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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

    Preparing Students for a Digital Future. The time to start is now!


    Further to yesterdays exciting announcement at BETT 2012 by Michael Gove around reforming and updating the computer science curriculum in GCSE's, schools have now been freed up to use curriculum and resources to prepare and inspire students for the digital age. With this in mind, teachers now have a window of opportunity to understand what that means in practice and what they need to do now to prepare.

    The good news is that many of the resources, curriculum and communities are already freely available for teachers and students to take advantage of. Microsoft, in particular, has a range of services and programmes that can support this change.

    When considering a schools approach to best equip themselves for these changes, I think its important to address 3 key perspectives: curriculum and accreditation, teacher support and CPD as well as the toolsets to support the delivery of engaging and inspiring projects.

    1. Curriculum and Industry Recognised Accreditation

    So, with the opportunity to completely redraft the curriculum, where do schools look for inspiration and support?

    Whilst we are still waiting to see how the awarding bodies respond to these announcements with their specific curriculum specifications, schools can now take advantage of a range of proven Microsoft Technology Associate curriculum and exams that are mapped at Level 2 on the QCF. Whether they are embedded or aligned to GCSE curriculum, they provide students that chance to add industry recognised qualifications to their CV and prove their skills for a competitive job market.

    For example, a good starting point would be the MTA Software Development Fundamentals exam which covers a core range of computer science concepts and helps build the skills that are demanded by industry. This also offers a seamless introduction into areas such as gaming and mobile that are of interest to pupils and which MTA certifications are available for.

    Furthermore, the MTA exams provide excellent progression and preparation for further or higher education and also provides recognised professional certifications like Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).

    2. Teacher Support and CPD

    Through the regular conversations I have with teachers and headteachers, there is clear need for additional support in upskilling teachers to understand and teach the core concepts of computer science as well as providing the engaging environment for pupils to explore and learn.

    To help prepare teachers to embrace new curriculum, there are a full range of programmes and support communities available now. These include:

    • Partners in Learning: Global community of millions of educators, dedicated to working together to improve education
    • Microsoft IT Academy: Offers access to teacher support and CPD materials for the classroom
    • Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT): Provides membership and access to a worldwide community of professional trainers and support as well as the allocation of 20 free MTA vouchers for staff development through IT Academy.

    3. Teacher Resources and Toolsets

    To support and develop engaging project scenarios for pupils have direct relevance to real world skills, schools will need to look at adopting a broad range of tools for pupils to explore. Imagine how many students would be attracted to computer science, if they had the ability to create a simple app that uses the functionality of a full body motion sensor (Kinect) for example?

    Once again, these are already available from Microsoft for free.

    • DreamSpark - free software for students and faculty that provides the ability to explore a full spectrum of mobile and games programming including the Kinect SDK, Windows Phone SDK, Kodu, Visual Studio etc
    • PiL: global community of millions of educators, dedicated to working together to improve education
    • Channel 9: keeps you up to date with videos from people behind the scenes building products at Microsoft
    • Faculty Connection: resource for technology news, customisable curriculum, free software downloads, and newsgroups
    • Imagine Cup: world’s premier student technology competition hosted by Microsoft

    I am personally really excited about the opportunities that yesterdays announcement offers and will be posting additional content on the blog over the coming weeks that will go in to more detail on how schools can start preparing themselves now.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Day one observations from Gerald Haigh


    Gerald Haigh is a freelance journalist who writes regularly for the Microsoft Education Blogs.

    You’re never in the BETT show for long before you become aware of themes and moods. The most usual one, I suppose, is a sense of determined optimism. It was a software developer in one of the most difficult parts of the education market, for example, who buttonholed me to say,

    ‘I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a good year.’

    He may well be right, and if he is, at least part of the reason might lie in the way major developers like Microsoft have worked with partners to make sure that schools can achieve their technology ambitions efficiently, effectively and, most importantly, at reasonable cost.

    So, for example, there’s the brilliant idea that Microsoft calls ‘School in a Box’, a revolutionary new approach to the delivery of ICT in schools that offers the benefits of the cloud, both public and private, on the schools terms. I talked to two of the Microsoft Partners who are working with schools to ensure they make the most of this new initiative. Bob Piggot, for example, Sales Director of ‘Civica’, told me about their ‘CloudBase’ solution which gives students, parents, staff anytime anywhere access to which ever parts of the school network are most appropriate for them. ‘CloudBase’ is remotely hosted, by Civica, and among schools that have used it to bring themselves quickly and economically up to speed with their technological needs is Free School Norwich, where the Cloudbase installation was completed within eight weeks ready for the start of term in September 2011.

    A strong feature of ‘School in a Box’ solutions is the option of providing access with any of a range of mobile devices, including those belonging to the users,what’s known in the trade as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD). Civica’s Virtual Desktop Implementation (VDI) however, makes BYOD a practical reality offering, in Bob Piggot’s words, ‘full secure access through the front door of the school’.

