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February, 2013 - Education - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The Australian Education Blog
Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

February, 2013

  • Education

    The Gizmodo "Back to School and Uni Gear Guide"



    I've written a few times about some of the new Windows 8 devices for education customers from an institution perspective, and it's good to see that Gizmodo have published some device ideas for students, just in time for the new university year. They've looked at a range of devices, on different operating systems and from different manufacturers, and it's clear that they are seeing Ultrabook convertibles as the next big thing – clamshell designs, full keyboards, and touch displays. The perfect kind of device for students who want to sit in front of a laptop-style device typing an assignment, and then hold it on their lap as a tablet and using touch with a pen or their fingertips.

    They've featured the Sony Vaio Duo 11 with a slide-up screen, the Asus Taichi a screen on both the inside and the outside of the case, the Dell XPS12 with it's swivel screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist (described as 'the best bang for the buck on the market right now'), the Samsung ATIV which is the next version on from my current Samsung tablet, the HP ENVY x2 which is appearing on adverts all over the place at the moment, and also the Microsoft Surface (also described as 'the best bang for buck').

    The good news from all of this is the huge choice of different designs for Windows 8 devices – laptops, convertibles, tablets, desktops, all-in-ones. Students can take their pick, from loads of different manufacturers…

    Learn MoreRead the Gizmodo guide to hot convertibles, ultrabooks and tablets for students

  • Education

    Office 365 in education–webcast for Australian partners


    imageCIOs are looking to cloud computing for delivery of ICT capabilities, and that is no different for education customers. In education, there's an emphasis on mobility, and supporting students and teachers using their own personal devices.

    Microsoft has a free version of Office 365 – Office 365 for education – that's available for all Australian education customers that provides a suite of online services free to students, faculty and staff. This creates a very compelling opportunity for partners to generate migration and deployment revenue for customers moving from on-premise systems or competing cloud solutions.

    For Microsoft partners who aren't yet active with Office 365 for education, we're running an introductory webinar next, Tuesday 12 Feb, on how Microsoft Office 365 can add value to your education customers and the services opportunity for partners, run by the Australian Product Manager for Office 365 for education.

    Date:             Tuesday 12th February 2013

    Time:             1pm to 2pm (AEST)

    The partner webinar will be run using Lync. You can join Lync Meeting even if you're not already a Lync user, by joining using the web client. Alternatively, you can join by phone by using our telephone conferencing system (call +61298702923 and use Conference ID: 92566341).

    Make a dateAdd this webcast for Microsoft partners to your diary using this .ics file

  • Education

    Big Data webcast on 19th February



    In two weeks time we're hosting a webcast on Microsoft’s vision and solutions for Big Data, and to discuss the strategic potential of Big Data for organisations. In the business world today, senior IT people and their business counterparts are struggling to gain business insight from the unprecedented volume and variety of data they are capturing inside their organisation. And education is no exception to that – with the added complication that some of the key data is being kept on pieces of paper.

    The webcast will be hosted by Jack Tang, our Director of Product Marketing for data solution, and Ron Dunn, who's our regional Parallel Data Warehouse specialist. Their experience is across a number of industries and during the webcast they are going to share some stories about how some of our customers have successfully tapped into their own data to uncover business insights from their structured and unstructured data.

    The webcast isn't specifically for education customers, however the challenges I hear about from education customers mirror similar challenges for commercial customers (too much data, too many different sources, too many disconnected systems), so the content will all be relevant. Whether you call it Big Data, or Business Intelligence, or Learning Analytics, the ideas behind it are the same!

    imageRegister now for the one hour webcast on 19th February at 2PM

  • Education

    Ask the Experts–Tomorrow's BYOD in Education Webinar for partners


    Every month we run a Microsoft "Ask the Experts" webinar for Microsoft Education Partners in Australia, and on tomorrow's webinar we're going to do a deep dive into BYOD in schools (BYOD=Bring Your Own Device).

    I've got expert colleagues joining the webinar, and they'll talk about some of the things that they are seeing and hearing, and to explain how you can help advise schools about effective strategies for making BYOD in schools successful. Of course, you can't just airdrop technology, and it's important to understand what the learning outcomes are for a BYOD programme.

    imageAsk the Experts: Education Partner Monthly Webinar

    BYOD in Schools – February 26 2013

    The webinar is from 11:00-11:45AM tomorrow, Tuesday 26th February, and I'll be hosting it with Sean Tierney and Travis Smith, both of whom have long experience with BYOD programmes in schools. They'll be able to bring specific advice based on projects they have been involved with in the past.

    Important note: This webinar is for Microsoft partners who are registered on the Microsoft Partner Network, or are registered Academic Education Resellers. If you're working for an education institution, like a school, TAFE or university, then keep an eye out in the future here for similar webinars for you.

    Make a dateRegister for Ask the Experts: Education partner webinar - 26 Feb 2013

  • Education

    nsquared missing card: free Windows 8 education apps from nsquared


    Here's another free Windows 8 education app from nsquared. Like their other apps, it's ideal for pre-school and primary school children, and is designed to support collaborative learning – allowing groups of students to work together on a single Windows 8 touch-enabled PC or tablet.


    nsquared missing card

    nsquared missing card is designed to help develop pattern matching and object recognition skills in young children. It's a multi-player memory game for up to four students to match overturned cards. The players can turn over their three cards to see which one matches the next in sequence. Once each player has decided on the card they think will be next, they keep the other two cards in their hand face down.

