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  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Microsoft Partners in Learning!


    bingWe have had a great year at Microsoft Partners in Learning, the highlight coming from Laura Ispsen, WWPS CVP, and Anthony Salcito, WWPS Education VP who announced that Partners in Learning will be funded a further $250 million with a five-year renewal, that reaffirms its commitment to education.

    With this in mind, I thought it would be great to reflect on some of the Partners in Learning 2012 highlights:





    Partners in Learning UK Live at Olympia

    The Learning Suite–Good things come in small packages
    The ‘new’ ICT curriculum and Partners in Learning. The Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Network shortlisted for a NAACE Impact Award

    Microsoft Partners in Learning European Forum 2012 – Lisbon
    Get Online @Home–the cheapest PC & Broadband package ever          

    Easter Camp





    Camp Wales–free CPD for teachers in Wales

    So much to think about !- Microsoft Surface, Smartglass, Bing & Windows 8

    Office 365 for education launch
    Partners in Learning Teacher receives even more recognition. Summer Camp





    UK Partners in Learning Network Manager–a new team member

    Announcing the UK’s Microsoft Pathfinder Schools

    Microsoft Youthsparks – Student Voice e-course launch         

    London Camp
    Microsoft Schools Programme – Training events

    Windows 8 in Education Launch
    Microsoft ‘Teaching with Technology’ curriculum on the Partners in Learning Network

    UK Windows in the Classroom seminar series launch

    Shape the Future Launch

    Camp up North
    Microsoft Online Learning Badges launch

    UK win at the Global Forum for Teaching & Learning

    We will be blogging again in the New Year, look out for news on the Microsoft Expert Educator Program which recognises an exclusive roster of our best educators. Another first-have is the Microsoft Innovative Schools World Tour. Via the Tour, education leaders and industry policymakers are able to visit schools and learn from them while using Microsoft tools and technology such as Windows8 and Office365 and don't forget we will have news on Bett 2013, it can’t get better than that!

    Here’s to a great Christmas break and a fabulous New Year. We hope that our readers are enjoying the festive period and making the most of the ‘season to be jolly.’

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Sir Ranulph Fiennes to conquer the last great polar challenge…


    the coldest journey

    Sir Ranulph Fiennes is leading a team of explorers to conquer the last great polar challenge: crossing Antarctica in winter. The 2000-mile journey across the continent has for many years been considered too perilous to try and the expedition's six-man "Ice Team" will have to overcome one of earth's most hostile environments if they are to succeed, exposing themselves to temperatures dropping close to -90c and operating in near permanent darkness.

    Their remarkable attempt aims to raise $10m for Seeing is Believing with match-funding from Standard Chartered, provide crucial scientific data and form the basis of an invaluable education programme.

    The expedition offers an unprecedented opportunity to generate diverse, engaging, real-time educational content for schools that will galvanise children's interest in a host of subjects. From physics and maths to geography and meteorology, The Coldest Journey will be the backdrop and inspiration for a wealth of resources available to children across the Commonwealth and reach up to a hundred-thousand schools.

    education_-_for_landing_page_v1_680x438Educational materials to match curriculum needs from Early Years to post-16 will be made available and cover topics from environmental sciences, history, geography, initiative and team workshops, to the fundamental questions concerning the aspirations of mankind.

    An interactive map will enable students to identify the current position of the ship and the expedition team, and over the coming months there will be live feeds from Antarctica, including interviews with Sir Ranulph and the crew, and real science data collected on the expedition ship and traverse.

    Microsoft has been working in partnership with the Commonwealth Foundation to develop the password-protected platform, which will be continually updated and managed using cloud technology during the expedition. For a modest fee, this education sub-site will be accessible to more than 43,000 schools in the UK and a further 57,000 across the Commonwealth's 54 nations. All proceeds from the subscription go directly to making the expedition possible, with any surplus paid to Seeing is Believing.

    Your school's subscription includes:
    • Specially designed, downloadable education resources, matching curriculum needs at every level from Early Years to post-16, across a wide range of subjects.
    • Access to exclusive blogs and regular interviews with the Expedition teams, including key information that will ONLY be released to subscribing schools.
    • A large signed photograph of Sir Ranulph Fiennes for display at your school or college, to demonstrate your generous support.
    • Exclusive video and photographic material from Antarctica.
    • Opportunities to enter competitions with prizes for your school that money can't buy.
    • First-access to certain primary scientific data emerging from the Expedition, relevant to science, geography and mathematics.
    • A fund-raising guide that would enable schools to recover the full cost of their subscription through simple sponsored activities, so that your involvement with The Coldest Journey need cost nothing at all!


