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  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Microsoft UK Innovative Teachers Forum 2010


    Whilst we are in the midst of the Winter weather I am basking in the warm glow of yet another successful UK Innovative Education clip_image002Forum. With over 160 teachers and educators, 2 keynotes, 6 workshops and 10 award winning teachers, this has been the largest and most successful forum we have held.

    It started on Monday night with our Teachmeet style Innovative Teachers Meeting. We had some great presentations from volunteers, who not only talked about some great projects, but clearly showed their passion and dedication for teaching and learning. I particular enjoyed the work of David Mitchell and his class blog, you should check it out and leave a comment here . Jan Webb showed us how to make a VLE really work. Jen Deyenburg, a teacher who just moved here from  Canada  and whom I met at last year’s worldwide event, described her love of Geo-caching and the impact it can have on learning. There was a lot of really amazing stuff, which just shows how Partners in Learning is a true global community. I must publicly thank Dan Roberts for his tremendous efforts in co-hosting this event with me.

    Tuesday it was the main event, our one-day Innovative Education Forum for educators. We had two great keynotes form Michael Furdyk and Professor Sugata Mitra, which were both streamed live to teachers in Scotland and Wales. Recordings from the streaming can be found at NGfL Cymru. (We will post higher-quality videos of both keynotes and other event activities as soon as they are ready.)

    It would very easy for me to tell you how good it was. But, I will leave that to some teachers from our network to tell you what they thought.

    David Rogers, an Innovative Teacher Award winner at last year’s event

    What I enjoyed most about the event was the chance to speak to the most of the 10 award winners. The atmosphere of the event allowed for easy networking, and as there wasn’t too much crammed in to the programme there were many opportunities to chat to people.

    Also, the event reinforced my impression of the Partners in Learning network: a bunch of people who are all about learning and recognising teachers that make learning exciting, effective and engaging.

    Jen Deyenberg, an Innovative Teacher Award winner from Canada’s event

    Being part of the Partners in Learning program and being a Canadian Worldwide Innovative Forum representative has led me to new ideas, new technologies, and new collaboration partners and opportunities.

    The UKIEF was no exception, I had the chance to meet many of my “tweeps” and reconnect with inspiring people that have influenced my practise.

    Louise Dorrian in the North Hants Evening Standard

    I was completely shocked and overwhelmed. There were so many fantastic projects so it was amazing to be chosen. The innovative use of technology and games-based learning is definitely popular. It has been really good for the students to know that people across the UK know about the project.

    clip_image004Finally, I must mention our ten UK award winners who  presented their fantastic projects, to the delegates:- David Mitchell, Heathfield Primary School, Gareth Ritter, Willows High School, Jennifer Blum, Strodes College, Jo Debens, Priory School Specialist Sports College, Julian Wood, Wybourn Community Primary, Lindsay Purdon, Calderglen High School, Louise Dorian, Lodge Park Technology College, Paul Horrell, community school, Peter Fox, Oakfield Community College, Steph Ladbrooke, Pedmore C of E Primary.

    We also awarded Innovative Teacher status to Nicki Maddams and Julie Boyle for their work in making Innovids, our instructional videos for teachers. This year’s Outstanding Contribution award went to Guy Shearer, Principal at Lodge Park Community College, for his continued support of the Partners In Learning programme.

    Such was the quality of this year’s entries that it made it very difficult to choose four to be invited to attend the European Forum in Moscow in March next year. The four Innovative Teachers we finally decided upon are: Gareth Ritter, Jennifer Blum, Jo Debens and Louise Dorrian. We will be updating you on their progress and journey to this event.

    Thank you to everybody who attended and contributed to making the UK Innovative Education Forum such a fantastic event.

    You can view and download the workshop presentations, videos and photos as they become available, along with the Teacher projects from this community on the UK Partners in Learning Network.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Microsoft UK Innovative Education Forum 2010 –Resources and feedback.


    We have had lots of requests for the workshop presentations, livestream recordings and teachers projectsimage, from those that attended and  those who could not make the UK Innovative Education Forum.

