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  • 06/22/14--12:36: Kodu Kup 2014 UK Finalists
  • We are pleased to announce this year’s finalists for the UK KoduKup. Their achievement is even more remarkable as over 300,000 pupils in the UK have been using Kodu.The Kodu Kup finals.
Photograph: Rosie Hallam.

    Each team will be invited to compete at the KoduKup final held at Microsoft Headquarters in Reading on the 17th July. Where they will battle it out for the covered title of KoduKup champions and a chance to compete in the KoduKup Europe in Brussels later in the year.

    So please join me in congratulating:-


    • ​Team Fly Fish - Human Body (Hampden Gurney School)
      • Teacher: Kiri Wilkins
    • Gryphon Games - Zack's Amazing Adventures (Exmoor Coast Federation)
      • Teacher: Siobhan Morgan
    • Minion Productions - Trapped in Your Own Mind (Hitherfield Primary School)
      • Teacher: Luke Parker
    • Cardross Primary (Scottish finalists)


    • ​Phantoms of Gaming - The Grand Master (Lister Community School)
      • Teacher: Shalee Begum -
    • Madd Hatt Games - Confined (​Uppingham Community College)
      • Teacher: Ray Chambers
    • Stargamer Studios - Defeat the Devildroid (Highgate School)
      • Teacher: Mark O'Connor
    • Seemakhawk - Kodu Eruption (awaiting school name)
      • Teacher: Norman King

    ​Judges Choice

    • ​Team Missile - Jetpack Joyride (Hampden Gurney School)
      •   Teacher: Kiri Wilkins
    • Illustration Masters - Mad Mazes (Marsden Primary School)
      • Teacher: Jay Stansfield
    • Haverstock Girl Gamers - Mission Saviour (Haverstock)
      • Teacher: Cameron Akitt -
    • Sweet Rain Productions - Doodle's Arcade Crisis (Lister Community School)
      • Teacher: Shalee Begum

    All these games will be available on the Kodu Game Lab site shortly, for you to download and try.

    Thank you to all those schools who entered this year, you have grown KoduKup to an even bigger success. The standard of entries was amazing, your students are truly the computational thinkers of the future.

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  • 06/26/14--08:09: Kodu Kup 2014 Finalists
  • Posted on June 26, 2014 by Nicki Cooper – HRH Queen of Kodu

    Following the success of last year’s Kodu Kup competition I am very much looking forward to sitting on the judging panel again this year. So far I have taken on the role of shortlisting the entries which proved to be a long job with so many!

    Games list

    At this point I thought it would be a good idea to share with you the list of finalists and tell you about their games, to download a game you can click on its name.

    • Clan Kodu from Cardross Primary is the group that won the Scottish heat of the Kodu Kup with their game, “Maze Adventures” in which Kodu has to navigate around a variety of different mazes of varying difficulty.
    • Hampden Gurney are back for a second year with their group, Team Fly Fish and their game, “Human Body” in which you take on the role of a white blood cell to help the human body defeat the bacteria.
    • Gryphon Games from Exmoor Coast Federation and their game “Zack’s Amazing Adventures” begins with a lovely intro sequence and progresses to a range of mini games to complete along the way.
    • Minion Productions from Hitherfield Primary have come up with a game called “Trapped in your own Mind“, which is set inside a dream in which the character is trapped and has to escape.
    SecondaryGrand Master
    • Madd Hatt Games from Uppingham Community College have produced a futuristic game in the style of Portal called “Confined“,  in which the player has to complete various tests to progress through the game to defeat an evil robot at the end. I really liked how much planning has clearly gone into each of the tests.
    • From Lister Community School are the Phantoms of Gaming with their game, “The Grand Master“, a very challenging game which starts with an evacuation, followed by the main character having to track down the “Elder Kodu” in order to defeat the Grand Master. Very challenging and fun to play!
    • Stargamer Studios from Highgate School are also through to our finals with their game, “Defeat the Devil Droid” which is a fun selection of minigames to complete after the main character is captured by the evil “Devil Droid”.
    • Last of our secondary entries is the team from Handsworth Grammar School, Seemakhaawk, and their game “Kodu Eruption” in which the player has to escape from a volcanic island by collecting all of the pieces to make a teleportation device.
    Judges ChoiceMissionSaviour

    This is an additional category for those who have shown great imagination in their games but haven’t necessarily included an in-depth storyline:

    • Haverstock Girl Gamers have produced some particularly well-designed levels with their game “Mission Saviour” in which you play an anti-virus bot removing viruses from the computer’s circuit board.
    • Another entry from Lister Community School is Sweet Rain Productions with “Doodle’s Arcade Crisis” that has a simple but effective storyline in which the player is sucked into an arcade machine and has to play through the various arcade games to escape.
    • Marsden Primary School’s team, Illustration Masters, have created a game called “Mad Mazes” and although this doesn’t have a specific story it does feature a range of talking characters and the world has been well designed.
    • Hampden Gurney’s other entry, this time by Team Missile also features in this category with their game “Jetpack Joyride” which has similarities to Lister’s entry as the player also finds them self sucked into an arcade machine and playing mini-games to escape.