    It's a great app for small group learning, and encourages your students to learn from each other. Multi-Touch interaction allows for multiple students to use nsquared missing card at the same time. The app is free, and then there are optional activity packs available as an in-app purchase.

    The great thing about this app, and the other apps from nsquared, is that they are designed to get students working together. A few years ago I worked on a video showing the original Microsoft Surface in a primary school classroom in England (see video embedded below). Although it was very exciting to see students dive in and start collaborating on learning challenges, the major barrier was the cost of the interactive hardware needed to support this style of learning.

    Now, with genuine multi-touch Windows 8 devices in the classroom at very low cost. The new Windows 8 slates are perfect for this activity, as you can lay them flat in the middle of a desk, and four students can gather around them.

    Learn MoreLearn more about other Windows 8 Education apps here

  • Education

    Join the online launch of Office 365 on Thursday 28th Feb



    imageThe invitation is out for anybody to join our Virtual Launch Event next week as we celebrate the availability of a major new release coming to Office 365 for businesses and education customers. Kurt DelBene, President of the Microsoft Office Division, will talk about Microsoft’s vision for productivity, enterprise social and the cloud. We’ll demo new features in enterprise social and show how we’ve transformed the full Office experience you know into an always up-to-date service. Finally, you’ll hear real world stories from our customers about their move to the cloud. We’ll also answer questions via live chat as we go.

    For education customers and partners, it's an opportunity to hear about the new features being added into Office 365 for education, and consider how they might help you to improve communication with and between students, and deliver collaborative learning scenarios for schools, TAFEs and universities (with the added bonus that Office 365 for education offers a free service for customers, so that there's not a cost barrier to getting started)

    And the really good news is that the timing works for Australia, with an option to join the online launch event at lunchtime on Thursday 28th February.
    Make a dateMake a date: Register for the Office 365 launch webcast  
    Click on the one at 5pm on Feb 27th PST, which will be 12PM AEST on Thursday 28th February (or a little earlier for SA/WA)

  • Education

    New resources for building education apps for the new Office and SharePoint


    With the launch of the new Office for consumers, and Office 365 for education customers, there's also a new batch of resources to help partners who are developing apps for Office, Office 365 for education, and SharePoint. With the new Office, publishers can create apps that can be sold through the Office Store to users. It's an ideal way for education partners to reach new customers, as the marketplace is directly accessible from within the Office software. You can read more background about the ideas for building education applications for Office here, including app ideas, and scenarios for building apps for teachers and others in education establishments.

    The Office team have now created a bunch of new resources, to help you to create your first app, as well as covering developing Office apps in more depth, including APIs and app samples. You can find all the samples and resources on the links below, and links to the new developer forums:


    Find our more about building Office apps

    Overview of developing Apps for OfficeOverview of developing Apps for SharePoint

  • Education

    Training on the new Microsoft Office for partners and customers in Australia


    Office training in Australia from MicrosoftThe new Office has already been made available for our education customers as well as for consumers, and to go with it, there's a pile of new training courses under the 'Ignite' brand for partners and customers coming up in the next couple of months - and some of them are free!

    The courses are ideal for partners who are going to be helping education customers upgrade to the new Office this academic year, or for schools, TAFEs and universities who want to get the most out of the new versions as they roll them out to staff and students.

    The three day ones which cover all the products are free, whilst the deep dive workshops on SharePoint you'll pay for, but they all offer the same great experience of hands-on Office training in Australia:

    Exchange, Office and Office 365 Ignite – three day training workshop (free)

    The Exchange, Office and Office 365 Ignite workshop has been designed as deep technical training for IT implementers and Exchange administrators, who either develop, design or deploy for their organisations or customers. The training content is a mix of presentations and hands-on labs that parallel real world experience delivered by Microsoft certified experts. The content provided throughout the course requires both a technical background and experience with prior versions of the product and/or service in order for the content to be valuable

    • Melbourne 9 – 11 April
    • Sydney 16 – 18 April
    • Brisbane 22 – 24 April
    • This course is free BUT we do charge $500 for no-shows (because if you don't show up, you'll have taken a place somebody else would have used)

    To find out more, see the full agenda, and register for Exchange, Office and Office 365 Ignite training


    SharePoint 2013 Ignite workshop for developers – three day training workshop

    The Microsoft SharePoint Ignite workshop was created to enable you to effectively design, deploy, and administer solutions specific to SharePoint products. The course comprises deep technical training across all product associated workloads. The training content is a mix of different level presentations as well as hands-on labs that parallel real world experience. This workshop is delivered by Breeze on our behalf, using all of our standard course materials.

    • Brisbane 11 – 13 March
    • Melbourne 18 – 20 March
    • This course lasts four days, and costs $450 plus GST

    To find out more, see the full agenda, and register for the SharePoint 2013 Ignite training for developers

    SharePoint 2013 Ignite training for IT professionals – two day training workshop

    The Microsoft SharePoint Ignite workshop was created to enable you to effectively design, deploy, and administer solutions specific to SharePoint products. The course comprises deep technical training across all product associated workloads. The training content is a mix of different level presentations as well as hands-on labs that parallel real world experience.   

    • Sydney 14 – 15 Feb
    • Brisbane 14 – 15 Mar
    • Melbourne 21 – 22 Mar
    • This course lasts four days, and costs $300 plus GST

    To find out more, see the full agenda, and register for the SharePoint 2013 Ignite training for IT professionals

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