Originally posted on the Born to Learn blog
Cloud computing is no longer the latest buzzword—it’s the new reality for global business. As cloud technology rapidly evolves and matures, enabling innovative products and services, organizations face a critical need for a skilled, cloud-enabled IT workforce. As revealed in a recent Microsoft-sponsored study by IDC, cloud-related skills represent a good portion of the IT growth opportunities worldwide through 2015, punctuating the opportunity—and demand—for the training and certification that Microsoft IT Academy provides to academic institutions.
Microsoft collaborated with IDC to gauge the correlation between the demand for cloud-related jobs and the gap in IT skills needed to fill the positions. As the research reveals, demand for “cloud-ready” IT workers will grow by 26% annually through 2015, driving 14 million new jobs by 2015 with 7 million IT professionals working in a cloud-related IT role.
The demand for skilled cloud professionals is coupled with a distinct gap in the skills needed to fill positions—a challenge already resonating throughout the IT industry. IT hiring managers report today that the lack of trained and certified job candidates is the core reason they failed to fill an existing 1.7 million open cloud positions in 2012. Over the next few years, as organizations concentrate technologies in the cloud, solving the IT skills gap will become imperative to stay competitive and to solving the IT skills gap is imperative to reduce costs and stay competitive.
Training and Certification: the Keystone for Solving the IT Skills Gap
The IDC study reports that training and certification will play essential roles in preparing IT professionals for the evolving IT organization. In anticipation of the evolution to the cloud, Microsoft recently reinvented training and certifications for Microsoft server and cloud platform technologies, including Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, Windows 8, and Office 365. These certifications are providing the cloud-ready skills and validation hiring managers are looking for, both in professionals transitioning to cloud technologies and a new generation of job seekers.
Microsoft IT Academy is helping to fill the pipeline of new cloud-enabled workforce by providing training and certification for academic institutions worldwide. Microsoft IT Academy program is helping students develop the necessary cloud skills needed to succeed, whether it is the business skills of Office 365 or deeper technology skills. With more than 13,000 IT Academy members in more than 130 countries Microsoft is providing the training and certifications to help over 7.5 million students to obtain the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.
Recently we posted slide decks from two of our Bett Learn Live Theatre sessions, Head in the Cloud, Feet on the Ground and Top 10 tips to embracing the cloud.
Today you can view the slides below for two more sessions we delivered at Bett 2013; BYOD in education (Bring Your Own Device) and A New Era of Digital Learning
BYOD in education (Bring Your Own Device)
Are you wondering what BYOD can do for your school? Want to understand the challenges but also the positive impact on children’s attainment? This thought-provoking session is everything you need to start your BYOD project, from the culture to the technology.
Speakers: Kristian Still, Wellington Academy & James Marshall, Microsoft
A New Era of Digital Learning
Packed full of demos and practical advice from educators, this session showed how Windows 8, Office 2013 and some great new Windows 8 apps help bring learning to life and empower students with the 21st century skills they need to ensure success in the workplace of the future.
Speaker: Mandeep Atwal, Microsoft
We will be posting the slide decks from the other sessions we delivered in our Bett Learn Live Theatre over the next week or so.
The Microsoft Windows 8 stand at Bett 2013 (E270) has a large range of Windows 8 and RT tablets and laptops, including Microsoft Surface, Toshiba, Asus and Acer for you to come have a look at. Everyone is welcome to our stand to have a go on the devices, and our team are on hand to show you the features of Windows 8, Surface and our partner devices, and what they can bring to education.
In the meantime, this Surface demo video from Bett 2013 shows you just some of what you can do with the new Windows in education. Come and see more on our stand at Bett!
Originally posted on the Microsoft in Education Blog.
