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

  • Education

    University CIOs - being pulled in all directions


    I've written before about the mindset of a university CIO (see all 'Mindset of a CIO' posts), as part of trying to look at the world through their eyes - What is it the are challenged by? What keeps them up at night? And what do they think is going well?

    At the CCA Educause conference in Sydney, I saw the video below - filmed at the University of Sydney recently. It is a series of short interviews which starts with Geoffrey Brown, who is Director of Faculty Services for ICT at the university, and then continues with a range of other faculty members.

    And if you want a good reason to spend 4 minutes watching this, how about these two quotes - both in the video below:

    "We are in a new era where there are so many more services that are now available, the expectations are so much higher than ever before. People in academia will get their solutions off the web - when they want it and how they want it. And the IT people will become vaguely irrelevant"

    Geoffrey Brown, who is Director of Faculty Services for ICT

    "Don't believe the hype. Face to face lectures are alive and kicking. We're social creaatures which thrive on contact with others. And, surprisingly, students appreciate the discipline and the structure which comes from attending traditional lectures."

    Vanessa Gysbers, Associate Lecturer in the School of Molecular Bioscience

    If you are a university CIO, these people are your customers - and the challenges they face are your challenges too. Must be difficult to balance off all of these priorities - within a fixed budget and a fixed team...

  • Education

    The Consumerisation of IT, and education - presentation slides


    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

        And the APC Education Partner of the Year Finalists are…


        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

        Australia's most innovative company (and our most innovative sector?)


        imageClickView – who provide a brilliant video streaming and library service used by loads of schools in Australia - has just been labelled "Australia's Most Innovative Company" by BRW.

        ClickView's digital video solution for schools, is designed to support learning 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)

        They've been having a run of success with us at the moment too, as they won the award as Microsoft Education Partner of the Year 2012 in September. And they were also the first education partner from Australia to get a Windows 8 education application into the new Windows Store.

        There will be lots of schools already using ClickView's service, and it's great to know that their innovation is also being recognised outside of education.

        I'm tempted to believe that education ICT developers are one of the most innovative sectors in Australia at the moment, because the finalist list also included Janison, who have been at the forefront of innovation for online assessment for the last couple of years in Australia too. And obviously we judges for Microsoft's Education Partner of the Year aren't a shabby bunch either, as both Janison and ClickView have been previous winners of Education Partner of the Year for Australia.


        Find MoreRead about ClickView's award as Microsoft Education Partner of the Year 2012

        Read about ClickView's Windows 8 app

      • Education

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


        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:

      • Education

        Grab a ticket to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney


        Imagine Cup Header 

        Attending the Australian finals of the Imagine Cup has been one of the highlights of my year so far, as it gave me an insight into some amazing projects created by university students around the country (the winning Australian team from The University of Melbourne  designed an early pneumonia diagnosis kit) . And next month, Australia plays hosts to the worldwide Imagine Cup finals, with student teams from 107 countries around the world competing to be crowned as global champions. There is no doubt in my mind that some of the ideas we’ll see there will become worldwide phenomena, and the contestants will be fought over by employers in the next two years.

        How would you like to be able to say “I was there, and saw that idea before most other people”?

        Whether you are in the IT industry, or you’re a teacher and you want to come along with a couple of your high-flying students, or you’re just interested in what’s happening, then the invite is open to all.

        Here’s the official blurb:

          Join us for a celebration of incredible ideas and innovation at the Microsoft Imagine Cup Worldwide 2012 Finals. The finals bring together over 400 of the most talented students from 107 countries to showcase their world-changing solutions and to compete for the worldwide title.

        To be part of a celebration like no other, Microsoft would be delighted if you would be our guest at The World Festival - where we’ll find out who has triumphed to win, plus a whole lot more. You’re also welcome to arrive early and meet all of our students and mentors at The Imagine Cup Showcase and hear the motivations behind their amazing ideas.

        The Imagine Cup World Festival & Showcase

        TUESDAY 10th July 2012
        Where: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour
        The Showcase: 2pm – 4pm
        (you can book for a specific 30 minute session between 2 and 4)

        The World Festival: 4pm – 6.30pm |

        Spaces are limited. Reserve your complimentary ticket here.


      • Education

        The Imagine Cup team that made it into Time's Best Inventions of the Year 2012


        In TIME magazine's Tech website, they've recently published the Best Inventions of the Year 2012, which includes indoor clouds, a drifting fish farm, the MakerBot Replicator 2, the Tesla Model S and Enable Talk gloves.

        Enable Talk gloves and the Imagine Cup

        The fact that the Enable Talk gloves are in TIME's Best Inventions of the Year 2012 list is amazing because of the back story.

        They were created by four Ukrainian university students as their entry to the Imagine Cup, to allow speech and hearing impaired people to communicate more easily. The gloves contain sensors that recognise sign language and translate it into text on a Windows Phone, and from that into spoken words. So they quite literally allow somebody with speech impairments to talk – without the listeners having to learn sign language.

        imageThe four students were the Ukrainian team that entered into the global Imagine Cup, which Microsoft run.

