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September, 2013

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Touch Develop Inspiring the next generation to code - Scheme Of Work for GCSE



    Originally posted by Lee Stott on the Microsoft UK Faculty Connection


    In 2012 the Computing in Schools project looked at the current provision of education in Computing in UK schools, the Royal Society report was informed by evidence gathered from individuals and organisations with an interest in computing.

    Key points of the report include:

    1. The current delivery of Computing education in many UK schools is highly unsatisfactory. Although existing curricula for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are broad and allow scope for teachers to inspire pupils and help them develop interests in Computing, many pupils are not inspired by what they are taught and gain nothing beyond basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a database. This is mainly because:
      1. the current national curriculum in ICT can be very broadly interpreted and may be reduced to the lowest level where non specialist teachers have to deliver it
      2. there is a shortage of teachers who are able to teach beyond basic digital literacy
      3. there is a lack of continuing professional development for teachers of Computing
      4. features of school infrastructure inhibit effective teaching of Computing
    2. There is a need to improve understanding in schools of the nature and scope of Computing. In particular there needs to be recognition that Computer Science is a rigorous academic discipline of great importance to the future careers of many pupils. The status of Computing in schools needs to be recognised and raised by government and senior management in schools.
    3. Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline.
    4. There is a need for qualifications in aspects of Computing that are accessible at school level but are not currently taught. There is also a need for existing inappropriate assessment methods to be updated.
    5. There is a need for augmentation and coordination of current Enhancement and Enrichment activities to support the study of Computing.
    6. Uptake of Computing A-level is hindered by lack of demand from higher education institutions.

    Over the past year I have been working with a number of inspirational teachers and had the pleasure of keynoting at the Computing in Schools annual conference. One of the key drivers for me with the children at school is simply getting them inspired and looking at ways of making Computer Science in lessons, exciting interesting and more importantly thought provoking at the impact technology has on everyone lives.

    Over the last year I have worked with a number of inspiring teacher from the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme.

    One of these teacher is Ray Chambers. Ray has successfully included programming into his curricula using tools such as Kodu, but as they progressed, he didn't want them to be simply complacent or lose interest so he decided to step it up a notch and get his students understanding functions.

    He also wanted to start introducing arrays and if statements into their vocabulary. This you may think would be a huge challenge but during BETT last year, I introduced Ray to a great friend and fellow Partner in Learning Teacher David Renton and David simply evangelised Ray to the power of the Touch Develop platform.

    I am pleased to announce that Ray has now successfully developed an entire Scheme of works for Touchdevelop for the GCSE CS curricula.

    The following is a guest Blog by Ray Chambers ICT teacher / Lead Practitioner at Uppingham Community College

    To see how each of the lessons map into the new national curriculum, you can follow the links on the images.

    Each of the links will take you to the video you need. Alternatively, you can click on the links below in order to go through the scheme of work lesson by lesson.

    TouchDevelop is a programming environment that runs on your mobile devices. You write scripts by tapping on the screen. You do not need a separate PC or keyboard or even a PC as Touchdevelop works on any device with a web browser.

    Scripts can perform various tasks similar to regular apps. Any TouchDevelop user can install, run, edit, and publish scripts. You can share your scripts with other people by publishing them to the TouchDevelop script bazaar, or by submitting them as an app to the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store.

    Ray has developed the scheme of work which will allow students to break in slowly and progress, learn and be inspired at each step.

    The first lesson starts off by introducing them to variables, backgrounds and sprites. They will be able to add a character into their game and they will be able to use variables to change the height and width of characters. Ray has attached some PDF’s to support and the videos on this page will support the learning. The materials are free to download and let me know if they have been useful.

       clip_image002               clip_image003          clip_image004

    Lesson 1 PowerPoint    Lesson 1 Background   Lesson 1 Sprites

    Lesson 1 – This lesson introduces the basics and shows the environment to students. This lesson should get students creating a background and a character using variables.

    Click on the resource above for a walk through on creating and setting up the background on program.

    Click on the resource above for a walk through on creating your own characters / sprites within a game or application.

        clip_image002[1]       clip_image005                   clip_image006      clip_image007

    Lesson 2 PowerPoint      Lesson 2 Using Game Loops     Lesson 2 Text       Lesson 2 Starter Kit

    Lesson 2 – This lesson introduces the game loop event. This tests for interactions over and over to see what is happening. Lessons are taught about IF statements and how to update text.

    Learn how to add the game loop event. This tests for what is happening (all the time). Think of this as a traffic light sensor which is always looking for what is happening next.

    Learn how to create text as part of your game. You also learn how to set the text on the text.

