This year, the Microsoft stand at BETT Show brought a vibrant array of devices in education and exciting and zingy Windows Education apps to the itchy fingertips of delegates. From cloud-based planning app My Study Life, ideal for educators and students alike, to the queen of visual mind-dumping and brainstorming apps NovaMind Mind Mapping, visitors to the Microsoft stand were presented with fantastic tools (many free!) to engage in 'Flipped Learning' in the classroom.
However, the app I want to focus on today isn't a productivity tool or even a teaching management tool. This space is dedicated to creativity, and what more impressive a way for primary students, GCSE and A-Level students and even university students to bring to life a replication or perhaps a surreal representation of their artiste imaginations, than through devices in education with Fresh Paint.
What is Fresh Paint?
So for those of you whose first thoughts are, what is Fresh Paint, I will illustrate.
Quite simply, Fresh Paint provides canvas, paper, paint and brushes to create works of art with a sweep of your finger or, my personal favourite, with the stylus pen paint brush!
For those of you whose pallets may be absorbing the hints of green scepticism, I want to reassure you that as a painter and drawer myself, used to slathering oil paints onto a thick canvas with a pallet knife, I was utterly wowed by the genuine authenticity of the experience.
10 reasons to use Fresh Paint in Education
Fresh Paint for me is a strong contestant in the creativity category of the Windows apps store for a number of good reasons:
1. Touch Optimisation - Firstly, the 0-time lag in response for every stroke and swipe of a finger or brush on the touch screen is second-to-none, thus providing a seamless and realistic painting or drawing experience.
2. Art Tools & Mediums - The range of tools and art resources is fantastic! From water colours, to crayons, oil pastels, oil paints and charcoal, art students can choose whatever medium they fancy, in as wide or thin a stroke as they wish. Additionally there is a broad variety of pencils, brushes and tools to choose from which really do bring the expectations of that tool's effects to life. Of course, I shouldn’t forget to mention that some of the most effective and professional tools of all are fingers! Primary teachers, watch this space.
3. Canvas - You can also select many types of paper and canvas, from heavy-weight card for water colours, to bumpy textured canvas or smoother canvas. This further adds authenticity to the experience.
4. Mixing Pallet - I must admit that my heart fluttered a little when I discovered the accuracy of the mixing pallet. Observing a young child at the Microsoft stand at BETT Show effortlessly mixing (slapping) a cobalt blue and green together on the pallet to bring about a stormy turquoise sea colour was fantastic evidence of the app’s beautiful ability to transcend technological limitations in art.
5. Layering- You get a wonderful effect with layering on Fresh Paint. With oil paints, the motion of layering colours on top of each other is uncanny - a slight smudgy blend of colour yet with a clear textured layering would bring to life even the most 3d Fauvist style of painting.
As for water colours, colours bleed into one another, as an art student or teacher would expect and you can even 'dab' the colours as if with a piece of towel, to lighten and give water or lighting effects.
6. Drying Feature - perhaps the bane of many students’/teachers' lives is waiting for paint to dry in order to apply other mediums or textures when doing collages of mixed-mediums. Well this will never be the case again thanks to Fresh Paint's handy 'Drying' tool which instantly dries your work, with a tap of an icon, ready to layer onto.
7. Device Compatibility – Fresh Paint eadily works on all Windows 8 touch devices, from an 8" Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet, to a Surface, to the exquisite 27" Lenovo Horizon 27 all-in-one.
8. Bing and Photo Integration - A funky feature is the ability to choose a picture from Bing or a photo already taken, and use that as either a tracing image to 'fill in' for the younger students, or to integrate as a main feature of a work of art for more developed young artists.
9. Save budget - as I explored this app for the first time, I was brought back to summers when I would paint outside or messy school sessions when I would create projects for exams and course work. Both these experiences, fond in my memory, unfortunately required a good amount of money to finance them. Paper, paint brushes and paints do not come cheaply! A set of 10 small tubes of oil paint on Amazon cost £19.99 alone, while a large canvas (120cm x 150cm) can stack up to roughly £40. Just think of the budget schools and colleges could save with a device and Fresh Paint! No more chucking out of finite resources or paint brushes that have been ruined from terms of not being properly cleaned.
