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November, 2012 - 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, 2012

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows 8 in Education eBook: Education and Productivity Apps


    Excerpt from our Windows 8 in Education eBook.

    Windows 8 comes with a number of Apps as standard, but you can also download a growing selection of Apps from the Windows Store. Remember that as long as you have logged in, your Apps will follow you around to whichever device you use.

    Key Apps that come built into Windows 8 include:

    Internet Explorer 10:

    Internet Explorer 10 is a new browser, built for Windows 8, that is fast and fluid and perfect for touch.




    This helps you manage your contacts (and classes). It links duplicate contacts and also allows you to quickly see your contacts updates on Twitter and Facebook. For the educators building personal learning and support networks on services such as Twitter, this can be a great support for CPD.



    Messaging provides a powerful unified communications tool that links seamlessly to Windows Live Messenger and Facebook, and offers teachers and lecturers an easy way to collaborate. Students, of course, will take to it like ducks to water!


    This is a highly efficient example of its type, proven in Bing Maps, and now with the additional seamless efficiency of Windows 8. As well as a geographical resource, Maps is a wonderful tool for enhancing stories that include journeys and adventures.


    This is a great looking App, with forecasts and statistics in graphics and figures against an atmospheric background. Wonderful for climate study and also for a wide range of data handling projects using Office tools within Windows 8.



    The full Windows 8 in education eBook can be downloaded via our SlideShare account, or alternatively, can be viewed in full below.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Free Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Hands on Labs with Tech Showcase


    Are you interested in learning more about the latest technologies from Microsoft like Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8? 


    Microsoft Learning Partners across the UK are running a full range of free first look clinics across the country covering:

    • Windows Server 2012
    • Windows 8
    • SQL Server 2012
    • Visual Studio 2012
    • Exchange Server 2013
    • SharePoint 2013
    • Lync 2013

    These sessions are run by expert Microsoft Certified Trainers who will help you explore and discover the new technologies and help you lead the way in your institution. Click here to find an event near you and book a seat.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Khan Academy is in the Windows Store


    Originally posted on the Next at Microsoft Blog.



    A great addition to the Windows Store last week – the official Khan Academy app. For those not familiar with the Khan Academy, it’s an online phenomena that enables you to learn almost anything. For free. It's the focus on a story on titled One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education that notes Khan Academy videos have been viewed more than 200 million times int the past two years.

    The Windows 8 app includes the Khan Academy’s complete library of over 3,400 videos covering a huge number of topics, including K-12 math, biology, chemistry, and physics, the humanities, finance and history. To quote from the app itself

    Spend an afternoon brushing up on statistics. Discover how the Krebs cycle works. Learn about the fundamentals of computer science. Prepare for that upcoming SAT. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, learn how fire stick farming changed the landscape of Australia.

    It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology; Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
    Head over to to learn more.

    The app allows you to download videos – either individual or entire playlists to watch offline and integrates with the search and share charm as you may expect.

    Bill Gates is a big fan so what’s not to like? Go grab it.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Skype for Windows Phone 8


    It's been an exciting few weeks for the team at Skype. We've launched our new fast, easy-to-use and beautiful Skype for Windows 8, and updated Skype for Windows desktop which features the beautiful and modern design Windows Phone users have come to love while, like Skype for Windows 8, delivering the best of what you've come to expect from Skype.

    Skype for Windows Phone 8 isn't just about the design - we've built a completely new app from the ground up to be an important part of the Windows Phone experience. Here's a preview of some of the exciting capabilities coming with Skype for Windows Phone 8:

    Always Reachable
    Just like on Windows 8, Skype for Windows Phone 8 enables you to receive chats and notifications for voice and video calls even if you've navigated away to another app or have your phone on lock, so you can stay connected with your contacts whatever you're doing. Best of all, this all happens with limited battery drain.

    For the first time, incoming Skype calls arrive using the familiar incoming call screen from Windows Phone. We have also included useful new features such as call waiting, so switching between a Skype call and a regular mobile call is fast and easy.

    Skype call.png

    We've set out to bring Skype to Windows Phone 8 with a clean, beautiful and modern interface. When you first open the app, your most recent conversations and chats are the first thing you'll see. From there, you can pan over to your contact list or the newly added Favorites screen (more about that below) or see your entire contact list.

    home screen.png

    Windows Phone 8 has allowed us to bring new, resizable Live Tiles to Skype, so you have even more choices for making Skype a part of your Start Screen. On Windows Phone 8, Skype will show a count of your unread messages on all tile sizes - and with the largest size tile we show you a preview of the last message you received. The Live Tiles will help you to stay in touch with your friends and family, faster and easier than ever.

    windows phone screens.jpg

    You will now be able to see what's going on inside Skype without being in the app. Skype notifications can be added to the lock screen to appear alongside missed calls, unread emails and text fmessages, so there's no need to unlock your phone to check if you've missed a message or call in Skype. You can also see Skype notifications at the top of the screen when you're in other apps, so keeping up with the conversation has never been easier.

    windows phone screens 2.jpg

    Your People At Your Fingertips
    Just like Windows 8, once you sign in to Skype on your phone, your Skype contacts are automatically added to your Windows Phone, making it possible to call the people who matter to you via Skype right from the People Hub.


