Tag Archives: latest

Live from Bett: What’s new in EDU– Change within the Microsoft Educator Center and fostering future-ready skills in students | | Microsoft EDU

It’s Day 2 of Bett and we’re back, ready to share the latest innovations in education technology and helping you get you started using the new tools and resources we announced last week. You can tune in live to watch special episodes of “What’s new in EDU” each day of Bett at 5:00PM Local London time or noon EST and 9 am PT. Here’s where you go on Thursday  and Friday. In our episode yesterday, we talked about choosing and managing devices and various ways educators can help students strengthen their communication and collaboration skills while using free tools like Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams. If you missed that episode, you can check it out here

Today we want to show you how to create learning experiences that inspire creativity, deepen student engagement and develop high-level cognitive skills. And we’ll tell you about free resources you can use to ensure your students are developing the future-ready skills they need to be prepared for success in college and careers.   

In this episode we’ll show you how:  

  • You can help teachers adopt new technology with free teacher training online in the improved Microsoft Educator Center and from Microsoft Stores
  • You can access STEM Lessons from Discovery Education directly from within Teams using the new Discovery Education app for Teams 
  • You can inspire creativity and professional skills for the Windows Video Editor 
  • Coming soon: You can teach students how to code using Python with Minecraft: Education Edition and Microsoft MakeCode 
  • You can use Minecraft to develop social-emotional skills like digital citizenship and mindfulness

 

Microsoft Educator Center 

We’re introducing an updated and improved MEC. The Microsoft Educator Center is a platform designed to address the needs of educators. It’s a digital hub where you can find free content, training and support to help you use technology effectively and drive improved student outcomes. 

The MEC is home to innovative courses and resources built by teachers for teachers. You can earn badges, go deep on topics through learning paths, build your transcript and grow your expertise. It’s a resource to help you gain new skills related to bringing technology into the classroom, fostering student-center learning, developing future ready skills, creating inclusive and accessible environments and more. Check out the new MEC experience here

STEM and CS 

We’re excited to announce that Discovery Education– the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms– is releasing a new app for Microsoft Teams, the digital hub for bringing classroom content, conversations, assignments and apps together. If you’re using Discovery Education’s high-quality, digital resources for instruction, we know you’ll be thrilled to see those materials available within Microsoft Teams. This integration will save you time, help keep your classes organized, and provide greater opportunities to collaborate with your students and colleagues. 

You’ll be able to access Discovery Education’s rich, standards-aligned STEM, Science, Math, Social Studies content and more from within Teams from your device and, connect to the largest educator community of its kind, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), and very soon, share content with students as an assignment within Teams. We’ll have more to come on that, so keep an eye on our Microsoft Educator Center for training opportunities. And check out the steps below for how to get started. 


MakeCode News 

We’re excited to announce the release of Microsoft MakeCode Arcade for general availability. Microsoft MakeCode Arcade is a new online game development environment for simple, visually appealing 2D sprite-based games. Students use drag-and-drop blocks or JavaScript to design and build games and collaborate with friends. Microsoft MakeCode is an open source, free platform for creating inclusive computer science learning experiences that support a progression from blocks to real-world text-based programming. Educators around the world have been using MakeCode for the micro:bit or MakeCode with Minecraft to introduce computing concepts into their classrooms.  


We are thrilled to have this new member of the Microsoft MakeCode family in MakeCode Arcade. It’s a great next step up from MakeCode for micro:bit, a development environment that’s popular with educators and students just starting off with coding. The early feedback from MakeCode Arcade Beta users has been positive. Educators say they’re finding MakeCode Arcade to be a draw for diverse learners, and that students love designing their own characters and bringing special effects and music into their games. For those ready to give MakeCode Arcade a try, you can find the latest updates on free curriculum resources here. And you and your students can get started now with this free tutorial here. No login needed! 

And in another exciting MakeCode development, we are thrilled to announce that MakeCode will support the Python programming language alongside support for JavaScript and Blocks. Python is a widely used programming language in education and data science, and we heard from many computer science teachers around the world, that they would like to see MakeCode support for Python.  


Minecraft: Education Edition 

Computational thinking is a vital skill to develop in students as we prepare them for the workplace, especially since the vast majority of future jobs will require digital skills. Teachers can introduce computer science to students of all ages with Minecraft: Education Editionwhich also now supports the Python programming language for MakeCode alongside JavaScript and block-based coding.

From easy Hour of Code tutorials to Computer Science curriculum based on CSTA standards, Minecraft offers all you need to teach coding across the STEM curriculum. Download a free coding demo lesson here for all Windows, Mac, and iPad users—no login required.

In addition to developing STEM skills, students are building social-emotional competencies with Minecraft: Education Edition. A new set of SEL lessons for Minecraft: Education Edition offers special lessons and immersive Minecraft worlds to help educators teach these skills and create inclusive classrooms. Discover the Mindful Knight—an interactive world that introduces mindfulness and self-regulation—and lessons on digital citizenship and empathy.

Curious what else Minecraft offers? Now you can access more than 200 lessons and 50 build challenges with the new and improved in-game Library. Whether you teach history, math, language arts, technology, or biology, Minecraft is an effective tool for engaging students in immersive project-based learning across the curriculum. Check out this story from educators in Ireland and learn how to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition in your school here.

