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January, 2013 - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The UK Schools Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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January, 2013

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Bett 2013 Arena - In Partnership with Microsoft


    New for Bett 2013 is the Bett Arena, a 700 seat amphitheatre located in the heart of the show floor, offering Bett visitors free access to a varied collection of value add content from around the globe.

    As Knowledge Partner for the Arena, we have been working closely with the team at i2i to curate an exciting line-up of speakers that will share their knowledge and insight with Arena guests.


    The full Arena schedule is still TBC, but there is already a wide number of great sessions confirmed and more soon to follow.

    Full details regarding the Arena and the specific schedule can be found on the Bett 2013 website, but some of the stand-out sessions from our perspective include the following.





    We are thrilled to be supporting the Bett Arena for 2013 and will definitely be first in line to check out some of the sessions ourselves ;)

    Keep an eye out on the blog for more information about our support of the Bett Arena and hope to see you at the Arena for the opening ceremony. We can't wait!


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Office 365 for education: Teaching in the Cloud ‘How to’ tutorials for SharePoint


    office  365

    Partner image above from Novotronix

    Work better together! We are really excited that Microsoft Office 365 is available for FREE for education. Office 365 will help transform the way students and educators work in real time on assignments and group projects. Easily share information, view and edit documents in a browser or in Office. Check out this video that shows 21st century collaboration at it's best...


    To demonstrate how teachers are utilising Office 365 in the classroom we are creating ‘Teaching in the Cloud’ innovids (tutorials) that will help show you how to get started with your very own Office 365 experience. Today’s post will explore how teachers are using Office 365 SharePoint in their classroom.

    How are schools using Office 365 SharePoint in the classroom?

    Teachers have used the class and group site features of Sharepoint 2012 to deliver lessons to students of different abilities. The class discussion tool is often used as a starter activity to get all students contributing to questions and ideas that shape the basis of the lesson. Wiki pages are used to help deliver differentiated learning resources, and students are given opportunities to work in real time on assignments and group projects using the office web apps.

    Check out the 2 minute Innovid tutorials below that have been created by teachers to show how easy it is to start teaching in the cloud with Office 365 SharePoint.

    Class surveys in Office 365

    Setting homework in Office 365

    Attach a workspace in Office 365

    Look out for future posts that will explore other key tools and features of Office 365, however more Office 365 Sharepoint innovids and resources can be found on the Partners in Learning Network – Join for free today.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Bett 2013: New Era for Digital Learning session and Windows in the Classroom


    Come and join us at Bett 2013 at the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre (stand D270 and E270) for our New Era for Digital Learning session, which will cover Windows in the Classroom. This session will be daily at 12pm and 4pm (11.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday).


    We are witnessing a paradigm shift in how we discover, access, and use digital content, in ways that are enabling immersive experiences and engagements. As a result, in schools we’re seeing a growing trend towards Bring your Own Device and 1 to 1 Personalised Learning. We’re also seeing learning outside of the classroom made possible in ways we never would have imagined just 20 years ago, and we have started to see some of the potential that the cloud brings to school computing. More than anything though, one of the key drivers behind the adoption of technology in our classrooms has been the commitment and desire to develop, in all our students, a set of core 21st Century skills that will enable them to progress through their education and beyond.

    Windows in the classroom

    Windows in the Classroom is a great starting point for any school considering or enhancing their 1-to-1 learning program, and they allow you to see the diversity of Microsoft software and devices applied to learning. The Windows in the Classroom seminars demonstrate how Windows 8 applies to learning and how it can be used to inspire students and improve educational outcomes. Guided by a qualified education trainer, these two-hour sessions are scheduled and delivered by our education partners RM and Dell, and can be held at your school or in the local area.

    The New Era for Digital Learning presentation at Bett 2013 will:

    • Discuss global education research on innovation teaching
    • Show how software and devices are unleashing 21st century learning
    • Demonstrate specific and real world examples
    • Explore future professional development opportunities and key programs like ‘Shape the Future.’

    If we are going to spend money on technology in schools it has to be to improve student learning by delivering more powerful and engaging learning experiences. The New Era for Digital Learning session at Bett 2013 will help you explore tools and technologies that energise and engage students; and help school leaders and teachers learn how to get more out of the software they use every day.



