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Ray Fleming's take on what's interesting in Education IT in Australia

  • Education

    Microsoft Australia's Education Partner of the Year Award for 2011

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    Have you been doing good work with education customers, using Microsoft technology, this year? Would you like to win a Microsoft Australia Partner Award? Well, you've got to be in it to win it - and the submission period has just opened, with the closing date of 10th June 2011. There are 21 categories to enter - but, as far as I'm concerned there's only one that matters Winking smile - the Microsoft Australia Education Partner of the Year Award.

    image

    In the words of the awards scheme:

      The Education Partner of the Year Award recognises partners who have exhibited excellence in providing innovative and unique services or solutions based on Microsoft technologies to Education customers. Successful entrants for this Award will demonstrate industry knowledge and expertise, as well as consistent, high-quality, predictable service or solutions to Education customers. Successful entrants will also demonstrate business leadership and success through strong growth in new customer additions and revenue, at the same time as leading customers into the future models of IT use in education…  

    If you win, you'll get the smashing glass trophy (see what I did there?), press releases, logos for your marketing, and be featured across our communications, including our Partner Portal and the Microsoft Education site. The winners will be announced during the Opening Keynote at this year's Australia Partner Conference at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre on the 23rd-25th August, and we'll then be featuring their case study during our Education sessions on the morning of the 25th.

    There's some detailed guidance to help you write an entry that gives you most chance of winning - you'll find that here - and I'llshare with you my top tip for entering:

    The best entries, which work for our partners year after year, are those which tell a strong story of the way that a customer has been able to change their way of doing things, thanks to your help. The technology side of the entry is important, but to be successful you need to ensure that you describe the story of success for a customer. By telling a memorable story, you can also help the education team at Microsoft to tell your story to other customers – amplifying your success.

    The other top tip is to get started on your entry. I'm not going to forget the deadline, as the 10th June is my birthday. But it means you've only got a couple of weeks to enter.

    Learn MoreFind out more about the Microsoft Australia Partner Awards - and all of the award categories

  • Education

    Update 9–Windows 8 education apps from Australia

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    I've written before about Lucas Moffitt, an independent developer who's writing Windows 8 apps to help teachers.  He's turning them out pretty quickly – Australian Teacher Professional Standards Evaluator, Class Seater and Lesson Coder – and he's just had his most ambitious project published in the Windows Store.

    image 

    Essay Marker

    Link
    Essay Marker is a new way for teachers to create, collect and mark student essays, with Windows 8. Essay marker is built with the quality teaching framework in mind, by enabling the teacher to provide quality customised feedback for each student.

    The software allows teachers to create and share Assessment tasks, and collect & evaluate/mark student assessments. Once you've finished marking, you can see visual representations of your evaluation averages, and then export assessment results in MS Office formats.

    Essay Marker on Windows 8 - screenshot

    Essay Marker radial menuThe screenshot above gives you a good idea of how it works – basically, with a touch device, or a normal mouse and keyboard, you can highlight a bit of text, and the radial menu (right) pops up offering you the ability to comment on grammar or spelling, or make a comment under four categories – negative, positive, general or 'irrelevant'. You select the type of comment, and can then add it.
    Rather than me trying to describe how it works, the best bet would be to watch the Essay Marker overview video that Lucas has created:

    Unlike many of the Windows 8 apps, which assume that you can use it without support, Lucas has made the wise decision to include a Getting Started page on the home screen, which gives you a guide to get going. And the video above is definitely something to watch to understand what the capabilities are.

    As this software is significantly more capable than the smaller apps that Lucas has released so far for Windows 8, there's a new model for paying for it. The basic version is free – and includes advertising within it – and then if you want the advanced features (such as export) then you'll need to pay a small fee (about $5) to buy the upgrade to the full version. I think this is a good way to do it, because it means teachers can get a very clear idea of the software before having to commit money to it! Although other software uses the 'trial' version option from Windows Store, this way is better, as it means you don't just have a couple of weeks to give it a go.