I want to point out here that I am not suggesting that Fresh Paint should render art resources obsolete in education. At the end of the day, there is a reason we visit and enjoy Monet’s finished works or even young artists’ works in a gallery, and not in the cloud. However, for certain projects and work such as collages, digital submissions, final project mock-ups, thumb nails, or work that students want to share through social streams, Fresh Paint is ideal!
10. Free App! - and the best news is that you don't even have to pay for the Fresh Paint app! So this is a really accessible app for all students and teachers to use, in Primary Schools, Colleges, Schools and Universities.
I want to leave you today with a challenge. Introduce Fresh Paint to the budding artist enthusiasts at your school and see how they take to the paints! Also, as it’s Friday, I want to leave you with a little perk for the weekend that was floating across my imagination last Saturday while demoing the Fresh Paint app at BETT Show.
As the weekend fast approaches, we just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you again to those who visited us on our stand at BETT 2014. It was great to meet you. We hope you had a great visit!
We had a number of requests, both at the show and via Twitter, to share the slides from the presentations covered within the Microsoft Theatre at the show.
With this in mind, here are the first three decks from the event. We will post the remaining slides to the blog next week.
Theatre Session 1: My Digital BFF
Theatre Session 2: The Future of Collaboration: How Windows 8, Lync and SharePoint is helping to transform learning within Broadclyst Primary School
Theatre Session 3: Inspiring the developers of the future: Everything you need to light up the imaginations of young developers
The rest of the slides from the event will be posted early next week. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions.
Have a great weekend!
If you joined us at the BETT show at ExCel this year you'll agree that it was a device extravaganza. Showcasing the very best Windows 8 devices on offer. Our interactive classroom combined with an array of device stations allowed educators from all over the world, to get up close and personal with the latest technology. We know one size definitely doesn't fit all, and Microsoft partners will never create devices under that assumption. That's why our stand this year was all about variety and engagement and with over 150 devices at the disposal of 36,000 delegates over 4 days, it was a valuable opportunity for educators to fall in love with the possibilities surrounding touch technology.
Whether you made it to BETT this year or not, this blog should help familiarise yourself with a selection of Windows devices and demonstrate how they really can impact Education for both students and educators. I'll run through a selection of our devices broken down by their area on the BETT stand.
Interactive Classroom /Surface Area Our interactive classroom had to be one of the biggest successes of our BETT stand. Ran by the Tablet Academy and always packed with educators keen to learn how to navigate their way around a Windows 8 device, Including Michael Gove, Liz Truss and their families.
Here are some of my favourite Surface 2 and Pro 2 features:
Slightly biased but here at Microsoft Edu, we do love Surface. It's certainly a smart and sleek device that any professional would be proud to show off. Here are some of it's top features:
Front Camera & Back Camera, ideal for when using as a tablet to take pictures in and out of the classroom
Microphone, combined with video makes it easy to makes video calls.
Windows Button, easy access back to the desktop from the device itself
The Touchscreen, with its 16:9 aspect ratio and full-HD display, perfect for watching videos and interacting with apps (click here to see our educational apps available in the Windows store,
Typing Covers, unique keyboards that double as a protective cover. This way you’ll always have a keyboard with you (sold separately). See Accessories for info on the full range of accessories available.
Pro Pen, Take notes, draw and mark up documents using the digital pen. Great for edit PDF documents, saves on printing
Wifi & Blootooth, Surface supports standard Wi-Fi protocols (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0. This means you can connect to a wireless network and use Bluetooth devices such as mice, printers and headsets.
