Guest post from Microsoft UK Schools Blog reader, Jasmine Hall, from Online Colleges.
Overview of the top 20 best blogs that cover gamification/game-based learning.
Learn all about how games revolutionize more than just education through the extremely useful, insightful Gamification blog. Not only does it deeply explore how teachers and parents can utilize gaming platforms and developments in the interest of getting kids (and adults!) to hone their academic and practical skills alike, the site also goes into how they assist law enforcement and other initiatives.
Read SeriousGameBlog.com in English or French when seeking all the latest news about game-based learning and other serious applications of digital gaming. Anyone interested in the market especially will find plenty of interesting reading here, and Succubus International’s decade of experience in serious gaming lends it considerable credence.
Although this resource’s update schedule crawls when compared to some of its contemporaries, it certainly merits visiting when looking to find out what sort of conferences and other relevant game-based learning events are taking place. In addition, it also follows through on the title and posts information about the latest studies into the most and not-so-most educational games strategies.
Anything and everything involving both game-based learning and serious gaming gets covered here, regardless of structure or application, making it a wonderfully thorough read. It’s especially interesting to catch up on how gaming can prove a valuable educational tool outside the classroom.
One of the most comprehensive blogs about GBL boasts perspectives from several different writers and delves into all sorts of different and exciting corners of the concept. The eponymous company specializes in delivering learning sims and other gaming technologies at the most affordable possible cost.
GALA stands for Games and Learning Alliance, which should probably clue readers in on what they’re all about (PROTIP: It ain’t the Hokey Pokey). Multiple representatives from multiple serious gaming companies open up about their latest developments and approaches to the nascent industry.
Serious gaming expert Pamela M. Kato travels around the world to promote and discover the latest and greatest movements within game-based learning. She only recently took to blogging her experiences, readings, and research, but has nothing but interesting and highly informative things to share so far.
This popular edtech resource focuses mainly on the role gaming might very well play in a classroom setting, but looks into other digital venues from time to time for a broader glimpse at what all tech-savvy teachers have at their disposal. David Renton especially adores the Kinect’s educational applications, so anyone looking to harness its potential will likely find plenty to love and appreciate here.
Like David Renton, Ray Chambers stands as a devoted acolyte of the Kinect, though his blog definitely covers other game-based learning strategies, though not nearly as often. Stop by here when looking for some of the best games and ideas connected to the device he adores — or even share something new and exciting from your own experiences!
Of interest to parents and teachers of preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school students, the official blog of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop covers gaming and other digital media’s potential to get kids learning. Follow their progress in developing some great methods for harnessing the newest technological developments and participate in discussions about GBL’s possible futures.
Hit up MyGamification.com for updated information regarding the latest gamification news, which impacts GBL in the classroom and boardroom alike. BigDoor Inc., which provides such services to Dell, MLB.com, Nickelodeon, and more, knows a few things about harnessing gaming for both promotional and educational ends.
Microsoft’s UK Education Team illustrates how the company’s technology can be harnessed in order to provide students of all ages with engaging educational tools. While not exclusively about gaming, the ubiquitous corporation certainly provides plenty of excellent expert information on the subject.
This edtech enthusiast frequently covers gaming’s role in getting both kids and adults learning, though he doesn’t shy away from writing about other new media phenomena, either. Read through his posts for some fabulous insight into how all these developments fit together for a uniquely 21st century educational experience.
Both the blog and its accompanying podcast focus on Sealund’s serious gaming innovations and developments, which they hope provide maximum learning and engagement in its user base. Despite its somewhat erratic updating schedule, it really does offer up a great, detailed look at how educational games are created, developed, marketed, and utilized in the classroom.
Thanks to the magic and wonder that is the Internet, schools now compete in international competitions testing students’ math and spelling acumen – even if thousands of miles and cultural boundaries galore separate them. All the events associated with the World Education Games, which partners with UNICEF, stand as excellent examples of serious gaming’s highly effective, incredibly enjoyable potential.
Despite Gamasutra’s status as a general resource for game developers and similar professionals, it pays more than lip service to the game-based learning community, offering up an entire section devoted solely to serious gaming. Give it a look when wanting to absorb all the most recent goings-on in getting kids learning and audiences enthralled using new media formats.