    This activity will allow your students to put things in the correct order in the correct table. Cut out the tiles and mix them up. Your students should be able to re-arrange this into the correct order.  

      clip_image002[2]          clip_image008        clip_image009        clip_image010

    Lesson 3 PowerPoint    Lesson 3 Procedures     Lesson 3 Functions       Lesson 3 Using Functions

    Lesson 3 –   This lesson introduces the basics of functions and procedures and shows students how they can update their existing code to be a procedure.

    Learn how to use some of your existing code and how to change to insert procedures.

    Learn how to set up a function which uses input and output perimeters.

    Learn how to use the function you set up in the previous walk through.

    clip_image002[3]          clip_image011          clip_image012

    Lesson 4 PowerPoint      Lesson 4 Pop Quiz     Lesson 4 Moving Sprites

    Lesson 4 -     How to move characters across the screens without input from the user.

    Here is a quick pop quiz to test what your students have marked so far. Most of the questions ask them to explain the knowledge they’ve gained so that you can judge their answers.

    Here is a quick guide to changing the X and Y variables of sprites so that they can move on their own. You might like flying objects in a game and this introduces it to students.

    clip_image002[4]           clip_image013              clip_image014

    Lesson 5 Powerpoint    Lesson 5 Game Proposal      Lesson 5 Requirements

    Lesson 5 – Users plan and develop a program which will benefit their school. They must design screen shots of their game and talk about how they plan on meeting the requirements.

    Attached is a proposal which was made for an Appathon competition by me. You can see some of the screen designs. Students can do this task in PowerPoint or on paper. It is something they can use as an idea.

    Requirements sheet. Students must write out how they plan on meeting the client needs in order to achieve marks for planning. The next lesson will focus on pseudo code.

    clip_image015        clip_image002[5]        clip_image015[1]

    Lesson 6 PowerPoint     Lesson 6 Activity1          Lesson 6 Activity2

    Lesson 6 – Users plan and develop a program which will benefit their school. They’re required to use Pseudo code during this lesson. They need to think about the code and understand the importance of writing a structure of code before making it.

    Pseudo Code activity sheet 1 – Get students to write some structured English to help them understand coding.

    Pseudo Code activity sheet 2 – Get students to underline variables which might be used within Pseudo code.


    Lesson 7 – This lesson allows the students to start building their application. The video tutorials are embedded and it is a large file. Alternatively you can watch the video from the tutorials attached.


    Lesson 8 – This lesson introduces the final stages of development to students and talks to them about the importance of testing. There are examples of test plans in the slides for you to try with students.

    Here are a few Bonus Lessons to support different aspects of the new national curriculum.


    Lesson on Algorithms

    Resource which show you how to make a cup of tea using algorithms

    Instructions for Resource 1 on making a cup of tea.

    Students are required to make their own algorithm using this task.


    Lesson on Data Types


    Lesson on Logic and Logic Gates

    Logic Gates work sheet to support task.

    Logic Gates work sheet answers for previous task.

    Publishing your App to Windows 8

    If you follow these steps, you can publish your own students apps to the Windows store.

    1. Go to touch develop and you should click on the publish button.


       2.  Once you have clicked on the publish button, you will need to make sure that you export it to a windows 8 device. Click on the script for it’s properties and then you click on windows 8. 



    3.  Once you have done this, you will get a menu pop up with some settings. It is important to fill out the privacy statement. If you do not fill this out correctly, then your application is likely to be rejected. Even if you are using the internet for images, make sure you say so.My privacy statements tell my clients : Although your personal data will not be required for this application, a network connection is established. This is for the use of images and multimedia, no personal information is used.



    4.   Once you have filled out this application, you will be able to download the file ready for adjustments within windows 8. Once you have your files, you will need to follow the next set of instructions carefully.

    5.   Make sure that you have the latest copy of visual studio express 2012, you will need to have it installed on windows 8. I noticed that I couldn’t get any of my apps working correctly when running windows 7. Download it here.


    6.    Once you have downloaded and installed Visual Studio Express 2012 for windows 8. You can go into the images folder of your application you compiled and you can updated the images and logo’s for the running of your application. 

    7.    When running your application, you will need to run your application in simulator mode. You select simulator from the drop down menu and then you press CTRL+F5 to run it. You can press the camera button to take multiple pictures of your application running. You need them later for getting your app certified later.



    8.    You will then need to register as a develop. Your students can go to this link here. They will be able to register for free. You will need to go here if you’re not a student to start the registration process. 

    9.    The next thing you are required to do is to create an app package. You will need to click on the store menu and select. Create app package. Follow the menu and it will test your application and create the file for you.



