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May, 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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May, 2010

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Education IT cost savings - Neville Lovett school, virtualisation, and a £23,000 saving


    In the Top Money Saving Tips post series, I wrote about various education IT cost savings – things that could be done to reduce your school IT budget, or to use IT to save money in other areas of the school budget. In all I described 14 tips, and calculated a potential cost saving over three years – giving a potential saving for a secondary school of over £300,000 by 2012.

    Given the new government, and the continued pressure on budgets, I thought it would be a good time to look again at the cost savings work, and see what other examples there are of education IT cost savings.

    Virtualisation saves money on your IT budget and your electricity consumption

    As I described in my original first money saving tip, most schools have rapidly increased the number of servers they need over the last decade, as more and more of the school is supported by ICT. I referred to the case study from Wootton Basset School, and the savings that they were making by reducing their 13 physical servers down to just 3. This didn’t just save them IT budget, but also helped to reduce their electricity bill substantially – contributing to a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint.

    Neville-LovettAnother school that completed a similar project is Neville Lovett Community School in Hampshire.

    Richard Market, the IT Manager at the school, completed a server virtualisation project last year:

    Like most schools, we found the cost of replacing, managing, powering, and cooling our servers put a significant strain on our budget. We wanted to expand our ICT services and capabilities, but at the same time we needed to reduce running costs.

    Although the project had originally started in 2007, and had been based on migrating to VMware, Richard had reviewed that during the project, because of the concerns about the licensing costs. In 208, they switched to using the Microsoft Hyper-V system for virtualisation, because it was significantly cheaper for them to license and implement – they covered it under their School Agreement subscription.

    And the benefits Richard now describes don’t just include cost savings – they’ve also improved the way that they can manage the whole school network. One example Richard quotes is the way they can improve IT services for students:

    With Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007―part of the System Center suite―my team can manage all servers from a single monitor, which means we can prevent many of the problems that cause user downtime. For example, we can back up and restore a student’s work in around 15 minutes.

    Richard’s calculations are that they will be saving around £1,000 a year on power and cooling, plus a further £23,000 over three years in reduced server costs.

    You can read the full Neville Lovett case study on the worldwide case studies website – it’s worth dropping down to the bottom of it for the summary of the overall benefits of the project.

    If you have a need to reduce your IT and energy costs, you may want to consider a similar project, in which case it’s worth mentioning that the school worked with one of our Gold certified partners, Medhurst IT, to implement their project.

    imageQuickly find all the other Money Saving Tips on this blog


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Network Managers and Teachers have a relationship problem


    We’re thinking about how our activities online (like this blog, our other education blogs, the Partners in Learning Network, and the main Microsoft UK Education website) can be developed to support schools more – and meet the needs of different people within a school. Within our small team we’ve got quite a few years of working in and with schools, but we thought it was an opportunity to ask somebody outside of Microsoft to do some research for us, and tell us some things we didn’t know. The first phase of that research, based on a small number of in-depth interviews with people in different roles in a range of schools, has just come back, and during the debriefing, I took lots of notes on things that I thought you might find useful. Some of it is obvious but there were also some surprises, especially about people’s behaviour.

    This research isn’t a huge, representative sample, but I think that the information is definitely worth sharing, as it may help you to get an insight into what’s going on in other schools. I’m sure your school doesn’t suffer from the tension between Network Managers and Teachers that we’ve picked up on through the research, but are you aware of other colleagues suffering the similar problems?

    The tension between teachers and Network Managers

    One of the themes that came out of the research was that there is a tension between teachers and Network Managers, which was highlighted by informal comments from both groups.

    Secondary school teachers told the researchers that want somebody to help them mediate with their network managers, to help overcome the tensions and barriers!

    In secondary schools, teachers commonly complained about the difficulty of getting curriculum resources installed onto the school network, with some reporting that “the network manager doesn’t trust my choices”. This may be compounded by Network Managers who told us that "installing new software is a low priority" for them, and some said “we hate doing it”.