More tech-oriented teachers might want to try creating their very own educational games using Unity 3D, which simplifies the process and allows them to concentrate more on content than style. At their official blog, anyone curious about the platform can pick up further information about getting the most out of the product and how to utilize it for various useful purposes.
Step up those GBL practices by learning a few things about the theory and practice of video games themselves, from a man who has studied the ways in which it has and might very well revolutionize politics, education, and more. Giving both Ian Bogost’s blog and website a look makes it easier to understand how all the intricate little components of technology and serious gaming fit together.
With a title like that, it’s not too difficult to glean exactly what this blog hopes to share, but — for all those out there whose reading comprehension skills aren’t so hot — it’s about the future of game-based learning. Developers, educators, and others fascinated by the topic gather here to exchange ideas and information about what works, what doesn’t, what’s available, and (obviously) what’s to come.
Even visitors not adhering to the DIY and/or edupunk movements these days could still easily pick up some great pointers about using games and augmented reality for educational ends from the Center4Edupunx blog. Its content centers around getting the most out of GBL without compromising “creativity, whimsy … and a very limited budget,” making it great for the cash-strapped home or mainstream classroom.
Interesting White Paper from IDC titled ‘Mitigating Risk: Why sticking with Windows XP is a bad idea’. The full paper can be viewed/downloaded below.
Originally posted by Erwin Visser on the Windows Blog.
Today at TechEd North America, we’re talking more about how Windows 8 is enterprise-ready, by design. As I was getting ready for this conversation, I found myself reflecting on the hundreds of customers my team and I have met with over the past several months. We have talked to companies in just about every industry and every area of the world. They’ve told us their implementation plans, some already demoed early business apps, and gave us feedback on how these innovations built on Windows 8 will be valuable to their organizations.
Since the last time you’ve heard from me on Windows 8 for the enterprise, I thought it would be important to share three customer stories on what enterprises are already doing with Windows 8 at TechEd and then here on the blog as well.
One of my favorites is what PCL Construction, the sixth largest contractor in the United States, is doing to ensure its team of 3,700 full-time professional staff has the tools they need to get the job done right.
PCL Construction recognized an opportunity with Windows To Go and how it could enable the work styles of its employees. Working with Windows 8 Release Preview versions of Windows To Go, PCL Construction employees can carry their entire managed corporate desktop and bring it along with them on a small bootable USB drive wherever they go – on the jobsite, from a field office, or from the comfort of their own home computer. They decided on an early implementation of Windows 8 to get feedback from users quickly and in an effort to remove any potential adoption barriers when Windows 8 rolls out to all employees.
As Shane Crawford, manager of infrastructure with PCL Construction, shared with us, “Windows 8 affords PCL Construction many ways to meet the needs of our diverse and mobile workforce from secure access touch-enabled applications that help improve jobsite safety to meeting the needs of executives and field staff working from multiple PC’s with Windows To Go.”
Another great example of an early customer case is a Windows 8 app developed by national furniture retailer Rooms To Go. This business app for tablets allows the company’s sales associates to offer a more intimate and immersive customer service experience without leaving the customers’ side.
Russ Rosen, CIO of Rooms To Go, stated, “Windows 8 provides Rooms To Go the ability to develop a custom point of sale application that takes advantage of continuous connectivity, and provides a natural touch interface to allow for a cost-effective experience for our sales associates across 175 stores.”
Finally, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, through their partner Sparked, is planning to outfit their employees with custom line-of-business applications accessing a Microsoft SharePoint backend on Windows 8 tablet. These applications allow prosecution officers to remain effective and productive whether working in an office, courtroom or while mobile.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the information presented to prosecution officers, it’s crucial that the data and devices be protected from viruses, malware, theft or compromise of data,” said Dr. Edwin C. Mac Gillavry, deputy director, Bureau for Criminal Law Studies, Dutch Public Prosecution Service. “The BitLocker solution with Windows 8 will protect our data, something that would be difficult to realize with other tablet platforms without extra costs.”
A few more items I want to touch on: yesterday at TechEd, we announced that the next release for Windows Intune is available here. My colleague Eric Main has a more in-depth description on updates and new features of the PC management and security software from yesterday’s keynote at TechEd North America.
