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August, 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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August, 2010

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Webcast: How to deploy Windows 7 when you’re tied to IE6

    • 0 Comments

    If you are one of the schools that need to use Internet Explorer 6 to stay compatible with a specific application you use, then you may find it useful to know that there are options to help you to move your ICT infrastructure forward, whilst keeping IE6 support on your network for certain users.

    One option is to read the “Tools to make working with Internet Explorer 6 in Windows 7 easier” blog post

    An alternative is to put an hour aside to join the Springboard virtual roundtable on 30th September, at 5pm.

    Roundtable: Deploying Windows 7, but still running Web applications based on Internet Explorer 6?

    Join us live on Thursday, September 30, 2010 for a virtual, interactive roundtable discussion on migration strategies, standards, and support for organisations moving from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 8.

    As organisations deploy Windows 7, many still depend on web applications that were designed for Internet Explorer 6. Will they still work, and what can you do when they don’t? Join a panel of IT Professionals, Microsoft specialists and technical experts to discuss best practices to simplify and accelerate the migration to Internet Explorer 8. Topics will include an explanation of the causes of and solutions for application compatibility issues (including policy, code, and virtualisation solutions), an introduction to tools, and a review of best practices.

    Ask your questions live during the event with our online tool - or submit your questions in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com

    imageFind out more, and register for the Virtual Roundtable




  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Microsoft Summer Camp 2010 for teachers

    • 0 Comments

    I’ve just got back from holiday (a week in Corfu, thanks very much for asking) and I’m just about to head off for a last few days (a long weekend camping in Dorset – which may be challenged by the weather!).

    Which means I missed the teachers Summer Camp last week, run by Kristen and Stuart. It’s an event we’ve run for a couple of years, with 20 teachers invited to spend a few days at our Reading campus, and share good practice on the use of ICT in learning with each other.

    Stuart has written a summary of it on our Teachers blog, but what really helped me to get an idea of what I missed was David Rogers blog post (David is a school Geography Curriculum Leader), which provided an excellent overview of what he got out of the summer camp. And I also liked Graeme Eyre’s list of the apps and add-ins from Microsoft that he learnt about during the week.

     




  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    New Microsoft Office Education Add-Ins - with the correct download link

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    Sorry, when I originally posted this blog post, it had the wrong URL for the downloads. I've now corrected the original, and here it is again, with the correct URLs. This happened because I was on holiday during the release, so had to pre-write the blog post, and then the download URL changed before it was released. And it's the first day back for me, so the first chance to correct it. Sorry all!

    The education products team in Seattle have been busy writing add-ins for Office 2007 and Office 2010. They’ve just released 2 free education add-ins, 20 new education templates, and how-to materials designed to help teachers both inside and outside the classroom. The new Interactive Classroom Add-in, Mathematics Add-in, and Learning Essential Templates could save your teachers time as well as help creating more engagement with students.

    Interactive Classroom Add-in

    The Interactive Classroom Add-in for PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 and OneNote 2007 and 2010 provides real-time polling and interactive note-taking to foster interaction and collaboration between educators and students.

    I like it, but perhaps a better recommendation would be somebody within education. Professor Beth Simon of the University of California in San Diego has had a chance to use the beta version of the Interactive Classroom Add-in, and said:

    It’s very easy to insert polls automatically as I’m designing a lecture. When I’m lecturing, it’s so easy to recognise when a poll comes up and to start and stop the polling software. No longer do I have to try and interact with the clicker software, it’s all right there in PowerPoint.

     

    Mathematics Add-in

    The Mathematics Add-in for Word 2007 and 2010 and OneNote 2010 uses dynamic 3D graphs and charts to help teachers illustrate complex math problems and concepts. From algebra and pre-calculus to physics and statistics, teachers and students can unravel equations and visualise formulas through 2-D and 3-D graphs. The add-in helps students plot functions, calculate numerical results, and dynamically solve for "x".

    The Microsoft Office Education Add-ins are easy to install and use. Just follow the instructions on the Download site.

    Office Templates for teachers

    The Learning Essential templates are a set of Office templates created specifically for the education setting. From grading rubrics to tests and quizzes, these templates can help educators get more done faster. You can download the templates for free.
    These are written for US teachers, so some may need a bit of tweaking.

    How-to Materials for OneNote 2010 and Office Web Apps

    The new teacher how-to materials help teachers learn to use OneNote 2010 and the Office Web Apps in the classroom to engage students more deeply. By using the teaching guide, videos, lesson plans, and easy step-by-step instructions, teachers can get up and running quickly so they can focus on what matters most.

    These new tools provide the perfect complement to Office 2010 for teachers.

