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October, 2007 - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The UK Schools Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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October, 2007

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    FREE Training: Education Live Meetings Series

    • 2 Comments

    There will be a number of sessions running on the   1st and 3rd Monday of every month, however look out for a number of specialist topics that will run on an ad-hoc basis. Check back here on a regular basis

     

    Monday sessions – 10.00am -10.45am

    ·         Windows Vista in Education – Monday 5th November 2007

    ·         Office 2007 in Education – Monday 19th November 2007

    ·         Learning Platform for Schools  - Monday 3rd December 2007

     

    Specialist Topics

    ·         The Microsoft Computers for Pupils Package – Wednesday 14th November – 10.00-10.45am

    ·         Live Meeting 2007 – Virtual classrooms and remote learning – Thursday 6th December 3.30 – 4.30pm

     

    See below for details of how to register and participate.

     

    Details of Sessions

     

    Windows Vista in Education – Live Meeting

    This session will explore new features in Windows Vista for Teachers and Learners that make Windows Vista a tool for learning. We will also look at the new features for system administrators to create and to protect the virtual education environment.

    Presented by Steven Audis, a Microsoft Education Technology Adviser in the UK Team

    Click                       here to put this into your Outlook Calendar with the joining instructions

    URL:                       https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=SQH3DD&role=attend   

     Call:                       0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Microsoft Office 2007 in Education – Live Meeting

    Get an overview of the latest Office system from Microsoft, which provides the ultimate arsenal of productivity tools for your students, educators, administrators, and support staff. From word processing to classroom presentations and animated Web design, the Microsoft Office system delivers a powerful and easy-to-use experience. Introducing Learning Essentials 2.0.

    Presented by Steven Audis, a Microsoft Education Technology Adviser in the UK Team

    Click                       here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    URL:                       https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=GMBMJ6&role=attend

    Call:                        0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Learning Platforms for Schools - Connected Learning Community – Live Meeting

    The Learning Gateway from Microsoft is a solutions framework that helps improve education by integrating the tools you already use and putting them to work connecting people with the information and processes they need to teach and learn more effectively.

    Presented by Steven Audis, a Microsoft Education Technology Advisor in the UK Team

    Click                       here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    URL:                       https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=ZW4ZPZ&role=attend

    Call                         0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    The Microsoft Computers for Pupils Package – Live Meeting

    In this half hour slot, we will share how Microsoft have engaged in the Computers For Pupils initiative and dive into the package we can offer, including a discounted Office 2007 productivity suite (including OneNote, Groove and Communicator) and a specially developed curriculum materials pack. See how this can fit into your overall CFP package and join in our Q & A at the end!

    Presented by the Education Team

    Click:                      here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    URL:                       https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=CFPnov07&role=attend

    Call:                        0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Live Meeting 2007  In Education – Virtual Classrooms, Remote Learning and more!

    With the advent of the new version of Live Meeting (2007) functionality has now been implemented that’s been specifically designed for education faculties, training organisations and educational generalists. Live Meeting can extend the reach of education in enhancing the learning experience. Simon Palmer, former Learning and Development Manager for Dell in EMEA, will demonstrate some of this functionality illustrating how learning styles can be enhanced to improve learning either in the workplace or through educational establishments. Compelling new enhancements such as video, voice, rich media and break out rooms combined with an easy to use interface generates the right virtual environment to capture the pupils attention and will allow them to engage in interactive learning!

    Presented by Simon Palmer, Technology Specialist for Unified Communications and former Learning and Development Manager for DELL EMEA.

    Click:                       here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    URL:                        https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=LM2K7edu&role=attend

    Call:                        0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

     

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Mass SCORM Conversion Tool

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    Have you been looking for a way to convert older learning resources into SCORM format? Well Hunterstone may have the answer for you.

    HunterStone announced it has developed a "Mass SCORM Conversion Tool."  The company developed the tool for use in projects that require large amounts of content to be converted to SCORM.  Targeted for use in projects with publishers and organizations that have very large databases of content and learning materials HunterStone President and CEO Neil Richards stated "the tool will save organizations countless hours of time which will directly translate into saving tens of thousand if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in SCORM conversion endeavors."

     

    The tool is thought to be among the first of its kind used for commercial purposes.  SCORM's adoption rate is forecasted to accelerate during the next few years and HunterStone's strategy as a leading provider of SCORM eLearning services is further solidified by this announcement.  Previously, the company released its leading SCORM Conversion and Authoring product suite THESIS for general use by instructional designers, subject matter experts, and trainers throughout the world.  Additionally, Microsoft's Education Product Group licensed a portion of THESIS technology for use in its Learning Essentials Program and provides Microsoft Academic Customers the ability to author SCORM content with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

     

    THESIS is a suite of eLearning tools which adheres to the SCORM specifications and integrates with Microsoft Office. This enables a user to author eLearning resources and objects straight from familiar Microsoft Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio and Producer. The THESIS "Learning Object Manager" allows a user to author complete SCORM courses and quizzes for online instruction, using multiple learning objects from different sources. THESIS Librarian "SCORM enables" Microsoft SharePoint to create Learning Object Repositories where subject matter experts can collaborate on course development and also use the tool as a meta-data manager.