    I talked Cloud and BYOD also at the Stand of European Electronique, another major Microsoft partner, where , Director Mark Simes, outlined his own vision of a highly connected educational world characterised by, ‘A proliferation of a range of mobile devices and hosted services.’ The current European Electronique slogan in fact is ‘Client to Cloud’ and they, too, have done fascinating work with ‘School in a Box’ with West London Free School and Bristol Free School.

    European Electronique are also doing really interesting work with Microsoft on what Mark calls ‘Natural user interfaces’. In particular their exploration of Kinect as an access tool in the classroom shows what can be done to make sure that a child’s classroom experience of technology isn’t a step backwards from what he or she can do at home.

    Another call on this whistle-stop tour was at RM Education’s stand, to update myself about ‘Community Connect’, a product which, essentially, makes the network manager’s job both easier and more productive.

    ‘Schools are like banks,’ says RM’s James Pebworth, ‘In that it’s critical to keep the network up and running’

    Community Connect ensures this by providing the network manager not only with rapid response to all issues and demands thrown up by the school’s suite of Microsoft education products but also by providing the means by which teachers can deal with classroom issues such as the resetting of passwords.

    Darren Brown, network manager at The Abbey School in Reading, was also at the RM Stand, and he made clear his own enthusiasm for Community Connect.

    ‘It gives complete control so, for example, I can have each teacher’s computer ready and waiting when they come into the room’

    Community Connect is now into its fourth version (CC4) and with the advent of Windows 8, will become version 4.3.

    Easing the way into existing technologies is also a feature of Learning Suite, Microsoft’s free access to curriculum software and content in one package. Among the publishers who are providing content as Learning Suite Partners is Global Grid for Learning and at their stand I had a quick view of just how easy it is to specify learning topic and download a rich collection of resources,and then easily convert them into Microsoft tools of which PowerPoint is probably the most popular.

    Finally, I made sure to catch up with two Microsoft-based products that we’ve covered in the blogs over the year. One was LP+4, the latest Learning Platform from Learning Possibilities. At the stand, I met Tom Rees, who has led the in-school development work on LP+4 which is, as he reminds us,

    ‘The learning platform based on SharePoint 2010.’

    ‘It’s now being rolled out to our user schools,’ said Tom, ‘And there’s lots of interest in the UK and Europe.

    The other old friend I visited was Mohamad Djahanbakksh of Serco Learning. Like Tom Rees,he was excited for the future of Serco’s ‘Progresso’ MIS. He was keen to emphasise the flexibility of delivery of ‘Progresso’ – ‘It can be installed on your system, on a data centre serving a cluster of schools, or hosted by Serco in the Cloud.’

    In any event, of course, it’s web-based and so accessible on an ‘anytime, anywhere’ basis.

    I was interested in some of Mohamad’s plans for the future, a tool for easy entry and analysis of data, and eventually a project management tool which will help clusters and chains of schools to make the most efficient use of their resources.

    So, as we said at the start, the feeling is of optimism combined with vision. We live in exciting times, but that’s the way of the BETT Show. Exciting times come with the territory.

    Meanwhile, there are so many things to ponder on, and this quick overview can only give a taster of developments which we surely need to revisit in this blog over the coming weeks and months.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Not long now!


    With  BETT 2012 now less than 24 hours away, we are busy putting the finishing touches to our shiny new stand. Lets just say its work in progress…


    If you are attending BETT 2012 and are planning your visit, some of our blog posts, that include references to a lot of the presentations, products and services we are showcasing on the stand, might be useful. A full list of posts are shown below:

    A full overview of our theatre presentation schedule can be found on our Microsoft at BETT 2012 microsite. We hope to see you on our stand (D30/D40)!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Using motion capture technology


    Extract from today’s feature in the Guardian on how technology is revolutionising classroom learning.

    The use of technology in schools marks an increasing convergence of the classroom with children's home lives.

    Gareth Ritter, a teacher at a Willows high school in Cardiff, has begun using motion capture technology to harness his pupils' enthusiasm for playing games.


    In Ritter's music lessons, children wave a conductor's baton to move icons of instruments to the right place in an orchestra, represented virtually on a computer screen.

    The same technology can be used to teach biology or foreign languages, by having students virtually moving parts of the human body to the right place or matching up lists of words in English and French, Ritter said.

    "A lot of the kids in my school play Call of Duty. If they fail a level they won't give up, they'll keep doing it. We've got to bring that [enthusiasm] into the classroom.

    "One young lad [I taught] was a boy soldier in the Congo. I could see he had a passion for music. Now he's going to study music at university. Technology has changed his life – it's switched him on."

    The use of interactive technology in the classroom has been accompanied by a move towards more flexible testing in exams that can be tailored more closely to individual pupils. The exam board AQA revealed last year that it was planning trials of an interactive exam that would generate harder or softer questions according to how a candidate performs.

    As part of the gaming in education showcase area on our stand at BETT 2012, Gareth will be showcasing how Kinect has helped revolutionise teaching and learning within his classroom. Come and watch him demo his innovative application on stand D30/D40.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Microsoft DreamSpark


    As part of the Curriculum pod on our stand at BETT 2012, in addition to Learning Suite, Partners in Learning Network, Skype in the Classroom and the IT Academy, we will be showcasing Microsoft DreamSpark.

    If you are not familiar with this offering, DreamSpark is essentially a free suite of development and design software from Microsoft and is available for all UK Students, of all ages.

    DreamSpark is simple, it's about giving all students access to Microsoft professional-level developer and design 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!


    How to access DreamSpark
    Accessing DreamSpark simple, just select a product and follow the steps below:
    • Sign In with your Windows Live ID. If you don't have one, you can get one on the login page which you will get to after you have chosen which product you want
    • Simply choose UK as your country and your school, and hit submit
    • Download your products. Due to size of this tool, the files are quite large so make sure you have the bandwidth and enough space to bring them to your machine. The latest versions of both Internet Explorer and Firefox are supported for your download

    You can also sign up your whole school for DreamSpark for FREE. More information is available via the FAQ section.

    If you have any questions about Dreamspark, visit our stand at BETT 2012 (D30 & D40).

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Why schools should get behind GetOnline@Home, by Microsoft's Clare Riley


    Originally posted on


    One of the wonderful things about working for Microsoft is that innovative ideas bubble up every day. Even if they appear to undercut our core business, if they are good ideas they will take root. That’s what has happened with – a website offering the lowest cost, good quality PCs you might ever find in the UK.

    BBC research shows the cost of a PC can be a significant barrier to getting people online at home. With this in mind, we worked closely with our partners, such as Race Online, The Post Office and 3, to help make getting access to the internet a reality for all, regardless of financial situation or technical ability.

    The GetOnline@Home offer was launched at the National Digital Inclusion conference, and since then we’ve sold thousands of refurbished desktops for under £100. If you think about it, you’re paying about the same price for this PC - which comes with a flat screen, Windows 7, a range of Microsoft software for documents, emails, messaging, pictures and Microsoft Security Essentials and Accessibility software – as you would for couple of computer games from a high street store. It’s something we are immensely proud of!

    Since the summer, though, we have had a stream of great ideas about our offering from customers, partners, schools and suppliers – and so I am thrilled that we have been able to grow and extend the offer and to relaunch the website in time for Christmas.

    GetOnline@Home offer to include £169 laptops and cheapest broadband

    The new site, accessible at, offers a range of exciting new developments and offerings. First of all, we’ve been able to include laptops. These all have webcams, perfect for Skype or Facebook chat, and come with new or replacement batteries and guaranteed power-up times.

    The new laptops all come with the same support as the desktops – with a warranty and a telephone helpline – and the price includes VAT and delivery. Charities – or anyone receiving any of the benefits listed in the pop-up box on the home page – can get a laptop for only £169. Everyone else would pay £199 – still a great price!

    Clare Riley

    Clare Riley: 'thrilled' by growth

    The second, and very exciting, development is our partnership with Simplify Digital, the only OFCOM-accredited price comparison website for the provision of broadband. The friendly team on the phone at Simplify Digital will help determine the best service to suit you and your family, and also offers an extra £25 discount on any service you choose to buy. This will be the lowest price broadband you could get anywhere in the UK. Other than being an amazing offer, it also has the comfort factor of stepping you through the order process and sending confirmation in the post. They will even come round and set it all up for you!

    The website and the refurbished PC offer is a great team effort. Partners such as the Post Office, BT and UK Online Centres are raising awareness across the UK and we have a growing band of refurbisher companies supplying the PCs: two new suppliers joined this week and they bring with them the great experience of delivering the Home Access programme PCs last year. My job is to keep momentum in the project – and that has included the delightful role of being the site photographer! You’ll find, on the GetOnline@Home website, six photographs and stories from families who bought PCs in the first wave.

    Let's take Bria, aged 11, and her mum, Christina. In the summer, Christine went to an induction meeting for parents at the secondary school where Bria would be moving to in September. The teacher asked if she had access to a computer and, if not, could she get one. In their secondary school, they explained, the school’s online learning gateway would be the main source of information. Christina was shocked: “What parent wants to see their child put on the back foot on day one of their secondary schooling?” But then she saw a small newspaper item about the “GetOnline@Home” computer offer.

    At first it seemed too good to be true. She told me that she “asked around to see who else knew about it, and then I phoned up".

