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October, 2012

  • FE blog

    24 schools in 24 hours: Windows 8 Launch around the world in education


    Originally posted on the Daily Edventures Blog.

    Wow, what an edventure the last 24 hours has been!

    It has been a phenomenal day.

    To celebrate the launch of Windows 8, I’ve just completed 24 events in 24 hours across 24 time zones, visiting with thousands of educators and students via the Microsoft Education Skype-athon (#MicrosoftEducation #Windows8).

    During this whirlwind of activity, I spent time in classrooms, stadiums, and auditoriums across the world – showing off all of the amazing things Windows 8 can do for educators and students, answering great questions and sharing my excitement about how it can make a difference to teaching and learning.

    It was extremely inspiring for me to spend time with these students, our future leaders.  They have a thirst for knowledge and they have genuine enthusiasm about new technology.

    Their energy kept me going for 24 hours (plus Dr. Pepper and Sour Patch kids).

    We started in New Zealand yesterday at Botany Downs Primary School, then over to Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Russia, Europe, an awesome event with 700 students at Eunice High School in South Africa, South America, and the US, finishing up here in Seattle with an in-person event at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.

    What a fabulous journey.  Some of my favorite tweets @anthonysalcito that kept me going all night long are:

    • #microsofteducation is going to start a revolution and change the world
    • All I want for Christmas is #Windows8!!!#microsofteducation
    • Don’t pilot a device…pilot a pedagogy@anthonysalcito
    • @anthonysalcito emphasizing that education is not about the gadgets but the learning it enables.

    It’s been an amazing 24 hours, and a journey I won’t soon forget.

    I’m so excited to show how Windows 8 is helping bring about a new era of technology both inside and outside of the classroom. Windows 8 has been re-imagined for learning and is optimized to bring learning to life, enabling students to consume, collaborate, and create in new and exciting ways — all with no compromises.

    The personalization and productivity experiences in Windows 8 will bring new life to the classroom and I can’t wait to see what it will do to help re-invent education for the 21st century!

    I want to thank all the phenomenal educators around the world that welcomed me into their schools and shared with me all the innovation they’re creating in their classrooms each day.

    I’ve found some real leaders in education that I hope I can showcase here at http://www.dailyedventures.com in the coming months.

    Now I look forward to getting some sleep!



  • FE blog

    Windows 8 in Education eBook - Now Available


    Our new Windows 8 in Education eBook is hot off the press. Written by leading practitioners, the eBook can get you started and inspire you about many of the great features of Windows 8 from an education perspective.


    The eBook is in sections. One is for hands-on educators, teachers and lecturers, while another is directed at network managers, the people who will have to stay one step ahead and make sure that educators and learners have the best Windows 8 experience. There’s also a section that covers ‘top Apps’. The Windows 8 Apps are key feature of Windows 8, and you’ll find quite a lot about them in various places in this eBook.

    Finally, we include a short section on App development with Windows 8. As we know, this is going to be a key feature for education. Young people are great App users, but they don’t want to leave it there. They’re increasingly keen to develop their own Apps, and the way it can be done with Windows 8, the Windows Store, and Microsoft development tools, offers them an absolutely unrivalled opportunity to be ahead of the game, alongside professional developers. Teachers are going to seize this aspect of Windows 8 in a way that has the potential to transform and re-energise ICT teaching in schools, colleges and universities.

    The full eBook can be downloaded from our SlideShare account. Alternatively, the eBook can be viewed in full below.

  • FE blog

    Windows 8 in Education Launch Day


    With the launch of Windows 8 now only a day away, the excitement is building as we countdown to the general availability of our new OS. The ads are prepped and ready to go (if you haven't had a chance to see any, check out an example below), our partners have created an inspiring selection of devices to suit every requirement and the orders for Surface are coming in thick and fast. The 26th is going to be an epic day!

    With all this excitement around our consumer launch, though, what about the Windows 8 in education launch? Well, let's just say we are not being left behind…

    Tickets for our launch event at QPR sold out in days and promises to be a brilliant afternoon looking at Windows 8, devices and apps through an edu lens. With prize draws and a rumoured appearance by a QPR first team player, it's going to be quite the afternoon. Walking on the pitch of Loftus Road is going to be a highlight, for sure!


        In addition to this, our Schools Business Managers, Mark Reynolds and Sean O'Shea, are embarking on a race against the clock tour of SE London to visit 8 schools in a day as part of '8 in a Day'. The goal of '8 in a Day' is to visit 8 schools and share some insight into Windows 8 and how it can make a difference to teaching and learning and help raise attainment.

        Students at the 8 schools have been invited to submit a response to the question 'how would having your own device at home make you more effective at school'. All entries will be entered into a prize to win an RM laptop (huge shout out to RM for supporting this activity!) and we will be sharing the best quotes via the blog at a later date. Really looking forward to see what all the students come up with!


        With Friday being the start of 1/2 term, it's going to be quite the challenge to get around all 8 schools in a single day as it’s a short school day. You can follow their antics on Twitter via the hashtag #8inaday. Mark and Sean will be tweeting their thoughts, stories and pictures as they go. The full route is shown below. It's going to be tight!


        To keep up to speed with the Windows 8 in education launch day in general, follow us on Twitter at @microsofteduk. Drop us a note, either in the comments below or via Twitter, and let us know what you are looking forward to most with Windows 8!

      • FE blog

        Windows RT or Windows 8 devices for your school?


        Guest post by Sean O’Shea

        With the upcoming Windows 8 launch happening tomorrow (Friday 26th October), I recently did a keynote speech at an event with one of our partners. We had a great turn out including head teachers, deputy head teachers and ICT leads from primary and secondary schools. It was overwhelming how much positive response we got from the audience about Windows 8, and we had some excellent feedback and questions from the education staff who attended.


        I’ll go into these in more detail later on, but in a nutshell the main things people at the event got excited about were:

        · The choice of hardware available with Windows 8 and Windows RT

        · Windows 8 is able to run legacy apps

        · Compatibility in the classroom – USB slots on both Windows RT and Windows 8 (you can find a good compatibility matrix for Windows 8 and Programs/Devices here)

        · Office Home and Student on Windows RT

        · If pupils are embracing BYOD or taking devices home, the availability of Windows 8 and Windows RT family safety settings are really valuable. Parents can even set controls on what rated apps children can download

        So it’s great that teachers and IT staff are already seeing the possibilities of Windows 8 and Windows RT for their schools. Although one thing that struck me after my discussions with the education staff at the event, was the number of people asking about the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8. Deciding which devices and OS to work with in schools is a big decision, so I understand the importance of schools leaders and IT decision makers needing to know what features they will gain from each Windows OS version.

        Before I separate the two, I just want to say that the teachers and ICT leaders at the event seemed to clearly spot the key advantage of both Windows RT and Windows 8 - the choice of devices. There is such a large range of devices available with these two operating systems, which means you are not limited to just one piece of hardware, and you can really tailor a device that’s right for your school. You can find just a few options for hardware here.

        Detailed below are some of the main features of both Windows RT and Windows 8, which seemed to be most important to education staff at the event.

        Windows RT

        Window RT devices use an ARM processor. This includes many features that are important when using a device in the classroom.


        Quick on / fast boot

        With Windows RT devices booting up in seconds, no class time is wasted. The Samsung Ativ Tab, for example, is ‘always ready to go!’ with a quick boot up time.

        Thin and light
        Windows RT devices are portable and easy for pupils and teachers to transport to, from and around school. Devices fit in a school bag easily without weighing it down. Surface with Windows RT, for example, weighs just 676g and is 9.3 mm thin.

        Battery life

        With most Windows RT devices having a battery life of at least 8 hours or more, this is enough for the duration of a full school day. Therefore there’s no need to worry about lesson interruptions from low battery life.

        Multiple user profiles

        As mentioned above, with and increasing amount of pupils using BYOD for school and taking devices home, it’s vital that internet safety is practiced. With the option of multiple user profiles on Windows RT, parents can monitor and set what apps and content children can download.

        Office Home & Student 2013 is included with Windows RT

        Windows RT includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote – all essential apps for the classroom.

        USB 2.0 slot

        Connect external peripherals such as external hard drives for extra storage and backup.

        Printing compatibility

        You can print documents in the classroom with Windows RT.  Dell and Hewlett-Packard have published a compatibility list of printers for Windows RT.

        Keyboard option on many devices

        Touch screen is great, and it provides a really immersive and engaging experience, but when it comes to typing you can lose half the screen with a touch keyboard. Lots of Windows RT devices have detachable keyboards or a keyboard dock (some include battery charging) for flexibility of type or touch, and the option of a fully viewable screen whilst typing.

        Windows 8

        Legacy apps

        You can bring all the apps that you use in Windows 7 over to a Windows 8 device. So all your learning tools you currently use in the classroom can still be used exactly as they are in Windows 8 (any Windows 7 application win32 .exe will work).

        Join to your domain

        With Windows 8 devices, schools are able to join to their domain. The main advantage of this is that schools will be able to manage devices in a traditional way such as doing updates, managing security and deploying software.

        Like a PC

        Windows 8 devices are built to work like your desktop PC, including inbuilt drivers. They are designed with the power and capability of an ultrabook, in a tablet form. Think space saving in the classroom and working outside of the classroom. Consider the flexibility of working on Windows 8 devices - they are much more portable so pupils and teachers can work anywhere, anytime, with all the functionality of a desktop PC. Take your class outside, on a trip, or around the school - with devices in tow.

        Stylus Support

        Some Windows 8 devices offer stylus support. Stylus accessories are great for pupils to take written notes with a device pen, which can then be digitized into documents. An example is the Asus Vivo Tab.

        Windows To Go

        Windows To Go enables the creation of a Windows To Go workspace that can be booted from a USB-connected external drive on PCs that meet the Windows 7 or Windows 8 certification requirements, regardless of the operating system running on the PC. This provides efficient use of resources for alternative workplace scenarios. This is all about mobility. Schools are looking at ways to provide mobile solutions for pupils. If a school wants a teacher or a pupil to have access to their school desktop and school network (apps, settings etc) from home, it’s easy with Windows To Go. At the moment schools might look at complicated solutions such as VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure). Windows to go will provide an incredibly simple alternative that will allow pupils and teachers to experience their full windows 8 school desktop at home with just a USB drive.

        Flexible price points

        It looks like there’s going to be some really great deals coming for Windows 8 devices, so again the choice of hardware design relative to your budget is huge. A nice example is the Acer W510 which is reportedly going to be priced at around $500.


        I hope that gives you some valuable information on Windows RT and Windows 8, as well as some help with choosing devices for your school.

      • FE blog

        It’s the difference between ‘Technology for Learning’ and ‘Technology in Learning’


        Excerpt from our Exciting Learning eBook.

        When I think about technology and life, I find it hard to think of examples where technology has not revolutionised or had a profound impact on what we do, how productive we are and even how we behave.

        Some examples include:


        Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. There is still a place for going to the shops or the bank, playing outside and meeting people for a coffee. It’s just that sometimes technology helps us make the actual purpose of why we do these things easier.

        Of course, there is one area of society where, in my opinion, we are yet to consistently see truly revolutionary transformation as a result of technology. This is sometimes illustrated well by the example first told by Dr Seymour Papert in the early 1990’s and has been re-told in various forms ever since.

        “A mid-nineteenth-century surgeon is magically transported though time to a modern operating theatre. Once there, he finds himself completely at loss to know what to do or how to help. In contrast, a mid-nineteenth-century teacher is transported through the years to a modern classroom. Once there, he picks up seamlessly where his modern peer left off”.

        As Facer (2011) explains, ’The implication of the narrative is clear; unlike medicine, the education community has failed to appropriate the technology advances of the contemporary world’.

        The key here of course is not to flood a classroom with technology, as we know that, alone, this normally has very little impact on learning and teaching. What we need to do is modernise the classroom in the same way that we have modernised the operating theatre and other aspects of society over time. We need to make investments in technology for the right reasons and because there is a need. Rather than investments in technology because we think that it is the right thing to do. So, after keeping children safe, what is the number one thing that we are trying to do in our classrooms, schools and education systems?

        Surely, we are trying to improve learning, because improving learning will deliver better outcomes and provide better life chances for children. Put simply, it’s the difference between ‘Technology for Learning’ and ‘Technology in Learning’. The learning must come first and the technology should be invisibly supporting what we do.

        The full Exciting Learning eBook can be downloaded via our SlideShare account. Alternatively, you can view the eBook in full below:


      • FE blog

        £20,000 scholarship for Computer Science teachers


        Taken from the Department for Education Press release and educationgovuk

        As part of the Government's mission to ensure Britain competes and thrives in the global race, Education Secretary Michael Gove today set out plans to boost the teaching of Computer Science by training up the first generation of outstanding new teachers in this vital subject.

        This comes as the Government announces the end of funding for the current outdated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) teacher training courses, to make way for new Computer Science courses from September 2013.

        Top graduates will be enticed into a career in teaching with a new prestigious £20,000 scholarship programme set up with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and supported by industry experts such as Microsoft, Facebook, BT and IBM.

        Industry experts, working with education professionals, have also for the first time ever set out the requirements for the subject knowledge and attributes all new Computer Science teachers should have before they start their training. This includes being able to demonstrate an understanding of key Computer Science concepts and approaches such as algorithms, data representation and logic.

        This is all part of the Government’s drive to recruit and train a new cadre of teachers with the expertise and enthusiasm to drive improvement in the quality of Computer Science teaching in schools.

        A recent Royal Society report looking at computing education in UK schools found teaching was ‘highly unsatisfactory’. It said that many pupils were not inspired by what they were being taught and gained nothing beyond basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a database.

        Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

        Computer Science is not just a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject. It is also vital to our success in the global race.
        If we want our country to produce the next Sir Tim Berners-Lee – creator of the Web – we need the very best Computer Science teachers in our classrooms. They need to have the right skills and deep subject knowledge to help their pupils.

        Around 50 scholarships worth £20,000 each will be available in the first year. Any graduate with a 2.1 or first class degree will be eligible to apply for the scholarship to do a Computer Science Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course.

        Working with experts in the industry and in teaching practice, BCS will award scholarships to candidates with exceptional subject knowledge, enthusiasm for the study of Computer Science as well as an outstanding potential to teach. BCS’s relationship with the scholars will continue into their teaching careers to develop a cadre of outstanding Computer Science teachers who are part of a community across schools, universities and industry.

        Bill Mitchell, Director of BCS Academy of Computing, said:

        The UK needs far more technology creators and entrepreneurs if we are to stay competitive in the global economy. That means students need to be taught not just how software and hardware works, but also how to create new digital technology for themselves.

        The best way to do that is to have outstanding computer science teachers in as many schools as possible, which is why these new initiatives are so important.

        Ian Livingstone, Life President of Eidos and Chair of Next Gen Skills, said:

        Having dedicated, high-calibre computer science teachers in schools will have a powerful effect. They will inspire and enable children to be creators of technology rather than being simply passive users of it.  Whether it’s making games, fighting cyber-crime or designing the next jet propulsion engine, computer science is at the heart of everything in the digital world in which we live. It is essential knowledge for the 21st century.

        The BCS scholarship comes as part of the Government’s teacher training strategy, Training our next generation of outstanding teachers. It follows on from the success of the physics scholarship with the Institute of Physics, a recent announcement of a new scholarship with the Royal Society of Chemistry.

        The plans announced today also include:

        • Allowing top universities and schools to provide new Computer Science teacher training courses from September 2013, whilst ending Government funding for the current Information and Communications Technology (ICT) courses. This follow on from the Government’s announcement earlier this year freeing up the ICT curriculum to allow schools to focus more strongly on Computer Science.
        • New, tough requirements for the subject knowledge and attributes all new Computer Science teachers should have. This includes being able to demonstrate an understanding of key Computer Science concepts and approaches such as algorithms, data representation and logic.
          This has been designed by a panel of experts including representatives from the grassroots Computing at School Working Group along with professional associations such as the British Computer Society (BCS), Naace and the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE).
        • Training up around 500 teachers in Computer Science through a new ‘Network of Computer Science Teaching Excellence’. Part funded through a £150,000 Government grant, over the next year existing teachers with an ICT background will be trained to better teach Computer Science. Around half of these will be expert teachers who will share their skills and knowledge with other teachers across the country and help support professional development for their colleagues.
          The network will help forge long-term links between schools, top universities involved in Computer Science and employers. Around 540 schools have already registered interest in the network and top university Computer Science departments including those at Cambridge, Imperial and Manchester and employers such as Microsoft, BT and IBM have also signed up.

        Professor Chris Bishop, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research, said:

        Microsoft is passionate about improving the way that we teach technology in schools, but also how we use technology to teach. As founding members of the Computing at School working group, we’ve been working to inspire both teachers and young people about the importance of computer science for a number of years.

        Scholarships such as those announced today will be vital in ensuring that the UK maintains a healthy pipeline of computer science talent, which can only be a positive thing for this country’s future prosperity.

        Simon Milner, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy for UK & Ireland, said:

        Facebook welcomes the scholarship programme for teachers announced by the Government today. It is a positive step to help get high quality computer science teachers in schools, and therefore ensure more young people gain the right skills to join and lead our digital industries.

        We get excited by how the work of Facebook engineers and outside developers is transforming the way millions of people communicate, so we can't wait to share our passion and expertise in this area to inspire the next generation.

        Simon Peyton-Jones, Chair of the Computing at School Working Group (CAS) and Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, said:

        We need to attract outstanding new computer science teachers, and we must support our existing ICT teachers as they start to teach the subject. CAS fully supports today’s announcements, which give unmistakeable Government support to both these challenges. We look forward to playing our part, and working with Government to make a substantial and lasting improvement to our children’s education in the vital subject.

      • FE blog

        Windows 8 in Education Launch Event: New Places Added


        With only a week to go until our Windows 8 in education launch event at QPR FC, we have just added a few additional places for the event.

        The agenda for the event is as follow:

        • Registration & Tea and Coffee: 2.30pm - 3.00pm
        • Welcome (Matthew Cocks - Microsoft): 3.00pm – 3.10pm
        • Introduction to QPR (QPR): 3.10pm – 3.20pm
        • Windows 8 in Education Overview (Anthony Salcito - Microsoft): 3.20pm – 3.40pm
        • Windows 8 Devices in Education (Lenovo): 3.40pm – 4.00pm
        • Windows 8 Education App Showcase (Steve Connolly - Hodder Education): 4.00pm – 4.10pm
        • Loftus Road Stadium Tour – including Education Centre Visit: 4.10pm – 4.45pm
        • Drinks & Networking: 4.45pm – 5.45pm


        Queens Park Rangers Football & Athletic Club

        Loftus Road Stadium 

        South Africa Road 


        W12 7PJ


      • FE blog

        Windows Intune in Education Webinar – Introduction to Wave C


        Great overview of Windows Intune and, more specifically, the new functionality within the latest version (Wave C).

      • FE blog

        Microsoft launches YouthSpark



        YouthSpark, Microsoft's latest philanthropic effort, is a three-year initiative aimed at creating opportunities for 300 million young people worldwide.

        The new initiative will focus Microsoft's philanthropic efforts squarely on youth, which sits in line with the UK's recently announced partnership with UK Youth, a charity working with disadvantaged students across the UK. To achieve the YouthSpark goal, Microsoft will concentrate its corporate giving on non-profit organisations that provide technology and business skills training for youth; will launch new citizenship efforts including a global micro-giving site; and will mobilize its broader business to help support youth with free software and training.

        The overarching goal is to help address the opportunity divide—the gap between young people who have the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those who don't. With youth worldwide facing an unemployment rate roughly double that of the rest of the population, it's no small undertaking.

        "Through Microsoft YouthSpark, we're focusing our citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship…By working with our partners, we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time, and resources to do that."

        Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft

        As a global technology company with offices across the globe, Microsoft believes it is well-positioned to help close the opportunity divide for youth. The initiative has three broad goals: empower youth by helping transform education and expand digital inclusion; unleash future innovators by giving youth the inspiration and tools to imagine new opportunities; and help youth realize new opportunities of employability and entrepreneurship.

        To do all that, Microsoft developed several new youth-focused citizenship initiatives.

        The first is Give for Youth, a global micro-giving marketplace focused specifically on raising funds for non-profits that support youth causes around the world. Anyone can search the site to find young individuals who are facing various hardships, make a donation to the non-profit that is supporting them, and follow the impact of the contribution. While micro-giving has been around for several years, Give for Youth is the first site to focus exclusively on helping young people. The portal will hopefully inspire employees and others worldwide to tackle the opportunity divide through a personal, one-to-one connection, she said.

        Microsoft also announced that it will focus the bulk of its corporate cash giving on nonprofit organisations that have missions to give youth the skills, education, and job training they need to succeed.

        Yet, YouthSpark will go beyond philanthropy. Microsoft is launching the YouthSpark hub, which brings together all the services, programs, and resources offered across the company, including the Imagine Cup, Partners in Learning, Office365 for Education, DreamSpark, and Skype in the Classroom.


        Princes Trust and UK Youth are the two UK Charities that have been included within Give for Youth. This way, you can see the projects which fundraising will support and find out more about the young people we are helping.

      • FE blog

        End of service for Windows XP and Office 2003


        If you are using Windows XP and Office 2003 in your school, college or university, we wanted to make you aware that the support for this will end in April 2014.


        Microsoft plans to end support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in 2014, and that will affect your education institution if you are using this software. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide hot fixes, product updates, and most critical, security patches for Windows XP and Office 2003. This could affect your internal network security and regulatory compliance and potentially expose secure employee and organisational information. That’s why we recommend that your school, college or university updates its operating system.

        There are so many benefits to the modern education desktop including increased security, easier networking, better features and cost saving opportunities, so upgrading Windows and Office will be likely to increase productivity in your institution. For education specifically, upgrading will give you access to education apps and resources such as Learning Suite. Learning Suite is a free set of innovative applications that, when combined with the power of Microsoft Windows and Office, creates a robust, flexible and collaborative learning environment for both students and teachers.


        Also with the exciting approach of Windows 8 general availability launch on Friday 26th October 2012, there are lots of reasons to think about upgrading to the latest version. There are now over 220 education apps in the ever-growing Windows Store, and with a fresh, clean interface also comes significant new advantages and benefits of Windows 8 for education. Windows 8 for education now offers students a completely new experience, providing intuitive access to digital content alongside a fully functioning suite of learning enhancing tools that allow for more productive teachers, more engaged students and enhanced interaction and collaboration.

        So now is the time to gain the many advantages of upgrading your operating system in your school. While April 2014 may seem far away, we know that changing infrastructure is a time-consuming activity, requiring extensive planning and preparation. It’s important that your education institution has migrated from Windows XP and Office 2003 well before April 2014, and that you are using technologies like Windows 7 or Windows 8 and Office 2010 or the new Office, which are proven to be much safer, and also more economical to operate.

        Any change is requires careful planning, and moving from Windows XP and Office 2003 is no exception. By investing the time early to do this well, it will make things a lot easier. Microsoft and our partners have been helping schools, colleges and universities move to Windows 7 and Office 2010 since they launched and will do the same for Windows 8 and the new Office. A lot has changed in the decade since we released Windows XP; we have much better tools to help manage your environment (desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and even employee-owned devices), and help automate the migration process as much as possible.

        For more information, please visit: www.microsoft.com/endofsupport, which contains additional information on the options available to you, as well as pointers to a variety of helpful resources.

        You can also contact one of education partners for more information about upgrading.

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