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April, 2012 - FE blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The FE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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April, 2012

  • FE blog

    Windows 8 App Development. Build an app now


    win8logo win82
    So if your interested in building Windows 8 Apps you need to join the following LinkedIn Group


    1. You apply to join our UK Windows 8 for Application Developer LinkedIn Group.

    2. We will reply asking you for some details of what it is you are building and then admit you into the group.

    3. You build a great app following the guidance that we have online and which meets the Store certification requirements.

    4. We will use the LinkedIn Group to invite you to an Application Excellence Lab at Microsoft in Reading where you’ll work with an engineer to ensure certification requirements are being met and that the app is providing a great experience to the user.

    5. You leave the lab with a registration code that lets you begin the app submission process at the Windows Store.

    In terms of the details we will need from the individual developer, it will include the following:

    1. Your name and company name (if any).

    2. Your location.

    3. Application's name.

    4. Short description of application's purpose.

    5. What is the current status of the application - [idea/planning/building/complete].

    6. Are you looking to be able to publish the application before Windows 8 and the Windows Store go on general release?

    So if your highly committed to building and publishing a Windows 8 app in the next 2-3 months, this is the perfect opportunity to get your app into the store.


    Windows 8 For Application Developers – By UK Tech.Days

    Also ensure you register for the Windows 8 for Applications developers tour focuses on creating broad awareness and excitement around the Windows 8 opportunities for developers.

    These are 1 day events which are delivered by our Windows 8 Champs with the goal of providing accelerated learning to Windows 8 application development. You can see all of these events on the UK Tech.Days home page.

  • FE blog

    The facts about Windows licensing in schools


    If you are planning on buying some new PCs for your education institution, you should check that your school is properly licensed for genuine Windows software. It’s a good idea to check that your existing PCs are also compliant.

    Each PC running Windows desktop software needs to have its own full Windows desktop license. It’s a common misunderstanding that schools can save money by getting PCs without the Windows operating system preinstalled, and then use their Volume License to install a full OS. If you do this it means that your PCs are improperly licensed, which is a violation of Microsoft’s Licensing Policy and could lead to penalties if you are audited.


    So here are the facts. There are only two ways to acquire the initial full Windows license on a new PC. Preinstalled via a PC manufacturer (OEM), which is the most cost-effective way to acquire a Windows license, or through retail stores as a full packaged product (Retail / FPP). If you already have an Academic Licensing agreement that provides an upgrade, it does not cover the full license. Therefore you are required to have a separate, eligible, and full license for the initial operating system deployed on your school’s computers.

    Another scenario is that you might be buying new PCs for your school, but own some old PCs that already have Windows installed. Unfortunately it is not possible to transfer this across to your new machines. A Windows operating system that is preinstalled by a PC manufacturer (OEM), may never be transferred to newly purchased PCs, even if the original PC is no longer in use.


    Here are some helpful advice points so you can keep your institution compliant:

    · When purchasing PCs make sure your request for a quote includes a genuine operating system preinstalled

    · Resellers may attempt to save costs by excluding the Windows license. Getting Windows software preinstalled is your most
    cost-effective option. Getting an unlicensed PC is likely to cost you more in the long run

    · Using a Volume Licensing agreement to install the initial full Windows license on an unlicensed PC will leave your institution
    mislicensed and legally non-compliant

    · Make sure you understand licensing rules to avoid penalties

    For further information on Windows licensing visit: www.microsoft.com/piracy/knowthefacts/legalizationsolutions.aspx.

  • FE blog

    SkyDrive: new features enable learning anywhere, not just in the classroom


    Yesterday’s announcement about new features to SkyDrive is great news for students and education staff. SkyDrive’s file cloud is now more accessible with the option to view and edit files from all popular desktop and mobile devices. Student files and assignments can be stored and accessed online in one easy to reach place, either from school, home or anywhere else. Students and teachers can collaborate remotely with the ability to view and edit their files using their chosen device.

