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February, 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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February, 2012

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Carmel College Virtualises Servers and Saves Thousands of Pounds to Reinvest in IT

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    Carmel College wanted to reduce IT overheads through virtualisation. After finding VMware expensive and difficult to integrate, it decided to virtualise its servers with Hyper-V technology—part of the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system—to reduce power, cooling, licensing, and maintenance costs. The solution saves the college an estimated £40,000 a year in staffing and operational costs, and power and cooling overheads have been cut by 50 per cent.

    “With the Microsoft platform, we can integrate systems so all applications work smoothly. We’ve reduced operational and staffing costs, equivalent to around £40,000 a year.” Kevin Burke, IT Services Manager, Carmel College

    To learn more about how Carmel College embraced Windows Server 2008 R2 and saved £40,000 a year, view/download our full case study below.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    We need your feedback on Microsoft DreamSpark

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    DreamSpark-2_bL_t

    We want to your feedback on the DreamSpark service within the UK

    What is DreamSpark

    We know a lot of you use DreamSpark but we’d like to know a little more about its value to you. So we are running in conjunction with c3education to get a more detailed understanding.

    We would like to see if it is helping raise attainment levels for educators and students and get general feedback on the programme. We need this so that we have evidence to share with the public and with journalists interested in the story. The ideal situation would be to establish a baseline for the beginning of the programme and to record impact perhaps twice a year, to check whether we are on track.

    From today 21st of February 2012,we have a launched two surveys one for students and one for academics both surveys will close on the 29th of February 2012.

    Below are the links to each of the questionnaires.

    DreamSpark –Student Survey https://nerp241b1.questionpro.com c3education will offer an Xbox 360 and a Kinect sensor to one lucky winner who completes the survey by 29th Feb 2012 and gives us their contact details at the end of the survey. You have to be a UK student. The winner will be drawn at random from all completions who fill in their details in the survey.

    DreamSpark – Educator Survey https://nerp241b2.questionpro.com

    Your feedback and assistance, in completing these would be greatly appreciated, We will also share top level results through this blog and our Linkedin group.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Guest post from Gerald Haigh: Thinking aloud about cost savings in education

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    Guest post from Gerald Haigh. Gerald is a freelance writer who regularly writes for the Microsoft UK Education Blogs.

    I’ve been doing some preparatory work on a new cost saving eBook (watch this space). The first one came out a year or so ago and already I’m detecting changes, some of them quite radical.

    image

    Here are a few, together with some questions that you experienced folk out there may well be able to help me with.

    First, there was the change last year in licensing arrangements for schools, with the arrival on these shores of EES (Enrolment for Education Solutions). The move, which essentially means counting computer users rather than computers, has made big savings, to which can be added to other economies that come with academic subscription pricing on a huge array of software. (Ellie Jones blogged lots of detail on this in March 2011)

    So there’s one big cost saving already. One network manager, in a big school, reports that his licensing bill was cut by half, and a major supplier, a Microsoft partner, suggested some school customers made bigger savings than that.

    What I wanted to know, though, when I talked to one or two suppliers and customers was, ‘What happened to the money?’

    It seemed an easy enough ask, but it did tend to throw people a bit and make me feel I was in a scene from ‘Goodfellas’. All I wanted to know, though, was how this unexpected mini-windfall had been spent. Did it stay in IT? Was the school able to embark on a specific project? Did the cash soak away into the subsoil of an already parched looking school budget?

    What did happen, surely, was that it was handled in a whole-school businesslike and transparent way, focussed on teaching and learning priorities. If this is occuring, it would be good to get examples of this, and anything you can volunteer on this topic will be gratefully received (leave your feedback in the comments below).

    Maybe one impact was that you acquired additional Microsoft software, in an inclusive package perhaps? If so, do you use it all? In that regard I’m reminded of a blog we posted in September last year about Highbury FE College in Portsmouth.

