Today marks the end of an era. For those that have followed this blog over the past few years you will know of the active involvement and support of Dan Roberts from saltash.net community school in Cornwall for Partners in Learning. Dan aka @chickensaltash is moving on to bigger things and today is his last day at his school.
Dan has been an avid supporter of Partners in Learning and Microsoft education and has illustrated time and time again how the work we do adds value for teachers and learners.
We have shared many adventures of the past 5 years, many we have shared on this blog and others, well the least said about those the better . On behalf of myself, Microsoft UK Education team and your Partners in Learning friends and colleagues around the world. Thank you Dan, it’s been a joy and a pleasure. Keep in touch.
Please join me in wishing Dan all the best in his future endeavours, either leave a comment on this blog or tweet him @chickensaltash with the hash tag #msftpil
Have you heard of TALIS?, if not, I bet you have heard of PISA, the worldwide evaluation in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries of 15-year-old students scholastic performance, performed first in 2000 and repeated every three years. It is coordinated by the OECD with a view to improving educational policies and outcomes.
So what is TALIS? another PISA?, we were lucky to have an explanation at our recent Partners in Learning European Forum in Lisbon. One of the Keynote presentations was from Senior Analyst at OECD, Kristen Weatherby. ( Yes, that is the very same Kristen that used to hang around with the Partners in Learning UK Team.)
In her presentation, Kristen was clear that the OECD believe that effective teaching and teachers are key to producing high performing students. TALIS is the Teaching and Learning International Survey and is the first international survey to focus on the learning environment and the working conditions of teachers in schools. She also made the point that this survey is not about ranking teachers and their performance. The OECD plan to use the data to :-
•Analyse data based on research questions that correspond to country priorities.
•Provide international data comparisons for countries.
•Examine implications of data for education policy.
•Look at the conditions that promote effective teaching.
During her Keynote, Kristen presented some of the types of questions that could appear in future surveys. The audience was asked for their response and the outcomes discussed.
Why not try the sample survey for yourself at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QJSPBJC – I will publish the results on this blog in a few weeks.
For me, the most surprising findings for these questions that Kristen elaborated on, were the responses to the questions ‘
For the professional development in which you participated in the last 18 months, on average, how much did you personally have to pay for? ‘ and
‘What impact did the professional development activities have on your teaching?’
The pilot survey found that most effective professional development teachers said they had experienced was that they paid for themselves. Which is very interested in a world where Twitter is often quoted by Teachers as ‘the best professional development I have ever had’
So what do you think? Is TALIS going to help Governments form and devise policy to support teachers to implement effective teaching, or like some sceptics have suggested, will it be another stick to beat the profession with. Your thoughts and comments would be most welcome.
This year is the Turing centenary, So, to commemorate this BCS has launched a BCS Education Bursary www.bcs.org/bcsbursary
The idea of the British Computer Science Education Bursary is to promote the importance of computer science as an academic discipline. Schools, further education colleges and universities in the UK can apply for funds of either £500 or £1000 that will help them deliver training or support projects that will encourage learners to benefit from computer or computing related studies.
Examples of the sort of thing they might fund: Set up an after-school club; Fund a teacher day out with an IT professional; Run an entrepreneur group for undergraduates; Book a teacher on a training event.
To apply, complete the online application form and tell the BCS about your proposed project and how you plan to measure its success.
There will be something like thirty to fifty of these, so if your interested make sure you get the application in on time. The closing date for applications is 1st June 2012.
How many have heard of the organisation Apps for Good?
Their goal is to
You may not have associated Microsoft applications and programmes as having a role to play in this programme, but at Shireland Collegiate Academy in Sandwell, West Midlands,in September 2011, Year 9 students began an innovative approach to learning in the ICT and Design Curriculum by adopting the Apps for Good programme.
The Apps for Good course allows students to use a unique 5 step approach, to think about solving a local problem, with the help of mobile technology. It allows students to investigate and experience the Marketing, Audience Business and Enterprise aspects of the wider world.
Apps for Good helps teachers approach ICT and DT teaching differently, as it helps bridge the gap between young people and business networks. Students have access to technology professionals who give advice and feedback to student ideas.
Apps for Good has helped Shireland Collegiate Academy look differently at their provision of Design and Technology and its relationship with ICT and DT,making them rethink their whole curriculum delivery model. They are looking at various pathways to shape a new model and naturally develop and extend the changes that Apps for Good has brought with it. One possible way forward that is being considered from September 2012, is to run Apps for Good alongside Microsoft .Net Gadgeteer, as they see the connections between the two technology solutions in their school.
Microsoft .Net Gadgeteer allows students to use an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. This allows students to learn about the Mechanics and Science behind the technology they use.
Through this innovative approach students gain an appreciation of the collegiate nature of project work and the need to reach consensus. They benefit greatly from the ability to concentrate on a single project for a period of time and to iterate improvements. And as Shireland is also a Microsoft IT Academy, Microsoft Technology Accreditation will be used on the programme and students will be able to boost their technology skills as well as career opportunities.