     



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    How to manage the risk of Internet Explorer 6

    • 0 Comments

    If you’re still running Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) within your school, instead of being on a later version, then you’re probably doing it for a very good reason – especially as many websites are reducing or removing support for IE6 (for example Google and YouTube both dropped IE6 support this year). And the good reason is that you probably have an application, or a key website, that only works with IE6 – often something that the office admin team need to use for budget or student management. But all the time that you’re using IE6 as your standard browser, you know that you’re slipping further behind.

    If you’re in a bind, you might find this white paper useful – Solutions for Virtualising Internet Explorer – which gives good advice on the options that you can choose to allow you to move to a later version of Internet Explorer as a standard, but still make IE6 available for users that need it.

    While virtualising Internet Explorer 6 isn’t simple, it does allow you to move your infrastructure management forward – and the process you use for it would also help in the future if you want to allow for multiple versions of web browsers for testing purposes (eg to allow you to run multiple browsers to test your school website or other web developments)

    imageDownload the Internet Explorer Virtualisation White Paper



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Using DeepZoom to explore Churchill’s past

    • 0 Comments

    On Monday, I wrote about the work that’s been done to create a TimeMap – creating a historical mapping x-ray machine. Shoothill, who did that work, have also been busily working with the Imperial War Museum to create a way for people to easily access the history of Winston Churchill, by combining the archives of the Churchill War Rooms, the Baroness Spencer-Churchill Papers, the Churchill Archive Trust, and the photo archives of the press.

    What they have created is a mural of images – historical photographs and videos, and also personal items such as letters and one of Winston’s school reports.

    image

    As with all DeepZoom images, you can navigate with your mouse, scrolling the wheel to zoom in and out. There are some things I’ve not seen on these kind of images before – like captions that appear as you zoom in, and a ‘tag cloud’ which allows you to move items with related content.

    In the Imperial War Museum you can sit and navigate this on an interactive exhibit – but thanks to the web, you can do this at home too.

    I bet there’s a teacher in your school who will really enjoy this as a teaching resource.

    imageVisit the Imperial War Museum website for the Churchill DeepZoom



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    New Microsoft Office Education Add-Ins

    • 2 Comments

    The education products team in Seattle have been busy writing add-ins for Office 2007 and Office 2010. They’ve just released 2 free education add-ins, 20 new education templates, and how-to materials designed to help teachers both inside and outside the classroom. The new Interactive Classroom Add-in, Mathematics Add-in, and Learning Essential Templates could save your teachers time as well as help creating more engagement with students.

    Interactive Classroom Add-in

    The Interactive Classroom Add-in for PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 and OneNote 2007 and 2010 provides real-time polling and interactive note-taking to foster interaction and collaboration between educators and students.

    I like it, but perhaps a better recommendation would be somebody within education. Professor Beth Simon of the University of California in San Diego has had a chance to use the beta version of the Interactive Classroom Add-in, and said:

    It’s very easy to insert polls automatically as I’m designing a lecture. When I’m lecturing, it’s so easy to recognise when a poll comes up and to start and stop the polling software. No longer do I have to try and interact with the clicker software, it’s all right there in PowerPoint.

     

    Mathematics Add-in

    The Mathematics Add-in for Word 2007 and 2010 and OneNote 2010 uses dynamic 3D graphs and charts to help teachers illustrate complex math problems and concepts. From algebra and pre-calculus to physics and statistics, teachers and students can unravel equations and visualise formulas through 2-D and 3-D graphs. The add-in helps students plot functions, calculate numerical results, and dynamically solve for "x".

    The Microsoft Office Education Add-ins are easy to install and use. Just follow the instructions on the Download site.

    Office Templates for teachers

    The Learning Essential templates are a set of Office templates created specifically for the education setting. From grading rubrics to tests and quizzes, these templates can help educators get more done faster. You can download the templates for free.
    These are written for US teachers, so some may need a bit of tweaking.

    How-to Materials for OneNote 2010 and Office Web Apps

    The new teacher how-to materials help teachers learn to use OneNote 2010 and the Office Web Apps in the classroom to engage students more deeply. By using the teaching guide, videos, lesson plans, and easy step-by-step instructions, teachers can get up and running quickly so they can focus on what matters most.

    These new tools provide the perfect complement to Office 2010 for teachers.

