Great overview of Windows Intune and, more specifically, the new functionality within the latest version (Wave C).
Originally posted on the Daily Edventures Blog.
“Music is such a beautiful community builder,” says multi-platinum musician Gavin DeGraw. “One of the most popular ways people relate to one another is through the music they listen to. It’s one of the most important foods of your life.” Indeed, music has played an integral part of DeGraw’s entire life. He grew up in a musical family where he was, “raised to regard music as part of the fabric of everyday life rather than a remote show-business ideal.”
DeGraw believes so strongly in the power of music in education, he has lobbied Congress to save school music programs. And as a VH1 Save the Music Ambassador, DeGraw is keenly aware of the impact music has on learning outcomes for students. DeGraw works to raise awareness about the importance of music education in a young person’s life, as well as to help raise funds to restore instrumental music education programs in U.S. public elementary and middle schools. According to VH1, “research consistently demonstrated that students who study an instrument enhance their critical thinking skills and their ability to work together as a team. They are more engaged in school and less likely to drop out; and they do significantly better in all of their academic endeavors.” Anthony Salcito recently spoke with DeGraw about the role music plays in learning and our shared cultural experience.
YouthSpark, Microsoft's latest philanthropic effort, is a three-year initiative aimed at creating opportunities for 300 million young people worldwide.
The new initiative will focus Microsoft's philanthropic efforts squarely on youth, which sits in line with the UK's recently announced partnership with UK Youth, a charity working with disadvantaged students across the UK. To achieve the YouthSpark goal, Microsoft will concentrate its corporate giving on non-profit organisations that provide technology and business skills training for youth; will launch new citizenship efforts including a global micro-giving site; and will mobilize its broader business to help support youth with free software and training.
The overarching goal is to help address the opportunity divide—the gap between young people who have the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those who don't. With youth worldwide facing an unemployment rate roughly double that of the rest of the population, it's no small undertaking.
"Through Microsoft YouthSpark, we're focusing our citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship…By working with our partners, we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time, and resources to do that."
Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft
As a global technology company with offices across the globe, Microsoft believes it is well-positioned to help close the opportunity divide for youth. The initiative has three broad goals: empower youth by helping transform education and expand digital inclusion; unleash future innovators by giving youth the inspiration and tools to imagine new opportunities; and help youth realize new opportunities of employability and entrepreneurship.
To do all that, Microsoft developed several new youth-focused citizenship initiatives.
The first is Give for Youth, a global micro-giving marketplace focused specifically on raising funds for non-profits that support youth causes around the world. Anyone can search the site to find young individuals who are facing various hardships, make a donation to the non-profit that is supporting them, and follow the impact of the contribution. While micro-giving has been around for several years, Give for Youth is the first site to focus exclusively on helping young people. The portal will hopefully inspire employees and others worldwide to tackle the opportunity divide through a personal, one-to-one connection, she said.
Microsoft also announced that it will focus the bulk of its corporate cash giving on nonprofit organisations that have missions to give youth the skills, education, and job training they need to succeed.
Yet, YouthSpark will go beyond philanthropy. Microsoft is launching the YouthSpark hub, which brings together all the services, programs, and resources offered across the company, including the Imagine Cup, Partners in Learning, Office365 for Education, DreamSpark, and Skype in the Classroom.
Princes Trust and UK Youth are the two UK Charities that have been included within Give for Youth. This way, you can see the projects which fundraising will support and find out more about the young people we are helping.
If you are using Windows XP and Office 2003 in your school, college or university, we wanted to make you aware that the support for this will end in April 2014.
Microsoft plans to end support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in 2014, and that will affect your education institution if you are using this software. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide hot fixes, product updates, and most critical, security patches for Windows XP and Office 2003. This could affect your internal network security and regulatory compliance and potentially expose secure employee and organisational information. That’s why we recommend that your school, college or university updates its operating system.
There are so many benefits to the modern education desktop including increased security, easier networking, better features and cost saving opportunities, so upgrading Windows and Office will be likely to increase productivity in your institution. For education specifically, upgrading will give you access to education apps and resources such as 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.
Also with the exciting approach of Windows 8 general availability launch on Friday 26th October 2012, there are lots of reasons to think about upgrading to the latest version. There are now over 220 education apps in the ever-growing Windows Store, and with a fresh, clean interface also comes significant new advantages and benefits of Windows 8 for education. Windows 8 for education now offers students a completely new experience, providing intuitive access to digital content alongside a fully functioning suite of learning enhancing tools that allow for more productive teachers, more engaged students and enhanced interaction and collaboration.
