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Leicester College is a large establishment which provides hundreds of courses to its learners. The passion the College has to enrich its learners’ skill sets was perfectly exemplified through Computing Supervisor Chris Seaton, who shared with us the technology Leicester College implement and the impact the Windows Phone Camp day had on his computing learners.

Leicester College’s Deployment of Microsoft Technology

Leicester College offers a wide range of courses including IT, design, beauty and music production. As a foundation for all courses, the College currently runs Windows 7 and Office 2007 and 2010, giving every learner the tools to write essays and projects and access email onsite.

Homing more specifically on IT courses, Leicester College utilises Microsoft technology to equip its learners to program and develop including Microsoft XNA which supports Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 to build multi-tier games and apps for the web, the cloud, Windows Phone, the Xbox 360 console, and Windows-based computers. To cater for their budding developers, Leicester College utilise DreamSpark which offers no-cost access to professional-level development, design and gaming software to build real sites, apps and games. Finally, Leicester College deploy Microsoft Expression Web to equip web developers with the tools to design, create and publish captivating websites in compliance with web standards.

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From coursework to Windows Phone Store App Developers

With all these great platforms at the learners finger tips, Chris was eager to explore more avenues to challenge the learners and visited the Microsoft stand at BETT event. Chris learned that Microsoft were offering Windows Phone Camps for a limited time where Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist Joanna Tong went to colleges and schools to introduce learners to the Windows Phone, the market place, coding, and the tools to build Windows Phone Stoclip_image008re apps.

Chris was eager to provide his IT learners with this opportunity and was thrilled (and honestly surprised) to see them all absorbed in Joanna’s presentation and the ensuing lab sessions. During the labs, the IT learners plunged themselves into their first experience coding for the Windows Phone, which they found straightforward having had experience coding for Xbox 360.

Observing the learners, the IT staff at Leicester College were delighted to see all the learners so engrossed and come out of the afternoon having made significant progress to building an app for the Windows Phone Store.

Every learner who attended did something and created something and made a start. I was shocked to see no one get bored. The learners were very keen!”

                                                                   Ahead of the GAME

Jenish Chandracim voicing his app ideasWhen asking Chris what the standout moments of the day were for him, he enthusiastically imparted the tremendous efforts of one particular learner who has since published two apps on the Windows Phone Store. Jenish Chandracim is currently studying Year 2 of Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree at De Montfort University and was awarded Best Computer Engineering and Cyber Security First Year Learner, for achieving outstanding results throughout the year and on his exams. During his time studying BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT (Software and Website Development) at Leicester College, Jenish explored his passion for development, creating games using Microsoft XNA.

At 21 years old, Jenish is now the creator of UK Lottery Lucky Dip Generator, a Windows Phone Store app which generates lottery numbers for National game shows and Baby Timeline, a Windows Phone Store app specially built for mums and dads to store every single minute of their children’s development progress. From the Windows Phone Camp day at Leicester College, Jenish displayed outstanding appreciation and understanding of the opportunities for learners to physically create an idea, build an app, and see it through to the Windows Phone Store market place. “On the day we received Joana from Microsoft, I shouted load my idea. At the time I didn't know how I was going to do it, but now here I am with two complete working applications, which are now live!”

clip_image015clip_image010A learner’s perspective on building a Windows Phone Store App

Jenish took the time to share his experience learning to build a Windows Phone Store app:

I feel very comfortable with the tools provided by Microsoft, especially the free licence of Visual Studio’s latest version from DreamSpark. It is just great! I do also appreciate the fact that being a learner, I get free app uploading privileges, which is just impressive. I am sure learners all around the UK, or perhaps I should say the world, feel very honoured.

Since I began developing applications for the Windows Phone Store, my days have been very valuable and I always learn something new by both reading Microsoft’s latest publications on how to develop apps and also watching tutorial videos published by the organisation. The experience of creating my first application has been amazing, as I kept learning new techniques on how to make my app better and robust, and also with the help of integrated tools in visual studio, a lot of work has been finished efficiently.

When Joanna came to our College, it was very exciting. I did learn quite a lot from her on how to start making my own projects and getting a hand on them, as well as fist steps on designing and coding. It was great that she came to visit us, and I do feel honoured as it led me to where I am right now, an app creator.”

If you would like to find out more about Microsoft IT resources in coding and app design, please feel free to contact us through our Twitter or Facebook pages or download our latest Microsoft UK Education Free Resources App here.

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