    Add a Shout badge to your Microsoft profile:

    The Partners in Learning Network would love to know how you have used the coldest educational resources in your classroom. Share your practice and experiences in our Shout community and upload a ‘Water-Matters’ learning activity to to qualify for the badge.


  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Windows in the Classroom: Part 4: The magic of Windows 8 to Go for Schools


    WiC banner

    Windows 8 also sees the availability of Windows to Go – think of Windows to Go as a snapshot of your computing environment that you carry with you wherever you go and on whatever computer you are using.

    Using Windows To Go, users can travel light without sacrificing productivity, schools can enable new “Bring Your Own PC” scenarios, and staff can get up and running faster with more security.

    Windows To Go enables IT administrators to provide users with a standard school Windows image that can include frequently used apps, settings, and school data on a compatible USB storage device. Users can boot and operate Windows To Go from any school or personal PC (Windows 7 or Windows 8 logo-certified), and continue to get a rich and consistent Windows 8 experience.

    Here’s a great 2 minute overview of Windows 8 To Go by Mark Reynolds, Schools Business Manager (South), providing some ways it might be used in schools:


    Additional how to videos are available via our IT Heads Up channel.


    Blog posts in this series:

    All information and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Bill Gates is a Partner in Learning, are you….?


    Pil header

    Last month, we were quite excited to have Bill Gates join Anthony Salcito on Daily Adventures. Gates revealed a genuine sincerity towards improving teaching and learning and specifically a need for a personalised approach to technology in education. His interview was clear in concept and direction, highlighting the challenge and opportunity for PiL is to continue to be a learning organisation as it works to empower educators and their students.

    Here’s an extract from the full interview:

    thCA618XOPANTHONY SALCITO: You helped launch Partners in Learning 10 years ago. Do you remember what your early goals were for the program?

    Bill GatesBILL GATES: As a leader in the technology industry, we were thinking quite a bit in the late 1990s and early 2000s about how we could improve education on a global level. We knew education was the cornerstone of social and economic opportunity. We understood from previous initiatives that just giving away software or offering computer training courses wouldn’t enable the kind of changes needed. We also recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t work with a global initiative. So the goal with Partners in Learning was to create an integrated set of resources that could be tailored locally to increase technology access for schools, encourage innovative approaches to pedagogy and professional development for teachers, and provide education leaders with the tools to envision, implement, and manage change.

    thCA618XOPANTHONY SALCITO: Microsoft was founded on what was at the time a bold vision for a PC in every home and on every desk. We’re still working to make this a reality globally…but projects are growing broadly in education with rise of tablets and 1:1 computing. What are you most excited about regarding impact on learning with this trend?

    Bill GatesBILL GATES: When done right, technology can definitely help teachers be more effective and make learning more interesting. We’re seeing an explosion in the use of the Internet to broadcast and post teacher lectures and curriculum. The next step is teasing out the best of that. There are huge opportunities to create more engaging and interactive ways of learning, including personalized learning that gives students and teachers important real-time feedback. “Blended learning” that combines the best parts of classroom teaching and online learning is still a work-in-progress, but an important and exciting one. And we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the use of social networks to increase collaboration among and between teachers and students. We are in an extraordinary period of change in education. My hope and expectation is that PiL will continue to push the frontier over the next five years as it has over the last decade.

    So, are you a partner in learning?

    Check out this innovid created by Angie Gardner, from Hull City Learning Centre, who demonstrates how easy it is to join more than 4 million teachers,  in 119 countries on

    Created by Angie Gardner, from Hull City Learning Centre.
  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Partners in Learning is coming to the Midlands –Sign up for Free now!


    Windows in the Classroom - training advert 

    As you may be aware we have been running PiL camps all over the UK and I can now announce that the next stop for the bus will be the Midlands. We will be running two ‘Windows in the Classroom’ sessions with the Learning Technologies Team in Wolverhampton.


    What’s the session about?

    Find out how to make the most of your Windows experience with the latest free software from Microsoft. Maximize the potential of Office and be introduced to our best kept secret the Learning Suite. It’s all free and it’s stuff you can use straight away in your classroom the very next day!