So now is the time to gain the many advantages of upgrading your operating system in your school. While April 2014 may seem far away, we know that changing infrastructure is a time-consuming activity, requiring extensive planning and preparation. It’s important that your education institution has migrated from Windows XP and Office 2003 well before April 2014, and that you are using technologies like Windows 7 or Windows 8 and Office 2010 or the new Office, which are proven to be much safer, and also more economical to operate.
Any change is requires careful planning, and moving from Windows XP and Office 2003 is no exception. By investing the time early to do this well, it will make things a lot easier. Microsoft and our partners have been helping schools, colleges and universities move to Windows 7 and Office 2010 since they launched and will do the same for Windows 8 and the new Office. A lot has changed in the decade since we released Windows XP; we have much better tools to help manage your environment (desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and even employee-owned devices), and help automate the migration process as much as possible.
For more information, please visit: www.microsoft.com/endofsupport, which contains additional information on the options available to you, as well as pointers to a variety of helpful resources.
You can also contact one of education partners for more information about upgrading.
Guest post by Sarah Garcia from Kilbowie Primary School, West Dunbartonshire.
Sarah is a Primary 7 (11-12 year olds) teacher at Kilbowie Primary School, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. She has been teaching for seven years and loves helping children to learn. Sarah really enjoys trying to find innovative ways to get children excited about learning and allowing them to explore a wide range of relevant, purposeful learning experiences, which will prepare them for the future. Sarah is particularly interested in new technologies and game based learning, which is a happy coincidence as that is something the children are interested in too.
Brandon Generator Project
I got the idea for developing a Brandon Generator project after seeing the project mentioned on Twitter (a great place for sharing teaching ideas). I watched the first episode and instantly thought my class would love to get involved. I pretty much dropped what I had planned for the upcoming weeks in literacy and looked at how I could develop their skills using Brandon Generator as a stimulus. We worked as a class developing Brandon's story and watching the various episodes, the children were excited to see that similar ideas to theirs had been incorporated into the animation. We discussed writer's style, choice of vocabulary and structure, the writing process (drafting editing etc.), character development, plot.... the children got a real working understanding of the process of story writing. The children also created their own songs and podcasts of the voicemails they thought would be on Brandon's phone. Additionally, the project allowed the opportunity for philosophical debate about creation, reality and existence which the children really enjoyed.
I didn't really predict how engaged the children would become with the project. I think the secret ingredient was the opportunity to collaborate with real authors, it gave their writing a real purpose and a live audience - so they really gave it their all. I was really amazed by the quality of writing they had produced; some real authors in the making!
It was great to see even the more reluctant writers absorbed in their work, scribbling away, taking work home to finish! Some children were inspired to write songs about Brandon and were out in the playground with paper and pencils, leaning on a book and writing songs words together. Brilliant stuff.
Kodu in the Primary School
The Kodu project was a cross-curricular game based project, spanning across of curricular areas allowing for the involvement of a wide range of secondary subject teachers . Games were created in the primary schools and each school voted two winning games (one per primary 7 class) to save and take to high school for use in the project. As well as creating the games children took part in a variety of learning activities in the primary school. They took notes during the game making process, developed their Kodu characters and wrote imaginative character descriptions whilst exploring vocabulary: adjectives, adverbs, metaphor and similies.
They wrote back stories for their games and developed a narrative to go with their game. They also explored different genres and styles of writing and wrote a review of their computer game.
I only really had to run through a basic tutorial with the children and go over a few key features of Kodu. The children were creating their own games straight away, the programme is fairly intuitive and children were creating and discovering things for themselves as well as teaching me new things!
The project engaged all the children, particularly those who perhaps are not top of the class in other subjects such as English and maths, they were allowed their moment to shine and designated the role of 'Class Kodu Experts' and helped others to learn.
Kodu at High School
Once at the high school the children were put into mixed groups from the various feeder primary schools. The children were given the opportunity to play and review the Kodu games created by the various P7 classes. Each group was assigned a particular game to market and formed their own marketing company. The children came up with their own company names and designed company logos. Within their company they then created task teams, which focused on a wide range of learning tasks such as: creating game websites, game advertising podcasts, writing game reviews, designing promotional materials and launch invites, exploring finance, event planning, photography, film and even providing catering and hospitality for the parents’ event . The parents event took the shape of a games launch event and the children were able to show parents around the school and share their transition work.
