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  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Apps in Education: Physamajig for Windows 8

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    Physamajig is a great Windows 8 app for secondary school age students that combines gaming and physics into a fun and engaging package.

    clip_image001

    The app is free, although you can pay to strip out the ads, and offers students a unique way to understand the core concepts of physics in an interesting and enjoyable way. With a wide selection of built-in sample creations, such as Moon Lander, and, while its not Christmas, Santa Chimney, students can quickly dive into the game and start developing the key fundamentals of physics to apply to other projects and to offer a foundation to start building their own physics orientated games.

    clip_image002

    Developing your own physics games with Physamajig is where this app really gets interesting and this is where the learning can evolve to the next level. The games that can be created within the app can be as simple, especially in the case of my first effort, or as complex as you wish and users imaginations are the only real limitation to what can be created.

    The user friendly interface allows you to easily sketch out an idea and translate that into a realistic physics object. You can then add friction, bounciness and joints etc to create a realistic and fun game.

    While the initial black canvas was a little intimidating at first, I found the interface easy to navigate and the excellent online support pages, complete with tutorial videos, got me up and running in no time.

    This is great Windows 8 app and judging from the engaged community sitting behind Physamajig, who are also sharing their creations online, this is definitely going to be a platform that I am going to be monitoring closely as both the game and the community mature and evolve over time. Nice job!

    The app can be downloaded via the Windows Store for free today.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Smartphones and Tablets help children to read

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    Originally posted on Bing News, Tuesday 11th March 2014

    Smartphones and tablet computers can encourage disadvantaged pre-school children to read, according to a report.

    Youngsters are more likely to enjoy looking at a book and be reading at the right level for their age if they have access to the new technology, it found.

    imageThe new study, by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and education firm Pearson suggests there are benefits to young children using both print and a touch screen, compared to reading physical books alone.

    The findings, based on a poll of around 1,000 parents of three to five-year-olds, show that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have access to touch screens - for example through tablet computers - than their richer peers.

    But of those children with access to touch screens, pre-schoolers from lower socio-economic backgrounds are twice as likely to look at stories using this technology on a daily basis than those from more privileged homes (16% compared to 7.2%).

    It goes on to say that children were more likely to enjoy reading if they used both books and a touch screen than reading books alone (77.4% compared to 70.8%).

    The study concludes: "Technology offers a route into reading for disadvantaged three to five-year-old children. Of children who have a touch screen at home, children of lower socio-economic status are twice as likely to look at stories daily.

    "We also found that poorer children who use both books and touch screens to look at stories are less likely to perform below the expected standard for their age than if they only look at books."

    The study reveals that overall, children are still more likely to read using a physical book, with almost all (95.2%) looking at print-based stories on a typical week.

    In comparison, just over one in four (26%) use a touch screen at home to look at stories.

    And it suggests that parents are keen on their youngsters using the latest gadgets, with nearly three quarters (73.7%) agreeing that it was important for their son or daughter to learn to use technology from an early age to help them get on at school.

    The study also looked at the reading habits of parents and found that the more a mum or dad enjoys reading, the more they think their child enjoys the activity.

    Almost half of the parents questioned (46.8%) said they read print on a daily basis, while a similar proportion (45.2%) read on a touch screen daily.

    "The more often parents read either print or using a touch screen, the more likely children are to look at or read print-based stories," the study found.

    It added: "The majority of parents think they are very good readers (75.6%) and the more skilled parents say they are at reading, the better their children's communication and language outcomes at age five."

    NLT director Jonathan Douglas, said: " Technology is playing an increasingly crucial role in all our lives and the ways in which children are learning are changing fast. It is important that we keep abreast of these changes and their impact on children's education.

    "When parents read with their children, whatever the medium, they increase their child's enjoyment of reading which brings life-long benefits. Both practitioners and parents have a vital role to play in supporting children to read from an early age whether they use books or a touch screen."

    The YouGov online survey of 1,028 parents of three to five-year-olds took place in the spring while a separate poll questioned 362 early years workers between May and July last year.

