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  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    ANNOUNCING the Microsoft “Innovid” Video Competition



    We’ve been alluding to this for weeks, and it’s finally here! Today – on this blog and at the BETT show in London, we’re announcing a video competition for teachers in the United Kingdom**. We want to see your best ideas for using Microsoft Office 2007 products and features in your teaching – regardless of the subject you teach. Enter your video in the Innovid Video Competition and you could win 20 Windows 7 netbook computers for your school!

    Keep reading for more details!



    Simply produce a how-to video for other teachers  showing how you use Microsoft technologies to engage your students. The idea is that you will inspire other teachers to jump in and try!


    Before you start videoing you’ll need a few things. First up, you’ll want our free artwork, music and other tools to help you create a really polished video. And you’ll want to thoroughly review our guidelines.

    For example:

    • The video must be no longer than 4 minutes and follow the easy template provided online
    • The 2007 Microsoft® Office System must be the focus of your video, but you can refer to any other Microsoft technologies that help you bring learning to life.


    You’ll find all the information and help you need at our online community – the Partners in Learning Network. If you’re not already a member, don’t worry. You can join online and immediately benefit from communities, shared lesson plans, learning programs, opportunities to collaborate with like-minded colleagues plus loads of resources, free tools and learning programmes that you can use in your classroom. You can also:

    • download the video template and guidelines
    • get complimentary tools to help you, including Windows® Movie Maker and Microsoft® Community Clips™
    • ask questions and be inspired by virtual classroom tours created by other teachers.

    The competition officially starts NOW, and the due date for all video submissions is 17:00 on 29 March, 2010. So you have plenty of time to put something together. Once on the Partners in Learning Network, LOOK FOR the InnoVID Video Competition community, JOIN that community, and you’ll find the 5 EASY STEPS you need to complete to enter the competition, as well as all the materials you’ll need.

    (There is also a place in the community to ask questions or get help.)

    We hope you enjoy this fun competition, and the chance to win 20 Windows 7 netbook computers for your school! Stuart and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!


    **NOTE: We know there are a lot of teachers who read this blog from outside the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, this competition is only open to teachers in the United Kingdom. We’re sorry to disappoint any of you from other countries who wished to enter. We still love you, but we’re only allowed to offer this competition in the country where we actually work! We encourage you to contact your Microsoft office if you’d like to see something similar in your country.**

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    New Year, new learning opportunities: Microsoft IT Academy “License To Learn” Tour


    Happy New Year, and welcome back to the grind - I mean, to school and work and all the rewarding things they have to offer! We have lots of exciting things planned for our blog readers this year, and we can't wait to share them with you. To kick off our first week back, I wanted to make you aware of this great CPD opportunity from our colleagues in the IT Academy programme. These events are being held at cool locations all over the country, and they’re FREE to attend (and you get lunch out of the deal – what more could you ask for?). Here’s the full story…

    License to Learn Logo (W-B)

    This February sees the launch of a new series of Microsoft IT Academy events.

    Held in iconic locations across the UK each event will be useful to Educators who want to:

    • Find out how the Microsoft IT Academy Program works
    • See how Microsoft Certifications can secure GCSE points and funding through OCR
    • Explore the revolutionary “License To Learn” solution – developed to meet current economic challenges in education
    • Witness the launch of an exciting new Microsoft Certification

    The FREE events will feature guest speakers from Microsoft, OCR, Zenos and Prodigy Learning.

    Places are limited – to register or find out more visit

    Free Lunch provided

    If you can’t wait until February you can meet the IT Academy Team at Stand M20 at BETT SHOW, call 0845-399-1553 or email

    The Microsoft IT Academy Program offers educational establishments extensive benefits and the opportunity to deliver Microsoft’s popular I.T. Training and Qualifications to their Students, Staff and wider community.

    Click here to find out which Microsoft qualifications you could deliver.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    European Safer Internet Day- 9th February 2010 - Free Parents Internet Safety Presentation


    Here’s another opportunity for a free training  - this time for the parents of your students. Microsoft has a vested interest in making sure the internet is a safe place for children and young people. Our colleague Karina Gibson leads a lot of our work on online safety. As well as being part of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), we’re also a partner of CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) and a number of our staff are trained by CEOP as volunteers to visit schools and educate children through presentations, using the Think You Know resources.

