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News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Kinect Effect Infographic


    The education team are big fans of Kinect for XBOX 360, not just for gaming, but for its innovative uses across the education and health sectors, also.

    Building on the amazing Kinect Effect video that we showcased earlier this week on the blog, our colleagues in the XBOX team have just released an interesting infographic that charts the phenomenal growth that the Kinect has seen since its launch only a year ago. 

    We are obviously really proud of the Guinness World Record , but its the sparking innovation globally section I find particularly impressive. I can’t wait to see what the community can come up with in another year with this technology!

    Are you using Kinect within your institution? If so, we would love to hear your stories in the comments below.


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Welcome to our Slideshare Account


    With a packed diary of events over the coming months and a series of eBooks soon to be launched, we thought it would be useful to set up a SlideShare account to help collate all the decks and other useful content we have for you in one place.

    The intention with the Slideshare account is to offer you a single location for you to access, download and share the content we are creating.

    As mentioned previously, we will be regularly sharing eBooks, whitepapers, presentation decks from events and videos that we hope you will find interesting and help make you more effective.

    Examples include the recent  Consumerisation of IT in Education paper we released, as shown below:

    If you have any ideas about how we can make this resource more useful and valuable for you, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Any ideas of topics that you would like us to create eBooks or whitepapers around would also be greatly received.

    Your feedback is essential in helping to ensure that we are producing content and assets that are beneficial to you.

    Thanks in advance and happy Friday!


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Productivity Future Vision Video


    The future of technology in education means many things to many different people. eBooks, natural user interfaces, touch screens, gaming in education and the consumerisation of IT are all themes that are voiced when the topic comes up for debate. A hot topic, for sure!

    Gaming in education and the consumerisation of IT in education, in particular, are topics that we are going to cover on the blog over the coming months. BETT 2012 will definitely be an area where we will be expanding on this further. Keep an eye out for our special BETT themed series of blog posts.

    While not dedicated specifically to education, our latest Productivity Future Vision video presents an exciting and inspiring glimpse into the technologies of the future. Many of which have a direct correlation with the trends that are developing around the future of technology in education.

    Check out the video below:

    My Christmas list would be pretty long if some of these technologies were available now. The translation glasses and transparent fridge are my personal favourites!


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Kinect outside of gaming


    In the space of a year, Kinect for XBOX 360 has come a long way. Quickly becoming the fastest selling consumer electronics device of all time and recently crowned T3 gadget of the year, the innovative device is now used for a wide range of non-gaming applications.

    The recent release of the Kinect SDK has seen the creation of some inspiring education applications and we are also seeing some amazing uses of the technology within the health care, research and science sectors.

    With regard to education in particular, we will be focusing on how the Kinect is playing a key role in the gaming in education trend that is currently building momentum across the sector.  A dedicated series of posts on this topic will be featured on the blog leading up to BETT 2012.

    In the meantime, though, we thought we would share the following video that showcases some of the exciting ways that the Kinect is being used outside of the gaming arena. Powerful stuff!

    I have lost count of the number of times I have watched this during my lunch break and nicely presents how technologies such as natural user interfaces are going to play a part in shaping the future of technology in education moving forward.

    We would love to hear what you think of the video and the concepts presented. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Embracing Consumerisation of IT in Education


    With many industry experts stating that the future of technology in education lies with the user, Consumerisation of IT (COIT) is now firmly on the radars on both suppliers, such as Microsoft, and the institutions we passionately serve.

    COIT is not without its challenges, though, and the definitive answer to making COIT palatable for both users and the providers of IT within schools, colleges and universities is not a clear cut one.

    While students, especially those within FE and HE, want to bring their own devices on campus and use them to connect to their institutions network and systems, there is still a need to offer physical machines on campus. This hybrid approach will no doubt be a reality for some time yet.

    Despite this, there is clearly a requirement from the users of technology to have more flexibility in when and how they use a mix of personal and institutional devices to carry out their studies, and it’s the industry and IT professionals responsibility, working together, to make this a reality.

    Locking down systems and preventing access is no longer realistic, particularly at a time when HE students, in particular, are demanding more from their learning experience.