They are also seriously considering the new Microsoft AQA Computer science GCSE qualification as a different avenue that students can gain a useful qualification through. It builds on the work the students in Year 9 have already undertaken in Apps for Good such as learning how to design, create and develop their own mobile apps to solve real-world problems and run these on mobile devices.
Along with resources that Shireland are utilising, you may want explore the potential of all Microsoft’s development tools, which are free to students through the Dreamspark programme . It includes free programming environments, that would be ideal for students to create their own Apps
So if you are interested in offering Apps for Good, applications for school partners for 2012/3 are currently being accepted, with a deadline of 30th of April 2012. To find out more about the course and how to become a partner, visit http://appsforgood.org/course/apply/.
This year’s Microsoft Partners in Learning European Forum took place last week in Lisbon , Portugal. Teachers and Educators from all over Europe attended to share, explore and understand best practice in the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Like at previous events, the UK took an innovative and inspiring group of educators. Four award winners from our UK forum in November:- Lindsey Purdon, from Calderglen High School, Nicki Maddams, from Hartsdown Technology College, Ray Chambers, from Lodge Park Technology College and Katie Boothman, from saltash.NET community school.
The pressure was on these guys as they were entrants in the Innovative Teacher awards that happen every year at this event. Accompanying them were school leaders from some our Innovative Schools here in the UK, these were Julie Taylor and Richard Markey from Havant Academy, Nick Jackson form Fulford High School and Ian Whittaker from Willows High School. We were also lucky enough to have two of our former award winning teachers, Gareth Ritter and Mandeep Atwal who were delivering workshops to this international audience.
The teacher awards are a focal point of this event and our four teachers delivered excellent presentations of their projects, but the competition was very tough, with the rest of Europe ‘raising their game ‘ somewhat from previous years. But , I am very pleased to say that we, yet again, produced an award winning teacher. Katie Boothman from saltash.NET community school, was the overall winner in the award for outstanding use of technology to support learning outside the classroom.
Katie’s project called The H.I.T. squad is underpinned by utilizing students' passions for ICT and History to fully create their own resources which can be used as a teaching resource within lessons, in addition to resources used to within partner primary schools. She saw how much students loved using new technologies and she wanted to embrace that so she created this project. The objectives were: to use ICT to increase knowledge of and enthusiasm for History; to facilitate pupil led teaching and learning within peer groups; to develop links within the broader community using ICT and to encourage students to read, write, and peer assess one another’s work through the use of new technologies.
You can see some of the H.I.T. squad in action on Katie’s blog:
You can read more about the project from this newspaper article here:
Katie will now join us at the Worldwide Forum being held later this year in Athens. Congratulations Katie, and many thanks to the rest of the UK team for your outstanding efforts. It was a pleasure to showcase such outstanding, innovative and inspiring work.
In this guest blog post , Gareth Ritter describes a great free app from Microsoft Research
A still photograph is a limited format for capturing a moment in time. Video is the traditional method for recording durations of time, but the subjective “moment” that one desires to capture is often lost in the chaos of shaky camerawork, irrelevant background clutter, and noise that dominates most casually recorded video clips.
Here is a video tutorial that shows how easy this is to do
At the moment I am teaching my year 7 classes about the Orchestra, I have taken a clip from You Tube and selected the conductor as
the focal point, by using this tool I am able to help the pupils concentrate on the conductor by freezing the rest of the clip. I could do exactly the same if i was to talk about the brass section or even separating the 1st violins from the 2nd violins. This tool will make it easier for me to explain.
You can download Cliplets here
If you are still not sure what sort of effects Cliplets can produce then keeping checking out the Bing home page, that often uses a still picture with a moving effect.
After the great success of previous training Camps, we will be running another Easter Camp this year – this is an open invitation to all of you reading this blog to apply. So if you have time this Easter, perhaps your plans for other events and holidays have not materialised and you still want to spend time with other innovative educators, then this is an ideal event for you.
Easter Camp takes place at Microsoft UK Headquarters in Reading, starting 10:00am on Tuesday 10th April and finishing 4:00pm on Wednesday 11th April.
You will need to make your own arrangements for travel, however we would recommend the train. There is a free bus that will take you from Reading Station to Microsoft Headquarters.
Your accommodation cost will be covered and hotel booked by us. We have 15 free places.
This event is ideal if you have never had any experience of programming or developing games in the classroom, but have always wanted to. It is perfect for non – ICT Teachers who want to include programming into their subject. Also, if you are an ‘expert’ come along and share your expertise. Our training camps are always great fun.
What will I be doing at Easter Camp?
This year’s theme is Playful Learning and gaming – and this will include exploring ideas of how we can develop the use of Kodu and other gaming ideas in the classroom to developing student thinking and creativity. You will work together to develop resources for you to take back to your school.
You will join a growing group of educators in the Partners in Learning Network and have opportunities to contribute to the work Microsoft Partners in Learning are undertaking in education in the UK.
How do I apply?
We don’t want videos or lengthy biographies from you, to apply, just simply email to firstname.lastname@example.org before the closing date 12:00pm 19th March 2012 , your details, subject area, school etc.
What will I need to bring?
We expect you to bring some of the tools you are using already:
Kodu, Movie Maker 2.6, associated software such as Silverlight and .net framework installed.
All these FREE tools can be easily downloaded by installing the Microsoft Learning Suite.
What will I be expected to do?
You will receive a certificate welcoming you as a Partners in Learning Teacher and more ideas about how to enhance learning through the use of technology.
We are looking forward to receiving your applications. If you have any questions post a comment or contact us via email email@example.com
Get applying and Good Luck
Today is also World Maths Day . So this is a good time remind you of some great free Maths resources available from Microsoft.
Maths Worksheet Generator is a resource that we have not talked about a lot. The idea of teachers just creating worksheets, didn't seem that innovative, but when you think of giving this tool to students, for them to decide on the maths problems they need to work on and practice, based on their evaluation of their own work, then it becomes a completely different idea.
The Maths worksheet generator will generate multiple maths problems based on a sample, and then creates a worksheet. By analysing the maths problem you provide, or one of the built-in samples, the generator determines the structure of the expression and provides similar problems.It even produces the answer sheet too.
The Math Worksheet Generator works best with Word 2007/2010. If you have that, then the tool creates an editable Word document, it does work in other versions, but the worksheet is not editable.
So why not download Maths Worksheet Generator and get your pupils to create a worksheet to challenge their Parents to a Maths solving duel at home today.
Other Maths Resources
Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 provides a set of mathematical tools that help students get school work done quickly and easily. With Microsoft Mathematics, students can learn to solve equations step-by-step while gaining a better understanding of fundamental concepts in pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, and calculus.
You can find out what Mathematics 4.0 can really do in this video
Free Teachers Guides for Mathematics 4.0 are available at http://www.microsoft.com/education/teachers/guides/mathematics_4.0.aspx
Add Math functionality to Office
A simple free add-in Microsoft Word and OneNote 2007 and 2010 and allows you to create solve and visualise equations directly from these Microsoft Office applications.
The Math add-in for Microsoft Word and OneNote is available for download at :
Our UK Partners in Learning YouTube Channel has great video of how to use these add-ins in the classroom.
Remember that these resources are free to all educators and students. So why not celebrate World Maths Day by passing on the download links to them.
All these links and others are available in the free Microsoft Learning Suite .
It is award ceremony time at the moment, Oscars, BAFTAs and Golden Globes. It unlikely that UK Partners in Learning has been nominated in any of those. But we have been shortlisted for a 2012 NAACE Impact Award for Adviser or Consultant or Support Service, which is a fantastic achievement in itself.
To support our shortlisting I had to make a video showing the the impact that the UK Partners in Learning team has had on educators. A rummage through my hard drive produced a number of videos from which I was able to create this ‘rough’ compilation. How many of the UK Partners in Learning ‘super stars’ can you spot?
If we have had an impact on you and your learners, we would welcome and encourage you to tweet your support using the #naace hash tag. Or at least keep your fingers crossed, as we will be doing this Friday night.
This is series of posts prompted by a recent tweet from Mike McSharry - @mikemcsharry , asking for some inspiring ideas for Microsoft PowerPoint. Now, it’s very easy to criticise the use of Microsoft PowerPoint and suggest other alternatives, but from experience those just end up getting used in the same way, with flashing, spinning animations, bright colours and loads of text for example. This video perfectly highlights the traps and pitfalls that presenters, be they students or teachers often fall into.
So here in my first add-in that I think can add something to yours and student’s presentations. Having to ‘jump’ out of a presentation using a key combination or hyperlink can be a little distracting when presenting, so the LiveWeb View add-in is a great tool. It allows you to add a website directly to a PowerPoint slide, meaning that you do not have to leave your presentation to view or update the website.
The add in uses a macro and can be downloaded from this link.
Then follow these simple instructions.
1. Extract the contents of the zip to a folder. 2. Launch PowerPoint. 3. Click on Tools | Add-ins to bring up the add-ins window. 4. Click on Add to bring up the 'Add New PowerPoint Add-in' dialog box. 5. Navigate to the folder where the contents of the zip file was extracted and select 'LiveWeb.ppa' and click on OK. 6. You might be prompted with the macro virus warning. Enable the macros. When the Add-in is properly loaded, it will display a 'X' against the add-in name. 7. That's it. You have successfully loaded the add-in. Now put it to use.
This slide from my BETT presentation shows the new Partners in Learning Network site LIVE in the slide. This means you can also use other PowerPoint features such as animations, alongside the site you are showing.
You can find a lot more out about how teachers are using Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 in innovative ways in the classroom on our YouTube Channel.