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June, 2012 - Education - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The Australian Education Blog
Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

June, 2012

  • Education

    Microsoft Surface


    Just in case you missed it, something happened in LA yesterday:

    Microsoft Surface

    Learn MoreVisit the Microsoft Surface website

  • Education

    Office 365 partner training


    Office 365 logoMicrosoft partners in Australia have access to a wide range of training and development programmes. Most of our product training for different roles (eg sales teams, deployment specialists etc) is available online, so that you can complete the training when and wherever you want.

    Here’s some of the ones that I’d highlight as critical for our Education partners:

    As an example of what the courses contain, here’s a look at the Office 365 Learning Path, which contains an Introduction, and then two different paths for selling and implementing Office 365:

    Office 365 Partner Learning Path

    If you’re in a Microsoft Education partner, then this training will give you key information to help you in providing the right guidance and support for your customers before, during and after their decision making. It is for Office 365 generally, rather than being specific to Office 365 for Education, which is due for launch soon (and there will be more specific training for that too, which I’ll post here)

    You will need to login to the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) to get access to the courses – using your Windows Live ID. If it’s your first time using the MPN, you’ll also need to associate your ID with your organisation, so that we have the info on which partner you belong to. It’s easy to do, if you start here

  • Education

    BYOD in education–TechNet Jump Start training to help your planning


    BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in education is a recurring topic that is coming up in conversations, and pops up in the media regularly too. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to BYOD in education, as each institution has different needs, policies, attitudes and current position. For some education customers, they are considering whether they’ll allow access to email from staff smartphones, whereas others may have been providing connections for students’ own laptops for years.

    From an IT management point of view, there are many, many moving parts to implementing any kind of BYOD strategy, no matter how simple your plans. If you’re responsible for a BYOD strategy in a school, TAFE or university, then you may find the TechNet Jump Start training useful. The training is actually labelled ‘Consumerisation of IT’, which seems to be the phrase used in the US instead of Bring Your Own Device in education.

    TechNet Jump Start screenshotThere are eight video sessions – all around an hour long – so there’s some real depth covered. If you’ve only got a bit of time available, I’d recommend the Keynote (01) and the Information Protection (06) sessions as particularly useful for education strategy decisions – closely followed by Desktop Virtualisation (08).

    • (01): Keynote—Enabling the Consumerisation of IT
      Bill Anderson and David Tesar kick off the course with the keynote session. After providing a high-level overview of the Consumerisation of IT, Bill provides commentary about BYOD business policy & strategy while David demonstrates several scenarios to setup the rest of the course.
    • (02): End-to-End Security & Access
      Bill Anderson leads the discussion with David Tesar about the all-important subject of providing access to devices using approaches that are secure end-to-end. Topics include DirectAccess, Server and Domain Isolation (SDI) & Network Access Protection (NAP), Updates to System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP).
    • (03): User-Centric Application Delivery
      Bill Anderson and David Tesar cover user-centric application delivery in this module. Discussion and demonstrations focus on Changes in User-Centric from System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 to 2012, how the application delivery model works, Self Service and on-demand install, and Application Virtualization architecture.
    • (04): Mobile Device Management
      Bill Anderson and David Tesar focus on managing mobile devices, obviously a key concern when attempting to enable the consumerization of IT. After providing a great overview of Device Management using System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012, Bill dives into "light versus depth" management, the Light Management EAS Architecture, Depth Management (SCCM & Windows Intune) as well as EAS Policy support and considerations
    • (05): Productive with Office 365
      Andy O'Donald joins David Tesar during this session to illustrate how IT can make users within the organisation more productive using Office 365. After a brief overview of this cloud-based platform, Andy demonstrates features designed for users then transitions to the administrative tools built to empower IT to customize and control the experience using User Profiles. Finally, Andy describes the processes for Service Updates with Office 365.
    • (06): Information Protection
      Josh Heller leads David Tesar through a demo-rich discussion about information protection - a key topic when considering embracing BYOD. After describing Data Management Challenges, Josh uses lots of live demos to walk through Encrypting Information with AD RMS, the new Windows 8 File Server solution and several other protection-related topics.
    • (07): Cloud Security and Management with Windows Intune
      Craig Marl joins David Tesar to illustrate how Windows Intune enables IT departments to secure and manage users, devices and data. After a brief Windows Intune overview, Craig focuses on User centric management, User centric software distribution, and modern device management in Windows Intune.
    • (08): Desktop Virtualisation
      Adam Carter joins David Tesar through the extremely rich topic of Desktop Virtualisation. Adam leverages a scenario-rich approach to illustrate the new Microsoft User Experience Virtualisation (UE-V) then spends some great time on Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) and Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Additionally, Adam discusses Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) and Managing virtualisation with System Center and various User Scenarios.

