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January, 2011 - 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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January, 2011

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Office 365 for Education


    Our resident Live@Edu and Office 365 expert, James Marshall, gives his take on the announcements made at BETT 2011.

    As the dust settles after the annual BETT exhibition, and Olympia returns to normal I always make some time to look through the various forums and blogs that comment on the big announcements of the year. The big one for me was all the great news that came out about Microsoft Office 365 for education, and how it’s going to take our cloud services for education to the next level.

    My favourite statistic was that over 15 million students are using Microsoft Live@edu worldwide – up on 11 million only three months ago.

    Of course, sometimes it’s difficult to speak to every person individually at shows like BETT and so I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm a few things…

    The key thing to note is that nothing that we currently offer in Live@edu will be charged for in Office 365 for education. Live@edu email is hosted by Exchange Online and is the free Exchange Plan 1 in the world of Office 365 for education. All that changes is the inbox size grows from 10GB to 25GB, all still free.

    The Windows Live SkyDrive service with Microsoft Office Web Apps that Live@edu customers currently use will still be available as a free service. If customers want the Office Web Apps in their SharePoint Online environment there are charges for staff but students get this feature for free. SharePoint Online is a feature we do not offer today in Live@edu so it is difficult to make comparisons but we are confident that the total cost of ownership of Office 365 for education will be much lower than providing the same level of service on-premise.

    The prices we announced at BETT are $USD estimated retail prices for new customers. Our pricing for Office 365 for education for existing customers of our School and Campus Agreement programme (which will migrate to EES) has not been announced; however, we will take into account the schools/colleges existing investments.  Finally, you’ll be able to mix and match between the different packages, for example: all students on plan A2, some staff on A2 and others on A4.

    Remember, you can still register for Live@edu today by visiting the LIve@edu website and following the Enrol Your School link.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Saving Money with ICT - Free eBook download


    So the budget cuts have arrived – and the pressure is on to save money in schools. And ICT leaders in schools around the country are going to need to hone their skills to justify the investments they are bidding for.

    Since late 2009 I’ve been working to look at how ICT can help save schools money – either saving in the ICT budget, or another area.

    There are areas where ICT can help you make simple and effective cost savings in your school budget. Savings of up to a staggering £350,000 over 3 years.

    eBook front coverI've collected many of the stories and examples into a new eBook - Saving Money with ICT - which contains many of the examples and stories that will help you to see how you can help your school save money.

    You can download the Money Saving ebook via this link, or click on the front page on the right.

    I hope that you find it useful - it's not meant to provide all of the answers, and I'm sure you'll have other ideas. But I believe it's a great starting point to your planning for this year and beyond.

    I have one really simple goal: To help the ICT team in school to explain to the leadership team how they can help out the rest of the school.

    I hope that what I’m going to share will help you move the conversation 
    I need £5,000 to upgrade some software
    Can I go on a training course costing £1,000
    If we invest £5,000 now, we’ll save £10,000 by the end of the year
    which is the kind of thing that head teachers like to hear!

    Download your own copy of the Saving Money with ICT eBook

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Announcement - Microsoft Office 365 Brings the Cloud to Education


    When we announced Office 365 at the end of 2010 for businesses, we talked about the way that workers will use the cloud to collaborate more easily from virtually anywhere on any device.

    Now we're doing the same for students. And the worldwide announcement is being made at the BETT Show today.

    Also in London today, Microsoft announced that 15 million students now use Live@edu, up from 11 million students just three months ago. Office 365 for education will be the successor to Live@edu, which is Microsoft’s current communication and collaboration offering for education.

    Office 365 for education will include everything available in Office 365 for enterprises – Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, Office Web Apps, and Office Professional Plus desktop software. And the suite also will include templates and pricing designed to meet the unique needs of schools, their teachers and students.

    Anna Kinney, Microsoft's director of Live@edu, said Office 365 for education will extend learning possibilities to students while helping them master technology they will use in their future careers:

      Office 365 for education changes the game for schools by offering enterprise-class tools for better communication and collaboration. The ability to work anytime, anywhere across platforms and devices is really powerful, whether that’s a PC, MAC, tablet, Windows Phone, iPhone, Nokia phone or other device. Our customers are expanding the boundaries of the classroom and challenging thinking of where and how people can learn  

    When Office 365 launches, existing Live@edu customers will have a planned path to the new platform, and can transition at their own pace. Also, with Office 365 students get enterprise-leading technologies – Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Office Web Apps – for free. Staff get Exchange Online for e-mail and calendaring free - additional capabilities are available under Microsoft’s academic licensing program. The broad availability of these enterprise-leading technologies at no charge for students enables education establishments to create a more level playing field and a well-prepared workforce.