STEM Lesson Plans

Microsoft Hacking STEM is a collection of free, standards-aligned lesson plans that bring project-based learning to the classroom using inexpensive, everyday materials.    

In November 2019, the world celebrated the 20-year anniversary of humans living aboard the International Space Station. To inspire and engage students, Microsoft Education and NASA have partnered and developed eight new lesson plans focused around the complex issues to think about when living in space. The collection of middle and high school materials connects core academic concepts with hands-on experiences. Students are challenged to design in 3D, analyze data, build sensors, and use virtual reality and work with machine learning and AI while engaging in discussions about living in space. 

We are also excited to share that  Carolina Biological Supply Company is launching three new classroom kits to support projects from the NASA collection. These projects include:  

  • Designing Astro Socks to protect astronauts’ feet in microgravity: This project has students investigating solutions to reduce the impact of working in microgravity on the astronauts’ feet.  
  • What is the electromagnetic spectrum: This asks students to measure radiation in our environment and examine the light waves and frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum. Students use sensors to capture live data and relate their observations about life in space to their own on Earth.  
  • Using materials science engineering to determine heat resistance: This asksstudents to explore the properties of different heat shield construction materials to protect crew and cargo returning from the International Space Station from the heat generated during the capsule’s descent.   

These kits will be available on the Carolinawebsite soon. We hope you leverage these resources to inspire, educate and engage your students.    

Data Streamer

The Excel Data Streamer provides students with a simple way to bring data from the physical world in and out of Excel’s powerful digital canvas. With a sensor connected to a microcontroller that is attached to Excel, you can introduce students to the emerging worlds of data science and the internet of things.  

We are continuing to add key STEM Partners that support streaming of real time data in Excel using the Data Streamer Add-in. At Bett, Vernier, Pasco and Sphero are showcasing new applications integrated with Excel. This will enable educators to use their existing professional sensors and probes with Excel and modernize their classrooms with live data to transform how students model modern scientific and engineering practices.  

An innovation story 

We love hearing stories about educators who use new tech tools in innovative ways to inform instruction and improve teaching and learning. One such story is that of Assistant Principal Lauren Taylor of Manitou Park Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington. She used Microsoft PowerApps, which allows you to build your own mobile apps using templates, to create an app for her school that helps teachers input and evaluate student reading assessment data. Read more about Lauren’s inspiring story here.  

New and immersive tools 

HoloLens 2 is now available and bringing immersive mixed-reality experiences to colleges, universities, and K-12 classrooms. Educators are turning to this new tool to enhance key experiences in areas such as life sciences and career and technical education. Some of the upgrades to the new HoloLens include an increased field of view and an enhanced ability to see intricate details on 3D images.  

Some examples of HoloLens in use in educational settings include Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, where students use it in anatomy classes. You can learn more about that here. And we’ve seen exciting examples of the HoloLens bringing lessons to life with younger students as well. Ewout Warringa recently offered insights into how he uses it to teach construction and technology coursework to 13- to 17-year-old students in the Netherlands in this inspiring blog post

And if you want to read up on various ways to bring immersive experiences to education and the potential benefits, please check out this white paper we previously released on the subject. 

New 3D Models in Windows and Office 

We are excited to announce we now have more than 600 new 3D education models available in Office 365 Education and Paint3D, a built-in creative app that comes with Windows 10. You read that right—more than 600!  

To learn more about how you can insert 3D models directly into Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on Windows and macOS, please check out this post. It’s relatively easy. You insert 3D models much like you insert other images.  

3D models can enhance lessons in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, the humanities and more. Research has shown that providing 3D visualization for students can lead to greater understanding around shapes and spatial relationships. 

Inspiring Creativity and offering new ways for students to share what they know 


Video Editor 
 

We have updates to Video Editor that we know you and your students will enjoy. Video Editor for Windows 10 is our full-featured set of video creation and editing tools for digital storytelling, and it’s free with every Windows 10 device. Students love to use it to create films with background music, text effects, 3D models and special effects. Now with Video Editor you can: 

  • Split video clips into two or more segments for easier editing 
  • Back up projects to share with peers and teachers, create templates, and import projects in progress to create a more efficient workflow 
  • Add content to your video project directly from Bing image search with Creative Commons licenses as captions  
  • Speed up and slow down video clips to create slow motion or time lapse content  
  • Rotate photos and videos between landscape and portrait for easier use in your projects
  • Have card thumbnails for a video project that reflect edits a user has done to that specific card  

If you haven’t tried Video Editor yet, look for it in your Start Menu or search for “Video.” And check out this guide for more details on how to get started using this creative tool. 

Up Next… 

Thanks for checking out our latest episode of What’s New in EDU, live from Bett. We hope you got some useful information about teacher training, bringing STEM resources into your classroom and ideas for boosting future-ready skills in your students. Please join us tomorrow live from Bett when we’ll look closely at specific ways to foster inclusion and accessibility in the classroom with the help of new ed tech resources. As always, share your feedback with us on Twitter by tagging @MicrosoftEDU! And be sure to sign up for the Microsoft Educator Newsletter here. 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft misconfiguration exposed 250M customer service records

Microsoft became the latest organization to accidentally expose private data on the web.

The software giant Wednesday admitted it had exposed 250 million customer support records on five Elasticsearch servers, which were inadvertently made publicly accessible on the web for nearly a month.

