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July, 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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July, 2011

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Free SharePoint 2010 Webinar from Alan Richards (SharePoint MVP)


    Guest post from Alan Richard’s from West Hatch High School:

    If you have ever read my own blog ( or seen any of the posts on here then you will know that I have a passion for cost cutting. In the current climate cost cutting in Schools is very much still on the agenda but I believe it shouldn’t be cost cutting at any cost, there should be an end goal, a clear and obvious benefit for all stakeholders.

    So when I was privileged enough to receive my SharePoint MVP in July of this year I started to think how I could use some of the benefits you get as an MVP to spread my cost cutting agenda.

    Now one of the big benefits we get as MVP’s is a free live meeting account, so as a start I thought I would deliver a free webinar on my cost cutting project using SharePoint 2010.

    The webinar will cover how using SharePoint 2010, InfoPath 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2010 I have managed to harness the power of SharePoint to collect and analyse data and reduce the need for paper forms.

    The session will cover how to use the three products to create codeless solutions to use online forms to collect data from users and then use workflows designed around your business needs to analyse the data.

    At the end of the 1 hour webinar I hope you will go away with a clear idea of how you can bring added value to all the stakeholders in your organisation while also cutting costs – a win, win situation surely.

    Here are the time and date details

    Thursday, 11th August 2011 | 5:00pm – 6:00pm BST | 9:00am – 10:00am PDT

    To register for the webinar follow the link below

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Having fun with PowerPoint. Yes really!


    It’s that time of year again (well for me anyway) where I am now thinking about BETT 2012 and all the planning, and BESA have sent out e-mails requesting proposals for the seminar programme.

    Actually they’re calling it “Learn Live”, and there’s a determination to make it all a bit more exciting. 

    “We are actively encouraging those wanting to showcase their ideas to be imaginative in terms of format - we are looking for a richer, more engaging and effective set of sessions than 100+ sets of Death By PowerPoint.”


    Although PowerPoint can be and has been assumed as non engaging with the familiar term ‘’Death by PowerPoint’’, it isn't actually just about the technology but how you use it. Understanding the new and improved functions to make your PowerPoint the one that wont send your audience to sleep.

    These issues have been discussed in the past between Gerald Haigh, independent writer to Microsoft and Kristian Still, Director of E Learning at Hamble College. He uses PowerPoint for presentations, and in class. His students use it too, very effectively, and I guess he really puts his finger on what can go wrong when he says, that PowerPoint is a visual tool, and that you need to think very carefully before you use it to display text.

    “Let your slide images do the talking. Keep text to a minimum,”

    PowerPoint 2010 strongly builds on that visual theme, of course, with enhanced features for handling video and photographs.

    That said, the best slides are always the simplest – a striking colour image, or simple chart, or an arresting sentence with lots of space around it. In this, Kristian’s a fan of presentation expert Professor Garr Reynolds, whose “Top Ten Slide Tips” strongly reinforce messages around visual impact, simplicity and natural flow. As Reynolds has it,

    ‘The slides themselves were never meant to be the "star of the show".’

    Kristian’s also keen on brevity, and recommends that you take a look at the Pecha-Kucha approach to presentations, 20 slides, each slide up for 20 seconds. There’s a whole raft of examples on the Pecha Kucha site, all of them very visual, many highly creative, a few wonderfully bizarre.

    Finally, let’s hope that nobody at BETT 2012 suffers the fate of IBM Executive Nick Donofrio. One day in 1993 Nick was doing a presentation to Louis Gerstner, who’d just taken over as IBM CEO. He was making the mistake of subjecting his new boss to what was probably then called “Death by OHP”. Gerstner, though, got fed up and, because he obviously could,

    “I stepped to the table and, as politely as I could in front of his team, switched off the projector.”

    So, don’t be put off from planning to use PowerPoint at BETT. It really can be as rich, engaging and effective as BESA rightly wants! And if in doubt, throw in some funky transitions between slides. This always pleases me.