    Furthermore, with the budget cuts being realised across the sector, COIT offers potential cost saving benefits that educations leaders will find hard to ignore.

    It is, therefore, all of our responsibilities to embrace more of a can do attitude towards COIT and discover and embrace solutions that students so passionately require, while also maintaining the security of the institutions core networks and systems.

    The ultimate answer is going to require a mix of cultural change and technology solutions, of which the vast majority is already available.

    The cloud, combined with client based software, offer flexibility and choice regardless of the platform used by the institutions learners. Furthermore, with the enhancements in virtualisation technologies, such as App-V, it is now possible to easily recreate institutional environments across Windows, Apple, Linux and mobile platforms, such as IOS and Android.

    Furthermore, a pure-play web solution, using HTML5, also offers a highly elegant option for IT professionals to offer apps to their wide range of users in a highly feature rich and secure environment.

    Ultimately, the technology is available now to make COIT a practical reality for all institutions. Cultural change is, however, needed to make this truly possible. Only with these two elements in place, are we going to see the COIT available to all.

    To help further address the topic of Consumerisation of IT in Education, we have produced paper that offers some advice on how institutions can embrace COIT. The document is available on our SlideShare account. The document is also embedded below.

    Let us know what you think in the comments below. Alternatively, join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #coit.


  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Your invitation to the Quest, HP & Microsoft Education Roadshow, November 2011


    Real world experience is key with the current rapid change in client computing, These roundtable workshops focus on the goals, solutions and results from the use of desktop virtualisation in HE, delivered by those involved in facing and dealing with these challenges. Each session features a specific HE case study delivered by a project lead giving their own views on dealing with issues such as:

    · IT as a competitive differentiator for students and staff

    · new devices and bring your own technology (BYOT) policies

    · new demands for access

    · new ways to deliver applications

    · cost savings and how to redirect budget to your project

    Down to earth and realistic discussion – from practitioners and vendors - of the realities of planning, justifying, deploying and managing these solutions specifically within HE leads to a roundtable discussion of the lessons learned and realistic ways forward. This is NOT a technical event – it is aimed at decision makers who need to understand the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.


    · 15th NovemberHP London: Key speaker: Dan Bolton, Kingston University 

    · 24th NovemberYork University: Key speaker: Adrian Young, York University 


    · For further details and to register – click here


    09:30 – Welcome, introductions (HP)
    09:45 – Future of IT in HE: creating a more flexible workplace (Microsoft)
    10:30 – Desktop virtualisation in HE: current customer experience (Quest and HP)
    11:15 – Coffee
    11:30 – Customer case study – guest speaker
    12:30 - Roundtable / panel discussion (All)
    13:00 – Lunch and networking
    14:00 – Close

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Free Live@edu webcasts–join up today!





    We’re running a free webcast series between now and Christmas that we’d like you to be a part of! Over three sessions we’ll be talking about what Microsoft Live@edu is, how you can deploy and migrate to it, and how you can promote it at your institution. There will be lots of opportunities to ask questions and get advice from the UK team directly, as well as watching again on-demand, any time.

    Did you know there are over 5 million students and teachers in the UK on Live@edu? Now is the perfect time to join them.

    Session 1 – Introducing Live@Edu

    Microsoft Live@edu gives each user:


         A 10 GB email account powered by Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1


         25 GB of online storage through Windows Live SkyDrive


         Online versions of some of our most popular Microsoft Office software: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote


         Instant messaging, voice, and video via Windows Live Messenger

    All for free!

    With many deployment options and no minimum or maximum users, Live@edu is the ideal way to give students the software skills that employers demand.
    Join the webcast and learn about the services, case studies, and deployment options all from Microsoft product experts.
    You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions, and we'll provide resources and contact information for you and your colleagues.

    Tuesday 1st November 4pm-5pm Register Now!

    Tuesday 3rd November 12pm-1pm Register Now!