    Once you're in the app, you can set up Favorites to keep the most important people right at your fingertips.


    And finally, just like on Windows and Mac, if you have linked your Skype Name and Microsoft account, you can now see and chat with your Messenger buddies on Skype, making it possible for you to connect with more people than ever. And with the family of platforms Skype is available on, including PCs, iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Androids, Macs and even TVs, doing things with your friends and family whenever you are apart has never been easier.

    windows phone screens 3.jpg

    We're hard at work finishing up Skype for Windows Phone 8 and looking forward to bringing Skype to the Windows Phone Store soon.

    To get the latest Skype news and tips about how to make your experience with Skype better than ever, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or join us on the Skype Support Network.

    Originally posted on the Skype blog.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Get inspired, get skilled, get a job - 'Get On' launches today


    Get On - a new initiative from the Microsoft

     Get On launches today, Wednesday 7th November!

    Get inspired, get skilled and get a job

    Get On is a new project from Microsoft to help 300,000 16-24 year olds in the UK get inspired, get skilled and get a job over the next three years, through a combination of education and training, apprenticeships and work experience.

    Because Get On is about and for young people, Microsoft’s own team of interns play an important role by sharing experiences and knowledge. As Microsoft's youth, we know just how hard it can be filling out application forms, getting through interviews and finding a job. That’s why we want to help 16-24 year olds get inspired by telling them about our experiences, giving CV and interview tips and conducting free workshops on how best to get a job.

    As part of today’s launch, we have some very exciting goings on in London, all of which will be delivered directly to your newsfeeds via Twitter and Facebook. Brighten your Wednesday with fun facts and a real VIP appearance later today. And today is just the beginning...

    Follow the updates on Twitter using #GetOn or like our Facebook page.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Windows 8 Volume Licensing


    With Windows 8 now officially on the market, you might have some questions about licensing for your school, college or university.

    Whether you want to upgrade your PCs to Windows 8, gain access to exclusive offerings such as Windows 8 Enterprise edition and the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, or use Windows with greater flexibility, there is a Microsoft Volume Licensing solution that is right for your education institution.

    There are many benefits to volume licensing for your institution including cost savings and flexibility.


    To find out all you need to know about Windows 8 volume licensing, such as qualifying operating systems and a buyers guide, visit the website.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Exciting New Challenges for University College Falmouth


    Case study provided by Crimson

    University College Falmouth is embarking on an ambitious implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 2011, starting with core business to business processes and marketing activities and eventually providing an holistic approach to the overall requirements of the institution.

    The first phase of the project is being sponsored by Dr Jeremy Richards Head of Innovation, and will deliver a solution to manage business relationships for University College Falmouth’s new Academy for Innovation & Research (AIR) – a European Regional Development Fund supported project to stimulate innovation in the Cornish Economy. Dr

    Jeremy Richards says “This CRM system will enhance substantially our ability to manage relationships with the business community and improve the effectiveness of our communications.” The second phase of the project sponsored by Jeremy Whitaker, Director of Marketing & Student Recruitment, will initially focus on event management, including open days, exhibitions and performances and will then move on to deliver a solution to enhance and support the fundraising and alumni strategies. Jeremy Whitaker says “The focus of this project is to deliver efficiencies in core processes and most importantly to improve the visibility of relationships across the institution’’.


    Sharepoint 2010 to Integrate to CRM 2011

    As part of this exciting project UCF will also be looking to Crimson to provide consultative support on a cross University implementation of SharePoint 2010 for a number of key functions, including document management and a number of key internal staff intranets and portals. The integration of the two core products and Crimsons extensive knowledge of both solutions will be hugely beneficial in terms of functional delivery and budgetary control.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft in Education: Infographic (updated)


    The final version of our Microsoft in Education Infographic is now available to download or view in full below.

    From helping teachers to connect and share best practice with peers to creating more emotional connections with learning through our gaming technologies, Microsoft is committed to helping students and educators throughout the world realise their full potential.

    With this in mind, our new Infographic offers an overview of some of the products and programmes that academic institutions are embracing to help raise attainment and transform the delivery of teaching and learning.