    (The Louis Gerstner story is told in his book “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?” ).

    Picture by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    21st Century Learners – views and thoughts from our future




    Some of our friends at Leaning Possibilities Plus  have come up with a survey for 9 to 11 year olds to ask them on their thoughts and views on living in the 21st Century.

    This survey is non commercial and the results will be available for everyone to see on 9th October 2011. So far over 3000 children, not just from the UK but a few from around the world have so far completed this.

    If you would like your children to take part and they are aged between 9 and 11 years old, here is the project site with survey.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    No-Code Designer Solutions for SharePoint 2010 training course


    One of our partners, Collabco Software, have written a post I would like to share with you on SharePoint 2010 and the opportunity for a course on creating no-code SharePoint Designer Solutions. Please take a look below and if interested, details on how to enrol are given at the end.

    Information Technology has been continually evolving over the last 20 years. During this time it would be fair to say that the volume of applications within any typical education institution has continually grown, and the infrastructure required has therefore become much more complex. Simultaneously with this growth comes ever increasing Information Technology related costs, and conflicts between departmental and institution-wide I.T agendas. At a time of increasing budget demands and greater student expectations something needs to change.

    SharePoint is often implemented as Intranet enabling Information Portals/Dashboards, Collaboration, Search and Document Management, but some of its key capabilities are often overlooked.

    SharePoint 2010 provides a great feature set to enable all these things. However the time and expertise involved in integrating to existing applications is significant. Not just a SharePoint perspective, but also application specific knowledge is often required, and that can have a high cost attached, requiring application vendors to be brought in. The question then is, why aggregate lots of applications when some of them need not exist in the first place?

    One powerful set of features which SharePoint provides is an application development platform, however this is one with a key difference. A development platform that allows ordinary users to implement applications without entering a single line of code! This capability, described by Microsoft as “Composites”, allows an I.T department to provide a central governed environment that enables business users to create their own database and workflow applications, to meet their exact requirements, without involving yet another application vendor.

    There are now courses that specialise in training for SharePoint Designer specifically targeted to the education sector in order that they can implement these changes themselves. This allows them to achieve a closer business fit, lower costs, and also enables users to transform their organisation and increase efficiency, whist at the same time keeping the I.T people happy. These courses are specifically developed and are instructed by experienced consultants, who have had involvement with Implementing SharePoint into the education sector.

    Creating No-Code SharePoint Designer Solutions for SharePoint 2010 is a course taking place this winter specially designed for the education sector.

    This course will demonstrate how to make the most out of SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 without having to engage in any custom development. The course demonstrates how to create business solutions using nothing more than a browser and SharePoint Designer 2010. The course is designed both to teach and to give the user hands-on experience with the most valuable functionality of SharePoint Server 2010.

    For more details on how you can take part in these course this winter contact Collabco Software on 0845 0507 380 or email and ask about Elev8ted.  Alternatively you can check out the website.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    How exceptional leadership can bring out the best in technology


    Isobel BryceIsobel Bryce, head of Community School was just one of the impressive educators who spoke at the 2011 The Sunday Times Festival of Education in June. She talked about technology, and was instrumental in adding the “.net” to her school’s name soon after she arrived there in 2003. Isobel spoke about leadership at all levels and bringing it to work with technology, as after all, technology won’t do the job on its own.

    Gerald Haigh, independent writer to Microsoft spoke to Isobel and her take on the relationship between school leadership and ICT after talking to her a couple of years ago in the context of the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Programme. Isobel’s full hearted support of ITP at has made the school and its teachers into global players in ICT for learning.

    Isobel has belief in the strong yet carefully distributed leadership structure that’s necessary if ICT is really going to transform learning, a real leadership lesson for all schools.  At there are three people and three jobs, each one essential for the effectiveness of the other two and of the wider community.

    First, there’s a senior leadership team member, in this instance the deputy head having a strategic understanding and vision of ICT and learning in the school. Obviously the head teacher carries the overall school vision, but if ICT is to be a key driver of learning, a high priority for staffing and resources, then the head needs, alongside on the SLT, a person of status and authority who can maintain the strategic ICT focus.