    There were two quotes that clearly illustrated this tension, from both sides. One teacher, talking about getting curriculum software installed in school, said:

    I've had to learn enough about the network that I can stop the network manager bluffing to block me

    And a Network Manager, talking about teachers, said:

    Teachers don't have time get innovative. If they can't get to grips with the basics, how on earth are they going to cope with the new stuff?

    For phase two of the research, we’ll look to see if there’s more information on this tension (and possible solutions).

    ICT Strategy

    Primary schools have a more unified approach to ICT. The ICT Co-ordinator tends to see a whole school view, whereas in secondary schools ICT development is more likely to be driven by keen members of staff, and there are wide departmental disparities in ICT adoption.

    Secondary schools were described as "more cynical", and with more tension in role differences between ICT staff and teaching staff

    Primary schools ICT strategies tend to place more emphasis on pupils' ICT use whereas secondary schools focus on teachers' use of ICT. (The researchers wondered if this reflected a learning-centric versus teaching-centric approach in the school?) And because primary teachers learn skills for one curriculum area, and then apply it across the rest of their teaching, they felt that there was much better cross-curriculum use of ICT, compared to the ‘islands of best practice’ reported by staff in secondary schools

    Teachers face huge time pressures, and regard their time as very precious. So time to use and explore ICT is therefore an issue. And in secondary schools they also reported that they find lack of access to IT equipment a big pressure (coupled with big departmental discrepancies in access).

    ICT Budgets

    Secondary schools have what the researchers described as “complex budget workflow”, compared to primary schools. Mainly this results from fewer decision makers in primary schools.  In secondary schools, it’s not just a discussion between a Network Manager and the Head Teacher, but also involves many different members of the Senior Leadership Team, and with many curriculum departments involved. Partly this is because Network Managers like decisions about curriculum resources to come through them, to ensure compatibility and so that they can plan implementation of new resources.

    However, the researchers found, after the complex budget process, once the budget is actually allocated, it's left to the IT team to spend it - and they can more or less spend it anyway they want (eg change the plan and the priorities during the year)

    The role of Network Managers

    Network Managers see the goal of their job as to maintain a constant service for students, and also staff. But they referred mainly to students - even more so at primary schools. As one Network Manager said "It doesn't matter how good your network is, if it doesn't help with learning, it's worthless".

    Only a minority see training, such as making sure everyone knows how to use ICT, as a critical part of their role.

    Most Network Managers use EduGeek as their online professional community

    Teachers sharing curriculum resources online

    Every teacher interviewed said "I don't want to reinvent the wheel", and wanted to use other teachers' good resources. But few teachers actually took action about finding other teachers’ work online, preferring to use one or two sites created by publishers or similar organisations, and only a miniscule proportion were actually sharing their work with others online.

    The main online place primary teachers go to get teaching resources primary schools was quoted as the free Primary Resources website, whilst in secondary schools, teachers start from their favourite search engine to look for teaching resources.

    Most teachers did have other sites that they used in addition to their first choice. Other free sites used are TES Connect, BBC BiteSize and the discontinued BBC ReviseWise. And a smaller number of teachers use subscription sites for resources, such as Education City and Espresso.

    One strange and interesting piece of feedback from the researchers was that teachers prefer resource sites that look home-grown "If a site looks too professional, they think it isn't for them" (I did wonder if the researchers meant "corporate" rather than "professional").

    Teachers also said that if a resource was made available through their local Regional Broadband provider, then they’ll trust it more than other content, because they assume that somebody has reviewed it, and made the judgement that it is better than other resources.

    Based on this, I’m sure as we go into Phase 2 we’re going to find out some more interesting stuff!

    NB: Feel free to add comments to the blog - to prevent spam, anonymous comments wait overnight for checking

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Education IT savings–West Hatch School, virtualisation and £36,000


    After Wednesday’s IT cost saving story, of Neville Lovett Community School in Hampshire saving £23,000, it seemed timely to share one more example of education IT savings – from West Hatch High School in Essex.

