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August, 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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August, 2011

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Who would have thought a ‘’Turtle’’ would have come such a long way


    Recently I found a friend on FaceBook that I made whilst at primary school and haven't spoken to for over 20 years!  Whilst catching up on old times, we started to reminisce  to back to when we were little (for anyone who has ever actually met the 6’ me, may find it hard to believe I was once actually ‘’little’’!)

    Both of us have very fond memories of Astley C of E Primary School where we both started on the same day in 1984 as wide eyed, frightened 4 year olds. But within days we loved the place and had made firm friends with each other. Check out the website and you will see the building I spent my first few years of education, dating back to the late 1800’s.

    Apart from the first friends I made and lunch times spent running through the fields that backed out onto a farm with,at the time, what I thought to be the biggest cows in the history of cows, one of the poignant memories for me was the day the school got its first computer to put into Classroom 3 (that was the top class) for the pupils to use. And on that computer was MSWLogo. Or as I remember it, ‘’Turtle’’. Originally developed by Seymour Papert and Wally Feurzeig, this is a programme to allow children to write and create graphics, anything from a standard box,  a picture of a basic chair or patterns.


    With simple instructions typed into the programme such as Forward 100, Right 90, Forward 100, Right 90, Forward 100, Right 90, Forward 100, Right 90, before you know it you have a square! Being able to develop further meant more complex drawings using very simple programming. Back then, this was very new to us as well as exciting. We were using a computer to give commands to and there before us, a square appeared.


    But that was 25 years ago (ok so i have now just given away my age) and technology has come along leaps and bounds since the days I sat in front of the one and only computer my primary school had to have my turn at creating my square. With software such as Kodu, children now have technology literally at their finger tips and gone are the days of creating a simple square to creating actual games still using simple instructions.


    And it doesn't stop there. Technology is growing and expanding all the time, continuously allowing students to interact, think outside of the box (or in my case, a square) and create such things 25 years ago, people only dreamt of. With Kinect for Windows SDK now on it’s way, the possibilities are seemingly endless, especially where learning and education are concerned.



    At 3.30pm, the old school bell used to ring marking the end of the day.  We would all run down the long driveway to our parents at the old iron gate waiting to take us home for tea and being asked, ‘’So what did you learn at school today?’’

    I wonder what today’ student would say?

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award


    Before I leave for my holiday, I thought I would share with you this bit of news, from July, for those of you who don’t know Alan Richards, Information Systems Manager at West Hatch High School or didnt know the great award he has achieved.

    Alan writes regularly on his blog “Education Technology Now”, a fantastic read that I would recommend to everyone interested in technology.

    On the page dated 1 July, the news that Alan’s been awarded the status of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP).

    It’s a distinction he’s rightly proud of. The MVP website page explains that MVPs are nominated by other technical community members who are in a position to see the qualities of their nominee. Nominations are rigorously scrutinised and there has to be evidence, over time, of excellent leadership as well as

    “Willingness and ability to help others make the most of their Microsoft technology.”

    It’s absolutely great that Alan, who clearly has quite enough to do in his own workplace, spends huge amounts of time and energy on sharing his expertise and experience with others. His blog is a mine of information, particularly on the technicalities of handling the latest software in a demanding school environment. And it doesn’t stop there of course, Alan’s equally generous with his time both formally in presentations and informally when you phone or email for help.

    Becoming an MVP brings a free Live Meeting account, and it’s absolutely typical of Alan that he’s going to use his new account to help his fellow professionals. So he’s currently advertising a free SharePoint Webinar, where he’ll concentrate on his drive to cut costs across the school through using SharePoint 2010 related Microsoft products.

    It’s good to see generosity and professionalism rewarded. As the saying goes, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Start of a new week: OneNote App's and More!


    Happy Monday Folks! Hope you all had a great weekend!

    Just a quick post to kick-start the week. For those of you using an iPhone, OneNote is now available for IOS. Much like OneNote within the full Office Hub on Windows Phone, the IOS version allows you to create text, voice and picture based notes from your mobile device that can then be easily synced to your PC and the cloud via SkyDrive. You now have full access to your OneNote content whether you are at your desk, out and about on your phone or securely via the web.