    Learn MoreGet started with the BYOD Keynote

  • Education

    Registration for Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2012 now open


    APC Header

    Registrations have just opened for the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2012 (APC 2012). And the good news is that the tickets are discounted if you register before 13th July – saving you nearly $200 off the normal fee.

    Even better news, Australian Gold Competency Partners get two free tickets – so quick, grab them before somebody less worthy in your team does Smile

    These are the three key reasons the APC organising team give for attending:

    • See new products in action and learn more about our strategic investment areas for the year ahead
    • Take advantage of networking opportunities on a massive scale with Microsoft leadership, sales and product teams
    • Experience first-hand a showcase of Microsoft products in real-world business scenarios aligned to customer needs

    And, as usual, we’ll be doing a whole load of things to make it even more valuable for education partners, including giving you the chance to book 1:1 sessions with our Account Managers across our team, and get deep insight into the trends and stories across the education market. I’ll publish more details on who’s attending, and how to grab a slot in their diary next month, but for now I’d recommend that you get your APC 2012 place booked and confirmed. Especially if you’re hoping to be jumping up on stage to collect your Education Partner of the Year Award…

    What: Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2012

    Where: Brisbane

    When: 4-6 September 2012

    Learn MoreYou can find out more, and register, here

  • Education

    3 classroom ideas with Photosynth for Windows Phone


    imageA couple of weeks ago we released Photosynth for the Windows Phone. So now you can create 360-degree panoramas straight from your phone, and publish them onto the web. You can either get it from this link (or even easier, just print the Search button on your Windows Phone and point it at this QR Code, and your phone will go to it in the marketplace).

    Photosynth can either create a straightforward panorama (where you stand in one place, and rotate the camera for a single image) or a complex 3D model (where you move around, and take lots of photos from lots of angles). For an idea of the power of Photosynth for creating immersive 3D models, pop over to the Photosynth website and explore.

    And here’s three ideas for how you can use Photosynth in education:

    1. A virtual field trip


    Create a 3D model of a place you want your students to explore, eg this panorama of Yosemite Glacier Point. Want to make it more interesting? Hide clues and prizes in the Photosynth for them to find. You could use this instead of a field trip, or for prep work in advance of a field trip. Or get students to create their own whilst on a field trip. The image above is taken from my Photosynth of Westminster Cathedral in London.

    I’ve hidden a treasure hunt in this Photosynth, and I’ve got a Microsoft water bottle to send to the first person who emails me to tell me how much the Westminster Cathedral Guidebook has been reduced to in this Photosynth.

    2. Keep your school art exhibition open all year


    Many schools spend weeks putting together their annual art exhibition in a hall, but then can only keep it open for a few days before it all has to be packed away again. One neat answer is to Photosynth the whole thing, so that students and parents can explore all of the artwork online – and be able to zoom in in huge detail. One great example is Wootton Bassett School, who have put their art exhibitions online for a few years. They’ve even done it as a standard panorama, and an immersive 3D model, so that you can see the difference.

    3. Create a campus tour

    There are lots of different uses for this:

    How to create a Photosynth

    Panorama photosynths can be created in the Windows Phone or iPhone app, and 3D immersive Photosynths can be created from photos taken on your phone or camera, and uploaded through the Photosynth app.

