered the Bank in a Box solution, Ben will share his story of delivering a drastically modern innovation platform for banking.
    • Anthony Stevens, Director of IT Operations from KPMG, will share how their business has empowered its people to be more mobile, more responsive and more productive in order to create great experiences for their customers.
    • Belinda Thompson, BDO’s Chief Information Officer, will share how the company is using the cloud to support its people and better connect with its customers – and what it all means for her team’s relationship with the business.
    • In Sydney, Ben’s replaced by Sean Elwick, Head of Information Services at Aurecon, who will share his view on the disruption to the role of IT, and how he personally lobbies for digital change within his organisation.

    To find out more and register for either of the Reimagine events, then use the links below:

    Melbourne Reimagine – 9 October

    Sydney Reimagine – 29 October

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