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May, 2011 - 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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May, 2011

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Month One at Microsoft

    • 2 Comments

    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

    Feedback

    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)

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Fun, Free days at Microsoft for secondary schools–13th June 2011

    • 1 Comments

    As part of my role here at Microsoft I love to show off some of the products and solutions with my colleagues in the Education team, many of which are FREE to download to then use in the classroom. The Times Education Supplement have some examples with ways and examples of how these can be implemented however I also thought it would be nice to do a repeat of the Fun Free Friday days Ray Fleming organised last year – some familiar products mixed in with some new and have the kudoopportunity to meet you.

    Are you a teacher, IT coordinator, technician or adviser at a secondary school? Do you want to learn about the free solutions, innovative tools and classroom software that Microsoft to improve teaching and learning and have some fun along the way?

    We are putting together a FREE day at our offices in Reading to demonstrate how our solutions can be used in a learning environment, some of the products we have to offer, and have lots of fun.

    Demonstrations will include Mouse Mischief, Windows Live Movie Maker, Photosynth, Stamp Add-In for PowerPoint, Office Ribbon Hero 2, Montage, Kodu, Bing Maps to name just a few.

    If you would like to come along, meet some of the team, see some demonstrations and have the opportunity to ask us question, you can register via here

     

    We have 120 spaces available, so register today to guarantee yours.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft staff and interns help raise public awareness at Brookfields School

    • 0 Comments
    BrookfieldsOffice365  BrookfieldsLogo

    Brookfields School is a community special school in West Berkshire with a proven track record of providing high quality and innovative education to young people with special needs, recognised regionally, nationally and internationally. OfSTED continues to judge Brookfields School to be one of the few ‘Outstanding’ special schools on the country.

    Recently my manager Tim Bush spoke to Stuart McCarthy, Microsoft Consultant Services (MCS) working with Brookfields School to get his view on how adopting SharePoint 2010 has moved the school forward and continue to be highly recognised by OfSTED.

    ‘’One of the school’s commitments is to raise awareness on special needs in the local community and businesses. Some people from MCS were invited to attend an open day three years ago. We wanted to do something good for the school so offered them some consultancy time during which myself and a colleague, Tom Eddings, created a public facing website in an effort to raise public awareness of the work they do. This site was based on SharePoint technology which empowered the school to keep it up to date themselves and it has been a great success both within the school and externally, with OfSTED commenting on it in their assessment.

    Since creating the website, Tom and I have continued the ‘Brookfields programme’ as a showcase of MCS work and readiness for our student MACHs and interns. Last year work was completed for a secure parent portal where student documents could be held securely and delivered electronically. This is something the school has wanted to do for a long time but was held back by their current technology. The original SharePoint solution was easily adapted to enable secure logon and document storage. The school is currently running a beta of this system with parents.

    clip_image002

    This year we are using Office 365 Beta to create a staff portal for teachers and admin staff to collaborate, share and store documents relating to the school and students. The staff currently uses a shared drive on the school’s network to store and share files which causes issues with backups, change tracking, security, remote access etc. The new system will be accessible from anywhere so teachers can see the same system at home or on any school computer. They will have access to Web Apps for working online with documents or, if they have Office installed, can access their documents or calendars with a richer client-side experience. The system also supports their process of document creation, allowing them to select a template and link it to a student when complete. They can then check this in and send it to the office for approval. During the Office 365 beta phase, the school is trialling the staff portal with 25 members of staff. ‘’

    Over the next 12 months, Stuart and his team will be working to continue the work they have been doing by providing up to date technology and solutions to help maintain and develop platforms for both parents and staff to continue support in learning.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Fun, Free days at Microsoft for primary schools–23rd June 2011

    • 0 Comments

    As part of my role here at Microsoft I love to show off some of the products and solutions with my colleagues in the Education team, many of which are FREE to download to then use in the classroom. The Times Education Supplement have some examples with ways and examples of how these can be implemented however I also thought it would be nice to do a repeat of the Fun Free Friday days Ray Fleming organised last year – some familiar products mixed in with some new and have the kudoopportunity to meet you.

    Are you a teacher, IT coordinator, technician or adviser at a primary school? Do you want to learn about the free solutions, innovative tools and classroom software that Microsoft to improve teaching and learning and have some fun along the way?