The children really enjoyed the Kodu transition project, they were so motivated to create the games and were learning so much without really realising it. It was great to see the children teaching their parents their new skills at the games launch.
If you would like to speak to someone from Clydebank High regarding the Kodu transition project, Hazel McLaughlin the depute head teacher co-ordinated it.
Game Based Learning
I will continue to use Kodu as part of ICT. Game design features in the new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and am keen for children to develop these skills. I also aim to develop a game based project using maths as the focus, using XBOX 360 and London 2012 game is an idea at the moment.
Originally posted by Ray Fleming
A month ago I wrote about a dozen new Windows 8 devices – laptops, tablets and All-In-Ones running Windows 8 and Windows RT – that were being previewed before the big day on 26th October when Windows 8 is officially released. It means that as a education user thinking about what devices teachers and students could be using for next academic year, there's a huge range of possible choices that are popping up. It means that you can choose your priorities based on each student groups' specific needs – for example, for younger students you might want tablets with great touch interfaces, and for older students you may want a traditional laptop design, and then for high-school and university students, perhaps you're looking for a convertible that's equally capable as both a touch tablet and a keyboard-driven laptop. And there's also choices available depending on what software choice you need for your users – for example, do you need to run all of your existing Windows software, or would your choice be to have a device that will only need to run the new Windows 8 software?
Well since last month the news has continued to trickle out from other manufacturers about what's coming, and overnight it was Lenovo's turn to take to the stage with panache.
They've announced a quartet of 'convertibles' – where the screens can flip around 360 degrees, so that you can run them in tablet mode, laptop mode, 'stand' mode and 'tent' mode. In a classroom, that would give lots of different ways of using them for individual students at a desk, on a table, or on their lap; collaborative learning tasks; or teaching small groups.
And the other big news for education users is that battery life has taken a big jump – up to 16 hours on some of these new devices!
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga has two different versions:
Yoga 13 - a 13.3" screen, with Intel i7 processors, and which runs full Windows 8. This has got a battery life of up to 8 hours.
Yoga 11 – an 11.6" screen, and an ARM-based processor, which runs Windows RT. The battery life on this one is up to 13 hours.
And then there's the IdeaTab Lynx, which is a tablet and a laptop together – as a tablet, you have an 11.6" screen and an Intel processor, running full Windows 8. In this mode, you'd basically run in full touch mode. But if you add the keyboard dock, you've then got up to 16 hours battery life (because the dock contains an extra hidden battery) and a full keyboard – so you can run it as you would any normal laptop too.
You can read the Lenovo press release here, but for more product details, I'd recommend reading the product info on the Lenovo website, where they show the product features side-by-side, so that you can see all four models together on a single page.
Read more about other new Windows 8 devices, from my previous blog post
As part of the government’s drive to control the nation’s finances, public sector spending is being significantly reduced across the board. Funding for ICT is no longer ring-fenced. Yet schools express a belief in the importance of ICT, and are determined to ensure that students have the quality of access to technology that they need in the 21st Century.
In October 2011 a briefing by the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that after a decade of growth, ‘Public spending on education in the UK will fall by 3.5% per year in real terms between 2010-11 and 2004-15.’
The impact of spending cuts on schools will not be even, and current school-level spending will be the least affected. However, there will be, and are already, visible school budget reductions. At the same time, by contrast, we’re told by the latest annual research on ICT in schools from the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) that schools are anxious to keep ahead of the game with technology, with more and more pupil-time engaged with ICT. To support this, schools want better digital content, better training and better broadband. Demand grows across all fronts.
The conclusion for school leaders and ICT managers is clear. If ICT is to work within reduced school budgets, while at the same time supporting rapidly increased use of technology for learning, then decisions must be driven by cost-effectiveness and value for money.
Our mission here is to help you make those good decisions, and reap benefits from the extensive efforts being made by Microsoft to provide products for education which are both affordable in themselves, and also capable of contributing to across-the board spending.
Changing the Mindset.
There’s a lot you can do, and we can help. It’s important that a school sees its ICT not as a drain on the budget but as a contributor to efficient and cost-effective learning. In our first Cost Saving eBook, we started out by urging network managers not to allow their department to be seen as a drain on precious resources. They have to present it instead as a value-for-money driver of efficiency for the whole institution.