    Through doing this work, we’ve realised that there’s a big gap in knowledge amongst parents, and that they need a lot more help. This year, in addition to the CEOP trained volunteers, we also have other volunteers who are invited by schools to talk with parents.

    European Safer Internet Day

    To support European Safer Internet Day and the launch of the new digital code for children “Zip it, Block it, Flag it” Microsoft is offering all UK schools the opportunity to host their own parents awareness session. These virtual sessions offer your school the opportunity to host a parents evening with a presentation led by a Microsoft volunteer to inform and educate parents on the technology their children are using and how they can keep them safe when online.

    Digital safety rules - Zip it, Block it, Flag it


    About the Presentation

    The presentation will be a live webcast that you can join from your school at no cost.  All you need is to connect to the Internet on a screen or whiteboard and your parents will be able to see the presentation and you can submit questions from them should they have any.

    The presentation itself talks about the benefits and safety concerns of the Internet as well as introducing basic information on how technology such as social networking and instant messaging is used by young people.  It is designed to build confidence for parents in understanding the technology as well as a providing guidance and practical advice to safeguard their children and where to go for help.

    The presentation will take place on the 9th February 2010 at the following times:

    • 12.30-13.30
    • 15.30-16.30
    • 16.30-17.30
    • 18.00-19.00
    • 19.30-20.30

    Running A Session

    The session will be streamed over the internet, when you sign up you will receive the following:

    • Detailed guide to on how to join the presentation (including information of a short practice session)
    • Parents guide to Microsoft technology and parental controls
    • CD ROM for parents showing how to set up parental controls
    • Sample letter to use to invite parents
    How to Sign Up

    To book to host a virtual parents presentation for your school please book a place by January 28th 2010 by calling Karina Gibson on 0118 909 2803 or drop her an email email stating which session you would like to join.

    If this date doesn’t work for you, but you know that you’d like to do something for your parents, then it’s worth dropping an email to Karina. Although we don’t have volunteers all around the country, and they are stretched quite thinly, we are always willing to see if we can accommodate requests for talks to parents or students.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Bringing the Partners in Learning Network to your SharePoint site


    Back last year we announced the release of the first web part that let you ‘plug’ in the Innovative Teachers Network to your SharePoint learning environment. webpart There have been a number of developments and significant changes, especially to the Innovative Teachers site, now the Partners in Learning Network (PILN). To reflect this we have commissioned a new and redesigned web part, which can fit into any SharePoint-based virtual learning environment. This enables you to log in to the PILN and search for resources, communities or professional development without leaving your VLE.

    This web part joins the wealth of other free resources offered by the PILN and can be downloaded from our partner Hunterstone’s website. Click this link to download the web part .

    It is probably a good idea to contact your IT manager or SharePoint developer to install this web part. If you or they require any support in installing this webpart, support documentation is included in the download.

    So now teachers can access the Partners in Learning Network directly from their VLE, putting the great resources and activities it contains at their fingertips.

    If you haven’t already done so, you can easily add this blog to your your school site or portal using an RSS feed. That way your teachers can keep up to date with all the latest news from Microsoft Education and the UK Partners in Learning Network.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    InnoVID competition - FAQs


    The InnoVID competition is Microsoft's competition for UK Teachers to showcase their best practice using Office 2007 , and a chance to win 20 Netbooks for your school. It caused a great deal of interest on the Microsoft stand at BETT this year. We tried to anticipate all the needs of teachers who wouldj0439536 enter the competition, but even Kristen and I can't think of everything. So here are a list a of most recent frequently asked questions we have received.

    Question: Is this competition open to teachers who work in FE Education and Sixth Form colleges?

    Answer : Yes, as long as you are a teacher working with pupils and students between the ages of 4-18 then you are eligible to enter.

    Question: I have loads of ideas for videos can I enter more than once?

    Answer : No, its great you have lots of ideas. But, we can only accept one entry per teacher. Your school can submit as many entries as it likes, although each entry must but from a different teacher. So why not share your ideas with your colleagues and encourage them to submit a video?

