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May, 2011 - FE blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The FE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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May, 2011

  • FE blog

    25 FREE Microsoft Technical exam vouchers–hurry before they all go!


    The Microsoft IT Academy Programme and  Prometric have teamed up to offer 25 FREE Microsoft Technical exam vouchers (Value Over £1000) to organisations who are not existing Prometric Exam Centres when they sign up.

    Becoming an exam centre is FREE and can be a great additional source of revenue.

    If you are not currently a Microsoft IT Academy, no problem, we can organise that at the same time.

    What you need to do now:

    Contact Marc Barfoot on 023 9241 5534 or marc.barfoot@itskillsman.co.uk to confirm your eligibility and claim your Free vouchers

    (There are only a limited number of vouchers available and when they are gone they are gone)

  • FE blog

    The Oldham College improves its efficiency with Microsoft SharePoint


    The Oldham College demonstrates how using Microsoft products, including SharePoint, continues to improves efficiency in a learning environment. Gerald Haigh, freelance writer to Microsoft, paid a visit to The Oldham College to then share with us how SharePoint, along with other Microsoft products, is directly improving the learning experience of its 8000 students.

    Pete O’Donnell, Assistant Principal, Planning and Performance described how SharePoint is working with other Microsoft products in the cause of management efficiency and create:

    “A change in the culture of the College into a more project-based environment.”

    Jon Evans, IT Services Manager, The Oldham College

    In the past, the many strands of activity  in the college or any other organisation, were fitted into a static structure of meetings and committees, taking their turn as agenda items.

    Now, the key activities are separated out as clearly defined projects. These are managed and run by task groups of people from whichever areas of the college are appropriate to each task.

    “Where ‘Improving teaching and learning’ was once a strategy and a committee under a senior manager, it’s now a project with a task group headed by a middle manager who’s far closer to the action and can enable better decisions.” explains Pete

    The task groups meet if and when it’s necessary, using Microsoft Project to manage the process, and posting progress updates on the College’s SharePoint intranet.

    “A meeting might be held in a small room, with Microsoft Project running on a big screen.”

    The project-based structure is effective because the day to day work of project teams is always accessible to team members.  It is also transparent to strategically responsible senior managers, who can carry out their monitoring and decision-making roles without having to be present.

    “What we now have,” says Pete, “Are clear lines of responsibility and clear time scales which before were shrouded in discussions and the minutes of meetings. It’s massively more efficient. Decisions are made more quickly, and there’s visibility about whether or not action is being taken.”

    Each project to be informed by a stream of live data, and this is provided from the ground up by Microsoft software. So SQL Server 2008 R2 collects data from numerous sources – student grades, student records, finance, human resources -- into data warehouses, with Analysis Services creating key performance indicators (KPIs) and organizing them as “cubes”. Finally, Performance Point (now integrated with SharePoint 2010) presents the KPIs to the task groups.

    The principle of taking some key tasks and functions away from an organisation’s hierarchical structure of regular meetings, and handing them to single-purpose task groups is well enough known. What the Oldham College experience shows, though, is that with the creative application of IT it’s possible to go further and make the whole management structure project based. The key lies in the transparency, flexibility and collaborative possibilities offered by SharePoint, supported by high quality and up to date information produced by Microsoft data-handling software.

  • FE blog

    Month One at Microsoft


    Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month already since I joined Microsoft from ULCC as the new Education Marketing Manager for the UK. What an experience it's been so far! Great people, amazing products and a common desire to add real value to our customers. I feel extremely privileged to have joined a company I have long admired!

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and send out a request for help. With Ray Fleming's recent departure to join Microsoft in Australia, and our desire to build on the great work that Ray and the rest of the team did with the education blogs, we want to ensure that we continue to add value to the community of readers around these resources.

    With this in mind, what kind of content do you want to see more of here? Opinion pieces, industry news, tips, tricks and how to's? Give us your feedback in the comments below so that this blog can be as relevant to your needs as possible. Alternatively, send me your thoughts via Twitter to www.twitter.com/tbush.

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to share!

    Now, not wanting to make this post all about me and how you can help us, I also wanted to share some interesting updates and resources I have come across during my first month at Microsoft.

