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  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    We are on the move.


    imageWe are moving our blog post home, for the past four years we have published posts here on our Teachers blog. We have decided that to provide you with  a broader and more holistic picture of the Microsoft UK Education offering to schools and teachers. That we merge this blog with our schools blogs.

    So please update your links and change your RSS feeds to point to . Where we will continue to  bring you all the news updates and ideas from Partners in Learning.

    We will be leaving this blog as an archive that can be used for reference. This blog still receives huge numbers of search enquires about favourites like AutoCollage and our other free software.

    See you all on the Schools Blog soon.

    Thank you

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Earn Microsoft badges for teacher and school leader professional development


    Pil header

    We believe in anytime, anywhere learning. We also believe your achievements should be recognised so that you can share your accomplishments and knowledge with your colleagues and communities. That’s why the Partners in Learning Network awards badges for the skills and knowledge that are learned and shared through our online professional learning community, in our in-person events, and in school communities around the world.

    Check out the badges you can earn and add to your Partners in Learning online profile. Earn enough and you can establish yourself as a Microsoft Expert Educator (more info to follow on this).



    If you have met the criteria to earn one of these badges and it is not turned on in your profile, please let us know. We’ll be happy to confirm that you have met the criteria and turn your badge on.

    Once signed in, don’t forget to complete your profile on

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Ray Chambers on



    ‘‘You might be able to help get that student their pass, but can they apply it in real life? I believe the country needs to support more ‘real-life’ practice with students to make sure that they will float, rather than sink at the end of their school career.”

    – Ray Chambers, England


    Ray Chambers is a relatively young teacher – he’s been teaching ICT only since 2008. About two years ago, Chambers noticed his students were becoming bored in his ICT classes – they could only be inspired by learning to create a spreadsheet or learn Word for so long. So he decided it was time to try something new. “I was introduced to the Partners in Learning Netw ork by another inspiring person, Guy Shearer,” says Chambers. “He introduced me to the innovative things that were happening. I had an idea for using the Kinect in the classroom and I couldn’t find any information on it. He persuaded me to keep looking.”

    Not only did Chambers keep looking, he created his own program using the Kinect, and created tutorials and shared this on his blog, to help other teachers do the same. “I taught myself to develop Kinect Applications using the Kinect SDK,” says Chambers. “At this point, many teachers were using the Xbox but none had used the Kinect as a standalone device. I wanted to engage students and I wanted them to enjoy their lessons.” Chambers’ project has grown since and with the help of colleague Stuart Ball, they have created a group of teachers from the UK called the K-Team. “We’re all using the Kinect or Kodu to develop education,” notes Chambers. His project, “Kinect Olympics,” took him to the 2011 finals of UK Partners in Learning Forum, and then on to the European Partners in Learning Forum in Lisbon.

    “At the European Forum I was impressed to see that many teachers all over Europe were already using the tutorials from my blog to make their own applications,” says Chambers. “There were teachers from Bulgaria editing the code to build quizzes for their classrooms. Friends who have visited the Global Forum have told me about the impact it’s made. There were at least three more countries at the Global Forum using the technology and the applications I had developed.”

    Chambers’ accomplishments have led to him presenting at many events, including BETT in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This year, Chambers and fellow K-Team member David Renton talked about the use of Kinect Applications, Kinect Games and Kodu, and the impact that it has had in their students’ grades. “It was a great opportunity to establish connections,” says Chambers. “As a result of all of this, my teaching practice has changed. The recognition I have had from the students and the enjoyment from them has only made me more determined to be even more innovative. I’m currently looking at ways of using TouchDevelop within the curriculum at our school. I am now trying to make future projects have a whole school impact rather than just in my own classroom. I’m looking at getting students to develop apps for other teachers so that the whole school can make use of this innovation.”



    Read the rest of Ray’s interview on You can leave you messages of support for Ray @Lanky_boi_ray using the following hastag:  #DailyEdventures

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

    Launch of the Kodu Kup–Guest post by Nicki Maddams


    It has now been over a week since the Kodu Kup was launched in the UK! Just to recap, The Kodu Kup is open to any child enrolled at a UK school and who is aged between seven to fourteen years of age at the date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher and may be entered for the competition as individuals or as part of a team of up to three people. We have three different themes children can chose from:



       à Retro Arcade Game

    Recreate an arcade game from the past with a Kodu twist! If you need some inspiration you could try taking a look at for some examples.


       à 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.


       à Mars Exploration

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

    The deadline is 31st May 2013. You can read the full details in the Teachers Pack here:

    Kodu Kup Launch 1The launch at BETT was a huge success. Lots of educators gathered around the NAACE stand to watch the live demonstration by myself following an introduction by Stuart Ball and Anthony Salcito. We even featured one of our celebrity judges at the launch, Gary Carr, who is responsible for the development of hit videogame, Fable – The Journey. Further demonstrations in the Microsoft theatre really highlighted the popularity of the competition and many teachers that I met couldn’t wait to get started.

    So the question is, have you made a start in launching the Kodu Kup in your school? If so we’d love to hear how you are getting on. Post a comment below or keep in touch using Facebook: or Twitter: @KoduKup.


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

    Key Stage 1–AutoCollage Competition–South West Grid for Learning


    The South West Grid for Learning is proud to announce a brand new competition in collaboration with Microsoft Partners in Learning for schools in the South West of England.
    With support from West Town Farm and Love Local Food this promises to be a colourful, creative and exciting competition. With the theme of ‘Seasonal and Local Food’, we are looking for students in KS1 to create a collage of pictures to represent their ideas of what is ‘seasonal and local’ to them.

      Need inspiration?

    • Local produce ... Will it feature bananas ... probably not!

    • Seasonal food ... Will it be spring peas, summer fruits, autumn squashes or winter parsnips?

    • Seasonal weather ... Rain, sun, snow? with the weather we have had, mostly rain!

    • Seasonal colours ... Leaf colours, flower colours, sky colours?

    We will be running this competition from 7th January 2013 - 28th March 2013, with judges from West Town Farm and Love Local Food helping us to decide the winner(s).
    The winning student(s) will be rewarded with their images being published in an on line collection of seasonal recipes being produced by Love Local Food, along with an invitation for them and their class to visit West Town Farm for free and cook some seasonal food over a fire. They will also win a Digital Camera for their school.

    So, what’s the next step? You can visit Microsoft Partners in Learning to download AutoCollage. It’s free! You can find help on AutoCollage on our YouTube channel . Here is an example:-

    Using AutoCollage as a starter activity

    Top Tipimage

    AutoCollage uses facial recognition to focus on a particular part of the image. This is going to be difficult when using of flowers, fruits and clouds. But, this is easily solved with AutoCollage. Firstly, make sure the option to allow manual facial detection is enabled. Find this by clicking Options. Next Select an image , by clicking on it, it will enlarge. Next, press CTRL key and click and drag to draw a yellow box to select the area or object you want to focus on.

    Now start your students making amazing collages! It’s that simple. The most exciting, innovative, creative entries will then be judged and the winners announced!    

  • Microsoft Teacher's Blog

    Learn how to design, code and publish your very own app to the Windows Store!!


    Guest blog post from Anthony Salcito:

    7220.Ants%20Blog%20first%20appathon%20pic.jpg-550x0The New Era of Digital Learning was fully on display in London early this week, when educators became developers for 24 hours in the first-ever Windows 8 App-a-thon at the British Education Technology & Training (BETT) Show.  On Monday, January 28th and Tuesday, January 29th, 21 Partners in Learning Innovative Teachers from Europe were invited to turn their idea for a Windows 8 Education App into reality, and the results were phenomenal.

    For background, last October Microsoft invited 53 teachers from across Europe to participate in Virtual Universities led by Peli de Halleux from Microsoft Research in October. The purpose was to build apps for educators on the Windows 8 platform using Touch Develop. Educators submitted a mock design in December, and 21 were then selected to attend BETT as participants in the 24-hour App-a-thon, where they would have the chance to develop their apps even further with the help of experts.

    The submissions varied from math apps to classroom management apps, and were selected based on innovation and their likelihood of being published and used. Once the 24-hour app-a-thon concluded, each educator presented their app to the judges. I’m thrilled to announce the three winners of the very first Windows 8 App-a-thon:

    Winner: Evgen Moturnak, Ukraine. Evgen built an app titled, “Electrical Scheme Constructor.” This app demonstrates how to conduct electricity, and students build their own virtual circuit.

    People’s Choice: Olesksii and Oleksandr Tebenko, Ukraine. Olesksii and Oleksandr built “Matches,” an app that helps students develop increased logic abilities.

    Best Concept: Tommy Maher, Ireland. Tommy developed “Digital Age Snapshot/Wider World.” Tommy’s App supports an enquiry-based approach to Irish history, which is consistent with the curricular approaches taken in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. He involved multiple schools and teachers across Ireland to help commemorate Irish Independence.

    Congratulations to the winners!

    Are you interested in learning how to develop apps for Windows 8? Click here and you too can learn how to design, code and publish your very own app to the Windows Store.


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