    For example, students can begin an assignment on a school desktop PC, upload it to SkyDrive, then go home and fetch the document using a home computer to continue the assignment. They can then share it for review (via an email link - no attachments necessary!) with teachers and fellow students. The students can use a mobile device at any location to view the document again, and fetch the document back at the school PC.  So it really does enhance learning processes, allowing easy access to work and projects. A large number of files can be stored on SkyDrive with different storage options available, so historic assignments can also be found easily. Existing documents can be uploaded, and new ones created (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) from within SkyDrive, and images can be uploaded and stored too.


    Some of the new changes for SkyDrive include HTML5 and mobile apps, improved integration with Office and 3rd party apps, and a device cloud for Windows and Windows Phone. There are new storage options, apps that connect your devices to SkyDrive, and a more powerful device cloud that lets you “fetch” any file from a Windows PC. Taken together with access from popular mobile phones and a browser, you can take your SkyDrive with you anywhere, connect it to any app that works with files and folders, and get all the storage you need—making SkyDrive the most powerful personal cloud storage service available.

    Here’s what’s available for use, starting now:

    • SkyDrive for the Windows desktop (preview available now). View and manage your personal SkyDrive directly from Windows Explorer on Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista with this new preview app available in 106 languages worldwide.
    • Fetching files through SkyDrive.com. Easily access, browse, and stream files from a remote PC running the preview app to just about anywhere by simply fetching them via SkyDrive.com.
    • SkyDrive storage updates. A new, more flexible approach to personal cloud storage that allows power users to get additional paid storage as their needs grow.
    • SkyDrive for other devices. We’ve updated the SkyDrive apps on Windows Phone and iOS devices, bringing better management features and sharing options to those devices. We’re also releasing a new preview client for Mac OS X Lion, letting you manage your SkyDrive right from the Finder.

    You can download the new SkyDrive apps now, but you might want to take a look at this video first, which gives you a glimpse of all the things you can do with the new SkyDrive.

    What you can do with SkyDrive
  • FE blog

    Understanding the costs of Google Apps


    You may be considering adopting Google Apps in your school, college or university to balance the requirements of your messaging and collaboration infrastructure. On the surface, Google Apps may seem like acceptable replacements for products such as Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Office. But many organisations have found that Google Apps cause them extra, hidden costs.

    pound sign

    Organisations that have evaluated Google Apps have found that the projected versus actual costs of switching to Google Apps may greatly increase their total cost of ownership (TCO).  In particular, these IT organisations have found that Google Apps may require costly add-on applications, even for most small and medium-sized organisations.

    The report below gives detailed information to help you understand the costs associated with using Google Apps.

  • FE blog

    Microsoft System Centre 2012


    Microsoft  System Centre 2012 cloud and datacentre solutions provide a common management toolset for your private and public cloud applications and services, and help you deliver IT as a Service to your institution.

    A core component of this solution, Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manger 2012, helps you mange virtualised and cloud environments by:

    • Enabling you to build flexible and cost-effective infrastructure solutions. It delivers Infrastructure as a Service by virtualising your compute, network, and allocating them to your business
    • Providing service-centric management for applications so you can manage them independently of the infrastructure
    • Leveraging your existing datacentre investments with support for multi-hypervisor environments, including Windows Server Hyper-V, VMware and Citrix
    • Dynamically optimising virtualised datacentre resources to maintain high availability for your business-critical workloads

    Learn more at www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/vmm2012

    Additionally, for a more comprehensive overview of System Centre 2012, view/download our brochure below.

  • FE blog

    The Open University saves over £2 Million with Lync 2010


    “We believe that the saving by deploying Microsoft Lync 2010 instead of buying a new PABX will be around £2 million over 5 years” says, Adrian Wells, Assistant Director of IT Infrastructure, The Open University.

    Check out the video below to learn more about the project and the benefits that Lync 2010 offers The Open University.