    John Perera, general manager of Education Strategy at Microsoft, who's over from Seattle this week, put it in a bigger perspective. As he put it "The shift to anytime, anywhere learning has just begun, and technology’s ongoing impact on education will resonate beyond the classroom."

      If you think about the 20th century and how countries competed, economic output and military might were the primary yardsticks for how countries were measured,” Perera said. “Today, when assessments in how all countries around the globe are doing in math and science comes out – that's the new yardstick for how countries compete. It's no longer about the arms race – it’s how many computer scientists, engineers and stem cell specialists that your country is outputting. Microsoft is hopefully at the center of helping countries create and unleash those types of workforces and those types of students.  

    You can read the full story on the Microsoft News website here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    A video description of Office 365 for education


    After the announcement about Office 365 for education this morning, I thought you might appreciate this video from Jon Perera over in the States. It's a summary of the news on Office 365 for education, and describes how the new services will be available. At the moment the pricing information is in US Dollars, and we'll have UK pricing later this term.

    Jon Perera, from Microsoft's Education Team in the US, describes Office 365 for education

    Find out more about Office 365 for education

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2011– a roundup of my first experiences


    BETT logo




    Wow! After months of planning the Microsoft stand, finding presenters  and schools to share their  success stories, hunting down staff to work on the demo pods and theatre stand and even down to the colour of the Microsoft Education polo shirts, my first BETT (and my first BETT experience)  is now done and dusted. And what a successful year it was – if I may say so myself! 

    BETT Theatre stand

    Microsoft gave 66 presentations in total broken down to 16 presentations per day from Wednesday through to Friday and 12 presentations on Saturday.  On average 1200  customers each day stopped at our theatre stand to watch our presenters from schools and Microsoft and giving insight on how we are positioning our technology for the education market. According to BESA a total of 27000 customers passed through both the theatre stand and the demo pod stand over four days.

    Presentations included -

    • Office 2010 & One Note 2010, covering use of Office & One note presented by Monkseaton High School
    • Innovative curriculum delivery covering the use of Technology in an innovative way giving the example of New Line Learning Academy
    • Classroom innovation for free covering Mouse Mischief, Mathematics add-on’s presented by Saltash Community College
    • Collaborative learning covering Live@edu, sky drive, office web apps from Lodge Park
    • Cost saving covering virtulisation, Cloud computing, Printing, presented by West Hatch School
    • Office 2010 & I.T Academy covering Office 2010 and the Microsoft accreditation, story told by Sawtry Community College
    • Office 365 presented by Twynham School
    • Futures covering new technology to be used in the future such as web apps presented by our very own Mark Stewart and Ray Fleming
    • Multipoint Server covering, saving money with the new Microsoft multipoint server presented by our guest school Gymnazium Litomerice
    • New EES volume licensing video, played approximately 60 times during the week between each presentation.

    Key announcements at BETT

    We also had a number of key announcements made at BETT this year which caused quite a buzz among our partners and customers:

    • Future Workforce research: The Microsoft Education Future Workforce research has found that ‘Generation Five’ (16 to 18-year-olds currently in education) question the approach taken by schools in teaching them about technology and are becoming self-taught on home computers.
    • Office 365 for Education: The next generation cloud services, Office 365 for education. We announced our pricing for this new service
    • EES Licensing: Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES) works on a single annual subscription payment, based on a school’s Full-Time Equivalent (FTE).
    • ITL Research: The Microsoft Innovative Teaching and Learning research just concluded its pilot year and shows that innovative teaching helps students acquire the skills that employers say they need.  This year, three additional countries are joining the project: Australia, England and the United States. 
    • PiL Mentor programme: Ten schools will take part in the UK Innovative Schools Programme. The schools selected will spend the next year working with Microsoft and a group of mentor schools to transform teaching, learning and technology integration for students.

    Goodbye Ray FlemingRay-Fleming-199x300

    It was also with great sadness (well for the majority) that this was also Ray Fleming’s final BETT as on Saturday afternoon, Ray jetted off to join Microsoft Australia to work in the Education team, taking his family with him.