While there are a lot of exciting new changes in this latest release, there are a couple that I would specifically like to call out. One is a new feature to better manage and secure your environment using mobile device management, which will be valuable to IT Pros who travel frequently, or have multiple locations to manage. Second, the latest release of Windows Intune includes upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows, which means businesses using Windows Intune will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise when it becomes available.
Finally, my colleague Karri Alexion-Tiernan has an update on several Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products, including: the availability of betas for Microsoft BitLOcker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) and Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), an upcoming beta for the newest addition to the MDOP family – User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), and a release candidate for the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8.
Have an exciting implementation plan for Windows 8 in your business or have thoughts on the Windows Intune and MDOP announcements? Share your story with us in the comments section and you may be reading about it in a future blog post.
We look forward to traveling to Amsterdam later this month for TechEd Europe and you can look for more updates from my team here on the Windows for your Business site. In the meantime, we encourage you to download Windows 8 Release Preview and test it in the business environment, available at http://preview.windows.com.
Originally posted on the Building Windows 8 Blog back in April 2012. Some of the references have evolved since this was originally posted, but is a great post in case you missed it the first time around.
With more and more people providing their own hardware for work, the "bring your own" PC is becoming more commonplace and IT Pros want to have the confidence that they can support their clients who follow this trend. The presence of BYO does not change the need for IT Pros to manage, secure, and remain accountable for the network assets of an organization, and we all know that written policies can only go so far. This post focuses on managing WOA PCs, which are designed with this "consumerization of IT" in mind. PCs of all form factors built on x86/64 architecture have the full complement of management tools available to them, especially those supported by third-party code running on the system. Since WOA PCs only support third-party code through the Windows Store and WinRT-based applications, we set out to develop industry-leading management capabilities that support BYO or company-deployed WOA PCs. This post was authored by Jeffrey Sutherland, a program manager lead in our Management Systems group. --Steven
With more and more people providing their own hardware for work, the "bring your own" PC is becoming more commonplace and IT Pros want to have the confidence that they can support their clients who follow this trend. The presence of BYO does not change the need for IT Pros to manage, secure, and remain accountable for the network assets of an organization, and we all know that written policies can only go so far.
This post focuses on managing WOA PCs, which are designed with this "consumerization of IT" in mind. PCs of all form factors built on x86/64 architecture have the full complement of management tools available to them, especially those supported by third-party code running on the system. Since WOA PCs only support third-party code through the Windows Store and WinRT-based applications, we set out to develop industry-leading management capabilities that support BYO or company-deployed WOA PCs. This post was authored by Jeffrey Sutherland, a program manager lead in our Management Systems group.
One of the major trends in IT in recent years has been the drive towards “consumerization of IT,” which is a term describing how consumer technology, from phones to PCs, is bleeding into business organizations in all forms and fashions. And increasingly, the devices that are showing up are owned by and liable to the employee rather than the organization they work for. We see this most notably in the smartphone device category, but more recently also in tablets or other portable PC form factors that are increasingly showing up in the workplace. As organizations embrace consumerization, IT must consider how much control they can exert over a user’s personally-owned device, and how much management is “good enough.” These questions were top of mind for us as we began our journey to Windows 8, and particularly, as we built Windows for the ARM processor architecture. Our focus has been on how we can continue to deliver PCs and software that users need, like applications and data-access on any device, with enough IT control to assert that the device is trustworthy, while avoiding any compromise of the user’s privacy on their personal device.
In Steven’s earlier blog post about Windows on ARM, or WOA, he talked about how the bulk of the Windows experience remains the same on ARM as it is on x86/64, and the products share a significant amount of code. So, while this post will focus primarily on WOA, many of the features discussed are equally applicable to both processor architectures. In addition, this post covers the capabilities on the PC, itself, not the overall management infrastructure and tools used by IT. Also, please keep in mind all the security capabilities built into Windows that come with WOA from the basics of networking all the way through drive encryption.
Demand for access to the business apps that users rely on - from email to licensed software from an independent software vendor to home-grown apps developed by IT - is one of the most important use cases for “consumer” devices in the enterprise. We know that developers are going to find it easy and convenient to build elegant Metro style apps that automatically work on any Windows 8 system including WOA, and developers of line-of-business (LOB) apps won’t be any different. But many organizations want to directly control and manage access to their internal LOB apps, including the distribution of the app binaries for installation. For these organizations, publishing their LOB apps to the public Windows Store doesn’t make sense, since there is no reason to broadcast these applications to others or to have their application deployment managed through the Windows Store process. And access to these resources and the data that they expose requires an assurance to IT that the systems accessing them meet an established bar for security and data protection.
