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

August, 2012

  • Education

    Windows Intune in education–a step by step guide to implementing Intune

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    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Windows Intune for education, and the relevance of its new features to education customers. Of course, listing a set of new features with a single bullet point probably isn't enough to help you to understand how those features would actually work in an education network. For example, one of the new features I wrote about was the ability to deploy software applications with Intune - "Software application downloads – to allow you to make internal apps available to your users automatically on their mobile devices". But what does that actually mean you can do?

    If you really want to understand the capabilities, then can I recommend reading the Windows Intune 2012 Getting Started Guide, which has been updated for the June 2012 release.

    In the case of the software downloads I mentioned above, there's a detailed section on what is and isn't possible:

     

    Working with Licensed Software

    Windows Intune enables you to deploy and install licensed software applications to managed computers or make these applications available to selected user groups. In addition, this release of Windows Intune lets you upload licensed software and make it available to selected user groups. After you upload the software and make it available to selected user groups, users to whom the software is targeted can sign in to the Windows Intune company portal or the Windows Intune mobile company portal and view the licensed software applications that you have made available for them. They can then select the software applications that they want to download and install on their devices, and you can track software adoption across your organization. For example, after you make a mobile device application available for employees, you can monitor the number of users to whom the application is targeted, the number of users who attempted to install the application, and view details about each of the users 

     

    And, like other sections, it includes a screenshot of how it looks.

    The sections in the Getting Started Guide include:

    • How to configure your environment
    • How to add computers, users and mobile devices
    • How to assess the health of your IT environment and assist end users

    Learn MoreDownload the Windows Intune Getting Started guide here


    Want more info? There's always the Windows Intune Product Guide, (it's an easier, higher level, read than the Getting Started Guide)
  • Education

    Windows 8 reaches 'Release To Manufacturing' stage–what that means for education customers

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    Windows 8 screenshotOvernight, we've announced that Windows 8 has reached the 'Release To Manufacturing' (RTM) stage. There's a pile of detail on the Building Windows 8 blog, including details on both the release of Windows 8 and the Windows Store. One of the questions I know you might have is when it means you can get it. Although the full retail release is scheduled for October 26th, Australian education customers will be able to get their hands on the full release version earlier through the subscription programmes, such as our Enrolment for Education Solutions (which is the Microsoft Volume Licence programme that most education customers use in Australia), or subscriptions like MSDN (the Microsoft Developer Network).

    The Windows Team Blog has details on the release dates through these schemes:

     
    • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
    • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organisations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
    • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume Licence Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organisation.
    • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
    • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
    • September 1st: Volume Licence customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
     

    So most education customers will be able to install the fully released version this month on their existing PCs!

    Learn MoreHead over to the Windows Team blog for more info on the Windows 8 release timeline

  • Education

    Office 365 for education training videos

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    Last week I posted a series of blog posts of Office 365 for education videos, produced by my colleagues in the US, sharing some of the things that Office 365 makes possible. And I realised that it would be helpful to stick them all onto one page, rather than four separate ones.

    They were created to help people not using Office 365 for education, to show them what is possible, and I think they would be really useful for schools, TAFEs and universities who are rolling out Office 365 to staff and students – they make great introductory videos for training – allowing you to start a session by demonstrating what users will be able to do at the end of a hands-on training hour!

    So here's all four videos:

    Office 365 for education – using Outlook and Lync

    Office 365 for education has Outlook and Lync built in, which enable instantaneous collaboration and communication between students and teachers, with email, IM, voice and video calls between users.

    This short video, produced by my colleagues in the US, aims to describe the whole process in just two minutes:

    Classroom on the go

    Office 365 for education means that students and teachers can be productive on the go by having access to class calendars, documents, and assignments all on their mobile devices.

    This short video, the second in a series of four, aims to describe the whole process in less than two minutes:

    Collaborating with a class website

    With Office 365 for education, you can collaborate from anywhere through SharePoint class websites. Students and teachers can simultaneously work together on the same document and share project and assignment information through their class site.

