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April, 2010 - 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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April, 2010

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    On your blogs…get set…Go

    • 1 Comments

    Yesterday in discussions about what content goes onto this blog, and the others I write, I promised somebody I’d write a list of Microsoft team blogs that I’d recommend reading. The discussion was started by the question “Does your blog contain everything that’s relevant to education and Microsoft?”. And the answer is definitely “No” – I only have the bandwidth to write about the bits I think are really important or really interesting to people interested in Microsoft news on education IT. There are lots of other related blogs that focus on specific products or technologies.

    Saying I’d write a list turned out to be easier than doing it, but here is, finally, a list of blogs that you might want to consider reading/subscribing to.

    Microsoft Education Blogs

    Firstly, in addition to this one, there’s five key UK specific blogs, written by members of the Microsoft education team here in Reading

    Then there’s some worldwide ones, written outside of the UK

    Other Microsoft team blogs

    Product team blogs

    Office

    Windows

    Other Microsoft product blogs

     

    There are thousands of blogs written by either Microsoft teams, or individual employees, so if you’re looking for something specific, the best way is to search on the Microsoft Communities page (which maintains a list of 1,686 blogs today – but that’s still only a small proportion of the total)

    imageSearch the blogs list to find others





  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 releases – and a UK school is first to deploy

    • 0 Comments

    Overnight the full released version of Office 2010 appeared on the Volume Licensing Service Centre, and I’ve already seen a few comments from people who’ve been busily downloading it.

    As well as Office 2010, we’ve also released SharePoint 2010, and I was really chuffed to read a blog post from the team at Twynham School, as they celebrated implementing the final version yesterday. I believe that they are the first school in the world to roll out the released version of SharePoint 2010, and partly this is because they have been involved in our official TAP (Technology Adoption Programme). As Dave Coleman, the Twynham Systems Manager says:

    This has been a long journey for the team at Twynham, as we have been on the TAP programme for SharePoiint 2010 since December 2008 - this means that we have gone through the Alpha, Beta and on to the release candidate and now the RTM.

    Dave’s promised that they are going to make a demonstration site available shortly, so that you can see what they have done with it (which is typical of Twynham’s attitude towards sharing the lessons from their work).

    They are also running a free event on 14th May 14th June at our campus in Reading, all about SharePoint 2010, and they and other early adopter schools are talking about their experiences. You can register for the event by emailing Mike Herrity at Twynham School.

    imageFind out more about, and book for, the Twynham School SharePoint 2010 event






  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    it’s learning moves towards the cloud with Microsoft

    • 0 Comments

    its-learning

    There’s a new press release on the it’s learning website. it’s learning are a Becta approved Learning Platform provider, and have recently signed an agreement with us to offer their customers our cloud computing services, via our Live@edu service. That means that if you are an it’s learning customer, you’ll be offered a range of internet-based services which fully integrate with the it’s learning platform – such as cloud-based email through Outlook Live, and online versions of SharePoint and the Office Web Applications. With Outlook Live it means that students can get their email through a browser, on their mobile phone, or through Outlook.

    I think over the next few months you’re going to see more announcements about this kind of partnership – where a specialist supplier of services, like learning platforms, integrates hosted services from Microsoft (like email) within their service. It means that we take on the task of running a mega data centre, supporting standard tasks, whilst the specialist supplier concentrates on customising a complete system for a school, college or university. Learning platforms are a really good example of why this model works – it’s good to have email fully integrated into the learning platform, but it’s not good (or necessary) for every supplier to build their own version of an email system. So instead, they can provide that function in a fully integrated way (ie invisible to the user) through an external service. The same thing is happening in local authorities and individual schools, where they continue to run their own core ICT infrastructure, but move some services to an integrated cloud-based system, like Live@edu.

    Here’s the detail of the it’s learning announcement:

    it’s learning adopts Microsoft platform for cloud based educational services

    On the 12th April 2010 Microsoft and it’s learning, an international learning platform provider, signed an MOU to jointly provide products and services that will transform teaching methods and advance next-generation learning. The agreement represents the first Education Partner Alliance where the Microsoft cloud computing services are adopted to develop a fully cloud based, integrated offering to the education sector.

    The Partner Alliance means that Microsoft Outlook Live, SharePoint Online and Office Web Applications will be integrated into the it’s learning platform through the Microsoft Live@edu service. This means it’s learning can now deliver the best suite of online communication tools to improve productivity and collaboration in education. Students and teachers will be able to securely upload, easily share, and collaborate on Office documents from anywhere with internet access, including mobile devices.

    Dylan Jones, Managing Director, it’s learning UK said “it’s learning has chosen Microsoft’s cloud services for education allowing current and future customers to benefit from Outlook Live and Microsoft’s web applications. We took this decision because students and teachers are familiar with Microsoft’s rich, high-quality communications products which will keep up with their changing needs. Microsoft not only provides the leading platform, but is also a fantastic partner for it’s learning because it is an enterprise company which has experience with large organisations and has a strong heritage in working with local authorities and Regional Broadband Consortia in the UK and internationally.”