    View more documents from Microsoft Education UK
  • FE blog

    Improved communication in education with Microsoft Lync 2010


    With any luck we will soon be into summer, when we can (normally!) rely on good weather conditions for travel into school and work. But winter 2012 again saw more extreme weather conditions. These continued to increase school closure days and education institutions suffered the effects from unforeseen absences. As well as the snowy conditions stopping teachers, staff and students getting to schools, there are also other factors that can stall learning and the running of education institutions. According to the department of education, between autumn 2010 and spring 2011, 61% of student’s absences were due to illness. To add to this 2,700,000 teaching days each year are lost through sickness.

    The great thing is, there is still a way for education staff and students to communicate even if they are absent from their school, college or university. Microsoft Lync 2010 is a communication solution where you can connect anywhere, anytime. It’s a unified communication client which includes instant messaging, meetings and voice options. With management possible from all devices including PC, Mac, browser, tablets, mobile and desk phones, it means increased access and availability when students and staff are using Lync.


    Lync works with SharePoint, Outlook and other office applications, so it allows students and education staff to click from within applications that they routinely use. You can also collaborate more effectively with built-in application sharing, so assignments and documents can be shared between students, staff and peers.

    Interaction is easily achieved, with whole-classes and teachers being able to communicate remotely, also making distance learning easy. Students and educators can communicate at any time from any location, so flexible learning is possible. Users can choose when to communicate with controlled availability.

    google plus cover

    Here’s a summary of how your education institution can benefit from using Lync:

    Connect with the right people fast

    Find the right teacher, student, administrator, or staff person, and make richer connections, with new enhanced presence features, including pictures and locations.

    Choose how you want to collaborate on projects

    Collaborate your way, using desktop and application sharing, PowerPoint uploads, or rich whiteboarding, including the ability to copy and paste images.

    Schedule and join meetings with a single click

    Need to meet with other educators or students? Schedule a parent-teacher conference or staff meeting? Schedule and join meetings with a single click in Microsoft Outlook or in the meeting reminder.

    Consolidate management tasks in one location

    Dramatically simplify navigation with the new Silverlight-based, scenario-driven unified graphical management tool. Improve the security of your communication system using role-based Access Control (RBAC) with built-in and user-defined roles.

    Extend and adapt Lync to your school’s changing needs

    Embed Communicator UI elements in Word and other applications, and enhance collaboration by enabling educators and students to launch PowerPoint or other applications right from Communicator. Extend Lync access to all unified communications-enabled services from smartphones, and deliver advanced speech technology in 26 languages.

  • FE blog

    So what on earth is DreamSpark and why should you care?



    So what is DreamSpark? You may have seen a selection of DreamSpark related content on the blog throughout the week. In the event that you missed them, here are a couple of slides on Slideshare to give you the basics.

    If you are after a more detailed overview of the programme, this is the blog post for you. Here goes in more detail!

    DreamSpark is the first step for students, educators and institutions to make learning software development from the basics eg KODU, to full on App development with Visual Studio more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today’s students by providing no cost access to professional-level development, design, and gaming software.

    DreamSpark is:

    • A unique opportunity for both students and educators to use the latest professional development, design and gaming software at no charge
    • A chance to learn new technologies to excite students in classrooms
    • Access to software and curriculum resources to help develop courses that will enable students to achieve their career goals after graduation
    • A way to help educators expand their personal and professional portfolios and enhance classroom objectives

    For Students

    DreamSpark is simple; it's all about giving them our professional-level developer and designer tools at no charge so they can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on your career.

    DreamSpark gives Students the chance to develop world class software, web applications, cool and creative designs as well as amazing games. Microsoft believes that students can do amazing things if they only have the right tools. Check out the DreamSpark getting started-guide on Slideshare.

    For Academics

    DreamSpark is about giving educators no cost access to the same professional-level developer, designer and gaming software so you can reach, motivate, and ensure students achieve their greatest potential. DreamSpark gives you the software and resources to ensure classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenge, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways. Plus DreamSpark Premium has a few more products in it!