     

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Volume Activation Technology 2.0 - Training from Partners

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    I received information from Viglen on a new training course that they are running, which is designed to demystify your options for activating Windows Vista volume licence keys. It will help you make the right decisions now, so that as more products (for example Windows Server 2008) come along using the same methods, you'll have a structured and effective mechanism in place. This course is relevant to all colleges and universities using any of our volume licence schemes, such as Campus Agreement or Select. Here's the detail on the courses:

    MICROSOFT VOLUME ACTIVATION 2.0 TECHNOLOGY TRAINING COURSE FROM VIGLEN LTD

    Do you know about Volume Activation Technology 2.0?

    Volume Activation 2.0 (VA 2.0) features enhanced Volume Licence Key (VLK) protection:

      • Centralised VLK management and protection
      • Lower probability of keys leaking
      • Reduced risk of needing to re-key entire organisation

    Do you understand the implications of Volume Activation Technology 2.0?

    Beginning with Windows Vista, there will be two types of Volume Licence Keys: Multiple Activation Keys and Key Management Service.  Windows Vista must be deployed using this technology.  Windows Server  will also be deployed using the same mechanism.

    Do you know your MAK from your KMS?

    The Multiple Activation Key (MAK) activates either individual computers or a group of computers by connecting directly to Microsoft servers over the Internet or by telephone. Your organisation can host the Key Management Service (KMS) internally to automatically activate computers running Windows Vista.

    How does this affect you?

    When you choose to deploy Windows Vista or subsequent operating systems (for both server & desktop), you will be required to use Volume Activation Technology 2.0.

    What can Viglen do to help you?

    As one of the top tier licensing resellers in the UK as well as an OEM, we are well placed to understand the product deployment needs of our customers.  We also understand the implications of this type of technology when it comes to large scale roll-outs of important applications such as desktop and server operating systems.

    Therefore we have designed a “bespoke” TECHNICAL training course to help customers understand how this technology works. 

    Contact servicesdivision@viglen.co.uk for further information and course dates or call us on 01727 201890

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Scheduled Education Briefings Online

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    Over the next few months, we are going to running a series of briefings on specific aspects of ICT in education, relating to some of our newer technologies and their use in education. They are all running as Live Meetings, where you are able to watch the PowerPoint presentation on your screen, and hear the presenter talking through your phone.

    • The upside is that you can join in during a normal day, without having to drive a hundred miles to get to a venue somewhere else in the country.
    • The downside is that you don't get coffee and biscuits at the beginning of the meeting - unless you make it yourself!

    You don't need to register in advance for these - simply login on the day (give yourself 5 minutes to download and install the free Live Meeting software at the beginning)


    23rd November 10.00-10.45am

    Education Infrastructure Optimisation

    How mature is your IT Infrastructure? This session introduces Microsoft’s Infrastructure Optimisation (IO) initiative in Education. Get an overview of the tools and methodologies available to help you measure your IT infrastructure maturity, and produce a roadmap towards a dynamic IT environment. The IO model is based on a model from Gartner, and has been used successfully globally in the commercial world by businesses to help them to analyse the next steps in their IT infrastructure development.

    Click here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    Attendee URL: https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=EDUIO&role=attend

    The URL above will let you access the presentation. To hear the presenter call 0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Presented by Nick Umney, an Account Technical Specialist in the UK Education Team

     


    5th November 10.00-10.45am

    Windows Vista in Education

    This session will explore new features in Windows Vista for teachers and Learners that make Windows Vista a tool for learning. We will also look at the new features for system administrators to create and to protect the virtual campus.

    Click here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    Attendee URL: https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=SQH3DD&role=attend

    The URL above will let you access the presentation. To hear the presenter call 0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Presented by Steven Audis, a Microsoft Education Technology Adviser in the UK Team

     


    19th November 10.00-10.45am

    Microsoft Office 2007 in Education

    Get an overview of the latest Office system from Microsoft, which provides the ultimate arsenal of productivity tools for your students, educators, administrators, and support staff. From word processing to classroom presentations and animated Web design, the Microsoft Office system delivers a powerful and easy-to-use experience. Introducing Learning Essentials 2.0.

