website stats
June, 2012 - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The UK Schools Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
Home    index of content      about this blog     rss feed     email us     our website

June, 2012

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Kodu student activity: eating apples


    Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.

    You can view and download our eBook below to learn more about Kodu and how to get started. Here is an activity idea of how you can use Kodu in the classroom.


    Activity – eating apples


    Add object; change colour; select object; create sequential programme for object.

    Directions for Class:

    “Think about what you have just learnt. Now work with your groups to complete each of the following tasks. Check them off your list as you go. Don’t forget to make sure each of your group member solves some of the To Do’s from the list. Work together to come up with the best solution.”

    To Do Checklist:

    - Open the world ‘Small with water’

    - Add an apple

    - Make this apple blue

    - Add Kodu to your level

    - Make Kodu find the apple that you just added

    - Make Kodu eat the apple once he finds it

    Then, you are free to play with adding other objects, adjusting Kodu’s behaviors, changing the environments. Ask for help if you need it.

    Challenge Activity

    CONTROLLER VERSION: If you do not already control Kodu with your Xbox 360 controller, change your programme so that you can drive Kodu to the apple. (The left stick controls movement).

    KEYBOARD VERSION: Change your programme to use either the arrow keys or the mouse to move the
    Kodu (WHEN-keyboard-DO-move, or WHEN-left-mouse-DO-move-towards). What other things can you control with your Xbox 360 controller or mouse?

    You can view and download the Getting Started with Kodu eBook below.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Kodu student activity: editing your world


    Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.

    You can view and download our eBook below to learn more about Kodu and how to get started. Here is an activity idea of how you can use Kodu in the classroom.

    Activity – editing your world


    1. Change and create a Kodu environment
    2. Use tiles for setting and the development of tone and mood for the game world

    Students will already know how to create and programme objects. Here, they will learn to modify the landscapes in their games.

    Creating and changing the Kodu landscape is one of the most interesting initial activities for early users ofKodu. Young people often spend hours changing and designing intricate landscapes in which their games and animations operate. Landscapes often also set the tone for the game play actions which follow.

    Using the same demo world that you created during the first part of this session (Demo 1) ask volunteers to:

    - Add/delete land to the existing landmass. Choose the green paint brush in the Toolbar.

    - With a controller: Select the appropriate landscape material by pressing (Y) and selecting one from the Toolbar. Next, select the brush shape (X) and brush size (D-pad). By using the left stick and holding down either the right trigger to add land or the left trigger to delete land, students can draw the landscape.

    - With a mouse: Click on the four small terrain icons to the left of the paint brush to pick a material (Arrow keys to select material), and click on the four brush shapes to pick a brush shape (Arrow keys to select).  You can then use the Arrow keys to increase or decrease the size of the brush. Click to paint the terrain.


    - Add land of a different colour/texture around the perimeter of the landmass. (NB. Use the same steps as before, only change the landscape material and perhaps the brush size. The speed of land addition or subtraction can be controlled by the degree to which the controller is shifted.)


    - Create hills and valleys; use the smoothing feature. (Select the Raise Terrain/Lower Terrain icons from the Toolbar. Again, use the Brush Picker and Brush Size. The speed of land raising and lowering can be controlled by the degree to which the triggers are pressed on the controller. NB. The speed cannot be controlled with mouse and keyboard. Also note to students that the smoothing out feature allows a less jagged landscape which also allows maneuverability.)


    This is a good opportunity to talk about the remaining items in the Toolbar. As students work throughhow they create a feature, ask them to verbalise what they are doing and tell them that it is like thinking out loud and that mistakes might happen. Reinforce the idea that if a problem occurs that we should all think about how to solve it. If they don’t change the brush or select a type of land or water, prompt themto do so.

    You can view and download the Getting Started with Kodu eBook below.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Supporting numeracy with Kinect Sports


    Games like Kinect Sports are great for supporting numeracy. The reason for this is that all of the minigames produce data and numbers. The challenge for the creative teacher is to look for opportunities within the game and then use this data to incorporate into young peoples’ learning.

    Getting learners to keep track of their progress and scores throughout the game provides a good way to introduce methods of data collection and analysis. 



    For this activity, it is envisaged that learners will keep track of their game scores, game times and progress over a period of time. The learning challenge for this particular activity is how they will record both individual and team mates’ data. Depending on the Kinect Sports game, there are a number of ways that they can choose to do this, including:

    - Tally Chart
    - Bowling Score Card
    - Computer Spread Sheet
    - Written Notes
    - Own Method

    Excel icon

    The advantages of each of the above methods should be discussed with the class.

    Supporting Resources
    Learners should have experience of playing a variety of the Kinect Sports games over a period of time to help them collect enough data so that it can eventually be processed.

    The Microsoft Office Suite (in particularly Microsoft Excel) provides a handy range of tools to help learners collect and then process data.

    You can view and download the full Kinect Sports in the classroom eBook below.


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Evidence that students do better with a PC at home


    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

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Take a guided tour of System Centre 2012 and the Microsoft private cloud


    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.

