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November, 2009 - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The UK Schools Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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November, 2009

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Free staff training – the UK Innovative Teachers Forum



    Kristen and Stuart, who run our Partners in Learning programme, spend their time helping teachers to get most effective use from ICT in their classroom. They have found that one of the most effective ways to help teachers is to give them time to share experiences with other teachers, learn from innovators, and reflect on their own teaching practice. And sometimes that means getting out of school!

    There are still free places available for exactly that at the Innovative Teachers Forum in Birmingham on 1st December. With a theme of “Connecting Learners, Connecting Teachers”, it promises to be a good day because some of the best there are some inspiring speakers.

    In fact, I’ve just ditched three meetings from my diary and decided I’m going to go too, as I haven’t heard John Davitt speak for a year, and it’s time for top up from his inspirational jumble of ideas.

    If you’ve got a favourite teacher that you’d like to move up the ICT learning curve, then let them know about it, and send them this link with the details of the day and registration. Surely somebody deserves a day out of the classroom?

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Innovative Teachers Network is nominated in the BETT Awards


    image Yesterday, I learnt that the Innovative Teachers Network has been nominated and reached the shortlist for the BETT Awards 2010*. Of course, this is great news, and especially for Kristen Weatherby and Stuart Ball who have spent the last two years getting the website going, and building the community of teachers on it. It has now got to a new level of maturity because of all of the classroom lesson plans that are available to download, with some excellent resources, not just from UK teachers but from others around the world.

    We had no idea it had been nominated for an award so it was a surprise. Perhaps if we’d known we wouldn’t have changed its name last week to the Partners in Learning Network. Maybe we’ll be the first winner to have been nominated as one thing, and win as another!

    You can find out more about it, and what it does on our Teachers blog

    And here’s three thoughts if you don’t actually teach yourself, and are surrounded by colleagues that do:

    1. Help your closest teaching colleagues by giving them a link to the “Teaching Ideas and Resources blog” (Blog link)
    2. Help all of your teaching colleagues by adding the RSS feed to your school’s learning platform or website (RSS link)
    3. And for those who won’t be affected by either of the above? Persuade them to sign up for email alerts from the blog – so that every other day they’ll get a helpful email with a teaching idea (How to subscribe by email)

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Saving money with your IT – Dean Close School


    Dean Close School, in Cheltenham, are in the process of rolling out Windows 7 and the latest Windows Server across their school – to 500 computers owned by the school, as well as using it to more effectively manage the 500 laptops that are brought to school by pupils.

    Part of the pressure for this has come from pupils themselves. As Nyall Monkton, the IT Manager at the school said:


    When students started bringing their own laptops to school with pre-release versions of Windows 7 installed, we didn’t have the capacity to support them. Endquotes


    I often think that pressure for change in IT seems to come from two directions – from the users and from the suppliers – with IT managers in the middle between the two. And in schools, it also feels like teachers are the middle too – being pressured for faster paced change, with students pushing upwards, and the IT world pushing downwards.

    The school had an existing School Agreement, and were lucky enough that their Microsoft partner, Bechtle, were on our early adopter programme for Windows 7. So they were able to jump onboard earlier than most – with their first part of their deployment in July.

    You can read their story on our global case studies website

    But now, the “saving money” bit.

    In the case study they talk about reducing the time taking managing the network, and reducing the time that staff have to spend on administrative tasks – and improving their access to the school network from home. But they also identified a really clear cost saving, through the new DirectAccess feature in Windows:


    In the future, we won’t need to maintain Citrix. This will save us £15,000 to £25,000Endquotes

    I’ve started to hear similar stories of cost savings – either saving money in the IT budget through using the in-built capabilities of Windows to save money on third-party applications, or saving the school significant amounts of money on the electric bill by a combination of using power saving settings in Windows 7 and through virtualising physical servers. I’m going to ask Gerald (who wrote the Windows Early Adopters paper) to interview people from some of the stories I hear – if you’ve got a story about how one of our products has saved you money, then drop me an email, and perhaps I can send Gerald in your direction.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Who will be the next Bill Gates


    If you’ve got a Sixth Form, you’ll want to know…

    The next Bill GatesXMA and Toshiba have launched a competition, called “The next Bill Gates”. In a world of competitions and campaigns all the time, it’s a bit of a “does what it says on the tin” competition. It’s for students who’ll be applying for university next year, and students enter by recording a 60-second video answering the question “Why are you the next Bill Gates?”

    The prize is £3,500 of tuition fees, a Toshiba laptop and a summer 2010 placement with XMA.

    As far as I know, it has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, but darn, why weren’t we quicker thinking of this idea :-)  Every year we take in about 80 interns for a full year as well as offering work experience for pupils from local schools, but hadn’t thought of offering it as the chance to become the next Bill Gates…

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