Organizations have been dealing with apps on x86/64 machines for a long time using a variety of tools and methods, including management products like System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune. Management of Metro style LOB apps on x86/64 will be able to leverage those same existing tools and methods and only requires that the client be configured to trust the apps that come from a source other than the Windows Store. For more information on the base capabilities of adding and removing Metro style apps on x86/64, see How to Add and Remove Apps. Developing WOA, however, provided us a unique opportunity to architect how LOB apps can be delivered to users in a way that meets the needs of IT while continuing to guarantee a consistent and reliable end-to-end experience over the life of the PC.
For WOA, we have integrated a new management client that can communicate with a management infrastructure in the cloud to deliver LOB apps to users. You’ll hear more about this management infrastructure at a later date from our friends on the System Center blog, so this post will focus on the benefits and capabilities of the WOA management client itself.
The agent does most of the heavy lifting on the client. It configures the client to communicate with the organization’s management infrastructure; periodically synchronizes with the management infrastructure to check for any updated LOB apps and apply the latest settings policies configured by IT for the device; and handles the actual download and installation of any LOB apps that the user wants to install. Finally, if the user or the administrator chooses to remove the device from the management infrastructure, it clears the configuration of the agent itself and disables any LOB apps the user installed from the SSP.
Let’s explore some of these elements in more detail, starting with connecting the client to the management infrastructure. In truth, this step begins with the IT admin who specifies the group of Active Directory (AD) domain users who are authorized to connect devices into the service. The admin also has the option to specify the maximum number of devices allowed per user. For authorized users, the actual steps to connect a device are quite simple. Using a new Control Panel applet on their WOA device, the user supplies their company email address and password, just like they do to set up an Exchange email account. The agent then performs a service lookup to locate the organization’s management infrastructure based on the user’s email address.
Connecting to your management infrastructure is as easy as entering your company email address and password
Once the agent has found the right address, it establishes a secure connection to the management infrastructure using SSL Server Authentication and authenticates the user. If the user is successfully authenticated and has been authorized by the admin to connect devices, the service issues a user certificate to the user who initiated the connection. This certificate is sent back to the agent along with the organization root certificate and instructions for the agent, which it uses to configure its ongoing communications with the management infrastructure. All of this happens in a matter of seconds and typically requires no further interaction from the user. Once complete, the user is directed to install the SSP while the agent completes the connection in the background.
Completing the connection
Next, the agent automatically initiates a session with the management infrastructure, using the user certificate to authenticate. This session and any subsequent sessions are performed using SSL Mutual Authentication to ensure the security of the connection. This initial session completes the registration of the device with the service by supplying some basic device information such as the make and model, the OS version, device capabilities, and other hardware information. This allows IT admins to monitor what types of devices are connecting to the organization, so they can improve the apps and services they deliver to users over time.
Following the initial session, the agent initiates communication with the management infrastructure in two circumstances:
Regardless of whether a session is initiated automatically by a scheduled maintenance task or manually by the user, the WOA management client continues to behave well relative to the state of the battery on the device and its current network conditions.
As already discussed, access to LOB apps typically requires systems to comply with basic security and data protection policies. From the management infrastructure, the IT admin is able to configure a set of policies that we believe are the most critical to give IT the assurances they need without seriously affecting the user’s experience with their device, including:
Although our new WOA management client can only connect with a single management infrastructure at a time, we may decide to add other policy sources before we release Windows 8 and so we’ve architected the policy system to handle this. In the case where more than one policy exists for the same Windows 8 device, the policies will be merged and the most restrictive configuration will be selected for each. This resultant policy will apply to every administrative user on the Windows 8 device and every standard user with an Exchange account configured. Standard users who do not have an Exchange account will not be subject to the policy, but Windows 8 already restricts those users from accessing data in other users’ profiles and from privileged locations, thereby automatically protecting your corporate data.