    Davina Ludlow, director of daynurseries.co.uk, said: " Our research shows public opinions on the supposed benefits of the use of ICT in nurseries are not in line with today's findings.

    "In a recent poll carried out by daynurseries.co.uk, only one in four (26%) of the respondents thought children benefit from using ICT in nurseries.

    "Our poll showed that the majority of people clearly want to see early education and childhood play protected from this technological change."

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Office 365 for iPads in Education

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    Announcing the Office you love, now on the iPad

    Reposted blog by John Case

    Today in San Francisco, we made some exciting announcements about our company’s mobile first, cloud first approach. Office played a big part in today’s news. Over a billion people on the planet use Microsoft Office to get more done at work and at home. Every day we hear from you how important it is to have a great productivity experience on all the devices you use. We take that very seriously – we know that means you want the authentic experience of Office, made right for the device you’re using.  Whether you’re creating an Excel spreadsheet on your tablet, authoring a Word document in the browser or making edits to a PowerPoint on your phone, you want the great Office experience you love, everywhere you are. Today, we unveiled Office for iPad® – specifically Word, PowerPoint and Excel. But this isn’t simply Office on another device. We thought a lot about what people want to do when they’re on their tablet, iPad functionality, and touch-first when we were building Office for iPad. We reimagined Office on the iPad, while retaining what people love about Office. We hope you’ll be as pleased with the results as we are. In the future, we will bring Office apps to the Windows Store and other popular platforms. In addition to Office for iPad, we’ve gone a step further in our mobile first and cloud first approach, and like Windows Phone, we’ve now made Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones available for free.  You can read more about how we’re expanding Office across devices below.

    Office for iPad

    We know you’ve been wanting it, and starting today, you can download Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad from the App Store.  The apps have the robust capabilities and familiar look and feel that is unmistakably Office, while offering a fantastic touch experience built from the ground up for iPad.  With the free versions of the apps, you can read your Word documents, view your Excel data and present with PowerPoint. Your documents will look as good as they do on your PC and Mac®, and better than ever on your iPad.  With an Office 365 Education A3 or A4 subscription, you can edit and create new documents with the iPad. When you edit a document, you can be sure that content and formatting will be maintained across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone. And, you always have access to your up-to-date documents in OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.

    Your Office 365 Education A3 or A4 subscription not only gets you the Office for iPad apps installed on up to 5 tablets, but also 5 copies across Office for your PCs and Macs.  With one subscription all of your devices are covered, so you can work the way you want.

    Speak to your reseller for more information on subscriptions.

    Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones free

    Just like Office Mobile for Windows Phone, we are making Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones free for everyone. With Office Mobile, you have the ability to view and edit your Office content on the go.  Office Mobile is available in the App Store and Google Play.

    Office documents look better than ever on iPad. They look just as they do on your PC or Mac. In Word, images, tables, SmartArt, footnotes, equations are all there, perfectly formatted. Formulas, charts, sparklines, conditional formatting, and filters in Excel help you make better decisions. PowerPoint presentations pack a punch with transitions, animations, speaker notes and much more. When presenting, you can even use a built-in laser pointer, pens and highlighters to get your point across.

    Excel on iPad

    A familiar Office experience designed for iPad. What makes these apps unique is that they strike just the right balance between being unmistakably Office and being designed for the iPad. If you use Office on a PC or Mac, the iPad apps feel very familiar, so you are comfortable and confident using these apps right away. The Ribbon layout and experience is familiar, with the most common commands under Home, and Chart commands automatically show up when you select a chart.

    PowerPoint on iPad

    At the same time, these apps were created from the ground up for iPad. The large touch areas on the Ribbon and in overlay menus make it simple to create, edit and format documents using only touch. Resize and rotate objects like pictures with touch-friendly handles. When you hold and move the objects, text flows smoothly around them. No keyboard and mouse required. You can even use iPad features like voice dictation to draft a Word document or AirPlay® to project a presentation wirelessly on a TV screen.