    Alan Richards, the Information Systems Manager at the school, has been at the school for two years, and in that time has been concentrating on improving the reliability and long-term sustainability of IT infrastructure. Like many secondary schools, they had a large network – five IT suites for general use, two for media and music, and three for business – and lots of desktop and portable computers.

    Alan also found 24 servers, of varying ages – but the newest were already 2-3 years old. As Alan Richards said:

    Some of the other servers should have been consigned to a museum long ago. The server room was a cupboard with no air conditioning. It had fans, and the door was left open, but it got very hot.

    Making education IT savings of £36,000

    So Alan embarked on virtualisation, turning 24 servers into 9 – reducing space requirements, hardware costs, support costs and energy usage. Careful planning included a one year pilot, but the long-term IT cost savings justify the project. For West Hatch school, they are looking at saving £12,000 a year – or £36,000 over the next three years.

    Alan was lucky to get the full support of the school’s leadership team to invest in their IT infrastructure, but projects like this will help to manage the school budget more effectively in the future:

    The governors had enough foresight to see that unless you put in the infrastructure, you can’t reap all the benefits of advanced technology.

    I’d recommend reading the fully detailed case study on the West Hatch virtualisation project, which describes Alan’s approach, and the school background.

    There are more details on the full list of Top Money Saving Tips, which offers advice for schools looking to make education IT savings. A secondary school, following the full series of tips, could save over £300,000 over three years.


    Quickly find all the other Money Saving Tips on this blog

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows 7 briefing at West Hatch School


    Alan Richards, who is IT manager at West Hatch High School in Essex, was the first school in the europe to fully deploy the released version of Windows 7 in widespread use. And he talked about his experiences in the Windows 7 early adopter case study paper that Gerald Haigh wrote for us.

    Now Alan’s offered to share some of his experiences, by running a workshop at his school – just in time for those who are thinking about deploying Windows 7 this summer.

    Alan emailed me on 9th June to say that this event is now full - sorry

    Here’s more details of his event:



    Windows 7 is a year old this summer and many people will be getting ready to install it across their PC network. As the first School in Europe to fully deploy Windows 7, West Hatch High School is running an event on the 8th July designed to help you with your planning for deployment and give you some insights into how two schools deployed it successfully.

    By the end of the day you should have a better understanding of the best way to go about deploying Windows 7, using both Microsoft deployment tools and 3rd party deployment tools. The day is specifically aimed at schools and so two of the people who are giving their time for the event are from Schools with a long history of the innovative use of ICT in education.




    Timing Details
    9:30 Arrival and coffee (and bacon butties?)
    9:50 Welcome
    10:00 Richard Lane, Microsoft UK
    What’s new in Windows 7
    11:00 Coffee
    11:10 Dave Coleman, Twynham School
    Deploying Windows 7 using 3rd party tools and folder redirection
    12:10 Buffet lunch
    12:30 Alan Richards, West Hatch High School
    Deploying Windows 7 using Windows Deployment Servers & Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
    13:30 Q&A and networking opportunity

    West Hatch is easily accessed by road (20 Minutes off the M25) and rail (5 minutes walk from Chigwell tube station on the central line)

    Places are limited, so Alan has asked that you drop him an email to book your place. Alan emailed me on 9th June to say that this event is now full - sorry

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Things I Learned This Week #4


    Sorry for the delay in publishing this – I actually spent most of my weekend learning about the complexity of CSS scripts, as I redesigned this and six other blogs. Which is why I didn’t write up my Things I Learned on Sunday morning. But rather than tell you what I learned about CSS (horrible, horrible taxonomy) I thought I’d share one significant thing I learned from the week, that might help you.