    'It’s been brilliant. I’m really chuffed with it'

    Bria and mum Christina

    Bria and Christina: 'It's been brilliant'

    "I wasn’t going to part with my money without speaking to a human being. It seemed too good to be true. but they reassured me and said I was eligible for the discount price.” She was doubly delighted when the computer turned up promptly and in full working order after only a week. It was set up in time for the new school term, and Bria was off to the same start as her classmates.

    Christina also has an email account now, and though she says has no time for social networking, she does use the internet to keep in touch with what’s happening in the local area. She searches for money-saving opportunities and finds that the computer is a real help in cutting spending. She’s a keen user of Martin Lewis’s money saving website which has shopping vouchers. “He’s my guru,” she says.

    Christina was clearly delighted with her computer and with the scheme as a whole, which I think shows in the photograph (right) I took that day in south London! “It’s been brilliant. I’m really chuffed with it – affordable, effective, and does what it says on the tin.”

    Adding laptops and boosting the capability of the site is very exciting – and I’m pleased that we have done it before BETT, the educational technology show at Olympia, London, in January. We will have desktop and laptop PCs on show on the Microsoft stand and people to help and advise. Just think what we could achieve if all 30,000 visitors took the opportunity of GetOnline@Home back to their classes and their schools. On the website there are leaflets and posters to share with students and families – and clickable links which can be dropped into the school portal to keep the offer in the public eye.

    Schools can support the offer – and share it through the Pupil Premium

    Simply sharing the news might help individual families embrace the offer and level the playing field – at the moment it is only 5 per cent¹ of students who don’t have access to a PC at home. But schools can embrace this offer too. One of the things they can spend their Pupil Premium money on is PCs for students who don’t have one at home: we know that the Department for Education regards ICT access projects as being “within scope” for spending the Pupil Premium.

    The 5 per cent of students with no access to a PC at home statistic comes from the final evaluation of the Home Access programme – and I was very struck by something one of the teachers in that evaluation said: "The majority of students do their best work out of school hours, where they can concentrate for extended periods and follow up any creative ideas they have been inspired by.

    "Without a computer at home, students at this level are really missing out. Though they can use the study area before and after school, it's very easy to tell who hasn't got a computer at home because of the quality of the work."

    I’ve spent the funds Microsoft gave me on setting up the site and creating the offer – and have nothing left for big awareness campaigns – so I am trusting word of mouth. If people like what they see, they may feel encouraged to share the news. Do go to and see if there is anyone you know who would have a brighter Christmas and a better 2012 for having one of these PCs.

    As Linda, who got her PC for the family over the summer, says: “This is a great deal, and it’s only right that other people should know about it.”

    Clare Riley is group manager for education relations with Microsoft in the UK

    More information
    Microsoft Education on Twitter

    Microsoft Education Facebook page

    BETT logoBETT 2012, January 11-14
    Olympia, London
    Microsoft: stand D40 & D30

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012 – QR Codes & MS Tags


    With only 3 days to go until BETT 2012, the education team is busy putting the finishing touches to getting everything ready for 4 days of fun and frolics at Olympia. Not long to go now!

    One of the things we are trialling on the stand this year is the use of QR Codes and MS Tags. Scanning these codes on the stand will give access to a wide range of useful and valuable content that supports the products, services and programmes we are showcasing on the stand.

    There will be 7 codes in total across the stand and, as mentioned previously, will give access to great content such as eBooks, brochures and more.

    Specific content areas are as follows:

    • School in a Box eBook – The future of ICT management within schools
    • Learning Suite Overview – Overview of Microsoft’s new free suite of applications for students and teachers
    • Virtualisation eBook – Insightful overview of how Alan Richards, West Hatch High School, has used Hyper-V to save money and enhance his IT infrastructure
    • Get Online @ Home Overview - offer now includes £169 laptops and the cheapest broadband in the UK
    • Windows 7 in the Classroom – useful guide to help demonstrate how Windows 7 can help enhance teaching and learning in the classroom
    • Gaming in Education eBook – Kinect in the Classroom
    • Theatre Schedule – full access to the theatre presentations schedule


    Windows Phone devices have QR Code and MS Tags reading functionality built-in and, if you don’t already have one, readers for iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices can be downloaded for free. I imagine that QR Code and MS Tags will be used extensively across BETT 2012 so is well worth being prepared with your favourite app before you hit the show floor.

    There are a wide range for free apps to choose from, but here are a couple of suggestions:

    We look forward to seeing you at BETT 2012. Stop by our stand, D30 & D40, and say hi.

    In the meantime, for more information about Windows Phone’s built in QR Code/MS Tag reading capabilities, check out the video below.


    • Microsoft UK Schools blog

      Microsoft Lync 2010 at De Montfort University, Leicester.



      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.”


      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!

    • Microsoft UK Schools blog

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


      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.’’


      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


      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! 



      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. 


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