    Did you know all of the 8 things about Microsoft in education covered in the Infographic? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Azure IT Pro Camp (free 1 day training event)


    This is a Microsoft delivered training day, hosted by Salford Software in Manchester on Monday 10th December 2012.

    It’s a technical hands on introduction to some of the IaaS Cloud Services that Microsoft is now offering to Academic organisations.



    The camp will be led by an Azure specialist and is aimed at the IT Professional. On it you will build and deploy an entire SharePoint infrastructure with a dual-machine server-farm, Active Directory Domain Controller and SQL Server. On the road to that infrastructure you will create a dual-server, load-balanced IIS website, a WIndows Azure Virtual Network in to which you will deploy the Active Directory Domain plus all the member servers (SQL and SharePoint) and you’ll also learn how to generalise your images and add them to your library of images to make future deployment simpler.

    All running in the Cloud!

    You will walk away with a complete – Cloud based – service that you will be able to continue to use, further develop and show colleagues following the camp.

    Please register at the site below:


    Windows Azure IT Pro Camp



    09:00 – 09:30


    09:30 – 10:00

    The Windows Azure Platform

    10:00 – 10:30

    Windows Azure Virtual Machines

    10:30 – 10:45


    10:45 – 11:15

    Lab: Windows Azure Virtual Machines

    11:15 – 11:45

    Windows Azure Virtual Networks

    11:45 – 12:15

    Lab: Windows Azure Virtual Networks

    12:15 – 12:45


    12:45 – 13:15

    Active Directory in the Cloud: Windows Azure Active Directory, Running a DC in Windows Azure


    Lab: Running an Active Directory Domain Controller in Windows Azure

    14:15 – 15:00

    SQL Server and Sharepoint in the Cloud

    15:00 – 15:15


    15:15 – 16:45

    Lab: Running a complete infrastructure in the cloud (Sharepoint, SQL Server, Active Directory)


    Wrap-up and Review

    You will need a working Windows Azure subscription and you need to have applied for and successfully been granted access to:

    § Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks – for the IT Pro camp.

    There is a video that describes how to apply for these features here.

    Any working subscription is suitable; paid or free.

    You can get a free trial subscription. This grants you access to certain resources free for 90 days. You will need a Windows Live ID and a Credit Card to register. The spending limit on the free trial account is set at £0.00. When the free trial period of 90 days has passed you will be asked if you’d like to remove the spending limit and from that point on treat it as a standard paid subscription.

    If you use more than the free allocation of resources in a month, you will also be asked if you’d like to remove the spending limit. There is no perpetually free subscription available for Windows Azure. There are also free trial subscriptions available to certain MSDN subscribers, BizSpark partners and MPN members.

    Details of the free trial accounts are here:

    IT Pro camp pre-requisites

    As an IT Pro who uses a laptop, you’ll almost certainly have the required software already installed. You will need:

    • A working Windows Azure subscription – see details above. You need to have successfully applied and been granted access to the Windows Azure Virtual Machines preview.
    • A wireless-enabled 64-bit laptop with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 8 RTM. The camp is written with Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 users in mind. If you are using Windows 8 there will be variations in the way the UI is described.
    • Bring the power supply: you will be using the laptop all day.
    • A basic knowledge of the Windows infrastructure stack (Windows, Windows Server, Active Directory, Web, Security, SQL Server etc) to the level required by an IT Pro.
    • Perform the following software setup:

    1. Log in to an account that has full administrative privileges on the 64-bit machine. This is the account you will do the machine setup from and also the lab-work. It’s essential to ensure you use the same administrative account for both setup and lab-work to avoid permissions problems. By far the biggest problems on this bootcamp are to do with permission problems on machine setup.

    2. Install the Windows Azure Powershell Cmdlets by following the instructions on this page:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much do I need to know about Windows Azure to attend this Camp?

    You don’t need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Azure to attend this Camp. The purpose of the event is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Azure.

    Who can attend the Camps?

    Students, developers, technologists, IT Pros, architects, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about Windows Azure.

    How much does it cost to attend this Camp?

    Your luck’s in – it’s free.

    What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of the Camp?

    There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the Camp, listed above. Please make sure you are prepared so you can make the most of your day at the Camp.

    What if I have registered already and cannot make it on the day?

    Please let us know as soon as you can if you can’t make the camp as there’ll be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed. Thanks!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    RM Technical Seminar, Birmingham 9 November 2012


    Guest post by Gerald Haigh. Gerald writes regularly for the Microsoft blogs.