According to Comparitech, which discovered the exposure, most personally identifiable information (PII) such as payment information was redacted. However, exposed information included customer email addresses, IP addresses, locations, descriptions of customer service and support claims and cases, Microsoft support agent emails, case numbers, resolutions, remarks, and internal notes marked as confidential.

“I was immediately stunned by the size and by the structure of data there, and even when I saw that most of the data there was automatically redacted, still there were some records with personal data in plain text,” Bob Diachenko, leader of Comparitech’s security research team, told SearchSecurity.

Microsoft, which corrected the misconfiguration last month, issued a statement that said it found no malicious use of the exposed data. The company said its investigation found that misconfigured Azure security rules were applied to the databases in early December.

On Dec. 28, according to Comparitech, the databases were first indexed by BinaryEdge, a search engine. One day later, Diachenko discovered the exposed databases and immediately contacted Microsoft. Within two days, the servers and data were secured.

“They acted really quickly and professionally,” Diachenko said. “In general, Microsoft’s response was exemplary. I wish every company would have such a brilliant internet response protocol in place.”

“We have solutions to help prevent this kind of mistake, but unfortunately, they were not enabled for this database,” Microsoft said in its statement. It is unknown what these solutions are and why they weren’t in place; when SearchSecurity contacted Microsoft, the company declined to comment beyond the public statement.

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Windows 10 issues continue with Autopilot update

Although the latest issue with a Windows 10 update does not appear to have caused damage, users spoke of the need for further testing and oversight as Microsoft rolls out new versions of its OS.

Last week, Microsoft issued an update intended solely for Windows Autopilot-configured computers to the general public. Autopilot is a way for enterprises to automatically set up and configure new devices.

In its notes about the release, Microsoft indicated that the update should have no effect on users who don’t use Autopilot. Still, users offered mixed reactions to the news — especially given that past updates have caused Windows 10 issues such as data deletion, device freezing and the re-lettering of a computer’s drives.

William Warren, the owner of Brunswick, Maryland-based IT services company Emmanuel Technology Consulting, said he was concerned about continuing issues with Windows updates.

“They just can’t seem to get it right,” he said. “When you’re talking about an install base as diverse as [the one] Windows has to deal with, I don’t expect things to be totally problem-free but, with something like this, it’s like, ‘C’mon guys, pay attention.'”

William WarrenWilliam Warren

Warren said he had been keeping his clients on an older version of Windows 10 and would likely have them stay there until required to update.

“At least with this one, it didn’t become a huge data destruction debacle,” he said, referring to an October 2018 patch that deleted files of users who work with Known Folder redirection.

How software is currently developed is the real culprit, according to Warren said. He referred to across-the-board issues with software, including the flawed Boeing 737 Max software that led to plane crashes.

“What people need to do is stop fast iteration,” he said. “They need a second, third or fourth pair of eyes looking at code before it’s out the door. The mindset now is to fix bugs after release.”

With such a model, Warren said, companies treat customers as beta testers — or, in some cases, alpha testers.

“The file deletion debacle never should’ve gotten past QA,” he said, adding that he believed Microsoft had curtailed its use of testers in favor of having insiders find problems. “It’s Microsoft being tone-deaf.”

He did note that the latest problem did not seem to cause major issues.

“With this one, I see it as someone who didn’t tick a box they should have, or did tick a box they shouldn’t have,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Daniel BeatoDaniel Beato

Daniel Beato, director of technology at New Jersey IT consulting firm TNTMAX, said he hadn’t used Windows Autopilot and hadn’t been affected by the recent update. Still, he noted a lack of consistency with Microsoft’s rollouts.

“I think there needs to be more testing,” he said.

Beato said there seemed to be fewer Windows 10 issues with updates over time, although minor snags, like losing Google Chrome extensions after updating, remained.

“There were not a lot of big problems, and not a lot of problems with applications,” he said. “They have done a little better.”

Beato said, although the latest problem seems to be an oversight, it’s important to recognize that everyone can make mistakes.

“There’s a human part of things that, I think, sometimes we forget,” he said.

Automation tech continues to mature

Mark BowkerMark Bowker

Mark Bowker, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the tension between updating software and maintaining stability was an old one, although one that has heightened in recent years.

“Updates have always been a thorn in the side of IT pros, given their responsibility for deploying and maintaining them,” he said. “Five years ago, the cadence was much further apart. Now, it’s coming at a much faster pace, and it has some IT pros thrown.”

Updates, Bowker said, can bring two things: broken applications or an improved user experience.

Andrew HewittAndrew Hewitt

As far as Autopilot goes, Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt said he believed users would still have confidence in that service.

“There’s widespread belief that these new deployment automation technologies are still fairly new. They are going to have their bugs and issues and still require a fair amount of work to get them up and running,” he said. “I expect this space to mature rapidly over the next one to two years as customers find ways to optimize the service and Microsoft continues to mature [it].”

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Join us live or virtually at Bett as we bring you the latest updates on ed tech tools that can drive innovation and success in the classroom | | Microsoft EDU

A new year brings new opportunities to learn about all the latest and greatest from Microsoft Education. Join Microsoft at Bett 2020 in London on January 22-25, either online or right there with us at the event, being held at London’s ExCeL venue.

Bett is an annual event that explores how technology can empower educators and students to reach their full potential. Microsoft, as a worldwide partner of Bett, will be hosting a wide array of sessions and hands-on demonstrations on the show floor, along with inspirational talks to support educators looking for new ways to engage and empower their students.

