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July, 2012

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Office 365 for education webinar

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    Following the release of Office 365 for education, we are sharing a recent webinar we held held which shows how students see Office 365 and how they can utilize each part of it.

    The webinar was attended by over 50 colleges thanks to JISC, and it demonstrates how teachers and faculty can get the most out of Office 365. It also gives some ideas for teaching plans.

    The webinar shows how IT administrators can go from nothing to setting up their establishment as well as how to mazimise the use of Office, SharePoint and Lync. The webinar shows how Office 365 for education gives anytime learning to everyone.

    You can view the webinar below. 

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    How to enrol for Office 365 for education step by step

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    The anticipated wait is over and Office 365 for education is now available. So how can you get started using Office 365 in your school, college or university?

    image

    Below you can find a detailed guide of how to sign up for your 30 day free trial of Office 365 for education. Increase productivity in your education institution with free email, instant messaging, online document editing and viewing and lots more. Here’s how to enrol:

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Student-Developed Windows Phone Apps

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    The Underground app is all about student developers and the great experiences they create for Windows Phone. If you don’t know about this app yet – we will fill you in. The Underground app was created to feature apps and games developed by students. Support your peers, learn from them and join the student developer community.

    Join thousands of student developers and start building Windows Phone apps with resources available on the Go Underground website.

    Have you downloaded any of these apps built by students? If so, which one(s) have you downloaded and what do you think?

    Posted on Microsoft Student

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    RM Technical Seminar in Birmingham by Gerald Haigh

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    Gerald Haigh is a freelance journalist who writes regularly for the Microsoft Education Blogs.

    Towards the end of April I went to Birmingham, to one of the nine Technical Seminars which RM ran in venues around the country this Spring.

    They were primarily dealing with technical challenges schools face and how their ICT management product ‘Community Connect 4’, can help network managers solve them.

    image

    RM have been holding these seminars for twenty years now, covering successive generations of RM schools networks. At first they were small affairs, held in informal venues (yes, it’s true that some pubs were involved). Now they’re major events for over a hundred people at a time, and are often oversubscribed. So, you’d guess, they’re probably getting something right.

    That’s certainly the opinion of the people I met in Birmingham, many of whom attend the seminars regularly.

    (‘They’re not just about knowledge, I find them inspiring, ‘was the verdict of one network manager who’s been attending for ten years.)

    Gill Rhodes, who manages the networks for three neighbouring primary schools in Oxfordshire puts it like this.

    ‘In effect they give cut down versions of their courses – the kind of brief overview which is what you often need. They bring you up to date, and add some of the latest tips. I always pick something up – and then there’s meeting people of course, and speaking to experts face to face.’

    They’re also, it must be said, very friendly gatherings. As they’ve developed over the years, RM organisers and presenters have done a quite remarkable job of hitting and keeping just the right balance of information, informality and expertise.

    Unsurprisingly, the people I met were all convinced of the advantage of using RM’s Community Connect to manage their networks. Ian Wilson, Assistant Head at Manor High School in Leicester says,

    ‘We know that a plain vanilla Microsoft network will deliver a lot of what’s required, but in my view Community Connect adds a set of education-specific tools which allow the network team to concentrate on high value education activities and not so much on lower value network activities.’

    The case becomes even clearer when the network team is small and overstretched.

    ‘If you have a small network team, Community Connect makes life much easier,’ says David Greengrass, Network Manager at Uppingham Community College.

    Gill Rhodes agrees.

    ‘I do a lot of my work remotely when I’m in one school and another has a problem. I couldn’t do what I do without Community Connect.’

    The partnership with RM is also worth a great deal – everyone spoke well of the quality and promptness of their support.

    The optional seminar sessions themselves – nine in all – covered a range of issues. Some, like the one on ‘Troubleshooting: Drivers’ were no-nonsense technical sessions obviously responding to specific needs. By no means all were like that, though. ‘Developing an Effective AV and Classroom Technology Strategy’ was very much about senior leaders and network teams picking their way through the forest of available technologies towards a position where effective classroom AV is at the core of teaching and learning. And in ‘Negotiation Techniques’, Gethin Nichols dealt with what can sometimes be an elephant in the room – the importance of building an effective relationship between the network team and the leaders of learning in a school.