    This short video describes the whole process in just one and a half minutes:

    The Online Classroom

    Office 365 for education enables teachers to give online presentations so their students can learn from anywhere. These presentations can be interactive with the students and saved for future viewing.

    This short video, the last in a series of four, aims to describe the whole process in less than three minutes:

  • Education

    New South Wales Universities on Twitter

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    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I've started with New South Wales, but will look for the other states too.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Universities in New South Wales on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Charles Sturt University

    https://twitter.com/CharlesSturtUni

    Macquarie University

    https://twitter.com/Macquarie_Uni

    Southern Cross University

    https://twitter.com/SCUonline

    The University of New England

    https://twitter.com/#!/UniNewEngland

    The University of New South Wales

    https://twitter.com/UNSW

    The University of Newcastle

    https://twitter.com/UoNALUMNI

    The University of Sydney

    https://twitter.com/Sydney_Uni

    University of Technology, Sydney

    https://twitter.com/UTSEngage

    University of Western Sydney

    https://twitter.com/UWSNews

    University of Wollongong

    https://twitter.com/uownews

  • Education

    Victoria Universities on Twitter

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    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I started with university Twitter accounts for New South Wales, and now have moved on to Victoria.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Australian Universities in Victoria on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Deakin University

    https://twitter.com/Deakin

    La Trobe University

    https://twitter.com/latrobe

    Monash University

    https://twitter.com/MonashUni

    RMIT University

    https://twitter.com/RMIT

    Swinburne University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/Swinburne

    The University of Melbourne

    https://twitter.com/unimelb

    University of Ballarat

    https://twitter.com/BallaratUni

    Victoria University

    https://twitter.com/victoriauninews

  • Education

    Queensland Universities on Twitter

    • 0 Comments

    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I've started with New South Wales universities on Twitter, then covered Victoria universities on Twitter, and have now done Queensland too.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Universities in Queensland on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Bond University

    https://twitter.com/BondUniversity

    Central Queensland University

    https://twitter.com/DVC_CQUni

    Griffith University

    https://twitter.com/Griffith_Uni

    James Cook University

    https://twitter.com/jcu

    Queensland University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/QUTmedia

    The University of Queensland

    https://twitter.com/uqnewsonline

    University of Southern Queensland

    https://twitter.com/USQNews

    University of the Sunshine Coast

    https://twitter.com/usceduau

  • Education

    Western Australia Universities on Twitter

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    Twitter polaroidI've just been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I've started with universities on Twitter in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and have now sorted this list for WA. 

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    Universities in Western Australia on Twitter

    University

    Official University Twitter Feed

    Curtin University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/CurtinUni

    Edith Cowan University

    https://twitter.com/ECU

    Murdoch University

    https://twitter.com/MurdochUni

    The University of Notre Dame Australia

    https://twitter.com/UNDAFreo

    The University of Western Australia

    https://twitter.com/uwanews

  • Education

    All Australian Universities on Twitter

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    Twitter polaroidAs you know, I've been doing some research, to look at which universities in Australia are using Twitter. I couldn't find a list of them nationally, so I've had to go look up each one individually. I started with some of the states, but have now completed the full list for Australia.

    Some universities had lots of different Twitter accounts, for different faculty/departments/teams, so in each case I've listed the one that I think is the 'main' university Twitter account. Happy to hear of mistakes and corrections in the comments section below.

    If you're looking to follow a particular university, or simply want to follow a bunch of them to see what it is that the universities are talking about, then hopefully this list is useful for you. The accounts all have a slightly different focus – some are focused on prospective students, some are focused on students already on campus, and some are feeds of news releases etc from the university.