It’s a case of moving the school leadership from this – ‘Information Technology costs us money, and we’re living in hard times.’ To this,‘We’re living in hard times and information technology can save us money.’
It’s a change of mindset, from technology as a cost to technology as an investment. The aim is for the school’s leadership to make that change, but before that can happen, the people immediately engaged with ICT, such as network managers and ICT leaders, have to believe in it themselves. That means doing the research, learning and knowing exactly how, when and at what cost (if any) your school’s ICT resources, plans and policies can be deployed, or changed for the maximum impact on your school’s budget. We, with our Microsoft Partners, can help you with that, and if you read this eBook first, you’ll have a good idea of the right questions to ask.
With the release of Windows 8 now only a matter of weeks away, we have some exciting education specific activities planned for launch day and beyond. BETT 2013, in particular, is going to be a great opportunity to learn more about the exciting new capabilities within Windows 8 and take some of the innovative new devices for a test drive. There are quite a few that we can't wait to get our hands on :)
Focusing on Windows 8 launch day (26th October), we are hosting a Windows 8 in education event with our friends from Lenovo and QPR. The event will be held at Loftus Road, QPR's iconic stadium in West London, and will offer a unique insight into how our new OS can excite students and help them realise their full potential. Lenovo will also be on hand to discuss how their new range of Windows 8 devices can provide unique, flexible and cost effective learning experiences across both touch and keyboard and mouse.
Microsoft and Lenovo senior executives will also be presenting their views on the key trends currently impacting the education sector, such as BYOD, 1:1 computer programmes and how to embrace a new era in digital learning. Should be a great afternoon!
Furthermore, for those football fans, no trip to Loftus Road is complete without a tour of the ground. With this in mind, we are planning to round off the afternoon with a tour of the ground, and more specifically, a visit to the clubs education centre (sponsored by Microsoft and Lenovo). During this element of the tour, we will see students from local schools putting Windows 8 through its paces. The kids don’t know it yet, but there will be a surprise visit from a first team player where one or two of the kids attending will be presented with a Windows 8 device.
The day will end with a few drinks and nibbles where you can connect with colleagues, play with some of the devices or ask some of the Microsoft or Lenovo staff more specific questions about Windows 8 in education.
We are just fine tuning the afternoon, but the current details are as follows:
Date: 26th October, 2012
Venue: Loftus Road Stadium, London, W12 7PJ
This event is aimed at Head Teachers, Teachers, Lecturers and IT professionals working within education. With only 70 places, tickets are going to go quickly. To secure yours, sign up today via the our EventBrite page.
More information will be shared, both via the blog and email (to those who have registered), over the next week. We look forward to seeing you on the 26th!
I originally wrote about Windows 8 apps for education a few weeks ago.
And since last time, that I've installed some more apps, so here's my additional recommended education apps for Windows 8:
Windows Store link for Mathrathon It's a simple maths game – you're shown two numbers along with a simple addition or subtraction sign, and the answer. All you need to do is to click Correct or Wrong. Mathrathon creates 60 random questions (and the most difficult I got was 143-87=22). Sounds simple? Well, turns out it's a lot trickier than you imagine, and it's actually turned into quite a competitive challenge amongst a group at the office. As this is listed in Games, not in Education, it's also a reminder to check that category too for great learning games.
Windows Store link for SAS Flash Cards This is a flash card app with a great list of additional things that are good for teachers as well as students. Probably the best one is that you can create your own flash cards by uploading a spreadsheet. I could imagine that would make it much easier for a teacher to create flash cards to match their lesson plans. And the second handy addition is that, in Quiz mode, the results can be emailed – so that students could send their results back to a teacher, which would be great for assessment of/for learning.
Windows Store link for QuickMath QuickMath is a simple app for improving your calculation knowledge. It presents you with a calculation of two numbers from 0 to 99 which you have to multiply. After you submit the result the app shows if your answer was correct or wrong. To be honest, this turned out to be quite tricky for me to do, but made me think quite hard for the mental maths tricks I could use to get the answer more quickly.
Windows Store link for Viewer for Khan Academy This is an independently developed video player for educational videos from Khan Academy, which was developed by Joel Martinez as a Coding4Fun Community Project.