To kick off a whole week of Bett, we’re releasing a special episode of What’s New in EDU, our show that gets you caught up on the new tools and updates coming from Microsoft Education this year. This Bett episode will be available on January 22 – watch it to learn more about all the new and exciting Microsoft classroom technology that will be available. And don’t forget to stay tuned to the Education Blog for more as it comes in!

We’ll also have special edition What’s New in EDU live events streaming daily from Bett in London. You can register to catch the livestream events each day with the following links:

Whether you’re looking for the latest in mixed reality for education, some grounded advice on how to transform your classroom digitally, or want a peek at what’s next for Minecraft: Education Edition, the schedule below is a good place to start, learn and participate. Make sure to stop by Booth NF40 to see all the new experiences we have relating to STEM, Virtual Reality and new tools for the classroom.

If you’re joining us at Bett in person, we hope to see you at one of the following highlights:

Microsoft keynote | Bett Arena | Wednesday, 22 January, 13:35 – 14:15

Hybrid Intelligences: Amplifying Human Potential

Young people are leveraging emerging technologies such as AI to raise their voices and build solutions to the most pressing issues they face. Emotional intelligence is converging with artificial intelligence as researchers merge psychology and computer science. And educators are adapting and innovating in a profession that will look significantly different by 2030.

Join Microsoft’s Anthony Salcito and Barbara Holzapfel,  Affective Computing researcher Dr. Daniel McDuff, and NetHope Emerging Technologies Initiative Lead Leila Toplic as we explore the technology that will empower educators to navigate the changing needs of the staffroom and the classroom, and enable students to accelerate their impact and transform the world.

Microsoft Sessions
In addition to joining for our keynote in the Bett Arena, be sure to visit us across the Bett show at our own Learn Live Theatre, Microsoft Training Academy, the Bett PD Theatre, Bett Schools Theatre and the Bett Higher and Further Education Theatre!

Learn Live Theatre

This is the perfect place to go if you are looking to see and hear about the latest product releases, see demonstrations, and discover ways you can unlock learning in your students. Each session is held on Microsoft stand NF40 and lasts 25 minutes.

 Time Title
Wed – Sat
10:15-10:30
What’s new in EDU?
Wed – Fri
10:30-11:00
Meet the New Microsoft Edge & Learn How to Deploy it Today
Sat
10:30-11:00
Immersive Reader is Everywhere and other Apps to support your inclusive classroom including: Translator, Presenter Coach, and Seeing AI
Wed – Fri
11:00-11:30
Engage and amplify every scholar with Flipgrid
Sat
11:00-11:30
Unleash Creativity with Windows 10
Wed – Fri
11:30-12:00
Make your classroom more inclusive with built-in, free, and non-stigmatizing learning tools
Sat
11:30-12:00
Intelligent Forms features to transform your data collection and analysis
Wed – Sat
12:00-12:30
Greenwood Academies: Empowering students with Dell Affordable Devices and M365
Wed – Fri
12:30-13:00
Immersive Reader is Everywhere and other Apps to support your inclusive classroom including: Translator, Presenter Coach, and Seeing AI
Sat
12:30-13:00
Build confidence and improve your communication skills with Presenter Coach in PowerPoint
Wed – Sat
13:00-13:30
Empower individual teachers and your entire school system with Microsoft’s free and adaptable professional development resources
Wed – Fri
13:30-14:00
How Office can help your students develop into great writers
Wed – Fri
14:00-14:30
Going for full 1:1 with Surface Pro – journey of infrastructure, CPD and teacher involvement
Wed – Fri
14:30-15:00
Using Microsoft Teams to enable effective professional development
Wed – Fri
15:00-15:30
Develop a Teaching and Learning Video Culture with Teams and Stream | Connect with meetings and live events, teach with web-based screen recording and create on mobile using the Flipgrid Camera
Wed – Fri
15:30-16:00
How Microsoft Sparks Learning: Classroom stories
Wed – Fri
16:00-16:30
Make your Own Arcade Games with MakeCode
Wed – Fri
16:30-17:00
Create inclusive live presentations with PowerPoint
Wed – Fri
17:00-17:30
Deliver Student Centered Learning with Education Devices
Wed – Fri
17:30-18:00
Drive greater faculty engagement and professional development with your faculty using Teams


Microsoft Training Academy

If you are looking for a hands-on opportunity to try, test and experiment with Microsoft products and devices, this is the perfect stage for you. Get tips and tricks and learn about the best way to use a Microsoft solution in the classroom, from and with our own teachers, trainers, and Microsoft Learning Consultants. Each session is held in the Platinum Suite Level 2 foyer and lasts 25 minutes.