    I was particularly interested in two sessions that dealt particularly with CC4. One, ‘CC4 Management Tasks’, run by Matt Edwards, might have been a bit technical for me in parts, but I thought it a very clear statement of what Community Connect, and particularly CC4, is all about, which is making the network team’s life easier.

    Matt started by listing eighteen basic network management tasks, common to virtually all schools, ranging from ‘checking backups have worked, through ‘resetting passwords’ and ‘fault diagnosing computers’ to ‘creating and supporting package installation’.

    He then set about methodically looking at teach task to see how, with CC4, it can be made easier, or automated, or are effectively administration tasks that someone else could be doing. Talk to any seasoned CC4 enthusiast and they’ll soon tell you that the ease with which they can manage routine tasks is in fact one of the main attractions. At BETT this year, I shot a short video clip showing Darren Williams, of the Abbey School, Reading, making exactly that point. In the clip, Darren, who has his own school’s Management Console open on his laptop as he speaks, uses the same phrase that was the main theme of Matt’s presentation.

    ‘It’s made my life much easier’.

    (You can see the video on Merlin Johns ‘Agent4Change’ site at http://www.agent4change.net/people/five-things/1339-gerald-haighs-five-things-to-think-about-1.html

    The other CC4 session I was interested in was ‘CC4 The Future’, also run by Matt Edwards. Here, Matt was keen to emphasise the ‘future-proofed’ nature of CC4,

    ‘The focus of CC4 is very much in line with what’s going on in the industry,’ he said. -- To support BYOD (bring your own devices). To support remote access to services. To support use of new software and hardware technologies.’

    Part of this approach, he explained, is to offer a subscription model for users, whereby licenses are paid for annually rather than up front.

    As well as reducing the up-front expenditure, Community Connect Subscription customers will be entitled to future product enhancements, new server and client operating systems when available, CC4 updates, maintenance fixes and future Community Connect versions. They will also be able to add clients or

    servers to their network without having to increase their subscription.’

    (Quite like Microsoft’s own subscription licensing models in fact, was the thought that crossed my mind as Matt spoke.)

    For me, though, what was most exciting about Matt’s look into the immediate future was the prospect of CC4 working with Windows 8. Matt has clearly made himself very familiar with Windows 8 and spent some time showing its features to his audience. Developments are still going on in this area at RM, but there’s a clear determination to make sure that all of the innovative features of Windows 8 including the Start Screen, Metro Apps, ‘Swipe, Slide and Zoom’, are exploited to the full. And just to comfort those in the audience whose brows were furrowing by the second, he said,

    ‘The key to using Windows 8 in my opinion is to get your head around the concept that the Start screen (Metro look) has simply replaced your old fashioned Start button.’

    image

    As Matt went on with his description of Windows 8, a question was forming in my mind, and just as I’d decided to tackle him with later, he answered it like this.

    ‘Although I do not currently have a great deal of detail on how the new Start screen will work with CC4 policies and security, I can reveal at least one little Windows 8 CC4 secret - we are currently developing CC4 specific Metro apps that can give you fast, direct access to management areas of your CC4 network.’

    In other words, as network manager you’ll find specific CC4 functions accessible via individually labelled CC4 apps on the start screen.

    He was able to show one example – an app called ‘RM Users’ which will come up on the Start Screen and allow direct access, without going to the management console, to all CC4 user groups.

    As you’d expect, there was quite a buzz about this afterwards, and some network managers were clearly worried about what they saw as a big change from the Windows environments that they’d lived in harmony with for so long.

    But thus has it ever been.

    I guess the very fact that these questioners take the trouble to attend RM Seminars in order to keep up with trends and provide the best possible service to their learners shows that they’ll be quickly won over.

    I have no doubt that there’ll be much more on Windows 8 in the Autumn Technical Seminars.

    Frankly, I can’t wait.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    How to add Skydrive to Send to menu

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    With the release of SkyDrive, backing up files to the cloud has become easier than ever. SkyDrive offers 7GB free storage (25 GB free upgrade for loyal users.

    As we all know, SkyDrive is available for Windows. If you have already installed and are using SkyDrive, you probably have noticed that one can easily drag-and-drop a file to a SkyDrive folder to sync file to the account.

    image

    But if you want to backup a large number of files by transferring files to your account, dragging and dropping files may take quite a while. So, what’s the best way to easily send large number of files to a SkyDrive folder? 