    Edit, create and collaborate with confidence. When you edit documents with the Office for iPad apps, you can be sure that you won’t lose any content or formatting. Documents will look exactly how you intended in Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone – regardless of which device you used to make the edits. Moreover, the apps have a remarkably rich feature set to create beautifully designed documents.

    Office on iPad

    In addition, the apps make it easy to work together. Simply share your content with others thanks to OneDrive and then work simultaneously with multiple people on the same document or presentation.  And, reviewing documents is now great on the iPad.  Word documents can track changes, have threaded comments and easily accept or reject edits all right on the iPad.

    Word Author Collaboration on iPad

    Made for the cloud and Office 365. Since educators want to be able to get things done everywhere, the apps are seamlessly integrated with Microsoft’s cloud services. The apps let you access up-to-date documents in OneDrive, OneDrive Pro and SharePoint. It’s easy to pick up from where you left off, because the apps know what documents you were working on last, no matter what device you were using. Even if you don’t have an Internet connection for a while, you’ll still be able to work on the documents you’ve recently used on the iPad.

    PowerPoint Recent on iPad

    Finally, here are answers to some questions you may have:

    Q: How much does Office for iPad cost?

    A: You can download the Office apps for free and read, view and present documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  To get the full editing and creation experience, you need an Office 365 Education A3 or A4 subscription. Office 365 gives you always-up-to-date versions of Office across your PC, Mac and iPad, and much more.

    Q: Can I try Office for iPad?

    A: Yes, you can read, view and present documents, spreadsheets and presentations for free.  To get the full editing and creation experience, you can sign up for a free 30 day Office 365 trial at www.office.com/try. Then download the Office for iPad apps in the App Store.  During your trial period, you can use Office across your PC, Mac and iPad.

    Q: What Office 365 subscription plans include Office for iPad?

    A: Office 365 Home, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Office 365 Education A3 and A4, Office 365 ProPlus, and Office 365 University. The new Office 365 Personal will also qualify when it becomes available later this spring.

    Q: What are the system requirements for Office for iPad?

    A: You need an iPad running iOS 7.0 or later.

    Q: What languages and markets is Office for iPad available in?

    A: We offer Office for iPad in the following 29 languages: Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish , Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish , Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish , Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian.

    As of today, Office for iPad is available in the following 135 markets: Albania, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Republic of, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Republic of, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Fed. States of, Moldova, Republic of, Mongolia, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & Grenada, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Mac, iPad, and AirPlay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    A student/intern review on Windows 8 Notebook devices in education: featuring the Packard Bell Easynote ME69BMP 10.1

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    Our final devices in education Notebook blog features the Packard Bell Easynote ME, which is a 10.1" touch screen notebook retailing at a fantastic £259.99

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    What a bargain!

    Out of all the Notebooks I've blogged about, the price-point of the Packard Bell EasyNote retailing in at £259.99 is fantastic! Let me explain why: Not only does it provide the full Windows experience for teachers and students, but to sweeten the deal, it includes touch capabilities which has to be one of the most attractive price offerings for a device including touch. Finally, the whipped cream-smothered cherry on the top is thanks to the generous inclusion of Office 365 Home and Student 2013!

    This means you can sign into your Windows 8 account remotely on your notebook after school and access your saved personal settings and preferences. You can also of course access your favourite Windows 8 Education apps and study/work away using your favourite Office tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook with ease, by swiping to browse, and typing to create.

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    Great resolution for creative work

    What I particularly enjoyed about the Packard Bell Notebook was that despite its slightly smaller size, the screen resolution is higher than most of the other Chromebooks and notebooks on the market, so when I linked it up to my desktop to do creative work, the picture quality was fantastic. It was a pleasure to use, particularly as my eye sight isn't the best and looking at pixilated work for long periods can be wearing.