Time Title
Wed – Sat
10:30-11:00
How we empower teaching and learning by getting teachers to learn and students to teach
Wed – Sat
11:00-11:30
Grow your practice with free professional learning and resources with the Microsoft Educator Center
Wed – Sat
11:30-12:00
How you can build an Inclusive classroom with Microsoft Learning Tools
Wed – Sat
12:00- 12:30
Helping students grow and improve with Teams Assignments
Wed – Sat
12:30-13:00
The impact that OneNote Class Notebook is driving for teachers, students, and classrooms everywhere
Wed – Sat
13:00-13:30
Enabling your school with Office’s free and easy-to-use web apps!
Wed – Sat
13:30-14:00
Utilizing smart assistance and intelligence across Office apps
Wed – Sat
14:00-14:30
Transformative Teaching with Minecraft: Education Edition
Wed – Fri
14:30-15:00
 Build an app in 25 mins or less to free up teacher time
Wed – Fri
15:00-15:30
App Smashing in Teams
Wed – Fri
15:30-16:00
Maximizing Teams for your education institution
Wed – Fri
16:00-16:30
Foster an inclusive classroom with Flipgrid
Wed – Fri
16:30-17:00
Grow your practice with free professional learning and resources with the Microsoft Educator Center
Wed – Fri
17:00-17:30
The impact that OneNote Class Notebook is driving for teachers, students, and classrooms everywhere
Wed – Fri
17:30-18:00
How you can build an Inclusive classroom with Microsoft Learning Tools


Microsoft on the Stage (PD Theatre)

Time Title
Wed
13:00 – 13:30
(South Hall)
Empower students with the Immersive Reader in the inclusive classroom
Wed
15:00 – 15:30
(South Hall)
Whole school professional learning with the Microsoft Educator Center
Fri
15:00 – 15:30
(North Hall)
Saving time through authentic assessment using Microsoft Forms


Microsoft on the Stage (Schools Theatre)

Time Title
Wed
11:50 – 12:20
Digital transformation of teaching and learning to support all
Wed
15:10 – 15:40
Innovation Driven By Community
Thurs
11:45 – 12:15
Improving outcomes through the use of technology in the classroom
Thurs
14:45 – 15:10
Implementing digital transformation – Wimbledon High’s Journey
Fri
11:50 – 12:20
Enriching and engaging learning in a challenging environment
Fri
15:10 – 15:40
Learning Tool in Action:  Helping Students of all Abilities thrive at Louis Riel


Microsoft on the Stage (Higher and Further Education Theatre)

Time Title
Wed
11:50 – 12:20
DigiLearn: Empowering transformational change in education
Wed
15:30 – 16:00
Working better together: Using Microsoft Teams to embed digital skills at Newcastle University
Thurs
11:35 – 12:05
Strategic Digital Transformation: A blueprint for adoption
Thurs
15:00 – 15:30
A digital University by ethos and design – how the university of Bath is putting digital at its core
Fri
11:35 – 12:05
Establishing a digital learning platform that works for all
Fri
15:00 – 15:30
Transforming Teaching, Learning and Assessment using technology: empowering all learners to achieve more

Community Learning Center | Booth SM45 |Wednesday, 22 January – Saturday, 25 January

jp.ik and Microsoft have been partnering together for the last decade and gathered the necessary expertise in this vertical by implementing several large-scale sustainable projects around the world and impacting over 16 million students and 1 million teachers in over 70 countries. Throughout our journey we have been facing the lack of basic structures (schools), the lack of basic utilities (electricity and sanitation) and the lack of telecommunication network. This is why jp.ik, Microsoft and their partners have come together to create a Community Learning Center to empower rural areas and connect them throughout the entire globe.

We look forward to welcoming you in Booth SM45, located next to the Bett arena in the South Hall to discover our solar-powered, digitally connected Community Learning Center.

Microsoft Certifications Testing Lab | Platinum Suite 5 |Wednesday, 22 January – Saturday, 25 January

In partnership with Microsoft, Prodigy Learning is offering Bett 2020 attendees the opportunity to complete a Microsoft Certification Exam for FREE. We are delighted to announce the Microsoft Technical Certifications (MTC) in Azure Fundamentals, M365 Fundamentals & Dynamics Fundamentals. Learn more.

Microsoft Partner Adventure |Wednesday, 22 January – Saturday, 25 January

Take part in the Microsoft Partner Adventure and for a chance to WIN a Surface Pro, a Surface Go, or a 3rd party partner Windows device daily! Discover Microsoft’s unique off-campus partners and answer a question to reveal a code, scanned using the Bett app!  Participants will have to visit all 15 partner booths to answer all the questions, scan the QR codes.  Competition closes at 15:00 and winner drawn at 16:00 daily (Wed to Fri) and closes at 13:00 and winners drawn at 14:00 on Saturday in front of the Learn Live Theater on the Microsoft stand NF40. Winners must be present to collect their prizes.

Solutions Showcase | Platinum Suite 7 |Wednesday, 22 January & Thursday, 23 January, 10:30 – 16:15

Digital transformation is an indisputable force revolutionizing industries and reshaping the workplace. Education leaders around the globe are faced with the need to prepare students for this new world. These sessions are your opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and hear first-hand global experiences and trends and how these might help support you.  Learn more.

Microsoft Education Developer Platform and Data Solutions | Gallery Suite 8 |Wednesday, 22 January – Friday, 24 January

This free event features sessions in two tracks for technical audiences:

CIOs and IT Pros –

Come learn how Microsoft can integrate with your IT system and learning apps to save time and data management costs, protect student data privacy, and accelerate learning in the Classroom.

Application Developers and Microsoft Partners –

Come learn how Microsoft can help you create and deliver applications that empower learners and educators to achieve more.  Whether you are enhancing an existing application or building a new solution from scratch, Microsoft’s Education platform can help you facilitate deployment, maximize inclusion, increase engagement and improve outcomes.

Secure your seat and register for the sessions that you would like to attend. Learn more.