    We have created a community on the UK Partners in Learning Network. That contains all the Virtual classroom tours (teacher projects), presentations from the workshops, links to blog posts about the event and the  recorded livestreams from NGfL Cymru of the keynote presentations. We will be adding more resources, such as video, as they become available. So, once you have joined the community, set up the email alerts to automatically alert you to any new material that has been added. Setting up an alert in the community is easy. Click on the section title e.g. Shared Documents. Click > Actions, then Click > Alert me.

    The community can be accessed here . You will need a Windows Live ID to access the community and to join the Partners in Learning Network.

    Please feel free to leave any comments in the discussion area of the community of your experiences and thoughts about event.

    Please note that the UK Partners in Learning Network will offline form 10th Dec – 15th Dec for essential maintenance and upgrades. We apologise for the inconvenience , but when normal service resumes we will have a greatly improved network.


  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Montage - Create and share visual albums of the web.


    For once I wish I could be first in announcing something, but the power of social networking has beaten me. I first saw this tweeted by Dave Garland from saltash,net community school. Two days later, David Rogers , one of our Innovative award winners had blogged about it. So rather than me try to explain , David has kindly agreed to guest post on our blog and outlines the potential of this resource in the classroom. So what are these Guys so excited about. It’s a new web application from Microsoft Fuse Labs called Montage.

    Montage is a shareable, personal, visual album of the web. You are able to design your personal Montage around a topic by adding content that pulls information from a variety of sources including, RSS feeds, Twitter, Bing News, YouTube, video and Bing Images

    Here are David Rogers’ thoughts on this new application.

    Montage allows users to sign up via their Microsoft Live, facebook or Twitter accounts, so sign up is easy. Then it’s  a case of entering a search term in the dialogue box.

    This is an example of what arrives.  The search results look and feel like a magazine, but each section is editable in terms of it’s montage 3content and display.  I was a little disappointed to see that Montage is very USA biased, and I hope that an option to limit searches within UK search results is available soon.  I also noticed that quite a lot of the content is quite commercial.

    Having said this, I can see a number of potential uses for this, especially as users are able to edit, save and publish their Montages. The link could be put into a blog and shared with a class, although the app would greatly benefit from an embed code option (although I may have missed this, I did look around).

    Here is an example of a custom Montage I produced in around 10 minutes:

    montage 4

    Within the page there is:

    • A twitter feed for #uksnow
    • A youtube video interviewing travellers in the UK
    • A selection of photographs
    • A ‘pinned’ article on Gatwick (although this linked to a US newspaper)
    • 2 rolling news items – these are populated with latest pages for the search inputted (for example ‘positive effects snow’)

    Visit the Montage here. montage 5

    There are currently eight panel choices, including a text function which would allow a teacher to set a task at the top of a page. It would also be good to be able to include specific URLs.

    Montage 6

    I can see a number of classroom applications for this:

    • Illustrating the limitations of web searching and bias – why have I selected the information in each panel?
    • A montage could be created and shared with a class to limit search time.  this would be good for classes that are new to the enquiry process, or if there isn’t enough time to allow a fully independent and open enquiry.

    All in all, looks like a potentially useful tool, but will need some classroom trials first….

    I totally agree with David’s points, this is an application that is really worth having a look at. We would love know what you think and how you could use it in the classroom. Feel free to leave your comments.

    Thanks again David for post, you can find his blog at If any of you would like a guest spot on our blog , email me at

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Happy Christmas to you all


    imageIn the words of John  Lennon, “ So this is Christmas, And what have you done , Another year over and a new one just begun” . It’s a good time to reflect on our achievements with Microsoft Partners in Learning during the past year.