Red Device Bar Area This area was mainly to highlight some of the accessories available for purchase with devices, but we did display a variety of devices to interact with, these included the Sony Vaio Flip 11a, Toshiba Satellite NB10T and Lenovo Thinkpad Helix, but one of my favourite displayed was the new 8" Toshiba Encore:
The Toshiba Encore is small enough to take everywhere with you without having the burden of a heavy or large device to pack into a small bag. The 20.32cm Tablet offers everything you need whether it's keeping up to date on emails, reviewing student work or taking some downtime enjoying all that Xbox has to offer. With the latest Windows operating system, 8.1 is compact with Office 365 so sync all of your work and play tiles, and your world is accessible in the palm of your hand.
Here are some of the top features:
Wide viewing angle, The wide view screen makes it easy to view content as it was meant to, perfect to use as an e-reader, but this device really excels when used for Skype video calls.
Vast performance, built with the latest intel atom core processor and Internet Explorer 11, this device brings to life graphics for work and play.
Expandable Storage, with up to 96GB with a microSD card combined with free SkyDrive means you should never get caught out with a lack of storage space.
Office Home & Student, The Encore includes Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, with complete access to Word/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote, with the ability to sync your Microsoft account to any other device you've been working on, you'll be free to be as productive wherever you choose to work.
Optimised for Skype, Whether you use Skype for meetings, class projects, connecting with students or calling your mum, Encore has been designed and optimised for a crystal clear video and audio experience, including dual microphones for noise reduction and even a months free skype premium calls to phones worldwide.
-Plenty of Ports, For when you want something other than the cloud for transferring files, the Encore offers a number of connectivity options including a micro-USB, micro HDMI to sync your content to the TV and a microSD card slot for photos or to increase storage capacity.
Green Device Bar Area Another interactive zone for BETT jam packed with devices including the Asus Aspire S7, Samsung Ativ Smart PC and the Ergo AS4 to name just a few. But one of my personal favourites that I've had the pleasure of trying out for previous events is the Sony Vaio Duo 13. For anyone who might consider themselves a device fashionista, you'll struggle to find anything more stylish and sexy than this. Designed to move as you do, the Duo Transforms from tablet to laptop in seconds using the SurfSlider hybrid mechanism.
Here are some of my favourite features:
Hybrid mechanism, I've mentioned it already but it's so sleek it's worth mentioning twice.
Touch Enabled, Tap and scroll through your device with ease
Full Keyboard, The expanded keyboard makes it more comfortable to use when you're working for some time and need the full functionality of a laptop.
Stylus holder, Something so small but really designed with you in mind, never lose the stylus with the pencil pot style holder.
Clip and save feature, similar to snipping tool found on windows 8, use the stylus along with the VAIO Clip app to get creative and colourful with your clippings and drop them into your documents. (as pictured left)
Device for life, This device I know from experience, is strong, the hybrid mechanism isn't flimsy as with some devices, and with 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory, combined with a free SkyDrive account for cloud storage, it really has everything you need.
Yellow Device Bar Area Finally onto our last interactive devices area. Again with some fantastic pieces of kit, including the Omnino 5, Ergo Microlite Touch and the Dell XPS 12 and many more, the standout for me was the Lenovo Yoga 11s. Reminding me of an old school notebook (the paper style) you just turn the page (keyboard) when you want to get creative and fully immerse yourself into the tablet. To convert back to laptop for full working functionalities, simply flip the keyboard back over. But it gets better, with two in-between modes 'tent' and 'stand' offerings the device is made for watching videos in the classroom to adjustable angles.
here are some of my favourite features:
360- Flip and Fold, (as pictured) flips from unltrabook to tablet in seconds.
Mot-ion Control, Use your webcam to flip pages, rewind/forward music, change volume and gesture other simple commands with the flick of your hand.
IPS technology, Never lose sight of your video/images from different angles, In-plane switching technology delivers clear graphics, no matter the viewing angle.
Voice Control, Set up your device with voice operated commands to perform tasks automatically for you.
Nokia Area As we are running through some of our top devices from BETT it would be wrong not to include an offering from our friends at Nokia, and trialling this particular device for the week, my top choice from the selection will have to be the Nokia 1020.