    Not only that, but we have found there is a lot of interest around Windows 8 and how it can be used in the classroom; so there will be an opportunity to see Windows 8 in action with a live demo.

    How do I apply?

    To apply for this free event simply email before the closing date: January 31st 2013, who will send through registration details to secure your place. Please include details of your school, subject expertise and pupil age range and how many places you want. Places will allocated on a first come first served basis.


    This is free CPD at it’s best. 


    I am not an ICT teacher is it worth me applying?

    Absolutely, this is event is targeted at all primary and secondary educators in and around the Midlands, who are interested in teaching and learning, and how technology can support that, rather than the technology itself. This event is for ALL subject specialists including, Special school settings. The only criteria we have is a willingness to learn!

    What will I need to bring?

    We expect you to bring some of the tools you are using already:-

    -   A laptop running Windows Vista or Windows 7

    -   A headset with a microphone or Headphones and a Microphone (if you have one)

    -   Office 2007 or 2010 (not essential)

      We will send you a list of free tools to download and install when we confirm your attendance. 


    What next? – Email Alex: and secure your place NOW!!  

    All information and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    UK Teachers are World class at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum


    It’s inevitable when you put 160 worldclass teachers in a room and ask them to present about the work they do, then you are going to see some amazing examples of how technology can facilitate learning in the 21st century. Microsoft does this annually at its  Global Forum, and to add a twist to the whole proceedings, there is a competition element. Each project submitted is judged by a panel of global education experts, the winners are announced at the event’s closing dinner.

    The UK had two fantastic teachers at event, Katie Boothman from community school and Nicki Maddams from Hartsdown technology attending and competing. I am pleased to announce that they both won awards for their projects. This is an exceptional achievement and one we are very proud of.

    Please will join me in congratulating Nicki and Katie, their schools and students on their outstanding work by leaving a comment below.

    You can see details of Nicki’s and Katie's’ projects on the Partners in Learning Network and this blog.

    Nicki’s project involves Kodu and is the first ever computer science based project to win an award. This video explains it. We will have more news on Kodu at BETT .

    Katie's project used a range of Microsoft tools such as Photosynth to support an intergenerational project between her students and older people in their community.

    You can find details of all the amazing teachers and projects on the  Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.
  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    The UK strike GOLD at the Microsoft Olympics for Teaching and Learning!



     It is with great honour and pleasure to announce that Katie Boothman and Nicki Maddams have each won awards at the Worldwide Global Forum, Prague 2012. There were 18 educator awards up for grabs and the UK is coming home with two of them. We are very proud of their achievements and after spending a fantastic week with both educators I can honestly say they credit their students for their exemplary teaching and learning practices.  They wowed judges, global delegates, school leaders and senior Microsoft employees all week resulting in a great win:

    • Katie won 2nd runner up in the category ‘Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom’ for her project The Hit Squad
    • Nicki won 1st place in the category ‘Cutting Edge use of Technology for Learning’ for her project Kodu in the Klassroom.




    Next week look out for a blog post covering the week’s events and a little insight into both of their experiences. Once again,


    from UK Partners in Learning!

     All information and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Partners in Learning–5 more years!


    imagePartners in Learning has been working with teachers and schools in the UK for 10 years, working with thousands of teachers during that time. The UK team are here in Prague at the 2012 Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum, with our Innovative Teachers and Pathfinder Schools. We have been privileged , not only to see some amazing examples of the impact of technology on learning from around the world, but to hear some amazing keynotes and announcements. The most significant and exciting of which I want to share with you.

    Microsoft announced that Partners in Learning will be funded to the tune of $250 million, (Yes , you can Whoop here if you wish)with a five-year renewal, that reaffirms its commitment to education through Microsoft Partners in Learning, bringing Microsoft’s total investment in the program over 15 years to a staggering $750 million.

    Microsoft aims to grow the Partners in Learning community to 20 million of the 75 million teachers worldwide by 2018 with this renewal and to continue preparing students for the changing global workforce. Here in the UK our Partners in Learning team will continue to aspire to that goal, and grow the fantastic network of teachers and schools we already have.

    Why this is so important? I will leave that to a familiar face to explain..image

    “So many of us have a great teacher to thank for our achievements. That’s why I am so proud that Microsoft’s Partners in Learning continues to support innovative teachers.” – Bill Gates, USA …… find out more


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