    Highbury, too, had lots of Microsoft software, acquired in various packages. On investigation, they found that not all of it was being well used. In some cases another product had been bought in, even though the already paid-for Microsoft package contained an excellent solution. Firm management, applied over time, designed to bring all the College’s Microsoft products into productive use, enabled Highbury to reduce its IT annual revenue budget by £13,990.

    Could that be you? Do you have a Microsoft product that you’ve vaguely thought about looking into when you have the time? Could it work for you? Could it replace something else you’re spending money on?

    A supplier I spoke to mentioned ‘System Center 2012’ as something that a number of schools have tinkered with but never really properly used. Again, we’re interested in what you have to say – and by the way if you do happen to need guidance on System Center 2012, it’ll be covered, on 6 March, in one of the newly announced series of Microsoft Education Webcasts, listed by Tim Bush here.

    Another product that many schools have but are only just beginning to explore is Lync 2010. We’ve done some studies of Lync 2010 in action in higher education, where it’s a real time and money saver.

    Schools are different of course, but a look at the university experiences might well throw up some creative ideas of how to use unified communications in the school setting. One school, I know, is considering using it, in combination with Office 365, for ‘Virtual Parent Evenings’, for some of their parents who work and commute long hours and find it difficult to get into school. It’s a very ‘blue skies’ idea at the moment, but we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it. And on the cost saving front, I’m sure that those academy chains that have a central team looking after a far-flung group of schools would find Lync just as useful for saving meeting and travelling time as the universities do. Some must be thinking along those lines, maybe even doing it. We’d like to know.

    Finally, just as I go to (virtual) press with this, comes news from Mark Reynolds of a Welsh school where, working with a Microsoft Partner, they’ve been able to transform their ICT infrastructure at astonishingly reasonable cost through the combined application of Windows MultiPoint server and solar energy. There’ll be a blog on that quite soon, and it’s sure to feature in the forthcoming eBook.

    All that’s just a taster, of course, but it’s exciting stuff, and we really would like to know more, examples of what we’ve mentioned, and of the many ideas we haven’t touched on. What saves money, what should save it but for some reason doesn’t, what’s the impact on network staff? Please get in touch.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Young apprentice is top of class with Microsoft Outstanding Apprenticeship Award 2011 - Zenos Apprenticeships

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    With the current employment climate still proving to be difficult for many young adults to find jobs, having a skill set other than qualifications gained from school and college is becoming more important in order to have a C.V that stands out above the rest.

    I have recently written a blog on student Rebecca Rickwood from Sawtry Community College who became World Champion for Excel 2007 in the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams which she did whist doing her GCSE’s.
    But what about gaining skill sets in IT after school and college has finished?

    This is where Zenos come in.

    Leading provider of IT Apprenticeships in the UK, young people aged between 16-24 looking to gain IT qualifications and skills that can help move them forward in IT can do this through a Zenos IT Apprenticeship.

    I spoke to Kevin Alty, senior trainer with Zenos (31 IT Academies in the UK and a strong supporter of Microsoft Certified Professional and Microsoft Technology Associate certifications) Luke

    Kevin runs the apprenticeships at Preston Academy. Very recently one of his students, Luke Harris, has gone beyond exceptional levels in the Zenos Apprentice Awards. Not only did Luke win the Zenos Apprentice Award at regional level (North) but then went on to win the Microsoft Award at the National Zenos Apprentice Awards, where our very own Greg Pearson had the pleasure to meet Luke and present his prize – an Xbox 360 Kinect!

    Luke has gone through quite a few MS certifications and has a real passion and talent for IT. I wanted to find out from Kevin and Luke what it was that made these apprenticeships worth while and how doing this, has given Luke something he can be very proud of.

    One of the first things that Kevin mentioned is that all his students attend the course from 9.00-5.00 and are required to be smartly dressed to give them a true working environment feeling. Up until then, his students have been used to working school and college hours. By doing this, they already know what to expect when they get that first job.

    The courses themselves are made up of two Advanced Diplomas but also place great importance on Microsoft’s MTA and MCTS modules and exams at a professional level, giving the apprentices operational and fundamental skills that would be used in an IT working environment. By having these skills and being able to deploy, troubleshoot and find their way around an operating system such as Windows 7, they are more employable to an IT company than someone who had only academic exam qualifications for example.