    Steve Beswick, Senior Director of Education, Microsoft Ltd said “We are delighted that it's learning have decided to integrate the Microsoft platform and partner with us to provide future customers the best learning experiences. As students become increasingly tech-savvy at a younger age and demand more technology services from their schools, we believe that our technology offers the familiar, rich solutions and flexible platform that will best support their learning and help them develop the skills needed by today’s employers.



    imageFind out more about it's learning and their learning platform





  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    What’s new in the Office 2010 applications

    • 3 Comments

    Logo_MSFTOffice2010_187x54[11]

    I’ve indexed all of the different product guides for the new Office 2010 applications. There are two separate documents for most of the products – the Overview version is a short two-page summary, and then there’s a detailed Product Guide which goes into much more detail.

    The Overview document is ideal for a quick staff introduction, to stick on walls, and for leaving around the staff room and IT rooms – as well as for summarising the key points to help you to decide when you should consider upgrading your school computers.

    The detailed Product Guide is really useful for preparing training materials, or handouts to staff when you are starting to deploy Office 2010. It may help to enthuse them to use some of the new things where Office will help in their lesson delivery - and to get them over the “Oh no, things have changed” reaction. Some of these Product Guides have more than 100 pages, so there’s no shortage of details. I also like the fact that they talk about new things that Office 2010 can do, and then show screen shots of the difference it makes.

    Product

    Overview

    Product Guide

    Logo_MSFTOffice2010_187x54

    Download

    Download

    Icon_Word10_33x32Word 2010

    Download

    Download

    Icon_Excel10_33x32Excel 2010

    Download

    Download

    Icon_PowerPoint10_33x32PowerPoint 2010

    Download

    Download

    icon_Onenote10_33x32OneNote 2010

    Download

    Download

    Icon_Outlook10_33x32Outlook 2010

    Download

    Download

    Icon_Publisher10_33x32Publisher 2010

    Download

    Download

    Icon_Access10_33x32Access 2010

    Not available

    Download

    Icon_InfoPath10_33x32InfoPath 2010

    Not available

    Download

    Icon_SharePoint10_33x32SharePoint Workspace 2010

    Download

    Download

    Logo_MSFTOffice2010_187x54[9]Office Web Apps

    Download

    Download



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    18th May - Manage the Future - Desktop to Cloud: The best of the Microsoft Management Summit

    • 0 Comments

    This event is recommended for experienced network managers, as it will focus on network management technologies, and is not specifically for education. However, I know there’s quite a bit of interest in the System Center Essentials, so there will definitely be content that’s useful to schools.

    The chances of persuading your senior management team to let you fly over to Vegas for the annual Microsoft Management Summit is pretty slim. So last week’s event went ahead without many UK delegates.

    Fortunately, the UK team have put together a “Best Of…” event, where you can get all of the best content from the summit, packed into a full day’s agenda on Tuesday 18th May in central London. And unlike the Vegas event, which cost $2,000+, this event is free.

    Best of Microsoft Management Summit UK 2010 will provide the best possible opportunity to learn about the latest IT Management products, solutions and technologies from Microsoft and how to apply them in your organisation. With a number of significant management product releases and announcements planned from Microsoft in the coming year, including some early Beta releases, this is an opportunity you won't want to miss!

    This 1-day event will provide you with an understanding of the latest technical updates on Desktop, Datacenter and Cloud management features and solutions from Microsoft. The event will share expert knowledge and information, covering current System Center products as well as Windows platform management solutions for virtualization of servers, desktops and applications.

    The agenda includes:

    • Managing Systems from the Datacenter to the Cloud
      Ryan O'Hara, Director - System Center
    • Configuration Manager v.Next: Overview
      Jeff Wettlaufer, Technical Product Manager - System Center
    • What's New Since the Release of Operations Manager 2007 R2
      Paul Collins & Ellis Paul, Management Technology Specialist
    • Opalis IT Process Automation: Introduction & Technical Overview
      Greg Charman, Opalis Technology Specialist
    • Introduction to Systems Management in Midsized Organizations with System Center Essentials 2010
      Gordon McKenna, MVP - System Center Specialist
    • Technical Introduction to Data Protection Manager 2010
      Anthony Tyler, Storage Technology Architect
    • Service Manager Integration with System Center
      Nigel Cain, Senior Program Manager - System Center

    imageFind out more, including the full agenda, and reserve your free place




  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Computing at School – the free 2010 Teacher Conference

    • 0 Comments

    The Computing at School Working Group is an informal group that aims to promote the teaching of computing at school. The membership is broad, and includes teachers, examiners, parents, university faculty, and employers – and the Microsoft Research group in Cambridge are one of the backers. The focus is specifically on computing as a subject rather than ICT generally, so it focuses most of its work on supporting specialist ICT/Computing teachers, by providing them with teaching material and training, as well as encouraging the developments for GCSEs in computing.

