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What is Factile and How Can It Be Used for Teaching?



Factile is fun. It’s a quiz-based platform that’s designed to be instantly recognizable from game shows, making it easy to use for students and educators alike.

This system is designed specifically to look like Jeopardy, minus the right is wrong answer system. This keeps things simple with a free option to get you started immediately. But there is also a premium model that adds in more features to make the whole thing even more immersive and fun.

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Why Australian universities need to innovate, invest and transform to remain globally competitive



By Tony Maguire, Regional Director, Australia & New Zealand at D2L

In 2019, there were three-quarters of a million international students studying in Australia. Since then, that number has fallen by almost 37%, according to the Australian Department of Education. China was and still is Australia’s largest source market for international students, followed by India and Nepal. Encouragingly, after a challenging three years, early indications reveal that 2023 could be a record year for international university students coming to Australia to study.

The Australian government and higher education sector needs to be more proactive if they want to remain competitive in international education. It connects Australia with the world, delivers better education outcomes for our domestic students, and contributes to the national economy. In 2019, international education earned $40.3 billion and supported around 250,000 Australian jobs.

In the coming years, we need to do things differently as we rebuild to make the higher education sector more sustainable, create new growth opportunities and enhance the experiences of domestic and international students. As international student numbers start to increase again, we also need to have a greater diversity of students coming into Australia.

The Australian Strategy for International Education 2021–2030 sets a new direction for international education for the next ten years. The Strategy will be backed by more than $37 million in targeted support measures, including regulatory fee relief and an Innovation Development Fund for English language providers.

Upskilling or reskilling to establish skills alignment

Increasing the diversity of courses in which international students can enrol introduces opportunities for a more substantial alignment between international education and Australian skills needs.

The National Skills Commission (NSC) has identified skills needs in emerging fields that will drive Australia’s growth in the future. Its data is promising. Skills that are new and growing in the economy—such as renewable energy, cyber security and infection control—are already being taught through Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. In addition, over half of the occupations listed in shortage on the NSC’s Skills Priority List have a pathway through the VET system.

Remaining competitive

How will universities remain competitive internationally in this metamorphic age that’s fundamentally changing how we live, work and learn? What will the nature and role of a university be?

We must ask what will make a university successful in this new world. What will Australia’s students and employers demand of our universities in the future? And what should universities consider today to be ready to deliver truly transformative outcomes?

Disrupting university business models

There is a dichotomy between competing needs. On the one hand, universities need to find ways to stabilise and optimise their core business. On the other, they need to embrace change, innovation and opportunity to enable future growth. University leaders need to be ready to reposition their institutions by nurturing deeper collaboration with industry and co-creating new business models and learning experiences.

Shifting from faculty-focused to learner-centric 

Australia is encouraging social institutions in the public and private sectors to focus on those they serve. The implications of this shift for universities are significant because learners are becoming more demanding consumers of educational services. Universities must evolve their paradigm—from student to learner, from teaching to designing and managing learning experiences, and from degree based to continuous learning.

Reimagining the physical campus for a virtual world 

Technology is impacting the educational landscape as learning moves to a hybrid state. For many, however, the novelty of a 60-second journey to their desk at home for an online lecture may have worn off somewhat as they miss the on-campus experience with the combined energy of students and staff. Unfortunately, many international students still cannot be on campus due to local lockdowns and limited access to affordable flights. That is why access to quality online learning is essential for them.

Universities need to re-think the meaning of “campus” in a future where digital and physical infrastructure intersects and space, place, and time are more fluid. What is the contribution and value of “campus” in the students’ life-long learning journey?

Shifting the role of education institutions

Universities are evolving from their traditional roles as teaching and research centres to play a big part in Australia’s future prosperity. As economic growth hubs and innovation incubators, universities are forging more intimate ties to their local communities. In the future, universities will need to reimagine their physical footprints and facilities, with opportunities to use them in new ways to help address broader social and societal needs.

The takeout 

Commentary around the recent Universities Australia conference foreshadows profound changes in the education sector. Policymakers and university leaders agree that a reset is needed to work together better to meet immediate and longer-term challenges and adjust the settings to help Australian universities innovate, invest and transform.