    To drive further motivation and ambition, Zenos have the Microsoft Outstanding Apprentice Award Each trainer can nominate someone for each from their Academy and so Kevin decided to nominate Luke for the Outstanding Award.

    Luke then went onto win the Regional Award for the North and along with the winners for the South and the Midlands, 2 intakes from each, competed for the National Microsoft Outstanding Apprentice Award. When you think over 4,500 are doing these apprenticeships with Zenos each year, this is a huge achievement in itself!

    Luke excelled further and then went onto win the National Awards.

    When I interviewed to Luke over the phone about his achievement s and experiences, it came clear very quickly that this young man really does have a passion for IT and gaining skills to get him a role in an IT company – preferably Microsoft!

    EJ - Before completing any of the MS Certs, what were your perceptions of IT?

    LH – Although I knew my way around a computer, I had overlooked many of the tools and techniques used within a working IT Technician environment, and concentrated on the end user applications such as Word, Excel etc. A lot of my spare time was spent writing code and practicing my development skills, which reduced my involvement in the technical detail of the Windows OS.

    EJ - What were your main reasons for wanting to do MS Certification and a Zenos Apprenticeship?

    LH – I have always loved IT and wanted to enhance my skills and go into an IT career. I thought that Microsoft was the best company out there and to start a career with Microsoft skills would give me strong employability. I found out about Zenos at the local Young People Service office when I was looking for a job after I finished college. They gave me the information about these exams and so I applied to Zenos.

    EJ - How did you become involved in the Zenos Awards and why?

    LH – Kevin nominated me for the awards as he felt I had done really well throughout the apprenticeship. I was presented the Zenos Award at the Academy level and then I went onto the Regional Awards for the North before winning this and going onto the National Awards.

    EJ - How do you feel these additional skill sets will set him above those who perhaps only have A’Levels for example?

    LH – I feel I have gained practical experience with Windows 7 and I now have a deeper understanding of migration and deployment and how this is important in the IT industry. The exam questions are based on real scenarios and really made me think about how I would tackle tasks and challenges in the real working world.

    EJ – Have you faced any challenges whilst going through the Apprenticeship with Zenos?

    LH – I didn’t really like college and actually dropped out. When I started on the apprenticeship, getting used to working 9.00-5.00 which were longer hours than college was hard. I knew I had to focus if I was going to do well however I soon got used to it. The main challenge for me was to learn how to analyze and troubleshoot issues using the knowledge we learnt throughout the apprenticeship, and understanding which tools and techniques would be most suitable in various environments.

    EJ - What would you like to do next?

    LH – Currently I work in a telecoms company and use some of the skills I gained form the course. I would ideally like to work for a large IT company like Microsoft as I have a real passion for IT. I would also like to go on and do other Microsoft certifications at an Enterprise Administration level and progress onto become a Microsoft Certified Master.

    From listening to Luke, it was evident that he loved his time with Zenos , so much so he would do it again!

    With how the UK climate is currently at, I really believe that where possible, learning new skills other than the usual route of school and college exams, is really important.

    Zenos provides this opportunity for anyone aged between the ages of 16 to 24 and not only goes with teaching those about IT and how to use it, but also prepares them for the office environment to give them that much needed head start.

    National Awards

    Luke (second from right) accepting his award and prize for Microsoft Outstanding Apprenticeship 2011 at the National Awards

    Well done Luke!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    OneNote in the Classroom: Practical Guide to Task Management & Creating Shared Resources

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    Second in a series of guest posts from Adrian Edgar, Independent Education Consultant. Director of ICT and SMT at Culford School for 7 Years.

    In the first part of this blog post series, I went through the process pupils should use to set up the Homework Library and how they assigned the necessary permissions for a teacher to contribute.