     Question: I work as a support teacher in a number of different schools. Can I enter the competition?

    Answer : Yes you can, but you must nominate a school to which the prize would be given if you won. You must also obtain the permission of the Headteacher/School to enter the competition on their behalf.

    Question: Can students enter this competition?

    Answer : No, this competition is only open for teachers in the UK.

    Question: I am a teacher who has just retired, can I enter the competition?

    Answer : No, this competition is only open to teachers currently working in or with UK Schools?

    Question: I am a trainee teacher, can I enter the competition?

    Answer : Yes, but you must be currently on teaching practice in school for an extended period and have permission of the Headteacher/School to enter the competition on their behalf.

    Question: Do I have to use the Microsoft software mentioned in the competition details?

    Answer : Yes, This competition is about about sharing and showcasing the ideas and innovations teachers are developing and using in their classroom, with our technologies.

    Question: I only have Office 2003 in my school, can I make video using that, even if it is about something you can do is Office 2007 as well?

    Answer : No, we are only looking for videos that show how you use Office 2007 in the classroom. (Even if it is an activity that could be undertaken in Office 2003, which wouldn’t have the ribbon menu for example.)

    Question: I want to show how I use Office 2007 with the internet, will Community Clips record mouse and screen actions outside Office 2007?

    Answer : Yes, Community Clips can be run from inside Office 2007 from the Ribbon bar. Or as a separate application, which resides in the notification area of the your windows task bar.

    You can find full details of the InnoVID competition in the community on the Partners in Learning Network HERE. If you have any further questions, we will be happy to try and answer them. Please post them as a discussion thread in the community, and Kristen and I will respond. (Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions and other people's questions first, though, as your question may already have been answered there.)

    Thanks, and good luck!

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    New InnoVIDS now available – videos for teachers by teachers


    Not trying to sound like a Hollywood film trailer, but, they have been 5 months in the making, we have finally completed all the Innovative Videos we originally started at our image 2009 Summer Camp. 10 of our most Innovative Teachers have contributed over 35 instructional videos, that can help you use a wide range of Microsoft applications in your classroom. The latest videos cover applications such as Songsmith, Deep Zoom and Photostory,

    We have placed links to all the videos in a community on the Partners in Learning Network. You will need to join the network to access and download these.

    The Partners in Learning Network is free to join. Once you have registered with your Windows Live ID. Click on the community tab and join the Innovative video ideas for teachers by teachers community. You will also find another 10 videos listed and a link to this community listed in the ‘New videos added’ article on the home page.

    This article has 10 examples from the videos we first produced. For an example of the latest videos click here. This example is by Dave Garland from community school. He describes how to use Songsmith in the classroom, and even sings to prove what a great application it is. Songsmith is available as a free download to members of the Partners in Learning Network.

    We think these videos provide a comprehensive and valuable resource for the professional development of teachers, even the process of making them has became a professional development exercise in itself. For details of how we made these InnoVIDS, keep a look out for some exciting news later this week, watch this blog for details or if you are at the BETT show this week, come and see us on the Microsoft stand.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    BETT 2010 - a New Years resolution you can keep


    One of my new Year’s resolution is to get fit again; I suspect many of you have a similar resolution. Well, it's not going to be workout videos for me. No, I’m going to j0411827endure the annual marathon that is the 2010 BETT show. If last year's event is anything to go by, I should lose loads of weight, or at least die trying! But it's up to you, the potential visitors to the Microsoft stand, who will keep me on my feet and busy with questions about the Partners In Learning Network, if my weight loss is going to be successful.

    The Partners in Learning Team have been limbering up for the event over the last three months, and we think we have a programme that will make your visit to BETT and the Microsoft stand a productive one. First, we have a number of ‘pods’ where we be able to show you the ‘new and improved’ Partners in Learning Network. We will be able to demonstrate the new features and what the site can offer you in terms of supporting professional development in your school.

    We will also have an announcement about a special competition. I can’t tell you any more until next week (yes, it’s that big a deal). But I can tell you that if you are at BETT, make sure you come visit us and ask for a USB stick, which will have all the competition details on it.