In addition to the configurable policies described above, the agent can also be used to automatically configure a VPN profile for the user, so that WOA devices easily connect to a corporate network without requiring any user action. Finally, the agent can also monitor and report on compliance of WOA devices for the following:
Leveraging this compliance information, IT admins can more effectively control access to corporate resources if a device is determined to be at risk. Yet once again, the user’s basic experience with the device is left intact and their personal privacy is maintained.
Before we move on, let’s consider a couple of the policies listed above and how they practically affect a Windows 8 system. First, we’ll look at Allow Convenience Logon. Windows 8 offers users convenience login features, like biometric login or the picture password feature. These options maintain a high level of security for Windows 8 devices, while solving one of the biggest headaches for users and IT alike: forgetting your password. Yet some organizations may require additional time before they are ready to embrace these alternative logon methods, so the Allow Convenience Logon option lets IT manage when to allow convenience logins in their organization.
Secondly, let’s look at how drive encryption and Maximum Failed Password Attempts work together. You probably know people who’ve picked up their smartphone only to find that the device has wiped itself after their young child was playing with it and inadvertently entered the wrong password repeatedly. Nothing so severe will happen with your Windows 8 devices, fortunately. Windows 8 provides strong data protection already out of the box. So, when a user exceeds the password entry threshold, Windows will instead cryptographically lock all encrypted volumes and reboot the device into the Windows 8 recovery console. If your device has been lost or stolen, this effectively renders the device unreadable. But if you’re simply the victim of your young son or daughter trying to get to Angry Birds while your device is locked, you can easily recover with the use of a recovery key that Windows 8 can automatically store on your behalf in your SkyDrive account. This way, you are able to get back up and running without enduring a lengthy wait to re-install all of your apps and copy down all of your data.
The features we’ve covered so far are obviously focused more on the mechanics of the management client and infrastructure along with the needs of the IT admin, but ultimately the entire solution exists to benefit the end user by enabling access to their LOB apps. Without such a benefit there's little reason a user would go through the trouble of using the enterprise management infrastructure. So let’s dig deeper into LOB app delivery on the WOA platform.
In our previous blog post about WOA, we told you that “consumers obtain all software... through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.” Now, with the addition of the WOA management client, we’re adding a fourth trusted source of software for the WOA platform. As mentioned, the Metro style self-service portal app, or SSP, is the day-to-day interface for the corporate user to access their management infrastructure. Here they can browse to discover LOB apps that have been made available to them by the IT admin. There are actually four different types of apps that IT can publish for users in the SSP:
Since the user specified his or her corporate credentials as part of the initial connection with the management infrastructure, the IT admin can then specify which apps are published to each user individually, based on the user’s AD domain user account, or as a member of AD user groups. As a result, the user only sees those apps that are applicable to them in the SSP.
Browsing for LOB apps in the self-service portal (SSP) for a fictional company called Woodgrove NOTE: This screenshot shows an early prototype of the SSP and may not reflect the final product.
Before any LOB apps can be delivered through the management infrastructure, there are two things that happen on the client. First, an activation key is issued by the management infrastructure and applied to the WOA device to allow the agent to install apps. Second, any certificates used to sign the LOB apps must be added to the certificate store on the device. In most cases, both the activation key and the root certificates are automatically applied during the first session after establishing the connection with the management infrastructure. Otherwise, they are automatically deployed during a subsequent session after the IT admin has turned on the feature in the management infrastructure.
When the user chooses to install an app from the SSP, the request is sent to the management infrastructure and a download link is provided to the agent. The agent then downloads the app, verifies the validity of the content, checks the signature, and installs the app. All of this typically occurs within seconds and is generally invisible to the user. In the event that an error occurs during any part of this process (e.g. the location of the content is unavailable), the agent queues the app for a retry during its next regularly scheduled maintenance session. In either case, the agent reports the state of the installation back to the management infrastructure.
The details page of an app in the SSP, where the user can initiate installation NOTE: This screenshot shows an early prototype of the SSP, and may not reflect the final product.
As part of its regular maintenance sessions, the agent will inventory which LOB apps are currently installed and report that information back to the management infrastructure so the IT admin can effectively manage their LOB apps. Only Metro-style apps that were installed via the SSP and the management client are included in this inventory from a WOA device. Apps installed from the Windows Store are never reported as part of the inventory.