    Of course, any document the student drops in to that library will now inherit those properties, allowing for a greater level of scrutiny and collaboration. At my last school, we found it useful for pupils to use that library as their “work in progress” area. So they can access their work from any internet connection and make use of the web app versions of all the Office products they need.

    One of the key benefits for pupils is the fact that where ever they access the work, via any browser environment, the learning platform is the same irrespective of location. No need to adapt their applications or work patterns to suit home access or school, or indeed on the move via mobile devices.

    Those of you familiar with the backstage view in Office 2010 will have no doubt spotted the option to save directly to a SharePoint location.

    clip_image002

    We found that it doesn’t take long for pupils to get in to the habit of adding tags to their documents and saving to their document area on My Sites. Pupils find the ability to search for their work by key words really useful, particularly six weeks in to a term when they can’t remember what they called their document.

    Microsoft OneNote 2010 allows us to take the process one step further by setting up a synchronised share between the locally stored notebook and the version available on the shared library.

    Teachers and pupils have used this feature in several subjects as a means of collaboration and assessment.

    Here’s how we set up the synchronised routine.

     clip_image004

     

    1. Create the new notebook in OneNote and store in your preferred location. We prefer to save to the pupil’s network drive first and then synchronised to SharePoint. You could just as easily go the opposite way and save to SharePoint directly.

    2. OneNote will create the new notebook and create a folder in your My Documents / One Note Notebooks folder with the same name.

    Useful tip:

    In the Microsoft example for One Note, the graphic shows a student creating one Notebook with a Section heading for each subject and Pages for each unit of work.

    clip_image006

    Very quickly pupils and teachers found this too restrictive. They quickly decided to rotate the diagram anticlockwise one step.

    • Create a notebook for each subject displayed down the left hand side
    • Create a section within the notebook for each unit of work
    • Create pages in each section as the pupil progresses through the unit of work

    Creating the Shared Resource

    Once created the process of sharing the notebook to My Sites is very simple.

    clip_image008

    1. Select the notebook you wish to share

    2. Open the SharePoint library and copy the URL

    3. Back in OneNote go to the File Menu and select Share

    4. Select the option to share on the Network and paste the URL but remove the last section. (Forms/AllItems.aspx)

    5. Click on Share Notebook to complete the process

    clip_image010

    6. One Note will set up the synchronisation process and create an email message providing details of the share.

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    7. The notebook is now available using OneNote on the local machine or the web application via a browser of the user’s choice.

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    Linking to Outlook Tasks.

    Now that the teacher has access rights to the pupil’s notebook, it is possible to set up a scenario where the teacher opens a copy for each pupil in the class. One Note will provide a great way of keeping all the pupils workbooks in one place.

    clip_image020

    In this example you can see the teacher has their own notebook open at the top which they use to create the content template and the rest of the class open underneath.

    This enables the teacher to simply create a piece of work in the template folder, assign a task and copy the page to each pupil.  

    clip_image022

    1. In the example below you will see the teacher has inserted an Outlook task set for Next Week (Ctrl+Shift+4)

    2. Now click on Open Task in Outlook to get the following familiar window where you can add the recipients of the task.

     clip_image024

    3. Of course, once you set this Outlook task it will appear in your calendar and those of the pupils in the group so there is no way to forget this work has been set.

    4. Once the pupil finishes the homework task and marks the flag as complete, you will receive an email from the pupil telling you they have finished.

    In the final part of this post, I’ll demonstrate some of the useful settings we’ve changed in One Note to aid assessment and collaboration.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Gadgeteer stimulates the kids.. at Hack to the Future

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    Originally posted by Lee Stott on the UK Faculty Connection Blog.

     

    hacktothefuturegadgetGadgeteer

    Last weekend I went along to Hack to the Future, the idea of Alan O’Donohoe, Teknoteacher on Twitter. Alan is a Secondary School ITC teacher in Preston. However Alan really wants to make a difference for the next generation. Alan decided to setup up a unconference to support the development of Computer Science to young people in the form of a day of informal learning entitled – Hack to the Future or #h2df.