    They’ve just announced details of the free Computing at School 2010 Teacher Conference on 9th July 2010 at the University of Birmingham. They’ve got an good line-up of speakers already:

    • Matthew MacLaurin - Chief Developer for the KODU project
    • Peter McOwan - Computer Science for Fun
    • Michael Kölling - Greenfoot
    • John Woollard - Institute of Education, Southampton University
    • Peter Dickman - Google
    • Miles Berry - Roehampton University
    • Rebecca George - BCS Women
    • Matthew Applegate- pixelh8
    • Andrew Herbert - Microsoft Research UK

    And probably the best reason to find out more (or pass on the info to your IT teachers) is this one quote from an attendee last year:

    I learnt more and connected with more interesting people than on any course that my school has previously forked out hundreds of pounds for.

    The conference free to attend, and this year there are also small bursaries available for those who need assistance with travel expenses and overnight accommodation.

    imageFind out more about the 2010 Teacher Conference





  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows 7 and Vista Explained - A guide for blind and partially sighted users from the RNIB

    • 0 Comments

    image

    The RNIB have announced that their Windows 7 and Vista Explained books for blind and partially sighted users are now available to pre-order, and will be shipped by the end of May. It's a step-by-step guide to Windows 7 and Vista from a non-visual perspective,and is specifically written to empower blind and partially sighted computer users with whatever access technology is being used.

    It may be useful for you because it has been written for trainers and people supporting users with sight loss, as well as blind and partially sighted computer users.

    It’s available in the following formats:

    imageBook

    • Clear print - 14-point Arial, includes clear print images
    • Braille
    • Standard audio CD
    • Multimedia CD - contains full text and audio DAISY with DAISY player, HTML and braille-ready editions

    Images (sold as separate volumes)

    • Braille tactile images
    • Large print images

    Order a copy from the RNIB Online Shop or contact RNIB on 0303 123 9999 to place an order.

    Free Accessibility Resources from Microsoft

    There is also an updated (and free) Microsoft Accessibility Guide for Teachers, which you may find useful

    The RNIB website also gives a handy list of Accessibility Resources from Microsoft too:









  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Friday’s Fortune Cookies

    • 1 Comments

    On Friday, when I offered to send out packs of Office 2010 Overview sheets, I also offered a goodie bag for the first person to send me the correct answers to my ridiculous Fortune Cookie competition. Congratulations to John Duggan, who was first to get the full list of correct answers into my email inbox within an hour. And honourable mentions to Peter Dean from Birmingham, James Schlackman from Reading, John Doyle from Swindon , Steve Gillott in Wiltshire and Thom McKiernan from Wellingborough – they all got the answers right, but just didn’t have the same emailing speed that John managed.

    The correct answers were:

    A-2

    OneNote 2010

    Your genius comes in many forms

    B-5

    Excel 2010

    You are a model of efficiency

    C-1

    Outlook 2010

    You really make contact

    D-6

    Word 2010

    You are the author of your own success

    E-4

    SharePoint Workspace 2010

    You can take it with you

    F-3

    PowerPoint 2010

    You look great

    John’s goodie bag will go in the post today. I’ll see if I can think up an equally ridiculous quiz for next week.



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    What’s new in Excel 2010

    • 0 Comments

    Part four of our mini series. Each day one of the Education team has made a short video on one of the Office 2010 programmes, explaining new features that might appeal to teachers.

    • On Tuesday, I covered PowerPoint 2010 for teachers
      (I’m the Education Marketing Manager – which explains why I took so long to say my piece)

        • On Wednesday, Ben Nunney covered OneNote 2010 for teachers
          (Ben’s our Live@edu deployment specialist, and an ex-teachers – which explains why his was so student-centric)

            • On Thursday, Mark A’Bear covered Word 2010 for teachers
              (Mark’s our Education Partners Manager – which doesn’t explain why he thought his was funny)

                Today it’s the turn of Nicky Singh – who’s our Schools Business Manager for the north of England. And his chosen subject is Excel 2010.

                A Quick Look at Excel 2010



              • Microsoft UK Schools blog

                Overview sheets for Microsoft Office 2010

                • 0 Comments

                Logo_MSFTOffice2010

                After over 7,500,000 downloads of the beta version of Office 2010, there’s a good chance that somebody in your school will have been running the new version of Office for a while. And they may be able to summarise the key things that are new in each of the Office applications. But just in case they can’t, or you haven’t got anybody handy to ask, then we’ve got some packs of Office 2010 Fact Sheets here – a simple two-sided sheet, one for each of the main applications in the Office 2010 suite.

                They’re sitting ready on the desk here, so drop us an email and we’ll pop an envelope in the post.

                I think that a writer who normally writes Fortune Cookies wrote the headlines on each of the fact sheets– see if you can match up which headline goes with which software.

                A

                OneNote 2010

                1

                You really make contact

                B

                Excel 2010

                2

                Your genius comes in many forms

                C

                Outlook 2010

                3

                You look great

                D

                Word 2010

                4

                You can take it with you

                E

                SharePoint Workspace 2010

                5

                You are a model of efficiency

                F

                PowerPoint 2010

                6

                You are the author of your own success

                The goodie bag for the first correct set of answers I received went to John Duggan



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