    The best way is to add a SkyDrive shortcut to the Send to menu. By adding a SkyDrive shortcut to the Send to menu, you will be able to send files in a jiffy.

    Procedure:

    Step 1: Navigate to C:\Users\UserName directory (“C” is your Windows installation drive letter and “UserName” is your user account name). Right-click on SkyDrive and select Create Shortcut. 

    Step 2: Open Run dialog box. To do this, simultaneously press Windows + R keys. In the dialog, type shell:sendto and hit enter key to open SendTo folder.

    Add SkyDrive and Google Drive To SendTo Menu

    Step 3: Copy the SkyDrive shortcut that we have created in step 1 to SendTo folder. That’s it! You should now have a SkyDrive shortcut in your SendTo menu. From now onwards, you can simply right-click on file, highlight Send to option and then click SkyDrive to send the selected file to the cloud.   

    The only catch is that when you use the Send to menu to send a file to SkyDrive, the file will be stored in the root folder. In other words, if you want to send a file to the subfolder of SkyDrive, you will need to manually drag-and-drop the file.

    Users who don’t mind adding multiple shortcuts to the Send to menu can add shortcuts of Documents and Public folders to the the menu.

    Originally posted on Into Windows

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Bing adds hundreds of new venue maps

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    Whether you live in Poland or Spain, Russia or Belgium, or pretty much anywhere in-between, you will now be able to explore your local shopping mall through Bing maps - helping you locate the stores you are looking for, find the closest services and facilities like restrooms and cash machines, and even browse their directories.

    Through Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia, Bing Maps just boosted its Venue Map coverage in the US and internationally expanding the experience to more than 2,700 Venue Maps across the world. This update is primarily focused on shopping malls across North America, Europe, and Asia.

    All new Venue Maps are now available through www.bing.com/maps and, in the US and UK, are also available on Windows Phone Maps (7.5), m.bing.com/maps, and the Bing app for iPhone.

    Simply zoom in over your favourite mall to enter the experience. You can also browse all the available Venue Maps and countries at www.bing.com/maps/venues.

    Here are a few examples:

    Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Belgium

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    Centro Commerciale Fiordaliso Italy

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    Europe Mall, Russia

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    Eurovea Galleria, Slovakia

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    Factory Getafe, Spain

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    We hope you enjoy the update! Let us know what you think.

    By Chris Pendleton

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft IT Academy–Microsoft Courseware Marketplace

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    We are excited to announce the launch of a new Courseware Marketplace for both IT Academies and Microsoft Learning Partners on July 31st 2012.

    The new Webshop will make available the ability to customise and order digital content to IT Academies for the first time.

    EDU2011_4681-Matt_Jessica_rgb (1024x683)

    Some of the new features will include:

    · One stop shop – for all printed and digital content, including digital discounts

    · Customisation – ability to modularise and customise specific courseware from our entire catalogue

    · Collaboration – share and highlight amongst classes and for yourself

    · E-Reader – access content online and offline including your course notes

    · New Technology – Metro Windows 8 App at Windows 8 launch

    To find out more about the new features and how they can help you save costs and time as well as deliver great new technology courses and experiences for your students, sign up to one of our free webinars below.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    The customisable ribbon in Excel (Office 2010)

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    This is a master stroke. Everyone uses Word, Excel, et al in their own way. Some barely touch the commands, but may dip in and out of the most advanced functions in the programs – the kind of things that wouldn't make it in to the tabs, but are vital to the way you work.

    Now you can create your own tabs and put whatever you like in them. If your primary task in Excel is to analyse data, create a data analysis tab with PivotTables and the like brought to the fore. Perhaps you want a tab to use at home and another at work. Maybe you’ve recorded a number of macros and want to have them sitting on a Ribbon rather than use shortcuts.

    image

    Taken from PC Pro magazine.

    For more on Office 2010 you can view and download the full PC Pro publication below.

    PC Pro - Office 2010
    View more documents from Microsoft Education UK
  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    The Microsoft IT Academy in Schools, Colleges and Universities

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    The Microsoft IT Academy Program can provide benefits to all parts of a school or college. Here are a few of the core functions and the potential benefits that will be most relevant.

    image

    Here is a set of current questions which the UK Academic and Education teams have received:

    The Head of School

    · I need to present my school as being an attractive selection for parents and to make a significant contribution to the wider community

    · I have seen the Microsoft IT Academy advertised but I can’t see how it would benefit our school

    · We aren’t really delivering many IT subjects, so how would it help us?