    Microsoft System Center 2012

    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

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Sunday Papers Edition: 3rd June


    This week’s roundup of posts -

     Kodu student activity: eating apples

    New online safety features coming in Windows 8

    Microsoft Kinect SDK 1.5

    University of Southampton sends a Nokia Lumia 800 to 105,000 feet

    “We must stop seeing education as a competitive process; between schools, communities and nations, and realize that the most successful systems are founded on collaboration.” – UK

    Virtualisation in your school: deciding on your technology

    Moodle 2.0/2.2 OpenSource Solution for Azure

    RM Technical Seminar, Birmingham

    Collaborate and communicate from anywhere with Lync Server 2010

    Happy Jubilee Weekend from everyone here in the UK Education team!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Sunday Papers Edition: 10th June


    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

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Get Online@Home–real life examples from those who have already benefited


    Gerald Haigh, independent writer to Microsoft,  has written up this blog post following on from the recent post on Get Online@Home, 13th June 2012.  Gerald was able to interview some of those who had benefited from the Microsoft backed scheme and took a look at how, with the help of refurbished computers and laptops at a reduced cost, has ensured that they too are able to take advantage of the digital world we now live in.

    All the contributions I make to the Microsoft education blogs lead me to interesting places and people.  How else would I get into the backstage area of  QPR's Loftus Road ground or visit a shiny academy to write a blog in my old home town of Barnsley, or have access to a Reception at the House of Commons?

    savemoney-sThat said, the recent post on Get Online@Home  reminded me of one of my most thought provoking tasks, which was to interview earlier this year some of the adults whose lives were made better, and sometimes entirely changed, by the affordable refurbished computers made possible by the scheme (The brief case studies on the Get Online@home’ website are based on these intershopping-sviews)

    There was Robert, for example, a state pensioner, running a family of four, including ‘Blaze’, the German shepherd pup, with the aid of the internet to find bargains, trying for competition prizes, seeking advice about dog training. And then there was Heather, another state pensioner, finding that her new computer considerably eases the task of being full time carer of her teenage grandson.

    ‘I’d have been stuck for how to cope with him. I would have been struggling.’

    There were others, all with similar stories, all providing a timely reminder that there are people in our country who really do struggle valiantly to make ends meet and do their best for their families. For them, access to the internet for money advice, bargain holidays, information on jobs and courses etc can make a real difference.


    Schools, it strikes me, have a part to play here. There can’t be many communities these days that don’t have their share of cash-strapped families and so it shouldn’t be difficult to pass on, through the children, ideas on how internet access might help, together with information about ‘Get Online@home’ computers and laptops.

    One family I talked to particularly brought into focus an issue that surely faces all schools, or soon will do.

    Christina, mother of Bria, told me how she went to the parents’ induction meeting when her daughter was moving to secondary school.

    “The teacher asked me did I have access to a computer, and if not could I get one. They explained about the school’s online learning gateway that would be the main source of information.”

    Up to that point, Christina had resisted her daughter’s plea for a computer on grounds of cost. Now, she faced having Bria put at a disadvantage right from the start.

    The answer came in the form of a ‘Get Online@home’ refurbished compute. It was set up in time for the new school term, and Bria was off to the same start as her classmates.

    “I look on the learning gateway to see my homework tasks,” says Bria, “And I do research on the internet. We’ve been doing a project on the history of the local area.”

    ‘’There’s also a parent gateway’’ explains Christina. “They sent me a password so I can have access and keep in the loop.”intouch-s

    So, although it’s certainly true that students do better if they have a home PC, they also clearly benefit from the overall effect of internet access on the whole family. If parents can keep in touch with school, if a freelance trainer can find work, if the pressure on grandparent carers (there are 200 thousand of them)  is eased, if single parents can save money with ‘Martin’s Money Tips’ (‘He’s my guru’, said one woman I interviewed) then the children will be more settled and more likely to succeed. For me, that makes ‘Get Online@Home’ worth its weight in gold plated laptops.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft UK Education Upcoming Live Webcasts



    Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Education

    19th June 11am-12pm

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a powerful relationship management solution that can help to streamline processes in all areas of an education institution.

    The powerful framework allows easy to use applications to be developed to support any area including;

    • Recruitment and Retention
    • Research
    • Faculty
    • Student Management
    • General Administration
    • Communications

    This session will be jointly presented by Microsoft and Crimson Associates a Microsoft Partner who specialises in the UK education sector.

    Join this webcast to understand how Dynamics CRM can help your organisation here


    Office 365 for Education

    Jointly presented by Microsoft and Creative SharePoint.

    19th June 12:00 – 13:00

    To join this webcast, please register here

    26th June 12:00 – 13:00

    To join this webcast, please register here


    Application Virtualisation and the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack

    28th June 11am-12pm

    The Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) can remove huge cost from your entire desktop lifecycle and improve security.

    The MDOP is a suite of technologies broadly covering the areas of virtualisation, management and recovery.

    If you are an education customer and not yet using or aware of the components of MDOP - this webcast is for you and you can register here


    What's New in Windows InTune - Wave C?

    5th July, 11am-12pm

    Join this live meeting to understand what is in the brand new release of Windows Intune (Wave C)

    Windows Intune is a cloud based management solution - that enables you to manage your IT environments without the need for onsite servers.

    The latest release includes management of non-windows devices such as Ipads and android based devices.

    This live meeting will be delivered by a Microsoft Windows Intune Specialist, and will include a demo of key features. You will also have chance to get any of your burning questions answered.

    Please register here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Sunday Papers Edition: 17th June


    This week’s roundup of posts -

    Get started using OneNote

    How to add a video to a PowerPoint presentation

    Microsoft UK Education upcoming live webcasts

    Kodu student activity: editing your world

    Controlling access on your child’s Windows Phone

    Supporting numeracy with Kinect Sports 

    Evidence that students do better with a PC at home

    Virtualisation in your school: Installation

Page 4 of 5 (47 items) 12345