    The year began with another successful BETT show, we introduced hundreds of teachers to the Partners in Learning Network. In March we had continued success at the European Innovative Education Forum in Berlin. Here two teachers won awards for their work. August saw another successful Summer camp, with teachers being trained and sharing their expertise at our headquarters in Reading. In October we were in South Africa at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum, and for the 4th year in a row a UK teacher won an award, what a great achievement. Finally, November saw us hold our most successful UK Innovative Education Forum ever. This year has also seen a continued growth in membership of the Partners in Learning Network, readers of this blog and visitors to our YouTube channel . As well as the development of a core of Innovative Teachers who are great advocates of the work we do, our heartfelt thanks go out to them.

    We are sure next year will bring even more success, as well as a few changes that we  will announce in the new year. The first of which we can announce now. The Microsoft Partners in Learning Network site has had a complete makeover. With some added new features, a different look and speedier page loads.  You can check it out at

    It only leaves Kristen and I to wish you all a Happy Christmas, thanks for all your support and we look forward to seeing and working with you in the New Year.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Have you ever wanted to work in education at Microsoft? Now is your chance!


    Those of you who joined us for Microsoft’s Innovative Education either online or in person yesterday may have noticed that I was carrying some extra weight as I welcomed everyone to the event and introduced our keynotes onstage. This is not something I’d usually announce on this blog, but I am indeed having a baby in February.

    The Partners in Learning team and my manager, our Education director, have been trying to figure out the best way to cover for me while I’m on maternity leave. We decided to divide up some of my work amongst Education team members, leave Stuart in charge of our new Innovative Schools Programme, and hire someone to manage our Innovative Teachers Programme from January through August 2011.

    Ideally, we’re looking for a teacher who is passionate about teaching and wants to be an advocate for Microsoft technology in learning. We are happy to work with existing teachers who want an 8-month secondment with Microsoft, or with recent teachers who are looking for an interesting and fulfilling experience to add to your CVs. The work is exciting, fast-paced, and demanding, but you’d get to work with a great team and it’s certainly fun.

    The official job details are below, along with an email address for you to send your CVs. You can see there is a very short window to send in your CVs, as we’re closing this application process on 9 December 2010 – NEXT WEEK.

    Please take a look at the information below and use the contact email below if you have any questions.


    Job Description

    The role works as part of the UK Education Team. The role is to carry on the execution of the Worldwide Innovative teacher programme for the UK. This is an established worldwide programme. This is part of the wide Partners in Learning programme. The Purpose of the role is outlined below

    The Innovative Teachers Programme Manager will run all activities associated with the Innovative Teachers Programme as part of Partners in Learning in England, Scotland and Wales. This includes:

    • Co-writing the UK Teachers blog
    • Running the teacher evangelist programme – and speaking at conferences and school/authority/partner events
    • Managing teacher travel and projects for the European Innovative Education forum in Moscow in March
    • Finishing development of CPD materials for teachers
    • Managing Twitter and other social marketing of MS programmes to teachers
    • Organising any free events for teachers, such as trainings for teachers and partners

    Applicants should have classroom teaching experience with a focus on using technology to enhance teaching and learning as well as experience and willingness to work closely with a team and evangelise Microsoft technology to teachers.

    The role is a Maternity cover position and we require someone from January 2011 to August 2011.

    Microsoft’s vision for Education is ‘Anytime Anywhere Learning for All’. Through the use of technology we believe that this vision will become a reality. We believe technology can really help students and educators realise their full potential. Education is a strategic market for Microsoft as we try to influence the next generation of decision makers by giving them a great experience of Microsoft technology.

    Key Accountabilities
    • Working as part of the UK Education team and driving the Innovative teacher programme
    • Adoption of Microsoft technologies by teachers
    • Teachers proactively talking about Microsoft technologies as an aid to teaching
    • Teachers Blogging and tweeting with positive comments on Microsoft technology as an aid to learning

    Key Success Criteria

    • Great feedback from community
    • Development of Ideas and execution to evolve the Innovative teacher programme
    • Great feedback from internal stakeholders

    Knowledge, Skills and Experience

    1) Essential Experience

    • A deep and broad understanding of the IT needs of teachers in the UK both at Primary and Secondary level.
    • Sound knowledge required of Microsoft technology including Windows and Microsoft Office
    • Ideally the candidate should be an existing teacher
    • Presentation Skills essential – ability to present to audiences on the use of technology by teachers in the classroom.
    • Good teaming skills to work across the Microsoft education team
    • Existing user of Blogs and Tweets

    2) Technical Skills

    • Good understanding of Microsoft Windows and Office and how these technologies are used by teachers. Ideally the candidate should also understand other Microsoft technologies like Microsoft OneNote.