    Supporting us on the stand will be Dave Garland from community school, who will be presenting on the work his students have done with the preview version of Semblio, and Alan Hamilton from Stirling High School, who are part of the Innovative Schools Programme.

    But we are not the only team with great stuff on the Microsoft stand at BETT. You will be able to see presentations and demos about Windows 7, Office 2010, Bing Maps and Microsoft Education Labs and much, much more.

    We have so much great stuff to show you that we should be quite busy, especially as we have 10,000 USB sticks to give away. Surely, I will lose some weight. Mind you, I have the BETT awards dinner to attend, as we are shortlisted for an award for the Partners in Learning Network. So I might end up undoing all my good work in just one evening!

    I am pretty confident I can keep my resolution and lose some weight, I certainly need too. But, I can give you one resolution that you can definitely keep, and that is visit us on the stand D30/D40, ask about our competition and claim your free USB stick.

    We will be posting full details of the competition when we make the official announcement next week, so keep an eye on your RSS feeder for the update.

    In the meantime, hope to see you at BETT and any inferences that this post has made that Kristen needs to lose any weight are purely coincidental.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    BETT 2010 wrap-up – and NEW Parental Engagement materials


    Well…BETT 2010 ended for us on Saturday night, as we literally limped to the train station to head home. After four days on the Microsoft stand and four evenings out at business dinners, I, for one, was utterly exhausted. But it was a great week. Here are the highlights for the Partners in Learning team: Capture

    • Launching the Innovids Teacher Video Competition and giving away 10,000 memory sticks announcing the contest. If you weren’t able to come to BETT to pick up a memory stick, last week’s blog post and the Partners in Learning Network will tell you everything you need to know about entering the contest – and possibly winning 20 netbooks for your school!
    • Attending the BETT awards dinner, where the Partners in Learning Network was a finalist in the Service and Support category. We didn’t win, but we had a great table of our partners from the UK and abroad and had a fantastic time celebrating the work we’ve done this year.
    • Meeting so many teachers on the Microsoft BETT stand. Stuart and I had four days worth of conversations with teachers during the week. We couldn’t have spoken to everyone without the help of our colleagues Alan Hamilton and Dave Garland, who were a huge help throughout the week. Thanks, Alan and Dave!
    • Speaking to new content partners who want to give away FREE content on the Partners in Learning Network in the new year. Stay tuned for updates on this one in the coming weeks and months.

    Perhaps the biggest highlight of the week came on the very first morning, though, when Minister for Schools and Learners Vernon Coaker used one of the videos we created with the DCSF in his speech to open BETT! For the past few months, the Partners in Learning team have been travelling to schools all around England, speaking to them and filming their stories of using technology to better engage parents in their children’s learning.

    Research shows that when parents take an active interest in continuing their children’s learning outside of school kids perform better in school. And secondary schools have a requirement to provide real-time online reporting to parents in 2010 (primaries will follow in 2011). We found three secondary schools and two primary schools who are all in different environments and circumstances (urban, rural, large, small, etc) and who have had some really creative ideas to help them address the challenges of bringing parents into the school’s community.

    Capture We’ve created two videos and one written case study for each of the five schools.

    - The Overview video tells the story of each school, why they felt engaging with parents was important, and the impact they’ve seen as a result of the work they have done.

    - The How To video goes into more detail about the steps each school took to improve their relationship with parents, including the technology they used and how they addressed any challenges they faced in this process.

    - And the written case study is a printable reference you can take away with you if you want to share these schools ideas with others at your school.

    The Minister chose to show the overview video from Blatchington Mill School in Hove, East Sussex, but all 10 videos are fantastic, and available on the Microsoft Web site. The other schools we worked with are:


    • Clunbury C.E. Primary School, Shropshire
    • Monkseaton High School, Tyne & Wear
    • Hawes Side Primary School, Blackpool, Lancashire
    • Twynham School, Christchurch, Dorset


    A big thank you goes to all of these schools for giving us such great stories to tell. We hope you’ll check out these videos on and that you’ll learn something new that you can use at your school.

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