    Ray has been part of the Public Sector team for the past 4 years however has been involved with 25 BETTS from his days at RM and Capita. Ray has played a huge part in the Education team, bringing about the cost saving and innovation for free stories with schools, as well as regularly blogging on both the education blog pages as well as his own. Ray will be missed however I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last we hear from him.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    ICT and saving money, 10th February 2011. West Hatch High School show you how

    whhs-logo (2)

    Education ICT – The Future

    Developing ICT in education and cost saving  were a couple of the hot topics presented at the recent BETT show at the Olympia, London which are now featuring in schools across the UK and are fast becoming part of the education future.

    One of Microsoft’s success stories comes from West Hatch High School, Chigwell,  who demonstrated that using ICT and cost saving solutions in their school has saved them money in a time where budgets have been cut.

    Both Microsoft and West Hatch High School would like to invite you to attend an Education ICT event to highlight ICT solutions that have worked in their school which can easily be adapted to help cut cost and save money around your school.

    If you would like to attend this event and  take this opportunity and share with you the recently announced Office 365 showcasing many of Microsoft’s technologies and SharePoint 2010 as a teaching and learning platform, please e-mail Alan Richards, Information Systems Manager to book your place.


    09:30 – 09:50  -Arrival
    09:50 – 10:00  -Welcome
    10:00 – 10:30 -Mark Reynolds, Microsoft UK – Costs Savings In Education
    10:30 – 11:00 -Dave Coleman, Twynham School – Virtualising using Microsoft Hyper-V
    11:00 – 11:10 -Coffee Break
    11:10 – 11:40 -James Marshall, Microsoft UK – Office 365
    11:40 – 12:10 -Alex Pearce, SharePoint MVP – Using SharePoint 2010 as a Learning Platform
    12:10 – 13:00 -Buffet Lunch
    13:00 – 13:30 -Alan Richards, West Hatch High School – The Paperless School
    13:30  - Onwards -Q & A, networking and close

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The future of Microsoft licensing for schools


    We're in the final throws of organising BETT (the lorry is loaded, and the final can of orange paint is in!), but I thought I'd take a couple of minutes out of my day to correct a little bit of confusion that's appeared in the press today - just in case you're worried by it.

    ZDNet ran a story today about the closure of Becta (prompted by a committee report last month all about the closures of government quangos). I'm not silly enough to get into the politics of the argument, but one bit that jumped out at me was when it talked about the Becta agreement with Microsoft. Apparently, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) submitted written evidence to the committee saying that the Becta agreement with Microsoft ended in December 2010, and would not be renewed". (See paras 51 & 52 in this document).

    As far as I know, the PCSU didn't check this with us before they said it, as we would have told them that it would have been extended beyond December 2010.

    So, to put your minds at rest, here's the real position:

    • We have had an agreement with Becta which reduces the overall cost of school licences in the UK by about 20%. This still applies today, in 2011, and has been extended for a further six months.
    • This week, at BETT, we will announce a new licensing scheme for schools, which will arrive on the 1st March, which will reduce costs even more significantly (come along to the BETT stand and ask any of my colleagues to explain it to you, or check out an overview here)

    So the real position is the exact opposite of the article - schools will actually get more flexible and better value licensing from 1st March 2011. More later this week.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Another BETT Announcement - Windows MultiPoint Server 2011


    This year's BETT is generating plenty of new announcements from us, and here's yet another one.

    On Tuesday we announced the availability details for Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, which will be available from March this year.

    In a nutshell, Windows MultiPoint Server allows you to plug multiple screens into a single machine and gives each user their own virtual computer, with a full PC experience with multimedia, audio, USB ports etc - saving on hardware costs and power consumption. The technical phrase is 'Shared Resource Computing', but basically it means that as you come to replace computers in IT suites and your library, you may be able to save money.

    There's a dedicated Windows MultiPoint Server website, and you can find out what customers think about it on the Windows SBS blog, as they have a bunch of short videos, with customers sharing their experiences (and savings!)

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Will the current generation of UK students shape the future of business?


    I've no doubt it’s an important question to look at - and one that businesses in the UK need to address now if we are to ensure today’s students are skilled effectively. Today's students may not revolutionise the UK and the entire world (although many may think they will!), but the unique skills and characteristics they will bring to businesses will certainly make huge differences.