    OneNote, both on my PC and mobile device, is definitely one of my 'must have' applications!


    The OneNote application is currently free within the iTunes App Store and is well worth checking out.

    Volume Licensing

    On a slightly different note, we thought we would take this opportunity to briefly share some license changes that may affect you shortly. Building on the blog post written by Ray Fleming a few years ago on the subject of getting the best deal on software within education, when Vista goes end of sales on October 22nd there will some changes to the way that you upgrade via your Volume Licence (VL).

    From the 22nd October, if you are keen to utilise your VL to upgrade you will need to purchase a Windows 7 Home Premium SKU pre-installed from your OEM before doing so, rather than using Vista Home Basic as the qualifying base license.

    Alternatively, if your institution does not have a VL in place, you would need to purchase your required version of Windows, such as Windows 7 Professional, pre-installed from the OEM at point of purchase.

    More information about volume licensing can also be found on our website where you will find a wealth of information that you might find relevant to the use of products licensed through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs.

    Have a great week and let us know what you think of the new OneNote app!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Teaching with OneNote: How students benefit


    Originally posted by Michael C. Oldenburg on the OneNote Blog:

    For Kelvin Dueck, a Math and Science teacher from the town of Pitt Meadows in Canada, using OneNote 2010 on his Windows Tablet PC has turned out to be one of the best-ever teaching solutions he could have hoped for — both inside and outside of his classroom.

    Math & Science teacher Kelvin Dueck at Pitt Meadows Secondary School (click to view video)
    Watch our video to meet Kelvin and his students.

    We were introduced to Kelvin quite by chance. Towards the end of last year, he had sent a spontaneous letter to the blog maintained by my colleague John Guin, who works on the OneNote Test team. In his letter, Kelvin chronicled in great detail how he had stumbled upon a way of digitizing all of his lesson plans, making them available as an after-school teaching tool, and how his techniques to create and share these materials had begun to dramatically help many of his students.

    We liked Kelvin's letter so much that, at the beginning of this year, my colleague Jennifer Bost (the editor of our popular Office in Education blog) contacted Kelvin to see if he might be willing to tell us more about his use of OneNote in the classroom and how he had integrated it with various other technologies. When Kelvin agreed to meet with us, we immediately looked at ways to make it happen.

    Back to school we go!

    As professional writers, Jennifer and I are both such ardent fans of OneNote that we really wanted to learn more about Kelvin's use of the software as a teaching tool. We decided to take a road trip to Canada to meet up with Kelvin and learn more about his story.

    We weren't at all sure what to expect from this little adventure, but we decided to bring along our cameras, just in case we felt that the story was worth sharing visually. (Watch our video to see the result for yourself.) On a sunny day in May, Jennifer and I each took a vacation day from work, loaded up her car, and headed across the U.S./Canadian border and into British Columbia.

    Main Entrance to Pitt Meadows Secondary School in British Columbia, Canada

    Located near the great city of Vancouver, Pitt Meadows is home to Pitt Meadows Secondary School (École Secondaire Pitt Meadows), where Kelvin completed his student teaching practicum in 1997 and was hired as a full-time teacher in 1998. Few careers begin easily, but Kelvin remembers getting some early help from a friendly colleague in those days. "When I started teaching here, the best Physics teacher at the time in our district was taking a break from Physics 12 that year, and he gave me all of his binders and tests and lessons and reviews."

    As Jennifer and I glanced at the collections of bound papers that are still sitting on the shelves in Kelvin's classroom, he continued: "It was such a time-saver for me to only [have to] prep lessons. That's where initially my lights went on, where I already started to see — just in terms of static content — what I could do to share with students and colleagues."

    Does technology belong in the classroom?

    When Kelvin initially began his teaching career at Pitt Meadows Secondary, there was a "No Walkmans" policy at the school (we call them iPods now, but you get the idea). Even today, when some teachers may still feel at odds with or even adversarial about technology in the classroom, Kelvin takes the issue in stride and sees it simply as a sign of a changing social structure.