    A direct quote from Alan

    It is an un-conference that aims to provide young digital creators aged 11 – 18 with positive experiences of computing science and other closely related fields, ensuring that the digital creators of today engage with the digital creators of tomorrow.

    We plan to offer a day that will inspire, engage and encourage young digital creator

    I’m proud to say that Microsoft fully supports events such as so we involved Microsoft Research, MS Press and a number of other key partners to help support the event. Myself and Steven Johnston from Southampton University, who is also working with Microsoft Research as a Gadgeteer outreach manager, developed a plan and we set off for Preston.


    The event was all about the young people and it was amazing to see over 350+ young people plus around 100 teachers and parents attending the various talks, workshops and sessions at H2df. I have to stress the workshops and sessions at H2df were all hands on, and code based and Steven and myself spent the day at Hack to the future #h2df getting attendees hands on with the Microsoft .NET Gadgeter and had a great day.

    We ran 7 sessions each with 10 laptops/kits and were packed out each session. (each kit with 3/4 students, we had to turn some students away due to the demand so apologies if you did not attend). Below is a copy of the sessions which we completed.


    I have to state on the day we far more hands on with Visual Studio 2010 and C# and astounded by the skills of some of the younger developer (Hacklings, as Alan calls them)

    During the session the attendees built the camera and those that completed early - built a cardboard case and mounted the components to create a a digital camera. Thanks to @coletteweston for these great pic of her daughter at the event who as you can see was very successful.

    coletteweston1coletteweston2

    Overall the event was inspiring with children using Visual Studio 2010, some without any prior experience and writing C# and getting to play with the GHI Fez Spider Gadgeteer kits to build a fully working digital camera in around 30 mins – 45 mins. Hack to the Future was an amazing day and really well done to Alan and the team of Our Ladies High School.

    To end the day, Alan put on some indoor fireworks and did his his famous #h2df rap. Well done to Alan and all the other volunteers at Hack to the Future and a great start to inspiring computer scientist of the future.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Learning Suite: It’s all about the apps!

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    In the video below, Anthony Salcito (Microsoft VP for Education), talks about the fact that when people come to Microsoft, they come to take on new challenges. The goal to have an impact in education is one of our biggest challenges and is something that is core to the business.

    To help every student realіze theіr full potential, educators across the sector all seek to better-engage their students. To assist with that goal, we must empower every teacher with the tools and resources to understand and engage every student at their own pace, in the right place, and in a way that allows them to achieve their greatest potential. Only then are we creating the right foundation for success, moving forward.

    Learning Suite

    With this in mind, we believe that resources such as Leaning Suite can help make a real difference in helping students achieve their full potential.

    So what is Learning Suite? Learning Suite is a free set of innovative applications that, when combined with the power of Microsoft Windows and Office, creates a robust, flexible and collaborative learning environment for both students and teachers.

    While we are really proud of Learning Suite directly, the power of this free resource is in the applications, themselves. The full range is show below:

    clip_image001

    With 25 free applications offered within Learning Suite, there are a range of powerful, yet fun, tools to aid creativity, make collaboration easier, create more engaging classroom experiences and ultimately make studying more effective.

    For the purpose of this post, though, I wanted to focus the attention on 2 amazing apps. Not only are these some of my personal favourites, they also help demonstrate the breath of the apps currently available.

    WorldWide Telescope

    WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables you to explore the universe, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world and combining it with 3D navigation. Impressive stuff!

    Users are able to pan around outer space and zoom as far into any one area as the data will allow. Images are taken from the Hubble Space Telescope and approximately ten earth-bound telescopes.

    The TED Talk video below offers a great overview of WorldWide Telescope.

    WorldWide Telescope now brings viewers the largest and clearest image of the night sky ever produced and offers a unique opportunity to provide inspiring and engaging classroom experiences. For real impact, try projecting Worldwide telescope onto the ceiling of your classroom and have students lie down, look up and experience a virtual stargazing session.

    Photosynth

    Photosynth is a fantastic application, and a core part of Learning Suite, that analyses digital photographs and generates a three-dimensional model of the photos.