    The most borrowed books from Microsoft’s staff library

    At the Microsoft Campus in Reading, we have a staff library. It’s stacked full of all kinds of books – plenty of technical ones, plus a huge range of business and self-development books. I’m a regular visitor, and can always find something useful to pick up and read or listen to (with a 90 minute commute daily, I enjoy audio books especially).

    David Stewart, our librarian, has been at Microsoft for a decade, and he’s just sent me a list of the top ten books borrowed from the library over those ten years. So if you’re looking for some personal development reading over half-term, then can I propose the Microsoft library Ten-Year Top-Ten?

    1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    Covey’s modern business classic reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity, principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates. Much of what you read here is based on basic common sense and can at times be irritatingly obvious. However, what Covey manages to do so successfully is that he manages to make it sound as if changing the way we look at ourselves and the world around us so that we can become more successful both personally and professionally is an absolute doddle

    2. Getting Things Done
    Getting Things Done offers a complete system for downloading all those free-floating gotta-dos clogging your brain into a sophisticated framework of files and action lists, all purportedly to free your mind to focus on whatever you're working on. There is even an Outlook add-in to use to put these ideas into practice.

    3. How Would You Move Mount Fuji? Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle: How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers
    William Poundstone’s book looks at Microsoft's brain-busting interview questions that separate the most creative thinkers from the merely brilliant. How Would You Move Mount Fuji? reveals more than 35 of Microsoft's puzzles and riddles. Have you ever pondered such problems as: Why are manhole covers round? How do they make M&Ms? What does all the ice in a hockey rink weigh? How many piano tuners are there in the world?

    4. The Tipping Point
    Malcolm Gladwell’s well-hyped, well-recommended, usually well-liked book, is based on an idea that many of the problems we face behave like epidemics. They are capable of sudden and dramatic changes in direction. Years of well-intentioned intervention may have no impact at all, yet the right intervention - at just the right time - can start a cascade of change. Malcolm Gladwell provides a way of viewing everyday experience and seeking to enable us to develop strategies for everything from raising a child to running a company.

    5. Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science and Everyday Life
    Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s book on networks in relation to not only IT such as the internet, but science and business and people; how everything is interlinked

    6. Pitch Yourself: The Most Effective CV You'll Ever Write. The Best Interview You'll Ever Give. Secure the Job You Really Want
    A book which explains how the Elevator Pitch replaces the CV; the CV looks backwards to what you did and where you did it, the Elevator Pitch looks to the future by demonstrating who you are and how you work

    7. The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture
    John Battelle’s narrative of the past, present, and future of search; he draws on more than 350 interviews with executives at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and other companies, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt. Battelle explores how search technology works, the amazing power of targeted advertising as a business model, and the frenzy of the Google IPO when the company tried to rewrite the rules of Wall Street and declared "don’t be evil" as one of its core goals.

    8. The New Solution Selling: The Revolutionary Sales Process That is Changing the Way People Sell
    Keith Eades’ book is regularly recommended/used on courses.

    9. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers
    Geoffrey Moore argues that high-tech products require marketing strategies that differ from those in other industries. Moore’s chasm theory describes how high-tech products initially sell well, mainly to a technically literate customer base, but then hit a lull as marketing professionals try to cross the chasm to mainstream buyers. This pattern, says Moore, is unique to the high-tech industry. Moore suggests remedies for the problem that can help businesses meet their long-term goals. Written not just for marketing specialists but for all people whose futures ride on the success of a technical product

    10. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't
    Jim Collins concludes in this book that a good company can become a great company, but finds that there are no silver bullets to greatness. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11 and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.

    As an aside, my favourite book from our library doesn’t make it onto the Top Ten - Made to Stick gives excellent advice about how story telling can ensure that people remember what you need them to – and make information both memorable and repeatable.

    Does anybody want to persuade their librarian to share their school’s Top Ten list?