You've all heard everyone boast about the incredible spec (if not check it out in full here) so here are the reasons why I love this Windows phone:
It's Yellow, Okay that's not why I love it, but it's so bright and colourful makes a delightful change to standard black devices, Microsoft is all about bright and bold colours so we are big fans.
1MP Camera, When I compared some of the pictures I took with those taken by other people at the event, there was no competition. There are tons of editing options and you really can get creative and take some fantastic shots without having to lug an SLR about with you.(see image below taken with a Lumia 1020)
HD Video with Zoom, Anyone who makes videos with their smartphones will know how frustrating it can be if you have a video that won't zoom or that looses it's quality, the 1020 creates sharp professional looking videos, if you're keen, why not try out using a mini tripod (retailing for about £8 on ebay) – also check out the new Ellie Goulding video. How Long will I love you, was shot entirely from a 1020. Devices that pack so much power into something so small make it easy to get out and shoot so much more, class projects and learning materials are a doddle.
Windows Phone, Biased here of course, but having this incredible smartphone AND all the functionalities of a working tablet/laptop with all my documents to hand via SkyDrive made such a difference being out on site all week. Your professional and social life is all there at the tough of your fingertips. You'll never be caught out without an important document again
So there you have it, a selection of our top devices from last weeks BETT show. From this small sample combined with what we know about current trends, It's clear that Technology is constantly evolving to synchronise with our lifestyles, we no longer have to choose between a laptop or tablet, a one stop device for everyone is fast becoming thing of the past. Devices are being built, streamlined and finessed to tailor our every need, often before those needs even arise. Thank you to the Microsoft partners who dare to design differently and help shape the Windows 8 platform.
Microsoft’s focus at this year’s Bett show was helping primary schools teachers prepare for the new computing curriculum.
The tech giant unveiled a brand new suite of materials aimed specifically at primary school teachers, at the ExCel last week.
Launched in partnership with educational publisher Rising Stars, the free Switched On Computing resource has been developed as part of Microsoft’s wider effort to ensure primary school teachers – who have never taught this kind of computer science before – have the skills, confidence and tools to deliver the new curriculum within the next nine months. Read more about Switched On Computing here.
Guest post by education writer Gerald Haigh
Writing or talking about the BETT show inevitably means describing software, devices and systems. That’s why we go there, after all, whether as visitor or exhibitors. All technology, though, is made, sold, enthused over and looked after by people, and in this blog, I propose to mention some of the great Microsoft-connected folk I encountered on my BETT visits. So, quite early on on the first day I bumped into Adrian Edgar and Chris McKinley of SharePoint Edu Tech, whose speciality lies in helping schools to make the most of SharePoint in a branded and bespoke way. They were visiting the Microsoft stand before flying off to the Microsoft Global Education Partners Summit.
‘We focus on adding value to SharePoint and Office 365,’ said Adrian. ‘And we’re here meeting existing clients and seeking new ones.’ Their emphasis, he says, is on working with client schools over time to develop their SharePoint solution. ‘We don’t just put it in and say goodbye.’
Adrian’s track record in schools as a teacher, senior leader and IT director is a considerable help in that. School experience, counts, too, for Civica, whose own ‘Cloudbase’ learning environment is Office 365 based.
‘Our e-learning team, made up of teachers from all sectors – primary, secondary, subject specialists -- adds real value,’ said Marketing Manager Nicola Herd. There were lots of enquiries at BETT, says Nicola.
‘Once people realise the power of it, and we show its capabilities, they become interested.’ Making the most of what you have is also a mission of the Tablet Academy, who were running an Interactive Classroom on the Microsoft Stand.
Led by their CEO Professor Steve Molyneux, a team from the Academy were intent on their core purpose, which is to help teachers to use mobile devices innovatively to support learning. When I captured trainer David Fuller between sessions, he pointed out to me how important it is for schools not only to make the right choice of tablet for now, but to realise that children, learning needs, and devices themselves all change over time.
