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.
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.”
“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 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…
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)
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.
Luke (second from right) accepting his award and prize for Microsoft Outstanding Apprenticeship 2011 at the National Awards
Well done Luke!
We are thrilled to announce the availability of our latest eBook, titled ‘Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education’.
Written by leading light in this field, Ollie Bray, this eBook combines thoughts, observations, tools and practical tips to help you understand more about using and making computer games in the classroom. In short, it is a guide to get children excited and re-energised about learning.
View/download the full eBook on Gaming in Education below:
If you are keen to learn more about the use of computer games in education, Ollie will be speaking on this topic at the Microsoft sponsored breakout session at the NAACE 2012 Conference. Hope to see you there!
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.
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:
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 (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 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.
With the plethora of device types now available, the power to work and study where you choose is now a reality. Want to revise in the park sipping a latte, or update a presentation on the bus, there is now an app and device perfectly suited to your needs.
This trend, commonly known as the Consumerisation of IT in Education or BYOD, is driving the demand for flexible working and studying often using more consumer orientated devices. Within an academic institution, this is not without its challenges, though, and IT professionals within schools, colleges and universities need to consider the impact and management of BYOD from a more holistic perspective to ensure the needs of both the user and enterprise are met.
Lets consider the needs of the students for a second. Gen-Y, who are predominately active users of social media and mobile technology, expect to also use these technologies as a core element of their learning experiences. Is this is often a reality within institutions, though?
Furthermore, with Forrester research reporting that 35% of workers in the US already use a personal device at work, and I am sure the UK numbers are not far off this, the BYOD trend in the enterprise is rapidly gaining momentum. With people becoming more tech savvy, how are institutions also embracing the opportunities of consumerisation of IT in education/BYOD with faculty and admin staff within institutions? Are institutions working to meet the needs of their users?
Via my conversations with network managers and teachers at institutions across the UK, I get a mixed set of responses to these questions. Some institutions are openly embracing BYOD, while others are passionately against these trends.
Ultimately, I don’t see these trends as a threat to an institutions IT strategy, but does require IT managers within institutions to work in a new way and to think differently.
People power, or BYOD, is not without its challenges but requires a balance between freedom, risk and cost to ensure a practical and workable solution for IT users within an institution. IT Managers want to enable anytime, anywhere learning/working for all, I am sure, but also have a responsibility to keep systems and data safe.
To make this a reality, a solution needs to provide anytime, anywhere access to data and apps, consider the most suitable device type to meet the needs of users and, as mentioned previously, mitigate cost and risks.
The consumerisation of IT video below discusses this in more detail.
So, how do IT managers within academic institutions make this a reality?
From a device perspective, multi purpose devices should be front and centre of BYOD strategies. With the pace of change in devices types, it is now possible to get devices that are light weight, have a great battery life and are well suited for both content creation and consumption. These multi-purpose devices can also be managed within a standard IT management environment with increases the security of the device and reduces the overall cost of ownership.
UltraBooks, for example, offer much of the flexibility of slate devices but, in the case of Windows 7 devices, can be managed and secured electronically.
iPads, for example, are fantastic content consumption devices, but offer challenges when it comes to content creation and security/central management. This often leads to the need to have multiple device types to cater for both sets of needs. This adds to the overall cost of the device estate and, particularly in the case of education, adds significant cost to an overall IT budget.
The video below showcasing some of the latest PC's, for example, gives a good feel for how powerful multi-purpose devices are becoming.
With the advances in the cloud, access to data and apps via the browser irrespective of platform is also becoming commonplace. App virtualisation, via VDI and remote desktop, can also help provide flexible and secure access to core apps and act as a fundamental element of an institutions BYOD strategy.
When these 3 elements, device type, the cloud and unified management comes together, institutions have the perfect recipe for BYOD success.
Food for thought, for sure. What do you think about this topic? How are you meeting the needs of your users in the age of BYOD? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very quickly pupils and teachers found this too restrictive. They quickly decided to rotate the diagram anticlockwise one step.
