Today was the date for our Further Education Briefing 2010, and around 90 colleges came to our London headquarters to get an update on latest news from us, as well as hearing from other UK colleges on their projects and plans.

I’ve put a brief note on each of the individual presentations below, so that you can see what was covered, and download the associated slides. There’s also a link at the bottom of the post to download all of the slides from my SkyDrive.

Introduction

Amanda Bicknell kicked off the day with an overview of the pressures on Further Education colleges today. There’s plenty of doom and gloom on budgets generally, and IT budgets in particular (5% of people in the room expected a standstill IT budget next year, whilst the rest expected a decline). And one of the results of that is that many colleges are keen to understand what their ICT resources can do to help with organisational efficiency – and helping to transform the learning process.
Download Amanda’s introduction slides here.

Looking ahead a decade: The future vision of work

The next session was a look over the horizon at the future, with me telling a story of how people may work in the future, and the technology and learning implications. I  used our ‘Productivity Vision’ video, which looks at the workplace of 2019, and then continued by deconstructing the technology behind the video – to look at what exists now – either in research labs or in real life - and how the components might build to get to the vision described for the future.U nfortunately, I can’t share the whole presentation (I used a multimedia, interactive piece of software to present it), but I can share the short video that I used as the introduction, which is the starting point for the story I told.


Productivity Future Vision

You can view the video on our Officlabs Envisioning website, and you can also watch a video as Ian Sands, Director of Envisioning, steps through the video scene by scene and describes in greater depth the story behind the people and technology on display.

A number of people asked me after my presentation about the interactive tool I’d used for it. And the secret is pptPlex, which is an add-in for PowerPoint 2007. It allows you to build amazingly interactive presentations, and also allows you to move around a storyboard in a completely non-linear way

Office 2010

Chris Rothwell gave a brief overview, and then a fast-paced demonstration of Office 2010 – including the Office Web Applications. One of his early statements was that there’s a growing tension between end-users and IT departments, where users want more freedom, and IT teams are managing risks and controls. He demonstrated how users can collaborate more effectively (As he put it, “In the workplace today, it's not about what 'I' produce, but about what 'we' produce together”). He also announced that OneNote will be included in every Office 2010 suite - which is good news for education and students. In the past it has not been standard in the lower-end education versions, which has created a barrier to its widespread use.
Download Chris’s slides here

SharePoint 2010

James Nicholls then covered SharePoint 2010. Most of his session demonstrated our internal use of SharePoint 2010, but there are some introductory slides.
You can download James’s slides here.

Live@edu

About half of the room had already heard of Live@edu already, and about 10% had already implemented in in their college. It allows colleges to outsource their email and collaboration support for students (and staff, if you wish), and we then run the service (at no-cost) in our data centre in Dublin. You can find out more (and register for a test domain) on Live@edu, then go to www.microsoft.com/liveatedu)
You can download Chris’s Live@edu slides here

Alan Brown – Canterbury College

Alan Brown told an engaging story about the Canterbury College IT strategy, talking about how they outsourced their college email service to our Live@edu service. Interestingly one of the key money savings that Alan described was the use of SkyDrive to reduce their in-house storage needs – and also helping them with their virus protection (because the data has to pass through all of the firewalls and end-point protection systems, rather than simply plugging in USB sticks)
You can download Alan’s slides here.

Alan also mentioned the marketing materials available to help his college promote the service to students. Here’s the link to the resources.

Working with Open Source

Chris Rothwell (presenting for the third time of the day) gave a brief overview of the different ways that our projects with the Open Source community can benefit colleges, including details on our Moodle webparts for Live@edu
Download Chris’s Open Source slides

Cost Saving

I gave a brief introduction to some of the work we have been doing with schools on cost savings, where had identified a potential to directly save almost £400,000 over 3 years by effective IT provision. The details are in the slides, and the request was for colleges who want to model something similar to contact me by email to take part.
Download the Cost Saving slides

Virtualisation to reduce costs

Graham Bell, one of Microsoft’s desktop virtualisation specialists, gave an excellent summary of our desktop virtualisation tools. There’s a range of tools, collectively called the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, which provides a set of management tools which can save £50-£60 per desktop device per year in running costs. It also massively simplifies the management of applications – reducing the roll out time and cost for upgrades or new applications. Graham mentioned the Warwickshire County Council education case study, which you can read here.
Graham’s slides are here.

Office Communications Server

James Mortlock, Director of IT at Salford City College talked about their use of Office Communications Server. It was originally started as a project just within the IT teams across the college, but then realised that the benefits of being able to use an integrated voice/instant messenger/video/desktop sharing system were so significant it could have a big impact on college. They are implementing across 800 staff and 5 separate telephony systems, so it is a big project due for completion in July 2010. The total cost of implementation is £35,000, and will save a minimum of £23,000 a year.
Download James’s slides here

IT Academy

The last session of the day was on the Microsoft IT Academy programme, by Gareth Scahill, from Prodigy Learning. They are our UK delivery partners for the IT Academy programme.
Download the IT Academy slides here.

Download all of the presentations together

All of the slides from today are available in the folder below (or use this link)