    This could be really effective for students who want to link up a PowerPoint presentation or media they've brought in from home to the interactive board at university, college or school. Likewise, for educators presenting to students in class, the Packard Bell Notebook would be excellent.

    The notebook for Computer Science

    Going back to the excellent screen resolution, this would be the ideal mobile device for a Computer Science student to carry around and work from as they could simply link it up to a desktop at college or university and enjoy coding apps and creating games with a fantastic image quality.

    Additionally, the Packard Bell Easynote has a pretty powerful Intel Celebron N2805 Processor which would pack enough punch to support coding activities.

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    Ultimately, the Packard Bell Easynote ME along with the collection of Notebooks which I have had fun using for the past week, are a great range of Education-friendly notebooks that I would recommend for students and teachers from Primary up to Higher Education. With Windows 8 and cloud functionality, they provide you with the tools to sign into your Microsoft account and Office 365 credentials and pick up the work you left off on the Windows 8 desktops at school. Finally, their light weight and portability make them easy to carry around, without having to worry about scratching the screen or purchasing any add-on cases.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Office 365 helps to lay firm foundations at Sandymoor School, Cheshire - with both students and teachers.

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    A new and fast-growing school supports its vision for learning by making full use of Office 365 to create an ‘anytime, anywhere’ collaborative space. By doing so it also drastically reduces the need for on-site storage, and creates a device-agnostic environment that allows its stock of Surface tablets to be supplemented by a ‘bring your own device’ policy.

    Sandymoor School in Runcorn, Cheshire – a secondary Free School founded by local community action – opened in September 2012 with 19 students. Currently there are 110 students in Years 7, 8 and 9, grouped within the school as Foundation 1 and Foundation 2. The school is temporarily housed in a collection of single-storey prefabricated buildings. A new building with accommodation for 900 students will open in September 2014.

    image 

    An Ofsted inspection in January 2014 judged the school Good, with Outstanding leadership and management.

    I had not been at Sandymoor long before I realised that something really interesting is happening within its no-nonsense prefab walls. Under the leadership of Principal Andrew Green-Howard, a strong vision is taking shape of how young people can learn together collaboratively and prepare themselves for what lies ahead. And I’d say that Microsoft, with Microsoft partner Civica, can be proud of how they are supporting that, particularly by the imaginative deployment of Office 365 to cover both administrative and learning aspects of the school.

    ‘The reason I’m so excited about Office 365,’ says Andrew Green-Howard, ‘Is that we can take everything we do in school and where absolutely possible put it in the cloud.’

    Paul Hart, the Civica e-Learning Consultant who worked with Sandymoor on their Office 365 implementation was in tune with Andrew’s vision from the start, before even the temporary building existed.

    ‘He had high expectations for staff and students in terms of the amount of work that would be needed to make the online learning work. Of course there was the benefit of the fact that the school was starting from scratch, and schemes of work would incorporate ICT from an early stage, rather than appearing later as a bolt-on.’

    It’s clear that Andrew sees Office 365 as a shared and managed workspace for the whole school community – students, staff, parents, governors. So students and teachers, for example, use online versions of Word and other Office applications so that they have anytime, anywhere access, including the ability to work in the cloud from home whether or not they have Office installed there. He talks about the need to achieve ‘agnosticism’ with technology, by which he means that whatever system a school chooses should be available anywhere, any time, with any device. Office 365, he believes, is the only effective way of achieving that.

    I talked to deputy principal and leader of learning Emma Simpson about how that works for her as a mathematics teacher working with mixed ability groups. Essentially, she uses SharePoint Online to set up sites for her five maths classes. Each has packages of work at different levels, with links to teacher-prepared explanatory video. Children log on to the maths site for their class, using one of the school’s 50 Surface RT tablets, or a device of their own, and go to the appropriate set of tasks, continuing with the support of the teacher and a teaching assistant, Says Emma,

    ‘This allows me the freedom to give one-to-one support, and the videos I’ve provided mean there’s no dead time while they wait for me. They help each other, too of course.’