Our universities can then be recognised as one of Australia’s critical economic assets, with the Australian Government taking a crucial role in ensuring they are globally competitive.

Tony Maguire is Regional Director, Australia & New Zealand at D2L


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How to Make the Most of Google Workspace for Education’s Features



There have been significant changes and advances made to Google Workspace over the past three years. Google is always adding products and features to its platform, and IT administrators may not be aware of the new capabilities at their fingertips.

Educators and IT leaders must keep up with these advancements to make the most of what Google Workspace has to offer. Here’s a rundown of the platform’s newest features, as well as the ways these elements can improve online teaching and learning.

More Options for Users in K–12 Learning Environments

Much has changed for Google Workspace over the past few years, so much so that you may not even recognize the platform if you haven’t used it since before the pandemic. For one, school districts now have more editions to choose from.

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There’s still the free version for education, known as Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, which offers Google’s suite of collaboration and communication tools, including Classroom, Sheets, Docs, Meet and Gmail. In addition, there’s now the Google Workplace for Education Standard upgrade, which includes a security center to mitigate threats and advanced device and app management solutions.

Another new edition, the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, adds premium engagement features to the Fundamentals version. These include breakout rooms, polls and Q&As in Google Meet, along with the ability to hold meetings with up to 250 participants. This upgrade also comes with unlimited Originality Reports, a feature that uses Google Search to help students keep their writing original and avoid plagiarism.

Finally, Google Workspace for Education Plus includes everything in the standard edition and the Teaching and Learning Upgrade with the further addition of customizable Cloud Search as well as the ability to hold meetings of up to 500 participants, sync rosters directly to Classroom and use document approvals. Core licenses with AppSheet, a no-code development platform, are included at no additional cost. 

With more editions, schools have more flexibility. IT departments used to have the binary choice between paid and unpaid. Now, they can say, “Well, which cool stuff do I need? Do I need it for the teaching and learning side? Or do I want it for the management and security side of things? Do I want both? Then, I’ll level up.”

DISCOVER: Learn more about the benefits of a Google Workspace for Education audit.

Changing Features Offer More Interaction and Oversight

Three years ago, Workspace offered Meet for online interaction and Classroom to facilitate online lectures. Now, with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, the features have become more robust.

Through Meet, educators can leverage breakout rooms, use attendance trackers and access transcripts of each lecture. Meet also allows for more interaction with the ability to create polls, quizzes and Q&As.

Originality Reports in Classroom and Assignments are unlimited with this upgrade, and educators can use student-to-student matching to detect plagiarism within their own domain. Google has also added external livestreaming capabilities to its Workspace platform.

Security Improvements Keep Online Environments Safe

Google has additionally bolstered security and IT features on the administrative side of Workspace. The security center prevents threats and automates monitoring, while the security investigation tool remediates phishing, spam and other threats.

The investigation tool is a unified way to look at what’s going in within your Google environment and investigate things from a data perspective. With this tool, you can see everything going on within your domain, and you can take both individual and bulk actions on emails and files to mitigate threats, including quarantining emails and changing sharing permissions.

Google has also added the Gmail Security Sandbox, which automatically scans all email attachments to ensure they’re safe, adding an extra security layer to your environment.

IT admins can learn more and evaluate which edition is right for their district with the CDW Education experts at Amplified IT.

This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

How to Make the Most of Google Workspace for Education’s FeaturesConnect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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How Districts Are Recruiting & Retaining Teachers & Staff



Teacher burnout isn’t new, and districts are continually finding new ways to recruit—and retain—new and seasoned educators. Here are some innovative ideas for your district to consider. 

Recruit & Retain Teachers: Digging Into the Data 

Dan Cox, superintendent of Rochester CUSD 3A in Illinois, was concerned about many things when the pandemic lifted, particularly how to move forward. He attended a conference session on teacher morale and discovered EAB (, a company that helps districts drive change through data-driven insights. With the guidance, Rochester is now refining core instructional strategies, creating postsecondary pathways, boosting staff and student mental health, improving community trust, and creating conditions for employees to thrive. This year, they are focusing on the last one.

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