    10.    You then click on the upload app packages link. This will get you to log into the store. Select the application name and click on next. If you haven’t got an application name yet, tap on ‘reserve name’ to get one. This will reserve the name for you. Once created it will be in the folder of your app you downloaded originally under the name ‘AppPackages’. This is the file you will submit to the windows store. 

    11.    That’s it, Your app is packaged and ready to be submitted to the windows store. You will need to log on here. You will then go to your reserved app and fill out a series of simple questions which help you get your application certified. It is really easy for ‘free’ applications. If you’re looking at being paid for your applications, you will need to sort out your tax forms which is a whole different ball game. Fill out the form and submit your app and hope for the best! 


    This guide was developed as a starter guide for anyone who is working with touch develop and their students.


    If you would like more help about Touchdevelop and how Ray is using it in his curricula you can contact him via Microsoft Partners in Learning or his blog at

    If your a UK teacher, lecturer or researcher and interested in becoming joining the Microsoft Partners in Learning UK team please see

    If your interested in Touchdevelop please see

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Introducing the new Windows 8 Skillpipe App


    Microsoft have partnered with world-renowned publisher Arvato to create our new Windows 8 Skillpipe App for our digital Microsoft official courseware reader, which has now been released as a free download on the Windows store.

    Our Learning Partners and Academic institutions can now support their students on apprenticeships and in higher and further education pursuing Microsoft Technical courses learning the latest technology skills, in the cloud on a Windows 8 device.


    Read, Annotate, Collaborate

    The Skillpipe app will give students anywhere access to their courseware and the freedom to simultaneously read and annotate content and make notes on it from Windows 8 Surfaces, tablets or PCs, both online and offline! The beauty of the reader app is the power it provides for students and tutors to collaborate and learn together by sharing. Students can share their notes with tutors or their peers, who can subsequently add their notes and share again with the class, essentially creating a supportive network for learning.

    Who does the Skillpipe app benefit?

    Students pursuing apprenticeships spend much of their time working on site, and little time in the classroom. They can now access their reading any time on a Windows 8 device, and can receive support from their class mates thanks to the collaborative nature of the app and its cloud interface.

    Similarly, more and more universities provide long distance courses with very little contact time. The Skillpipe app enables the latest IT skills to be taught long distance on Windows 8 devices, while providing the tools for students to share work together and with tutors and maintain a sense of community.

    All students enrolled in Microsoft Technology courses, using a Windows 8 device will be able to benefit from the Skillpipe app. IT Academy members will also be pleased to hear that they are eligible to access the Skillpipe app for their students.

    Check out the following video link to learn more about Skillpipe for Windows 8.



    Here are some of the app’s features:

    • Completely re-designed reader app, following the Win 8 design philosophy
    • Supports online and offline reading
    • Optimized touch controls for Surface and Surface Pro tablet PCs
    • Auto-docked panels to read and work in parallel
    • Possibility to manually delete the locally cached books
    • Automated software updates for new reader releases through the Windows Store
    • Automated error reporting helping us to detect and analyze your technical problems to get them fixed for the next release

    To find out more information and download the app, please send your students to this link.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Windows To Go: A Deployment Guide for Education


    Windows To Go is a feature of the Windows 8 Enterprise operating system that enables the operating system to run from a USB drive. Using Windows To Go in an education environment provides numerous benefits to faculty and students alike. It enables faculty and students to use a personalized copy of Windows 8 on virtually any PC, at almost any location.

    This guide provides an overview of Windows To Go deployment for schools. It is for IT pros and discusses the benefits, limitations, and processes involved in deploying Windows To Go.

    The full guide can be viewed/downloaded below:

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft UK Education Free Resources App


    Today, we are excited to share with you a brand new Education app freshly released on the Windows Store, designed by our very own Stuart Ball from the Microsoft UK Education team.

    With many excellent education resources in our archives, Stuart designed the Microsoft UK Education Free Resources App with the purpose of centralising our tools and resources into one hub to provide educators with the ease and flexibility of accessing resources at any time, for free!

    Stuart shares his inspiration for creating the app, along with his short (three week) journey from 'coding-beginner' to 'app designer'.


    So what compelled Stuart to create the app?