    We've just released some research we did in time for the opening of BETT 2011, with the views of 1,000 16 to 18 year olds currently in education. We wanted to find out their thoughts on the skills they’re currently learning and what they feel is important for the future. Of course, they believe they know more about technology than their teachers and that they’re using their own home computers to learn essential ICT skills! Overall the research results highlight the need for better communication between students, teachers and businesses to ensure the next generation to enter the workforce are appropriately skilled.

    The research found that 71% of the 1,000 16 to 18-year-olds surveyed agree that they learn more about technology outside of the classroom than inside it, with 58% believing that they have a greater level of understanding of IT than their teachers. The overwhelming majority of students (85%) also think that their own use of the internet outside of school provides the most important source of information about technology. And only 39% of students believe their school’s investment in technology really gives them the skills they need for future work.

    For the first time, there are now four generations in the workforce: the Traditional Generation (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980) and the Millennial Generation / Generation Y (1981-1999), which creates unique challenges as each generation has its own characteristics, aspirations and preferred work styles. Microsoft’s study aims to highlight the importance of skilling the next generation due to enter the workforce and engage with today’s schools and businesses to ensure Generation Five (18 year olds and younger currently in education) integrate their IT skills into future organisations effectively.

    Speaking to businesses, they too are aware of the importance of the new generation of employees they will have and ensuring they have the appropriate skills. As Dan Scarfe from Dot Net Solutions put it:

      There is a definite knowledge gap between the skills students believe they need for future employment and what businesses consider valuable.  

    And the teachers too that we’ve spoken to, such as Terry Fish the head teacher at Twynham School, have realised the potential that students can bring,

      These are young people who simply look at the world in a slightly different way. Regardless of the business decisions, young people today have a greater autonomy due to their approach to the internet and communication technology. Nothing is going to change this and so we either embrace that or not. Any schools, colleges or employers that fail to adapt will be outshone by those that do in the years to come.  


    The world has changed and is continuing to change. What is clear is that people are learning, communicating and working in different ways and education and businesses need to adapt in order to survive.

    How ready are your students, your local employers, and your school?

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Sneak peak at the Microsoft stand at BETT 2011


    Firstly, Happy New Year! I hope that your Christmas and New Year celebrations were fun filled, action packed or a chance to unwind and relax before starting a new year and a new term in school.

    I know many of you will be attending the BETT show 2011, taking place from Wednesday 12th –Saturday 15th January at the Olympia in London. As usual Microsoft have got a big stand (a very different stand to previous years I may add….. ) and we look forward to seeing you if you pop by and take a look at what we have to offer.

    Key themes this year – all of which will be shown off on our demo pods by both Microsoft staff and staff from schools using Microsoft products covering:-

      • The Cloud in Education
      • Cost Saving
      • Innovative teaching and learning

    Six schools from around the UK will present in our theatre. This year we have:

    • George Purdy from Monkseaton demonstrating  Office 2010 and OneNote 2010 used by both students and teachers to assist with learning in the school
    • Alan Enfield from New Line Learning Academy presenting Innovative Curriculum Delivery
    • Dan Roberts from Saltash Community College is excited to explain how using products and equipment already in schools doesn’t  have to cost anything in his presentation Innovation for Free
    • Louise Dorian, Ray Chambers and Guy Shearer sharing stories of how Collaborative Learning has been a success at Lodge Park Technology College
    • Alan Richards from West Hatch School has fantastic stories on Cost Saving in school and how anyone can make small changes with big results
    • Karel Klatovsky at Gymnazium Litomercie is flying in from the Czech Republic to present on Cost Saving and MultiPoint Server
    • and finally our very own Ray Fleming and Mark Stewart are going to show what’s next for Microsoft in their Futures presentation.

    If you are staying in London for BETT and will be staying over on Wednesday, I have managed to blag 20 VIP invitations for our blog readers to come along on the evening of Wednesday 12th January and join both Microsoft, partners and schools at the Office 365  for education Party taking place at Eighty-Six Restaurant, London for 2 hours of drinks and canapés  If you would like an invite, please contact me via and I will reserve one for you. You can collect the invite from myself on Wednesday at our stand.

    I look forward to seeing you at our stand – you can’t miss us….. we’re the bright orange one…. in the middle…..

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