    Great for classroom projects, Photosynth allows you to take a bunch of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.

    View the synth below for an example of the power of Photosynth. This could be ideal for your institutions next geography field trip, for example!

    How to get Learning Suite

    Learning Suite is free to download via the Partners in Learning Network.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Some thoughts on BYOD in Education

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    Guest post from Gerald Haigh. Gerald is a freelance writer who regularly writes for the Microsoft UK Education Blogs.

    Over the days since BETT 2012, I’ve spent some time looking at ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD), whereby a school will accept and work with students’ personal devices. I was attracted to it partly, if you’ll forgive me, because the phrase irresistibly reminds me of ‘Run What Yer Brung’, which, in drag racing, is a session when you can turn up at the track with any vehicle at all and have a go.

    The problems are intriguingly similar you see – the appearance of unexpected and alarming machines, strain on the infrastructure, occasional breaches of discipline and so on.

    Aside from that, though, conversations at BETT2012 with teachers, queries on the Microsoft stand, and discussion with partners such as Civica and European Electronique, showed just how much interest there is in the idea of BYOD. I was further inspired, too, by Mark Reynolds’ recent Microsoft Schools Blog post on the achievements in this area at Saltash.net school in Cornwall.

    Eventually, I hope to produce a document summarising thinking and practice in BYOD, with more in-school examples and, of course, reference to the important part played by Microsoft technologies in oiling the wheels.

    Capture

    Meanwhile, based on several conversations with schools, Microsoft partners and local authority folks, here’s a brief rundown of what seem to me to be some of the issues and questions around BYOD. Please take the time to get back to us with any reactions in the comments below. This is a fast moving area, still controversial in some ways, and there’s room for many views and experiences.

    The fundamental driver is the prospect of being able to provide the school with a much richer IT environment at little extra cost. Mark Reynolds, when I discussed this with him, put the case in personal terms, describing how his son would like to take his new laptop to school.

    “Instead, it sits at home switched off from eight till four. From a parent’s point of view I would like him to be able to use it and get more benefit from it.”

    That’s the nub of it, that in every school many, perhaps most, students have better devices in their bags or at home than the ones they use at school.

    Essentially, of course this is about cost. One Microsoft partner I talked to said,

    ‘The ideal of a school being able to provide one device per student is not now financially achievable. That, though, is what students expect.’

    The figures here are compelling. Mark’s blog post tells us that Saltash.net has 1700 devices on the network, only 700 of which are owned by the school. The math’s isn’t difficult is it? That’s 1000 devices the school hasn’t had to buy, and whatever caveats, costs, deals and limitations you throw into the mix, there’s clearly a worthwhile saving there.

    So why isn’t everyone doing it? Lots are certainly looking at the concept more closely. I spoke to a local authority adviser who is now fielding so many questions that he’s about to produce a paper for schools on BYOD.

    Up to now, though, schools don’t seem to be taking the plunge in significant numbers. Ask several people for good BYOD examples and they tend to come up with the same few. Why is that? That’s a genuine question by the way, to which you might like to contribute your own answers, any of which will be as valid as what I can suggest.

    Plainly, it’s not a matter of the technical process. How to connect ‘guest’ devices is not the biggest issue. Providing the wireless infrastructure is up to the increased and inevitably growing demand (and that can be a big ‘if’) then it can be done, and Mark describes how Saltash.net does it.

    No, the barriers lie elsewhere. To start with, the demand has to be there. Teachers, or enough of them at least, have to be feeling limited by the inability to ask students to turn easily and to their personal devices without the hassle of going to a specialist room, or wheeling in a trolley of laptops. And, presumably, there has to be a strong belief that CPD and the availability of the devices themselves will strengthen and broaden this demand across the school.

    Then, the demand has to be met by will and determination to make it happen. Everyone has to be on board, with full understanding and a ‘can do’ approach. Senior leadership, technical team, subject teachers and support staff all need to be clear about the vision and supportive of it.