    This way of working, she says, helps children with special needs. (The school has an above average proportion of children with SEN)

    ‘They do their work online and share it with me, so I can give close support at each stage.’

    The overall effect, she says ‘Breaks down barriers to learning – and children know intuitively how to use it, because it’s similar to what they already know, such as Facebook.’

    The same barrier-removing strategy is seen in the way the classrooms are set out for group working, with twin digital projectors creating a sense of ‘learning all around. Emphasising this, there is no ‘front of the class’ focus, so teachers can work from anywhere in the room with tablets or laptops linked to the projectors.

    Emma told me, too, about the way she and Andrew are encouraging staff to collaborate online, particularly through the sharing of documents in OneDrive.

    ‘They’re developed online – the Self Evaluation Form, policies, plans for educational visits. We rely on it quite heavily.’

    Andrew Green-Howard echoes that, with a vivid description of a scenario that must be very familiar,

    ‘Doing it the old way, I’d create a document then email it to three people to ask for comments. They’d all work on it and I couldn’t until it came back. Then I’d collate it and now it’s a different document.’

    Office 365 entirely transforms that process, he says,

    ‘Working on a shared version in OneDrive means everyone can see changes. It’s a proper online meeting space.’

    All of that, though, as Andrew recognises, requires a change of mindset in the users, and each week there’s a staff CPD session devoted to the use of Office 365. I talked to IT manager Stuart Thow about that,

    ‘They are really taking to it, although it’s very different from what they had done before. But Andrew has a vision of everything in the cloud which is working well – it removes issues around backups and file storage.’

    Stuart approves of the school’s Surface RTs, which were bought before he arrived.

    ‘It’s a cracking device, the boot-up time is fantastic, it’s simple to use with a familiar interface and it’s used in lots of ways – the camera for gathering evidence for example.’

    Unsurprisingly, he adds, students are ahead of the game,

    ‘They use the online Microsoft packages on their tablets so they can log in at home.‘

    Students are also to the fore when it comes to supporting Stuart, who is the school’s sole IT professional at the moment. A group of students are voluntary ICT prefects.

    ‘They help out in all kinds of ways,’ says Stuart, ‘In lessons, with students who have trouble with their tablets, setting up devices, managing updates, configuring. They’re a massive help and of course it’s good learning for them.’

    Paul Hart of Civica had already alerted me to the high level of student engagement in IT support.

    ‘Make sure you don’t miss seeing the students taking ownership,’ said Paul. ‘That’s quite a rare thing in my experience. They do a lot of the top level IT admin and it does work incredibly well. And they have gained fantastic technical knowledge.’

    After that I had to meet them so I had a talk – and a good school lunch – with James, Jonathon and Aaron, all in Year eight or nine,

    ‘The main thing we did was get our Surface tablets set up when they arrived,’ James told me. ‘All the trolleys, cables and everything, added Jonathon. ‘Some days we’re here late after school.’

    They described various ‘rescue’ missions – restoring a PC that seemed to have lost its operating system, helping teachers with Office Online basics, and showing how to link a laptop to the projectors in the classroom.

    All of them were users of Office 365 at home as well as at school.

    ‘Sometimes if I want to change something I can just edit on my phone,’ said James.

    Aaron appreciates the home-school link with his teachers.

     ‘If you’ve stuck with homework you can email them and they will usually email you back during the same weekend.’

    Sandymoor is still in its early stages. The new building awaits a few hundred yards away, already looking impressive, and within weeks of inhabiting it, the temporary home will be a series of photographs in a scrapbook. There’s strong anticipation of the hugely expanded potential of the new school. At no point, though has there been any sense of marking time, waiting for it to arrive. Rather, there’s a strong feel of foundations being laid – not just in terms of ICT, but in the development of attitudes, standards, behaviour and the quality of teaching and learning. Andrew Green-Howard has been given an opportunity, and a solemn duty, that comes to few headteachers, and he’s clearly determined to make the most of the one and not fail in the other.