    We are putting together a FREE day at our offices in Reading to demonstrate how our solutions can be used in a learning environment, some of the products we have to offer, and  have lots of fun.

    Demonstrations will include Mouse Mischief, Windows Live Movie Maker, Photosynth, Stamp Add-In for PowerPoint, Office Ribbon Hero 2, Montage, Kodu, Bing Maps to name just a few.

    If you would like to come along, meet some of the team, see some demonstrations and have the opportunity to ask us question, you can register via here

    We have 120 spaces available, so register today to guarantee yours.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Learn more about Live@edu intro webcast

    • 0 Comments

    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

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    New academic year brings fresh new technology to Havant Academy

    • 0 Comments
    Havant

    I recently spoke to Richard Markey IT Director at Havant Academy, formerly Sport Staunton Community Sports College, to understand a bit more about how and why they refreshed their IT Infrastructure to meet the changing needs of their transition to become an Academy.

    “Good communication is a base component of success in life and communication in the 21st century is underpinned by technology. A carefully planned and integrated IT system enables us to run a successful business, make education attractive and close the gap between different levels of attainment.”

    Julie Taylor – Principal

    The Academy inherited an insufficient IT infrastructure that included 15 physical servers that were in desperate need of upgrading due to a severe lack of resources such as processor, storage and memory. As a result of this lack of performance, resources and expandability the users of the Academy network would regularly experience logon times of up to 7 minutes having a dramatic impact on learning and teaching. As a result of this Richard decided to refresh the entire IT infrastructure.

    The decision to roll out Hyper-V R2 with core components of the Microsoft System Center suite has a range of advantages for the Academy.

    “Hyper-V combined with System Center provides the Academy with an IT Infrastructure that has changed the culture of how our IT Support Team operates. Providing less operational headaches and allowing us to be more strategic”

    Richard Markey – IT Director

    Hyper-V R2 has dramatically reduced the amount of physical servers used to provide core IT services for the Academy. This has led to significant cost savings for both power and hardware replacement. Clustering services allow virtual servers to be made highly available and can be migrated between physical hosts with the click of a button.

    Richard decided to integrate a selection of system center products providing additional enhancements. Virtual Machine Manager 2007 R2 (SCVMM) allows for the simple management and provision of virtual machines helping to improve the response time for IT support to implement new IT services. Operations Manager 2007 R2 (SCOM) allows the IT Support Team to monitor the physical Hyper-V Hosts and the virtual machines that they are running. PRO Tips have been enabled to create alerts if resources need adjusting and will live Migrate virtual machines between hosts if required.

    The Academy wanted students and staff to have the latest in technology with Windows 7 and Office 2010 and looked at using Configuration Manager 2007 R2 (SCCM) to do this. Describing this as one of his ‘’favorite’’ products, setting up a universal image and then distributing this to over 500 clients again meant time and money saved. All the software used within the Academy is distributed using SCCM and by using Background Intelligent Transfer Services (BITS), software can be deployed with the end user still logged on. Once installed, the end user can instantly begin to use the newly deployed software. Windows updates have also been configured and are implemented during time slots that have the least impact on the Academy day using by maintenance windows.

    The decision was made to implement System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 (SCDPM) to ensure that the Academy data is protected. DPM has the ability to restore an entire virtual machine and offer granular recovery. This allows the IT Support Team to recover exchange mailboxes, files and folders and SQL. Three recovery points are run each day at 9.00am, 1.00pm and 4.00pm providing the Academy with much more flexibility when work needs to be recovered.

    From going to a school where technology was old, slow, sometimes didn’t work at all to an Academy with a fresh new IT infrastructure takes time to plan, especially where imagining 500 new desktops is involved, however all of the above was rolled out in just 6 weeks with the help of Medhurst Communications LTD

    “There is a huge interest within Secondary Education migrating from Physical to Virtual Server estates. Both technically and financially, Microsoft Hyper-V R2 seems to be dominating this particular sector”

    Charlie Baynes – MD of Medhurst Communications LTD

    Richard recently visited the Microsoft office at Thames Valley Park near reading and gave a presentation on how this was all achieved and the impact this has had on education within the Academy. He is due to present again on the 15th June.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Kodu – bringing fun to learning in the classroom

    • 0 Comments

    Have you tried Kodu yet? If you’re one of the many who’s always looking for ways to take ICT learners further along the creative road that leads to programming then you should, because it’s designed to do exactly that. kudo

    “…a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games – accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone.”