It was a great week at the Global Education Partner Summit surrounded by several hundred of our top education partners. This event is a great opportunity to announce the Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 (WMS) is now available generally. I see WMS as a powerful tool in Microsoft’s suite of solutions to enable 21st century skill-building. As digital devices become more ubiquitous in our classrooms and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is accepted more and more, the diversity of devices can become an issue for teachers and administrators alike. Teachers want to deliver a consistent learning experience, but are spending more and more time trying to manage varied technologies instead of teaching. School ICT departments are responsible for what students have access to, but many times with very little -- if any -- control over those devices. But WMS offers an innovative solution. By using Remote Desktop connections to MultiPoint Server, students’ devices (including the ultra-low cost MultiPoint stations) deliver one consistent Windows 8 learning experience, complemented by simple teacher tools. And if the students have Windows 7 or Windows 8 laptops the experience gets even better.
WMS 2012 is a perfect complement to our flagship products, like Windows 8 and Office 365, in two ways:
As I’ve mentioned previously I find it incredibly inspiring that this technology is valued not only in the technically sophisticated school district next to Microsoft’s campus, but also in distant refugee camps and disaster recovery efforts.
We have made enhancements for 2012. Here’s a quick summary:
1. A new MultiPoint Dashboard: One of the largest changes from 2011 to 2012 is the addition of the MultiPoint Dashboard. It effectively separates the system administration tasks from the real-time classroom tasks. With the Dashboard comes a new, WMS-specific user group: “The Dashboard User group.” Standard user accounts added to this group gain specific privileges which allows access to the MultiPoint Dashboard without needing administrator-level permissions. A Dashboard User will be able to monitor stations, block users, limit web access and projects to all users. Teachers and administrators will also be able to open local chat sessions with users and take control of a user’s keyboard and mouse to provide hands-on demonstrations. The MultiPoint Manager will continue to be used for setup and management of servers and users.
2. The Windows 8 desktop experience: MultiPoint stations get the latest look, feel and touch of Windows 8. This includes the new start page, great per-station USB device support, and multi-touch input on direct-video connect stations.
3. Hands-off recovery with Disk Protection: WMS 2012 provides a disk protection feature that, when enabled, discards all changes and returns the system volume to the right state on every boot. This feature is ideal for administrators who do not want to allow their users to modify the system volume or user profiles in any way, such as in a public library or a kiosk. 4. Monitoring Windows 8 (and 7) clients: MultiPoint Server 2012 includes the ability to monitor computers that are already running Windows 7 or 8. This allows for orchestrating a mixed environment of MultiPoint stations and PC clients. A system administrator is able to install the new MultiPoint Connector on the PCs and then add the PCs to the MultiPoint Dashboard. Once a PC is added, features such as “block station,” “enlarge thumbnail,” and “launch / close application” can be performed across all the PCs and MultiPoint Stations in the lab. 5. Virtualized Windows 8 or 7 Desktops: The Premium version of Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 allows you to enable the Hyper-V role and create Windows 7 or 8 client virtual machines to map to MultiPoint stations. Because the VMs and the MultiPoint stations are all running on the same computer, administrators are able to significantly simplify deployment of the virtual machine-based desktops. MultiPoint Manager will walk you step-by-step through creating, customizing and deploying Windows 8 or 7 virtual desktop stations. This is a great option for addressing application and device compatibility issues.
Millions of students already have access to technology and information by using WMS 2010 and 2011. WMS 2012 takes that experience to an entirely new level. I am confident you will love this product as part of your overall technology strategy for education.
To learn more, start by visiting the MultiPoint website, or download the Evaluation version today.
Originally posted by James B Marshall on the UK Education Cloud Blog.
Yesterday Microsoft launched the next generation of Office 365, but did you know this included Office 365 Education as well? We first launched Office 365 for education last June and since then we’ve heard inspiring stories from our customers including Kilmarnock College and the University of West London about how they’re succeeding with Office 365 Education.
Microsoft’s Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Education, has written about how the new Office 365 Education puts teachers in control, today.
