Category Archives: Business Intelligence

Disruptive Technologies – What’s Now and Next for Education at EduTech Australia 2017

Just a few minutes ago, I finished speaking at the EduTech Conference in Sydney about the impact of disruptive technologies on education. Months ago, I’d agreed to talk in a phone call with a colleague, and because I was overseas travelling at the time, they had provided the conference organisers with a synopsis that was fairly brief and seemed to cover every emerging technology you could imagine:

Disruptive Technologies – What’s Now and Next for Education at EduTech Australia 2017

“With the advent of powerful cloud computing and changing environments, how will emerging and future technologies impact on school based IT, teaching, learning and even buildings and learning spaces?

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How Pilbara Group is helping Australian universities turn knowledge into insight

Guest blog post from Lea Patterson, President & CEO, Pilbara

Students in 2017 - 2 of these are likely to leave by 2018

In any society, the availability of high-quality, affordable education not only determines the prosperity of that country’s knowledge economy, but also its future viability as a key player in our digital world.

This is one of the key reasons why I’ve always been of the belief that everyone, regardless of geography, social or economic status, is entitled to a good education.

Bringing this vision to life is what drives the work we do at Pilbara – an Australian-based global consultancy and software company working with universities and colleges to ensure their courses and programs are sustainable and accessible to all.… Visit the author's original post

Driving decisions through data in Australia’s Higher Education sector

Students in 2017 - 2 of these are likely to leave by 2018

Did you know the current university attrition rate sees one-in-five students leave their course in the first year – resulting in $3.5 billion of lost student lifetime value across the student lifecycle? And that one-in-three university students fail to complete the course they enrolled in within six years of beginning it?

Both trends are impacting Australia’s current higher education sector, and have the potential to adversely impact our country’s future economic prosperity considering fewer skilled graduates are entering the workforce.… Visit the author's original post

Power BI Dashboard in A Day

Power BI headerI love Power BI (really, it’s still my favourite service, 18 months after I first fell in love with it). And I am often caught sharing ways that it can be used in education – whether it’s for simple dashboards, or as a decision support tool for meetings, or for a live stream map of student movement around your university campus. And I like hearing stories about how other people are using it to tell stories – stories uncovered by looking at data in new ways.… Visit the author's original post

An event in Manly: Hololens, AR and the future of Business Intelligence

I know that this blog gets readers from all around the country, and the world, but I’d kick myself if I didn’t share this event, which is going to be just down the road from the centre of Sydney, in Manly

Microsoft HoloLens

The team at Lakeba and 360dgrees are doing some really smart stuff with 360 degree video and Hololens in a range of industries, including in education (their emerging scenarios for using both in education are fascinating). And on Thursday 17th November, at 6PM, they will be hosting a free evening filled with big ideas and great applications of Microsoft HoloLens.… Visit the author's original post

PowerBI Supports StAC’s Pastoral Care Programmes

For the last 12 months we have been actively exploring how Microsoft’s Business Intelligence product called PowerBI could be used at St Andrew’s College. I have blogged about our initial experimentations with this here and that post would be a … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

Analysing NAPLAN is only the beginning of improving learning with data

imageI recently met up with Mark Stanley, the Managing Director of Sydney-based Literatu, whose NAPLAN Explorer enables teachers to deep dive into analysing NAPLAN assessment data and to identify trends in learning. It’s one thing to make sense of NAPLAN reports, but another journey altogether to improve learning with data.

Mark’s a ’Big Data in Education’ explorer — he thinks non-stop about how schools can get the most out of linking together all of their data, to help students improve.… Visit the author's original post

Adelaide workshop: Using Power BI for Education Analytics – a free primer workshop

Look, this might be a bit awkward – I’m hosting an event in Adelaide next week, and that’s why the invite below talks about me in the third-person. If you can get over that, and you’re in Adelaide, then I’d love to see you in person!