Anytime the IT admin publishes an update for an app that has been installed on a WOA device, the agent will automatically download and install the update during its next regular maintenance session.
Finally, let’s look at how to disconnect a device from the management infrastructure. Disconnecting may be initiated either locally by the user or remotely by the IT admin. User-initiated disconnection is performed much like the initial connection, and is initiated from the same location in the Control Panel. Users may choose to disconnect for any number of reasons, including leaving the company or getting a new device and no longer needing access to their LOB apps on the old device. When an admin initiates a disconnection, the agent performs the disconnection during its next regular maintenance session. Admins may choose to disconnect a user’s device after they’ve left the company or because the device is regularly failing to comply with the organization’s security settings policy.
During disconnection, the agent does the following:
Given the trend towards “consumerization” of IT and our introduction of WOA with Windows 8, we wanted to rethink the way systems management is done. We worked to strike a balance between the sometimes competing needs of IT admins and the consumer who uses the device on a day-to-day basis. With the new WOA management client connecting to a management infrastructure in the cloud, we believe we’ve accomplished those goals, and we hope you’ll agree when you see it all in action.
-- Jeffrey Sutherland
You can download the Second Preview (PDF only) here (13.5 MB).
And you can download the Second Preview’s companion content here (64.9 MB).
The full original version of the eBook can be viewed below.
Guest post from Kristian Still, Assistant Vice Principal, Hamble Community Sports College.
Microsoft’s announcement of an all new, fantastically fast (and IMHO attractive), cloud-based email service at Outlook.com that ties into SkyDrive (now you have 7GB of free storage space) and open attachments right inside the new Web apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can chat or message directly from within Outlook.com, connecting to Facebook messages (not that I am a FB fan), and other networks, (eg LinkedIn of which I am a fan) and will some time later this year integrate with Skype.
It is not for me to tell you how to manage you email INBOX, but there are some handy tools for that too with Outlook.com. There are categories, the very useful ‘sweep’ feature and also instant actions for reading emails.
Now for the real barrier to changing your email address. Keeping your old, memory filled account, and creating a new professional alias. Well Outlook.com can take care of that.
Step one – Create an Outlook.com account or update or even rename your old account, instantly losing the nickname, underscore and mythical number.
Step two - If you want to keep your memory field email, now take the opportunity to create an alias. In this case, a more professional alias. Basically it appears to create a ’new email account’ but its stored in the same INBOX. You might chose to do this if you are looking for a new position at a new school. Creating a bespoke email address for that all important application / conversation email chain. What is even better is that Outlook.com then creates a folder to collect the responses to that alias.
Step three – add and verify additional email accounts to your Outlook.com. They do need to be POP-enabled, but Outlook.com checks that for you. Now, when you compose a new message, you get to choose to send it from any of the associated accounts. Your recipients may see: “From firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of email@example.com” even though you sent it from Outlook.com. Replies are sent to the originating email address.
Add Outlook.com and the SkyDrive App to your smart phone and I think you just about have all bases covered.
Originally posted on the OneNote Blog.
(Guest blogger Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle magazine, and is the author of "How to Be a Geek Goddess." She has been covering technology for decades and blogs at GeekGirlfriends.com and Family Circle's Momster.)
My son Cole (16) -- like many men I know -- is very good at appearing to listen when he isn't paying any attention at all. Whenever a conversation takes the form of a lecture, his attention drifts. His imagination kicks in. He finds something to do with his hands. Sometimes he even absently gets up and leaves the room. When he was younger, he got into quite a bit of trouble in school for this inattention. So over the years, he has learned to strike a pose of rapt attention before allowing his mind to wander. I'm sure this nonverbal tendency has contributed to a few of his more shocking report cards. Thankfully though, in this digital age, his high-school teachers tend to take a liberal attitude toward the use of technology. As long he is quietly using his tech as a study aide (not to cheat, text, or watch TV), his teachers quietly turn a blind eye.
So, to bolster my hope of someday celebrating college acceptance letters with him, I decided to teach him how to use Microsoft OneNote - in conjunction with his Windows Phone -- to improve his note taking skills.