  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft @ Bett 2013


    Wow - I can't believe Bett 2013 is nearly upon us. It only seems like yesterday that we were packing up our stand at Olympia after a fun and rewarding 4 days at the show. In this case, time definitely does fly!

    So, with a fairly wide remit at Bett 2012 that was built around the theme of 'Anytime, Anywhere Learning… for all', what's on the cards for Microsoft @ Bett for 2013?

    Well, with the move to Excel, we are all definitely going to need to find a new café for that much needed bacon sandwich in the morning (Franks Sandwich bar, you will be missed). On a more serious note, though, we are super excited about many of the new opportunities that the new venue, and the fresh new approach by the Bett organisers for the 2013 show, provides to help us add greater value to our community.

    More specifically, the theme for Bett 2013 is going to be a 'New Era of Digital Learning'. With a number of sub-themes that align to this umbrella theme, such as Windows 8, Office 365 for education, 1:1 Computing and tablets in education, we will be discussing how technology can help create more engaging and emotional connections with learning that is steeped in real world problem solving.

    Furthermore, in response to the tremendous amount of innovation in the technology available in classrooms, we will also be extending our focus on supporting teachers in the resulting shifts in pedagogy, practice and management needed for us to deliver on the promise of a new era of digital learning through Partners in Learning (PiL) and our Windows in the Classroom seminar programme.

    Microsoft @ Bett 2013: So what about the detail…

    New for Bett 2013 is the Bett Arena, and we are proud to be sponsoring its inaugural year. We have been busy working closely with the folks at Bett to curate an amazing line-up of insightful, entertaining and informative speakers that will add a new dimension to visitors experience at the show. With a mix of household names and passionate in-sector speakers, visiting the Bett Arena is going to be an essential part of your day at the show.


    Our very own VP for Education, Anthony Salcito, will be presenting in the Arena on the opening day of the show and we are also running a computer science in the curriculum panel discussion. More details on both of these will be available via the blog at a later date.

    Moving beyond the Bett Arena, Microsoft's presence is very much focused around sharing best practice and solving your problems. With the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre, we are delivering a wide range of keynotes across all 4 days of the show that address the sub themes associated with the show.

    These include:

    • Windows 8
    • Office 365 for education
    • Cloud: Public and Private
    • 1:1 Computing
    • Apps
    • Community and teaching & learning - Windows in the Classroom and Partners in Learning
    • Devices inc Surface RT
    • BYOD

    As with previous BETT events, Learn Live Theatre sessions will be delivered by a mix of teachers, network managers and Microsoft Staff. We feel privileged to work with some amazing teachers and I highly recommend taking the time to visit the theatre to learn more about how the likes of Charlotte Beckhurst, David Rogers, Janet Hayward and Kristian Still are using technology to raise attainment and help their students realise their full potential.

    Full details regarding the schedule for the Learn Live Theatre sessions will be made available in a future blog post.

    In addition to the Learn Live Theatre, we are also hosting a Windows 8 stand for 2013. This space will complement the Learn Live Theatre by giving a more direct focus on Windows 8, devices (including Surface RT) and apps.

    The Windows 8 stand will include representatives from a selection of our OEM community - Acer, Toshiba and Asus- and the partners behind our Top Apps in Education. Our Surface RT device will also be available to trial on the stand. I personally can't get over the build quality of this device and can't wait to make it available for you to test on the stand. It really is a thing of beauty!

    The Windows 8 stand will also feature an intimate theatre where we will be showcasing short presentations around the core focus of the stand - Windows 8, Devices, Apps, WMS and Windows Phone 8.

    But what about the demos?

    Across both the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre and Windows 8 Stand, we will be signposting to our partner community who are exhibiting at the show to help demonstrate how our technologies, in conjunction with the experience and expertise of our partners, can help make a difference within your institution.

    We will be making a handy flyer available on our stands that list all of our partners, combined with their area of expertise and stand number, so you can easily find someone to answer your questions or offer a demo. Additionally, we will be signposting to relevant partners at the end of each Learn Live Theatre presentation. Our Microsoft @ Bett Microsite (available soon) will also feature a list of the partners at the show if you want to plan your visit ahead of time.

    Microsoft staff will be available on both stands if you have a question or need guidance on which partner to speak with. Just shout and we will be happy to help!

