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November, 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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November, 2011

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Online Forms in SharePoint – Live Meeting


    At West Hatch High School in Essex, Alan Richards, the Information Systems Manager, has transformed the way the School works and 18 months ago started a paperless School project that has saved the School significant amounts of money while also increasing the availability of data to staff and parents.

    Using out of the box features of SharePoint 2010, InfoPath 2010 & SharePoint Designer 2010, Alan has created a range of online forms that are used for collecting data.  Workflows are then utilised to send data to all the relevant staff members, and because the data is stored centrally in SharePoint, it is easy to retrieve and analyse.


    Well, now you have an opportunity to hear and see what Alan has done for yourself. Starting on the 1st December, Alan is running a series of 3 live meetings in which he will go through step by step how to produce an online form and create workflows to fit your business needs. The Live Meetings will take the form of lessons which will culminate in the production of a simple SharePoint based helpdesk that you could use in your own organisation. Furthermore, the lessons will teach you the skills to design and produce your own forms and workflows.

    To register for the first live meeting you can use the link below

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Exclusive Interview with Rebecca Rickwood, Microsoft Excel 2007 World Champion!


    Being able to see how Microsoft solutions and products can actually make an impact in either the classroom, a group of people or in this instance an individual is the part of my role that I love the most as I can see how young people use it and use it to develop their own skills.

    Many of you may have seen the recent blog post about Rebecca Rickwood from Sawtry Community College , Microsoft IT Academy who came out on top as World Champion in Microsoft Excel 2007 at the 2011 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office and I had the pleasure of meeting her at a recent visit I made to Sawtry last week.

    In the short time I spent with her, it became clear that not only is Rebecca extremely academic but also a talented flautist. In the week before the World Finals, in May 2011, she was in Berlin playing in the County Youth orchestra. After the tour, she flew home, repacked and flew straight out to San Diego to the competition!

    I asked Rebecca if she would be happy to conduct a short interview over Lync which I could then share with you, her actual experience of the competition, how she felt about it all and what she is planning to do with the well-earned prize money!

    [EJ] What were your perceptions of IT before you joined the competition?

    [RR]  I thought IT was something that would be hard to get into and that in order to do IT as a subject, you had to be good at it already. I also knew that IT was a broad subject covering many areas’.

    [EJ] -How did you get involved in the competition?

    [RR] Sawtry runs the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) exams which I was invited to join after school. Here you work through Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint before taking actual exams which then automatically enters you into the competition

    [EJ]  Why did you want to get involved?

    [RR] It sounded interesting and I had not heard of the exams before so they stood out.

    [EJ] What was your experience of the competition like?

    [RR] Really good. I enjoyed it as I was able to talk to people from Microsoft and other participants and made friends from around the world including Singapore, New Zealand and the US. Many of whom I am still in contact with now.

    [EJ] What would you like to do next?

    [RR] I’d like to go to sixth form and then onto university to do a maths degree as I really love maths! Or Computing and IT is another option however not sure exactly yet.

    [EJ] How did you receive support from Sawtry?

    [RR] My teachers were really good. The after school classes helped me with preparation of the exams and they let me borrow a laptop with the MOS software loaded on. Sometimes exams were during lessons and my teachers let me out to complete them but all other prep was done after school.

    [EJ] How does you feel the certificate will help you in education/work in the future?

    [RR] I think it helps you to stand out from others as it’s different from just having A levels and a degree. You have the skills already, and really know the Office software which is applicable to all companies. I think you would really stand out to them if you went for an interview and had these skills

    [EJ] Did the competition pose any challenges to you?

    [RR] I thought it was harder than what I had done before, especially in the actual excel exam. I had to slow down and make sure I took time during the exam to really understand the question before answering however the school and Pam had given me enough prep beforehand for hard questions and although the questions were hard, I had enough time to answer all of them.

    [EJ] Would she recommend MOS to others?

    [RR]  Yes definitely! It was really good and I’ve gained skills I wouldn’t usually have had. I can also put this on my CV which will make it stand out. I also found the whole experience really interesting.


    clip_image002On that positive note, I ended the interview with Rebecca however before I went; I wanted to know what she would do with the prize money. And without hesitation, Rebecca told me she had bought a new flute. Something very much earned.

    And it seems Rebecca won’t be the last student at Sawtry to gain a qualification in the MOS exams. During my visit to Sawtry last week, I stuck my head into the classroom where students were practicing the exams before taking the real ones. Pam Kitchen, Microsoft Certified Trainer told me that these were becoming more popular with the students and many classes were full! They had recently given the chance for some year 8 students that had shown interest to come along during their lunchtime.

    Without a doubt, Sawtry are very proud of Rebecca as I am sure she is herself. I really believe she will go far.

    Well done Rebecca!

    You can find out more on IT Academy and future ready technology skills here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    UK Live@edu Momentum News and Office 365 for Education Update


    What a year!

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since the last BETT show in London – even scarier still to think that it’s just a few weeks until I, and the rest of the team, will be there again for BETT 2012!

    Way back in January we published our latest worldwide statistics for Live@edu – over 15 million users taking advantage of the service up from 11 million 3 months prior. Today, over on the Microsoft Blog Anthony Salcito announced that there are now more than 22 million people using Live@edu worldwide – representing a 100% year-on-year increase!

    London calling

    Here in the UK, we’re exceptionally proud that over 6.5 million teachers and students in the United Kingdom are on Live@edu! We’ve grown over 1.5 million users just over the summer. In fact, of the higher education institutions in the UK who use hosted email, nearly 90% do it through Microsoft.