        The Imagine Cup 2011 provided me with one of my most inspiring days of 21011, so it was fantastic to see the global finals for the Imagine Cup come to Sydney in 2012 – with teams from 75 countries competing to win the Imagine Cup. And I was lucky enough to be there at Imagine Cup 2012 as a staff volunteer, watching these inspiring students pitch their ideas to a worldwide bank of judges, and to aim to beat the other 300,000 students who entered, to be crowned as winners of the Imagine Cup.

        The Ukrainian's eventually won the Software Design category with their project, and obviously impressed more than just the Imagine Cup judging panel.

        I've always been a fan of the Imagine Cup, and it's power to help students take the world stage of innovation – and to see a small group of dedicated students go from competitors to appearing on a TIME Magazine list of 'Best Of…' is just amazing!

        To see Enable Talk in action, watch their video from the Imagine Cup finals, below and find out more about the team at

        The Imagine Cup 2013

        The 2013 Imagine Cup is in Russia, and the wording on some of the advertising for it now makes absolute sense in the context of the story above!

        The Imagine Cup 2013

        The worldwide finals for the Imagine Cup 2013 are going to be held in St Petersburg, Russia. And they are open to teams of four students from high-schools, TAFEs and universities around the world (students must be 16+). Teams must register by March next year, and the Australian judging finals will take place by April 2013 – they'll pick the team to represent Australia in St Petersburg.

        Do you know any students who are ready to start their journey, and perhaps make it onto TIME's list of Best Innovations of 2013?

        Find MoreFind out more about the Imagine Cup 2013, and how to enter

      • Education

        Find out what's new for education customers in Dynamics CRM 2013



        There are now many education customers in Australia using the Dynamics CRM system for a whole range of different scenarios - student recruitment, alumni management, donation management, student retention, case management, event management, even OH&S processes. So the launch events for Dynamics CRM 2013 will be of interest to them as much as to institutions evaluating their strategy for the future.

        We’re heading out to four state capitals over the next 3 weeks, and in each you’ll have a chance to how Dynamics has evolved to deliver more amazing experiences every time.


        imageHappy citizens, students and patients, and healthy communities go hand-in-hand. Learn how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 redefines the way people connect to get work done and enables you to deliver better customer service.

        Government: First time resolution with one view of the citizen to improve the experience of government services with grants management and case management. Enjoy a centralised and consistent view of the citizen at any one time.

        Transforming education for the future: Deliver better education via a single view of the student. Connect schools, TAFEs and higher education institutions.

        Health and Social Services: Increase access to health specialists for people in remote, rural and outer metropolitan Queensland and improve service with one view of a patient’s history.


        The events are designed to help you understand the new features, capabilities and strategic direction for Dynamics CRM, and without having to spend all day out of the office.

        Sydney 7 November - 1.00pm to 3.00pm - Click here to register

        Melbourne 7 November - 1.00pm to 3.00pm - Click here to register

        Brisbane 12 November - 9.00 am to 11.00am - Click here to register

        Perth 13 November - 1.00pm to 3.00pm - Click here to register

      • Education

        How many Internet-connected devices do your students have at home?


        Of course, we all know we’re living in a connected world, with ‘always on’ technology. Our students have never known a different one. My children live in a fairly high-tech household, but even I was shocked when I realised we’ve got 13 internet connected devices in our household - all squeezing data through a wireless router connected to a very thin Internet pipe. My kids have never experienced anything else. So this video, which gives you a trip across a day full of hidden devices, wouldn’t seem strange to them - it’s how they live.

        This was made by the Windows Embedded team, to show some of the places where Windows exists

        I know I’ve grown up in this world too, but it’s when you stop and think about the huge change that’s occurring that you realise that the ‘old ways’ of doing things are gone forever.

        What made me think about this was the fact that I was in a supermarket, whilst on holiday, that was selling packs of 3.5” floppy disks. Three things hit me: (1) I didn’t realise people still used floppy disks (2) How did I ever cope with storage media that could only store 1.44MB (3) For my kids, it was a museum exhibit, just like a dinosaur - they were extinct before they were born!

      • Education

        nsquared numbers: free Windows 8 education apps from nsquared


        In my last blog post I wrote about nsquared, a Sydney-based company producing education software that works with touch devices, and the first of their free apps for Windows 8 – nsquared snap. Today, here's their next free Windows 8 education app – numbers.


        nsquared numbers

        nsquared numbers screenshotnsquared numbers for Windows 8 is a free-form application that can be used to teach basic mathematical concepts. It gives you number tiles, so that you can set free tasks like "How many ways can you make the sum of ‘9’, or ‘55’, or any other number you’d like to explore. And because multiple students can use it at the same time, you can also set team or collaborative challenges, eg how many ways can they create those same results?

        The app is free, with different activity packs available as an in-app purchase. Like their other apps, this software is great for pre-school and early primary school use.

        Learn MoreLearn more about other Windows 8 Education apps here

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