    Click here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    Attendee URL: https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=GMBMJ6&role=attend

    The URL above will let you access the presentation. To hear the presenter call 0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Presented by Steven Audis, a Microsoft Education Technology Adviser in the UK Team

     


    3rd December 10.00-10.45am

    Connected Learning Community – Learning Gateway for Schools

    The Learning Gateway from Microsoft is a solutions framework that helps improve education by integrating the tools you already use and putting them to work connecting people with the information and processes they need to teach and learn more effectively.

    Click here to put this into your Outlook Calendar, with the joining instructions

    Attendee URL: https://www112.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=ZW4ZPZ&role=attend

    The URL above will let you access the presentation. To hear the presenter call 0118 909 2000 and use participant code: 9395559

    Presented by Steven Audis, a Microsoft Education Technology Adviser in the UK Team

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Software Asset Management - Phoenix events

    • 3 Comments

    A colleague has just told me about the free Software Asset Management events that Phoenix & Microsoft are running together, coming up in the next couple of weeks.

    • Reading - Friday 19 October
    • Edinburgh - Wednesday 24 October
    • London - Tuesday 30 October
    • Manchester - Friday 2 November

    They may be of particular relevance if you are responsible for licensing in your school, or if you are looking for a way to expand your IT management capabilities. With the release of the new international Software Asset Management standard (ISO/IEC 19770-1), there are a set of standard ways of managing software, and tools available to help with this. As users start exerting more control over their computers, and can start to compromise your best-laid plans by downloading/installing software, you may want to consider how you respond. This is one of the areas that the FITS framework has neglected, so the ISO standard provides a good way of examining best practice.

    We ran a smaller workshop last year, with IT managers from colleges and schools, and I was surprised to see the length of the "To Do" lists that the delegates wrote for themselves, and the way that they were going to use SAM techniques to wake up their senior managers to the need for them to be given more control to deliver more structured IT management practices.

    The events start at 10am, and finish at 1:30pm

    You can register for these free events on the Phoenix website

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Handheld Learning Conference 2007 - Slides

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    Steve Beswick, Microsoft UK's Education Director, was on stage yesterday at the Handheld Learning 2007 Conference in London, in the plenary "Technologies for Learning 2012". Steve looked at the world of work, home & education in 2012, and explored the impact of change, and technology, on each of these. Steve's slides are below, and I thought that if I shared the bullet points on his summary slide, you might get an idea of the direction of his message!

    • IT in the home will drive IT in Education
    • World class education is an imperative for competing in a global economy
    • IT can help drive the UK to be a knowledge based economy

    You can download the slides here:

     

    During the presentation, two videos were shown of future technologies under development at Microsoft. You can find out more, and see both videos on the links below:

    Photsynth

    The Photosynth Technology Preview is a taste of a new and exciting way to view photos on a computer. The software takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyses them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next. Here's the video that was shown at the conference.

    Microsoft Surface

    Surface, Microsoft’s first surface computer, provides effortless interaction with digital content through natural hand gestures, touch and physical objects. Surface computing breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology, changing the way people interact with all kinds of everyday information — from photos to maps to menus. It's easier to see than to read about - the Surface website contains some good videos which give you a feel for what it can do (but do excuse the voiceover!)

    SeaDragon

    SeaDragon is a current incubation project. Its aim is nothing less than to change the way we use screens, from wall-sized displays to mobile devices, so that visual information can be smoothly browsed regardless of the amount of data involved or the bandwidth of the network. It is also closely related to HD View, a research project working on creating multi-gigapixel images with a capability to just keep zooming in for more detail. It has uses on mobile phones and handheld devices, where you can overcome screensize and bandwith issues to explore rich and complex content

    Here's the video that was shown at the conference.

     And finally, one of my colleagues, Jason Langridge, writes a regularly updated blog with all the latest news about Windows Mobile devices - phones, pdas - the whole caboodle.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    7 tips for working securely from wireless hotspots

    • 2 Comments

    Like last week's posting, on 10 ways to work more securely, was a handy way of reminding your staff about common sense steps that they can take to keep their own personal PCs secure, as well as contributing to the organisation security you're managing. Well, here's another list in a similar vein, that you may want to promote to them in a similar way. This may be especially important if you have staff using their 'Laptops for Teachers' computers for surfing the web at home and while out and about. If they've got school data on the laptop, you want to ensure that data is as secure as possible - and the simple act of connecting to the free wireless connection at their local McDonalds could compromise it. So here's the top 7 tips:

    • Choose more secure connections
      (And if they're at home using a wireless broadband router, have you mandated that they must use a security key and encryption at home?)
    • Make sure your firewall is activated
    • Monitor you access points
    • Disable file and print sharing
    • Make your folders private
    • Encrypt your files
    • Consider completely removing sensitive data from your notebook PCs
      This may seem extreme, but consider the consequences of an unintended data security breach

    The full article, with tips on how to enable some of these things, is on our At Work newsletter pages. Perhaps you could use the link to the Microsoft website to encourage your colleagues to follow good practice when it comes to laptop security.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Bolton's BSF Conference

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    This week my colleague Chris Poole was invited to run a session at a conference for 3 local authorities coming into the BSF programme. Tribal, one of our education consulting partners, have been asked by Blackburn & Darwen to help their envisioning and creation of their Strategy for Change document. Through that relationship with Tribal, Blackburn have access to the things that Microsoft have created to support the BSF programme, like our Envisioning, Business Value and Technology Guides.