    · The budget is very tight so can we afford it?

    A member of The Governing Body

    · Our school should be seen as progressive and modern

    · We must be able to meet budgets

    · We have a wider brief in the community

    · We have a responsibility to students and parents

    A Parent

    · I expect my children’s school to be progressive and aligned to industry and the labour market

    · Can the school help to develop my IT skills?

    · Will my children have a clearly defined progression route if they choose IT as a subject

    · Is it a quality controlled progam and will it lead to sound industry work skills

    A Student

    · I expect my school to be progressive and linked to real life employment skills

    · I want more from IT than just hardware – perhaps some excitement with new technologies

    · Are there creative programs that might help me be employed?

    · Could I explore a wide range of technologies?

    image

    The Curriculum Manager

    · Is the supply of materials cost effective?

    · I need a comprehensive solution to reduce the overhead for the teaching staff

    · Are there programs of learning and certifications at all levels

    · Will the curriculum be just for the IT tutor or can we use it throughout the school?

    The IT Tutor

    · We teach user and technical skills

    · Can we deliver globally recognized certifications?

    · Will the curriculum save me time and money?

    · Can I get qualified myself?

    The Science (or any other) Tutor

    · We use spreadsheets to record information, so will it help my students?

    · I need to know what IT skills my students have at the moment

    · I could possibly improve my class room delivery if I used the newer features of presentation software

    · I need to understand new technologies to develop learning solutions with my students

    The IT Manager

    · We are upgrading our technology and I need to refresh the IT skills of our team

    · Could I become a Microsoft Certified Trainer?

    · Could we develop cost reductions through the use of new technologies?

    · We must keep current!

    A Teaching Assistant

    · I need to maintain and improve my skills to develop my career

    · Can I reach a basic level of IT literacy so that I can build on these skills?

    · I now have to use e-mail

    · It would be good to achieve academic or vocational qualifications

    The School administration office

    · I have been asked to produce marketing material to promote our IT capability

    · We mainly use Microsoft Office programs and we need to understand about databases

    · How can we check the IT Skills of new entrants?

    · It would be good if there was a clear progression route in IT skills

    The Facilities Manager

    · If all my team used e-mail we could share calendars

    · I came in to this role for my service skills, but now I find I need to multi-task and be fully IT literate

    · I have already completed a vocational course, perhaps there are IT certifications or similar qualifications

    · I have been asked to look at the cabling, so it would be good to understand networking!

    The Vocational Tutor

    · My students need to be work ready – some will need advanced technology or IT user skills

    · Is there mapping between Microsoft certifications and vocational Units?

    · It’s the fundamental skills that the students need before they enter the workplace or the next steps in education

    · It would be good if there was a basics course and perhaps some understanding of everyday technologies

    The Community Team

    · We can make best use of our resources by spreading our skills in to the community and adding value to the school from those contacts

    · Our charter expects us to make the campus available for all

    · We have excellent contact with parents and relatives, many who need basic IT literacy skills so that they can use our web site/portal/e-mail

    · Are there opportunities to generate revenue and goodwill?

    Here the solutions/answers to some of these questions

    Within UK Academia, there are large areas of crossover, and opportunities which exist for innovative use of the ITA membership.

    This list just represents a starting point and helps address the concerns and question raised by the stakeholders listed above!

    Head of School

    · Global brand associated with technology

    · Gain access to resources that will help you save time and money.

    · Sector and industry alignment

    · Opportunities for networking

    · Vendor certification opportunities

    · Increase your students’ employability with relevant technology courses that help them get jobs

    · complimentary enrollment in the Microsoft Certified Trainer program

    · A 60 percent discount on the Full Microsoft E-Reference Library

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Certification exams.

    · Complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Up to 100 free lab licenses

    · Complimentary Microsoft TechNet Subscription

    · Marketing resources to help you promote your IT Academy

    Governing Body

    · Global brand associated with technology

    · Gain access to resources that will help you save time and money.