    But let Aaron, of Year eight, have the last word.

    ‘What’s good about this school is that it involves us and educates us and gives us responsibility – and helps us if we have problems.’

    I guess most parents would settle for that for their children.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows Magnifier makes a difference for visually impaired students at Highbury College

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    Guest blog post by Mary Anne Davies-Barrett, LSI for the Visually Impaired, Highbury City of Portsmouth Centre

    clip_image001I work at Highbury College Portsmouth with Visually Impaired students, mostly teaching IT courses. I started supporting one visually impaired student and now we have around 18 visually impaired students attending the college learning how to use a computer. We have a specialised classroom full of resources for the visually impaired.

    Easy to use & effective!

    Over the years we have used magnification software and speech software like Supernova, Zoomtext and Jaws.  Unfortunately, this software can be very expensive. When the college upgraded to Windows 7, I discovered the Windows Magnifier.  Windows Magnifier can be accessed by just pressing the Windows key and the plus sign. It has made such a difference to the visually impaired students as they can access this for free. In fact sometimes I make use of the Magnifier myself. So easy to use and can be accessed from any computer wherever you are in the College, at home, in a library and other places. Some students actually prefer Windows Magnifier rather than other magnification software.

    clip_image002

    Accessible for students

    They find it easy to use and do not need to spend money on the expensive software. I also personalise the windows colour and appearance to each PC to suit each individual student’s needs.  As Windows magnifier can be accessed from any PC around the college, the students do not have to worry if they are moving from one class to another. We also use the Ease of Access Centre.

    Simple shortcut for teachers to know

    I have also started to train other members of staff around the College how to use this magnifier and make them aware of it as you cannot tell when you are going to need it.  I have trained the Learning Assistants around the college and they were amazed how useful this information is for them when they are supporting students in various parts of the College.  I am also going to train others how to make use of the Windows key and other shortcuts using the Windows key.

    I am passionate about my work with the Visually Impaired and enjoy working with these wonderful people. They are amazing! And I could not do this without Microsoft. So thank you from me and the students.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Tablets for Schools – Coding Research

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    Tablets for Schools supported UK Hour of Code Week (3rd-9thMarch) with new research: 

    “Three quarters of teachers believe coding relevant but over a third not confident to teach it”

    With coding set to enter the school curriculum in September 2014, Tablets for Schools today released research showing that three quarters of school leaders believe that coding and computer programming will be relevant to their pupils, but over a third do not feel confident about implementing coding into the curriculum. http://www.tabletsforschools.org.uk/coding-research-teachers-students-motivated-to-code-but-lack-confidence-in-their-abilities/ Tablets for Schools (educational not for profit, soon to be charity) surveyed 36 school leaders and 3,500 secondary school boys and girls aged 11-17 in 9 schools across England and Scotland in Jan and Feb 2014. All the schools have been using one-to-one Tablets for over a year or have introduced them in the current school year and are taking part in the Tablets for Schools research programme.

    This survey of pupils and teachers using one to one Tablets shows:

    • Nearly half, (48%) of pupils not taught coding at school say they would like to be taught;
    • Three-quarters (74%) of the leadership say that coding/computer programming will be relevant to their pupils giving    them core skills for the workforce of the future;
    • Teachers thought that learning how to code will also help develop important mathematical and scientific skills;
    • However while nearly a half (46%) feel confident about the introduction into the school, over a third 36% do not feel confident.

    Quotes from Teachers

    “We are living in a world where we are educating children for jobs that might not yet exist, so they need the skills of being able to critically analyse processes.”

    “The development of sequencing, logic and programming is useful in developing scientific and mathematical skills”.

    Being able to identify and train staff appears to be the biggest challenge to these schools. “Confident in my own abilities; less confident in the abilities of my fellow primary practitioners and in being able to train them!” “We are aware lots of training will be necessary to help staff develop the skills.”

