ALL teachers, ALL schools and any parents can use the Get Online @ Home offer so EVERY student can have a PC at home and do better in school and in life!
So here’s the evidence that students do better if they have a PC at home:
•The final evaluation of the Government’s “Home Access” programme showed
- Students with these PCs at home did better than they were doing before
- They showed improved ICT skills and confidence
- There were enhanced opportunity for personal learning – more research and prep Parents’ attitudes towards technology were enhanced
- The value of a PC at home was summarised by one teacher who said:
“The majority of students do their best work out of school hours, where they can concentrate for extended periods and follow up any creative ideas they have been inspired by – without a computer at home, students at this level are really missing out. Though they can use the study area before and after school, it's very easy to tell who hasn't got a computer at home because of the quality of the work.”
•Sutton Trust research on the best way to spend the pupil premium shows that ICT access at home is effective in “closing the gap” and helping kids from poor homes do as well as kids from rich homes
•The economic case for Digital Inclusion, prepared by the UK’s Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, shows:
•Home access to a computer and the internet can improve children’s educational performance: if the 1.6 million children who live in families which do not use the internet got online at home, it could boost their total lifetime earnings by over £10 billion.
With Get Online @ Home for students and families receiving certain benefits, the special price is £99 for a desktop and £169 for a laptop. For anyone else, the prices are £149 for a desktop and £199 for a laptop. You can get a further £50 discount if you sign up to broadband internet (£5 per month). You can find out more about the offer at www.getonlineathome.org.
by Diego M. Oppenheimer
For the last couple years I’ve been meaning to pull together some of the tips that I’ve learned working on the Excel team about how to make nice looking spreadsheets. Well, last week, Rob Collie (a previous Excel Program Manager, and now CTO at Pivotstream and author of PowerPivotPro.com) beat me to it with his post “In the Browser, Aesthetics Yield a Greater Return.”
I had a quick chat with Rob and he was nice enough to let me pile on with my tips, which got posted to his blog on Tuesday. So, rather than spoil any of the surprise here, head on over to PowerPivotPro and check out 15 Spreadsheet Formatting Tips. And, while you’re there, you’ll definitely want to check out PowerPivot - it can take your Excel to a whole new level!
Go there now: 15 Spreadsheet Formatting Tips
Originally posted on the Office Excel blog
Back in March at Internet Explorer's Badger Palooza event at the 2012 SXSW Interactive festival Microsoft unveiled an arcade machine running Internet Explorer 9 featuring an HTML5 game based on the popular animated short film “Marshmallow People” from FilmCow. It was so popular, we’ve made the game, developed by Bradley and Montgomery, available for everyone – be sure to check out Marshmallow People: Bored to Death
Originally posted on Windows Blog
Taken from our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook (available to view and download below).
Following on from our recent post in this series - deciding on your hardware for virtualisation, we’ll move on to installation. So you have run your trial, planned your virtualisation setup and decided on the specifications for your hardware, all you need to do now is install the system. That sounds simple and to a certain extent it is.
The basic steps include: • Connecting your hosts to your network • Setting up your storage LUN’s • Connecting your hosts to your storage solution • Installing Windows® Server 2008 R2 to your hosts • Enabling the Hyper-V role • Enabling the failover clustering role • Installing your virtual servers While these are the basics steps to installing a virtualised infrastructure there are, as you have probably guessed, a number of factors you have to consider.
Network connection As we discussed earlier in the eBook your network connectivity can play a large part in your end user experience, you also have to consider the management of the host and connection to your storage solution. In an ideal world your host server would have separate connections for each of the networks it has to service. The simple diagram below shows a host server with a series of network connections.
In this scenario the server would require 4 network interfaces; however this only gives the virtual servers on the host a single connection to the domain LAN. A much better scenario would be to increase the number of network interfaces so that once Hyper-V is installed you can assign more interface to the domain LAN.
Setting up your storage LUN’s A LUN on a storage unit is a logical space that can then be assigned to the virtualisation infrastructure. How you set up your LUN’s and assign them depends heavily on the manufacturer of your chosen storage solution. When setting up your LUN’s, you need to consider how much data you are likely to store, how much this data may expand. These two factors will affect how many and the size you assign to your LUN’s.
Failover clustering Because virtualisation puts a number of virtual servers on one physical host server, it’s necessary to plan for the failure of one host server, which could otherwise have serious and widespread consequences. Hence the use of ‘Failover Clustering’, which is the technology that allows the virtual servers on a failed host to ‘failover’ seamlessly to another host. Effective failover clustering as provided for in Hyper-V is clearly an essential feature of virtualisation. It’s sophisticated and reliable and experience shows that the end user cannot detect the failure of a server currently in use. That said, it is relatively simple to set up, and running the wizard on a host will guide you through the steps for enabling the technology.
The first step in the setting up of failover clustering is to validate the cluster. To do this you will need all your hosts setup, the Hyper V role installed and connection to your storage solution complete and working. Validation of the cluster carries out checks on the system and simulates failed hosts. While you can create the cluster even if elements of the validation fail it is worth noting that if you place a support call with Microsoft® in the future, they will ask to see the original validation report to verify that the system was fully functional when setup. It is also worth making sure validation passes just to give you peace of mind that your system is ‘up to the job’.
