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

September, 2012

  • Education

    How to sell Windows 8 apps to education customers


    Windows Store logoDevelopers around Australia are creating Windows 8 apps and making decisions about how to go to market.  With the arrival of the Windows Store, there's another route to market that wasn't there previously, especially as it gives you a way to get to market without having to build a complete channel.

    So here's quick guide to some options you might want to think about:

      • Selling Windows 8 Education apps through the Windows Store
        Of course, you can't just dump an app into the Windows Store without any prior steps. The app must adhere to certification policies and process required for all apps in the Store. You’ll get high visibility in the store because there's a specific Education category, and because every user will see the Windows Store on their home screen, and will be looking to try out some new Windows 8 applications, I reckon that getting listed as soon as possible in the store is a great marketing strategy. There are tons of blog posts on the Windows Store blog on getting your app into the Windows Store and strategies for making it successful through the store.

    Windows Store - Education categoryYou have two options for selling your app on the Store: you can offer your apps for sale directly to the end user, with each individual user making the purchase directly from the Store. Another option is to offer the app as a free download, then manage the sales and licensing directly with the institution. Your app would then use authentication to bring specific functionality to each of your customer’s users.

    If you want to enforce a volume licensing model based on user counts for sales (egfor a pre-licensed number of teachers or students), you can use a signed receipt from the Windows Store. This option enables you to securely identify the user running the app.

      • Sell and distribute it directly
        Where your buyers will distribute the app directly to end-users and develop using the Windows App Certification Kit. The kind of scenario this works for is a school or university which wants to get a site licence for an app, and then load it onto their computers themselves (via sideloading). If you do this, be sure to follow some of the best practices around getting discovered on the Internet.
        There's a guide to deploying Windows 8 apps without using the Windows Store here
        • Promoting Windows desktop software through the Windows Store
          You don't have to have a Windows 8 Modern app to list it in the Windows Store. You can also list conventional desktop apps. The key difference is that the user will buy the app directly from you, not the Windows Store (so basically the Store is acting as a marketing point for you). Find out more about listing your desktop app in the Store
          • Microsoft PinPoint
            In addition to the choices above, you should also list your company and your product in Microsoft’s Partner Directory, PinPoint. When you do so, be sure to label your company as working in Education, and it helps a lot when the title of your product or solution in the listing contains the words people might search on, like "teaching", "spelling", "curriculum" etc. The PinPoint database is the source of various partner searches throughout where the results are displayed within the context of pages like Windows Server, SharePoint and other sites where customers click “How to Buy..” to locate the appropriate partner.
            The Australian Microsoft Education website uses PinPoint whenever somebody clicks on the 'Partners' link (eg on this 'How to Buy' page), where it returns a list of Australian education partners listed in PinPoint

          And although the consumer launch of Windows 8 isn't until 26th October, our volume licence customers (which includes almost every single education customer in Australia) already has access to Windows 8, and may be running it on some of their computers. So the sooner you're listed in the Windows Store, the sooner that people will see your software Smile

          Learn MoreRead more on the Windows Store blog

        • Education

          The Windows Store is now open to all developers



          If you are thinking of programming Windows 8 apps, then you might like to know that we've just crossed the last major threshold for publishing apps in the Windows Store from an Australian perspective. In the first round you had to be a company to setup an account to publish an app in the Windows Store (See Windows Store is now open for paid apps, company accounts).

          Now we've announced that everybody, including individuals, can set up a developer account to publish your apps on the Windows Store. And even better, many of you can get your developer account free:

          • If you're an MSDN subscriber, you can get a free, one-year developer account as part of your MSDN subscription.
            For the main subscriptions, including Visual Studio Professional, Test Professional, Premium and Ultimate
          • If you're a new start up, you can get it free as part of your BizSpark program
            BizSpark is a global programme that provides free subscriptions to MSDN (for development tools), Windows Azure (for cloud services and integration), other Microsoft software and training.
          • If you're a student or academic, you can get it free as part of your DreamSpark subscription
            DreamSpark is a scheme that gives students and academic institutions access to developer and designer tools free.

          Getting started is easy—just go to the Windows Store Dashboard on the Windows Dev Center and sign up. The dev tools are free, the SDK is ready, and we have supporting content to help you build your app and submit it for Store certification.

          Learn MoreRead the full details on the 'Windows Store for Developers' blog

        • Education

          What are you going to choose for the new Academic year? New Windows 8 devices coming soon


          I was chatting with teachers earlier this week, at a school workshop in Sydney, and one of the subjects that came up was "What device should we be looking at for next academic year?". It's a really tricky question, for two reasons:

          • When you're choosing a Windows device, you're spoilt for choice. Do you want a desktop, an all-in-one, a laptop, a slate, or something else?
          • Every day it seems that we're all reading about new devices for Windows 8 that are just around the corner.

