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We just wanted to wish all of our readers a fabulous Christmas before the holiday period, which will hopefully be a relaxing mince pie and mulled wine filled break for everyone. We’ll also be taking a break over the festive week, well from the blog anyway, so I thought this was the perfect time to wish you Season’s Greetings and to reflect on some of the happenings in 2012 for Microsoft in education.

It’s been an amazing year for Microsoft in education, particularly recently with the release of the much anticipated Windows 8 and its devices, including Surface. We had an excellent Windows 8 in education launch day a couple of months back with Lenovo at QPR football ground, with some informative speakers and some lovely celebration drinks to finish.  This year we also published one of our most popular eBooks yet – Windows 8 in Education, written by leading practitioners to show many of the great features of Windows 8 from an education perspective. And as far as Surface is concerned, we’ve already had some awesome feedback about Surface being used in education, with schools taking a big interest in the new device. We look forward to lots more on Surface in education in 2013.

Going back to earlier in the year it was also exciting times, with much of our focus on growing digital learning trends, such as Computer Games in Education (eBook) and Bring Your Own Device. Innovative learning technology themes like these are sure to expand further in 2013, so watch this blog space to stay up to speed.

Not forgetting other 2012 announcements back in the summer months, when Microsoft officially launched Office 365 for education, providing schools with improved communications and collaboration experiences at no cost. This has enabled many education institutions to migrate to the cloud, enabling massive cost-saving opportunities and many other advantages. There are also a good number of schools and universities successfully upgrading from live @ edu to Office 365 for education which is fantastic news, bringing more efficient teaching and learning to education.

Shape the Future was also born this year, with an outstanding launch event in November at Shirelands Collegiate Academy in Smethwick. Shape the Future is an innovative, simple and cost effective way to get students using 1:1 devices at home and in the classroom. The affordability of this PC and software package is supported by Microsoft’s global digital inclusion programme, in collaboration with RM Education and Intel. Only available from RM Education, this device and software package has been specifically designed to help provide a great value 1:1 device programme for all students and their teachers.

So it’s been a busy old year, and it’s looking like a busy year to come! We’ll be back on the blog in early January, kicking off with loads of stories and information about what we’re doing at Bett 2013. With the new venue of the ExCel, it’s going to be brilliant year for us at Bett 2013 with exciting opportunities. I won’t give much away now, but with our core theme of a 'New Era in Digital Learning’, our presence will include elements around how technology can help create more engaging and emotional connections with learning that is steeped in real world problem solving. More on that in 2013!