    Tribal organised the event, with around 100 people from Blackburn & Darwen, Rochdale and Blackpool. The Microsoft session saw Chris Poole, who leads on BSF for Microsoft, sharing our perspective on the programme, and focusing on how to help local authorities answer the key questions people are asking about the programme – Why change? What does transformed learning look like? How do I move from where I am? Where are the examples I can look at?

    Chris was joined by Damian Allen, Executive Director of Children’s Services for Knowsley, a local authority recognised for the reforming approach they are taking in BSF's first wave, and last week the Labour Party conference, they got support and encouragement from Jim Knight, the Schools Minister. Knowsley's agenda is all about making system-wide change for education, and grabbing the chance for wider reform of services they deliver for everybody in their borough - positively affecting the community as widely as possible.

    The BSF Showcase and BSF Guides (a video of the Showcase can be downloaded from a link on our BSF web site), are tools Microsoft have built to help local authorities, their schools  and the supply side, illustrate what transformed learning could look like and build a robust plan to make that vision a reality.

    Here are some of the materials used and referenced at the event:

    Chris & Damian's slides

    Knowsley BSF Magazine Issue 1

    Knowsley BSF Magazine Issue 2

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    2007 Office Suite for Schools

    • 2 Comments

    Office 2007 System

    By now you'll have heard all about Office 2007, and you'll hopefully heard about what it does, perhaps seen it, and you may even have used it. One question I'm asked is "What does it mean for schools?"

    In addition to the main UK Education website's section on Office 2007, there's also now a new brochure (below), which includes an overview of how it helps from both a teaching & learning and administration & coordination perspective. My favourite section is the middle-page spread which contains screenshots showing what some of the main new features can do - like easy colour coding of spreadsheet cells, and the new SmartArt. And it also contains a case study from Stoke College in Essex - the first school in Europe to use Office 2007 across all of their systems.

    If you'd like us to send you copies of the brochure, just pop us an email, using the Email link in the header of this page.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    World Teachers' Day - "Mr French" and his role in my life...

    • 1 Comments

    Today is World Teachers' Day, according to UNESCO, and a large number of Microsoft bloggers (and there's a large number of Microsoft bloggers!) are writing about the teacher that made the difference to them. Although I normally keep a British-stiff-upper-lip about this kind of thing, I realised that I had probably never written about the impact that one particular teacher had on my life and career.

    My most memorable teacher was Mr French (I later discovered, as you do after school, that he actually had a first name - Harry), who was an art teacher in The William Farr C of E School in Lincolnshire. I was in Year 7, and doing the usual thing a pupil does - rushing between different classrooms every 40 minutes (why do we still do that?); trying to stay ahead of my homework deadlines; carting piles of text books; and worrying about getting to school every day on time. (Hmm, a bit like today, except now I rush between meetings; try to stay ahead of project deadlines; cart a laptop and notebooks; and try not to get caught in the daily commuting traffic).

    And then I started Art, and very quickly joined the Film Club - a group of enthusiastic 12/13 year-olds, starting to study for an extra-curricular CSE. Harry French was the driving force, a teacher with a real passion for learning through engagement in visual media (multimedia in those days meant 8mm film). It was the first time that I'd every worked in a project team, trying to learn how to collaborate to deliver a single output, and all the time learning the new skills of film making. I learnt animation, lighting (don't mention the day I left the shutters on the switched-on lamps for an hour!), camera work, direction, dubbing, and the ancient art of cutting and splicing. It culminated in two award winning films - one on the Humber ferries, made the week before they were closed, and another on the man who wound the Lincoln Cathedral clock way up in the tower (just weeks before he unexpectedly retired, and the clock was electrified). I remember the trip down to London - a big thing for a boy from rural Lincolnshire who thought Derbyshire was a long way to go - to receive our award at the Cafe Royale from Lord something-or-other.

    What Harry French gave me was an enthusiasm for learning about new things, experimenting without fear of failure, and an interest in new technology (in those days, 8mm film was pretty exciting technology to a 12-year old) which I've obviously been able to exploit throughout my career.

    So thanks Mr French, you're the man who got me started on the journey to where I am today!

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