Read my previous list for additional recommended education apps for Windows 8
Original post by Ray Fleming
Charteris Microsoft technologies case study
The Edinburgh Academy may be nearly 200 years old, but its use of technology is completely up-to-date. With support from Charteris, this prestigious independent school for boys and girls has implemented the latest Microsoft desktop and server operating systems. This leading edge ICT infrastructure is enriching the learning experience for pupils, while also reducing costs and improving efficiency.
Edinburgh Academy faced two distinct challenges. Firstly, the school needed to update its aging IT infrastructure, to enable it to offer the very best facilities for its current and future pupils. “The independent schools market is very competitive on the IT front,” explains William Paris, head of information technology at Edinburgh Academy. “Families are attracted to schools that can offer excellence in ICT. It is therefore very important for us to offer modern and current technologies that capture the interest and imaginations of pupils and give them the desire to learn.”
Secondly, the school wanted to relieve the workload on its internal IT team. At the time, there were over 1,000 pupils and 175 members of staff, spread across two separate campuses, and the IT department of three and a half people was struggling to support these IT users. Paris explains: “There were a lot of manual processes that completely consumed our time. We were just treading water.”
To address both these challenges, the school decided to migrate to current technologies for its operating server platform and its desktop operating system. This move, it believed, would then pave the way for it to bring in some of the brand new applications that teachers and pupils would benefit from using. At the same time, it would provide an opportunity for the IT department to eliminate as many manual processes as possible and improve its efficiency.
Because its IT team was already working at full capacity, Edinburgh Academy decided to bring in a firm of external consultants for the project. It evaluated three different organisations before selecting Charteris. “I wanted a firm that I could trust and that would offer value for money,” says Paris. “Charteris stood out from the other firms I met because of the strength and breadth of its Microsoft technical skills.”
Delivered on schedule
At the time, Edinburgh Academy was using Microsoft Windows XP as its desktop operating system, and its server platform was primarily based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003. Every system had its own physical server, so consequently the school had more servers than was absolutely necessary.
Paris decided to migrate to a virtualised environment and asked Charteris to review and validate the architecture that he had designed. Charteris also helped him to create a high-level technology plan that covered the entire school estate, and this then provided the framework for the whole project, as well as other future IT initiatives.
Next, Charteris implemented Microsoft HyperV Server 2008 R2 as the base platform for the school’s new IT infrastructure. The consultants then layered on Microsoft Windows 7 to provide a new desktop operating system, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 for database management and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 R3 for systems management. Throughout this process, the consultants demonstrated their expert understanding and experience of working with Microsoft technology.
The entire IT project was carried out by Charteris during the school summer holidays to minimise disruption to pupils and teaching staff. “The project went live on schedule,” recalls Paris. “The Charteris consultants worked very well with everyone in the IT team and were good at passing on their Microsoft knowledge to us. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Charteris has the ability to go direct to Microsoft with any queries, and this was hugely advantageous to us.”
A complete transformation
The IT upgrade that Charteris undertook has completely transformed the ICT environment at Edinburgh Academy. The school can now boast that its systems are thoroughly up-to-date and provide its pupils with access to the very best IT facilities in support of their studies. “Our new ICT infrastructure has put us in a position to be able to leap-frog some of the other independent schools in terms of technology,” Paris says.
With its new IT platform, Edinburgh Academy can now, very easily, introduce any new applications that teachers believe will add value to pupils’ education. “It is now very easy to add additional new technologies that will keep us in the game,” Paris says. “The systems that Charteris have helped to set up are 100% scalable – and will continue to meet our needs into the future.”
The deployment of Microsoft SCCM has given the IT team greater control of its network and desktops and eliminated almost all manual processes. Now, the IT team can deal with user issues and reload desktops remotely, without having to visit individual offices and classrooms, which has freed up, on average, 10-15 hours of IT team time per week. “We are able to do 90% of our work from our desks,” Paris says. “I can even allow staff in the IT team to work from home in adverse weather conditions, and in a school environment that’s pretty much unheard of.”
By migrating to a virtualised IT environment, Edinburgh Academy has been able to reduce the number of servers in the school by 50% from sixteen to eight. “This helps me reduce my power bills and improves my ‘green’ credentials greatly,” notes Paris.
Since the project went live, the Charteris consultants have contacted Edinburgh Academy regularly to make sure that the system is continuing to perform as expected. Paris concludes, “The follow-up has been spectacular.”