    Learn MoreFind out more, and get your hands on, the Photosynth apps

  • Education

    Why do Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria?


    We’re in the school holidays down here in most of Australia, so perhaps some off-topic reading would be a nice diversion for a week or two. I’ll keep the usual Education Technology stuff flowing as it comes, but I’ve also got some stuff to share that diverts from my normal ‘education technology blog’ focus. …

    You’ll see them in your email inbox – an offer of fantastic wealth, with a neat side promise of just a couple of million dollars if you help the Nigerian prince/general/director/public servant to transfer a bit of cash. And most people will spot it the scam immediately, and hit Delete before they’ve blinked.

    So why do they continue to send this stream of obvious emails, with their grammatical and spelling errors and random capitals? If you’re looking for an interesting discussion topic with students, the answer is intriguing:

    Because more intelligent people spot the scam immediately…

    imageApparently, the answer is because they don’t want more intelligent people to fall for it, because then they’d have much more work to do to separate out the truly gullible from the mass. And it’s only the truly gullible they want to respond, because they are their best prospects! And a recent research project by Cormac Herley, from Microsoft Research, found that the email with errors and typos is the simplest, most cost effective way of weeding out the wheat from the chaffe:


      Far-fetched tales of West African riches strike most as comical. Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims, the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce the false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ration in his favour.  

    Want to know more? Dive into Cormac Herley's full research paper "Why do Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria?"

    Bonus facts: According to 51% of scam emails come from Nigeria, with Cote d’Ivoire coming in second at 34%

  • Education

    Top 5 education apps that will be developed in the Cloud with Windows Azure


    Walking down the corridor after I wrote about the Windows Azure DevCamps this morning, a colleague who’d read the post asked me what kind of apps would be developed next in the Windows Azure Cloud for education. So I reeled off the list of apps that I think we’ll see. And he told me that the blog post would have been improved if I’d suggested those ideas. (Boom, direct feedback, right there…)

    So as well as remembering that feedback for next time, I thought I’d share the list. These are the next wave of things I think we're going to see as apps developed for teachers to use, linked to the Azure cloud. And I think these are the kind of things that teachers/school will just buy as a small app, and use it themselves – as well as potentially apps that a whole school or system will use.

    And the reason I think they’ll be developed using the Cloud is that teachers need to have access at home as well as at school – because when you’re writing up your school reports, you want this stuff to hand – it’s no good if it’s locked inside a corporate system and you can’t get it when you need it. And you’re more likely to be sitting writing your reports in front of the telly, with sideways glances at the finals of The Voice, than sitting behind a desk at school. So you need to have the info right there – and the Cloud gives you a way to have it wherever you are.

    So here’s the top 5 education apps I think we’re going to see next:

    • A simple Attendance app for teachers (and which sends the info across to multiple student admin systems)
    • Behaviour recording app for teachers (a dead simple smile/frown style app, with an ability to record specifics)
    • Grading/markbook app for teacher (because every teachers has their own physical book or Excel spreadsheet, that could be better)
    • Teacher Organiser (linking timetable, curriculum materials, links to web resources, and the curriculum structure)
    • Note taking (well, I reckon we’ve already got that with OneNote, which syncs through the Cloud, but there’s still room for more)

    I don’t believe any of these are big and complex, massively long projects. And with the Cloud providing the infrastructure for it, they’re even easier. Oh, and when the online Windows Store comes along later this year, there will also be a way to reach an audience of half a billion PCs to sell this kind of software easily Smile



  • Education

    Building Windows 8 apps to run on all the new shiny devices coming…



    Yesterday I wrote about Generation App, a guide to creating Windows Phone apps in 30 days. But I missed a rather obvious addition – what about Windows 8 Metro style apps?

    ‘Metro style’ apps are built for the new Metro touch interface for Windows 8, and will be able to run on any Windows 8 device, whether that’s full function PCs and laptops, or the different kind of Windows 8 slate devices running Intel or ARM chips. If you’re already testing the Windows 8 Release Preview, you’ll know that an Intel-based computer running Windows 8 can run all of your existing Windows software, plus the new Metro style apps.