As part of Microsoft’s commitment to education, Office 365 Education is available for free. Schools can access all of the features and benefits of Microsoft Office – apps and services – simply by signing up at www.office365.com/education. With free access to the transformative innovations built in to Office 365, teachers are unleashed to fully embrace the possibilities offered by technology. Educators who once felt boxed in by the rigid demands of their curriculum can now explore new ways to engage and motivate their students. And perhaps most important, young people can have at their fingertips the tools they need to become productive global citizens, using a platform that has already been embraced by universities, businesses and governments around the world.
Guest post by Gerald Haigh. Gerald is a freelance education writer for Microsoft.
Picking up my quest for great Windows 8 stories after the New Year I learned from Microsoft FE Business Manager Mike Morris about exciting news unfolding in Liverpool Community College. It’s going to make a brilliant Further Education case study, and I’ll be travelling to the College soon to chase it up. Meanwhile, just to whet the appetite, here’s the news that Ken Ryan, the College’s Head of Information Technology has just taken delivery, from Microsoft Partner Gardner Systems, of 600 Lenovo ‘Tablet 2’ devices with Windows 8, for distribution to teaching staff. This particular Lenovo device has been impatiently awaited by potential users, and according to Mike,
‘Liverpool Community College might well be the first educational institution in the UK to have them.’
Mike’s particularly pleased because the decision to go for Windows 8 tablets was directly inspired by advice he gave to colleges in the Summer.
Mike suggested that if a college was about to buy tablets, they ought to hold off until W8 devices were available. Ken was going to buy Android, but he got in touch in response to Mike’s approach. Mike went in to the college and talked through Windows 8. Based on those conversations, and a subsequent evaluation process within the College, Ken decided to go with Windows 8 as his mobile platform of choice.
After looking at Hardware options, Ken decided to buy Lenovo Tablet 2s.
‘The specification was hard to match,’ he says. ‘Brand new Intel Atom processor power, 64Gb hard drive, USB connectivity, true 16:9 format display, only 565 grams and a massive 10 hour use on a single battery charge.’
For Ken, though, the real draw was the ability to run Windows 8 Professional.
‘It makes the tablet a true corporate device – network log on, the ability to run Microsoft Office applications including Outlook and Lync, all making the tablet easy for staff to use and adapt to in a work environment.’
Microsoft Partner Gardner Systems helped him to make the hardware decision and will be helping with the configuration roll out and staff training whilst in a new partnership, ‘Softcat’, the Tablet supplier, will be working with the college to provide an accessories supply portal for direct staff access via the web.
Ken is looking to use the tablets to rejuvenate the use of technology by teaching staff.
At the moment, he says,
‘Teaching staff have desktop PCs, some have laptops, but no matter what software you put on there, it still comes down to being tied to a desk with box and a monitor. What’s needed is something to get staff excited about mobile technology.’
He envisages a real effect on teaching style – ‘It’s more intimate,’ he says. ‘The tablet frees the lecturer from the PC at the front of the room and enables them to get among the students with the device, letting them drive the presentation.’
So far, people who have seen the new Lenovo devices are excited not just by the excellent ‘consumer’ touch screen features but by the obvious advantages of being literally in touch, on the move, with all their familiar Microsoft technologies. But, of course, it’s early days, and now Ken and his team are engaging with the College’s ‘Enhanced learning’ groups in order to run a series of lunchtime sessions, exploring ways of using the tablets to improve teaching and learning.
The next step is for me to attend one of those sessions in order to explore, understand – and report here – how Lenovo tablets and Windows 8 are being received and used in a go ahead FE College in the go ahead City of Liverpool. Once again, ‘Watch this Space’.
Guest post by our freelance education writer, Gerald Haigh.
Do you know what a ‘Stuck PowerPoint’ is?
No, neither did I when Kirsty Tonks, e-Learning Director at Shireland Collegiate Academy in Sandwell first mentioned it.
To be fair, Kirsty was giving me lots of information at the time, and this is one of those schools where there’s so much going on – all of it focused on children’s learning – that any visitor finds it a challenge to keep up. My visit on this occasion, then, on a snowy late January day, was to gain an overview of the Academy’s plans for making the most of Windows 8.
For over sixteen years, Shireland’s staff and students under the leadership of Executive Principal Sir Mark Grundy have shown how technology, carefully chosen and wisely deployed, can transform teaching and learning. A Learning Gateway built on SharePoint, for example, lies at the very heart of all that happens in the school, driving collaboration, teamwork, open management and anytime/anywhere learning. I knew, then, I’d have a positive response when I asked about thoughts and plans around Windows 8.
So there I was, in a conference room with Sir Mark, Kirsty and other colleagues, rattling away making notes on my netbook, when I found myself typing the phrase ‘Stuck PowerPoint’. The image that came to mind was of an embarrassed presenter in the midst of a technological meltdown.
‘Sorry, PowerPoint’s stuck’.
I quickly realised it wasn’t that, but the light didn’t dawn fully until I was on a tour of the school and it was explained to me by Year Seven students Jihad and Omar, experienced hands at making things clear for visitors.
They led me across their classroom to a 23 inch Acer touch screen PC with Windows 8.
‘If you’re working on a topic and you get stuck, you come here and there’s a Stuck PowerPoint to help you,’ they explained.
The penny dropped.
‘Right’, I said.‘A Stuck PowerPoint. That would be it then. A PowerPoint to use when you’re stuck.’
The school has had Acer touch screens for some time. Those in classrooms were planned as ‘Information Points’ for children to use when they needed more help with a topic – a further aid to independent learning within the cross-curricular ‘Literacy for Learning’ (L4L) Key Stage 3 Curriculum.
The idea has only really come to life, though, with the arrival of Windows 8 with all of its new functionality. Now, touch screen capability, the start-screen ‘tiles’ and the availability of a wealth of school-developed resources together mean that Jihad and Omar and all their fellow students can rapidly find what they want. They showed me how, within a theme called ‘Going Green’, they could go in seconds from the full start-screen to a Stuck PowerPoint on ‘Green Energy’ and then through further options to a page about wind farms. All of the information exists within the school, but now Windows 8 is going to make everything more immediately accessible. The performance of Photosynth, for example, which the school uses extensively to exploit a vast collection of curriculum-related photographs, moves up several gears on a touch screen.
Of course, the ‘Stuck PowerPoint’ is only one of many ways in which Kirsty and her team will make the most the many features of Windows 8. It is, though, an excellent illustration of the general principle, which is to make existing tools and resources more easily and widely available and more coherent in style.
Back in the conference room, for example, Dave Green, Head of Mathematics, showed me how Acer touch screen PCs are being used in department meetings to open up information and promote discussion –
‘We’ve developed an interface that sits in front of existing management tools, making the key bits available, in the clean Windows 8 style.’
And as Kirsty pointed out,
‘Often, development plans are hidden away in a word document. Here, they’re on the screen in peoples’ faces. Not only that, the departments can look at each other’s management sites, sharing ideas across subjects.’
It’s still relatively early days for Window 8 at Shireland, but the vision of what’s possible is already exciting. There’s an appetite for the development of in-house Windows 8 apps, for example. Already there’s progress in that direction, and there’ll be much more to come. And towards the end of our meeting, talk turned to Windows 8 tablets and the level of interoperability compared with other tablets. Sir Mark expressed a frequently heard view when he said.
‘We love iPads. We’ve all got them at home, they’re great fun, but they’re not so good for formal learning. You lose the structure around marking and sharing, where a Windows 8 device seamlessly links with everything else.’
Right at the end of our meeting, Sir Mark, keen as always to help, asked me if we’d covered everything. My answer had to be cautious, because there’s just so much to report from this deeply interesting institution. So now, at Shireland, as with other Windows 8 pioneers I’ve blogged about here, I need to let things move on a little, returning further on in the year to write about some of these developments in more detail.
Guest post by Gerald Haigh, our education freelance writer.