‘A tablet’s life might be three years, but a child is in school for thirteen years and go through perhaps five generations of tablet. Schools need to wake up to that.’
Underlining the need to make good choices, Microsoft were showing a wide range of mobile devices on the stand. Surface, unsurprisingly, was strongly featured, and Surfaces in Education Marketing Manager Jacqueline Russell was in from Seattle to help spread the message. She was struck by the number of teachers at the Show who had been individually using other devices, such as iPads, but were looking at alternatives as they considered ‘one-to-one’ devices for students.
‘I’ve been showing them how great Surface is for working with Office 365, and ‘One Note’. For example I’ve shown history teachers how they can import video into PowerPoint, and I met some maths teachers and shown them the various maths tools in One Note and they’ve been very excited by that.’
Windows 8, though, is hugely flexible, and appears on the widest possible range of devices, many of which were to be seen on the Microsoft Stand which was where, for example, I met Jay Pitchford from Nokia. Jay was showing how their Windows 8 range goes seamlessly from a range of Lumia smartphones, through the six inch Lumia 1520 ‘phablet’, to their Lumia 2520 ten-inch tablet. ‘There’s been fantastic interest,’ Jay told me. ‘And it’s not just been the number of conversations, but their depth – teachers discussing the convenience of a six-inch device for their everyday work for example.’
Toshiba’s eight-inch ‘Encore’ Windows 8 tablet, filling a gap between six inch ‘phablets’ and ten-inch Surface-type tablets, was also part of Microsoft’s display. I was impressed by it, and walked to the Toshiba stand for a closer look. It really is a great little device, full Windows 8, handbag size, and with a blue-tooth folding keyboard, what else would you need on the 0739 to Waterloo?
Or, on second thoughts, perhaps you really need a small laptop. In which case, said Toshiba’s Dave Howson (clearly not a Sales Account Manager for nothing) why not treat yourself to both?
‘You could get probably find both an Encore tablet and a Satellite Pro NB10 Windows 8 laptop for around £500.’ Now there’s a thought.
I wandered off to the Lenovo stand, too, to check out some of their beefed up laptops for schools. To use their word, they’re ‘Ruggedised’ , with strong hinges, and tight lids that you can’t slip a biscuit into. It’s a reminder that you need to think carefully about hardware that’s going to be used in the classroom.
I have to say, though, that I was distracted on the Lenovo stand by Lenovo’s Client Technologist Mertens Flemming, who showed me their Idea Centre Horizon ‘Table PC’ – an all-in-one 27inch Windows 8 touchscreen device that can be lowered down horizontally so that users can sit around it – like sitting round a table -- and work, or play, together.
‘It’s very popular in the Nordic countries for collaborative work in pre-school,’ said Mertens, and it’s not difficult to see the same thing happening in UK.
Really, that’s just a taste of my BETT 2014 experience, I haven’t even touched on the teenage app wizard, or the Olympic torch-bearing global Skype enthusiast, or Microsoft’s primary computing curriculum materials, or…..well, you get the drift. Some of those call for blogs all to themselves, and we’ll get to them, no fear.
Teachers are always searching for better ways to engage students, but may have trouble pinpointing quality resources. One such resource, however, is the BrainPOP Featured Movie app for Windows 8. It should be an integral part of every teacher’s toolbox.
The app provides a different animated movie each day, with themes relating to current events, holidays, or curricular topics. Featured Movies provide a quick and easy way for students to learn more about a relevant topic. The app is free, and those with a BrainPOP username through their school can log in to the site directly from the app at no additional cost. This gives curious kids the ability to explore an unprecedented breadth of movies on more than 750 topics within Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Engineering & Tech, Arts & Music, and Health – all from the palm of their hands.
BrainPOP movies are an ideal way to introduce a new topic at the start of a lesson, or for review before a quiz. New content and features are added regularly, so there’s always fresh content.
