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  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Kodu Kup UK 2013 - Enter today


    imageDownload the Teacher Guide here -


    Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. Developed by Microsoft Research, the programming environment runs on the PC and Xbox allowing rapid design creation. Elements such as a game controller can be added for input, giving a greater ‘real’ game experience. Kodu is available for free and is supported by a wide range of resources and communities. Kodu is so easy to learn and use it is even being used by children as young as 6 years old

    Competition Details

    The competition is open to all 7-14 year old students in UK schools.

    Teachers need to join and create a profile on the Partners in Learning Network and final submissions will be uploaded to here.

    Submissions need consist of two files; the Kodu game and a game case cover to advertise the details of the game  ( a template is provided in the teacher guide)

    Each game submitted should be created by a team of 3 students, who have worked together in producing the game.

    Any Kodu game created must reflect at least one of these three themes.image

    - Mars Exploration - Use the Mars Rover character in Kodu Game Lab to create a game centred around the exploration of Mars.

    image- Water Awareness - Create a game that tackles the environmental issue of water. This could be a local or school-based scenario or something more global.image

    - Retro Arcade games - Recreate an arcade game from the past with a Kodu twist!

    These themes are aimed at promoting the inclusion of computer science across the curriculum. So even if you are not an ICT teacher, you can still enter your students into the competition as geography, science or history teacher.

    The closing date for the competition is 31st May 2013

    Ten winning entries will be selected by a team of judges, that will include computer game studio genius Gary Carr, whose Lionheart studios are responsible for the epic game Fable- The journey. Those teams will be invited to Microsoft UK Headquarters in Reading, for a day of Kodu activities, where they will share and present their game. Three teams will be selected as the top three and the members of those, will receive an Xbox 360 and Kinect as a prize, with one team being awarded the accolade of being Kodu Kup champions.

    Full details, resources, support and the teachers guide can be downloaded from this community on the Partners in Learning Network .You can also the latest updates and support on our Kodu Kup UK Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @kodukup

    We are really excited about this competition and are looking forward to receiving some great games from your students. We be holding a number of events throughout the competition around country, with the great support of Computing at Schools and UKIE . Stay tuned to this blog, Facebook and Twitter for further details.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Get Online at Home - £49 PC with Windows 7 offer is back


    GOAH - Banner

    Get Online at Home is a digital inclusion initiative from Microsoft and a selection of our authorised refurbisher partners. Our aim with Get Online at Home is to provide an entry-level price point for individuals, charities and housing associations for example to obtain a fully-functioning refurbished desktop or laptop PC together with advice on the best available internet offers from the Ofcom approved Simplifydigital.

    We have introduced our new website for Get Online at Home that makes it even simpler to select and purchase your preferred desktop or laptop PC. The term ‘refurbished PC’ simply means primarily an ex-corporate PC that has been professionally reconditioned by one of our authorised refurbisher partners – it is as ‘good as new’ and comes with a standard 90-day warranty that can be upgraded to 12-months for a small additional charge.

    Thousands of previously digitally-excluded people have already taken advantage of the Get Online at Home offer and you can read some of their stories here about the difference that being online at home makes to their lives. There are many more people who are still excluded from easy access to the Internet via their own PC in their home. Get Online at Home provides a fully-functioning, internet-ready, secure desktop or laptop PC with prices commencing from £49* for our special offer.

    *Terms and conditions apply. Refer to Get Online at Home Special Offer webpage for full details

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    BETT Partners in Learning Appathon 2013


    imageIf there was sound on this post , you would be hearing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor (Rocky III) , as at BETT 2013 , Partners in Learning is hosting its first ever Windows 8 Appathon. Teacher from around Europe have been involved online training, learning how to use a browser based development environment called TouchDevelop (you will be hearing a lot more about TouchDevelop from us).

    To enter the event teachers, had to scope and create brief for a tablet app that they could then build with the help of experts at the event in London, with the winning app being published on the Microsoft App store.

    The UK had 14 teachers entered, three of which managed to get their App idea through to this this final bout of the competition. The three teachers that will battle it out are: -

    Jimmy Edwards from community school

    David Renton from Reid Kerr College

    Ray Chambers from Uppingham College

    These guys will be ‘locked’ in a room at our London offices with 40 others for 24hrs, with supplies of Pizza and cola to sustain them as they battle it out in developing their app.

