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

  • Education

    The new Microsoft Authorised Education Reseller website


    Microsoft AER logoMicrosoft globally sells academic licences for our software and services exclusively through Authorised Education Resellers (AERs). It’s an authorisation programme that ensures that customers are able to get the appropriate advice about the best licensing option for a particular scenario, and ensures that our partners only sell Microsoft Academic licences to the customers who qualify for them (something we call Qualified Educational Users). Over the last few years we’ve been growing the AER programme to be more than just an authorisation programme, so that it supports the changing education business at Microsoft, our partners and our customers.

    As part of this, we’ve just relaunched the AER website, to help our partners receive the readiness, information, training and resources they need to do their jobs in a more professional and knowledgeable way.

    AER website homepage

    The new portal not only has brand new training, including Office 365 and cloud services, to complement traditional licensing and sales training, but it now has a new look and feel to make it easier to find the information that a new or returning partner might require.

    Every Microsoft AER renews their accreditation every year, and that’s just one of the things they can do through the AER website.

    The AER website for education customers

    For our education customers, there’s two key reasons why you might want to use the AER website:

    Find an Authorised Education Reseller

    You can search for an AER on the website easily – via country, state, city/suburb or company name. So you can quickly find a local Microsoft partner who is able to help you buy Microsoft software at academic prices. Note: If you search for a partner in a particular area, it is based on where AER’s offices are listed, so you may not see partners who have national coverage in every search.

    Check if a Microsoft partner is authorised to sell education licences

    If you need to check a partner is correctly authorised to sell Microsoft Academic licences, you can simply pop their name into the ‘Company Name’ box on the AER Search site, and be assured that they are in the list. If a partner doesn’t show up, then you’ll probably want to check more carefully with them before placing an order (for example, perhaps they are in the middle of renewing their authorisation).

    Learn MoreVisit the Microsoft AER website

  • Education

    Windows 8–students "get it"


    If only I had $1 for every time an IT manager in a school, TAFE or university said to me:

      I think that when we change the software, it's not the students we're going to have a problem with…  

    Here's a neat way to make that point, via Microsoft Portugal Smile

  • 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

    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

    Office 365 for education video–Classroom on the go


    Office 365 for education means that students and teachers can be productive on the go by having access to class calendars, documents, and assignments all on their mobile devices.

    This short video, the second in a series of four produced by my colleagues in the US, aims to describe the whole process in less than two minutes:

  • Education

    Dynamics CRM in Education–10 slides in 10 minutes


    I’ve just provided a brief 10 minute overview to our CRM partners about the use of CRM systems in Education within Australia. It isn’t a detailed presentation that’s intended to provide all the answers to everything – it’s more of a quick introduction into the use of CRM within Education institutions in Australia – including universities, TAFEs and schools.

    The reason for providing the briefing is that I’ve noticed that many of our CRM partners are starting to see increasing enquiries from education customers about the use of CRM systems, and a quick overview helps them to understand the context (for example, by understanding the way that student recruitment works at a high level, they can see how it is similar/different to commercial organisations – eg membership recruitment for private companies).

    Here’s a quick overview of the slides:

    (If you can’t see them above, or want to copy emailed, then use the Contact Me link at the top of the page)

  • Education

    Business Intelligence in schools - mapping data with Report Builder


    Rod Colledge, is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for SQL Server, and an expert on the technology side of the use of Business Intelligence in education in Australia. For a living, he helps Microsoft customers with their own business intelligence projects, through his business at StrataDB. But in his role as a Microsoft MVP one of the things that he’s been able to do is record a series of short videos of examples of using business intelligence in education, to show some of the simple things that are useful for school leaders and teachers.

    Today’s video is a short demonstration of using geospatial visualisation, using a demonstration education data set. It's a simple example of how you can take a complex data set and visualise it a number of different ways.

    The demo is using a dummy dataset and was built in Report Builder in MS SQL Server 2012

    If you’d like to know more about Rod and his projects, you can find out more on the StrataDB website or email Rod directly

  • Education

    Western Australia Universities on Twitter


    Twitter polaroidI've just 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've started with universities on Twitter in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and have now sorted this list for WA. 

    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.

    Universities in Western Australia on Twitter


    Official University Twitter Feed

    Curtin University of Technology

    Edith Cowan University

    Murdoch University

    The University of Notre Dame Australia

    The University of Western Australia

  • Education

    Technology roadshow for NSW schools in November


    This feels like a first – instead of announcing events that are focused on the biggest city in a few stated, or webinars that you can attend from anywhere (but can be impersonal), it's great to announce a series of events that are going to cover the regional NSW too! Having once spent a holiday driving from Melbourne to Cairns, and back via inland NSW, I know just how far apart some of these places are.