    I’m ashamed to admit that I have only read four of the top ten (1, 2, 4 and 10). I’d better get down to the library to start some of the others. Number 3 looks pretty interesting for a start.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Things I Learned This Week #5


    1. The Internet bandwidth used by schools nationally is doubling every 18 months

    This information snippet was included in a presentation on the National Education Network by Greg Hill, the Deputy Chair. So it seems that Moore’s Law is alive and well in schools too. What it made me wonder is how you allow for that if you’re negotiating a long-term ISP deal with your local authority, Regional Broadband Consortium, or another ISP. You need to make sure your bandwidth cost isn’t fixed for three years!

    I also did some quick maths – if you’re currently using 25MB, then you’ll be needing 25Mb x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 200MB in 6 year’s time.

    2. Bass was the first 'brand’ (they started to stamp a red triangle on each cask of ale)

    I learnt this during a planning workshop I attended, where I was helping another team think about plans for the next year. It was at the offices of one of the big marketing agencies, and although there was a lot of internal things I can’t share, there was an interesting interlude where one of the advertising agency people talked about the “Three Ages of Brand”, which I hadn’t heard before:

    1. The age of trust
    2. The age of aspiration
    3. The age of 'ideas to live by'

    The interesting point about this is that the third age means that people are looking for a brand to reflect a clear ideology (something unique, that they can believe in), which tells a simple story, and where the brand actually “walks the talk”. And why do I think it’s interesting to you? Well, what does your school website say about your school brand? I know many of you will be involved in working on your own school’s website – and thinking about “ideas to live by” might well influence how you tell your school’s story on your own website.

    3. The Guardian is very popular in the US

    Apparently, more people read the Guardian online in the US than have ever read the paper in print in the UK – even at the peak of paper distribution.

    4. Hotmail blocks 5.5 billion spam messages a day

    Spam fighting is an on-going battle, with the ISPs and email providers fighting against spam producers. The Hotmail team shared some of the story of spam fighting on the Windows Team blog. One of the other interesting statistics is that Hotmail now deals with 8 billion emails a day – of which nearly 70% is spam – and of the spam they block 98% before it reaches your inbox.

    5. 32 million people use the Government Gateway

    Government Gateway is an identity system which allows government organisations in the UK to allow individuals to complete transactions online with the government

    6. “Businesses of tomorrow will be built in the dorm room, not the boardroom”

    This quote (which I couldn’t find an online source for) was used at a meeting this week, in the context of some of the start-up businesses that have turned into international sensations over the last decade. The most obvious example is Facebook, which was literally created in a dorm at Harvard, but I think there are many other examples of technology businesses where all the trappings of business come along after the business has been created. Because for entrepreneurial students today, it is possible for them to create a business from a good idea – and the skills and enthusiasm to make it happen.  Today’s students are going to arrive in a world that’s completely different from the last generation.

    7. Using the Internet re-wires our brains

    And not always in good ways. Wired’s article “The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains” might make you think.

    8. According to Mashable, Microsoft has the most “social employees”

    NetProspex ranked the top 50 organisations for the social network usage of their employees and Microsoft ended up at the top. It’s an interesting methodology, and I’m not sure if the results mean much, but it does match up with what I see inside the business – thousands of bloggers and tweeters, including hundreds in the UK, who tell their own stories. I’ll let you decide your own conclusions.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Things I learned this week #1


    Last weekend, Doug Belshaw’s “Things I learned this week #17” mentioned this blog (although with some fake reluctance), and the post that contained the What’s new in PowerPoint 2010 for teachers video. I often read Doug’s blog, as well as listening to the EdTechRoundUp podcast, which Doug takes part in weekly. The thought hit me (belatedly!) that “Things I learned this week” is an excellent way to share some of the snippets of news that aren’t quite important enough to make a blog post all of their own, but lumped together they may make interesting reading.