    Treasure Trail

    More details on our theatre agenda and overall presence at Bett 2013 will be shared via the blog over the coming weeks, but just wanted to take this opportunity to share some information about our Treasure Trail. The Treasure Trail will be run in conjunction with participating partners and will offer visitors to the show the ability to win some amazing prizes that range from a Surface RT Device, Xbox 360 and a PC.

    Entry cards can the collected from the Microsoft Stand. Visit each participating partner stand, answer the question, and you will receive a stamp. When completed, the card should then be dropped off at the Microsoft Stand. We will be carrying out 2 draws per day at 4pm on the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre (Wednesday – Friday).

    Pop by the Microsoft stand for the entry card or if you have any questions about the competition.

    Stand Number

    Other than to say keep an eye out on the blog for more information about all the latest news regarding our presence at Bett 2013, I just wanted to share the stand numbers for our stands at the show.

    • Microsoft Learn Live Theatre - Stand # D270
    • Windows 8 Stand - Stand # E270

    More news to follow and if you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via Twitter - @tbush

    Look forward to seeing you at Bett 2013!


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Learn Live Theatre


    If you missed our Microsoft at Bett 2013 post yesterday, the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre is going to be a core element of our presence at the show. With content built around the core theme for this year's show, 'A New Era for Digital Learning', a mix of teachers, network managers and Microsoft staff will be sharing insight, personal stories and best practice to help you use technology within your institution more effectively. clip_image001

    Touching on a diverse range of topics, such as Windows 8, Office 365 for education, BYOD and Apps, the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre offers a series of short punchy sessions packed full of actionable takeaways that you can bring back to your institution and make a real difference.

    Content in the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre is repeated twice per day, with the exception of our Partners in Learning Slot, to offer you the flexibility to fit the sessions that appeal most around your visit to the show.

    A full overview of our schedule, as it currently stands, is shown below.

    We look forward to welcoming you at our Learn Live Theatre at Bett 2013! In the meantime, if you have any questions about any of the sessions, please do not hesitate to drop me a note via Twitter - @tbush


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    SCEnAT on Cloud Event at The University of Sheffield, 23rd January 2013


    A technical innovation powered by Microsoft Windows Azure platform led by The University of Sheffield


    The advancement in cloud services now offers Universities and research groups access to an unparalleled level of technological power.  The University of Sheffield will play host this event to demonstrate the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT), an innovative application powered by Windows Azure. The event will also celebrate the launch of the Microsoft and Janet document pack. 

    This event is being supported by the University of Sheffield, Microsoft, Janet and Shaping Cloud. 

    Register now at:


    Wednesday 23rd January 2013
    Location: Alfred Denny Building, The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN.

    09.45 – 10.15              Registration (Tea / Coffee)

    10.15 – 10.20              Welcome

    10.20 – 10.40              Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool - Prof. Lenny Koh Founder of the LSCM Research Centre, University of Sheffield

    10.40 – 11.00              Why Cloud Was The Perfect Fit For SCEnAT - Carlos Oliveira Managing Director, Shaping Cloud

    11.10 – 11.30              Microsoft Cloud Services For Education - Mark McManus Cloud Services Business Manager, Microsoft

    11.30 – 11.50              Janet’s document pack - Tony Lewis Principle Advisor, JANET

    11.50 – 12.20              Panel Discussion

    12.20 – 13.20              Close, Lunch & Networking


    Professor Lenny Koh Director of The University of Sheffield Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Centre will speak about SCEnAT and its benefits to users.

    Carlos Oliveira, Managing Director of Shaping Cloud will discuss the development of the tool and benefits of utilising the technology. 

    Mark McManus, Cloud Services Business Manager at Microsoft will talk about the Windows Azure platform and discuss the benefits to Universities and research groups. 

    Tony Lewis of Janet will conclude the event by discussing the exclusive contractual amendments and due diligence available to research and education institutions in the form of the Janet document pack.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows 8 at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy


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

    My recent short visit to Royal Wootton Bassett Academy produced several memorable moments. For example, I had my first Christmas dinner of the year – turkey and all the trimmings followed by a mince pie and custard. Thank you so much kitchen staff. I intended to say that personally as I left the dining hall, but you were far too busy with a long queue of very hungry but very well behaved students.

