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January, 2012 - 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, 2012

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Update to Microsoft DreamSpark

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    Originally posted on the Faculty Connection Blog.

    We recently made some exciting changes and improvements to DreamSpark, with the launch of a new site and rebranding of MSDNAA to Microsoft DreamSpark Premium.

    DreamSpark

    DreamSpark is the first step for educators to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today’s students by providing no cost access to professional-level development, design, and gaming software.

    DreamSpark offers a unique opportunity for both students and educators to use the latest professional development, design and gaming software at no charge and provides a chance to learn new technologies to excite students in classrooms.

    Furthermore, DreamSpark offers access to software and curriculum resources to help develop courses that will enable students to achieve their career goals after graduation.

    The programme also offers opportunities to help educators expand their personal and professional portfolios and enhance classroom objectives.

    For Students

    DreamSpark is simple; it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no charge so they can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.  
    Microsoft believes that students can do amazing things if they only have the right tools.

    For Teachers/Academics

    DreamSpark is about giving educators no cost access to Microsoft professional-level developer, designer and gaming software so they can reach, motivate, and ensure their students achieve their greatest potential. DreamSpark gives teachers access to the software and resources to ensure their classroom always has the latest technologies to keep students engaged in new ways.

    Learning must be relevant, exciting, and engaging. DreamSpark is aligned with universities, associations, and employers to ensure that educators are able to discover, create, and deliver courses to students that lead to increased technical proficiency, employability and of course creates the next generation of technical leaders.

    DreamSpark Pricing Model and Usage

    • Free for all students – simply self-subscribe to DreamSpark via http://www.dreamspark.com
    • Free for all Schools being in the system and setup to provide their students verification solution. This is through domain (you provide), shibboleth, or Live@Edu
    • High schools can request codes and give to their students,

    NB. Licensing does not allow for the products to be used in class, and FREE licensing does not cover educators

    Changes to licensing and costs

    DreamSpark for Schools, College and Universities subscription is now available and priced at $99 FREE for EES customers – This change allows all DreamSpark software to be installed for teaching and learning on Institutional Lab machines (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and is available for all taught discipline, previously this only covered students usage and not licensed for intuitional equipment)

    DreamSpark Premium – Previously MSDNAA so includes more products including Visio, OneNote and Project and is aimed at STEM FE and HE institutions and all IT Academy Subscribers. The cost has been reduced to $499 from £1000+ and it’s a campus license as per EES so you only need to purchase 1 license and not 1 per school or faculty (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and all lab installations)

    Microsoft was started when many of the founders were still students so we know that anything is possible. To make this happen, we are aligning with universities, associations, and other communities around the world to make sure that DreamSpark reaches everyone as fast as possible.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Year 9 ICT lesson using Kodu and Mouse Mischief at Monkseaton High School

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    Following Michael Gove's recent announcement about changes to the ICT Curriculum, Tyne Tees Television filmed a Year 9 ICT lesson using Kodu and Mouse Mischief and spoke to the students and their teacher about their learning in ICT at Monkseaton.

    The work they are doing with Kodu, in particular, is fantastic!

    Watch the video in full below:

    For assistance in helping teachers and students prepare for the curriculum changes and to better equip themselves for a digital future, our recent blog post highlighting both the IT Academy and DreamSpark might be useful reading.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

    Tim

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Another great example of technology used in the classroom

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    Monkseaton High School have very recently made a film that they could use for to show students, parents, prospective parents and students  examples of how technology is used in a 21st century school, in particular Kodu and Mouse Mischief in the classroom.

    This example will show just how easy technology can be integrated into every day learning from both the perspective of teachers and students at Monkseaton.

     

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Trending the verbal network at BETT 2012

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    Post written by Mark Reynolds, Schools Business Manager (South)

    (At the time of writing) It’s the Friday after BETT. Last week, I was in the middle of Olympia, for the last BETT Friday ever (assuming that the EXCEL London move works out). The Microsoft stand was incredibly busy, which is brilliant. I didn’t get to talk to everyone I wanted to, but did have hundreds of great conversations with a huge range of people; and whist trending on Twitter is all well and good, I thought I’d try and sum up the trends I spotted by talking to people face-to-face, in a totally unscientific brain-dump of BETT 2012.

    So, what was trending on the verbal network at BETT?

    1. Computer Science and the teaching of IT. After Gove’s speech on the Wednesday, we had loads of people come on to the stand, asking how we could help them re-write their ICT curriculum. Some were big Local Authorities who are planning things centrally, and some were individual IT teachers, who, quite frankly, looked a mixture of terrified and excited about the need to introduce some “proper” computing into their classrooms. We had some amazing teachers on the stand who could help them start straight away, like Ray Chambers from Lodge Park and Nicki Maddams from Hartsdown Technology College. They were showing off the amazing Kodu for game programming and also showcasing the software they’d written themselves for Kinect. Microsoft has been campaigning long and hard for the computing in schools agenda, and it’s great to see that work recognised – but my view is that we also need to retain some balance. Do people still need to know how to use Office properly? Of course they do. Kids need to learn how to format their CV, track their budget with a spread sheet, or build an exciting presentation - but that can definitely be achieved at an earlier stage in their learning than it is today, either with in-app games like Ribbon Hero or with industry recognised qualifications like MOS. I think it’s a really exciting time to be involved in Education IT, but teacher CPD will get more and more important as we push things forward in a new direction.

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    2. BYOD, and iPads in particular. Yes, this is a Microsoft blog that’s going to talk about iPads. Shock horror. It may amaze you to know this, but most of us at Microsoft are pretty pragmatic types. We are very excited about the launch of Windows 8, and wish we could have told you more at BETT – but we’re also seeing lots of schools buying iPads and also visiting the stand, waving their iPads at us, mostly asking things like: “can I use this with your Cloud” or “can you help me manage these on my network”. So for me, there are two parts to this: user experience and management. When schools use our Live@Edu email service, they can sync mail and calendars to their iPads very easily and have a great experience. We even have apps for SkyDrive, OneNote and Lync on iOS. Most teachers I spoke too seem to use their Windows PC for planning lessons, writing documents and doing the bulk of their admin – then use the iPad to carry around to meetings or browse the web on the sofa. Therefore, using Cloud technology like SkyDrive which lets you easily move files around is a big benefit, and we showed just that during our “School in a Box” presentation. As for device management, we encouraged the technical people who came on to look at the beta of System Centre 2012, which for the first time will allow schools to manage iOS and Android devices. There were many raised eyebrows and confused looks – but we said yes, as long as you’re using Windows Server and Exchange for email, then BYOD and teacher iPads are just about to get a lot less scary and hopefully help schools avoid any nasty “SIMS data/iPad/left on bus” type moments.

    3. Skype/Lync and the Video Conferencing 2.0. A few years ago, video conferencing in schools meant that you had to buy big expensive dedicated kits, with plasma screens, wall mounted cameras and complicated software. Now, we all use Skype at home and the whole idea of video conferencing is more accessible and widely accepted as a non-speciaist subject. We had a brilliant presentation on our stand by Joe Dale, sharing some inspired ideas from Skyping Santa to sleepover Skype nights in the school hall! We got feedback that some Local Authorities or RBC broadband services block Skype – which we’ve taken on board and will hope to discuss with those people in the coming months. Now this is, of course, often for reasons of e-safety – but with current budget restraints and the huge pull of Skype from people's home lives, we have to find a way to help schools embrace it safely. Joe advocates the teacher leading a Skype call at the front of the class – to a teacher leading their class at the other end, Skype in the Classroom is not about student-student conversations. Where things got really interesting at BETT, is when people realised that the “managed” world of Video Conferencing (using Lync integrated with your Active-directory, Exchange servers and Office apps) would, in time, merge with the “consumer” world of Video Conferencing. This will allow me, on my Microsoft provided Lync client, to call my wife at home on Skype. Not to mention me calling my 8 year-old on his xBox! The possibilities are mind-blowing, but for a whole host of reasons, from distance learning, to cost-saving, to international collaboration – it’s time to re-visit Video Conferencing in your schools and explore the possibilities.

    I was once told that you should never tell people more than three things at once, so that’s my lot. Anyway, I still have 158 unread post-BETT emails in my inbox. See you next year at EXCEL.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Teched Europe 2012 Registration now open

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    Come to TechEd Europe, unplug from your day job, & dive into the thousands of learning & networking opportunities

    In addition to over 400 sessions with Microsoft and industry speakers, TechEd offers you face-to-face connections with thousands of your peers who share your challenges. TechEd is the forum to gain the expertise and insights that will help you get the most from your IT investments.
    TechEd offers 4 days to:

    • LEARN in-depth about the latest technology trends and how you can leverage these effectively in your business
    • DISCOVER the future of Microsoft’s products, technologies, solutions and services directly from Microsoft’s leaders with news, announcements, and demos
    • NETWORK with Microsoft and industry thought leaders, and fellow delegates that share your technology interests and business challenges
    • PLAN the features and architecture to support your business goals and product roadmap

    Need Even More? Attend a Pre-Conference Seminar

    By arriving a day early on Monday, 25 June and registering for the special Pre-Conference Seminars you will get in-depth training and insights on the Microsoft technologies and products that power your business. Select from 10 different topics taught by John Craddock, Kate Gregory, Steve Fox, Mikael Nystrom, Kent Agerlund, Alberto Ferrari, Richard Hundhausen, and more!

    Register NOW for TechEd Europe (limited number of academic tickets available for students and educators)

    Register Now or visit europe.msteched.com and learn more

    Originally posted on the Microsoft UK Faculty Connection Blog.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Thoughts on Openhive and VLE’s

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    Guest post from freelance writer, Gerald Haigh. Gerald writes regularly for the Microsoft Education blogs.

    On the final Saturday of BETT 2012, I found myself among old friends on the Capita stand. Having followed the SIMS story since the earliest days, I thought I’d kept up with most of what they’ve been doing over the years. I have to say, though, that I hadn’t taken enough notice of their cloud-hosted SharePoint powered management learning environment, ‘Openhive’, which was added to Capita’s portfolio when they acquired Synetrix in 2009.

    This year, though, my attention was grabbed by the fact that ‘OpenHive’ was moved to the main Capita stand, and it was made possible to see its possibilities aligned with all the developments emerging in the SIMS management information system.

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    There’s a lot going for ‘Openhive’. It’s modular, which means it can be tailored to a school’s needs and budget, and it uses ‘Silverlight’ to produce an attractive and easy user interface. The result is a resource that’s highly flexible.

    One school might choose simply to use the Openhive Portal, providing a customised and school branded single sign on front end for all the school’s ICT services. Another, though, might go for a complete ISP service, with mail, parental reporting, video and instant messaging. Or, of course, any step in between (The interplay between ‘Openhive’ and the mass of data held by SIMS, is of obvious importance here).

    This flexibility is important. So often, teachers and school leaders have been thrown off-balance by the arrival of a complicated VLE, sometimes imposed from above. As a result, it’s often suggested that schools should consider retreating to a simple starting point, looking to using bespoke web tools as and when they were needed. At the same time, though, the enormous potential of SharePoint for collaboration, communication and content handling has been obvious, particularly to that intrepid band of teachers and network managers who have succeeded in harnessing SharePoint to the needs of their schools.

    Not everyone wants to do that, though, or has the necessary skills. That’s why the development of commercial SharePoint based environments such as Learning Possibilities’ LP+4, Civica’s ‘CloudBase” and Capita’s “Openhive” itself, are so important, each developed with the emphasis on how students, teachers, leaders and parents engage with school work.

    They do, though, need to be carefully approached and adopted. That’s why James Cross, eLearning Consultant with ‘Civica’, describing how they introduce ‘CloudBase’ to schools says,

    “We go into school, really get to know the staff, and essentially become an extra member of staff.”

    The “Openhive” approach is the same. Keith Jones, Capita’s Openhive Programme Manager, describing the level of support that’s provided for adopters, says,

    “We say to schools, ‘You can’t buy a VLE in June and expect it to be in action by September. It takes a while to understand it and all staff and others, including governors, have to be involved.”

    The point he makes, and it’s a crucial one for all school ICT projects, is that the adoption process should consist of making the product work for the school, and not be about changing school processes and policies to fit the product.

    There’s so much going on now as partner businesses and developers pick up Microsoft software, such as SQL Server, SharePoint 2010, Live@edu and Office 365, and tailor them to the needs of learners. At the same time there’s the rapid advance of Cloud technology and the ‘School in a Box’ concept. It all makes for plenty to watch out for and report on in the coming year.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Choosing the Right Device for your School: Ten Considerations Schools Should Make When Purchasing New Devices

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    Today there are a myriad of devices for schools that range from those that are good at doing just one thing to those that promise to do everything. It’s confusing to know which one to choose given your school’s budget, educational goals and existing technology investments.

    In an era when schools are asked to do more with less, school administrators really want to make sure new devices meet the needs of students and drive positive educational outcomes. Schools should ask themselves “What do we want to accomplish with the device?”. The answer usually includes schools wanting a device where students can consume digital content, easily take and share notes, create presentations and write papers, plug in an array of peripherals like microscopes, take a tough and rugged school environment and (oh, by the way) be less than £400.

    Students need to be prepared for life skills they’ll take into higher education and their career. Do the devices prepare them for the creative and collaborative workforce they’ll ultimately join? Will the devices be more distraction than instruction? Do the devices run the software necessary to crunch data, write papers, edit photos and tie it all together in a presentation? 

    There’s a lot to think about. In an attempt to help, we’ve narrowed down ten important considerations schools should make when purchasing new devices.

    View or download the full document below.

    How are you currently managing the decision making around device selection within your institution? I would love to hear your experiences and ideas in the comments below. Thanks in advance!

    Tim

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    So what exactly are the Microsoft team showing off at BETT 2012?

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    I can honestly say that the last couple of months has kept me extremely busy with organising the Microsoft stand at BETT 2012! With everything from staff, to entertainment, to presenters and presentations, demo kit right the way through to the colour of the polo shirts (dark blue as apparently Steve Beswick doesn't suit pink…) I knew that we had to make our stand exciting, interactive and fun for you guys coming to see us. And some of the demo pods, you can actually have a go, handle and try out the products too!

    So, just for a bit of a taster and hopefully entice you to come and pay us a visit (we’re the big stand in the middle of the Olympia), I asked some members of the team to write down a few words of what you can find at their demo pod.

     

    Playful Learning – Ben Nunney, Academic Developer Evangelist thumbnail

    ‘’Games aren’t just the thing you do once you’ve done your homework – they’re proven to enhance the classroom experience, drive home learning objectives, and can serve as an engaging and inspiring plenary. Microsoft had done amazing things over the past 12 months with Kinect which, using an array of sensors, makes you the controller. By connecting the Kinect up to your PC you can bring the Kinect Effect to your classroom. At BETT 2012 this year, we’ll have a whole bunch of demos for you to play with, and see what a touch of gaming can do for your school!’’

     

    Private Cloud – Andrew Fryer, IT Pro Evangelist

    ‘’What on earth is a Private Cloud and why does it matter to schools at all? The idea is actually very simple;   it’s the adoption of the techniques that are used to deliver the online services we all use like Hotmail, Amazon etc but inside your own school or network of schools.  The key to this approach is extreme automation and standardisation to provide services as and when schools need them.  You could be forgiven for thinking is all about saving money, but the real benefit is agility, allowing schools to innovate and adapt as they need to.’’

    thumbnailCAPHZ3EK

    Public Cloud – James Marshall, Live@edu Specialist

    Come and see where it’s really happening, over on the public cloud pod! We’ll be showing off the latest and greatest technology Microsoft has to offer including Microsoft Office 365 for education, Live@edu, Windows Intune, and more!
    Find out how you can harness the power of “the cloud” to provide the most awesome and up to date technology to your students and staff and save your institution money at the same time!

    So, spare a few minutes and prepare to have your negative nephological notions nuked by our team of experts!

     

    Get Online @ Home  - Clare Riley, Group Manager, Education Relations

    ‘’If you have students in your class, or your school, who don’t have access to a PC at home, then THIS is the pod for you.  Prices start below £100 for a Windows 7 PC.  Come and see the Get Online @ Home refurbished desktop and laptop computers which come with Windows 7; Security Essentials;  and a starter version of Microsoft Office.  This is a great offer to share with parents and with the management team in your school.  You can help families access this offer themselves , or you can encourage your school to use Pupil Premium funding to provide computers for disadvantaged students.’’

     

    Productivity  - Andy Downs, Schools Internal Business Manager

    ‘’Seamlessly communicate more effectively and efficiently than ever before within your Institution (and beyond) from a single user interface.
    Today’s world demands the ability to work real-time wherever and whenever with no boundaries…

    An integrated Windows based platform (Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and Office) enables such abilities as: Instantly scaling from an email or an Instant Message to a complete Audio/Video Conference; Working collaboratively on shared documents in a central area and even driving towards a paperless environment.

    Immediate savings in time and money are easily recognisable, but there are many other compelling benefits for your Institution - including positive impact on your Green Agenda!’’

     

    Windows Phone – Simon Ibbitt, Further Education Business ManagerNokia-Lumia-710-Nokia-Lumia-800

    ‘’Think you know about Smart Phones!?! Think again! This year at BETT Microsoft will be showcasing the latest Windows Mango Smart Phones, buy HTC Nokia and Samsung.

    Microsoft really are ‘putting people first ‘. The Smart Phone is  now part of the class room for both teachers and students alike. We can show you the power of Skydrive, the One Note and Lync integration and Office 365 for your phone. Or, perhaps you would like to see one of the hundreds of Apps, specially designed for education?’’

    So come find us at BETT and see how Microsoft really gives you ‘'anytime, anywhere learning for all'.

    Curriculum – Stuart Ball, Partner in Learning Manager

    ‘’The UK Partners in Learning Network connects teachers and educators across the globe, and unlike many other ‘teacher networks’, it actively contributes to teacher’s professional development through events and resources. At BETT 2012 this year @innovativeteach and @chickensaltash will present in their inimitable style and demonstrate some fantastic new resources such the Microsoft  Learning Suite, Partners in Learning School Research and the new Partners in Learning Network site. This along with examples of how being part of the Partners in Learning Network has changed the way teachers think and have improved the learning opportunities for students, makes this session one of the most impactful you could attend.’’

     

    MultiPoint Server – Steven Goddard, Senior Programme Manager

    Windows MultiPoint Server is a simple, cost-effective way for more students and teachers to gain access to the latest technology, improving learning and helping students prepare to compete in a global economy. With Windows MultiPoint Server, a single computer supports multiple users at the same time, each working independently using their own monitor, keyboard and mouse and with a familiar Windows computing experience. Schools can provide more students with access to the latest technology, even with limited budgets.

     

    Many of these demo’s are also going to be presented in much more detail from both Microsoft staff and teachers already using some of these products in their classroom that will be shown throughout the 4 days on our theatre stand. So, if you would like to come have play on the Kinect, experience a new innovative way of communication via Lync or just pop by and say hello, we look forward to seeing you next week on stand D30 and D40!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Gaming in Education

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    As mentioned earlier this week, a core focus for us at BETT 2012 is gaming in education. With a dedicated showcase area staffed by the K-Team and inspiring daily presentations by the always motivating Ollie Bray, our stand at BETT 2012 promises to be an essential pit stop for those interested in learning more about how gaming can help engage learners of all ages!

    More specifically, the gaming in education showcase area will be featuring real examples of how applications developed using the Kinect SDK are improving the attainment of students. Visit the stand to see how the creators of the applications personally demonstrate how they have embraced the SDK to create learning experiences that challenge the status quo.

    Additionally, if you are planning your visit to BETT 2012, Ollie Bray’s presentation titled ‘Gaming in Education: Playful Learning’ is scheduled for 10.30am and will then be repeated at 3pm. If you haven’t seem Ollie present before, I highly recommend a visit to the stand to see his session! 

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    Additionally, if you are keen to learn more about how games are being effectively used in the classroom, our Kinect Adventures in the Classroom eBook has some thought provoking content that you can implement within your institution today. The eBook can viewed below or downloaded via our SlideShare account.

    We look forward to welcoming you on stand D40 & D30 at BETT 2012. 

    Tim

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Lync 2010 at De Montfort University, Leicester.

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    lync

     

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that Lync  can be a real game-changer for universities. Among the higher education institutions we’ve talked to about this recently is De Montford University (DMU) in Leicester. There, the Information Technology and Media Services (ITMS) team, led by their Director, Michael Robinson, is engaged in a Lync implementation that will enable staff and students to engage and work more productively, efficiently and cost effectively. To the existing choice between a phone call an email and a visit, will be added the possibilities of audio and video conferencing , instant messaging and desktop sharing, all from within each user’s familiar software, at work, home, or with a mobile device.

    Driving change

    De Montfort University is strategically committed to enhancing teaching and learning and management through technology. There are, though, two immediate drivers of the current adoption of Lync 2010.

    One is the approaching need to replace the University’s current telephone system, which is nearing the end of its life. The other is the move, completed in 2011, of the University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery from an outlying site to a new home at the Edith Murphy Building on the main campus. This has involved a major building refurbishment and rather than commit budget and resources to equipping the new premises with the existing telephone system, the decision was made to install Lync for about 100 users, at first for phone service only, working in parallel with the legacy system. This first installation, completed in September 2011, was the first step leading towards a roll-out of full-feature Lync across the whole institution completing in August 2012. Leading the project is Michael Robinson, Director of Information Technology and Media Services.

    Planning the roll-out

    The preliminary installation in the Edith Murphy building was designated as Phase One of the University’s Lync implementation. It acted as a pilot for Phase 2, the full roll-out.