    The second person will be someone who is a real day to day curriculum leader, in the thick of classroom action, constantly demonstrating the value of ICT for learning. looked at staff for a confident role model, revealing what’s possible, helping colleagues, and, perhaps most importantly, showing that learning of any kind can be fun, not least with the help of ICT.

    And finally the network manager.  The technical person who ensures that everything works and understands the technology for when it doesn't (let’s face it, this can happen) and at the same time understand that learning is always the priority.

    In some ways, this third role can be the most difficult one. Back in March we quoted Paul Hynes, Programme Lead for New Technology at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) on his concerns about some of the attitudes in some network teams.

    “ can find dysfunctional teams. They block suggestions and ideas with technical language that heads don’t understand.”

    Isobel knows from experience elsewhere exactly what Paul Hynes means and therefore really appreciates her own network manager, who sees the job entirely in terms of providing support for learning, making suggestions about how things can be done, as well as providing technical support for neighbouring schools.

    Anyone who knows the school also knows who these three people are at

    The SLT member is Deputy Head Dave Garland, with 33 years service to the school, and in Isobel’s words “A real pioneer of the power of ICT”.

    The curriculum leader is Dan Roberts, whose work and success in the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Programme is well known. A good place to see Dan in action is on this bit of video about his “Recharge the Battery” Project.

    The Network Manager at is Adam Ledger. His contribution is best described by reference a recent newsletter which Adam produced for the school in response to a suggestion from senior leadership. Full of useful information for staff about PC upgrades, software, wireless access, drop in training sessions, it’s strong but also easy to understand in both content and spirit of the network team’s commitment to the support of teaching and learning of the school.

    To those three key posts, in any school, you have to add a fourth – the head!  Without the full commitment of the head, none of this can happen.  Not just commitment to ICT but to the development of a risk-taking, innovative school culture.

    “When I first came at the start of 2003, I knew there were some incredible people here, and I remember standing up and saying I wanted them to take risks.”, Isobel Bryce.

    Developing  that kind of approach in a school, people will seek you out! Dan Roberts, for example, arrived in a sideways move because he knew he’d have the opportunities he wanted.

    One area of this relationship however is to look after the sustainability of it. Dave Garland retires this summer. Dan Roberts won’t be in his present job for ever, and maybe Adam Ledger won’t be either. People naturally move on and Isobel is well ahead of all those thoughts. By concentrating so much here on a named team risks underplaying the contribution of a whole series of able people and teams.

    “These things don’t happen overnight, and we have really good people coming on, those who follow the pioneers and keep taking the school forward.”

    ‘’Leadership at all levels’’ was used in Isobel’s talk at the Sunday Times Festival and quite deliberately too. Students in innovative schools are released to be leaders in their own learning as well as others. Something that encourages.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Master students report key talks and discussions at The Sunday Times Festival of Education


    festivalOn 25th and 26th June 2011, The Sunday Times Festival of Education took place at Wellington College, Berkshire. Here Wellington brought in a team of nine student reporters from the Masters course in journalism at City University and invited them to write some short reports on some of the talks and discussions during the event.


    Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education

    Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education

    Sir Martin Rees with Dr Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College

    Lord Robert Winston


    All PDF’s to these reports can be found here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Software Licensing Training Course at Stockton Sixth Form College, 5th August 2011



    Do you want to know more about EES (Enrolment for Education Solutions)?
    Do you need to know more about Microsoft licensing, including:

    • Client/Server Licensing
      • What’s a CAL
      • Core CAL Suite
      • Enterprise CAL Suite
      • Device CAL & User CAL
      • Processor Licensing (inc Multi-Core)
      • External Connectors/Internet Licences
      • Terminal Services/RDS
    • Work @ Home / Home Use Programme
    • Student Licensing
    • Software Assurance & Other Benefits, including:
      • MSDNAA
      • Dynamics CRM AA
      • IT Academy
      • Live@Edu / Office 365
    • OEM & Operating System Licensing
    • Virtualisation – impact on licensing
      • VDA & VDI Licensing (including access to Applications)
      • Windows Server
      • Windows 7
      • SQL
    • Product Activation
    • Downgrade Rights
    • Licence Transfer
    • Step-Up Licences
    • Re-imaging Rights
    • Desktop Optimisation Pack
    • Licensing products to use with the Apple Mac
    • VLSC (Introduction to)
    • Online Services
    • Multi-user licensing (i.e. Multi-Point Server licensing)

    What can Viglen do to help you?

    As one of the top licensing resellers in the UK as well as an OEM, we are well placed to understand the licensing needs of our customers. 
    Therefore we have designed a training course, covering all the above subject areas, to help customers understand how Microsoft licensing works and how you can get the best return on your investment.  Our trainer has over 20 years’ experience of software licensing and is regarded by many in the education sector as one of the primary experts on Microsoft licensing in the UK.

    Venue - Stockton Sixth For College

    Course timings:

    0930-1000               Coffee & Registration
    1000-1115               Training Part 1
    1115-1130               Coffee Break
    1130-1300               Training Part 2
    1300-1345               Lunch (& opportunity to discuss issues with your peers)
    1345-1500               Training Part 3
    1500-1530               Q & A Session / Close

    If you wish to attend, please complete the attached Booking Form at the earliest opportunity. 

    If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us –  email or telephone 01727 201890

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Genius on a Shoestring: Interesting competition from RM Education


    Quick post to share the details of an interesting new competition being run by the folks over at RM Education – Genius on a Shoestring!

    Open to all schools and colleges across the UK, RM are inviting institutions to come forward and showcase their innovations in teaching and learning.

    With an emphasis on big thinking, even on a small budget, RM are offering some great prizes for those institutions that have really moved the bar forward in terms of enhancing the delivery of teaching and learning.

    RM Competition 

    More information can be found on the RM website, and registrations should be received by the 16th September. Final submissions must be with the judging panel before the 30th September, 2011.

    Get your video cameras ready!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    How do you showcase students’ work to a much wider, perhaps even global, audience?


    Blog post created in association with Steve Gillott, Head of IT at Wootton Bassett School:

    Wootton Bassett School in Wiltshire run an annual exhibition of students’ work in their Design, Art and Technology Show, and have used Microsoft Photosynth and the free Image Composite Editor to create a virtual exhibition of students’ work on the web.

    The panoramas of the Design, Art and Technology Exhibition were created by taking a number of photographs of the exhibition which overlapped, and then imported into the Microsoft Image Composite Editor, a free download from ICE then stitches all the photographs together seamlessly and can upload the resulting high-resolution panorama to the Photosynth website. You can see the finished panoramas at and


    But to really get a feel of what it was like to be at the exhibition, Steve Gillott, Head of ICT at Wootton Bassett School, also created a Photosynth which you can see at Photosynth creates a 3D visualisation from many photos taken from lots of different angles and perspectives. Steve said, “The synth allowed us to recreate the exhibition in 3D, so virtual visitors can really get a feel of how the exhibition was laid out in the hall. The Photosynth also allows you to step much closer to the work to see it in even greater detail – almost like being there! The really exciting and powerful use of the tool is getting feedback on the work from people all over the world. The students are really excited to know that their work has reached such a global audience.”


    By using the ‘highlights’, you can quickly move to a particular point in the hall, and step closer and closer to see the detail in the work.

    clip_image003 clip_image004

    You can find other synths such as Stonehenge and the Sphinx which make great classroom resources to explore at You’ll need a Live ID and the latest version of Silverlight installed to create your own synths.

    If you would like to write a guest post to showcase how you are embracing technology within your school, leave your details in the comments below or get in touch via Twitter.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Interesting Links – 8th July


    Collection of interesting edtech related links from the last week or so.

    Have you come across any interesting stories in the last week?

    Have a great weekend!

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