    Before that, though, I had the great pleasure of joining Year Seven in PC-equipped classroom as they explored Windows 8 on 23 inch touch screens. That, of course, rather than the Christmas dinner, was why I was there.

    In early November I’d had an email from Steve Gillott, Strategic ICT Leader at the Academy informing me that all ICT teaching classrooms had been newly equipped with touch –screen PCs in preparation for Windows 8.


    I sat up straight when I read it, because Steve was no stranger to me and I knew him to be an innovator. I’d first met him at a Microsoft function in Spring 2009 when he’d attracted attention through his creative use of what was then Office Communications Server for video-mentoring Year Nine students at home. Then a little later he again popped on to the radar when we were looking at how schools were saving large amounts of money through using Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper V. Steve’s school was one of the first to go down this route, and the considerable savings that the school continues to rack up are detailed in a blog I wrote in March this year.

    So, when I read Steve’s email I knew this would turn out to be a real, potentially groundbreaking story, something I had to see and write about, once Windows 8 was up and running in at least one of the rooms.

    Steve met me at Reception and we went straight into a PC-equipped classroom where Year Seven students were exploring Windows 8 on 23 inch touch-screens. To be honest, it was a revelation. There are those – I’ve met them – who, while ready to acknowledge the value of touch technology for very young children who either can’t use the mouse or aren’t turned on by it, are sceptical about its value with older age groups.

    Well, I’ve got news for them. On the admittedly thin evidence of my short visit to one classroom, secondary school students take to the touch-screen like ducks to water. Every single student praised it as natural, immediate, responsive and comfortable in every way. Significantly, I saw several who, in the process of trying out touch-screen PowerPoint were using the on-screen keyboard in preference to the ‘real’ one within easy reach. Very clearly, once they were on the screen, they were staying there.

    Then there was the students’ engagement with Windows 8. Again, I’ve met those who dislike the Start Screen and miss the familiarity of the Windows ‘Start Button’. There’s news for them, too, in the way that those Wootton Bassett youngsters took all that in their stride and immediately appreciated the way that the start screen laid out everything they needed in one place.


    Afterwards I had a chat with Steve, who confirmed the children’s enthusiasm,

    ‘They take to it quickly and naturally. Touch is so prevalent after all. It’s the language they have on their phones and in a very short space of time it’s become embedded.’

    It’s the immediacy of the technology that brings the implications for learning. Bypassing the mouse instantly improves engagement and encourages collaboration in ways that teachers will surely be quick to exploit.

    The upshot of my visit was that I came away resolved to write, over the coming weeks, a full case study of the adoption of Windows 8 at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, keeping up with the full roll-out to the school’s 800 desktops, and with more than a passing reference to some of Steve’s other plans. These include the installation of touch-screen information points around the school and his innovative ideas for educational use of Lync2013, building on that earlier OCS experience.

    Meanwhile, I couldn’t let this first encounter go without flagging up here what promises to be a terrific story of the innovatory use of ICT in support of learning.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Earn Microsoft badges for teacher and school leader professional development


    Pil header

    We believe in anytime, anywhere learning. We also believe your achievements should be recognised so that you can share your accomplishments and knowledge with your colleagues and communities. That’s why the Partners in Learning Network awards badges for the skills and knowledge that are learned and shared through our online professional learning community, in our in-person events, and in school communities around the world.

    Check out the badges you can earn and add to your Partners in Learning online profile. Earn enough and you can establish yourself as a Microsoft Expert Educator (more info to follow on this).


    If you have met the criteria to earn one of these badges and it is not turned on in your profile, please let us know. We’ll be happy to confirm that you have met the criteria and turn your badge on.

    Once signed in, don’t forget to complete your profile. Check out this innovid created by Jonny Carter, from St-Malachy's Primary school, who demonstrates how easy it is to build your profile on

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Naace at Bett 2013


    Guest post by Naace, one of our Microsoft Bett 2013 partners


    Excitement builds as we approach our first Bett at a new location, ExCeL London. It is hard to believe that only a few short months ago we were celebrating the Olympics events being held there and now the world’s largest education technology show is coming to the venue that saw history being made.