    Speaking on the publication of this research Sebastian James, Vice Chair T4S and

    CEO Dixons Retail said:

    “Schools that have introduced one to one Tablets have been given a head start when it comes to coding. Tablet using schools that have been teaching computing skills and coding for several years feel well-prepared and confident in

    their ability to implement the new curriculum changes, others feel less certain. Being able to identify and train staff appears to be the biggest challenge to these schools.”

    Tablets for Schools research has shown that schools that prepare and integrate tablets as part of their pedagogical approach benefit with more engaged students, who learn collaboratively and develop a confidence around presenting ideas in class. The Tablets for Schools free toolkit can help schools start their tablet journey.


    For more information please contact David Mencer on 020 7067 0771 or 07775 840557

    or david@tabletsforschools.org.uk @T4STweets


    About Tablets for Schools

    Tablets for Schools is passionate about the transformative effect of tablets in the classroom and beyond. We

    are a not-for-profit (shortly to be charity) education campaign bringing together teachers, industry leaders

    and academics using robust and independent research on how tablets impact learning and attainment. Our

    research and expertise of how to set up and get the best from tablets are made freely available to teachers,

    schools and Government.


    About this Survey

    The research talked to pupils, and school leadership. The pupil survey was sent to nine secondary schools

    which have been using one-to-one Tablets for over a year or have introduced them in the current school

    year and are taking part in the Tablets for Schools research programme. In total over 3,500 responses were

    received (total 3,542) from pupils aged 11-18 (49% girls and 51% boys). 36 school leaders were

    interviewed between 12 – 27 February 2014.Survey carried out by Family, Kids and Youth (independent,

    education specialist research agency).

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    A student/intern review on Windows 8 Notebook devices in education: featuring the HP Pavillion TS 11-e030sa 11.6"

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    On with the Notebook tour of devices in education and we’re onto HP today! The HP Pavillion TS 11 is a lovely notebook device which packs the full Windows 8 menu into a work-friendly 11" notebook shell at a price of £329.99. Office Home and Student 2013 can be bought additionally to enhance the experience of studying with familiar tools, in the cloud.

    clip_image001[8]

    PC Format

    Some of you may worry that with tablets, they may snap or crack if they are accidentally sat upon or dropped, but the beauty of Notebooks such as the HP Pavillion TS 11 is their protective folding screen/case combo. Many students and educators enjoy the flexibility of hybrid devices where you can click in the screen and use it as both a tablet and laptop, however there certainly is a place for the notebook format: for those of you who are keen to avoid equipment from getting lost, such as sleeves and cases if being shared by students, or for mobility of students being able to work on the go, or on their laps without a kick stand.

    Why buy a notebook over a laptop or tablet?

    The main difference between the notebook and a laptop is the size and weight, which is more adaptable to travel and work in transit. It has the same working features as a PC, although much less memory space, so is best used for note taking and accessing Office and Windows files when away from the school server or the desktop PC at home.

    My tip is to regard the notebook as a device which you use alongside a desktop PC at home and at school. It basically replaces a tablet, serving its purpose as a portable device which students can easily access work and be productive on while in lectures at university or studying in class at school. Once home they can log back into Office with either their Microsoft Account or Office 365 credentials and pick up where they left off. It saves students and educators time from scribbling work and notes on notebooks and then typing up at home and is great for empowering 1:1 learning which you can read more about in our new 1:1 Learning in Education e-book! The main difference with the tablet is that it has the form of a laptop which basically falls down to preferences - do you prefer the detachability of a tablet or the compact PC-style of a notebook?

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  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft announces Office for ipad

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    Microsoft is devoted to providing the tools which enable people from all walks of life to work anywhere and on any device. The ever increasing portfolio of Windows based devices available lay testament to that and with over a billion users of Microsoft Office globally we are now delighted to share that Office for ipad has now been released and is available to download on Apple's App Store.

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    At the Mobile First, Cloud First Press Briefing yesterday Satya Nadella made his CEO debut and announced that the Office suite including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel would now be available for use on the ipad.