    So, thanks to Doug’s idea, here’s my first “Things I learned this week” list:

    Things I learned this week

    • I have known for some time about the Microsoft Education Competencies, which was designed by teachers, and is used in a number of countries for professional development and career planning by teachers.
      What I learned this week is that one of the 39 competencies is Humour, and just like every other competency, there are a series of level statements that can be used to describe progression:
      Microsoft Competencies > Humour

    Level 1: Basic Level 2: Intermediate Level 3: Advanced Level 4: Expert

    Generally uses humour in a positive way

    Uses humour to bring people together

    Knows exactly when and where a joke or story will be effective

    Can see humour in almost everything

    Is conscientious about timing and setting for humour

    Uses humour to boost morale or decrease tension

    Has a great sense of timing

    Sought out by others for guidance in this area

    Tries to diffuse tense situations with appropriate humour

    Uses humour to make for a more relaxed and productive atmosphere

    Realises when and where humour will backfire, and withholds

    Uses humour as a uniting dynamic across a range of situations

    Can laugh at self and others

    Allows others to be funny

    Understands that laughter makes a more comfortable meeting, classroom, etc

    Recognizing and appreciates a great sense of humour in others

    And like all of the other competencies, there are sections on improving proficiency, interview questions, learning opportunities and even a recommended reading list.
    (Honestly, it took me half an hour to satisfy myself that this wasn’t some kind of April Fool’s Spoof)

    Thanks for the inspiration Doug

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Webinar - Simplifying Windows 7 Migration


    My colleagues in the Government team are running a series of Live Meetings (webinars) together with our partners that demonstrate how new technology can deliver genuine cost-savings and improve the efficiency of public service delivery. This week, it’s all about Windows 7 migration, then next week they are covering Windows 7 Application Compatibility, and after half-term Identity Management.

    Although the content will be designed for a wide range of public sector organisations, not just for education customers, you may be working on a project where the content could come in handy.

    Here’s the info on this week’s session, this Friday:

    The first in this series of Live Meetings addresses how to Simplify your migration to Windows 7 with Citrix and Microsoft (Invitation Code: BAC0F1) and takes place on Friday May 14th from 11:00 – 12:00.

    Taking part in our Live Meeting will provide you with a genuine insight into how to:

    ·        Deliver virtual applications on demand: With multiple ways of virtualising applications, Citrix will set your applications up for Windows 7 by separating them from the endpoint and the desktop operating system.

    ·        Re-use the PCs already installed: Repurpose desktop refresh/upgrade budget to build a desktop as a service infrastructure either running on a virtual desktop in the Datacentre or streamed directly to the endpoint PC or thin client.

    ·        Access Windows 7 desktop from any device, anywhere: Users will be fully productive with all the corporate productivity tools available to them on any endpoint on any network. A simple network connection is all that is required for them to access their corporate desktop.

    ·        Lock down corporate data in the datacentre: By simply removing corporate data from the Windows 7 endpoint, data security concerns are minimised.

    Our Live Meetings are delivered by Microsoft experts and business partners with experience in the Public Sector.  You will have the opportunity to interact with the presenter(s) during the Live Meetings and get answers to your questions.

    imageFind out about the public sector Live Meeting series

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Fun, Free Friday for Schools on 11th June - more spaces added



    We’ve been inundated with requests to come along to our "Fun, Free Friday for Schools" event, so we’ve just moved it from a smaller room into our big auditorium, that takes 240 people. Which means that instead of the event being ‘nearly full’, we’ve now got tons of space for more people!

    In anticipation of the big audience, the various members of the Education Team have been getting ready – Stuart Ball has been practising with AutoCollage, Kristen’s been playing with Community Clips, and Mark A’Bear has borrowed a joke book (thank goodness). During the course of the day, you’re going to get the chance to meet almost the whole team, so you’ll have plenty of useful contacts afterwards

    It’s at our main Microsoft Campus in Reading on 11th June 2010 and is for any staff working with and within schools, so that they can find out all about the free software and resources that Microsoft produces that support teaching and learning.  The agenda for the event runs from 9:30am to 2:30pm with breaks to catch up with colleagues from other schools, and chat with Microsoft staff.