    There are strategic questions about, for example, whether and how to support students who don’t have the right sort of device. It will add up to extra work for some people, different ways of teaching and learning for others, all providing endless opportunities for dissent, misunderstanding, errors and ruffled feathers. This, of course calls for high quality leadership and good communication so that nobody feels excluded or wrong-footed.

    We have to recognise, too that while there aren’t many schools as yet bringing student devices on to the network, there’s certainly a larger number which permit students to use their smartphones via 3G, sometimes in limited ways, sometimes more generally. The thinking here has usually been that if students are going to bring their phones in anyway, which they undoubtedly are, then they should be used for classroom work within an acceptable use policy agreed and recognised by the students themselves.

    Is that a sensible step towards hosting student devices on the network, a preparatory move that schools might consider? Or is it a separate style of working, with its own rules and practice, something of a diversion from the true BYOD vision? Again, they’re genuine questions, and would love to hear your thoughts.

    So there it is for the moment. More questions than answers. Please let us know what we’ve missed, what’s going on out there, what your experiences, doubts, disappointments and successes are, and we’ll try to share them and to see how we can help the process along.

    The time’s right for BYOD. It ticks so many boxes, cloud technology, the consumerisation of IT, the vision of ICT embedded across the curriculum and anytime/anywhere access, and look forward to seeing this develop. Watch this space…

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Banish Attachments Forever!

    • 1 Comments

    Please see attached…

    Ok, put your hands up. Who still sends files as attachments in their email?

    Come on, be honest! Embarrassed smile

    I’m guilty of it myself – just ask my boss, after I dropped a 7MB “email bomb” on him recently. Despite having both SharePoint Online and SkyDrive at my fingertips there are times I find myself slipping back into the “old” way of sharing files.

    The life of an attachment (skip ahead)

    5b4f6855-4008-4501-8dcc-536c9b91abe3_12

    SkyDrive is free!

    And with Live@edu every single user gets one because they already have a Windows Live ID. So why not start sharing files that way – you can share with anyone, not just people inside your institution. Download the SkyDrive Gadget for Xobni and send links to your documents on SkyDrive right from Outlook.

    You can find out more about how much attachments suck over at the SkyDrive site, including how you can be a great friend in letting others know how they can avoid clogging up your inbox with their attachments, too!


    How do you share files?

    Have you been using SkyDrive for a while? Do you have some other clever trick for avoiding those large attachments? Let us know in the comments!

    Originally posted on the Live@edu blog

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Upcoming changes to the way we make Microsoft Office available to students

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    There are a number of upcoming changes to the way we make Microsoft Office available to students as part of a worldwide program to simplify and broaden the availability of our academic offerings. These changes will enable more students to buy Office at a significant discount from the product available to other consumers. Today, 95% of higher-education students use Office, while only 23% are aware of Office student discounts. With the launch of Office University, we are expanding the number of partners who will be eligible to sell this product, including many popular retailers.

    The details of the current changes are:

    • Office University 2010 and Office for Mac University 2011 were released on 1 February 2012. Office University 2010 and Office for Mac University 2011 offers university and college students great value for the same applications, services and support as Office Professional 2010 and Office for Mac Home & Business 2011. With the release of these products, we are dramatically increasing the number of partners able to assort the product.
    • Office Home & Student 2010 is the current offering for school students and parents wishing to purchase Microsoft Office for their studies and home needs. This product is available from a wide range of retail and online partners.
    • Office Professional Plus 2010 and Office for Mac 2011 under Student Select will no longer be available for purchase through this program starting 1 April 2012. This is the current program used by Software for Students and other partners currently who specialise in this market.
    • Office offerings for students will remain, such as those available under Student Option for EES and Campus & School Agreement. A number of enhancements have already been introduced to make it more attractive for institutions to license their students under their institutional agreement, including free ESD and volume discounts.

    Microsoft has been working with our existing partners in the UK to help them prepare for these changes, so that they can in turn communicate with their customers –both Universities and the students themselves – about how they can continue to get discounted Office software packages.

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