OK, let’s get the ‘Do like the new venue?’ question out of the way first. My answer, I guess like most, is ‘Not sure yet.’ Mind you, what I did not enjoy was arriving at the bottom of that giant staircase at the Excel’s West Entrance. It reminded me of the Odessa Steps sequence in ‘Battleship Potemkin’. I half expected to meet a baby’s pram bouncing down pursued by Cossack soldiers.
The Royal Docks – home of the new Bett venue, ExCel London.
You hadn’t finished walking when you got up there either, so by the time I arrived in the Hall I was ready, as they say, for a cup of tea and a nice sit down. As always, though, any grumpiness was dispelled by the kindness and good humour of everyone I met – press office staff, PR people who arranged my meetings and, of course, the tireless folk on the stands, whose energy never fails to amaze me.
The Microsoft Stand, for example, was permanently crowded with enquirers. There was huge interest in Windows 8, and in ‘Surface’, and as I listened in to conversations and questions I realised that the penny really is dropping about the value of a tablet that will be truly connected and manageable, an integrated part of the institution’s IT, whether it’s Surface or any of the growing number of third party Windows 8 devices.
Early before the show opened.
Certainly that’s the view of the hardware suppliers. On my whistle stop tour of the Show, I called on Lenovo at Stand F140 and spoke to Education Sales Manager Michelle McGeoch about Liverpool Community College’s recent purchase of 600 Lenovo Windows 8 tablets.
‘We’re obviously delighted with that,’ she said. ‘And it’s clearly the start of something really exciting for us and for Microsoft’.
Michelle promised to keep me up to speed with further Window 8 tablet stories, and I’ll be following up on that.
A little further along the Hall, there were good reports, too, on stand F241 at Ergo Computing where Higher Education specialist Simon Beeby told me that their new Windows 8 Hybrid has already been taken up by two UK universities. I have no doubt that on my next foray into the show I’ll find similar stories, because it’s very noticeable that as you look around from any point in the Hall away into the distance you can see, on stand after stand, that distinctive Windows 8 Start screen.
I had two longer meetings on that first day. One was on Stand D180 with senior people from Advanced Learning, new owners of Serco Learning, and so also owners and continuing developers of cloud-based MIS ‘Progresso’ which makes extensive use of Microsoft technologies. I’ve blogged about Progresso since it first appeared a couple of years ago, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it develops. Advanced Learning is an established Microsoft Partner, and it’s clear that they believe Progresso will fit well into their plans, offering mutual benefits and providing reassurance to users. Sales and Marketing Director John Parkinson intends to find me a school user, so this is another story I hope to follow up on.
My other ‘sit down’ meeting (why do I like those?) was on Stand B238 with Harvey Sanchez, CEO of ClickView, provider of an enormous range of video resources for business and government as well as for education. Based in Australia, ClickView make extensive use of Microsoft technologies and last year in fact, won the Australian ‘Microsoft Partner of the Year’ Award. They’re a particularly heavy user of Azure for cloud storage, says Harvey.
‘In fact we’re probably closer than anyone else to using a petabyte of storage.’ (No, I didn’t know either. It’s a thousand terabytes, or a number with fifteen zeroes. Rather more, in other words, than I had on my Sinclair Spectrum.)
Harvey’s a real enthusiast for learning, which seems half the battle for any educational technology supplier. But he’s a realist, too, and it was he who said,
‘Money’s tight in education. I’m not just competing with similar businesses, I’m competing with everybody here. In fact I’m competing with suppliers of janitors’ brooms.’
That thought, he claims, came from a school principal who told him she had to spend money on brooms, to which he replied.
‘Buy my software and I’ll bring you a complete set of brooms.’
Whether he did or not, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put it past him.
Harvey has 800 school users in UK so far, so I feel another school contact coming on. We’ll see.
On the subject of learning, the interview given on the RM Stand (C160/170) by Antony Salcito, Microsoft’s Vice President for public sector education worldwide was, for me very significant. Interviewed by RM Education MD Mike Allen, Antony Salcito strongly emphasized the way that technology isn’t just a tool for making it easier to do what we do already.
Anthony Salcito with some of the Microsoft and Dell team.
