Friday 29 August 2014

Tracking "cusp" students for NCEA

It is that time of the year where schools have a major focus on NCEA cusp students. We've created a couple of videos to help you at school track them down so a bit of focus can be applied. Thought I might post them up as a wee reminder of the capability we have across Classic and edge.


With students increasingly managing their own learning (albeit at times with some encouragement), it is good to hear of students logging into either the student part of Classic Web Portals or the student portal in edge - no excuses for not being right on top of credits achieved, UE and, numeracy and literacy status!

Of course parents have similar access through their respective portals. Even though NCEA has been around a while, parents still don't have a real handle on it. Here is a link to the NZQA website to the mobile app they have developed as a general guide:

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Chris O'Donoghue Appointed CTO at MUSAC

We're really thrilled to announce the appointment of Chris O'Donoghue to the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at MUSAC.

It is great to be able to attract some one of Chris’ calibre to the MUSAC team. His extensive software development, architecture, security and education sector experience will be invaluable to the team as we embark on our next growth initiative alongside feature additions in learning analytics and complexities of timetables. Chris is genuinely excited about the potential of edge to meet many of the challenges faced by the sector and for MUSAC to deliver what schools really need.

Welcome to the team Chris!

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Initial Impressions

Lucky enough to get my hands on one of the new Surface Pro 3's, and jumping straight to the point, so far I'm impressed. There are two things that impress me:
  1. Speed. It is fast. From start up through to application responsiveness. It is quick.
  2. Integration with OneDrive.
Phil (everyone knows Phil from MUSAC) loaded MUSAC Classic onto his Pro3 and it flies. Yep, that is Classic on Win8.1 AND fast.

In my experience so far, from power up to login only takes a second or two and application response is really snappy. Impressive. What is my baseline? I have had an iPad and Surface RT. Pro3 blows the RT right out of the water. Probably should because the performance of the RT is not that flash. Not in the same ballpark. But in comparison to laptops and my brand new desktop machine, the Surface Pro3 is faster and snappier.

My iPad comparison is probably a bit out of date. We have an iPad mini at home and again the Pro3 seems quicker.

The comment I'll make here is what I recommended when I was in Japan on a football and cultural exchange with the Shane Rufer School of Football. I had my Surface RT on the trip and used it to upload trip photos to our Facebook page, and as the trip was both football and cultural exchange, ran the PowerPoint presentation from the device. As a relatively small form factor and lightweight device, it was fantastic. My Japanese hosts asked which do I prefer: iPad or Surface. I sat on the fence. I indicated that the iPad was a better consumer at home device, but I preferred the surface for business. On the Japan trip, the ability to plug into the RT USB port was invaluable. The link to work and home was excellent and I was hooked into social media, but I retained a preference for the iPad for "play".

In my opinion, my preference is for an iPad for non-work purposes. The Apple app store seems to have a lot more apps, and it seems to have more fun. Current App store for Win8.1 in comparison is quickly growing, but in my opinion is still light in comparison. But pure business focus, hands down I'm a surface fan now through and through.

The other thing I really like about the surface Pro3 is the integration with OneDrive. Probably this says more about the win8.1 platform, but in the Pro3 it just defaulted to leveraging the OneDrive tool. I like it. I log onto my surface and can access all the docs and photos etc, retains favourites and is automatically saving docs there.

Microsoft seems to have caught up in the cloud space, the surface fits into the ecosystem and so far I really like it. Thumbs up!