          So to help everybody that's planning for next year, then I thought I'd share some of the highlights from the blog post from Nick Parker, who leads the Microsoft OEM Division (they are the team that work with all of the companies making Windows devices)

          A couple of weeks ago the focus of the technology world turned to IFA in Berlin, a massive consumer electronics trade show that gets over 150,000 people attending. In the run-up to the consumer launch of Windows 8 on 26th October, this year's event made it the perfect place for manufacturers to show off what devices are coming in the next few months. With devices that range from tablets and hybrids to more familiar notebooks and all-in-ones on display at the IFA conference, it's clear that we'll have a broad range of PC choices when Windows 8 launches. Some of the highlights included:

          New ARM based slates

          ASUS Vivo Tab RTThe new line of “transformer” PCs from ASUS, such as the ASUS Vivo Tab RT, is a good example of tablets that run the Windows RT operating system powered by ARM processors and provide an easy docking setup that makes it a snap to go from a traditional setup in the classroom to a tablet mode for browsing the web from your sofa.

          dell-xps-10Also powered by Windows RT, the Dell XPS 10 brings productivity and a mobile keyboard dock with long battery life.

          Samsung ATIV Smart PCs

          smartPCSamsung announced a docking tablet with its new line of Samsung ATIV Smart PCs. With their support for a range of touch and gesture commands, it makes them amazingly adaptable for home, professional and educational uses. All of them are touch devices, and most of them also come with pens, so that students can write as well as type.

          Convertible slate PCs

          Some of the new hardware designs include keyboards, blurring the line between pure “tablet” PCs and “hybrids.” Several of the PCs are being billed as desktop replacements that function just as well in either mode (as somebody now using my Samsung Series 7 slate PC as a replacement for my desktop/notebook, it's something that's already working for me!)

          Toshiba Satellite U925tvaio duo11 envy_tcm_245_1287920

          Acer’s new Iconia W510 is an incredibly small and light example, outfitted with a cradle that allows the display to be used on the desktop via keyboard and mouse input or tilted back for easier touch control. The keyboard also functions as an additional battery, giving the PC up to 18 hours of battery life. The HP Envy X2 is another detachable tablet PC with a slick aluminum chassis and an interesting physical feature for docking — magnets embedded in the PC help pull and guide the tablet into the dock, making it easy to dock the machine and get to work.

          Sony’s VAIO Duo 11 is a unique hybrid design that features a surf-slider keyboard which stays with the PC wherever it goes. The Duo also comes with a stylus that is a breeze to use, allowing users to write, doodle and interact easily in tablet mode. Toshiba’s Satellite U925t is a tablet-convertible version of its more traditional U920 laptop offering and features a 12.5-inch screen that easily converts to a tablet.

          New laptops and notebooks

          spectre_tcm_245_1287936 ultrabook_tcm_245_1287938 vaio t and e

          For more traditional notebooks, Acer, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have all refreshed their notebook and Ultrabook PCs to take advantage of touch capabilities in Windows 8 — Acer’s premium Aspire S7 and S5, HP’s Envy TouchSmart and SpectreXT ultrabooks, Sony’s VAIO T and VAIO E, all feature classic notebook designs with powerful components and responsive touch screens. The S7 in particular is designed with extra tension in the hinges so it can open up to 180 degrees, enabling a new type of collaboration scenario.

          For those that want a more familiar laptop, consider the Lenovo IdeaPad S300 and S400 laptops, which include an updated touchpad that gives users a more controlled experience when scrolling and zooming.

          New desktop All-In-One computers

          Samsung Series 9 AiO_27_001_Front_56320 Acer Aspire 7600U swivel_vert_horiz_NEW Lenovo A520_Hero_12Toshiba LX835 AIO

          All-in-ones are becoming increasingly popular, and designs from Samsung, Lenovo, Acer and Sony are bringing the world of touch to full-tilt desktop computing.  From an education point of view, we're going to see these used for creating more interactive classroom activities (maybe alongside an interactive whiteboard) as well as for uses like information points and for libraries.

          This isn't comprehensive – it's just a glimpse of some of the hardware innovation coming with Windows 8, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of these devices in Australia really soon.

          Learn MoreGet the latest on the Windows world from the Windows Team Blog

        • Education

          Windows 8 Programming–a full course from Faculty Connection


          imageThree new tertiary level courses are now available on Faculty Connection each with instructor guides, PPTs, labs/tutorials, and videos. There are tons of courses on the site, and although they are designed for tertiary students, I'm convinced that they are useful for many others too, including high school students, or for developers in business who are looking to develop new skills.