    "I've noticed that kids are comfortable with technology," he said. "It's interesting; they have large gaps sometimes in their use of technology. You'll still see kids that don't have an email address, for example. The big one is how media and music have affected them in terms of technology. I think these kids are pretty big consumers of music and media, so my thinking is I'd like to see if we can take some advantage of that."

    Math students in class at Pitt Meadows Secondary School

    He hasn't seen too many laptops brought into his classroom, but since the school upgraded its wireless network about a year ago, they're starting to appear more and more. Using a computer for schoolwork can yield valuable results, of course, but what about music and media? We asked Kelvin if he'd permit a student to bring a mobile device to class. "Absolutely!" he exclaimed. "My classroom rule is: 'Act like an adult.' The kids know to give me their full attention if they come to talk to me and want my full attention. I think that's good modeling."

    "I've had several positive examples of students that I know who learned far better by shutting out everything else and immersing themselves in the material," Kelvin continued. "If I provide an environment where students understand the expectations, I think it's better to give them the freedom to figure out what works best for them. There are lots of kids who, if you'll let them, will put on their headphones because it lets them shut out distractions. They can really benefit from that."

    Old meets new in teaching styles

    "I'm a fairly traditional-style teacher," explained Kelvin. "Most of my classes would be considered somewhat lecture-based, or what we call 'chalk and talk' — a fairly effective way to teach and one that I think I'm pretty good at. In my first couple of years, I was primarily a chalkboard/whiteboard teacher."

    As we looked around Kelvin's classroom, it became clear to us how much of a role the whiteboard used to play here. It still covered the span of nearly the entire wall behind his desk, though it was demoted to a holding place for a few random scribbles, some school posters, and a geeky version of the residing teacher's mantra on Physics.

    Whiteboard in Kelvin's classroom

    Unlike many colleagues in his profession, Kelvin explained to us why he never migrated to using a traditional overhead projector as a teaching tool in his classroom. "As a 'lefty' (left-handed) teacher, I found overheads really hard to use. My whole wrist would be smeared with felt and I would have been smudging what I was writing."

    There seemed to be no real alternative to the whiteboard until Kelvin began to teach Calculus and attended a seminar that same year at the University of Victoria. The teacher facilitating the seminar used a Windows-based Tablet PC in class. Kelvin remembers his excitement. "Five minutes [into the seminar], I went 'Oh! There's my solution to the overhead problem. And there's more than one color. And I could save stuff. And that means I can edit stuff. And then I can share stuff with my colleagues!'" On his way back home that summer, Kelvin had already decided to shop for a Tablet PC and purchased a Gateway model in the fall of that same year.

    OneNote on a Tablet PC

    Upon first bringing his Tablet PC to his classes, the benefits were immediately apparent to Kelvin. Instead of having to repeatedly turn his back to his students while writing things on the whiteboard, he could now better engage with his students. By positioning the Tablet PC in a docking station on his desk and digitally projecting onto the screen behind him, Kelvin now enjoyed a closer connection with all of his students by being able to maintain frequent eye contact and making his students feel more included. In addition, he could get through much more material than before, mainly because the students could read and copy down what he was writing while he was doing it, instead of having to wait until he was done covering up the lesson while writing.

    Kelvin's Tablet PC on a docking station on his desk

    While Kelvin was facilitating a seminar at the British Columbia Math Teacher's Convention about using Windows Tablet PCs in education, it was a fellow teacher from Riverside Secondary School in the nearby town of Port Coquitlam who first introduced him to Microsoft OneNote. Another light went on for Kelvin, as he realized what this software could do for him.

    "Organizing things in notebooks and sections — that's a virtual binder!" he exclaimed. "But this would be a binder that was editable and changeable and dynamic and shareable and [it has] colors and [it's] emailable... oooh!" Soon after his colleague's demonstration, Kelvin purchased a copy of OneNote 2007 and installed it on his Tablet PC. When we met up with him in his classroom on that day in May, he had replaced his Gateway Tablet PC with a newer Hewlett Packard model and he had since upgraded to OneNote 2010. "I haven't looked back ever since," said Kelvin about OneNote. "It's such a terrific product!"