    It has certainly been a year of history making for ICT as a subject since the last time educators and industry met up in January 2012, when Michael Gove announced plans for dis-application of the programme of study and the Royal Society report was published. Consultation processes have been the order of the day in England and the recommendations of a panel for the draft ICT programme of study were sent to the DfE at the end of November. In the meantime, Welsh curriculum consultation processes have also begun. A theme running through both processes is the need for a greater emphasis on developing the computer science aspects of ICT within the curriculum. This is reflected in the Naace ICT Curriculum Framework (published in May 2012), which includes those areas within a broad and balanced approach to ICT. It is imperative that we continue to provide a rich approach to all aspects of ICT, including those elements of computer science, programming and coding, without losing valuable IT and digital literacy skills. These are needed for the children in our schools to become empowered citizens who are able to make valuable contributions to our future society.

    In the light of all these developments, it is timely to see Nicki Maddams’ work with Kodu being recognised at a the Partners in Learning Global Forum and we are pleased to be joining with Microsoft, a long-standing Naace partner, at Bett 2013 to share ideas for how this powerful tool can support a rich, revised and revitalised ICT curriculum. Watch out for some exciting Kodu announcements that will be coming up during Bett!


    We are looking forward to sharing other great Microsoft tools to support the ICT curriculum, such as Kinect SDK, as well as those that can transform teaching and learning across the whole school curriculum. We will be considering how the technology will be used to have an impact on learning so that we get the best possible value for any technology investments made in school. Strategic, considered approaches to developing school ICT will be an important feature of our stand, as will equipping and empowering teachers so they are able to develop ambitious visions for future learning success.

    It is valuable partnerships like this that help our members to continue navigating a way through an array of amazing technologies, powerful learning opportunities and an evolving curriculum landscape. Come and join the discussions on our Naace stand, where you can be sure of a warm welcome.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    RM at Bett 2013


    Guest post by RM, one of our Microsoft Bett 2013 partners

    Right next to the Bett 2013 arena is where you’ll find RM Education at Bett 2013 and the leading school technology partner will be showcasing a range of exciting new products – many of which are free of charge.


    The Bett things in life from RM Education are FREE

    • RM Unify – single sign-on launch pad to the cloud – free
    • RM Books – the first ebook system specifically designed for schools – free
    • Bring Your Own Device– advice on how to make BYOD happen - free
    • Classroom 2020 – immersive experience looking at the future teaching and learning – free

    RM Unify

    The internet presents limitless learning opportunities but also significant challenges for schools. How do you find the best applications, how do you set up and manage the user accounts in those applications, and how do your users access them easily without having to remember tens of usernames and passwords?

    RM Unify is the Launch Pad to the Cloud that solves these challenges; it allows any school to access all their internet based services and applications they use through a simple single sign-on process, meaning users only ever have to remember one username and password. RM Unify also enables you to access those applications on any device you choose, as long as you have an Internet connection. This means whether it is the laptop at school, the iPad at home or the PC in the local library, users will get access to the same resources in exactly the same way.

    RM Books

    RM Books is the first ebook solution specifically designed for schools. Free to use, RM Books includes hundreds of curriculum literature books provided free of charge and gives access to high quality curriculum textbook titles from leading education publishers. Using a unique pricing model RM Books is designed to be compatible with school budgets. The online system enables schools to rent, buy and manage ebooks which can be viewed on, or downloaded to, virtually any internet enabled device (iOS, Windows, Mac, Android). The simple and intuitive user interface makes management and allocation of books easy. Teachers can choose and allocate the books they need while finance staff keep control of budgets.

    Now imagine if every teacher and pupil had their own device to use these tools on…

    Bring Your Own Device

    Learn how ‘BYOD’ could support you in delivering 1:1 access to technology and see how can you make a 1:1 pupil to device ration possible in your school. Shape the Future is a global Microsoft initiative, aiming to give learners 1:1 access to their own computer and a host educationally focused software, enabling them to benefit from the many opportunities technology has to offer. All you have to do is choose the devices, and there’s plenty of choice under the scheme including RM and 3rd party notebooks, mini devices and a revolutionary tablet!

    Classroom 2020
    Be inspired by what the future of teaching and learning could look like and find out how to start moving towards that vision today; let’s visualise and create a progressive future together.

    Come and visit us on stands C160 and C170, next to the Bett Arena, to see why RM is the first choice for Education.

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