    Your School, Your Way roadshow

    Your School, Your Way

    Microsoft, Dell, Intel and Lenovo have come together to tour New South Wales next month, to share good advice on improving learning outcomes with technology, using the tools you already have in your classrooms to support the needs of your school, your teachers, and your students. It's a Microsoft schools technology and learning roadshow. And an Intel one. And a Dell one. And Lenovo. All rolled into one. What's not to like?


    Your school at the forefront

    How can your existing technology do more to inspire, engage and get the best out of
    your students? How might you develop an ICT strategy that fits your school plan and delivers the best experience to your students and your extended community?

    Your School, Your Way offers practical scenarios that answer these questions

    Over breakfast, we invite school leaders to explore the right ICT strategy for your school and examine global research on incorporating ICT into the classroom. While teachers can enjoy a hands-on professional learning session from 9 to 3, focusing on getting the most from their schools’ existing software, including Microsoft OneNote, AutoCollage and PowerPoint.

    Your window into the future

    With Windows 8 just released, we’ll present you with a fascinating glimpse at what will soon be possible in the classroom – including innovations from Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and Intel.


    Venues and dates for the NSW Schools Microsoft/Dell/Intel/Lenovo roadshow

    Between the 5th and 15th November, the free roadshow is going to visit 8 venues across metro and regional New South Wales

    • Newcastle – 5th November
    • Bankstown – 7th November
    • Wollongong – 8th November
    • Dubbo – 9th November
    • Wagga Wagga – 12th November
    • Sydney – 13th November
    • Tamworth – 14th November
    • Port Macquarie – 15th November


    The agenda is the same at all of the events

    Session 1 – Leading a transformative ICT strategy (for school leadership teams)

    • 7:30am Registration and breakfast
    • 8:00 - 9:00am Presentation

    Session 2 – Building 21st century skills using ICT (for teaching staff)
    It’s essential that you bring a school laptop to this session.

    • 8:30am Registration
    • 9:00 - 10:00am Keynote
    • 10:00 - 3:00pm Hands-on professional development session using OneNote and other software

    Make a dateMake a date: Find out more, and register for Your School, Your Way

  • Education

    IT Academy in Australia–450 institutions delivering technology skills and certifications


    imageAccording to the Australia Skills Gap Survey 2012, 7 out of 10 of organisations find it difficult to find individuals with the correct combination of both technical and generic skills.

    And we can help with that!  We have a program called Microsoft IT Academy which lets education institutions deliver global standard technical training to all students, with matching industry certifications.

    Microsoft IT Academy was originally developed to bridge the gap between education and employment by equipping students with the IT skill sets they need in today’s technology-centric job market, and providing professional development resources for educators. And because it can lead to our professional branded certifications – like Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate and Microsoft Certified Professional.

    IT Academy has packaged different types of training resources:

    • eReference guides to complement existing curriculum organisation
    • eLearning to enable new up to date content to be delivered
    • Lesson plans to save time preparing classes and curriculums
    • Certifications to add value and further student employability

    There's content for all levels of education from primary school up to University programs.

    • For primary schools and introduction to computing classes ITA has the digital literacy curriculum to ensure all users have a core ICT competency to move into further education.
    • For High School level and up, IT Academy provides eLearning libraries across all Microsoft technologies: Office suite, Windows 8, SharePoint administration and development, SQL Server, and many more.
    • For TAFE, University and technically focused High School, there is huge value to be gained from introducing Microsoft certification into the curriculum.

    According to IDC, the IT industry is expected to experience a deficit in 2.5 million qualified job candidates in the next 5 to 10 years, which begs the question: Why would you not want to equip your students with the skills they need?

    The programme is currently already delivered by over 450 education institutions across Australia, which are part of a global community of over 10,000 ITAs. Teaching time is getting squeezed everywhere, and IT Academy provides them a cost effective, up to date, globally recognised curriculum and certification to deliver technology skills to students that truly gives them an advantage heading into the work place.

    Richard Ryan, who's our ITA Programme Manager in Australia, sent me a list of the things that IT Academies receive through their subscription:

    • E-Learning courseware – 380+ courses
    • E-Reference library access – 5 subscriptions to the library, which includes soft copies of all Microsoft Press Books
    • Microsoft Certified Trainer program – 1 subscription to this online community
    • Educator Starter Kit – 10 x Microsoft Office Specialist and 20 x Microsoft Technology Associate certification exams
    • UNESCO Teaching with Technology courseware – professional development resource for teachers, developed from the UNESCO ICT competency framework
    • MTA Course guides – Downloadable study guides and exam prep for the Microsoft Technology Associate certification exam
    • Lesson plans – customisable lesson plans for popular fundamental technologies, e.g. Office, SharePoint, Windows 8
    • Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Curriculum courseware and certification exams
    • Access to the DreamSpark program
    • Access to TechNet
    • Single sign on access through Office 365 for Education

    Find MoreFor information on how to become a Microsoft IT Academy (or for Microsoft partners, to learn how to register to add IT Academy onto your customer agreements), then the easiest thing to do is drop Richard Ryan an email, and he'll connect you to the right people.

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