Transformation Leaders’ Summit | Platinum Suite 6 | Thursday, January 23, 10:30 – 13:00

Driving successful change is challenging whether in an individual school or system-wide. Across the world, leaders are discovering the most effective ways to improve student experience and outcomes, using technology to support learning, teaching and school administration. This Microsoft event aims to explore innovative, impactful journeys that leaders are taking to support their students, bringing together hands-on experience, networking opportunities and strategic insight for leaders at school and system-level. Learn more.

Privacy & Security Summit | Platinum Suite 6 | Friday, January 24, 10:30 – 14:00

Microsoft Worldwide EDU will be launching VIP invitation only CEO / CIO / CSO Privacy and Security Summit at the BETT conference. Subject matter experts from Microsoft product teams will be listening to customer feedback and discussing AI, Privacy and Security in K-12. Agenda will encompass discussions around student security on campus, trends for privacy in schools worldwide as well as how AI can drive positive impact. Learn more.

Become a Microsoft Global Training Partner | Platinum Suite 6 | Thursday, January 23, 13:30 – 15:30

Join this session to learn about the Microsoft Global Training Partner Program, explore how it fits your existing Professional Development training model and what are the partnership models possible with Microsoft. Learn more.

MakeCode Saturday | Platinum Suite 6 & 7 | Saturday, 25 January, 10:00 – 15:00

Microsoft MakeCode Saturday is a fun, hands-on workshop at BETT that is free and open to teachers, parents and students.  Microsoft MakeCode is an open source platform for creating engaging computer science learning experiences that support a progression path from Blocks into real-world programming. Learn more about MakeCode Saturday.

Explore tools for Future Ready SkillsExplore tools for Future Ready Skills

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Author: Microsoft News Center

S/4HANA Cloud integrates Qualtrics for continuous improvement

SAP is focused on better understanding what’s on the minds of their customers with the latest release of S/4HANA Cloud.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1911, which is now available, has SAP Qualtrics experience management (XM) embedded into the user interface, creating a feedback loop for the product management team about the application. This is one of the first integrations of Qualtrics XM into SAP products since SAP acquired the company a year ago for $8 billion.

“Users can give direct feedback on the application,” said Oliver Betz, global head of product management for S/4HANA Cloud at SAP. “It’s context-sensitive, so if you’re on a homescreen, it asks you, ‘How do you like the homescreen on a scale of one to five?’ And then the user can provide more detailed feedback from there.”

The customer data is consolidated and anonymized and sent to the S/4HANA Cloud product management team, Betz said.

“We’ll regularly screen the feedback to find hot spots,” he said. “In particular we’re interested in the outliers to the good and the bad, areas where obviously there’s something we specifically need to take care of, or also some areas where users are happy about the new features.”

Oliver BetzOliver Betz

Because S/4HANA Cloud is a cloud product that sends out new releases every quarter, the customer feedback loop that Qualtrics provides will inform developers on how to continually improve the product, Betz said.

“This is the first phase in the next iteration [of S/4HANA Cloud], which will add more granular features,” he said. “From a product management perspective, you can potentially have a new application and have some questions around the application to better understand the usage, what customers like and what they don’t like, and then to take it in a feedback loop to iterate over the next quarterly shipments so we can always provide new enhancements.”

Qualtrics integration may take time to provide value

It has taken a while, but it’s a good thing that SAP has now begun a real Qualtrics integration story, said Jon Reed, analyst and co-founder of Diginomica.com, an analysis and news site that focuses on enterprise applications. Still, SAP faces a few obstacles before the integration into S/4HANA Cloud can be a real differentiator.

Jon ReedJon Reed

“This isn’t a plug-and-play thing where customers are immediately able to use this the way you would a new app on your phone, like a new GPS app. This is useful experiential data which you must then analyze, manage and apply,” Reed said. “Eventually, you could build useful apps and dashboards with it, but you still have to apply the insights to get the value. However, if SAP has made those strides already on integrating Qualtrics with S/4HANA Cloud 1911, that’s a positive for them and we’ll see if it’s an advantage they can use to win sales.”

The Qualtrics products are impressive, but it’s still too early in the game to judge how the SAP S/4HANA integration will work out, said Vinnie Mirchandani, analyst and founder of Deal Architect, an enterprise applications focused blog.

“SAP will see more traction with Qualtrics in the employee and customer experience feedback area,” Mirchandani said. “Experiential tools have more impact where there are more human touchpoints — employees, customer service, customer feedback on product features — so I think the blend with SuccessFactors and C/4HANA is more obvious. This doesn’t mean that S/4 won’t see benefits, but the traction may be higher in other parts of the SAP portfolio.”

Vinnie MirchandaniVinnie Mirchandani

SAP SuccessFactors is also beginning to integrate Qualtrics into its employee experience management functions.

It’s a good thing that SAP is attempting to become a more customer-centric company, but it will need to follow through on the promise and make it a part of the company culture, said Faith Adams, senior analyst who focuses on customer experience at Forrester Research.

Many companies are making efforts to appear to be customer-centric, but aren’t following through with the best practices that are required to become truly customer-centric, like taking actions on the feedback they get, Adams said.

“It’s sometimes more of a ‘check the box’ activity rather than something that is embedded into the DNA or a way of life,” Adams said. “I hope that SAP does follow through on the best practices, but that’s to be determined.”

Bringing analytics to business users

SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1911 also now has SAP Analytics Cloud directly embedded. This will enable business users to take advantage of analytics capabilities without going to separate applications, according to SAP’s Betz.