    A glance at the many OneNote notebooks Kelvin manages during his day

    Since those early days, Kelvin has completely integrated OneNote into his classroom routine. For most of his classes, OneNote on his Tablet PC serves as the ultimate canvas onto which he can type, draw, sketch, scribble, and share anything with his students that he could share on a typical computer.

    During class, Kelvin toggles OneNote's full-screen view (F11) to strip away the user interface so that students see only what they need to see as part of the lesson. In-between classes, he toggles the OneNote interface back on to navigate to his next lesson plans in the various digital notebooks that he's already prepared. Unlike with paper, he can freely mark up these digital materials during class and then simply revert to a clean version again afterwards.

    Kelvin uses OneNote's handy screen clipping feature to capture the answers to problems that his Math and Physics students need help with during class and he then incorporates these answers right into his class notes with no additional work or effort. Everything that Kelvin creates in OneNote can be reused and shared at any time.

    With OneNote, nerdy tangents are welcome

    Teaching with OneNote yields Kelvin another really important benefit. "I can now go off on what I like to call 'nerdy tangents' and still come back to the main material." OneNote lets him do that sort of thing easily, especially when a student asks a really great question — one that perhaps doesn't quite fit into the lesson, but one that is well worth exploring and answering.

    In the old days, Kelvin would have had to first erase parts (or all) of the whiteboard to work out a math problem on the side. Had he used an overhead projector, he would have needed to scroll seemingly forever to get to a clean part of the overhead transparency and then scroll all the way back to the lesson. With OneNote on his Tablet PC, Kelvin can simply open up a fresh page and then explore a student's question. We witnessed him doing this several times during the day we spent at his school. Instead of feeling like a jarring interruption, the way the old teaching methods might have, Kelvin's "nerdy tangents" instantly became a spontaneous but completely natural part of the curriculum that never made students feel like their questions were out of place.

    Unlike other productivity tools, OneNote was designed to automatically and continuously save its content without user intervention. This frees up Kelvin from worrying about saving and managing computer files and possibly overwriting any existing material with these temporary creations. Because OneNote reliably manages all of his content for him, he can trust that he'll have an instant and guaranteed record of any on-the-spot problem solving while working through such items in the moment. Later, if he chooses, he can then integrate the really exceptional questions and answers from his students into his permanent class materials, which he then freely shares outside of class with both students and his colleagues.

    Paying it forward

    Technology in the classroom has made it much easier for Kelvin to create and share information with others. "I have digitized pretty much everything that I use in the classroom and then prepared annotated answer keys and additional notes for everything. In Physics and in Math, I've given some 20 or 25 rookie teachers all of my stuff so that they don't have to reinvent the wheel," Kelvin told us.

    Because his class materials are editable, recipients can customize these things to make them their own and fit the materials to their own flavor of classes. "It's helped me share, and then quite often I get stuff shared back to me that I can use."

    Students benefit, too. "The purpose is learning, and trying to help kids find that angle from which the material suddenly makes sense to them," added Kelvin. As part of that goal, he shares nearly everything with his students online. For video walkthroughs, he also records screencasts — sometimes live during an actual class, sometimes after school at home - which he then publishes on YouTube so that any of his students who must be away from class for various reasons can still view those all-important walkthroughs that he gives in class.

    Projection screen in Kelvin's classroom

    Kelvin's commitment to spending a good chunk of his after-school time on the preparation and maintenance of these things does not go unnoticed or unappreciated by his students. All of the students we interviewed during our visit expressed a deep appreciation for their teacher's efforts and involvement throughout the year. Several of the students had fallen ill at one point or another and were able to rely on Kelvin's published materials to catch up and retain their grade level. Others were called away for sporting events several times a year and had to miss critical lessons, which they could then easily make up, thanks to Kelvin's organized collection and presentation of these materials online.

    “It has to be a time saver, not a time creator!”

    After meeting with some of Kelvin's students and hearing about how much they loved the online resources that their teacher provides outside of the classroom, we asked Kelvin to elaborate a bit more about how he shares his class notes and tutorials online.

    "For me, for this to work, it has to be a time saver for teachers, not a time creator," he explained. "I was looking very hard for essentially a virtual hard drive that kids could access. What I didn't want to do was having to upload all of the notes to a website, having to create the link to those notes for each file that I uploaded, and then having to upload the entire website. That was far too many steps for me."

    After paying nearly $100 out of pocket for a commercial product that would allow him to do the things he wanted to do, he kept looking for a model for teachers that would allow him to do this for free. It was then that he came across Windows Live SkyDrive. With his free SkyDrive account, he could create multiple folders, even folders inside of folders, and create a place for each Math or Physics block. Inside of those folders, he could create a subfolder for each unit and then sort everything by date so that his students would know what the most current unit was. "I was looking for something that was free and SkyDrive's 25GB allowance is great. I haven't come close to filling it and if I haven't come close to filling it, most teachers won't — I have a lot of stuff on there. SkyDrive is terrific for all that; it meets all of my needs."

    But what if his students or colleagues don't have OneNote? How could they still benefit from his notes? "Three years ago, I started uploading my notes from OneNote as PDF files and it works particularly well in Math and in Physics." Exporting content from OneNote in the PDF format fully preserves the page compositions — even for pages that contain handwriting, drawings, and diagrams.

    Electronic notebook management is made easy with OneNote 2010

    "What I started doing initially was just uploading my end-of-unit review answer keys, showing all of my steps. I found more and more what I was hearing from kids was 'Oh, Mr. Dueck, don't worry — I figured out #7. I looked at your work and I was forgetting to square root, and I won't forget that again!" Reflecting on this for a moment, Kelvin went on, "So, let's see... we have them learning for themselves, and learning in such a way that they have that 'Aha!' moment where things are probably going to crystallize much more than just me repeating things over and over."

    If explaining something once, why not just hit Record?

    For Kelvin, the next logical step was to try and create screencasts of his classroom lessons. His original motivation for getting started with screencasts was triggered when he was asked to accompany the school's basketball team on a trip to Hawaii. As he would normally not miss a whole week of school, Kelvin imagined recording himself teaching his lessons to an empty room so that a substitute teacher could just hit Play for the class, if necessary. This way, students could proceed with new class material in Kelvin's absence instead of being stalled with an unnecessary review of old material.

    "With the screencasts, I learned that if I'm going to explain something to a colleague once, why don't I just hit Record and then upload it afterwards? A lot of the videos are me, sitting down with one colleague and showing them how to do it, and remembering to hit Record ahead of time," said Kelvin.

    On a Tablet PC, left-handed people like Kelvin can write without smudging the ink

    Once he settled on a screencasting program, Kelvin began to upload his classroom lessons to YouTube, where students could easily watch the videos to accompany the notes they had already downloaded from Kelvin's SkyDrive. There's no doubt in Kelvin's mind that the convenient, digital delivery of his notes and videos plays a big role in getting the attention of his students. "They don't feel helpless anymore," he told us. "Too often — especially in Math — kids feel helpless without their teacher." By extending his work outside of the classroom and doing it all for free, Kelvin gives even those students who struggled before a greater chance of catching up.

    For the benefit of the students

    "I've decided I need to push this," Kelvin said to us, which explains his reaching out by sending his original letter to our colleague's blog. Over the next year, his goal is to get other teachers to do the things he does because he would love it if kids had a choice, if they could find four or five different teachers who share notes, tutorials, and videos. If one particular teacher's explanation doesn't fit a student's learning style, he or she can try an alternate teacher, who might be using a great analogy in their materials and explain things in a way that really resonates with that particular student.

    The reason Kelvin wants to involve other teachers is because he is convinced that it will eventually help with cutting down on everyone's workload. "This year, I won't be teaching Grade 10 Math. It would be great if somebody else would put a Grade 10 Math course online. I'd bet kids all over would flock to it!"

    Years ago, when Kelvin's teaching career began, a colleague gave him those paper binders filled with prepared lessons and class materials which helped him get started. Kelvin has never forgotten how big of a help this was to him, but he's also never lost sight of his main priority — his students.

    A last look back after a spending a day at Kelvin's school

    As the day of our visit drew to a close, Kelvin reiterated: "This technology has made my teaching job easier and I really encourage teachers to use it. But it's not for the teachers. It's for the students. I have 210 kids every year, and while I think I'm a pretty good teacher, I'd be stunned if I was the best teacher for each of their learning styles."

    "Students should be able to have choice, and they should be able to find lessons or notes or videos made by different teachers until they can find someone who fits their learning style. And, if they do that, learning will go from a feeling of helplessness to an exploratory journey as they try and find what works for them, to success in learning and success in life."

    As Jennifer and I said our goodbyes and headed for home, we were happy about having taken a chance on such a unique opportunity to visit a teacher who's using our favorite software in his classroom and seeing first-hand how much this type of environment has changed since the days that we were both in school. While comparing mental notes on the drive home, we both realized how much we might have benefited from having had a teacher like Kelvin. Some of the kids these days may not even know how lucky they are.

    Watch our video to meet Kelvin and his students.
    (HD version available here.)

    Our sincere thanks to Kelvin and his students at Pitt Meadows Secondary for allowing us to spend a day in their classroom. For Jennifer and I, our school days may long be in our rear-view mirror, but we sure learned a thing or two during our visit.

    Don't miss the video we made to see Kelvin's story in action and meet some of his Grade 12 students. And if you happen to know any current or aspiring teachers who may be looking for some new ideas in teaching, please share this blog post and video with them.

    Finally, if you're a teacher who shares Kelvin's goals and you want to get in touch, visit Kelvin's personal website or contact him.

    -- Michael C. Oldenburg

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Sawtry College students use Microsoft Office Specialist exams to become world class in IT skills


    With IT technology constantly growing in the work place, any way that students can demonstrate their IT skills to give them that edge over others, whether it be for their first job after college or go onto university, is something more and more students think about.
    Most people can say that they know how to use Microsoft products, and they probably do to a certain level. However is this really enough? How can students be measured and have a fair idea of what they need to do to progress to higher levels?
    Alan Stevens sawtry

    Sawtry Community College were aware that the normal ICT curriculum and courses within it were not challenging the students to their full potential. Students here wanted to go further with their IT skills and Alan Stevens, Associate Principal, was keen for them to have the recognition of doing so.

    Recently we asked Alan his views on Microsoft Office Specialist and the importance to it has to his students after his school became recognised as a Prodigy Learning Centre Of Excellence.

    Why did you decide to offer Microsoft Office Specialist?

    ‘’When we got involved with Microsoft, right at the beginning, as part of the ‘Anytime Anywhere’ Learning scheme we were very conscious of needing to accredit our student’s IT skills. Their diet of the normal ICT curriculum and other courses within it weren’t really challenging the students enough. They felt they wanted to go further with their IT skills and I was keen for them to get the recognition. If they are going to be world class with their IT skills they should be accredited to worldwide standards.’’

    What do you like most about Microsoft Office Specialist?

    ‘’I love the way it can enrich and enhance what students are doing, not just in their ICT lessons, but in the curriculum generally, where they are showing fantastic IT skills and applying it. It is great to see that application and recognition of I.T. skills.’’

    Why do you think Microsoft Office Specialist is important?

    ‘’The important part of this programme is accreditation. I have had so many students come in and say I’m good at Word, I’m good at PowerPoint. I say how do you know? The MOS accreditation gives a way of measuring that and offers an opportunity to progress on to different levels. What we want to do is give people the confidence to say I’ve got these IT skills and now I can apply them to gain further knowledge in Geography, History and Science. Therefore the IT skills and qualifications are an integral part for every learner. The academic and vocational divide doesn’t apply to IT skills because every learner has to develop a whole range of IT skills at different levels.’’