    So here’s some really useful resources to building Windows 8 Metro Style apps:

    Learn MoreVisit the Windows Dev Center for Metro style apps

  • Education

    Grab a ticket to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney


    Imagine Cup Header 

    Attending the Australian finals of the Imagine Cup has been one of the highlights of my year so far, as it gave me an insight into some amazing projects created by university students around the country (the winning Australian team from The University of Melbourne  designed an early pneumonia diagnosis kit) . And next month, Australia plays hosts to the worldwide Imagine Cup finals, with student teams from 107 countries around the world competing to be crowned as global champions. There is no doubt in my mind that some of the ideas we’ll see there will become worldwide phenomena, and the contestants will be fought over by employers in the next two years.

    How would you like to be able to say “I was there, and saw that idea before most other people”?

    Whether you are in the IT industry, or you’re a teacher and you want to come along with a couple of your high-flying students, or you’re just interested in what’s happening, then the invite is open to all.

    Here’s the official blurb:

      Join us for a celebration of incredible ideas and innovation at the Microsoft Imagine Cup Worldwide 2012 Finals. The finals bring together over 400 of the most talented students from 107 countries to showcase their world-changing solutions and to compete for the worldwide title.

    To be part of a celebration like no other, Microsoft would be delighted if you would be our guest at The World Festival - where we’ll find out who has triumphed to win, plus a whole lot more. You’re also welcome to arrive early and meet all of our students and mentors at The Imagine Cup Showcase and hear the motivations behind their amazing ideas.

    The Imagine Cup World Festival & Showcase

    TUESDAY 10th July 2012
    Where: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour
    The Showcase: 2pm – 4pm
    (you can book for a specific 30 minute session between 2 and 4)

    The World Festival: 4pm – 6.30pm |

    Spaces are limited. Reserve your complimentary ticket here.


  • Education

    What would your crystal ball show for education's future?


    I have just read a deeply profound, and shocking, blog post, written by the leader of a significant Australian business.

    Written after the news that major Australian media organisations Fairfax and News Ltd are dramatically downsizing, and in the year that Encyclopaedia Britannica stopped producing encyclopaedias, Kodak stopped producing cameras and EMI stopped producing music, it takes a look at the changing dynamics of the business marketplace – where Borders, Blockbuster and Yellow Pages all lose out to their online competitors.

    Here’s an extract, from the blog post in question (modified to hide the business it discusses):


    There is little or no standardization and only minimal attempts to collect evidence that could be used to improve [the business]. New developments are slow and costs go up every year.

    New online providers will challenge the model, developing standard [products], high quality delivery and more effective [metrics]. The online mantra – better, faster, cheaper – is coming to [this industry] and no one knows where it will end. One thing is certain, [businesses] had better start preparing now.


    48x48-gray-questionWhy do I think that this so significant?

    And who’s it from – one of the big retail CEOs (Harvey Norman? Myers? David Jones? Dymocks?) or a manufacturing business, or a publisher?

    It’s important because of who’s saying it, and what they are talking about

    I think it is significant because the author in question is Professor Steven Schwartz, Vice-Chancellor at Macquarie University.

    And the business in question is the business of higher education. Here’s the quote in full:


    Higher education is next. Stuck in the 19th Century, higher education in many places is a craft in which an artisan-academic prepares bespoke courses. The academic decides on the course content, delivers it and assesses the student’s learning.

    There is little or no standardization and only minimal attempts to collect evidence that could be used to improve delivery and assessment. New developments are slow and costs go up every year.

    New online providers will challenge the craft model, developing standard courses, high quality delivery and more effective assessment. The online mantra – better, faster, cheaper – is coming to academe and no one knows where it will end. One thing is certain, universities had better start preparing now.


    If you’re thinking about the future of education, then you should read Professor Schwartz’s thoughts:

    Better, faster, cheaper: the online mantra coming soon to a university near you

    If you’re in the education business – whether that’s delivering education, or delivering to the education system - reading this will help you get ready for your future.

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