    If you can't see the one you're looking for in the alphabetical listing, have a look under T's for "The University of…" too

    List of universities in Australia on Twitter

    University

    Official Twitter Feed

    Australian Catholic University

    https://twitter.com/StudyTeaching

    Bond University

    https://twitter.com/BondUniversity

    Central Queensland University

    https://twitter.com/DVC_CQUni

    Charles Darwin University

    https://twitter.com/CDUni

    Charles Sturt University

    https://twitter.com/CharlesSturtUni

    Curtin University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/CurtinUni

    Deakin University

    https://twitter.com/Deakin

    Edith Cowan University

    https://twitter.com/ECU

    Griffith University

    https://twitter.com/Griffith_Uni

    James Cook University

    https://twitter.com/jcu

    La Trobe University

    https://twitter.com/latrobe

    Macquarie University

    https://twitter.com/Macquarie_Uni

    Monash University

    https://twitter.com/MonashUni

    Murdoch University

    https://twitter.com/MurdochUni

    Queensland University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/QUTmedia

    RMIT University

    https://twitter.com/RMIT

    Southern Cross University

    https://twitter.com/SCUonline

    Swinburne University of Technology

    https://twitter.com/Swinburne

    The Australian National University

    https://twitter.com/ANUmedia

    The Flinders University of South Australia

    https://twitter.com/Flinders

    The University of Adelaide

    https://twitter.com/UniofAdelaide

    The University of Melbourne

    https://twitter.com/unimelb

    The University of New England

    https://twitter.com/#!/UniNewEngland

    The University of New South Wales

    https://twitter.com/UNSW

    The University of Newcastle

    https://twitter.com/UoNALUMNI

    The University of Notre Dame Australia

    https://twitter.com/UNDAFreo

    The University of Queensland

    https://twitter.com/uqnewsonline

    The University of Sydney

    https://twitter.com/Sydney_Uni

    The University of Western Australia

    https://twitter.com/uwanews

    University of Ballarat

    https://twitter.com/BallaratUni

    University of Canberra

    https://twitter.com/UniCanberra

    University of South Australia

    https://twitter.com/UniversitySA

    University of Southern Queensland

    https://twitter.com/USQNews

    University of Tasmania

    https://twitter.com/UTAS_

    University of Technology, Sydney

    https://twitter.com/UTSEngage

    University of the Sunshine Coast

    https://twitter.com/usceduau

    University of Western Sydney

    https://twitter.com/UWSNews

    University of Wollongong

    https://twitter.com/uownews

    Victoria University

    https://twitter.com/victoriauninews

  • Education

    Selling your things to schools–advice on how to get it right in the long-term

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    Doug Woods, an education blogger, trainer and consultant from the UK, recently offered some great advice to ICT companies in his blog post "Selling your things to schools". Although Doug's advice was specifically for the UK, a large portion of it is directly relevant to Australia.

    So here's Doug's top ten bits of advice for selling things to schools, with a bit of light editing and some added thoughts from me in italics:

    1. Make sure your product or service is relevant.
      The main purpose of schools is to educate pupils, so make sure your product is educational or can be used in teaching or learning. There is also a good amount of administration that goes on in schools, you might feel your product or service fits more with this. That’s great but first please make sure that your product doesn’t create more administrative work for staff but fits in with current administrative needs and, ideally, makes the tasks easier.
      Over the years, I've seen so many things that supposedly reduce the workload for teachers – and which never actually mean that a teacher can go home earlier or have less work to do in the evenings. So teachers are understandably dubious of the idea of saving time – and are much more interested in things that help them do more in the same time.
    2. Understand the role of technology in schools.
      Be wary of the belief that the role of computers in schools is to ease the burden of admin for teachers so that they have more time for teaching; this is a lie. At no time have computers resulted in less work for teachers and many teachers are fearful that they create more work.
      This is especially true when there's change – normally there's an increased workload whilst change is happening, so setting expectations about that makes people much happier.
    3. Get to know your customers.
      I would have thought that this would be central for all salesmen but what do I know! You are not really selling to ‘schools’ you are selling to a person, get to know that person and their job. Take the time and effort to listen and understand them an what they are trying to do but, and this has to be a careful balance, do not waste their time.
      I've often found that education customers are really happy to share their knowledge and experience – and there are plenty of opportunities, such as conferences and TeachMeets when you can learn from them.
    4. Build a reputation and a track record.
      If you do not have a track record of supporting and understanding education, how can you expect your customers to take you seriously.
      This is tricky – if you're just starting out in the education market, how do you convince your first customer to buy your product? Often, it means you have to start small and grow – get a few teachers using it for free, or a couple of reference schools – and then use that to build your reputation and references.
    5. Offer something for nothing.
      ‘Education’, unlike other ‘markets’, is not going to use your product or service to help it make money, nor is educational computing about saving money. So there is little financial motive for schools to adopt your ‘thing’. This is perhaps the biggest difference between education and other areas such as business or commerce and it is one which will trip up many companies trying to sell into education. Schools like to try products before they buy them, which is not unreasonable, especially as it is unlikely to be the user or person you sell to who will benefit but, hopefully, the pupils they teach. So always be prepared to offer trial periods and consider the ‘freemium’ models which offer a certain level of functionality at no cost and improved features with a price.
      Doug has hit the nail on the head here – one way to compare the models is to work out what it would cost you to sell to a school – and then compare that to the opportunity that can come from a 'freemium' model, or getting established with a small product which is free, and then when you have a reputation, being able to charge for further products.
    6. Ask yourself who your customers really are.
      Schools are mainly buildings, they don’t buy anything so trying to sell to them is a waste of time. So ask yourself who is your thing for? It could be for teachers, it could be for admin staff or maybe it’s for the pupils. In which case try to tailor your promotional material and your marketing efforts for the right people. Obviously, if your product is for pupils, then schools will not view you favourably if you try to market to them through the school but kids aren’t always at school so try to market to them (or their parents) at home or elsewhere where kids hang out (do they still use that phrase?)
      And remember that the business model for selling to 6,000 school leaders is very different from selling to 60,000 teachers or 600,000 parents or 6,000,000 students. It's not just the size of the sale you make, but also the size of the selling involved.
    7. Don’t Cold Call.
      You can try but, to be honest, it is likely to be a very frustrating experience. Teachers are very busy people and usually haven’t got time to talk to you on the phone. [Principals] and Heads of Departments may have a bit more time for you but first, you’ll have to get through the receptionist, who’s probably been told not to allow any cold callers through! Email may be a bit better but don’t expect a reply immediately! So if you can’t cold call, you have to find other ways to market your products; be imaginative, attend educational events, look to support or sponsor events, maybe arrange your own events (and see 8 below)
      The reality of this is that the most obvious person to sell to – Principal, IT Manager, Head of Maths etc – is also obvious to your competitors, so they'll often be bombarded by all the suppliers, whilst others may get no attention.
    8. Show your face and your logo.
      Get yourself known within education circles, attend education events, network with staff or even try running your own events for education. There really is little to beat networking and getting to know potential customers by face. Don’t always be selling, though, remember you’re there to get to know people and make contacts.
      There are suppliers that pop-up for a few years in education, and then rush off to another market when they see a shinier opportunity. But most schools are in it for the long-haul, and will look for suppliers that they are sure are still going to be interested in them in a few years time.
    9. You do have a website don’t you?
      It is expected that anyone and everyone will have a website nowadays, and a Facebook page and a Titter account. In fact, some people will visit a company’s website for evidence that the company is genuine, is active and for background information. So do make sure your site is up to date and that as much information as a customer may need is available via the site and via your Facebook page and also make sure that you are active on Twitter (e.g. make sure any Twitter enquiries are answered promptly).
      On top of Doug's advice, I'd also recommend checking that your website is up-to-date. You'd be surprised how often I find that the key product that's being sold to schools isn't actually mentioned on a company website!
    10. Hey, where are you going?
      Don’t sell a ‘thing’ then move on with the money in your pocket. Nobody likes this, including schools. Keep promoting your products and services to your new customers, let them know ways of using your thing and the ways other people are using it. Make the school feel valued for having bought into your thing and often they will promote it for you!
      If you want to sell to schools in high volume, based on having a low price, that's fine for a while. But it's not going to keep you in the market forever, because there's always somebody who'll come along at a lower price – and all those price-sensitive customers who've switched to you will just switch to them next. So make sure that you're helping your customers get the most from their investment in your products and services.