          The courses are modular for easy integration into existing curricula:

          • Designing for Modern UI  - 11 modules that provide lectures and tutorials on how to design for the new Windows 8 UI. The content is 100 Level (ie you don't need to be a rocket surgeon to use these materials) and can be used as part of a UI/UX class or for self-paced independent learning. The focus of the content is on the Windows UI style design. This material is suitable for any tertiary student, including business, social sciences, liberal or fine arts, students who may have little or no computer programming background. There are no programming skills required and the early modules start from basics and build skills required for more advanced topics. Because this content can be used as part of an Academic class it includes background information, describing problems that are being solved, and provides background information as well as terminology that relate to Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
          • App Development for Modern UI – 9 modules cover fundamental concepts of developing a Windows 8 app using JavaScript and HTML5/CSS3 with Microsoft tools and resources.
            The scope of this curriculum covers the fundamental concepts of developing Metro style apps using JavaScript. Throughout the curriculum, you will find references to more advanced topics that are suitable for follow-up assignments.
          • App Development for Modern Devices - advanced course that covers development systems for phones, tablets, and desktop computers. It focuses on network aware software, interfaces for touch and NUI devices, augmented reality and graphics programming.

          Learn MoreVisit the Faculty Connection site

        • Education

          Microsoft Australia Partner Awards 2012 – Everyone's a winner


          Microsoft APC 2012 logo

          Remember yesterday, when I said that ClickView won the Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year 2012 in the Microsoft Australia Partner Awards? And I mentioned that the judging was very tight. But there can only be one winner.

          Well, it turns out you can have more than one winner! These were the three finalists for Australia Education Partner of the Year:


          And although there was only one winner for Education Partner of the Year, it turns out that every single one of our finalists actually won an award:

          ClickView won Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year 2012

          Data#3 won Microsoft Australia Business Productivity Partner of the Year 2012

          Janison won Microsoft Australia Azure Platform ISV Partner of the Year 2012

          So, it turns out my lifelong belief was wrong, and it can actually be true that "everyone's a winner"!

          Learn MoreYou can see all of the winners on the Microsoft Australia Partner Awards website

        • Education

          2012 Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year


          Microsoft APC 2012 logo

          The biggest event for Microsoft's partners in Australia is the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference in Brisbane. This year, over 1,000 people packed out the conference centre, and the awards ceremony for the Microsoft Australia Partner Awards was a great way to open the conference.  For the Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year 2012 the finalists were…


          The judging this year was incredibly difficult, as we ended up in a situation where after five rounds of judging the finalists had all achieved an identical score. We ended up having to go to three decimal places to find the ultimate winner!

          And the winner of Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year 2012 is ClickView

          ClickView's digital video solution for schools, is designed to support learning in the classroom by providing a simple and complete solution for watching digital video and other digital media (and if you're not yet using it, then give it a run with their ClickView free trial)


          The two other finalists, Data#3, for their Education SharePoint Rapid solution, and Janison, for their Cloud Assessment Framework, CAFE, were both exceptional and creative companies and products, but ClickView just pipped them at the post.

          We had some amazing entries this year, with some very innovative projects happening across schools, TAFEs and universities, and I'm hoping to be able to share some more details of the success stories now the award has been announced.

        • Education

          What's the hybrid cloud model, and what does it mean for you? Switched On Briefings could help answer that


          In September and October, we're running a series of events – Switched On Briefings – on the ways that you can optimise your infrastructure using a hybrid cloud model. It's looking at it from a large-scale, enterprise architecture point of view, so it will be most suitable for infrastructure specialists from universities, TAFEs and those of you running IT for large school groups. If you'd be interested in signing up, all the details are below:image

          Cloud optimise your Datacentre using a hybrid model

          For today’s CIOs and technology leaders, the cloud presents an opportunity to rethink the role IT plays in defining a business’ strategy. Because of its power to fundamentally change how businesses operate and compete, the cloud is a game changer.

          Attend this interactive session to learn how Microsoft’s approach to the cloud works on your terms by:

          • Making the cloud work for your business - with a comprehensive range of Datacentre cloud offerings that span on-premises , hosted and public cloud solutions
          • Using your existing familiar infrastructure, tools, and skills - as you take advantage of the cloud for maximum value, efficiency, and productivity
          • Providing the kinds of social, ubiquitous, connected experiences - that today’s users love and expect without introducing complexity into your IT infrastructure

          Using case study examples and demonstration scenarios you will gain a better understanding of the steps to consider in order to become the driver for Cloud adoption in your organisation while:

          • Retaining maximum control and flexibility with your own highly scalable private cloud
          • Benefiting from operational excellence while minimizing risk with the public cloud
          • Maintaining the right IT balance for your business with a hybrid environment

          Venues and dates

          Just click on a venue for more details and to book your place. All of the events are run as half-day, morning briefings:

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