    Learn MoreLearn more about other Windows 8 Education apps here

  • 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

    Another amazing day for students in Australia, and around the world

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    Team StethCloudThis time last year, a group of four students from the University of Melbourne, got together as Team StethoCloud to enter the Imagine Cup – a Microsoft competition for students to innovate with technology to solve real-world problems. StethoCloud set out to solve a big real-world problem – the fact that pneumonia kills more children under five than any other disease, and is responsible for 1.5 million deaths a year, mostly in the developing world.

    They entered the Australian competition of the Imagine Cup, with their idea: a cloud-powered, mobile-hybrid stethoscope for early detection of pneumonia. By connecting a custom stethoscope to a mobile phone, the user is able to transmit diagnostic information into a cloud service, reproducing the diagnostic capability of a trained medical doctor.

    Their supporting video was:

    After some pretty intensive judging rounds, they won the Australian final and got to go to the world finals (sadly for them, the 2012 worldwide finals of the Imagine Cup was in Sydney). Sadly, they didn't make it to the awards at the worldwide Imagine Cup, but the story was never going to end there – they were already working with clinical researchers to see whether their idea could make it into production. And they got noticed along the way by people like TechCrunch, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Mashable, Wired and Gizmodo.

    Well it's just taken another amazing turn. Team StethoCloud have just been given an Imagine Cup Grant, of $75,000 to take their project further. In addition to the cash, they've been give grants of software, cloud computing services and access to further Microsoft resources.

    This time last year, they were a group of students entering a technology competition. Now, they're continuing to solve a problem that's challenged the world for centuries.

    Could it be somebody you know who could be the catalyst for that kind of change this year? It's not too late to enter the Imagine Cup 2013 – and get the chance to represent Australia at the worldwide finals in Russia next year. Student teams need four members, and have to be aged 16 or over. Entry deadline is 15th January 2013.

    Find MoreFind out how to enter the 2013 Imagine Cup

  • Education

    And the APC Education Partner of the Year Finalists are…

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    MAPA Awards banner

    The Microsoft Australian Partner Conference is getting closer - and so are the Australian Partner Awards. We’ve just released the list of the Awards finalists, and the Microsoft Australia “Education Partner of the Year” Finalists are three partners who have each been able to make spectacular contributions to the success of their educational customers over the last 12 months. In alphabetical order, they are:

    • Dimension Data
    • Janison
    • OBS

    We won’t know the ultimate winner until the Award ceremony on the main stage at the Conference on 23rd August, and hopefully you’re going to be there to help celebrate? (Full list of all Awards Finalists here)

    Learn MoreFind out more about Education at the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference

  • Education

    Is CRM in education any different to CRM in the voluntary sector?

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    Magnifying glass iconOne of the things I’ve noticed is that although there are very specific requirements for CRM in education - student recruitment, grants management, parental communication etc - there are also many parallels to tasks done in other industries - room and facilities bookings, sales pipeline management, HR processes. So I’m always interested in what’s happening outside of education, and comparing it to the business of education.

    Yesterday, I read an article on CIO.com.au about Lifeline, and their project to increase their call handling capacity. And the article wasn’t about physically handling the calls, but having the systems for the staff members to access and share information in their virtual contact centre. The key business driver for Lifeline was about increasing their capacity to take calls - jumping 50% to 700,000 calls per year.

    Although the article doesn’t go into much detail, it does mention the role of Dynamics CRM to support this, and the work to have a clear disaster recovery backup system.

    Although it’s not an education example, the challenges will be the same for universities with student recruitment changing - how do you cope with constantly growing customer contact, how do you manage their contact lifecycle and how do you ensure that a growing base of employees have access to the systems and information they need, wherever they are.