    During the summer break, I set my self the challenge of learning to be a Developer. My starting point was to find a coding package to learn. That was easy, there are so many free resources available, so I chose Touchdevelop . Next , I needed some help. On the Touchdevelop site, I found a series of helpful tutorials and courses and also stumbled across a couple of names I recognised from the Partners in Learning Network, David Renton and Ray Chambers. A few tweets later and I was ready to go. Or so I thought. Ray asked me ‘What did I want to make?’. That sort of stumped me for a while, but I suspect it may be a wall many app designers also stumble into. ‘What shall I make?’ A game seemed the obvious choice, but I have Kodu for that. Then Ray offered me a piece of advice. He asked me whether there was something that I seemed to do repeatedly, that an app could replace. This gentle suggestion set my thoughts into motion, and quickly directed them to the following: Until today, I regularly spent time emailing educators lists of links to free Microsoft Education resources, and this could be replaced by an App.

    So during my holiday instead of reading, I coded! On my Surface RT I might add. As I worked through my plan , I discovered different techniques, some of which you will probably see in the App. I have purposely left it ‘hobbyist’, hoping that it will inspire people that learning to code is not the difficult task they might perceive it to be and that they too can get an App in the Windows Store after three weeks of learning. I can’t lie to you, I feel quite proud of myself.

    What does the app do?

    The App is a simple menu interface that links the many free resources that not just Partners in Learning have, but have been produced by the whole Microsoft UK Education Team.

    The app is effectively a ‘one stop shop’ for the following resources:

    • Resources to support Computer Science
    • Windows 8 E- Books
    • A list of Free Win 8 Apps for Education
    • Links to our Education Blogs, Slideshare, Youtube Channel
    • and even links to the blogs of our Rockstar teachers who share their best practice and resources.

    You can download the App for free at the Windows Store

    Stuart would welcome any comments and feedback on his App which he will be updating it regularly. Now what will he try next?

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Windows 8 Deployment to PCs: A Guide to Education


    Deploying the Windows 8 operating system in an educational environment can be an easy process when properly planned. Educational institutions have requirements (such as classroom and computer labs) that make them unique, but you can deploy Windows 8 in multiple ways, depending on the needs of the environment.

    This guide provides an overview of Windows 8 deployment to PCs in an educational environment. The guide is written for IT pros and looks at the various means by which they can deploy Windows  8, including the processes and tools    involved along with their benefits, requirements, and limitations.

    The full guide can be viewed/downloaded below:

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Windows Store Apps: A Deployment Guide for Education


    The Windows 8 operating system includes many new features and capabilities, but one prominent feature is the Windows Store apps. Educational institutions can purchase or create apps for Windows 8 that use the new user interface (UI).


    But Windows Store apps can raise certain questions:

    • What is the best way to deploy Windows Store apps in an educational environment?
    • Do all the apps need to come from the Windows Store?
    • Can you use existing deployment technologies and processes to deploy them?
    • What role does the Windows Store play in the app deployment process?

    This guide offers several examples of app deployment strategies and considerations when selecting among them. It is written for school district IT pros, school administrators, teachers, and other faculty who are responsible for deploying Windows Store apps on institution-owned or personally owned devices.

    The full guide can be viewed/downloaded below:

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    BYOD Devices: A Deployment Guide for Education


    Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models are becoming increasingly popular in schools. The strategy enables students to use their own computers or other devices as part of the educational experience to perform research, complete homework, and involve themselves in classroom activities. The tightening of school budgets and the consumerisation of technology make the BYOD model attractive: With tools such as SkyDrive and Microsoft Office 365, BYOD becomes even easier.

    This guide provides information about BYOD for education, including device types, BYOD deployment models, and infrastructure-related considerations for BYOD deployments.

    Download/view the full guide below:

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Windows 8 Deployment Planning: A Guide for Education


    The first in a week long series of blog posts to share a range of Windows 8 for education deployment guides. Covering everything from PC, App and Windows To Go deployment, this series of eBooks offers a practical set of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Windows 8, and more.

    Our first guide, Windows 8 Deployment Planning: A Guide for Education, is designed for IT pros, school administrators, and other faculty members who are responsible for the deployment of devices running Windows 8 in educational institutions. This guide covers the key considerations and questions that should be answered as a part of a typical Windows 8 deployment.

    The full guide can be viewed/downloaded below via our SlideShare profile.

    Any questions? Please do not hesitate to drop us a note via the comments below or via Twitter.

    Also, don't forget to come back tomorrow to check out our BYOD: Guide for Education eBook.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Back to School with OneNote


    Originally posted on the OneNote Blog.

    As a college student, Liz Scoble loved using OneNote to keep all of her class notes organized and stay on top of her daily to-do's. She recently joined the OneNote team after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. Here, Liz shares her favourite OneNote features for staying productive in school.


    Keeping my life organized in college was not an easy feat. Between classes, extracurricular activities, and the work associated with each, I struggled to stay on top of everything that I needed to do. Thankfully, once I began to use OneNote to keep track of everything, I felt much more organized and productive. Here are some of the ways I used OneNote in college and features that I relied on to keep my life organized.