    We will be announcing how they got on and details of their apps in a post after BETT, in the meantime have a look at TouchDevelop for yourselves at , there are plenty of tutorials to help you get started.

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    NEW! Sign up to PiLN with your Office 365 school email


    Pil header 

    Help your students build the skills they need for the future—such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity—with Partners in Learning. You’ll meet other innovative teachers for collaboration opportunities, get access to free teacher resources, and learn about great ways to improve your personal teaching practice using technology.

    Now, as more and more school’s are moving towards Office 365, we thought it was only fair to add Office 365 to our list of authentication providers. This means that new members to Partners in Learning can choose to register using their Office 365 credentials.  




    Why join PiL…Teachers helping teachers!

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

    Point2Player from Point2Educate FREE to download and use NOW!


    Point to player

    The Point2Player from Point2Educate can now be downloaded and used in your school entirely freely.  It provides access to the Naace ICT Framework Toolkit, Microsoft's Learning Suite and a range of other content without having any impact on your budget.

    Naace and Point2Educate:

    Naace and Point2Educate are working together to provide primary and secondary schools with free access to a wide range of Open Source software tools and other resources to support the Naace ICT Curriculum Framework. The Framework can be used by schools to audit their current provision for ICT and to plan any changes that may be needed in order to deliver a full, broad and balanced ICT curriculum with clear progression from EYFS to Key Stage 3.

    Microsoft and Point2Educate:

    The Learning Suite by Microsoft is a set of innovative applications for education that create a robust, creative and collaborative learning environment for students and educators. These tools are now freely available to you from within the Point2Player, making them even easier to access. Microsoft group these tools into four categories aligned to how you work: Create, Colloborate, Research & Study and Teach. To make the best use of these tools and resources, sign up for the Partners in Learning Network here

    There’s more…

    Point2Player have eighteen educational Open Source software titles available for immediate use including Hot Potatoes, Libre Office and Scratch.  They also provide direct links to a range of free online tools for schools, including Office 365 and Microsoft SkyDrive. Once you've tried the Point2Player and had the chance to assess the value it offers, you may be interested in other software and resources that they offer.  If so, you'll find the eStore built into the Player, so that you can order and then start using your purchase immediately.

    What next? First take a look at the Getting Started Guide here.

    Want to download and install it now? Get started…. Download it now..

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

    So what do Partners in Learning have planned for BETT Week?



    Find out which PiL events, programs, speakers are on and where during BETT week 2013 here…

    Events at a glance:

    PURPLE BETT Show   Wed, 30 Jan - Sat, 02 Feb

    BETT Show is the leading event for educational technology, and one of the world’s largest ICT in education exhibitions. Microsoft will be a major exhibitor at BETT and will be holding talks and demonstrations on Windows 8, Office 365, Partners in Learning, Shape the Future, IT Academy and much more at stands E270 and D270. Web.

    PiL School Tour   Tue, 29 Jan

    Educators, school leaders, policy makers and education experts embark on a tour to see how innovative use of space and technology turns teaching and learning into a fun and engaging experience, and drives stellar learning outcomes. Invitees to the PiL Leadership Workshop, the ELB, the School Technology Innovation Briefing, and Playful Learning can sign up for the Tour during the registration process. Web.

    ORGANGE BETT  Education World Forum   Mon, 28 – Wed, 30 Jan

    UK Government invites Ministers of Education and their advisors for a 3-day global leadership summit debating future practice in education. The event is an internationally recognized ministerial forum and participation is by official invitation only. MSFT cannot invite people to the EWF but if profile fits - senior national officials, state or regional ministers or ‘others who are exerting a significant national influence – we can put a suggestion forward. New this year, we found a way for subs to participate. If you have MoE at EWF you can sign up for a ticket slot. Also we have meeting space for non-EWF delegates available. Web.