The app dovetails perfectly with BrainPOP’s web site (www.brainpop.com), and is perfect in learning environments from Bring-Your-Own-Device to 1:1 and beyond.
My 6th- grade students responded so well to the lesson I did on the scientific method, incorporating the BrainPOP app.
As a whole class, we kicked things off by watching BrainPOP’s movie on the scientific method. Students took notes while watching, and then created their own mock experiments. The experiments had to relate to environmental science and had to be solvable through the scientific method. The class leveraged the same steps Tim and Moby followed in the movie. In partners, they used the BrainPOP app to watch the movie a second time, and then revised their experiments as needed.
Students shared the experiments and environmental issues they’d come across and discussed the importance of each Scientific Method step. To wind things down, I had them log on to individual tablets and take the BrainPOP quiz. As a teacher, BrainPOP was a highly valuable component of the lesson.
Students at Roosevelt Middle School (West Palm Beach, FL), loved the app and its quizzes, which add an air of competition to the classroom. Among the comments I heard from them?
Faris, told me he likes the videos because they are “short, to the point and don’t waste time.” Another student, Kyra, said she likes BrainPOP because they “always have something new for us to watch and I like learning new things.”
Faris, told me he likes the videos because they are “short, to the point and don’t waste time.” Another student, Kyra, said she likes BrainPOP because they “always have something new for us to watch and I like learning new things.”
BrainPOP’s second Windows 8 app is due later this month. Designed for learners in grades K-3 (ages 5-9), the upcoming BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week app will make age-appropriate educational content available to a larger audience – at school, at home, and on the go.
For a good overview of what BrainPOP has to offer, check out the “snackable” video you’ll see right here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awaaD0Mt5dg
About the Author: Todd LaVogue is the STEM Programs Coordinator and an Environmental Science Teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is a Microsoft Teacher Trainer and a member of Team USA, Microsoft in Education 2014 Global Forum, Barcelona, Spain.
CSE Guest Post
CSE provides IT hardware, infrastructure, software and services to UK education establishments, and has done so for nearly 20 years. In that time, the pace of change in education has increased exponentially. Now BYOD, the Cloud, flipped teaching and classrooms, a proliferation of device types and systems all present new worlds of learning opportunities and challenges. From our work in schools, we at CSE identified what we believe are the key deliverables needed to meet these challenges:
Aside from these, BYOD alone presents many practical issues. Who pays for devices? What work is it practical for students to carry out on different devices? And how do you guarantee security? All these questions have to be addressed, but this can be achieved relatively easily through good network management practice and clear school policies. This still leaves the vital question of pedagogy: for schools, the most vital question of all. How do you teach a class using a myriad of device types – from smartphones to laptops – and half a dozen different operating systems, who need to access resources that may be hosted in the Cloud, or on the local network?
How can your students access and save their work to appropriate locations, and even if they can, how can you instruct them when they may be using differing versions of applications (such as Microsoft® Office applications) to do so? If you’re planning to implement a flipped classroom, they’ll need to be able to access these resources from anywhere, any time as well – and this access needs to be secure.
As you’ll have gathered, we’ve created a solution designed to meet these needs: Magellan from CSE. It provides a responsive web desktop that enables your students (or groups of students that you assign) to open the same resources, files, and applications using Active Directory® credentials, and save their work to appropriate locations, irrespective of what device they are using. It’s completely device independent, providing single sign-on access to both locally-hosted and Cloud-hosted resources and acting as a reverse proxy to keep sensitive resources secure.
Perhaps most importantly, we’ve given education establishments autonomy over which resources they provide through the desktop, and to which users, so students and staff can work using the applications they need and save their work to suitable locations.
The aim is for education establishments to gain all the benefits of BYOD – including enhanced learning and user engagement, reduced equipment costs, and flipped classrooms – with far fewer complications. We’re launching Magellan at Bett 2014, so do come along to stand C340 and judge for yourself! We’ll be glad to meet you. Stewart Priestley is an Engineer at CSE Education Systems
Guest Post Written by Core ECS
The education technology extravaganza that is BETT is just about upon us again. It’s definitely one our highlights of the year and a great chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends.