    Learning must be relevant, exciting, and engaging. DreamSpark is aligned with universities, associations, and employers to ensure that educators are able to discover, create, and deliver courses to students that lead to increased technical proficiency, employability and of course creates the next generation of technical leaders. Again on Slideshare DreamSpark & EES licensing.


    If you want to talk with us locally then but all means email us at ukst@microsoft.com, or @msukstudents on Twitter or of course www.facebook.com/microsoftukstudents. We’d love to hear your success stories through using DreamSpark.

    DreamSpark Pricing Model and usage

    • Free for all students – simply self-subscribe to DreamSpark via http://www.dreamspark.com
    • Free for all Schools in the system and already setup to provide their students verification solution
    • This was is through domain, shibboleth, or Live@Edu validation
    • Schools DreamSpark Administrators can request codes and give to their students

    For more details regarding Microsoft DreamSpark offering contact the DreamSpark support team.

    NB. Licensing does not allow for the products to be used in class, and FREE licensing does not cover educators

    Changes to licensing and costs

    DreamSpark for Schools, College and Universities subscription is now available and priced at $99 FREE for EES customers – This change allows all DreamSpark software to be installed for teaching and learning on Institutional Lab machines and it’s a campus license as per EES so you only need to purchase 1 license and not 1 per school or faculty and if you’re an EES subscriber its included for FREE. It now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and is available for all taught discipline, previously this only covered students usage and not licensed for intuitional equipment.

    DreamSpark Premium – Previously MSDNAA - includes more products including Visio, OneNote and Project and is aimed at STEM FE and HE institutions and all IT Academy Subscribers. The cost has been reduced to $499 from £1000+ (it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and all lab installations).

    More information on this can be viewed/downloaded below.

    DreamSpark & EES Licensing
    View more presentations from Microsoft Education UK

    Microsoft was started when many of the founders were still students so we know that anything is possible. To make this happen, we are aligning with universities, associations, and other communities around the world to make sure that DreamSpark reaches everyone as fast as possible.

    Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

  • FE blog

    Visual Studio - Great and Free!


    Written by Kush Depala - Microsoft Student Partner and advocate of Coding for Kids.

    Big things are happening at Microsoft. With the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and Windows Phone gaining traction, there has never been a better time to start developing for the two Operating Systems. The Windows Phone Application Marketplace is taking off, and creating an application that is well received could lead to thousands of downloads, and student developers can even win a free Windows Phone for their effort. And with the release of the Windows 8 Store in the Consumer Preview, you could be one of the first people in the country to have a fully-fledged Windows 8 application, for people to download, especially when the new edition of Windows releases.

    But where should you begin? Well, as students, you have the ability to download professional-grade, industry-standard development tools for free. That’s right, for free. Microsoft DreamSpark provides these tools to students. All you need is your ISIC card, a .ac.uk email address or an activation code from your school/college/university IT department, then go to www.dreamspark.com/ and sign up. There are countless tools available, from Windows Server Editions, Kodu Game Studio, to Expression Studio, to Visual Studio, and so much more.

    As developers, Visual Studio is the place to be, and not just for the reasons aforementioned. Visual Studio is a brilliant place to start application development, due to the speed and simplicity of its User Interface, and the base coding provided by the software. With pre-built templates for Windows Phone applications, and now, Windows 8 applications, transforming ideas into reality has never been so easy. You can even have the choice of a plethora of languages to code in. And cross-software interaction with Expression Studio is a joy to use.

    And, with your DreamSpark account, membership to AppHub is free as well, meaning that Windows Phone applications (as well as independent X-Box games) can be put onto the marketplace at no cost! Resources for developers are rich and numerous as well, from MSDN posts, to Channel 9 tutorials help is at hand for almost every query possible.

    The tools are free, the software is simple, all we need is you.

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