    3) Personal Attributes

    • Self-motivated and tenacious
    • Ability to work in a team
    • Results oriented and good decision making skills
    • Resilient to making long term strategies effective
    • Good communicator with team members and customers
    • Capable of seeing projects with long timescales through to completion
    • Working cross company and coordinating resources

    4) Qualifications

    • Degree qualification essential
    • Teacher related qualifications essential

    5) Process

    • Please send you CV to – Claire Harris – Talent Source Programme Coordinator – (
    • Closing date for this role is 9th December 2010

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Do you remember your first time?


    I do ! The first time I accessed the internet was in 1995, whilst on a project with BT, I logged on and looked at a website about Fractal Mathematics and Chaos theory. I know, very geeky! But did you realise that their are 9 million people in UK who have never been online, which I find staggering. So this campaign is a great idea, aims to create Digital Champions.

    Any one of us can be a Digital Champion. It can be as simple doing something really quick and easy like registering someone for a free/low-cost training course, or even as organising and running an event. There are 9 top things you or or even your students could could do to be a great UK Digital Champion.

    Here is what the site suggests on ways to become a Digital Champion
    1. Show people the way
      If you know of people who are unaware of how to get to a computer, fill up a train, plane or automobile and take them right to the door of the nearest UK online centre.
    2. Run an event
      It doesn't take a huge fancy conference centre to train people. A few computers, a few trainers and lots of people willing to learn it the best way to put on an event and make a big change.
    3. Share some skills
      Your web knowledge may come as second nature, but some people would be a little nervous if you asked them to hold a mouse. Using the tried and trusted Pass IT On method you can start with the basics and soon they'll be browsing with the best of us.
    4. Give some stuff
      Everyone has an old laptop or monitor hidden away at home so donate your hardware for recycling or simply wipe your computer and give it to a granny. If you're struggling to find a use for your spare change, find a community group or volunteer organisation, or gift a low-cost web-ready PC so you can help get someone online.
    5. Tell your boss
      Rather than knocking on your manager's door asking for a pay rise or moaning about the food in your canteen, see if they'd like to join the campaign and help make a difference.
    6. Make a big fuss
      If you don't fancy standing on your local high-street evangelising with a megaphone, you could try writing to your local MP, or telling your online social 
    7. Shout about what's going on
      Do you know of a local community project or training event that's helping people to get online? Send in your stories, pictures and videos and we'll tell the world.
    8. Spread the love
      From finding long lost relatives to making and sharing music, there are millions of reasons why people love the Internet. The way to get more people online is to make them love it too.
    9. Provide big ideas
      We've got our own thoughts on how to get everyone in the UK to benefit from the Internet, but two (or 2 million) heads are better than one. Spill your brains; there's no such thing as a dumb idea

      This is a great opportunity for schools to develop some great community links, utilising not just the resources of the school , but also the skills of your students and staff.

      Find out what you can do at , go on try it today.

    1. Microsoft Teacher's Blog

      A great way to spend 11 minutes of your time


      Many of you may have seen this already, and I’m sure most readers have seen Sir Ken Robinson present at one time or another – even if just on TED or YouTube. I find his talks on creativity very inspiring, so I was excited to see this talk that Sir Ken gave at the RSA in October.

      The talk is on “Changing Education Paradigms,” but it’s the presentation that makes it extra special. The RSA has an artist illustrating the main points of the talk as Sir Ken speaks. It’s just brilliant, and it’s only 11 minutes. Enjoy!

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