    · Sector and industry alignment

    · Marketing resources to help you promote your IT Academy

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    Students

    · Global brand associated with technology

    · Sector and industry alignment

    · Increase your employability with relevant technology courses that help get jobs

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    · Sector and industry alignment

    · Complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Vendor certification opportunities

    Parents

    · Global brand associated with technology

    · Sector and industry alignment

    · Increase of students’ employability with relevant technology courses that help them get jobs

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    IT curriculum tutors

    · Unlimited access to E-Learning portfolio courses

    · The ability to administer content and manage your students’ progress

    · Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development.

    · Educator resources such as downloadable and customizable lesson plans

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Academic Courses (MOAC)

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC)

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Certification exams.

    · One complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Complimentary enrollment in the Microsoft Certified Trainer program

    Non-IT curriculum tutors

    · Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development

    · Unlimited access to E-Learning portfolio courses

    · The ability to administer content and manage your students’ progress

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    IT Support staff

    · Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development.

    · complimentary enrollment in the Microsoft Certified Trainer program

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Academic Courses (MOAC)

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC).

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Certification exams.

    · One complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Up to 100 lab licenses

    · Complimentary Microsoft TechNet Subscription

    Teaching Assistants

    · Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development.

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    · Educator resources such as downloadable and customizable lesson plans

    Administrative staff

    · Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development.

    · Gain access to resources that will help you save time and money.

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    · Marketing resources to help you promote your IT Academy Vendor certification opportunities

    · Vendor certification opportunities

    Curriculum managers

    · Gain access to resources that will help you save time and money.

    · Unlimited access to E-Learning portfolio courses

    · The ability to administer content and manage your students’ progress

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    · A 60 percent discount on the Full E-Reference Library

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Academic Courses (MOAC)

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC).

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Certification exams.

    · Five complimentary annual subscriptions to the Full E-Reference Library

    · One complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Educator resources such as downloadable and customizable lesson plans

    · Marketing resources to help you promote your IT Academy

    Facilities staff

    · Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development.

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    Vocational tutors

    · Increase your students’ employability with relevant technology courses that help them get jobs

    · Gain access to resources that will help you save time and money.

    · Unlimited access to E-Learning portfolio courses

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    · One complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Educator resources such as downloadable and customizable lesson plans

    Community programs

    · Essential computer skills training with Microsoft Digital Literacy

    · Academic pricing on Microsoft Certification exams.

    · One complimentary subscription to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium

    · Marketing resources to help you promote your IT Academy

    Mapping Professional Curricula and certification to course and awards

    Please see the following QCF Mapping of Microsoft Certification/Courses to Related Awarding Body and Qualifications

    Mapping table of Microsoft Certification to QCF 160512

    View more presentations from Lee Stott

    Get Help Implementing a Microsoft Certification Program

    Now is the time to implement a Microsoft Certification program to help your students validate what they’ve learned. Your local Microsoft Academy Service Partner (MASP) can help.

    Your local Microsoft Academy Service Partner (MASP) can help you establish a Microsoft Certification program that’s right for your institution. Whether you want to become a testing center to help students get certified on campus or promote the benefits of Microsoft Certification and refer students to another testing location, your local MASP can help you turn your plans into reality for more details contact our Education MASP Mike Evans, Director – ITSkillsman, www.itskillsman.co.uk

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Linking SkyDrive and Moodle together

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    Moodle, a popular Learning Management System, is widely used across education. And Microsoft's SkyDrive is also widely used by both teachers and students (although in some government systems, the access is blocked to SkyDrive when in school) as a cloud-based storage drive.

    So you may be interested to know that the Moodle community has developed and released a plugin for Moodle 2.3 which allows students and teachers to save their files into SkyDrive, directly in the cloud, from Moodle.

    image

    You can find out more, and download the SkyDrive plugin from the Moodle website

    I can quickly think of three reasons why this is a good idea:

    • Let your students access work from home or school, on multiple computers, and even phones
    • Reduce the amount of storage capacity you need on your own servers
    • Give teachers more storage capacity (SkyDrive gives 7GB of storage per user in the Cloud), for all of those videos, fancy PowerPoints etc that are eating up your drive space!

    Note, this plugin doesn't come from Microsoft, but from the Moodle open-source community. There are lots of other resources to integrate Moodle with Microsoft technology on this list

    By Ray Fleming

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