Using Power Query in Excel 2016 To Ready CSV Files for Student Data Sync (SDS)

Student Data Sync, or SDS, is a core tool from Microsoft that helps schools prepare their student, teacher and class data ready for use in great platforms such as Teams for Education (formerly Microsoft Classroom) and Intune for Education.

In countries outside of the USA (where API exist), schools need to prepare six CSV files containing the relevant information from their Student Management System (SMS). Fortunately, Microsoft has provided some sample scripts and files (along with a toolkit to verify your data integrity) to help.

SDS

Student Data Sync is the starting point to creating a correlation or framework that connects your students, teachers and classes together in a meaningful way, allowing you to leverage cloud based tools more efficiently.

However, often the challenge lies in the format of the exported data from the school’s SMS. This is where Grant Saul, the Director of ICT from Westlake Boys High School has powerquerystepped in and provided a fantastic tutorial on how to use Power Query, a tool that comes in Excel 2016, to tidy up the format of your source data and prepare it for import with Student Data Sync.

In Grant’s example, he takes a standard export from Kamar (a very popular New Zealand SMS) and shows how it can be transformed using Power Query into the correct format for importing into SDS. You can read his original post here (and I encourage you to do so) whilst watching his screencast below:

The great feature of Power Query is it records each step in the data transformation, allowing you to easily replicate / replay the changes when the source data is refreshed, creating a super efficient method of managing your data.

For schools that want to use Microsoft SDS this is a very helpful guide.

Support Deploying Microsoft SDS

sds-support

If you’re a school that is needing some help deploying Microsoft Student Data Sync (SDS) then you can apply for one on one support for a limited time here:

http://concise.info/SDS-help

I posted some additional resources if you want to DIY that you can access here. SDS is being used increasingly across a range of Microsoft tool sets and will enable you to synchronise data with the recently announced Intune For Education.

Microsoft Classroom & SDS – Some Useful Resources

classroom

Microsoft Classroom

A number of schools are exploring how they can use the Microsoft Classroom platform to integrate with their teaching and assessment as they are already using Microsoft OneNote Classroom Notebooks.

UPDATE: I’ve found this dedicated blog on how teachers can use Microsoft Classroom – could be a good starting point:

http://microsoftclassroomguru.com/

To get a good understanding of what School Data Sync and Classroom actually are, then this is probably a good high level overview to start with. Thiis is a slightly more technical description in an Office Mix

I’ve pulled together some useful resources to assist teachers getting started:

Here is one example of a school using SDS and Office365 to support improved learning outcomes: