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  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Free online Student Voice e-course with TakingITGlobal


    tigvolTo support Microsoft’s Youth Spark, we are pleased to offer free places on TakingITGlobal’s online e- course "Empowering Student Voice in Education."

    This graduate-level, accredited course is designed to help educators understand the value of cultivating and engaging student voice both inside and outside the classroom. Participants will critically examine a set of agreed principles which underpin the development of all student voice work regardless of the initiative and seek to design a project that enables and enhances student voice in their own schools.

    Course material draws on:

    • Student Voice theory and the experiences of educators who have incorporated student voice in their teaching and learning practice.
    • It offers opportunities to engage in Microsoft Youth Sparks with a key focus on Innovate for Good, a global online community enabling youth to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to make a difference in their communities.
    • It evaluates the impact of personalised learning meeting the needs of more students to a fuller extent than ever before and how this can be embedded in a school’s curriculum to reach effective and sustainable results.documentname_6

    How does an online e-course work?

    • The e-course consists of five weekly 90 minute classes.
    • A private virtual classroom space that allows participants to connect between classes to share ideas, collaborate, and engage in meaningful dialogue;
    • Challenging and engaging readings, assignments and projects; and
    • An approach to learning that encourages personal reflection.

    When does it start?

    For more information about the e-course, please email me with initial interest at

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Spy Quest – Licensed to Learn


    With the recent launch of the new James Bond film and in many people’s opinion the best James Bond was Scottish. Then is seems a good time to tell you about a great resource launched recently in Scotland.

    Polybius Games are providing their award winning Spy Quest educational game to all Scottish primary and secondary schools. Under the scheme up to 750,000 Scottish pupils will benefit annually by learning core skills in a fun and engaging way.

    Schools in Scotland only have until  9th November 2012 to register their interest at

    Two teachers from each school will be invited to attend a 3 hours local training event. Prior to them attending Polybius will liaise with each school and have their game constructed so that they can ask relevant questions on the day and start straight away with their new game.

    Through gameplay learners develop knowledge and understanding of a variety of curriculum areas. Importantly, learners also develop a range of transferable skills to better equip themselves and prepare for future situations in school, at home and life. They also have great fun.for learning, life and work. These are encapsulated in four key areas of successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

    Spy Quest embodies the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence and each game is designed to develop a range of transferable skills, some of which are listed below.

    Motivation - Spy Quest is motivating for children as it links suspended disbelief with real world problem solving with the competitive but non-threatening world of a computer game.

    Communication - Spy Quest encourages learners to communicate using verbal and non-verbal

    Partners in Learning’s very own ‘James Bond’ , Ollie Bray,  formerly Senior Policy Advisor & Consultant for Scottish Government & National Adviser for Emerging Technologies in Learning wrote a white paper on how games such as Spy Quest epitomise how valuable a playful approach learning is.

    You can find out more about SpyQuest in this TESS article


    But, don’t despair if you are a school not in Scotland , Polybius Games intend to extend the offer to all UK primary and secondary schools in 2013.

    You can find more Playful Learning resources on the Partners in Learning NetworkJoin for free today.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Office 365 in the Classroom


    Free to schools, Microsoft Office 365 is great for providing educators and students new ways to connect, collaborate and engage. With free email, instant messaging, group video and voice chat, and online document viewing and editing; it’s not surprising that we are quite excited to see how schools are taking advantage of cloud based learning.

    This month two Derby schools, Ravensdale Junior and Oakswood Junior have welcomed us into their schools to demonstrate exactly how they are using Office 365 in the classroom.

    9Oakswood Junior has set up an online numeracy support group. Making use of Lync students are using the chat feature to provide support to one another on homework issues. Lync can be accessed by students at home and in school and teachers are using the status tool  feature as an ‘Assessment for Learning’ strategy to monitor progress. Hence, if students set their status to red they require assistance, if they show green they know the answer and are available to help others and if they display amber they are still working on the learning activity.

    Oakswood Junior is also using Lync to bring classes together. Two year 6 groups are working collaboratively on projects even though they are located in different parts of  the school building. Taking the meaning of group work to a whole new level, students from the two classes use the group video tool feature to work on problem solving activities and joint presentations.

    Image2Ravensdale Junior is no exception. Teachers have used the class and group site features of Sharepoint 2012 to deliver lessons to students of different abilities. The class discussion tool is often used as a starter activity to get all students contributing to questions and ideas that shape the basis of the lesson. Wiki pages are used to help deliver differentiated learning resources, and students are given opportunities to work in real time on assignments and group projects using the office web apps. Students at this school have created their own learning journals using the online features to share their classroom experiences with parents at home. Ravensdale Junior have found that this method of working motivates students to achieve their very best as work is published online for all to see.

    These are some great examples of how Office 365 can be used by schools to help impact and inform learning.

    You can find out more about Office 365 by joining for free at

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Be the Spark of Change


    Youth SparkThe world stands at a crossroads. While there are more young people on the planet than ever before, youth unemployment is double that of the adult population. Countries are struggling to develop modern workforces due to the growing gap between the skills of unemployed workers and the skills needed to perform the jobs of today and tomorrow. Today’s young people face an opportunity divide – a gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Closing this opportunity divide is one of the most important actions we can all take to secure the future of our youth and the future of our global economy.

    Microsoft YouthSpark is a companywide initiative designed to create opportunities for hundreds of millions of youth around the world. Through partnerships with governments, non-profits and businesses, we aim to empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities. We want to empower youth to change their world.

    Microsoft YouthSpark marks a new focus for our philanthropy efforts.  Given the size and scale of the crisis we are committing the majority of our corporate cash giving to support non-profit organizations that serve youth. While the focus is new, we are building on 30 years of philanthropic experience and our commitment to strong community partnerships that drive our work.

    Opportunities to change your world are within reach. Whether your goal is getting new skills, a better job, or a better planet, we have tools and programs to help you get there. Dream it. Learn it. Live it. To get started please visit some of our new youth-focused Citizenship initiative, including:

    Give For Youth: a global micro-giving marketplace focused specifically on raising funds for non-profits that support youth causes around the world with Microsoft’s support, harnessing the power of technology and the passion of the global community to connect donors with beneficiaries;

    Microsoft YouthSpark Hub: an online space where young people can explore and access all of the services, programs and resources provided by Microsoft and select non-profit partners for education, skills, employment and entrepreneurship.  We know these programs work and we want to ensure that every young person can easily find the opportunities they need;

    Innovate For Good: a global online community enabling youth to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to make a difference in their communities. We know one of the most powerful catalysts for change is young people themselves and bringing this community together across borders and boundaries is a powerful driver of change and opportunity.

    For more information about YouthSpark and how to get involved, please visit:


    You can find out more about the range of programmes Microsoft Partners in Learning offers by joining for free at

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Microsoft Schools Programme – October & November training events


    imageLooking for some great advice, examples and best practice in the use of the wide range of Microsoft technologies and programmes in schools? Then this series of events hosted by some of our school partners could help. Each month we will publishing a list of events being held around the country.

    • Here are the events for October and November, so get booking.
    • All events are free to attend.

    To attend any event, please contact the school directly or by the email contacts listed here.

    When? Where? What? Who?
    8th Oct 4pm community school Innovative use of mobile technologies Ben Rowe
    9th Oct 4pm New Line Learning Academy PowerPoint – Beyond the basics Alan Enfield
    10th Oct 4pm Sawtry Community College Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum Pam Kitchen
    11th Oct 4pm Djanogly City Academy Microsoft Free Stuff Paul Leatham
    11th Oct 4pm Calderglen High School Microsoft MovieMaker Odette Frazer
    15th Oct 4 pm Broadclyst Community Primary School Using Media across the curriculum Jonathan Bishop
    26th Oct 4pm community school Bring and Brag – Share your ideas Ben Rowe
    30th Oct 4pm Calderglen High School Using Microsoft OneNote Odette Frazer
    5th Nov 10am Hugh Christie Technology College Office 365 – Email Ken Fassum
    5th Nov 12pm Hugh Christie Technology College Skydrive in the Classroom Ken Fassum
    6th Nov 10am Hugh Christie Technology College Kodu in the Classroom Ken Fassum
    7th Nov 4pm Sawtry Community College MOS accreditation & Self Learning Programme Pam Kitchen
    14th Nov 5pm Calderglen High School Microsoft Free stuff Odette Frazer
    26th Nov 4pm Broadclyst Community Primary School Working collaboratively online Jonathan Bishop
    28th Nov 4pm Sawtry Community College Strategic Leadership of ICT Pam Kitchen


    You can find out more about the range of programmes Microsoft Partners in Learning offers by joining for free at

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