    Within hours of the launch Word became the most downloaded application for ipads within the Apples App store, with Excel and PowerPoint following closely behind.

    At the event in San Francisco, Satya began by sharing some of the core foundations, this decision would be built upon:

    clip_image002"So first thing is about people. At the end of the day, if you look at our daily life, we have a set of activities that we do. We could be reading, we could be capturing, we could be listening, collaborating, organizing, researching. These are all activities that we do across a variety of devices. We're not bound, in fact, to one device, one place or one time. And the real goal for us is to step up to provide the applications and services that empower every user across all of these devices and all of these experiences. So that's perhaps the job No. 1 that we do, which is to empower people to be productive, do more across all devices."

    He also added that the announcement was part of a strategy to empower people to be productive across all devices with Microsoft software.

    "We are taking great focus and great care to make sure Office on any device shines through,"

    For users wanting only to view and scroll through their documents on their tablet, the application is available for free, and for those wanting full functionality it will involve an Office 365 subscription.

    For students and educators this opens many doors, particularly in institutions where a BYOD infrastructure is in place, for those students unable to purchase a new device they still are empowered to use the best Microsoft Office productivity tools, with the device they already own.

    Satya closed by saying “We are absolutely committed to making our applications run what most people describe as cross-platform great. There's no holding back of anything. It is about being able to excel everywhere our customers are. One of the questions is, is this a massive tradeoff for you? There is no tradeoff. It's reality for us. It's not a competitive reality. That's not what motivates us. What motivates us is the realities of our customers. What motivates us is to make sure that we build the great experiences that span the digital life and digital work of our customers, both individually and as organizations. And that's what you can count on us doing, both with Windows as well as other platforms. And that's what's driving us”

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    The official Office Blog talks more about the latest announcement “We thought a lot about what people want to do when they’re on their tablet, iPad functionality, and touch-first when we were building Office for iPad. We reimagined Office on the iPad, while retaining what people love about Office. We hope you’ll be as pleased with the results as we are. In the future, we will bring Office apps to the Windows Store and other popular platforms. In addition to Office for iPad, we’ve gone a step further in our mobile first and cloud first approach, and like Windows Phone, we’ve now made Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones available for free” 

    Read the complete blog and FAQ here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    A student/intern review on Windows 8 Notebook devices in education: featuring the Acer Aspire V5-122P

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    Continuing our stroll through the Windows 8 Notebook devices in education neighbourhood, today I'm going to share with you my thoughts on the Acer Aspire V5-122P, a safe and sturdy notebook perfect for students and educators to carry to work and pull out at and use at any time.

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    Portability

    As you can see, the Acer, at 11.6", with sizes ranging from 11" to 15", is the perfect size to slip into a rucksack or brief case and pick up work in a coffee shop, on your lap whilst commuting or sitting on the sofa at home. Its screen size makes it large enough to be able to comfortably write a long essay or report on, yet small enough to easily transport to university, college or school and work from any location.

    Work online & offline

    Perhaps one of its greatest advantages, and this is also relevant for the entire series on Notebooks I will be blogging about, is that the Acer Aspire V5 can be used to browse web pages and apps online whilst similarly using offline documents. It must be noted, that Office 365 doesn't come readily built into the Acer Aspire V5 but can be purchased separately. To paint a scenario, a group of students could be sitting in class, doing research online for a presentation. Whilst researching online, they could snap a PowerPoint deck onto the other half of their screen and browse and create simultaneously. Once offline and on their way home, if a sudden idea comes to mind, they can open their PowerPoint doc, just like they would with a regular laptop, and jot their ideas down. Unlike the Chromebook which is dependent on internet access, I think this makes the Windows Notebook a little more aligned to students' and educators' mobile working style. For more info on Office 365 in education, check out our new Office 365 in Education e-book.

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    Where can I get one?

    The Acer notebook retails in at £349.99 which I think is a great price for people looking for a larger sized notebook and small enough laptop with full working functionalities, to easily transport. For more info, have a look at the PC World website!

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