    If you're a school reading this list, I'm pretty sure that if your suppliers actually did all the things on the list, that you'd be a pretty happy customer too, happy to use them and happy to recommend them to others!

    Now that I've read it again, and commented on each point, then I realise that I'm going to have to improve my game too!

    For more insightful comment I'd recommend adding Doug Woods' blog to your reading list

     

    Doug Woods blog

  • Education

    Building education applications for Office, Office 365 for education and SharePoint

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    Apps for Office and SharePoint beta websiteA few weeks ago we made the customer preview available of the new version of Microsoft Office. And one of the many changes that's immediately apparent is the focus that it has on the cloud – and that includes the ability to build cloud applications that integrate with Office, and a marketplace (the Office Store) to make those apps available.

    For education customers and partners, this is good news. Really good news. What it will mean is that customers will be able to add custom applications to their installations of Office or SharePoint easily, without having to do lots of fancy customisations themselves. And create a market for education apps for Office…

    How do Office cloud apps help education?

    I think that over the next few months, building up to release, there are going to be people around the world working away on apps that support specific processes in education – whether it's to handle a process such as submitting information, or lookup information, or publish information. Here are some of the simple ideas that occurred to me within two minutes:

    • Staff Cover booking form – for a school teacher to submit a request to attend a course or other professional development day, and automatically submit it for approval, notify the person that organises lesson cover on approval, and add it automatically to the diary of the teacher, head of department and the substitute teacher.
    • Assignment submitter – automatically saves a read-only version of a student's work into a specific folder for a teacher/lecturer, lets the teacher know that it's been submitted, and updates a tracking list of students
    • Research assistant – that goes to a specific web system for more information on a topic – perhaps one that your institution subscribes to – whilst ignoring others
    • Lesson plan publisher – takes a completed document, saves it in the appropriate format, and publishes it onto a specific library of your school/TAFE/university SharePoint, with appropriate tags so that students and other teachers can easily find it
    • Resource Booker – give you the opportunity to quickly find resources and book them for your lessons, from within your calendar.

    Many of these scenarios are actually possible today already in Office and SharePoint. But the ability to have a simple, single-button way of doing these things through an app would make life much easier for staff, students, and potentially parents (oh, imagine a "permission" app, where all the parent does is read a permission form and click a button to say "Yes", instead of the constant flow of paper that seems to flow between schools and parents and back. Somebody please create one, if only to make my parental life easier!)

    Who is going to create Office cloud apps for education?

    I believe that we'll see three major sources of Office cloud apps for education customers:

    • Companies
      There are plenty of companies that already do equivalents of these Office cloud apps today, and sell them to education customers. But they can be difficult to find and sometimes difficult to configure and install on your SharePoint. With the creation of an Office Store for apps, suddenly it makes it much easier for a company to create an app that adds an educational feature to Office, and is easy to find and distribute.
    • Education users
      I think we'll also see free Office cloud apps developed by keen education users – for example, schools that develop an app that they are happy to share in the marketplace for others to use for free.
    • Individual developers
      Reflecting the way that apps can be developed using standard web technologies - HTML, CSS and Java – it will be possible for an individual developer, or a keen teacher of techie, to develop a useful education app and release it themselves. And it might well become an evening and weekend hobby/job for some people.

    Hopefully, if you're still with me, I've got you interested in the idea – and you want to know where to get more information.

    Building education applications for Office, Office 365 for education and SharePoint

    Rather than repeating details from elsewhere, this is where I'm going to send you over to some other places to get the detailed info. The first starting point is the Apps for Office and SharePoint Blog, which has is publishing increasing amounts of information on how to develop and use these apps.

    I'd recommend starting on these blog posts:

    1. Introducing the new Office cloud app model 
      An overview of how apps are built, and the way that are designed around web standards, security, performance, consistency and flexibility.
    2. Anatomy of apps for Office
      Explains how the apps are basically a web page integrated into Office as custom content
    3. Building apps for SharePoint and Office 365
      A step-by-step guide to create a simple app, and a walk-through of how to actually publish apps
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