For those of you unfamiliar with Core ECS, we are specialists in integrated SharePoint solutions for education consisting of a team of very dedicated and talented individuals!
Bett is also a great time to showcase the new developments, products and solutions we have that can provide real positive educational outcomes. At bett 2014 we will be demonstrating our TALMOS solution which is now based on Microsoft SharePoint 2013. If your school is looking to improve homework monitoring, assessment tracking or parental engagement we would love the opportunity to show you our modular solution which can encompass –
• Intranets • VLEs • Collaborative learning workspaces • Shared Drives • Public websites
Utilising SharePoint 2013 our new HTML5 'responsive' interface designs means that your platform can be used on all device types including tablets and smart phones. We implement custom branding to match the school identity. Each design is unique and tailored to the school’s requirements. Responsive design dynamically scales to fit any tablet or smartphone.
Our SharePoint specialists can advise on design, workflows, custom development and provide training to administrators and end users.
We use Microsoft Single Sign-on technology to integrate SharePoint, Exchange, Moodle, MIS and many more systems under a single AD login. Below are a couple of our most popular SharePoint 2013 Web Parts but come along to stand B150 to see the whole range.
Timetable The timetable web part displays the user’s timetable within the SharePoint page. The timetable module allows teachers to easily set lesson work and homework through the periods within the timetable. Homework Tracker Homework tracker shows a more detailed view of homework set on the timetable and allows teachers to manage, mark and return submitted work within a easy to use environment. Parental logins can view child homework and timetable data live.
Assessment Tracker The Web Part displays SIMS Assessment Manager data in a configurable, simplified, view. Teachers can use the pupil selector drop down to find pupil assessment reports, or parents can see data relating to their child.
Exam Tracker The Exam Tracker Web Part displays SIMS-derived examinations timetables. The Web Part is secured for use by students and parents so that they can only see data that is applicable to them.
Attendance Tracker The Web Part displays SIMS attendance data in an accessible view. The Web Part can be used to display secure information to different user groups.
Event Tracker The Event Tracker Web Part extends the functionality of SharePoint / Outlook calendars allowing a single calendar to be used across the school. Events can be categorised by event type and permissions easily set to be viewable by defined user groups. Pop-ups from the Web Part provide a range of events views including day listings by category and by time. A month view and bulletin summary can also be used.
In addition to our SharePoint 2013 solutions we will also be showcasing the work we are doing with schools with Office 365, this includes configuration and customisation but more importantly extends to training for both users and content managers.
With our Core ECS solutions not just working on tablets now but being designed for tablets with their responsive interfaces, we are also supplying a very special tablet bundle especially for education. Using market leading hardware (including Windows 8), award winning educational software, a flexible finance package and supporting insurance and warranty arrangements we can help schools meet their goals of achieving 1:1 ratios quicker.
So if you are visiting BETT, it would be great if you could come along and visit our stand B150 It’s always been our approach to have a wide range of skills manning our BETT stand due to the broad range of inquiries and questions we always get asked, this year will be no different for Core with members from the implementation and support team, the pre-sales team and the content and design team all supporting our sales team.
Look forward to seeing you there
The Core ECS Team www.coreecs.co.uk
It’s no surprise that discussions on mobile learning programmes have become ubiquitous within the Education Technology industry. For most schools, the question isn’t whether mobile devices should have a place in the classroom, but rather what approach is the best.
Mobile learning programmes and one-to-one initiatives, which aim to provide each student with a tablet or laptop that they can take home, are sprouting up around the world. It is easy to see why. Handhelds, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs and other mobile devices can allow students to take their learning with them, beyond class walls and school bells. They can use digital content as a cost-effective alternative to traditional textbooks, offer easier opportunities for personalised instruction, increase student-teacher communication, and provide anytime access to class resources and assignments. The use of technology itself also gives students hands-on, consistent interaction with the devices and tools that will no doubt fill their higher education and careers. In fact, research has shown that learning is enhanced when students use mobile devices at home to continue work initiated at school.
