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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

    Microsoft Australia Partner Awards 2012 – Everyone's a winner

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    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:

    image

    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

    Windows 8 Programming–a full course from Faculty Connection

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    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

    The Windows Store is now open to all developers

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    Windows 

    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

    Top 5 factors which affect student retention in Higher Education

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    I've been doing some work recently on student retention and student attrition in higher education. You might have seen me writing about a Tribal presentation on data sources for inputs on student retention business intelligence systems. That work has also included an analysis across a number of different studies into student retention in higher education, and what is clear is that there are some common factors to student retention, and causes for student attrition, that are used by every project that I've read.

    So based on six studies, which also contain a number of meta-studies, amplifying the sample, here's the top five factors affecting student retention.

    1. Academic performance at entry - in Australia, a student's ATAR score
    2. Socioeconomic background
    3. Ethnicity
    4. Gender
    5. Highest level of education achieved by the student's parents

    In each study, there are a mass of other characteristics – between a total of seven and 37 depending on the depth of the analysis, but these first five appear on the list for every study that I have read so far. Which means that with an effective combination of institutional business intelligence and CRM, you could forecast your student retention rates across different courses and faculty before the Academic year has even started, and start to improve it from the same point.

    The challenge of student retention in higher education is not significantly different to other industries, but at the moment it seems that we're further behind in applying systems to help manage and improve student attrition rates, and in identifying and clarifying ownership of the challenge in each institution.

  • Education

    Generation-e's cloud webinar for education

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    Stuart Moore of Generation-eOne of our cloud partners in education, Generation-e, are running a webinar in October, looking at how you can use our free and paid Office 365 for education cloud services. It's going to be held on Thursday 18th October, at 1PM AEST. The presenter, Stuart Moore, is a seasoned cloud professional and his experience across both education and other public sector organisations, means he'll be able to provide a good overview of what and what isn't possible.

    Here's the details:

     

    imageLet us introduce you to the cloud

    Want to know what hundreds of schools in Australia are doing right now?

    They’re moving to the cloud. Why? Because they see the value in using technology to help achieve learning outcomes.

    To make it easy for schools to provide the best environment possible for students and staff, Microsoft offers a free cloud solution called Microsoft Office 365 for Education. As a baseline, the free subscription offers: 

    • Email, calendaring and web conferencing;
    • Online access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote;
    • Public websites and team intranets;
    • Guaranteed 99.9% uptime with 24x7 access;
    • Enterprise grade security including premium antivirus and configurable anti-spam filtering;
    • Live 24x7 IT level phone support.

    To allow schools to extend the use of the cloud beyond the free offering, for a few dollars per month per user, schools can access:

    • Unlimited email storage and archiving;
    • A full subscription to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote;
    • A complete PBX replacement using Microsoft Lync.

    Join us for a 30 minute webinar as Microsoft cloud specialist Stuart Moore introduces you to Microsoft Office 365 for Education and shows you how Australian schools are using this free technology to:

    • Save around 20% of physical data storage and power costs;
    • Keep teachers, support staff, students and parents connected;
    • Assist with improving curriculum delivery to achieve learning outcomes.
     

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    Find out more, and register, here

  • Education

    Microsoft Office 365 in schools event in Melbourne

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    Office 365 for educationOn Thursday 11th October, Paradyne are running a free morning workshop on Office 365 for education, at our offices in Melbourne. (For some background, you can read more about Paradyne's implementation of Office 365 for education at Woodleigh School in Victoria here)

    I'm pretty sure that there will be lots of useful information on practical steps to using Office 365 for education, as the host, Loryan Strant, literally wrote the book on implementing Office 365 (and if you can't make it to the event, you can always buy his book "Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration" on Amazon).

    The event runs from 9-11, at our Freshwater Place offices, and it's free.

    If you're not sure exactly what's in the free version of Office 365 for education, then here's a couple of useful links:

    Learn MoreLearn more, and register for this free event, here

  • Education

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

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    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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