    Session 2 - Session 2: Live@edu Deployment & Migration

    With many deployment options and no minimum or maximum users, Live@edu is the ideal way to give students the software skills that employers demand.
    Join the webcast and learn about the services, case studies, and deployment options all from Microsoft product experts.
    You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions, and we'll provide resources and contact information for you and your colleagues.

    Register to hear aboutimage

      • Various deployment scenarios
      • How to avoid common deployment mistakes
      • Ways you can integrate with your local infrastructure

    Tuesday 22nd November 4pm-5pm Register Now!

    Thursday 24th November 12pm-1pm Register Now!


    Session 3 – Live@edu End User Training and Marketing

    With all your users getting to grips with their new Live@edu service now is an excellent time to promote the service and help make the experience great for everyone at your institution.
    You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions, and we'll provide resources and contact information for you and your colleagues.

    Before the webcast, why not check out the UK Live@edu team blog, where you can find all sorts of great information, videos, and customer stories. You can also follow the team on Twitter, @ukliveatedu.

    Register to hear aboutimage

      • Demoing the service and training users
      • Marketing materials and resources
      • Best practice and customer stories of successful implementations

    Thursday 8th December 12pm-1pm Register Now!

    Tuesday 13th December 4pm-5pm Register Now!

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Gaming in Education: Microsoft Kinect Session from FOTE 11


    Gaming in education is a growing trend across the whole sector and is something that we are going to be exploring more closely over the coming weeks and months.

    On the subject of gaming in education, or the gamification of learning as it is sometimes referred, Lee Stott from the DPE team here at Microsoft delivered an interesting session at the Future of Technology in Education Conference last week on some of the latest development with the Kinect SDK.

    The session even included an exclusive!

    Check out the full session in the video below.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Education Webinar Series: New Dates Announced


    As part of our ongoing commitment to help inform and inspire the education community about how our products and services can help save money and make your institution more effective, we are excited to announce the next in the series of our free webinars.

    Hosted by Richard Lane, we will be sharing the virtual stage with our customers who will be offering an insight into the decision making behind embracing technologies such as Hyper-V and Lync.

    The full range of webinars are as follows and registration is now open. We look forward to you joining us!

    Migrate your virtualisation solution from VMware to Hyper-V and save money

    Tuesday November 8th  11am-12pm

    With Microsoft now being considered a virtualisation leader (Gartner  2011) isn't it time  you considered switching to Hyper-V and saving your organisation money?  Carmel College have done just that, and will discuss the rationale behind their migration from VSphere and the benefits they have realised.  We will explore the Microsoft Hyper-V Private Cloud Solution and you will be able to get answers to all your burning questions.

    Microsoft Lync - Transforming Communications and Collaboration in Education and reducing cost

    Tuesday November 29th 11am-12pm

    Microsoft Lync can transform the communications within your education institution and remove huge cost.  Attend this Microsoft webcast  presented with Stratford College as they discuss their Lync project.    We will hear how Stratford went through from initial business case through planning and implementation to benefits realisation.

    Manage your IT Infrastructure from the Cloud with Windows Intune

    Tuesday December 13th  11am-12pm

    Windows Intune is a comprehensive cloud based PC management and security solution that enables you to manage your schools remotely with no on-premise servers.  In addition to remote control, policy management, malware protection and software updates the latest release now includes application deployment.  Join this webcast to get an overview of the latest release and see a demo of the solution.

    The Microsoft Education Desktop

    Tuesday January 17th  11am-12pm

    Join this webcast to understand what makes a modern education desktop from Microsoft

    We will look at how technologies such as Windows 7, Office 2010  and the Microsoft Learning Suite can really enhance the teaching and learning experience.  We also explain how you can remove cost from the management of your IT infrastructure and improve security through technologies including  MDOP 2011 (Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack) and the CAL Suites.

    Free Software for Schools - Introducing the Microsoft Learning Suite

    Tuesday January 24th 11am-12:30pm

    Did you know that Microsoft have a wide range of software and resources that support teaching and learning?  Join this webcast for some fast paced demos which should be both fun and informative.  The solution, collectively known as the Microsoft Learning Suite is also able to be installed and deployed with ease.  Join this webcast to find out more.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Re-building infrastructures, skills and lives with Microsoft Certified Trainers- the Haiti story


    Part of the reason I enjoy my role here so much in the Education team at Microsoft is the opportunity I have to see how educators around the UK can use our solutions and technologies to help others find their own potential and build skills to help make for a better and improved way of life.