It comes fully integrated out of the box and doesn’t require configuration, Betz said. Users can take advantage of included dashboards or create their own.

“The majority usage at the moment is in the finance application where you can directly access your [key performance indicators] there and have it all visualized, but also create and run your own dashboards,” he said. “This is about making data more available to business users instead of waiting for a report or something to be sent; everybody can have this information on hand already without having some business analyst putting [it] together.”

Dana GardnerDana Gardner

The embedded analytics capability could be an important differentiator for SAP in making data analytics more democratic across organizations, said Dana Gardner, president of IT consultancy Interarbor Solutions LLC. He believes companies need to break data out of “ivory towers” now as machine learning and AI grow in popularity and sophistication.

“The more people that use more analytics in your organization, the better off the company is,” Gardner said. “It’s really important that SAP gets aggressive on this, because it’s big and we’re going to see much more with machine learning and AI, so you’re going to need to have interfaces with the means to bring the more advanced types of analytics to more people as well.”

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For Sale – Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p, i5 4690K 3.5-3.9 GHz, Blu-Ray, Windows 10 Pro,

Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p

Windows 10 Pro Activated through Microsoft Upgrade Program and fully updated
Nero 16 Platinum HD
Intel Core i5 4690K 3.5 GHz Quad Core CPU (K for overclockable) Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz
Pioneer BD-RW BDR-207DBK (Blu-Ray)
DVD-R
Multi Media Card Reader
2 x USB2 + 6 x USB3
8 GB DDRAM3 1600 MHz
500 GB HDD

1 GB DDRAM5 EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 PCIE GRFX Card 2 x DVI + HD Audio

Onboard HD Audio
Intel HD 4600 GRFX 2 GB (on the CPU)
Onboard 2 x Dual Display Port

Aerocool Integrator 600w PSU

This is a very fast capable PC. It’s actually a Business Workstation described as cutting edge computing for large enterprise by Lenovo.

I bought this to keep for myself hence some of the upgrades. I swapped out the PSU to accommodate the GRFX Card that I already had but I decided to get a SFF M93p instead so this is now surplus to requirements.

Lenovo M93p (£150)
Windows 10 Pro Activated through Microsoft Upgrade Program and fully updated
Nero 14 Platinum
Intel Core i5 4670 3.4 – 3.8 GHz Turbo Mode CPU
8 GB DDRAM3
500 GB HDD
DVD-R/RW
2 x USB2 + 6 x USB3
ATI Radeon HD5450 1 GB PCIE GRFX Card + HD Audio

Onboard HD Audio
Onboard 2 x Dual Display Port

Keyboard & Mouse

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SAP Data Warehouse Cloud may democratize data analytics

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is the latest products entrant designed to democratize data analytics.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a data warehouse as a service product that became generally available in October. It connects a variety of data sources but enables organizations to decide where and how they want to keep and access the data.

It includes some features that should make it attractive to business users, particularly for those already running SAP systems, but SAP Data Warehouse Cloud faces a crowded market. Still, it’s a product SAP clearly needs to remain competitive in the data warehouse and data analytics game, according to one analyst.

Dan LahlDan Lahl

Making data analytics more applicable and accessible to the business is the main goal of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, said Dan Lahl, SAP vice president of product marketing.

“In SAP Data Warehouse Cloud we’ve added new things to the data warehouses that allow customers to define their own data sets, and either virtualize or pull in that data so they can make decisions on exactly the data they want to look at,” Lahl said. “Usually you get five guys with four spreadsheets and everybody’s arguing over who’s got the data and the decision of record. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud will either virtualize or move data, specifically to the information the customer needs, and then the business user decides what dashboards or what reports they want to use on that data. It’s getting to business decisions more quickly for business users.”

One feature, Spaces, enables business users to align data in ways that are aligned with their business or process needs.

“Data warehouses used to take a long time to build. It was very expensive, it took a number of people to build them, and by the time you got to build the reports that you wanted, nobody wanted them anymore,” Lahl said. “This is kind of the antithesis of that, getting the business user to look and access the data they want and then build reporting and visualizations off of that.”

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud also includes SAP Analytics Cloud, which provides built-in reporting and dashboard capabilities.

Opening up analytics

Velux Group, a global manufacturing of windows based in Horsholm, Denmark, has been evaluating SAP Data Warehouse Cloud as a key part in the evolution of its data analytics program. The company has 27 production sites in 10 countries, sales offices in 40 countries, and 11,500 employees.

Andreas MadsenAndreas Madsen

Velux Group is a longtime SAP customer, running SAP ECC for ERP and BusinessObjects BI and Business Warehouse (BW) for data analytics and storage. However, the company has run into some limitations with BusinessObjects and is looking to overcome those limitations with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, said Andreas Madsen, senior data and analytics partner at Velux.

Velux is in the process of developing a new business model to sell more directly to consumers, in addition to the traditional channel of installers and resellers.

“Normally, it’s the installers and dealers that actually sell our windows — we sell through them. So we don’t know that much about our end users, but that’s changing as we’re moving into the online market as well,” Madsen said.

Direct selling requires more flexibility than what Velux’s current systems offer.

“There’s a transition in what we need to know about our end users and how we use data,” he said. “And although we have a very good, well-functioning ECC system, BW, and some classic reporting, it’s really hard to navigate in, it’s really hard to explore data when everything is structured in the data warehouse.”