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Microsoft offices, Adelaide, Thursday 24th March, 11AM

We’re seeing a rapid growth in the amount of data that’s available to schools to use for improving the teaching and learning journey. As we move from historical analysis to predictive analysis, leaders and teachers expect to become more empowered to look at their own data, and data on their students, and connect it to published internal and external data sources.… Visit the author's original post

Where to get free and paid Power BI training in Australia

Over the last month, I think I’ve answered the same question about half a dozen times: “Where can I get Power BI training”. Normally, if I get asked the same question just twice it’s enough of a hint for me to write a blog post, and point people towards it, but as you’ll have noticed, I’ve not had much of a chance to blog for a while…because I’ve been answering questions…which means I haven’t been able to write blog posts with answers…okay, let me stop the infinite loop.… Visit the author's original post

The Power Of Data

Increasingly, most organisations are seeking to “do more” with the data they collect and store and in this respect, St Andrew’s College is no different. For the last two years I have been looking at a number of tools that … Continue reading Visit the author's original post

How to buy academic Power BI licences – a step-by-step guide

There are a number of ways of buying Academic Power BI licences, so I thought I’d write a quick summary to help people, as I have had the question a few times recently from customers and partners. We make it easy to buy Power BI licences for commercial customers straight from the Power BI website, but for education customers, there’s a different route that gets you the special discounted license. (BTW I’m not a licensing expert, so there may be other ways of buying academic Power BI licences that I’ve not covered, so feel free to add more info via comments on this blog post!)

I’ll start by assuming you know what Power BI is, or you’ve been working with the free version available at powerbi.microsoft.com.

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How to buy academic Power BI licences – a step-by-step guide

There are a number of ways of buying Academic Power BI licences, so I thought I’d write a quick summary to help people, as I have had the question a few times recently from customers and partners. We make it easy to buy Power BI licences for commercial customers straight from the Power BI website, but for education customers, there’s a different route that gets you the special discounted license. (BTW I’m not a licensing expert, so there may be other ways of buying academic Power BI licences that I’ve not covered, so feel free to add more info via comments on this blog post!)

I’ll start by assuming you know what Power BI is, or you’ve been working with the free version available at powerbi.microsoft.com.

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Using Power BI for Education Analytics in schools

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I’m often asked to talk about Education Analytics or Learning Analytics, and I use the picture above for the first part of the story every time. Not because I’m lazy, but because I think that we need to talk about the true purpose of analytics projects. We’re trying to answer questions from people inside our organisation, but often we get diverted into a conversation about ‘reports’ - what will the report you want look like? What are the fields you want on it?… Visit the author's original post

Free edX Power BI course – starts next week

imageThere’s a brand new free edX course starting next week - “Analysing and Visualising Data with Power BI”, taught by Will Thompson. It is the perfect opportunity to learn how you can start to build an education analytics system for your schoolTAFEuniversity. I am a massive fan of using Power BI in education, because of the potential it offers to unlock institutional data and put the power  of analysis into the hands of users (rather than conventional BI systems that have concentrated on putting ‘reports’ into users hands).… Visit the author's original post

Australian Education Case Studies Update – November 2015

Education Case Studies iconOne question that I’m asked frequently about new projects is:

Who else is doing this?

In some cases, what people (partners/customers) are looking for is confirmation that they’re going to be at the innovative edge - and that what they are doing hasn’t been done before. But most of the time, they are looking for reassurance that somebody else has taken the journey before them!