Many of the schools that we currently work with, that have begun a 1:1 initiative, wanted to enable every student to access school work online from any place, at any time. Traditionally Schools would spend half a million pounds on servers, cables, computers rooms, laptop trolleys and so on, but at the end of the day when school finishes, that infrastructure stays in school. What they want to do is have something in place where that investment goes home.
But a successful mobile learning programme must also recognise the inherent risks that come with allowing students to use school resources away from the school network and requires the implementation of technology solutions to ensure that resources are properly used, users are effectively protected, and devices are secured…. all with limited budget and staff.
However, all of this technology in student hands can bring some management challenges. Schools need to ensure appropriate use, push apps to many students, and ensure devices are learning tools rather than distractions.
Our cloud-based Mobile Manager was made just for schools, and balances management between IT staff and classroom educators. It is designed to be easy for both technicians and teachers, giving schools the simplicity and time-savings they need. They tell us, “The interface is really intuitive and easy to use.
“We didn’t want a complicated system; it was all very self- explanatory.” Even teachers have commented that “It is so easy to use; it’s brilliant!”
“We didn’t want a complicated system; it was all very self- explanatory.” Even teachers have commented that “It is so easy to use; it’s brilliant!”
With such a simple and effective way to control the devices, schools can save resources and keep the focus on learning. Schools conclude, “It’s a much more interactive experience for the students: they’re much more connected with their learning and they’re much more connected with their teachers.”
To watch a video explaining about Lightspeed Systems MDM click here:
Tablets are already a familiar sight in many classrooms, and schools have been quick to recognise their potential to make learning more interactive, immediate and fun. So much so that by the end of 2015, almost a quarter of all student-facing computers in schools will be tablets according to new research from the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA). In some schools, this percentage will no doubt be considerably higher. While students enjoy exploring new ways of learning thanks to a growing range of innovative educational apps, it’s not surprising that their teachers would like an app that can help them too. Introducing SIMS Teacher app As a former teacher myself, I would have loved to get my hands on something that could simplify everyday classroom tasks so that I could spend less time on the admin and more on the teaching, and that’s why we are excited about the launch of the new SIMS Teacher app. The app is part of SIMS Learning Gateway, our online portal which already provides school staff, pupils and parents with access to information such as students’ attendance, behaviour and achievement, from anywhere with an internet connection.
So how does it work? I think the best way to find out is to put yourself in the place of a busy teacher…
Present and correct • As you log on at the start of a lesson, SIMS Teacher app knows what time it is and which lesson you’re taking, and it automatically presents pictures of the students in the class. • If everyone is where they should be, you can simply touch the screen to select all as present and get on with your lesson. • However, you spot that Billy’s desk is empty. When he turns up, the app automatically suggests how many minutes late he is.
Knowing your students • During the lesson you can tap any of your students in the SIMS Teacher app to call up key elements of their SIMS profile. On the move Our busy teacher can also access key pupil information when on playground duty, in the sports field or at home. The app works even when no internet connection is available, synchronising with SIMS to update attendance and behaviour.
Safe and sound Although the inspiration behind SIMS Teacher app is to make data more freely and easily accessible, the data is secure as everything that teachers download onto their tablets is encrypted. Staff members can only access data which they are authorised to and which is relevant to them, so confidential information remains confidential. Find out more Many of the teachers I meet tell me that they just want to get on with the important business of teaching – I’m looking forward to seeing how SIMS Teacher app will help them do just that. Capita SIMS will be on stand B260 at BETT 2014, where we will be previewing SIMS Teacher App and exploring future developments in mobile technology for schools. If you would like to know more, please visit www.capita-sims.co.uk/teacherapp. Capita SIMS (School Information Management System) is a management information system used by over 22,000 schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.