    Partner Community Event

    I was fortunate enough to be invited to a recent Partner Community event. The opening speaker at the event was Dale Bassett, Research Director at Reform, a policy institute promoting new directions for public policy. Within his presentation, Dale presented a really informative and useful overview of the key trends and challenges (political and technological) facing the education sector as a whole.

    I will let his slides, embedded below, speak for themselves, but if you are looking for a snapshot of all the political, policy and technology trends currently impacting the sector, Dale's slides are a great resource to check out.

    Get Online @ Home Programme

    One of the initial projects I have been proud to be helping out with has been the ambitious Get Online @Home programme. Backed by Microsoft and partners such as BT, Post Office and Three.co.uk, the programme aims to support Martha Lane Fox's Race Online 2012 initiative to help get people online.

    More specifically, the Get Online @Home programme looks to provide a “no nonsense” affordable PC, with all the right software, warranties and UK-based telephone helplines, to help beginners get online@home.

    I have been assisting with the creation of the website copy for the project and its been great watching a wide selection of household brands come together to support such as amazing cause.

    I look forward to following how this programme develops over the coming months!

    Check out the website for more information.

    Tips and Tricks Videos from the Live@EDU Team

    The Live@EDU team have put together some great content to help staff and students get the most out of their Live@EDU experience. Addressing everything from getting started with Outlook Live to how to create memorable lectures with the PowerPoint Web App, there is something here for everyone. Well worth a look!

    Tips and Tricks Videos:

    Getting Started with Outlook Live

    Outlook Live – Searching, Filtering, Auto Replies, Signatures

    How To Articles:

    PowerPoint Web App

    OneNote Web App

    Outlook Web App

    Excel Web App

    Word Web App


    We have some big plans to make the education blogs a valuable resource for all. Your input is crucial in aligning the content we create to your needs. As mentioned earlier, it would be great to get any ideas or recommendations in the comments below.

    Thanks again and look forward to some interesting dialogue across the various education blogs in the months to come.

    Tim (@tbush)

  • FE blog

    The Sunday Times and Wellington College Festival of Education in partnership with Microsoft, 25th-26th June 2011


    Wellington festival logo

    Come to The Sunday Times and Wellington College Festival of Education on 25th and 26th June to learn more about the most important issues in education today.

    This will be an unmissable event for anyone who cares about the future of education. Be part of an audience of parents, students, academics, teachers and policy-makers and add your voice to the debate.

    A weekend of discussion, debate and workshops, with more than 150 speakers including Bob Geldof, A C Grayling, Jane Asher, A A Gill, David Starkey, Bethany Hughes and Robert Winston.

    Jan Webb and Stuart Ball, Partners in Learning Managers will be there along with myself showcasing some of the great things Microsoft are doing in schools today, so come along and pay us a visit.

    Visit the website

    Tickets are £30 for a One Day Pass, £50 for a Weekend Pass and £15 for a student day pass.

  • FE blog

    Microsoft UK Education Live Meeting





    MultiPoint Server 2011 is a Windows based solution that is designed specifically to give every student individual access to PCs. By allowing multiple users to simultaneously share one computer – and still providing a rich independent Windows experience, it is a cost effective way to get more technology into classrooms, computer labs and libraries.

    The teachers’ management console is a simple yet powerful tool – providing complete control over the students’ screens – ensuring the class stays both engaged and productive.

    Join this one hour webcast to learn more about the technology and the benefits many education organisations have realised with the solution. There will also be some goodies available for some lucky attendees.

    Date and Time

    Option 1: Thursday 26th May 10:00-11:00am

    Option 2: Tuesday 9th June 10:00-11:00am

    Register Here:


    Upon registration you will receive a calendar appointment.

  • FE blog

    Learn more about Live@edu intro webcast


    Starting week of 9th May, Microsoft are beginning some intro webcasts to Live@edu. If you would like to learn more, have the opportunity to ask questions, and receive a follow up call/email from our telesales lead, Anthony Nneke, please register for one of the webcast via the below links.

    10/05/2011 from 12:00-13:00pm.

    Please register  here

    or alternatively

    24/05/2011 from 12:00-13:00pm.

    Please register  here

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