    Education Leaders Briefing   Wed, 30 Jan

    Senior education policy makers and key policy influencers join education thought leaders Sir Michael Barber, Tom Vander Ark, Kirsti Lonka, Wayne Houlden and Anthony Salcito as well as 3 young social entrepreneurs from Mexico, Chile and Singapore for an education talk show, which will be rounded up by a cocktail reception and networking dinner with edu experts as table hosts. Table topics TBA shortly. Web.

    yellow  School Technology Innovation Workshop   Thu, 31 Jan

    Join technical and business decision makers from education organizations for a half-day interactive workshop about latest trends in education technology, followed by round-table discussions with experts to unravel the complexities of schooling systems and work out practical steps for scaling innovation in education. Web.

    blue PiL Training Affiliates Workshop   Tue, 29 – Thu, 31 Jan

    Organizations responsible for professional development (curriculum design, deployment, certification, assessment, etc.) participate in a 3-day workshop and use Microsoft resources to build educator capacity and prepare students to be workforce ready. Web.

    green  PiL Innovative Schools Leadership Workshop   Mon, 29 Jan

    PiL Pathfinder, Mentor & World School Tour Leaders engage in a one-day professional development workshop with Katelyn Donnelly from Pearson Learning and co-author of Michael Fullan’s ‘Oceans of Innovation’, Tom Vander Ark and Bruce Dixon on leadership in education. Web.

    Playful Learning Workshop   Fri, 01 Feb

    Designed to help teachers (PiL / non-PiL) use ICTs more effectively and creatively the workshop will offer fun, engaging demos of how to use Windows 8, Microsoft Office, OneNote, Skype, Xbox and many other solutions in and outside the classroom to design engaging learning experiences. Web.

    W8 Appathon   Mon, 29 – Tue, 30 Jan

    Educators become developers. 20 PiL Innovative Teachers from Europe will be invited to turn their idea for a Windows 8 Education App into reality during a 2-day boot camp, with the top apps being promoted on the Partners in Learning Network. Nomination managed by Corp. Web.

    NEW Microsoft Learning Educator Roundtable at BETT

    Join Lutz Ziob, General Manager for Microsoft Learning for a 1h-round table discussion during BETT Show on Thursday, 31st of January from 10:00 – 11:00. The discussion will explore how new technologies influence students in the classroom and how the role of educators is changing. If interested, contact me at 

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

    Snow Day + School closed = Disruption to learning? We may have the solution….


    office  365

    Graphic from UK Office 365 for Education Partner Novotronix

    Guest blog post from James Marshall (UK Education Cloud blog)

    snowIf you’re in the UK (other countries are available) you’ll probably look out of your window this morning and see something like this:

    Teachers and pupils up and down the country tune into their local radio stations eagerly awaiting news of school closures, crossing fingers and toes that theirs is on the list. Traditionally when snow hits and schools close it’s seen as a free day because communication grinds to a halt.

    I’ve heard stories of broadband connections to schools being swamped and failing as people scramble to get to the school website for updates, only to find an error as the server’s offline or the, hitherto totally reliable, mail server develops a problem meaning you can’t send any email. Maybe it’s time to look at different ways to keep the school functioning when the mercury falls below zero?

    Office 365 for education

    Office 365 for education can help get you out of this sticky situation in a number of ways:

    • Exchange Online gives every one of your pupils and teachers a 25GB mailbox hosted in a Microsoft datacentre that is accessible 24x7 from anywhere. You can even sync it to your smartphone, tablet device or pretty much anything that supports IMAP, or Exchange ActiveSync.
    • Lync Online provides everyone with the means to have instant message conversations, audio and video chats, share content, collaborate in a whiteboard, and gives everyone their own “presence” to let others know their availability. Clients are available for most major platforms and because Lync Online is hosted by Microsoft it is accessible anywhere, all the time!
    • SharePoint Online (with the Office Web Apps) is a great place to move your processes and documents. By making use of the libraries and workflows in SharePoint Online you can finally get rid of those paper forms and tiny file shares – it’s possible to store up to 25TB of data in the cloud. Teachers can set homework assignments, provide resources, share notes, and all sorts of other great things via SharePoint Online. Every user also gets their own personal storage space to keep their files, tag their favourite content, or even write a blog.

    Just because you’re outside the classroom doesn’t mean teaching and learning has to stop! Here are a few examples:

    • The head teacher needs to call a meeting of all staff to brief them on the snow process. They send out a calendar invite using the Lync Online web scheduler and Exchange Online to all the teachers for them to join a meeting online using Lync. The head can then present some slides, and attach a hand-out to the meeting for the teachers to download. Also, the head can record the meeting and upload the recording to the staff area in SharePoint Online for people who couldn’t make the meeting to review at their leisure.
    • A sixth form teacher had planned to run a revision session for some A-Level students but due to the closure nobody can get in. Instead of cancelling the session the teacher can send out invites to the students using the web scheduler and host the meeting online using Lync. The teacher can share audio, video, whiteboard and presentation content – even the whole desktop if needed. Again, the session can be recorded and uploaded to SharePoint Online for later review.
    • A teacher who’d set a homework deadline of the day the school closed can still collect in homework assignments via SharePoint Online by getting pupils to upload their work from home, rather than print it out to bring in. The teacher can mark the work electronically using the Office Web Apps in SharePoint Online and send feedback to the pupils easily.

    For more info on Office 365 for education, visit the UK Education Cloud Blog!  You can sign up for Office 365 for education for free today! Every signup gets a 30 day free trial of the enhanced A3 plan, which includes a downloadable copy of Office Professional Plus 2010.



      Blog posts in this series:

      Look out for future posts that will explore other key tools and features of Office 365, however more Office 365 for education innovids and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

    • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

      What's happening at BETT 2012? Tim Bush reveals all….



      Guest blog post from Tim Bush (Microsoft School’s Blog)

      Wow - I can't believe Bett 2013 is nearly upon us. It only seems like yesterday that we were packing up our stand at Olympia after a fun and rewarding 4 days at the show. In this case, time definitely does fly!

      So, with a fairly wide remit at Bett 2012 that was built around the theme of 'Anytime, Anywhere Learning… for all', what's on the cards for Microsoft @ Bett for 2013?

      Well, with the move to Excel, we are all definitely going to need to find a new café for that much needed bacon sandwich in the morning (Franks Sandwich bar, you will be missed). On a more serious note, though, we are super excited about many of the new opportunities that the new venue, and the fresh new approach by the Bett organisers for the 2013 show, provides to help us add greater value to our community.

      More specifically, the theme for Bett 2013 is going to be a 'New Era for Digital Learning'. With a number of sub-themes that align to this umbrella theme, such as Windows 8, Office 365 for education, 1:1 Computing and tablets in education, we will be discussing how technology can help create more engaging and emotional connections with learning that is steeped in real world problem solving.

      Furthermore, in response to the tremendous amount of innovation in the technology available in classrooms, we will also be extending our focus on supporting teachers in the resulting shifts in pedagogy, practice and management needed for us to deliver on the promise of a new era of digital learning through Partners in Learning (PiL) and our Windows in the Classroom seminar programme.

      Microsoft @ Bett 2013: So what about the detail…

      New for Bett 2013 is the Bett Arena, and we are proud to be sponsoring its inaugural year. We have been busy working closely with the folks at Bett to curate an amazing line-up of insightful, entertaining and informative speakers that will add a new dimension to visitors experience at the show. With a mix of household names and passionate in-sector speakers, visiting the Bett Arena is going to be an essential part of your day at the show.

      2352.clip_image004_thumb_0755BCBB Our very own VP for Education, Anthony Salcito, will be presenting in the Arena on the opening day of the show and we are also running a computer science in the curriculum panel discussion. More details on both of these will be available via the blog at a later date.

      Moving beyond the Bett Arena, Microsoft's presence is very much focused around sharing best practice and solving your problems. With the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre, we are delivering a wide range of keynotes across all 4 days of the show that address the sub themes associated with the show.

      These include:

      • Windows 8
      • Office 365 for education
      • Cloud: Public and Private
      • 1:1 Computing
      • Apps
      • Community and teaching & learning - Windows in the Classroom and Partners in Learning
      • Devices inc Surface RT
      • BYOD

      As with previous BETT events, Learn Live Theatre sessions will be delivered by a mix of teachers, network managers and Microsoft Staff. We feel privileged to work with some amazing teachers and I highly recommend taking the time to visit the theatre to learn more about how the likes of Charlotte Beckhurst, David Rogers, Janet Hayward and Kristian Still are using technology to raise attainment and help their students realise their full potential.

      Full details regarding the schedule for the Learn Live Theatre sessions will be made available in a future blog post.

      In addition to the Learn Live Theatre, we are also hosting a Windows 8 stand for 2013. This space will complement the Learn Live Theatre by giving a more direct focus on Windows 8, devices (including Surface RT) and apps.

      The Windows 8 stand will include representatives from a selection of our OEM community - Acer, Toshiba and Asus- and the partners behind our Top Apps in Education. Our Surface RT device will also be available to trial on the stand. I personally can't get over the build quality of this device and can't wait to make it available for you to test on the stand. It really is a thing of beauty!

      The Windows 8 stand will also feature an intimate theatre where we will be showcasing short presentations around the core focus of the stand - Windows 8, Devices, Apps, WMS and Windows Phone 8.

      But what about the demos?

      Across both the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre and Windows 8 Stand, we will be signposting to our partner community who are exhibiting at the show to help demonstrate how our technologies, in conjunction with the experience and expertise of our partners, can help make a difference within your institution.

      We will be making a handy flyer available on our stands that list all of our partners, combined with their area of expertise and stand number, so you can easily find someone to answer your questions or offer a demo. Additionally, we will be signposting to relevant partners at the end of each Learn Live Theatre presentation. Our Microsoft @ Bett Microsite (available soon) will also feature a list of the partners at the show if you want to plan your visit ahead of time.

      Microsoft staff will be available on both stands if you have a question or need guidance on which partner to speak with. Just shout and we will be happy to help!

      Treasure Trail

      More details on our theatre agenda and overall presence at Bett 2013 will be shared via the blog over the coming weeks, but just wanted to take this opportunity to share some information about our Treasure Trail. The Treasure Trail will be run in conjunction with participating partners and will offer visitors to the show the ability to win some amazing prizes that range from a Surface RT Device, Xbox 360 and a PC.

      Entry cards can the collected from the Microsoft Stand. Visit each participating partner stand, answer the question, and you will receive a stamp. When completed, the card should then be dropped off at the Microsoft Stand. We will be carrying out 2 draws per day at 4pm on the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre (Wednesday – Friday).

      Pop by the Microsoft stand for the entry card or if you have any questions about the competition.

      Stand Number

      Other than to say keep an eye out on the blog for more information about all the latest news regarding our presence at Bett 2013, I just wanted to share the stand numbers for our stands at the show.

      • Microsoft Learn Live Theatre - Stand # D270
      • Windows 8 Stand - Stand # E270

      More news to follow and if you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via Twitter - @tbush

      Look forward to seeing you at Bett 2013!


      For more details on BETT, please visit the Microsoft School’s Blog.

    • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

      Office 365 for education: Assessment for Learning with Lync!


      office  365 

      Graphic from UK Office 365 for Education Partner Novotronix

      Today’s workforce and workplace is mobile. In order to prepare students to succeed, we need to encourage and enable them to become mobile learners and active participants beyond the walls of the classroom. They can and they want to learn in different places, not only in the real-world, but also in virtual environments or a combination of both. Blended learning combines the traditional face-to-face classroom with online instruction. Office 365 for education is a great way to prepare your students to succeed in all types of environments.

      How are schools using Office 365 Lync?

      In Lync you can connect with others through instant messaging (IM), video calls, online meetings, and phone calls. Oakswood Junior have used Lync to 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.

      Check out this two minute innovid tutorial below to see how easy it is to start teaching in the cloud with Office 365 Lync:



      Your academic institution can use Office 365 for free. If you’re waiting for your institution to get Office 365, you can apply for your own 30-day trial version, which you can use to build your virtual classroom. Sign up for your free trial at this web link.

      Blog posts in this series:


      Look out for future posts that will explore other key tools and features of Office 365, however more Office 365 for education innovids and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

    • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

      Office 365 for education: Teaching in the Cloud ‘How to’ tutorials for Sharepoint


      office  365

      Graphic from UK Office 365 for Education Partner Novotronix

      Work better together! We are really excited that Microsoft Office 365 is available for FREE for education. Office 365 will help transform the way students and educators work in real time on assignments and group projects. Easily share information, view and edit documents in a browser or in Office. Check out this video that shows 21st century collaboration at it's best...

      To demonstrate how teachers are utilising Office 365 in the classroom we are creating ‘Teaching in the Cloud’ innovids (tutorials) that will help show you how to get started with your very own Office 365 experience. Today’s post will explore how teachers are using Office 365 SharePoint in their classroom.

      How are schools using Office 365 SharePoint in the classroom?

      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.

      Check out the 2 minute Innovid tutorials below that have been created by teachers to show how easy it is to start teaching in the cloud with Office 365 SharePoint.

      Class surveys in Office 365
      Setting homework in Office 365
      Attach a workspace in Office 365

      Look out for future posts that will explore other key tools and features of Office 365, however more Office 365 Sharepoint innovids and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

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