Salamander Active Directory now has support for Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync

edu_112X112_classdash_icon_color_en-USAs Microsoft Partners we have been working with Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync (SDS) for a while and are working with a couple of pilot schools in preparation for the release of the preview.

Now the preview is available we can now announce our technical support for them.

This includes the management of the SDS specific attributes for users, Office 365 groups and the creation and updating of Classrooms from your MIS data and Local Active Directory. This can be done without any of the data going via the US data centres. This is from any of the MIS/SIS systems we support such as Capita SIMs, Facility, Progresso, iSAMs, RM Integris etc.

There are however, caveats about the fact that some of the data used by Classroom and SDS is stored within the US, notably any manual CSV uploads for SDS and the assignment data for Classroom. As such we would not recommend that you use these for live data until they are generally available for the UK market. If you want to use this functionality then as Data Controllers, you will need to ensure that you are happy that some of the data goes overseas into US data centres. [Update: As from January 2017 all data is kept in the EU data centres.]

If you do want to go ahead, then we have developed our SDS import so that it avoids the data going via US data centres and so can safely create the SDS groups, Once the SDS groups have been created then you can use Classroom, however as the data for the assignments is still stored in US data centres, we cannot recommend using that except for a pilot with test data.

If you have the preview and would like more information about getting it configured to synchronize with your local Active Directory and MIS just drop an email to support@salamandersoft.co.uk if you are an existing customer, or info@salamandersoft.co.uk for new customers and we’ll be in touch.

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Salamander Active Directory now supports assigning applications to users in Azure Active Directory

Inspired by a thread on Edugeek (http://www.edugeek.net/forums/cloud-services/160078-azure-ad-assigning-apps.html), Salamander Active Directory now supports assigning and removing applications to users in Azure Active Directory.

So if you are a Salamander Active Directory user you can now bulk assign applications to users without needing Azure AD Premium.

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Salamander Active Directory now support Administrative Units in Azure Active Directory

Salamander Active Directory now supports creating, updating and maintaining the membership of administrative units in Azure Active Directory.

Administrative Units are a new type of Azure Active Directory containser of resources that can be used for delegating administrative permission over subsets of users and applying policies to a subset of users. They allow central administrators to delegate permissions to other administrators or to set policy at a granular level.

For more details on what they are and how they can be used, here are some links:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/documentation/articles/active-directory-administrative-units-management/

https://channel9.msdn.com/Series/Windows-Azure-Active-Directory/Introduction-to-Azure-Active-Directory-Administrative-Units

http://www.michev.info/Blog/Post/65/First-look-at-Administrative-Units-for-Office-365-and-WAAD-management

They are really a feature of Azure AD Premium, but are also heavily used by Microsoft’s School Data Sync (SDS). Typically in a school environment they will only be used by SDS, but now if you need it, Salamander Active Directory has the ability to keep them populated with your users as they move into, through and out of your school/institution.

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OneNote Class Notebook Creation With Salamander Active Directory and SharePoint

onenoteIconOneNote Class Notebooks have been a hit in Office 365 for Education and are being heavily promoted by Microsoft. They have a personal workspace for every student, a content library for hand-outs, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities.

Microsoft have just announced the launch of the new OneNote Class Notebook API for Office 365. I’m pleased to announce that we have also added support for creating and maintaining Class Notebooks to Salamander Active Directory and Salamander SharePoint.

This means that we can automate the creation of Class Notebooks directory from your MIS, whether it’s SIMs, Facility, iSAMS, Pass or any other MIS. It will also add and remove students and teachers as the membership changes in the MIS.

This allows central provisioning and rollout of Class Notebooks with no manual intervention required by teachers – they can just get on with teaching.

We can create the Notebooks in several different locations:

  1. In the Teachers’ OneDrives.
  2. In SharePoint sites. Ideal if using class sites.
  3. Within the new Office 365 Groups.
  4. In a shared OneDrive.

This is all completely configurable, as are all our products, so we can configure it to whatever works best for your school. We can even automatically archive the Notebooks at the end of the year, before building a new set for the new academic year.

For more details please email info@salamandersoft.co.uk.

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Salamander Active Directory now supports creating and maintaining Office 365 Unified Groups

Unified Groups are a fairly new cross-suite feature in Office 365. They are designed for quick and easy collaboration and each member of a group can participate in conversations, schedule meetings, share files and notes and even initiate a Skype for Business voice and video call for urgent real-time decisions. It’s a bit like a light version of a SharePoint team site, but with more Exchange capabilities. Microsoft is really pushing their use with tooling for them in Office 2016 and a cross-platform mobile app. Moving forward I think that Microsoft will be tying the group functionality into more of their current and new products.

Introducing-availability-of-Office-365-Groups-in-Outlook-2016

Group conversations in Outlook 2016 and in the Outlook Groups mobile app.

I’m pleased to say that Salamander Active Directory now supports creating and maintaining Unified Groups. This means that we can create groups based on your data in your MIS, whether it is Sims, Progresso, Integris, iSAMS or any other. You could for example have all your classes created as groups for class level collaboration areas, either on a global basis or limiting to years or subjects. Or maybe you want staff based groups for departments or subjects. As with all our functionality it’s completely configurable and we can set it up exactly how you want it. Just email support if you want to look into getting it enabled on your installation.

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Support for Denbigh Administration

denbigh-logoOver the summer we also added support for Denbigh Administration to our product set. This means that it is compatible with Salamander Active Directory and Salamander SharePoint.

From their website: “An intuitive interface makes navigation through a vast range of student information a painless exercise. Instantly display a student’s classes, timetables, medical details, discipline and attendance history, correspondence and contact history, sporting and extra-curricular involvement and any other related information.”

We can now integrate Denbigh Aministration with Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365 and Google Apps, ensuring that your users, groups and timetables are always up to date. This means that as pupil & staff move in and out of your school, their accounts can be automatically created, security groups and distribution lists created and updated, and timetables synchronized to Exchange or Google Calendar together with a multitude of other actions.

For more details please email info@salamandersoft.co.uk.

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