The Three Musketeers

Now that we are out the other end of our tour it is timely to acknowledge those responsible for putting together the itinerary and making it happen on the ground.

To Peter, Jan and Meika, the three of you should be especially proud of what you have achieved. The program was a tremendous balance of visits to schools, briefings with world leading corporations and then an international conference to top off our birds eye view of technology in education. Add to this the networking with both those on the tour as well as the many new contacts made and you have the makings of a very sound foundation which I am confident will help shape future directions for many independent schools in this area for the coming years.

Finally, as is the case with all learning, the ‘how’ of things is what often decides the success or otherwise of programs. In this case this was a great factor in all of us getting so much more out of this experience.

To the three of you, thank you very much for all of your tireless efforts and endless enthusiasm for the tour and its’ objectives. Congratulations on a most successful tour.


End of Conference Dinner

Tonight we collected everyone together again and celebrated the end of the ISTE Conference at JCT Kitchen in Atlanta. We had all gone our own ways in the massive GWCC complex for several days while we followed our own professional interests. Tonight was a night to share the things we’d seen and learnt, as well as try some authentic “southern comfort food” like grits, fried chicken, fried oysters and rum-sopped coconut cake. The conversation was animated and peppered with the kind of banter and good-natured cheek that defines a successful blend of personalities and great collegiality. It was rewarding and satisfying for the AISWA staff to hear that everyone felt they had really benefitted from – and enjoyed – the Study Tour. It has been a genuine pleasure to travel with such a happy, personable, capable and supportive group! Roll on “Microsoft Day”!

Awww. Last day of the conference and we all had the blues. (Poor Peter M is off chasing his suitcases ... again!

Awww. Last day of the conference and we all had the blues. (Poor Peter M is off chasing his suitcases … again!

Enjoying some great "southern hospitality" and mint juleps at JTC Kitchen, y'all.

Enjoying some great “southern hospitality” and mint juleps at JTC Kitchen, y’all.

st dinner peter alexST dinner sam rob

After a week of lectures on the rewards of risk-taking it was time to try "grits" for the first time. Some did better than others! Well done, IMS.

After a week of lectures on the rewards of risk-taking it was time to try “grits” for the first time. Some did better than others! Well done, IMS.

st dinner meika and jen


Microsoft take-aways

What a great day at the Atlanta Microsoft Technology Centre (MTC).

From entering the Centre, the relaxed professionalism was immediately apparent and welcoming.

We are indeed indebted to Kathy and Wole for their fine presentations which in many ways, either made better or reinforced our understandings of educational technologies or provided those elusive connections between what we had learnt from others on the tour and the possibilities available at Microsoft.

We covered a fair amount of territory !

Our thanks also to Travis, his researched based contributions to the many meaningful discussions around PL, 21CLD and stylus use helped us all have a deeper understanding of these complex matters.

Topics covered:

* Developing expertise in how students learn, teachers as curators Ref doc. New Media Consortium  Horizon Report

* Microsoft Education Network and Partners in Learning (PiL)

* Skype in the Classroom:

* Bing in the classroom ad-free searching (not yet available in Oz):

* Youth Spark:

* Dreamspark:

* Assessment & Teaching of 21C skills:

* The Design of Future Educational Interfaces by Sharon Oviatt: The Design of Future Educational Interfaces provides a new multidisciplinary synthesis of educational interface research. It explains how computer interfaces can be redesigned to better support our ability to produce ideas, think, and solve problems successfully in national priority areas such as science and mathematics.

* Microsoft Real-Time Speech Translation for Skype : (Available September 2014)

* Office Mix-Office Mix adds functionality to PowerPoint 2013 that allows you to record audio or video of yourself presenting, write on your slides as you speak to them, insert quizzes, polls, online videos, and more.

* Fluid Math :

* Office 365 for Education:

* Project Oslo ” A new way to search and be connected’ :

* Microsoft Power Bi for Office 365 ‘Self-service analytics for all your data’. The ability to build dashboards pulling data together from a variety of sources providing the opportunity to match data to schools improvement plan:

* Yammer; Yammer’s cloud-hosted ESN software lets organizations set up intranets and extranets where users, whether they be employees, customers, partners or students, can have personal profiles with activity streams, share files, participate in discussion forums, microblog, and engage in other Facebook- and Twitter-like activities tailored for workplace interaction.

* Mosaic-special video effects:




Microsoft Technology Centre

Our last day as a tour group brought us to the Microsoft Technology Centre in Alpharetta, Georgia. Travis Smith, Australia’s National Education Specialist hosted our group and introduced us to his colleagues from the Worldwide Education team; Dr Cathy Cavanaugh, Director of Teaching and Learning and Wole Moses, Americas Business Development Manager for Education.

Cathy began by presenting an overview of Microsoft in Education and their vision of the future of education. The session highlighted ways Microsoft in Education aims to lead effective engaging learning environments where teachers are empowered to focus on student and professional learning.

Cathy and Wole went on to showcase Microsoft in Education programs and products, exemplar scenarios and schools, supports for integration, and evidence for learning in a variety of educational settings that focused on collaboration, gamification, project based learning, data analytics and assessment.

Throughout the briefing and in the closing session AISWA delegates were invited to share their experiences, ask questions and engage in meaningful discussions.

Microsoft Executive Briefing

Today we were treated to an international team of speakers at Microsoft’s Atlanta HQ, including our own National Education Specialist for Microsoft Australia, Travis Smith. Travis was instrumental in organising our “Executive Briefing” with Microsoft and we acknowledge his fantastic support. Their team – Catherine Cavanaugh, Wole Moses, Ginno Kelley, Beau the technical architect and Travis himself – guided us through new Microsoft products and a raft of excellent educational resources and welcomed open discussion about many topics, including relevant research and pedagogies. I will leave more specific comments about content that resonated with members of the tour to their posts, but below you can see images of a very fruitful and productive day that was appreciated by all.IMG_8667 IMG_8673 IMG_8674

Exhibition at ISTE 2014


Swivl: new models available which are much more stable and smooth in the operation and can take ipad, android as well as iphone (and other phones). Price is a little more than previous devices. Direct ship from USA

Nearpod great new features and have signed deal with Microsoft to be in the MS Store. Seems to be leading the polling market.
Good features in free version. The school licence is only $300 and provides a range of control features across multiple devices.

Autodesk: massive change to their licensing conditions for education. All Autodesk products – Autocad, Inventor etc will be FREE! This applies to the USA (announcement coincided with ISTE), but will be world wide by Sept 2014. This can make a difference of upto $2000 for a school.

Canvas: Used in 12 schools in Aust (and The Urban School), establishing new office in Sydney and have poached Julian Ridden from Moodle to help expand Canvas in Aust. Uses LDAP to integrate to AD and is working on being SIF compliant. Seems very full featured LMS, with roots in the tertiary ed market, but have made the interface more attractive to K-12.

Hard Candy: Protection for iPads – sensible cases with great protection. Direct ship from USA

JAMF: MDM OSX and IOS devices. Some great tools in the IOS area, especially for teachers to admin multiple IOS devices in their classroom using Focus. Impressive in doing tasks that some teachers expect – limiting students to one app, one web site, remote install of iBooks etc. Server software runs on Windows server (inc virtual) not just Mac Pro

Hovercam: come a long way since first doc camera released 4 years ago. Very easy to use full featured devices, available in Aust via Dataworks at about $450 for good model.