‘Some school leaders start with the technology,’ he said. ‘It’s the easiest part to fix. You can weigh it, measure it, evaluate it.’
What this comes down to, he went on, is an approach that says,
‘We’re going to get the stuff. Then we’ll take what we used to do and use the new stuff to help us to do it.’
But what’s needed, of course, he says, is to make learning the starting point, to go back to the beginning and use the power and freedom that technology bestows to think of learning, and school itself, in a different way.
‘Never before have schools had such massive access to content, such ability for students to learn from each other….That creates a new dynamic.’
The possibility arises, for example of challenging the whole notion of a fixed school day, or a school calendar (meaning ‘timetable’ to us I’d say.)
In the context of BETT, what Antony Salcito says raises, for me, this question.
How many of the products on show have the potential to create that new dynamic – a different approach to learning, to the idea of a class, even to the notion of what is a school? And how many will continue be seen as something to make it easier and quicker to do what’s being done already?
That’s quite a thought, and with Tim’s permission I’d like to develop it a bit in the aftermath of BETT. Meanwhile, if you still haven’t been, or you’re going again, it’s a thought you might like to keep in mind as you go round. I’ll be there Saturday. Say hello.
Thanks to those that joined as on our stand and at the Microsoft Learn Live Theatre at Bett 2013. To those that couldn’t make it, you can catch up with all the happenings right here on the schools blog.
Here are the slide decks from our sessions Head in the Cloud, Feet on the Ground and Top 10 tips to embracing the cloud.
Head in the Cloud, Feet on the Ground
How the Harris Federation built a unique “Private Cloud” solution for their academies, to both save money and improve teaching and learning.
Speakers: James Penny, Harris Federation & Mark McManus, Microsoft.
Top 10 tips to embracing the cloud in the classroom
When it comes to the cloud, Tom and Janet (both Primary School Head Teachers) know what is going to improve learning and what is just hot air. The session offered 10 powerful and practical tips to help you more effectively embrace the cloud in your classroom. Also details about the Hwb project in Wales, which is going to connect all teachers and students across the country in a pioneering national cloud service.
Speakers: Tom Rees, Simon de Senlis Primary School & Janet Hayward, Cadoxton Primary School.
Guest post by Gerald Haigh. Gerald is a freelance education writer for Microsoft.
A couple of weeks before Bett 2013, I visited Dunstall Hill Primary in Wolverhampton to see Year Five children using ‘Kodu’ on their Intel ‘Classmates’, creating their own games. We all, by now, surely get the idea that children should be learning to program. What teachers want to know, though, particularly in primary, is how to tackle it. And that, at least in Wolverhampton, is where the Local Authority support team comes in. They’ve been working with Dunstall Hill as a pioneer school for programming in the authority, and also for an associated project to develop a Programming Module launched at BETT by digital learning provider ‘Espresso Education’.
The school visit was a great experience. It was good to see a class of cheerful, well-behaved, completely engaged youngsters working in pairs to explore the possibilities of Kodu, pushing forward to create more adventurous and challenging games as they grew more confident. All were eager to show their games to me on their ‘Classmates’ and also on the classroom’s interactive whiteboard. They had lost no time in finding all the possibilities of the software, creating a wide variety of challenges. One impressive and ferocious game that I saw allowed the player one minute to navigate a course filled with scary hazards.
‘It’s called “Mission Impossible” said a child, smiling ruefully, ‘Because that’s what it is.’
I particularly enjoyed sitting with the children as they told me how they plan their games carefully on A3 paper – a crucial part of the process, and the move on to coding on the ‘Classmate’. As pupils Zak and Brwa said
‘You can make anything you want, any objective. So it’s easy at first, and then it becomes more advanced and gets harder.’
They explained, too, how they could load their games on the school’s LP+4 learning platform and either continue coding or spend some time playing – and rating – each other’s games.