The ultimate strategic goal is for Velux to become more customer-centric, and Madsen said that in order to do this, the company needs a more open data platform that enables business users to link the data as needed.

“There is a world outside of our corporate enterprise systems. We cover all the business processes in Velux, but if you look at marketing they might have 50 or 60 different databases that that they use data from, they need to be able to cater to that data as well,” Madsen said. “It’s important data, but it’s not something that we are in control of, so we need to give them a platform where they can operate and then combine that with the enterprise data.”

SAP’s needed reaction to data analytics market

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a necessary evolution of SAP’s HANA-based data analytics approach, especially given the crowded, competitive analytics market, said Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst with Interarbor Solutions LLC.

It needs to be noted that SAP is reacting to the market rather than making the market.
Dana GardnerPresident and principal analyst, Interarbor Solutions LLC

“There are lot of companies out there like Qlik, Tableau, and others that are making inroads and we’re seeing more of this analytics as a service and the democratization of data,” Gardner said. “SAP is recognizing that they need to compete better in all aspects of data analytics and not just the enterprise systems of record integration part of it. But it needs to be noted that SAP is reacting to the market rather than making the market.”

Dana GardnerDana Gardner

The SAP Data Warehouse Cloud approach focuses on the democratization of data analytics and makes it simple and automated behind the scenes, so that more business users get the types of analytics they need based on their business role and what work they are doing, Gardner said.

“You don’t want to make data analytics just available to data scientists. It’s time to break down the ivory tower,” he said. “The more people that use more analytics in your organization, the better you’re going to be as a company, so it’s important that SAP gets aggressive and out on front on this.”

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For Sale – Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p, i5 4690K 3.5-3.9 GHz, Blu-Ray, Windows 10 Pro,

ThinkCentre M93, which boasts the latest processers, innovative productivity features. M93p and adds Intel® vPro™ to optimize remote manageability.

Intel Core i5 4690K 3.5 GHz Quad Core CPU (K for overclockable) Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz

Onboard HD Audio
Intel HD 4600 GRFX 2 GB (on the CPU)
Onboard 2 x Dual Display Port

This is a very fast capable PC. It’s actually a Business Workstation described as cutting edge computing for large enterprise by Lenovo.

I bought this to keep for myself hence some of the upgrades. I swapped out the PSU to accommodate the GRFX Card that I already had but I decided to get a SFF M93p instead so this is now surplus to requirements.

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Veritas Flex appliance line extends out to the edge

Veritas is taking its Flex backup appliance to the edge.

The Veritas Flex 5150 is the latest addition to the vendor’s Flex line of “container-based” appliances running its flagship NetBackup data protection software. These appliances are designed to allow multiple Veritas NetBackup deployments on one machine. The 1u 5150 model launched this week is smaller than the earlier 5240 and 5340 models, and is designed to be deployed to places with limited IT resources such as branch or remote offices.

Veritas claims the 5150 appliance requires less initial configuration than the other Flex models, and is designed for non-IT personnel to set up the device at the remote site. Once the appliance is set up and communicating with machines in the main office, administrators can remotely customize configurations and settings from the data center.

Deploying a Veritas Flex appliance at the edge allows data deduplication to take place there, reducing the amount of data that goes over the network to the data center. It also lowers ingress charges for pushing data to the cloud. Flex customers can restore from on-premises backup copies, copies at the central site or backups in the cloud.

Veritas executive vice president Phil Brace said the Flex 5150 can serve as a standalone backup appliance for small businesses. However, he said the main purpose is to extend the backup capabilities of enterprises running NetBackup in their data center.

The edge is increasingly becoming an area backup vendors should be paying attention to, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Christophe Bertrand said. IoT sensors and monitors can generate large amounts of data that is critical to the business, but the locations where this data is created may not even have IT staff.

“These are places where serious work is being done, where transactions are being completed,” Bertrand said.

Companies do have other backup options at the edge. Bertrand pointed to vendors such as Unitrends, Arcserve and Veeam, with products that extend protection out to remote and branch offices.

render of Veritas Flex 5150 appliance
The Veritas Flex 5150 is the smallest of the Flex lineup, which includes the 5240 and 5340 models.

These are often lightweight on-premises appliances. Enterprises may also turn to backup as a service (BaaS) on the edge. For instance, newcomer Metallic, a SaaS-focused subsidiary of Commvault, advertises remote office backup as one of its use cases.

When comparing on-premises backup and BaaS for remote offices, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of both, said Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC. BaaS is simpler in terms of deployment and billing, removing the need for on-premises infrastructure. A local backup appliance provides faster recovery and access to backup even if lines of communication go down. The recovery needs will be different for every customer, so it is never right to say one option is always better than the other.

Goodwin shared Bertrand’s view that the need to protect data on the edge is increasing. Aside from sensors and monitors for gathering data for surveillance, research or diagnostics, one of the most important sources of data is point-of-sale (POS) systems. For many consumer-facing businesses, POS data is their only record of transaction with customers, and losing that data could be detrimental.

“This has been a problem that’s been around a long time,” Goodwin said. “One of the realities is there’s less IT in organizations now.”

Goodwin said Veritas’s edge-focused Flex appliance really simplifies backup for remote environments. It means every retail store in a chain can have an appliance, but they don’t also need IT staff at every site.

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