    Does Microsoft Office Specialist attract students?

    ‘’There was certainly a real buzz when we announced we were partnering with Microsoft here at the college. Listening to the students they really enjoy having this facility here. The students enjoy it, the parents see the success and then want to have a go themselves. It’s become part of our overall I.T. package we would certainly be a lot weaker without this offering. I think it does have a big impact and we are very keen to build on this success.’’

    This story can be found as a case study posted up on the Microsoft Education site – Resources including information from Pam Kitchen, Microsoft Certified Trainer.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)–a way for everyone to gain certification in IT


    Recently I wrote a post on how Sawtry Community College has used Microsoft Office Specialist exams (MOS), to challenge and further their student’s education. However it can also be used as an alternative to AS levels. Depending on the student, the option to take the MOS exam could be more suited.

    A great example is from West Park , an 11-16 Maths & Computing Specialist School on the outskirts of Derby. My colleague Greg Pearson, UK Lead, Microsoft Learning recently spoke to Jean Moss, Community Developer at West Park with regards to MOS and how it has helped some of their pupils.

    ‘’All pupils take the BTEC First Certificate for ICT Practitioners (equivalent to two GCSEs).  Those who complete the work early have the option to take an AS in ICT.  However this is not suitable for all pupils, and so last year as a trial, we introduced the Microsoft Office Specialist Examinations through Certiport.  Pupils can practice and take the exams during normal lessons.  After a slow start the interest of the pupils was engaged.  A key factor was having the results of the examination immediately and receiving a printed certificate to show what has been achieved.

    One outstanding pupil was Alice.  Alice took her first examination on 21st March 2011 and by 17th May 2011 had become a Microsoft Office Specialist 2007 Master.  This is impressive for many reasons.  One is that Alice did not have access to Outlook at home or at school.  She became proficient through the e-learning available through our IT Academy membership.’’  

    More information on MOS exams and Certiport can be found here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    New IT Academy Certification Benefits


    From 1st September 2011, all IT Academies and new IT Academies will receive:

    10 x MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) Vouchers

    20  MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) Vouchers

    Teacher Readiness – if you are a teacher, you can use these vouchers and subscribe to the Microsoft Certified Trainer Programme (MCT) that is free through IT Academy already

    Student Employability and Technology Adoption – MOS and MTA are great additions to a student CV.  MTA is an ideal introduction to Microsoft technology, programming and Windows Phone App development as well as the perfect route towards MCP certification

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    British School Girl (15) Wins Microsoft World Championship


    Fighting off stiff global competition, 15 year old Rebecca Rickwood from the UK pulled off a significant shock at the 2011 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office by being crowned 'World Champion in Microsoft Excel'.


    Rebecca, a student at Sawtry Community College (a specialist IT Academy in Cambridgeshire), came out on top in the annual competition which attracts over 228,000 of the brightest students from 57 countries. An amazing achievement!

    The newly crowned champion, who is about start her GCSE's, scored an amazing 100% at the finals and won a $5,000 cash prize in addition to the much sought after title of ‘World Champion In Microsoft Excel’.

    Rebecca, who was clearly thrilled about her achievement, commented “When I was waiting with all the other students from around the world to hear the result I was really nervous. I heard my name read out in 1st place and I just couldn’t believe it. I’m ecstatic, I just can’t believe I won and now I’m world champion. It’s a day I’ll never forget.”

    Rebecca had earned her right to attend the world finals back in May after she achieved the top nationwide score in the Microsoft Office Specialist Excel certification exam. Since then Rebecca has continued to hone her skills by studying at lunch and in the evenings at her school, supported by Pam Kitchen her instructor at Sawtry Community College. “I’m absolutely delighted for Rebecca. She really is a wonderful student who is extremely talented but, also, a very modest person. ICT is a massive part of what we do here but Rebecca astounded me when she took the exam and achieved 100% first time around. What was most impressive was her hard work and dedication during lunchtimes and after school. We told her to go out to San Diego and be herself and are obviously thrilled to have her coming back to us as World Champion” explained Pam.