I'm a journalist. Years ago I ditched notebooks and rely instead on OneNote keep track of research. It looks like a digital three-ring binder. But the more you use it, the more you realize how limited a three-ring binder is. I recently added a Nokia Lumia 900. ($49.99 with a contract at AT&T) Windows Phone to my work arsenal. And the combo allowed me to ditch the backpack, handheld recorder, and camera I once sported for note taking. When I jot a note, snap a photo, or record a conversation using OneNote on my Windows Phone, those notes are instantly synced (via Sky Drive) with OneNote on my Windows PC. So when I get back to my office, all my notes are waiting for me. No carrying. No filing. No organizing. It's all done.
Being a journalist is a lot like being a perpetual student, I figured. So -- hoping these tricks will help my son, too -- I grabbed a laptop, cornered him, and said, "We need to come up with a plan to help you do better in school."
He had a terrible year last year so he knew he wasn't getting out of this conversation. He sighed, sat down, and pretended to pay attention.
"Do you take notes in class?" I asked.
He said he did.
"Can you show me some of them?"
He looked panicked and started tossing out excuses. Some of them contradicted each other. It was funny.
"So you don't really take notes?"
"I mean to," he admitted. "I bring a notebook. I get it out. It's just so boring."
I've known this boy a long time. So I know that listening to someone talk for ninety minutes is harder for him than jumping off an Olympic high board would be for me. (I don't like heights.) He's also nocturnal. So a long, early morning math class -- even though he likes math -- is an endurance sport, one where he is not the favorite to win. This all gets worse as the year goes on because if he daydreams through one lecture, the next one makes even less sense. With every class, he becomes more completely lost.
I opened OneNote and showed him that it looked like his notebook but was better.
Then I showed him how simple it was to create notebooks that are stored online at SkyDrive.com so he can access them from anywhere. He already has a Microsoft Account so we logged in from OneNote and created a new class notebook that would be stored in the cloud.
Then I showed him around the note-taking features of OneNote on his PC. It allows him to capture Web research (and remembers where he got it.) It lets him record video. He could drop scans of homework assignments in here and toss the originals. He could jot ideas. He could create to-do lists. And all of it is searchable.
It would even let him enter mathematical formulas.
This was all very cool, he agreed.
"But I'm not bringing my laptop to class," he told me. "Only dorks do that."
I knew that. But he, too, has a Windows Phone. The selling point for him was its seamless integration with Xbox not its seamless integration with Office and SkyDrive. But he's hooked on it. So my evil plan was already working. In fact, he had it in his hand while we were talking. I pointed out Office Mobile (which, in addition to OneNote, features Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and told him to tap it. His phone was already logged into Windows Live - that's how he keeps up with his gaming peeps -- so when he opened Office on his phone, the new school notebook we'd just created was already there waiting for him.
I showed him how to create a new note in that notebook, right from his phone.
"So, when you can't pay attention anymore in class," I told him. "Start a new note and tap that little microphone icon to record the lecture. That way you can listen to it later - and use fast forward and rewind - so you know what material was covered." His idea of studying is to go watch Sal Khan explain things in a way he can relate to at The Khan Academy. That usually brings him right up to speed. But he needs to know what the teacher covered in class to do it.
He was impressed. "This would be handy for when you start these random lectures and force me to listen to you," he told me, smiling and tapping the microphone icon to record our conversation.
Within seconds, the recording showed up on the computer screen. And now I had his attention.
I pointed out that the camera icon would be handy for taking photos of the homework assignments on the blackboard - since he never seems to remember to write those down, which leads to missed homework assignments, and - eventually -- terrible grades.
I had him now. I know he wants to be a better student. But, in addition to his attention problems, he's also a hip guy with a social life. And sitting in class, hanging on the teacher's every word and copying things off the board are not - in his mind - the way to win a pretty girl's heart. (No matter how many times I tell him girls like smart guys.) But this sort of note-taking? He could do without anyone noticing. In fact, it would give him a chance to show off his tech savvy. And, if he does miss something in class and finds himself having trouble with a tough homework assignment, he can switch on his Microsoft webcam and Skype his friends-or that cute girl from math class-to figure it out.
Whether all this technical firepower will improve his grades still remains to be seen. But I'm certain it would have helped me get better grades back when I was a student.
You can find OneNote -- and the other Office applications I think are great for students - in Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010. Even better it's on sale until September 14! When you buy Office Home and Student 2010, Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 (3 pack), Office University 2010 or Office for Mac University 2011 you get 15% off.