You can view and download our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook below.
This week’s roundup of posts -
How students can develop an advertising campaign using Kinect Sports
Contextual hubs for learning–gaming in education
10 things you didn’t know your Nokia Lumia could do
Take a guided tour of System Centre 2012 and the Microsoft private cloud
Webinar: Intro to OneNote
Instructional Writing with Kinect Sports
Six Tips to Make SkyDrive your Cloud Backpack
The common language of games
Virtualisation in your school: deciding on hardware
Microsoft Certified Trainers Explain MCSE
When you play Kinect Sports, if you look carefully you will see that parts of the game have been used for advertising - just like in real life. For example, you can see adverts around the football stadium and also on the volleyball posts in Beach Volleyball.
Activity In this activity, we are going to challenge learners to develop their own campaign to sell ‘virtual advertising’ on Kinect Sports. In teams, learners should be asked to: - Research possible game advertising spaces for one or more of the Kinect Sports games
- Carry out market research into the number of regular players of the game alongside its global reach - Decide on some possible brands and companies to try and sell advertising to. - Develop a pitch for potential advertisers and give this pitch to groups of peers to discuss and evaluate. Learners need to be very familiar with all of the games within Kinect Sports. This should include playing the game and watching other people play the game to identify possible advertising space and opportunities.
Taken from our Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education eBook by Ollie Bray (available to view and download below)
What are contextual hubs? I like science fiction but I have to admit never really been into Star Trek. However, I do once remember watching a television program on the history of the original Star Trek series. I found it really interesting because the program inferred that although it was a Star Trek series about space travel its equal purpose was to help its viewers understand moral issues. For example, I found it fascinating that the first ever-televised inter-racial kiss took place on an original episode of Star Trek.
You’re probably wondering what my point is here. But I think that this basic idea of the ‘Star Trek Principle,’ which I often refer to when working with teachers is an important one. Basically, you are watching / doing one thing but learning about something else.
Computer games can be used in the classroom with similar principles. The learning does not come from the game itself but the game becomes a context for what the learning will be about. The gaming environment becomes a stimulating contextual hub.
Contextual hubs are sometimes described as types of thematic learning tasks. While this is true in part, contextual hub learning activities normally involve recurring game play throughout the unit of work and the learners often adopt roles as the characters of the game to create a more immersive and contextual experience.
The important thing is that the game provides the engagement and the ‘hook for learning’ but the teacher provides the direction, the coaching and the structure where required. In a similar way that the original series of Star Trek ‘hooked’ many with the romance of space travel but the actual learning was provided by the scriptwriter and producer.
Professor James Paul Gee’s explanation on Learning in Semiotic Domains9 provides a more academically robust description as to why this type of learning is so powerful.
Kinect™ Adventures! Kinect Adventures is a good example of a game for Kinect for Xbox 360® that can be used as a contextual hub. The key here is thinking about what the game is about, rather than what the game does. The game is about adventure, exploration, teamwork and discovery.
Your class project / unit of work will therefore be about adventure, exploration, teamwork and discovery. Remember, when using games in this context, the game is the ‘hook’ and provides the stimulus for the learning. How could you link your standardised curriculum to these four words?
The diagram below shows some of the possible ways that Kinect Adventures(adventure, exploration, teamwork and discovery) could be linked to some curriculum activities.
The secret of contextual hub projects is that there should be no specific pathway through the learning activities. Although, obviously, some activities and tasks will be progressive.
Teachers in collaboration with their students can decide on the content of the scheme of work by picking from lists of possible activities and adding their own ideas to create a rich learning experience that is unique and appropriate for their individual needs, class and school.
You can view and download the full eBook below.
Originally posted on Windows Phone Blog
There’s a new poll out hinting that many people flocking to Windows Phone and handsets like the new Nokia Lumia 900 are former Apple and Android owners.
If you are a proud new Lumia owner—or just new to Windows Phone period—then you’ll probably want to check out the fun and handy story Nokia ran on its official blog today: 10 things you never knew your Lumia could do. It covers everything from saving battery power to finding a good nearby pub (always high on my list of priorities).
And if you did recently just pick up your first Windows Phone, I also highly recommend checking out our Tips +Tricks site—plus this giant list of tips. Guaranteed you’ll find something that makes you go wow.
Interested in learning first hand exactly how a Microsoft private cloud can help your business? Our new guided labs will show you how a Microsoft private cloud, built on System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, dramatically changes the way your business consumes IT services.
Start your evaluation today!
These 14 user-friendly labs take you on a step-by-step guided tour of a Microsoft private cloud without the time investment required by a typical lab. If you are interested in a more comprehensive private cloud eval experience please visit our Private Cloud Evaluation Software page. There you will also find our new Microsoft Private Cloud Evaluation Guide. This 150 page free document walks you through the entire set-up and configuration process.
Originally posted on Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform Blog