    I really look forward to RM’s regular regional Technical Seminars. The many sessions – which aren’t all highly technical by any means – deal with real and current issues, the educators and IT staff who attend are thoughtful, keen to learn but also with lots to offer. A huge amount gets covered in one short day, but nothing seems rushed, and that’s largely because the RM people, back stage and front, are efficient, helpful and always kind.

    The one I attended this year, in November, at Birmingham’s National Motor Cycle Museum, included sessions on The Cloud, Classroom Control, BYOD , and Microsoft Exchange. Running parallel was an Educational Seminar that covered topics on, for example, Creativity in the Classroom, Podcasting, Windows in the Classroom and e-safety.

    Like all good events, though, one of the main features is the opportunity to mix, mingle and just go up to people to talk. RM recognise that, and the big main space of the National Motor Cycle Museum conference suite was devoted to breaks, lunch and general milling about. Along the edges were exhibition stands from a number of suppliers including Meru Networks, HP, Toshiba, Apple and, of course, Microsoft.

    The 120 or so teachers and network managers who attended were interested in all the stands, but simple observation showed that Microsoft consistently drew by far the most interest.

    You don’t have to guess why that was. Just think ‘Surface’ and ‘Windows 8’ and you’ll get the idea. Everyone was keen to look, try for a chance to touch (which has a particular meaning in this context of course) and ask lots of questions – and this is the kind of event where the questions are good ones. It’s in the nature of the products, though, that the answers were good ones too. Network managers and teachers who see ‘Surface’, for example, are very quick to catch on to the significance of its creative potential and manageability. It’s very clear that the presence of ‘Surface’ at functions like this, together with Windows 8 devices from other suppliers, will do much over the coming weeks and months to reinforce the view not only that tablets are set to make a big impact on teaching and learning, but also that the debate about which device to use is a long way from being over. The Microsoft presence at BETT 2013, you feel, is going to open many eyes.

    Another stand that interested me was that of Meru Networks. I first met the people from Meru some years ago, quite by accident, with Merlin John of ‘’, at St Pancras Station. We spent a long time with them, and concluded that this was, to say the least, a product with a future in education, given the hugely increasing demand on school networks. And so it seems to have turned out, for Meru are installing managed wireless networks in schools at an ever-increasing rate. It’s another reminder that the first priority for any school that’s looking at BYOD, or one-to-one computing, or just expanding their resources is to pay attention to the network that’s at the heart of it all.

    Much as I’m always tempted to spend all my time talking to people, and although there were inevitable timetable overlaps, I did get to some sessions. ‘The Cloud Explained’ was the kind of good basic introduction that clears things up for people who’ve always been reluctant to ask the obvious questions. Another that particularly interested me was Simon Ansell’s on ‘Preparing your network for BYOD’ in which he talked about ‘squaring the circle’ of accepting any device on to the school network and reaping the benefits of learning while at the same time protecting the infrastructure. It’s the kind of challenge that will send some network managers running for the hills, but we know from experience that it can be done, and Simon is one of the people who can show schools how to do it – albeit slowly, methodically and one careful step at a time.

    RM were showcasing some interesting new products, too. ‘RM Unify’ provides single sign-on access to all of the many cloud services that school users would otherwise need to log on to separately, including RM’s own cloud services such as RM Books, and Microsoft Office 365 for education which is increasingly becoming significant as so many services and products move to the cloud.

    When I first heard about RM Books I wondered just how necessary it would be, but it turns out to be another of those products that you need to spend a few minutes looking at before you realise its implications. In effect it’s a way of supplying and managing electronic textbooks in school online. Having had the experience over the years of managing stockrooms full of rapidly deteriorating (and sometimes disappearing) textbooks, trying to find money to replace them or bring them up to date, attempting to retrieve them from students before they left or went to live in New Zealand, I’d have been more than grateful for something like RM Books, assuming that Tim Berners-Lee had been born a little earlier. Above all, like all online services it provides that all-important audit trail – who had what and when, and where is it now? If textbooks fall anywhere within your sphere of interest or responsibility – and that covers a lot of teachers – I’d say do as I did and take a careful look at RM Books.

    The last session I attended was ‘Microsoft in Education’ presented by Education Partner Lead Mark Stewart, who’d spent the day providing the answers to those ‘Surface’ and Windows 8 questions on the stand.

    With so much to talk about, Mark chose to focus on the Microsoft vision and strategy for future learning. He mentioned the New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone – a real showcase for future learning and for embedded technology that’s worth a visit

    He also reminded the audience about Microsoft’s Partners in Learning network

    Mark also drew attention to the global ‘Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills’ initiative, led by Melbourne University and co-sponsored by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft.

    Mark’s look to the future hit the right note. The people who attend education events often spend much of their time solving immediate problems, and they surely welcome the chance to glimpse the more strategic picture.

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