New: Use PowerShell To Manage Licenses In Windows Store For Business / Education

powershellMany organisations are increasingly using PowerShell to automate routine tasks and schools are no different in this way.

With the recent surge in interest around Minecraft Education Edition (or M:EE for short), many schools have been asking for an easier way to manage, assign and revoke these licenses for individual students. Up until now, this could only be done via the Store itself (see here for a guide).

Happily, there is now a method to use PowerShell to achieve the rapid license management – it is still in Preview Release at the moment but could be worth checking out if you want to do some testing:

Microsoft Store For Business & Education PowerShell Module (Preview)

You can use the PowerShell module to:+

  • View items you’ve purchased – shown in Apps & software
  • Manage licenses – assigning and removing
  • Perform bulk operations with .csv files – automates license management for customers with larger numbers of licenses

It’s great to see even easier ways to manage Education focused apps from the Store through the use of PowerShell.

Easier Office365 License Management Coming to Azure AD

One of the challenges that schools can sometimes face is bulk assigning / revoking licenses in Office365 as this often requires some PowerShell skills to do this easily. In schools, this is most commonly needed in situations where students are arriving/leaving at the start/end of school years and the same for the arrival/departure of staff. Another scenario is when Microsoft roll out new features and the licenses are sometimes assigned automatically e.g. Yammer licenses applied to all students when a school may not actually want this to be the case.

Yesterday, a solution was announce as coming to public preview, using Azure AD Security Groups to easily manage these licenses.

Read the full announcement here.

From the announcement itself:

Today, we’re happy to be able to fulfill this request by announcing the public preview of a much-anticipated new capability in Azure AD: group-based license management! With this new feature you can define a “license template” and assign it to a security group in Azure AD. Azure AD will automatically assign and remove licenses as users join and leave the group.

Some key points to note:

  • Licenses can be assigned using any “security group” in Azure AD, whether synced from on-premises or created directly in Azure AD.
  • All Microsoft Online Services that require user-level licensing are supported.
  • The administrator can disable one or more service components when assigning a license to a group. This allows staged deployments of rich products like Office 365 Enterprise E5 at scale.
  • The feature is only available in the Azure portal.
  • Licenses are typically added or removed within minutes of a user joining or leaving a group.

If you have Azure AD Premium (as schools in NZ do via the Ministry of Education Schools Agreement with Microsoft) then you can even use a self-service portal where your end users can request access to a specific group to gain a license as they need it.

This is a great announcement and one that schools should keep a close eye on for easier management of O365 licenses.

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: