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March, 2013

  • FE blog

    Windows 8 tablets in education at Saltash.net Community School


    Guest post by our freelance education writer, Gerald Haigh


    One of my missions at BETT 2013 was to find out how people were using Windows 8,  Windows 8 devices and tablets in education. So when I bumped into a party of people from Saltash.net Community School and picked up the news that they were about to start a classroom pilot with Windows 8 tablets, I knew I had to get in touch. So right after half term I spoke to Adam Ledger, the school’s Technical Consultant.

    Adam was at pains to play down the idea that there might be a story of big-bang innovation about to break at the school.

    ‘This is a trial, instigated by our deputy head Dan Buckley. We don’t want to raise expectations. We have sixty devices, enough for two registration groups. They will cycle through the whole of Year Seven, and then we’ll put devices out to the whole of next year’s incoming Year Seven. So just now it’s at a very early stage. ’

    At that point I knew there was already a story worth blogging about, because what we have here is a school with a real track record in ICT, a pioneer of BYOD, demonstrating how to introduce innovatory technology gradually, professionally and in line with the school’s approach to teaching and learning

    The long term aim, says Adam, is to enable a process where decisions about when and how to use ICT move from the teacher to the student.

    ‘At the moment teachers plan how to use technology in their lessons. They spend valuable time working that out and building it into a lesson plan. By putting a device into the hands of each student, you move that decision away from the teacher who then doesn’t have to think about the technology.’

    Ultimately, lesson planning won’t need to mention ICT because each student, faced with the classroom task, will decide whether, and how, to use technology to support it.

    ‘Essentially the teacher can expect the technology to be available to the students all the time. The teacher can then concentrate on the lesson and not think about the technology. For some it might be a difficult change. Others will quickly come to rely on it and adapt their lesson plans to suit.’


    Think about that for a while and it’s possible to see that at one level, perhaps when teachers are more tentative, they will simply feel free to set tasks that require students to look at a broader range of resources. Eventually, though as students become more and more creative in their approach to tasks and assignments, they may well respond with a range of media, or by collaborating with others within or beyond the classroom, or in any one of a hundred ways that the teacher hasn’t even thought of.

    It’s a big change, and teachers will need time and support to come to terms with. But as I listened to Adam, it dawned on me that what’s happening here – transformation of learning enabled and supported by one-to-one technology -- is exactly what Anthony Salcito, Microsoft Global Vice President for Education, meant when he spoke at BETT 2013.

    ‘No school should be piloting any device,’ he said. ‘They should be piloting the work that's going on with it. They should be piloting the pedagogy, the transformation that's happening inside the classroom. And then using the device.‘

    There’s a real lesson here, it seems to me, about the introduction of tablets of any kind into school. So if you ask why a school like Saltash.net, with a stellar reputation in ICT for learning, would introduce their tablets so cautiously when some schools have quickly gone for large numbers of devices, the answer is that Saltash.net is not piloting devices at all. They’re developing an approach to learning that the devices can support wonderfully well if they’re allowed to. And that’s a much broader, more significant and longer term project than just testing out what a device will do.

    That said, there is a challenge, too, for Adam and his colleagues as they prepare to install and support an increasing number of devices.

    ‘We’re concerned that we must be able to provide the expected level of service, and about things like network capacity’

    Significantly, in light of the Salcito quote, only at the end of our conversation did we discuss the actual device they’re using at Saltash.net. It could have been one of a number, but in this case it is Acer’s Iconia W510, a Windows 8 tablet that has a keyboard dock with an extra battery.

    ‘Battery life is one of our biggest worries,’ says Adam. ‘I have to say this device was brilliant on that front when we road tested a couple of them earlier on.’

    Here, then, is another Windows 8 project just getting under way, and yet another to watch carefully I’d say.

    For more on Windows 8 in education, you can view and download our free eBook below.

  • FE blog

    Free "Certified Career Day" - Register Today


      Calling all Educators and Students! Register today for the March 12th Certified Career Day , a free day of learning about skills development and careers in Cloud Technology.

    Zeshan Sattar has been added to the panel of industry experts for the Certified Career Day panel discussion.  Mr. Zeshan is a curriculum manager and MCT who works for Pearson in Practice, a Microsoft IT Academy member that has facilities in a number of countries worldwide.  Mr. Zeshan creates training and certification curriculum for Microsoft IT Academies in the United Kingdom, delivered by a network of MCTs to students between 16 and 24. He has delivered training to a range of audiences across the world via online platforms and has spoken at a number of other Microsoft events.

    Certified Career Day is shaping up to be a great event with over 1,200 attendees already registered!    Register for free at www.certifiedcareerday.com.  You'll be amongst a diverse and global group of educators, students, IT Managers, and aspiring IT Pros,  who are interested in learning more about skills development and careers in Cloud Technology.

  • FE blog

    Windows Gaming Awareness Event



    With the release of Microsoft’s most daring OS ever – Microsoft Windows 8, this revolutionary OS is considered to be a major milestone for Microsoft in regards to the shift from in-the-box computing to cloud computing. Adding to it, Windows 8 is one of the 3 key elements in the Microsoft vision on what a total Eco-system should be like – an Eco-System that starts with PCs and moves to smart phones (Windows 8 Mobile) and personal tablets (Windows 8 Tablet).

    Understanding Windows 8 Games development in the curricular

    Microsoft UK is pleased to announce the launch of this awareness seminar aiming to introduce the latest technology released by Microsoft and the curricula resources and 3rd party frameworks available to be used within your teaching and learning of games development.

    We will highlight the new changes PC users should expect from games developed in Windows 8, the new cool features available and the new integrated services in the OS and partner frameworks.

    You will hear from academics already using these frameworks within the curricular, and gain an understanding of how these and Windows 8 are ideal for teaching game development to students.

    Date: March 26th 2013

    Time: 9am – 5 pm


    Birmingham City University
    Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment
    Millennium Point
    Curzon Street
    B4 7XG


    Draft Agenda

    9.00 -9.10 Introduction to the day

    09.30 – 10.00 The Opportunity of Windows 8

    10.00 -11.00 The Opportunity of Widows Phone 8 (Nokia)

    11.00 – 11.15 Morning Break

    11.15 –  11.45 Getting to Grips with Frameworks Seminar 1

    11.45 - 12.15 Getting to Grips with Frameworks Seminar 2 Scirra Construct2 Andrew Wilson, Birmingham City University

    12.15 – 1.15 Lunch

    13.15 - 2.15 Getting to grips with Frameworks Seminar 3 MonoGame and XNA Rob Miles, University of Hull

    2.15– 3.15 Getting to grips with Frameworks Seminar 4 GameMaker Jacob Habgood, Sheffield Hallam University

    3.15 – 4.15 Overview of available resources

    4.15 – 5.00 Partnering and case studies

  • FE blog

    Office 365 Education Top User Tips #1–Offline Access


    Originally posted by James B Marshall on the UK Education Cloud Blog.

    Over the next few days we’ll be posting up some bite-size tips about some of the cool features of Office 365 Education. If you’ve got any tips you’d like to share with us get in touch in the comments!


    One of the great enhancements of the new Office 365 Education is the offline access feature of the Outlook Web App.

    Offline access lets you use Outlook Web App on your laptop or desktop computer when you’re not connected to the Internet. After you’ve enabled offline access, Outlook Web App will work in an offline mode as needed depending on your network connection. When you’re online, Outlook Web App will automatically update the offline information. To use offline access, you need at least Internet Explorer 10, Safari 5, or Chrome 16.

    Configuring offline access is really simple, and can be done it just a few simple steps.

  • FE blog

    Office 365 Education Top User Tips #2–SharePoint Online Social Networking


    Originally posted by James B Marshall on the UK Education Cloud Blog.


    In part 1 of our bite-size top user tips we looked at Offline Access. Today, in part 2, we look at SharePoint Online’s social networking features; in particular the ability to tag words and mention people.

    In SharePoint Online as part of Office 365 Education, the Newsfeed page in the My Site continues to provide an aggregated view of activities from content and people the user is following. However, the feed is improved with new microblogging functionality that enables students and teachers to do the following:

    • Take part in conversations by posting comments and replies.

    • Post pictures and links.

    • Use tags (starting with the # symbol) to define keywords that fellow teachers and classmates can follow and search for.

    • Use mentions (starting with the @ symbol) to tag users in posts and replies.

    • Indicate agreement with comments and replies by clicking Like.

    • Follow people, documents, sites, and tags to customize their feed.

  • FE blog

    Office 365 Education Top User Tips #3–Lync Online Web Scheduler


    Originally posted by James B Marshall on the UK Education Cloud Blog.


    In part 2 of our top user tips we looked at the social networking features of SharePoint Online. Today, in part 3 we’re going to look at how to schedule meetings using the Lync Online Web Scheduler.

    Lync Web Scheduler is a web-based program that you can use to create Lync Meetings if you don’t have Microsoft Outlook, or are on an operating system not based on Windows. With Web Scheduler, you can create new meetings, change your existing meetings, and send invitations with your favourite email program.

    You can access the Web Scheduler using your Office 365 Education credentials, and find out more about how to create the meetings on Office.com.

    A handy tip for easy access is the simple URL http://sched.lync.com.

  • FE blog

    Education Innovation Conference & Exhibition: Supported by Microsoft / CAS / EduGeek and more…


    Guest post from the organisers of the education innovation conference. image

    Microsoft are an official supporter of the Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition - an exciting, national event on the 8th and 9th March at Manchester Central which focuses on integrating technology into learning.

    Uniquely, Education Innovation offers education professionals, network managers and those responsible for IT in education in the north of the UK to come along to a national event without having to make the trip to London, working alongside supporters such as Microsoft, EduGeek and Computing At School.

    In 2012, Computing At School (CAS) launched the Network of Excellence (NoE). Nearly 600 schools have signed up to this, and over 40 universities. The network is forging links between university computer science and education departments and their local schools to provide CPD opportunities, support and training.

    Simon Humphreys from CAS will be taking part in the “Future of ICT in Education” debate with Stuart Ball (Microsoft), Emma Mulqueeny and Brian Lightman (ASCL) as part of an incredible line up of keynote speakers that include David Brown (head of ICT inspection at OFSTED), Vanessa Pittard, (Department for Education), Saul Nasse (Controller of BBC Learning) Spencer Kelly (BBC Click), Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Tanya Byron.

    The event will also have a fantastic range of education speakers including Gareth Ritter (Willows High School), David Mitchell, Bob Harrison, Jodie Collins, Simon Rawlings and many, many more.

    Education Innovation is co-located with the Raspberry Jamboree 2013, which is all about the use of Raspberry Pi in education. Clive Beale from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be speaking at the show as well.

    Education Innovation is completely free to attend and is designed to provide a superb range of free CPD training sessions, debates, workshops as well as an exhibition of over 70 expert solution providers.

    EduGeek will be running a helpdesk on stand E3 at the exhibition designed to offer advice, solutions and suggestions for free to education professionals

    Schools, colleges, universities and training providers can also put forward a nomination for our Education Innovation Awards to recognise some of the excellent work being done to harness technology.

    Click here now to register for the show and be entered automatically into a prize draw to win £500 of technology vouchers for you or your educational establishment.

    Places on the sessions are booking up fast, so secure your space now.

    Follow the show on twitter and join in the debate #EICE

    Have a look at the website for further details.