    Looking ahead to Office 365 for education, Microsoft UK is proud to say that we’ve got some of the world’s first customers including Dundee University, and East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

    Now, I can probably guess what you’re going to ask next: when can I get Office 365 for education for my institution? It’s a great question, and we’ve taken a very deliberate approach to rolling out Office 365 to schools and universities. Academic customers are already able to obtain Exchange Online today, Lync Online later this year and the entire Office 365 for education offering in 2012. This approach is designed around the customer, ensuring they are ready for the transition and can get the most of the significant new capabilities we are introducing.

    What Now?

    Live@edu is available today, for free, and it takes just a couple of minutes to sign up and start using the service. Every user gets a 10GB Exchange mailbox, as well as access to a 25GB SkyDrive and the Office Web Apps. If you’re interested in getting a free Live@edu Deployment & Marketing Kit for your institution drop us a line at with your details and we’ll be in touch!

    We’ve also got some free materials for download – feel free to share with your colleagues.

    Interested in Office 365 for education? Please work with your partner or reach out to us and we can help you decide which service is right for you.

    Already using Live@edu? That’s awesome! Why not leave us a comment below and let us know how Live@edu has helped you!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Partner in learning Global Forum, Washington 7th-10th November 2011


    At this year’s PiL Global Forum, over 700 of the most innovative global educators from over 75 countries came together in Washington D.C to share and and celebrate creativity in education.

    One element of the Forum is to recognize teachers excellence and how by using technology in their teaching and how this then impacts student learning.

    UK teacher, Gareth Ritter from Willows High School in Cardiff won a Partners in Learning Global Forum award for his music project made by students for students.

    The reason I love this story so much is because Gareth gave his students the opportunity to take control of their own learning using technology and make it relevant to them. Take a look at this interview with Gareth as he explains how by using Microsoft technology, the students in his class went from creating a soundtrack for themselves, sharing their project on YouTube to receiving over 27,000 hits .


    We also have a couple of other videos you can check out.

    Dr David Christian on his impressions from partners In Learning Global Forum.


    Educator Ken-Wei Hsu of Taiwan on his innovative use of Microsoft Photosynth to capture 3D imagery of plants.

    You can read more great stories about the award winners via the Partners in Learning Blog

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft Education Webcast on Hyper-V 8th November recording


    For those of you who were not able to attend the Microsoft Education Webcast on Hyper-V last week, as promised, here are the links to all the slides and presentations.

    Migrate your virtualisation solution from VMware to Hyper-V and save money

    The slides are now available here

    - Mark Doyle' Infrastructure Engineer at Carmel College Blog

    - The Microsoft Privat Cloud Whitepaper

    If you have any questions or require any information please don’t hesitate to contact Richard Lane

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Baby Steps into the Cloud


    The education team are busy working on a number of new eBooks that will be launched on this blog over the next couple of months. Keep an eye on our Twitter account (Microsoft_ed_uk) to be one of the first to know when they are available.

    In the meantime, though, we thought you might find one of our earlier eBooks ‘Baby steps into the Cloud’ interesting. The document can be viewed below, or downloaded via our Slideshare account.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Consumerisation of IT in education: Be prepared…


    Consumerisation of IT in education hasn’t happened overnight, it has evolved over a period of time and is largely down to three things:

    · Choice – a greater variety of devices, form factors and operating systems

    · Cloud – many more services running in the cloud

    · Connectivity – we are connected most of the time, wherever we are

    As with all new IT Initiatives Consumerisation introduces a host of new acronyms. COIT (Consumerisation of IT), BYOC (Bring your own computer), BYOD (Bring your own device), BYOPC (I am sure you can guess this one) to name but a few.

    The move to support consumerisation is being discussed in many of our education institutions in the UK, many of whom are already embracing consumerisation and seeing the benefits.

    With a groundswell of passionate students, academics and admin staff looking to embrace the COIT, if you haven’t already had the conversation, be prepared…

    To help prepare for the consumerisation of IT in education, we have put together a short document that shares come of our thoughts and ideas around the concept of COIT. The full paper can be viewed below or downloaded from our SlideShare account.

    How are you embracing consumerisation of IT in education in your institution? We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows Azure Bootcamp - Powered by Tech.Days, Edinburgh 11th November 2011


    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure. We’ll take you from knowing nothing about the cloud to actually having written some code, deployed it to the cloud service and made a simple application available on the public Internet. You’ll get all the information you need to get up to speed with Windows Azure in a packaged and compressed form, ready for your consumption, without having to trawl through books, blogs and articles on your own. There will be experienced people available to guide you through each exercise. Once you have the basics in place, you’ll be off and running.


    If this would be of interest to you, you can register your place here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Kinect Effect Infographic


    The education team are big fans of Kinect for XBOX 360, not just for gaming, but for its innovative uses across the education and health sectors, also.

    Building on the amazing Kinect Effect video that we showcased earlier this week on the blog, our colleagues in the XBOX team have just released an interesting infographic that charts the phenomenal growth that the Kinect has seen since its launch only a year ago. 

    We are obviously really proud of the Guinness World Record , but its the sparking innovation globally section I find particularly impressive. I can’t wait to see what the community can come up with in another year with this technology!

    Are you using Kinect within your institution? If so, we would love to hear your stories in the comments below.


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Free School Workshop with RM, 23rd November 2011


    Technology experts from Microsoft and RM are coming together along with RM educationalists to bring you a Free Schools Workshop on Wednesday 23rd November.RM1

    This is a great chance for delegates to get hands on with the latest technology in the RM REAL Centre, and to discuss how integrated design of furniture and technology can provide flexibility and extend the range of activities to support a more learner-centred approach. 

    If you would like to attend this free event, more information and registration can be found here

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