Their Year Five class teacher Helen-Marie Navratil, who is Dunstall Hill’s ICT coordinator is really pleased with their progress,
‘The children were very quick to learn, and excited to be in control of their games. They’ve quickly learned to save earlier versions of their games as they go along so they, and the teacher, can follow the process and pick up errors.’
She’s enthusiastic about being an important part of this Wolverhampton project, which will eventually see programming rolled out across the City’s schools under the leadership of the Learning Technologies team.
‘We were approached by the authority to help us embrace programming,’ says Helen-Marie. ‘So we were the first school in Wolverhampton to take it on. I was doubtful to begin with -- it’s something that people don’t feel confident teaching, but I spent a few sessions working out how to use Kodu and really it was very easy in the end.’
If you keep up with these blogs, you’ve met Wolverhampton’s Learning Technologies Team before, with their head teacher consultant David Whyley. On 24 July Tim Bush posted on the Schools Blog my account of how David and his colleagues had led the installation of the SharePoint based LP+ learning platform in all 80 Wolverhampton primary schools and a growing number of secondaries.
Now, the introduction of programming with Kodu looks set to follow a similar course.
David Whyley tells the story,
‘We got our heads together to see how we could support our schools in implementing the programming aspects of the new curriculum. We looked at ‘Scratch’ and then
went to see Mark Reynolds and Stuart Ball at Microsoft who showed me Kodu. That looked absolutely ideal, and we wondered if it could be used in primary.’
Initial tryouts with schools last Summer looked promising. The team established that Kodu would run successfully on the Intel ‘Classmate’ and went on to develop a very comprehensive, very teacher and child-friendly set of support material. This includes a ‘Kodu Notebook’ explaining the game-building process step by step, graphics for the main Kodu characters, and a planning sheet both for the teacher to use on the interactive whiteboard and the children on their devices. There’s also a guide on managing the introduction of programming in terms of class management and relating the work to the curriculum
At the same time the Woleverhampton team was approached by ‘Espresso Education’ with a view to developing a programming module. As Dave Whyley explains,
‘Espresso Education is subscribed to by all primary schools in the LA with a co-ordinated LA deal. We have a past track record with Espresso for producing content and they asked us to partner with them in the production of this resource.’
As a result, the implementation of Kodu in Wolverhampton primaries, and the creation of the Espresso module have gone hand-in-hand. Both are now reaching fruition. The extensive pilot work at Dunstall Hill is about to be followed by phased rollout to other schools, and the new Espresso Computer Programming Module will be launched on the Espresso stand at BETT. David Whyley and the team are clearly delighted with the way Kodu has taken hold with the Dunstall Hill children.
‘The children love Kodu because the finished game looks like any game the children would expect to see,’ says David.
‘When they made their first games they uploaded them to the learning platform and the first night they all downloaded each others’ games.’
He gave me a glimpse of the Espresso module, which covers ‘Scratch’ as well as Kodu, and has a number of lively videos for children and for teachers as well as planning and peer assessment materials. (Dave sees Scratch, Kodu and other programming resources such as Alice, all working together to cover a range of abilities and ages.)
It’s an engaging project, and should be welcomed with open arms by teachers looking for a way of tackling programming with upper primary children.
Wolverhampton’s Learning Technologies Team is really something special. They’ve demonstrated so often how well they’ve kept the trust and support of their schools at a time when tight budgets might have affected that relationship. We’ve seen, too, how they can build useful links – last year with schools, Microsoft and Learning Possibilities (for LP+4) and now with Microsoft, Espresso Education, and, once again, forward looking primary schools.
The schools certainly recognise this. Dunstall Hill staff and children are very aware of, and grateful for, their pioneering role, and Head Bethan Francis said,
‘It’s a privilege to take on this project as the first school in Wolverhampton to be involved. When I come into the classroom it’s wonderful to see the children all engaged and enjoy their comments, and I’m grateful for the support of the local authority.’
Espresso Education’s Computer Programming Module ‘Produced in partership with Wolverhampton City Council’, was launched on the Espresso Education Stand (D90) at BETT 2013 – did you catch it?
Details of the module here