    Read the full story: Lifeline upgrades call centre, aims to increase capacity by 250,000 calls per year

    imageIf you're interested in finding out more, or are interested in using Dynamics CRM for a project in your institution, then you'd want to know that this project was done by Attain IT, who are a Dynamics partner in Sydney.

  • Education

    Research in Practice seminars: Learning and Thriving in a hyper-connected world

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    Microsoft/PAI - Research in Practice Seminars

    The Principals Australia Institute and the Microsoft Australia Education team are collaborating on a series of breakfast briefings around Australia from mid-March to early April, as part of PAI’s established Research in Practice series. The series puts principals and educators in touch with the latest educational research findings, and the next breakfast briefings focus on 21st Century learning.

     

    In this time of exponential change and opportunity - what does it take to lead and inspire quality learning?

    Mark Sparvell from Principals Australia Institute, and Sean Tierney from Microsoft, will explore:

    • Latest trends in technology in 21st century learning
    • Research findings on how educators can thrive in the midst of rapid technological change
    • How to avoid common pitfalls associated with integrating technology in schools
    • The transformations required in learning design to deliver the best outcomes for our students
    • What leaders and learners need to embrace to become active and resilient contributors to our knowledge-based society.

    All participants will gain insights, practical strategies, networking opportunities and an invitation to explore ideas beyond this session.

    This series is for School Leaders, which includes Principals and others within the school community who have a whole-school leadership role.

    By running the event as a breakfast briefing from 7:30-10AM, it means that you get an opportunity to update yourself without having to leave school for a whole day. And it’s perfectly timed to help with your strategic planning from a teaching, learning and technology perspective.

    Venues and dates for the third PAI Research in Practice series

    These professional development seminars cost $65 including breakfast. You can book now for the briefings in:

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more on the Principals Australia website

  • Education

    The Kinect Effect - it’s only just starting in education

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    It’s amazing to think that Kinect is only a year old. It’s set the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer device. And while it started its life as a device for games, it’s now being used by surgeons, teachers, musicians, data analysts for ideas the Kinect’s inventors hadn’t imagined.

    And here’s a one minute video summary of some of the things that it’s being used for. It’s the kind of advert you don’t see on TV. Perhaps it might inspire the next wave of innovation?

    (Can’t see the video - it’s on YouTube here)

    There’s a gallery of Kinect projects over on the Microsoft PressPass site, with a dozen other examples.

    Learn More

    If you want some more inspiring ideas of how Kinect can be used in education, then take a look at the (very) unofficial Kinect in Education site: http://www.KinectEDucation.com/

  • Education

    The Consumerisation of IT, and education - presentation slides

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    Icons_light_blueI’ve been speaking at some events run by Acer and Fujitsu recently, and had the opportunity to look at the issues surrounding the consumerisation of IT - and what it means for schools when you’ve got a broad range of devices arriving on your campus - and they may not all be owned and managed by your IT team. Although the event was focused on schools, in reality this is impacting every sector of education today.

    Although I haven’t got a recording of the session, you can download the slides here, which will hopefully be useful to people that were there, as well as some of those who weren’t (although, without the words, some slides will make absolutely no sense!)

    What I’ll do going forward is let you know which events I’ll be speaking at, and give you details of how you can register if applicable. And if it’s local to you, it would also be a great opportunity to catch up before or after for a coffee and a chat!


        Learn MoreDownload the 'Consumerisation of IT - and it's impact on Education' slides

      • Education

        IT Security in Education

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        A newly published page on the Microsoft Education site in the US might be helpful to you to get an overview of the different aspects of IT security in education that we can provide answers for. Topics covered include:

        • More secure email messaging
        • More secure portal and document collaboration
        • More security for endpoints - laptops, portable storage etc
        • More secure identity and access management

        All of these issues are topical in education, whether it's about securing information that's in digital form as it flies around the internet, or securing physical devices that contain sensitive date, like teachers' laptops.

        Learn MoreRead the full story on IT Security in Education on the US Microsoft Education site

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