    Andrew Bettany, IT Academy Manager at York University has literally done just that.

    When an earthquake hit Haiti in the Caribbean of January 2010, over 200,000 people lost their lives. Since then, the Haitian people have been trying to rebuild their lives as best possible with very little resources and money. Many of the skilled workers were those who lost their lives meaning aid workers found it difficult to find skilled people to call upon to help rebuild the infrastructure of the island.

    Shortly after the earthquake Microsoft and NetHope established links to the island and conducted a IT Skills boot camp for 39 young people, which then led to a six month internship with relief aid agencies which were quickly mobilized to the country.

    Andrew remembered a presentation by Ken Rosen of Microsoft Learning about NetHope, a non-profit organization partnered with Microsoft who uses IT to assist in relief efforts around the world. At the MCT Summit in Zurich a few years ago, Ken spoke to the audience of 450 IT Trainers about the issues that the aid workers across the world were facing and asked for any volunteers to go out and help rebuild the technology skills infrastructure.andrew bettany v 2

    So, after reading about the success of the initial wave of IT Training in Haiti, Andrew, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for 5 years, volunteered to go out to Haiti and train IT Professionals and Developers from local colleges to become Microsoft Certified Trainers.

    He suggested an additional program which would train the Haitians to become MCT’s themselves - ‘’Train the Trainer’’ - a fantastic idea that would mean Haitian residents could once again become self-sufficient and in turn enable them to take control of their own destiny and train others directly; thus providing a local skill base of IT professionals in Haiti.

    Before Andrew travelled out to Haiti, he set up a plan and agenda to implement the training in a week long ‘boot camp’’, which included a packed out week of training, exams and presentations, testing all round skills of the students.

    Together NetHope, Microsoft and Andrew narrowed the 35 online applications to just 13 whom demonstrated the necessary desire, experience, ambition and learner focused mind-set to attend the week’s training in IT and delivery skills hosted and supported in a community college (Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haiti (ESIH), based in Port-au-Prince, the Haiti capital.

    Over the course of the week, the student’s boundaries of learning were indeed stretched. Many were shy and didn’t like to initially ask for help when unsure, and could take up to an hour to complete a task that many of us could complete in a couple of minutes. Andrew had the job of teaching everything from technique and how to apply skills learnt as well as the actual MCT program. The days were long and hard in a room with very little air-conditioning and basic amenities, but incredibly rewarding.

    However over the days, more and more shone through and soon were able to stand up in front of the class and deliver a short 15 minute presentation, such as Windows 7 Firewall, overview of DNS or DHCP, giving good examples of using the skills needed to become an MCT.

    All 13 participants succeeded at the "Train the Trainer" part of the boot camp, and of the 13 students taking the Microsoft Certification Professional (MCP) exams, 5 passed first time and could apply for MCT status, more than doubling the number of MCTs already on the island, with those who didn’t pass, being able to retake over the coming months.

    Microsoft and NetHope will be working together again at the NetHope IT Academy Internship Program at the end of September, an event where the newly minted MCT’s will have the opportunity to present modules in front of 30 recent graduates which aims to help them secure IT work experience with aid agencies to rebuild not only the infrastructure using IT but also help those displaced after the earthquake.

    It’s just over 18 months since the earthquake hit Haiti, many people are still without homes, choosing instead to live in communities built up of tents. Maybe this is down to being frightened that if hit again, they would lose what they had. Hopefully with the help given between Microsoft and NetHope as well as individuals like Andrew, Haiti can slowly begin to re-establish itself. This will not be easy and certainly will not happen overnight, however giving people the confidence and more importantly the ability to use IT to grow and rebuild can only mean they are on their way up.

    Haiti 124

    Andrew with his class of students

    You can read more about this ''Boot Camp'' and read all about the NetHope IT Academy Internship Program via Born To Learn website.

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