    Phase 2 is organized into a number of workstreams, individually led but closely inter-related, covering all technical, training and project management aspects of the Lync adoption and its integration into the overall management and leadership of the University.

    Two of the workstreams will deal with, respectively an upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010  and the setting up within Lync of the University’s Contact Centre.

    The Exchange upgrade is necessary in order to gain the full functionality of Lync including voicemail, but will also provide improved email archiving and integration into SharePoint.

    The Contact Centre, taking calls from outside, has to meet considerable variations in demand at the time of university clearing for example, when anxious students (and schools and families) phone in. It has to be robust and at the same time capable of returning detailed statistics. DMU’s Contact Centre, the key first point of contact, will be up and running by April 2012.

    The core mission

    The main drive of the Lync project is to successfully introduce Lync to several thousand users across the campus.

    The need here is for flexible response to varying needs.

    “It’s not just about deploying technology. We need to consider how to communicate changes to staff that things can be carried out in different ways.” For example phone call forwarding and pickup is now configured in the Lync software client rather than directly on the phone. Another would be to collaborate on documents on-line rather than sending them around via email.’’ Michael Robinson

    A key preliminary is a comprehensive audit of the way the current telephone system is used. Users will rightly expect that they’ll be able to do what they did before, at least as well and preferably better. They will, though, also need to be shown, by training and example, that Lync is much more than a straight replacement for an existing phone system. It has the potential to streamline working practices – instant messaging instead of email for example, and the possibility of collaboration through web conferencing or the sharing of documents.

    In all of this, some users will need more help than others, and training plans encompass a wide range of approaches, including the deployment of “champions”, lectures, online help, demonstrations and one-to-one sessions.

    “There’s a balance.  It’s about working with people and not frightening them. It’s possible to throw too much technology at people, too soon. We want to bring them along, to give support.”

    In this, the ITMS team is able to build on a number of growth points, supportive groups and individual advocates or champions. The University has a Centre for Enhancing Learning through Technology CELT, along with eLearning champions within the faculties, all keen to support ITMS in making the most of the Lync rollout.

    Crucially for innovation and change is the degree of enthusiasm and tangible support coming from the top.  Michael and his team are pushing at an open door, because the Vice Chancellor (on Twitter, @DMUVC) and the Executive Board are entirely signed up to the potential of technology in general and Lync in particular.

    “The Chief Operating Officer has Lync on her PC and she’s looking to use it to improve the way the people use meeting time.”

    Benefits

    Lync is seen as a ‘‘game changer’’ as not only  does it support existing patterns of learning and collaboration with virtual meetings, document sharing and one-to-one contact but also creates possibilities for entirely new kinds of connections and encounters between individuals and groups.

    “Once you start the deployment, people will find creative ways of using it, ” says Michael.

    So, for example, there’s the prospect of using Lync for contact with students away on year-long placements. Lync, with video and desktop sharing could improve contact with both employers and students.

    Cost saving

    “The structure of our Microsoft Campus Agreement means that the cost of deploying is approximately fifty percent of the cost of a traditional PABX system.”

    There are also some savings to be made through not replacing handsets one-to-one.

    “Many people are happy to use laptops with Bluetooth headsets, or mobile phones.”

    Lync can reduce the need for travel, saving time, money and carbon emissions. So although DMU is housed on a compact campus, the conservative estimate is that it will save 10percent of current travel costs.

    There are also clear efficiency savings by reducing misunderstandings, shortening the time spent in meetings and making draft policies and documents more widely and quickly available for consultation.

    “Integration with Outlook and with SharePoint will bring huge benefits as we move to a more collaborative working model.”

    Lync working with strategic change

    We’re seeing profound changes in the way that higher and further education institutions are led and managed. There’s a move to the use of project teams working across hierarchies and between departments.  Technology, creatively used, will both support and encourage such developments, reducing the need for face-to-face meetings, and providing easier access to draft documents and policy papers. DMU is no exception to this.

    “We’re seeing more multi-disciplinary and collaborative working, with virtual teams sitting across the structure. We’re looking at modernising many systems to go along with that. putting Board papers on SharePoint for example, and using mobile devices in meetings. “

    The same kind of change is affecting the way students work and communicate.

    “People don’t work alone on courses. There are group projects and assignments, and Lync is fantastic for supporting that.”

    Microsoft education team are going to have both presentations and demo area’s dedicated to Lync and how it can be effectively used in learning in the classroom. If you would like to find out more, ask questions and see for your self, we are at BETT 2012 on stand D30 and D40 where we would love to see you!

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