  • FE blog

    Microsoft Webinar: Overview and Benefits of Office 365 Migration for Further Education



    Why the Further Education sector should consider Office 365:

     Microsoft Office 365 delivers the power of cloud productivity to educational institutions of all sizes, offering them:

    • Lower costs
    • Better security
    • Anywhere access to the things like class assignments, email, and calendars
    • A happier, more connected campus 

    Find out how Office 365 can help students and educators in your college connect and collaborate in and outside the classroom.


    Microsoft Webinar: Overview and Benefits of Office 365 Migration for Further Education - Tuesday 19th March, 12 – 1pm

    • Introduction from Sajid Rafiq,  Education Technology Solution Specialist (5 mins)
    • Live@edu to Office 365 – A quick overview of the procedure from Kyle Hayes , UK Live@edu to Office 365 Upgrade Manager (15 mins)
    • Migration to Office 365 – Overview of best practice to migrate to Office 365 from Matthew Garrett , Technical Director, Cloud Business (30 Mins )
    • Q&A


    We aim to deliver webinars that focus on your areas of interest, so please select three Education topics when you register







  • FE blog

    Office 365 Education Top User Tips #4 – Drag ‘n’ Drop in SkyDrive Pro


    Originally posted by James B Marshall on the UK Education Cloud Blog.

    So far in our top user tips posts we’ve looked at scheduling online meetings with Lync Web Scheduler, social networking in SharePoint Online, and offline access with the Outlook Web App. Today we’ll focus on the awesome new feature of SharePoint Online called SkyDrive Pro.

    SkyDrive Pro offers users 7GB of storage online for them to create, edit and share content easily via the browser. It replaces the “My Site” storage from pre-upgrade Office 365 Education which only gave users 500MB of storage; and to make it even more fantastic: it’s free as part of the A2 plan.

    In the words of our very own SharePoint team:

    SkyDrive Pro makes it easy it to work with your documents in SharePoint - save, sync, share and collaborate are all drop-dead simple. The name conveys the simplicity and increased consistency with our SkyDrive consumer cloud service while reinforcing the “Pro” features of SharePoint like social networking, collaboration, search, metadata, workflow and compliance. Click “Sync” on a SharePoint library and you will get the documents offline in the Windows Explorer, Office applications and more. SkyDrive Pro is part of both the SharePoint service in Office 365 and server.

    There are lots of ways to get files into SkyDrive Pro – you could save directly from Office 2013, sync with a folder on your PC, or for when you’re not on your home PC or need to upload a non-Office file, such as  a picture, you can use drag and drop to quickly and easily upload files.



  • FE blog

    Office 365 Education Top User Tips #5 – Multiple Calendar Views in Office Web App


    Originally posted by James B Marshall on the UK Education Cloud Blog.

    Hot on the heels of yesterday’s top user tip about SkyDrive Pro we’re back with our fifth installment all about multiple calendar views in OWA (Outlook Web App).

    This isn’t a feature that’s new to Office 365 Education, but it’s a question I get asked about all the time so it makes for a perfect top tip!

    By default in the new Office 365 Education you are presented with your own personal calendar in which you can manage your own time and control view such as day/week/month, jump forwards and backwards in time, colour-code events by category, etc. Calendars can also by synchronised with mobile devices using Exchange ActiveSync so that your calendar is available wherever you go and is always kept up to date.


    What happens if you need to manage more than one calendar? Maybe you want to have a calendar for school, and a calendar for personal events. Often, there is the need to see other people’s calendars; either to check availability or to manage their time on their behalf. Something people overlook is that you can do this right from within the Outlook Web App!


    By right-clicking on the “Other Calendars” section in OWA and selecting “open calendar” you can choose to add in other calendars to your view.


    A new feature of Office 365 Education is the overlaying of calendars rather than a side-by-side view. Above, we can see that there are two calendars visible: one is coloured green and we can only see free/busy information, and our own personal calendar is visible in the same space.

    Office 365 Education is FREE to academic institutions and you can sign up in minutes. Why not get started with a pilot in your institution today?

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