    Kevin Ryan, Marketing Manager with Prodigy Learning who are responsible for the competition in the UK, added.

    “We realised Rebecca was extremely talented and one to watch from her scores in the UK championship. But the world competition is another level; it’s highly competitive and notoriously difficult to win, particularly for someone so young. Rebecca really has done her country proud and her ability is a testament to the quality of the Microsoft courses being offered by her school and others across the UK. I believe Rebecca has a very bright future ahead indeed.”

    Congratulations again to Rebecca and we look forward to seeing her go on and achieve great things in the future!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Consumerisation of IT in Education


    While looking through my Twitter feed this morning over a quick coffee, I came across a great Tweet from Mark Reynolds, a member of the education team here at Microsoft, with a link to an interesting video presenting some of the key drivers around the concept of the consumerisation of IT.

    Seemingly a ubiquitous term within the media and around the water cooler, consumerisation of IT is blurring the lines between how technology is used at home and within the workplace and the video does a nice job of presenting some of the current challenges faced by organisations and, more specifically, IT professionals in this rapidly changing IT landscape.

    What about within the education sector, though? How is the impact of the consumerisation of IT changing the way that IT is offered and managed within schools, colleges and universities?

    With the recent changes within the sector, such as budget cuts and the need for an increased focus on delivering superior student experience, making the call to embrace the consumerisation of IT louder than ever, how are you viewing this shift?

    I would love to hear how you are adapting, if at all, to this new way of thinking about IT delivery. We are looking to create a series of posts over the coming months addressing this important theme and it would be great to share as many examples from the education community within these posts as possible. 

    Thanks in advance for your time and look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    EES Training course with Viglen, Friday 16th September 2011



    Do you want to know more about EES (Enrolment for Education Solutions)?

    Do you need to know more about Microsoft licensing, including:

    • Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES)
      • What is EES
      • The impact on Schools & LA’s
      • The impact on HE/FE
    • Client/Server Licensing
      • What is a Client Access Licence (CAL)
        • Windows Server
        • Exchange Server
        • SQL Server
        • SharePoint Server
        • Lync/OCS Server
        • Dynamics CRM
      • Core CAL Suite
      • Enterprise CAL Suite
      • Base & Additive Licences
      • Device CAL & User CAL
      • Processor Licensing (inc Multi-Core)
      • External Connectors/Internet Licences
      • Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services)
    • System Center Product Licensing
    • Work @ Home / Home Use Programme
    • Student Licensing
    • Software Assurance (SA) & Other Benefits
      • SA Benefits
      • MSDNAA
      • Dynamics CRM AA
      • IT Academy
      • Live@edu / Office 365
    • OEM & Operating System Licensing
    • Virtualisation – impact on licensing:
      • VDA & VDI (including access to applications)
      • Windows Server
      • Windows 7
      • SQL
    • Product Activation
    • Downgrade Rights
    • Licence Transfer
    • Step-Up Licences
    • Re-imaging Rights
    • Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP)
    • Licensing products to use with Apple Mac
    • VLSC – Introduction to
    • Online Services
    • Multi-user licensing (i.e. Multi-Point Server)
    • Q&A

    What can Viglen do to help you?

    As one of the top licensing resellers in the UK as well as an OEM, we are well placed to understand the licensing needs of our customers.
    Therefore we have designed a training course, covering all the above subject areas, to help customers understand how Microsoft licensing works and how you can get the best return on your investment. Our trainer has over 20 years’ experience of software licensing and is regarded by many in the education sector as one of the primary experts on Microsoft licensing in the UK.

    The course is scheduled to be held on FRIDAY 16th SEPTEMBER 2011 at Bicton College

    Course timings:

    0930-1000 Coffee & Registration
    1000-1115 Training Part 1
    1115-1130 Coffee Break
    1130-1300 Training Part 2
    1300-1345 Lunch (& opportunity to discuss issues with your peers)
    1345-1500 Training Part 3
    1500-1530 Q & A Session / Close

    If you wish to attend, please complete the Booking Form at the earliest opportunity. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us – email or telephone 01727 201890

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