Once created the process of sharing the notebook to My Sites is very simple.
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
6. One Note will set up the synchronisation process and create an email message providing details of the share.
7. The notebook is now available using OneNote on the local machine or the web application via a browser of the user’s choice.
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.
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.
2. Now click on Open Task in Outlook to get the following familiar window where you can add the recipients of the task.
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.
We’re conditioned to assume, especially in education, that a cost-saving measure will threaten the quality of what we’re able to offer. That being so, the news is more than welcome that in many schools, colleges and universities, information technology professionals are turning that assumption on its head. They have found a proven way not only of saving significant sums of money for their institutions, but of doing so while delivering better and more effective ICT for staff and students.
Already the questions are forming. How is that done? Can any school do it? Exactly what cost savings are in the offing? Is the end product really good enough for us?
Our latest eBook, titled ‘Virtualisation with Hyper-V’, attempts to provide you, a decision-maker in a school, college or university, with the information you need to make informed decisions about how to save money within your institution. One of the solutions, and the key focus of this eBook, lies in server virtualisation using Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V.
Within this eBook, we’ll tell you what Hyper-V is already doing for real UK schools, and arguably more importantly, in broad terms what it could do for your school.
The content covered within this eBook is structured in two parts. Part 1 provides a non-technical introduction to the concept of server virtualisation. Part 2 presents a more technical guide to help you implement a virtualised environment.
This eBook has been co-authored by Alan Richards, West Hatch High School, and Gerald Haigh. The full eBook can be viewed and/or downloaded below.
Further to our recent Education Desktop webcast, the next on our series of Live Webcasts have now been scheduled. Details are shown below. We hope you can join us!
System Center 2012 – An Overview
March 6th, 11am-12pm
System Center 2012 can transform your IT Infrastructure, from your Desktops, to your Data Centre and out to the Cloud. Join this session, presented jointly by Microsoft and a Microsoft System Center Partner to understand what System Center 2012 can do for you. This session will provide a good overview of the capabilities of the suite and also provide a “what’s new” update if you are aware of previous versions. You will also have chance to get your System Center questions answered by a Specialist.
SharePoint 2010 – An Overview for Education
March 27th, 11am-12pm
This session, presented by Dave Coleman, SharePoint MVP – will cover the key features of SharePoint 2010 –highlighting key education scenarios. Whether you are completely new to SharePoint or have experience with previous versions, this session will give a great recap, and provide a “what’s new” in this current release. You will also have the chance to get answers to any of your burning SharePoint questions.
Deploying Windows 7 – from Planning to Deployed April 17th, 11am-12pm
This session will give you an overview of the key steps needed to plan for and deploy Windows 7 effectively.
There are a whole range of free tools and utilities from Microsoft that enable you to remove huge cost out of the deployment process. Including:
· How to simplify assessing your current PC estate for suitability
· Checking your application compatibility – and reducing the impact of any that aren’t compatible
· Application deployment methods to reduce your workload
· Capturing and migrating existing user data
· Automating deployments – from light touch to zero touch installations
The session will be relevant for IT managers in schools, colleges and universities
You will also have chance to get any of your deployment questions answered by a Microsoft Specialist.
What does the modern education desktop from Microsoft look like today? This webcast talks about how Windows 7, Office 2010 and Learning Suite, to name a few, come together to provide more engaging learning experiences for learners, while also saving costs.
Furthermore, if you are responsible for managing the desktops within your institution, this webcast shares some insight into MDOP with adds significant value and removes cost from the process of managing the desktop environment.
Finally, while not specifically a licensing orientated session, an overview will also be given on the CAL Suites.
If you have any questions about the Modern Education Desktop from Microsoft, please leave your questions in the comments below.
Thanks for taking the time to view the webcast and if you have any ideas for future topics, we would love to hear them. Again, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Originally posted by Lee Stott on the UK Faculty Connection Blog.
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
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.
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.