     



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    SharePoint Saturday comes to the UK

    • 0 Comments

    Just a quick note to point SharePoint lovers towards the SharePoint Saturday, being held on October 2nd in Birmingham.

    image

    At a time when training budgets are shrinking, then you’ll be cheered up to know that it is free to attend, and is being run by a group of SharePoint enthusiasts, very focused on sharing their good practice. The agenda’s still being finalised, but if you’re free, and want to spend a day sharing tips with other SharePoint users, then consider registering now, as I’m sure it’ll fill up quickly.

    imageFind out more about SharePoint Saturday



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Using technology from today to explore the past

    • 1 Comments

    I’m sure that you’ll have seen Deep Zoom technology in use – either in demonstrations or on websites. It underpins many other applications such as Bing Maps, PhotoSynth and Image Composite Editor. Several schools such as Shireland have used Deep Zoom to organise and present learning resources, whilst others see it as a useful tool to enhance project work and lesson activities. One of our partners, Shoothill, have created a few interesting websites which use DeepZoom, that have a curriculum relevance.

    TimeMap

    Shoothill TimeMap () is a system for displaying historic maps, documents and photos, overlaid on current maps and satellite images from Bing Maps.  The system uses a “TimeScope” to move around the modern world and a “TimeSlider” to move through time. The demonstration version created by Shoothill has Shrewsbury and parts of London in it, and I bet that you’d make the head of Geography’s eyes light up if you show them.

    Why TimeMap?

    One of the problems of overlaying ‘complete’ historical maps over Bing (or Google Maps) is that it is very easy to lose your bearings, as so much has changed over time.  So, the basic idea behind TimeMap is to allow the user to get their position of interest via Bing Maps in ‘the modern world’, and easily reveal the past in ‘historical mode’.  It also allows the user to travel through time by using a ‘time slider’ that reveals different maps of the same place at different times.  Right now, they have processed maps from the 1800’s to today. For the demo version, TimeMap is working on certain areas across these different times for the town of Shrewsbury (their home town on the border of England and Wales and the birthplace of Charles Darwin) and most of central London.

    It’s very simple to use, because you basically drag a box around the scheme, which acts like a time-travelling X-Ray machine. As you drag it over an area, it shows you the historical maps – and you can slide back through time over three centuries to see what used to be there.

    image

    imageAnd on the Options menu, you can easily switch between Historic London and Historic Shrewsbury. The London maps are fascinating, as you plot the changes in certain parts of the city – eg around the City, and the historical areas. The System can also be used for historic aerial photography and if you try the “Historic Photo’s” option you will get an aerial shot of Heathrow Airport in 1966.

    They’ve just created their TimeMap for Berlin too

    image

     

    Tiger Mosaic

    Shoothill has recently been working with Flora a Fauna International too, using DeepZoom. The FFI is one of the world’s oldest conservation societies, and was one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature. To help publicise their work (and to coincide with the International Year of Biodiversity and the Chinese year of the Tiger), Shoothill has created what they believe to be the biggest (and hopefully one of the best) Deep Zoom images in the world of one of the world most endangered species: the Sumatran Tiger.

    The image you see is made from 180,000 cell images of endangered species from around the world, but because of its enormous size it is very difficult to tell it is a mosaic at all, until you start to zoom in.

    imageThe Auto Mode is very useful – it would be a good thing to put up on a whiteboard whilst you’re waiting for a class to settle down, or to stimulate a discussion about biodiversity.



     


     





  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Home Access Programme opens up again–briefly

    • 0 Comments

    I’ve just read on the Home Access website that the programme has been re-opened, after it closed in mid-June. The reason is that there are some parents who’ve not returned their grant application forms.

    Limited funding is still available for the Home Access main programme due to some families choosing not to return their application forms. Click here to find out if you are eligible for a Home Access Grant. With only 10,000 grants left to award we would strongly encourage any families with an application form at home to complete it and send it back immediately

    This is good news if there are some families in your school that could have qualified, but missed the original programme, then there’s a last chance to help them.

    In case you need a reminder here’s a quick summary of the Home Access Programme: Disadvantaged children (think: who qualify for Free School Meals) in KS2 and KS3 can get a free computer and broadband connection, fully funded by a Home Access grant card. Parents apply for the grant on 0333 200 1004 , receive a special Barclaycard, and can then go and spend it on specific approved computers with specific approved suppliers. And it’s England only.

    And here’s my recommendations on where to send your parents (although the laptop specs may be a little out of date, as I haven’t updated it since the original scheme closed, the overall advice still applies). And finally, here’s the Becta suppliers page.



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The easy way to install WordPress

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    Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned WebMatrix, which gives you an easy way to install a bunch of web applications – like WordPress, Moodle and Joomla! – on a standard Microsoft platform (which means you can more easily fit into the rest of your ICT infrastructure).

    Well, I just read an article on PC Pro (who sometimes enjoy being mischievous about the downfalls of technology) where David Moss talks about how easy it was to install WordPress in six simple steps. I’m not a WordPress user, so I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s a nice endorsement to get for our “let’s make websites easier to setup” initiative.

    Still unsure? Well, jump over and read the article “Microsoft Web Platform: the easy way to install WordPress
    to learn how David did it.



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