    Daily task lists

    With a busy schedule and lots of classes to keep track of, I found that the best method of organizing my schedule was making detailed daily task lists. I constantly checked, edited, and updated these lists, so I also colour-coded them so I could see at a glance the type of work I had to do. Black was for classes, red was for due dates or exams, blue was for meetings, and green was for individual work. I loved using the to-do tag in OneNote (which you can add with CTRL+1), because it made it easy for me to see when I'd completed a task.


    The wiki-linking feature can also be very helpful for keeping track of your notes associated with items on your task list. To add a link to a different page in your notebook, simply type your page title with double brackets on either end (example: [[To Do List]] ) and it will automatically become a link to that page, marked by a dotted underline. This feature helped me organize notes and make my task lists more useful.

    Search notes

    One of the features that makes OneNote so useful for keeping all of your class notes is that you can search through them, even if they are handwritten. I loved that I could write down due dates and assignments right in my class notes, and then easily find them when it was time to complete the assignment. When I took notes with pencil and paper, I would have to open my class notebook, find the lecture notes, and scan the pages for where I had jotted down the assignment. With OneNote, all you have to do is type a keyword into the search bar, and all of the pages that contain the keyword immediately show up.


    Send to OneNote

    I received tons of handouts for each of my classes and often struggled to keep them organized. I would usually print files that were emailed to the class or uploaded to the class website so that I could keep track of the content on the printouts and take any necessary notes. As you can probably imagine, my folders quickly filled up, my printing credit dwindled, and my backpack got progressively heavier. Once I started using OneNote to organize my class notes, a solution to this problem quickly became apparent. Using the Send to OneNote tool, I kept all of my handouts organized in their respective section of my OneNote notebook.  Not only did this save me time (and paper), but it also allowed me to annotate handouts and quickly search through my growing collection of class content.

    The Send to OneNote tool also helped me take more organized notes in class. If a professor lectured from a PowerPoint presentation in class, I would upload the presentation to OneNote. Instead of taking separate notes and trying to match them up with the presentation after class, I took notes directly on the slides. Drawing arrows to points of the slide that I wanted to associate notes with, underlining key content, and taking notes in the margins of the slide made it so much easier for me when it came time to study for exams.


    OneNote on the go

    One of my favourite things about OneNote is that I can access my notes anywhere. When I was waiting in line for coffee or at a bus stop, it was easy to access my daily task list using OneNote on my phone. If I wanted to work in a computer lab, I could access my notes on SkyDrive. I love that I never have to worry about forgetting my notes somewhere, because they are with me wherever I go!

    Are there any features in OneNote that you love to use? Comment to let us know!

    --Liz Scoble

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft IT Academy success with Springfield Central State High School


    To those of you who are IT Academy members, the following may not come as a surprise. Word is spreading about IT Academy’s ability to engage faculty and students in successful technology training, and our reach is growing. To date, there are more than 15,000 IT Academies in dozens of countries around the world. Tens of thousands of Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certificates have been awarded, sending students off to higher education and the workplace better equipped.

    The global scope of IT Academy’s benefits is one measure of its strengths. Another is the specific accomplishments of individual programs and their students. Let’s take a look at Queensland, Australia. In 2004, the state’s Department of Education, Training and Employment launched a program called “Smart Classrooms,” aiming to use IT to transform education at every level. The initiative set out to automate record keeping, streamline instructional materials, improve teacher technology use, and provide virtual learning environments for anytime student access and collaboration.

    Nine years later, Smart Classrooms is soaring. Among other dramatic improvements to its infrastructure, the program has implemented IT Academies for all of its secondary schools. Students get access to the Microsoft IT Academy online courseware, and both teachers and students have the opportunity to develop skills recognized on a global scale.

    Within this paradigm is a specific victory I’d like to shine a light on: a student named “Aidan” who goes to Springfield Central State High School in Queensland. Aidan recently won the state title at the 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist Worldwide Championships. Like other students in his state, through IT Academy, Aidan receives not only the chance to get certified but the opportunity to receive Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) credit toward graduation.

    Watch this video to hear what Aidan and his business teacher have to say about the program.


    Congratulations, Aidan and Springfield Central State High School! We look forward to hearing about your continued success.


    Keith Loeber is the Director of the Microsoft IT Academy program for Microsoft, overseeing strategy, benefits, operations and policies. An 18-year Microsoft veteran, Keith has spent the last several years in education with the majority of his career focused on training and certification on Microsoft technologies.

    View article...

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