    It will be a fast-paced and fun event, with 3½ hours of rapid demonstrations, featuring a dozen presenters and lots of different free Microsoft software programmes that schools can download and start using in the classroom, school office or IT suite.

    Fast paced demonstrations

    To keep the pace moving rapidly, no demonstration will last more than 15 minutes, and although it won’t be a PowerPoint-free zone, we’ll keep to a limit of a maximum of 2 PowerPoint slides per presenter!

    Free software for every attendee

    During the day we will be demonstrating at least 20 pieces of software that can help you to deliver teaching and learning, and absolutely every single one will be free for you to download.

    Save money with Microsoft

    We know that you’d like to do more with ICT, but that budgets are tight. That’s exactly why we’re putting on this event – to give you inspiration and ideas to take back to share with everybody in your school. Ideas that will appeal to teachers, IT Co-ordinators and the senior leadership team.

    This free event is for advisors, classroom teachers, IT specialists, and school leadership teams. We’ve scheduled this event for the summer term 2010, in time for planning for next academic year.

    Agenda for the Fun, Free Friday

    Here’s the detailed timing of the day, so that you can plan your trip.

    9:30 Registration

    10:00 Morning sessions

    12:00 Lunch and networking

    13:00 Afternoon sessions

    14:30 Close

    We won’t issue an itemised agenda, but some of the products you can expect to see on the day include SkyDrive, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live PhotoGallery, Bing Maps, Photosynth, Pivot, XNA Game Studio, Visual Studio Express, Chemistry Word Add-In, Flashcards, Autocollage, Songsmith, Worldwide Telescope, Windows Live Writer, Maths Worksheet Generator, Office Moodle Add-In, Office Web Apps, Office Ribbon Hero, Bing Search, Microsoft Security Essentials, DeepZoom, Live Sync, Kodu, Digital Storytelling Curriculum Guides, Mouse Mischief, DreamSpark, Microsoft Robotics Studio, Live Family Safety Settings, Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum, Windows Live Translator, IE8 Accelerators, PhotoStory 3, Community Clips, Virtual Earth, pptPlex and Live@edu.

    And continuing the free theme: if you arrive by public transport, there’s even a free bus from Reading Station to the Microsoft offices.

    imageBook your free place now 

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Please excuse us whilst we’re changing


    Over the next week, we are moving the thousands of blogs that run on the site over to a completely new web platform, which will give us lots of new ways of keeping in touch. We’ve had a trial run already, and it seems to be pretty smooth.

    However, whilst the change is happening, there are a couple of things you need to know about:

    • For the week ahead, we won’t be writing any new blog posts, whilst the thousands of blogs are moved across. It’s a massive job, because we’re moving all of the blog posts, and all of the comments you’ve made in the past, onto the new site.

        • Also in the week ahead, I’m afraid you won’t be able to add any new comments onto the blog – from Sunday 16th May through to Sunday 23rd May. Of course, if you’ve got something important to say to us, you can still use the “email” button on the menu bar. And I’m sure many of you know that you can reach us on Twitter and other places.

        We’ve also decided that we’re going to take the opportunity, whilst the builders are in, to revamp the site a little, to make it look a little nicer too. When we come back, on Monday 24th May, you’ll hopefully notice the difference, and I’m sure you’ll be good enough to rush in with your thoughts and comments.

        Ben, Kristen, Stuart, Mark and I, who all blog for the UK Education team, are poring over our colour charts. To be honest, everybody’s choice is being influenced by their own life.

        • Ben’s food habits leave him quite keen on blueberry white.
        • Kristen’s got her eye on Red, White and Blue.
        • Stuart, who’s from Wales, seems to think Urban Obsession works
        • And Mark A’Bear has chosen a Silver Fox colour.
        • Just like at home, I’m never allowed to choose colours.

        We’ll just have to see decide on something we get to next weekend

        And just think – we’ll have hopefully stored up a few interesting blog posts for you to read in seven days.

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