So I collate a list of public education case studies and examples from within Australia, which will help answer the question.… Visit the author's original post

Student drop out in Australian schools

Yesterday media around the country reported that one in four Australian school students drop out without completing Year 12. The stories were based on a report from the Mitchell Institute, who published the report “Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out”, and a detailed factsheet about completion in senior schools. There were some key demographic factors that drove the differences in drop out rates - location, indigenous status, language background and socio economic status, and they also identified a number of key other factors - “poor grades in core subjects, low attendance, and disengagement in the classroom, including behavioural problems”.… Visit the author's original post

Partner Training – Building a Learning Analytics business

One of the key things that I’ve been focusing on over the last few months has been helping Microsoft’s partners to develop solutions that help education customers use data better - whether that’s for learning analytics, or looking at their management data in new ways. There are two key focus areas - one is making it more accessible to more people using better and simpler visualisation with Power BI; and the other is the power of the cloud to perform advanced analytics easily - for example, to deal with high volumes of data and provide easily interpreted answers to critical questions.… Visit the author's original post

Microsoft Australia Education Partner Summits – September 2015

We have just announced dates and venues for our 2015 Education Partner Summits in September, in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. As usual, the invitations are open for Microsoft Education Authorised Resellers and our other partners who deal with education customers.

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This year’s education ICT buying season is almost underway, and we have lots of new product and service announcements - including specific versions of Windows 10 and Office 365 for education - that are key for our partners and education customers.… Visit the author's original post

Power BI in education – telling stories with data

Power BI in Education

Last year, I recorded an example of using the Power BI in education, and specifically the Q&A service, to turn data into information on Australian universities (you can see it here on YouTube). Recently, I’ve been creating an example with school data, to show another way of using Power BI in education. This latest example is a walk-through of the Q&A side of Power BI, which provides the ability for users to ask questions about data using a simple search box.… Visit the author's original post

Case study – Applying Azure Machine Learning in education to student dropout

Having recently written two articles about the theory of applying Machine Learning in Education - “Two ways to use Azure Machine Learning in education” and “Making machine learning in education easier for every day users” - I think it’s time to dive into a specific example of machine learning in education where it is being used to support education outcomes in schools. The story comes from my colleagues on the Machine Learning blog.

Tacoma Public Schools logo

The example is from Washington State, in the US, where Tacoma Public Schools has been using it as part of their ongoing initiative to prevent student dropout for school students.… Visit the author's original post

Making machine learning in education easier for every day users

Last week I wrote “Two ways to use Azure Machine Learning in education”, which started exploring the use of algorithms, alongside cloud-based machine learning in education to solve some of the key challenges facing education institutions. The problem is that it all sounds so very geeky. Hey, I just wrote “algorithms” and “machine learning” in the first sentence, which kind of proves the geekiness. Although this kind of technology is making huge differences to our online lives (like protecting us from spam email and giving us just the 3 out of 100 emails that aren't spam) it’s also something that has been the domain of technical wizards.… Visit the author's original post

Two ways to use Azure Machine Learning in education

You can't read anything about technology trends these days without reading about Big Data and the power of algorithms. It pops up in education with lots of discussions of education analytics/learning analytics and a pile of other acronyms.  I think that the discussion is so intense in education is because it’s one of the key sectors that could tap into the power of data to improve business processes – whether that’s improving administration or improving teaching and learning. And it links directly to work our teams are doing with analytics and cloud services.… Visit the author's original post

Event Invitation: Keep Students. Save Millions

One of our specialist partners, S1 Consulting, work with universities and TAFE institutes across the country to help improve the value of student management systems, and the use ability for individual institutions to manage the student lifecycle and student experience.

Recently, they have been working closely with Microsoft, and international specialists in big data to apply the latest cloud analytics to the challenge of student retention and attrition management, and next month they are going to be launching their new Student Retention system at an event at our offices in Brisbane on 10th August.… Visit the author's original post

Open Data in Education–Sydney Open Data Day

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Two of our partners, Socrata (based in Seattle, they’re an organisation with deep expertise in open data) and Altis (a Sydney-based data  specialist who have completed a huge range of data projects with Australian education organisations) are running the “Sydney Open Data Day” briefing on 6 November, with a special focus on education data.

Sydney Open Data Day

The briefing is a fast-paced hour, at 11AM on Thursday 6th November, at Australia Technology Park (in Eveleigh) Sydney. It’s an opportunity to learn about open data initiatives and programs in NSW and the US.… Visit the author's original post