For more ways to replace old-school tools with tech, check out the September issue of Family Circle Magazine for my feature, "Tech that's Anything But Old School." Or come visit my "Family Tech Christina" blog at FamilyCircle.com/tech.
We have a number of programs that provides various audiences early access to the Windows 8 RTM code to help prepare for Windows 8 as it enters the marketplace this autumn, and offers a great way to ensure your institution is ready to embrace the benefits of our new OS ready for the start of the new academic year:
In the meantime, if you’d like to give a pre-release version of Windows 8 a test-run, feel free to download the Windows 8 Release Preview!
Originally posted on the the Windows Blog.
Earlier this month, we announced that Windows 8 reached the RTM milestone. Windows 8 Enterprise is now available to Software Assurance customers via the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
For those customers who are interested in trying out the key features in Windows 8 Enterprise, you can also now obtain Windows 8 Enterprise through your TechNet Professional Subscription or MSDN Subscription. For those IT professionals that don’t have access through these other sources, a 90-day evaluation version is now available for download through the TechNet Evaluation Center. For more information about this evaluation version, please see the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation FAQ.
For customers who will be deploying Windows 8 Enterprise, be assured that the KMS and MAK volume activation methods that were available with Windows 7 Enterprise are still there and work as they did before. But there is also a new Active Directory-based Activation method, offering a way to leverage your existing Active Directory infrastructure to simplify the activation process.
In order to use KMS or MAK activation, you will need to obtain new keys from the VLSC. If you are using a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 computer as your KMS host, you will also need to install a hotfix to enable Windows 8 Enterprise activation. For more information about volume activation, please see the Volume Activation Overview on TechNet.
To help with the planning, image engineering, and deployment processes for Windows 8 Enterprise, some key free tools are also now available for downloading:
To find additional resources to help you plan for Windows 8 in your organization, bookmark the Springboard Series for Windows 8 and check out our step-by-step Plan for Windows 8 guide.
Thanks for your interest in Windows 8 Enterprise. Start your testing and evaluation today!
I would like to think that my colleagues would describe me as a passionate teacher, excited about my subject and my craft. I would like to think that my students wholeheartedly believe that their achievements are the result of their own hard work and that they are both challenged and inspired in our classroom. I would like to think that my effective use of technology gives me more time to focus on being a better educator. It is this passion for using education technology that led me to question my own productivity, as a leader, learner, as a teacher and facilitator and an education maven. What I search for is the ability to move freely between devices (operating systems) and locations with but a moment’s pause.
2.1 Triad or Quad?
‘To freely move between devices….’ between desktops, laptops, touchscreens, mobile phones and games console. The question of triad or quad simple explores whether or not you consider a game console a viable education tool for teaching. It is most certainly a learning platform.
3.1 Dot to dot
All the dots are there for everyone to see. You will know from experience that connecting the dots takes effort and determination (and often a wrong turn), but at some point before you complete the puzzle, you see the answer. I have been reading and listening to the media response to Window 8, Surface, Window Phone 7.8/8 and Xbox and staring (thinking) at these technology dots. Thinking strategy, thinking how could this improve my impact as a practitioner.
I am confident Microsoft planned and placed these dots thoughtfully, purposefully and deliberately in front of us, so that as we started connecting them together, we will see that the answer was indeed an integrated, connected Microsoft platform. An environment where one could ‘move freely between devices (operating systems) and locations with but a moment’s pause.’
What if we brought those dots closer together? What if we made those connections easier to make and brought forward that ‘eureka’ moment. How would that impact upon our willingness to change the way we interacted with and taught with technology? What if we were able to encourage education / teachers to move from being, all too often the early (or even late) majority, towards being the early adopters? Why not the innovators even? With that in mind, it is also worth noting that for the early majority to move, someone else has to have tried first. (Law of Diffusion of Innovation)
Find the ‘someone’s.’ Find the someone’s from with the Partners in Learning Network or other group that are passionate about technology and ask them to build and share a ‘Why, How and What’ report. A report generated from an agreed series of professional diary reflections.
4.0 Conclusion The future will come soon enough and when it does, I would like to be ready to make the most of it. I am not quite sure why I got stuck on this issue, however, I am glad I did.