    Microsoft Research

    Kodu uses the Xbox 360 controller as its input device, and it’ll run on PC or Xbox too.

    So how can you take this product into the classroom and use as a learning tool?  In a his recent blog post on the subject, Kristian Still, Assistant Headteacher at Hamble Community Sports College describes his own “in at the deep end approach” of taking fifteen young ICT enthusiasts from Years 8 to 10, giving them the kit and what he calls “No instructions, but an aspiration”.  In this case they were asked to create ‘’a game to collect apples to gain points to reach a target point score with ‘’something’’ getting in your way and be creative’’

    Kristian saw his students use their initiative to come up with inventive ways to tackle what he describes as “A multitude of challenges; conceptual,  spatial, logic, mathematical, creative, narrative, a bucketful of problem solving resolved through exploration, trial and error, collaboration, teamwork and peer teaching.”

    So, what happens when and if you want to roll Kodu out more generally?

    This is currently under discussion at Hamble with he aim  to find a way of preserving the open-ended, creative appeal of Kodu while at the same time providing some kind of framework not only for the children who need it, but also for some of the teachers.

    “Most staff would need something more rigid,” says Kristian. “We feel we could construct a six week course”.

    Nicki Maddams, a Microsoft Evangelist and SSAT Lead ICT Practitioner, based at Hartsdown Technology College in Margate, Kent, see’s this as important and has developed a seven week scheme of work for developing Kodu with Year 8 students. “You have to have some sort of structure,” she says, in which more information can be found in her blog.

    Nicki’s used the scheme in her own and other schools and finds that it works well. She’s hoping to roll it on into Year 9. Like Kristian, though, she finds there’s still a need to support teachers.

    “I did a training session in my own school, and those teachers with no programming background struggled to understand the concepts.”

    Teachers do need to make the time to come to terms with Kodu, she emphasises.

    “Play with it, be familiar with it, have a go at home, familiarize yourself with the whole environment. Try recreating existing games like Pac-Man. That’s a good way to practise.”

    Kodu is available for free download here.

    On Twitter. @KristianStill and @GeekyNicki

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft UK Education Live Meeting

    • 0 Comments

     

    image

    Overview

    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:

    https://www.livemeeting.com/lrs/microsoft1/Registration.aspx?pageName=pvgpj0rjd57gkhvr

    Upon registration you will receive a calendar appointment.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Looking to take Education to the Cloud with Microsoft and Civica

    • 0 Comments

    Civica

     

     

     

     

    Register FREE Now!


    Civica and Microsoft present: 'Looking to take Education to the cloud?'
    Friday 10th June 2011 - Microsoft (Cardinal Place, London)
    Looking to invest in your first learning platform? Unhappy with your existing one? Perhaps you want to find out more and learn from other schools' experiences?

    Either way, join us for the launch of Civica CloudBase - our new on-line environment that brings together students, teachers, families and the wider community.


    SEE for yourself through hands-on workshops how Civica CloudBase can make a difference in your school.


    HEAR from Tom Barrett how Web 2.0 can be used in the classroom and the positive impact social media is having on teachers and students throughout the world.


    BENEFIT from the experience of others and hear how High Storrs School, Sheffield, successfully embedded the use of Civica supported technologies.


    LEARN from members of the Microsoft Team how Office 365 and the EES Licensing model can offer your school significant cost savings.

    For further information and to register your FREE place click here.
    Contact Sarah Turton on 07767 248151 or email sarah.turton@civica.co.uk for any additional queries.
    We look forward to meeting you.
    Civica Education Team

    Follow Civica on Twitter

    London UK
    2 Burston Road
    London SW15 6AR
    t: +44 (0) 20 7760 2800
    e: marketing@civica.co.uk
    w: http://www.civica.co.uk/
    Leeds UK
    Vanguard House, Dewsbury Road
    Leeds LS11 5DD
    t: +44 (0) 113 244 1404
    e: marketing@civica.co.uk
    w: http://www.civica.co.uk/

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Sunday Times & Wellington College, Festival of Education - In Partnership with Microsoft, 25th-26th June 2011

    • 0 Comments
    Blog

    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.

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