    It was a tough job shortlisting all of the entries and I think it will be even tougher selecting a winner from each category at the final, which will feature each team presenting themselves “Dragons Den style” at Microsoft HQ in Reading on 17th July. Luckily there will be four judges on the day to decide!

    If your school entered the Kodu Kup but did not make it through to the finals, don’t worry, there’s always next year! For Participation Certificatesnow we have put together certificates for you to give out to those who have entered. Click the image download:

    Good luck and congratulations to all our finalists, I’m looking forward to meeting all of you on 17th July!

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    blog by Simon Johnson – Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator and Wolves supporter


    Last week was the 6th annual Computing At School (CAS) National Conference. The conference, which was attended by more that 300 delegates, provided an opportunity for teachers to find out about the new curriculum. It also gave teachers the chance to meet and learn from other experienced educators about how to introduce computer science in the classroom.

    As well as attending a number of inspiring and thought provoking workshops, I was asked to deliver a workshop of my own on behalf of Microsoft on how to use TouchDevelop to support the new Computing Curriculum. I can honestly say it felt an honour to be delivering a workshop along side the likes of Paul Curzon, Mark Dorling and Phil Gardner (to name but a few). It was also great to chat with other educators about how they plan to and, in some cases, how they are already using TouchDevelop to support the delivery of the new curriculum.

    Unfortunately, due to reasons out of my control, not everyone was able to attend. This was a little disappointing, especially given the size of the computer labs. However, at the request of those who were unable make the workshop, below is attached a brief synopsis of the workshop along with resources used in the session. If you have any further questions about the resources in this session, or want to find out more about TouchDevelop, please don't hesitate to ask!

    What is TouchDevelop?

    TouchDevelop is an online app creation tool from Microsoft Research. Originally designed to develop Windows Phone 7 apps, the TouchDevelop Web App now allows you to develop Windows Store apps suitable for Windows 8 touch screen devices and runs on iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Linux. There is also a dedicated TouchDevelop app on the Windows Phone 8.   

    Why use TouchDevelop?

    No installation required

    · HTML 5 based so all you need is a web enabled device and an up-to-date web browser (No installation or plugins needed)

    Visual programming environment

    · Students aren't snarled up with syntax

    Works on a variety devices

    · Supported by a number of platforms (Windows, Android, iOS) and majority of web browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome)

    Bridges the gap

    · Bridges the gap between BYOB programming environments (such as Scratch and App Inventor) and higher level languages (such as C++, Java and Python etc.)

    Cloud based

    • Anywhere / anytime learning

    • Students have a global audience for their work


    • Students can share their apps with a community of other developers and get feedback on their work

    Encourages Indie game development

    • Looks great on a student's C.V. - especially if the student has published their app to the Windows / Android app store

    Workshop Synopsis

    I started by introducing TouchDevelop and explaining the benefits of using TouchDevelop in the classroom. I then directed delegates to the TouchDevelop Web App and demonstrated how to get started.

    I followed this with a simple (step-by-step) tutorial using the Turtle library in TouchDevelop. The turtle library is a great tool for introducing students to algorithms. It's also great for introducing iteration as well as discussing the benefits of optimizing code.

    Once everyone had got to grips with the turtle library, I challenged them to try out some of the tutorials (below).


    Resources used in the session:

    Links - TouchDevelop Web App - SoW, lesson plans, tutorials and resources to support the use of TouchDevelop in the classroom

    Tutorials (from the session)

    Turtle tutorial

    My first steps with turtle (step-by-step tutorial)

    Dice app tutorial

    Dice app tutorial (Click here)


    Tap a mole tutorial

    Tap a mole tutorial (Click here)

    Flappy Bird tutorial

    Flapp Bird tutorial (Click here)

    TouchDevelop Turing Test (Chat bot tutorial)

    Lesson plan to support "chat bot tutorial"

    Turing Test Tutorial (Click here)


    Other useful resources

    touchdevelop hour of code– official tutorials from the touchdevelop team.

    Build your first app - free online course from Microsoft.

    touchdevelop challenge hour of code– step-by-step tutorials created to support the UK hour of code.

    touchdevelop Challenge - series of lessons and challenges to get students building games and apps with touchdevelop.

    games4learning - Created by David Renton (Extended Lecturer in Games Development: Reid Kerr College, Scotland) A series of YouTube tutorials which introduce students to game design using touchdevelop.

    Ray Chambers' touchdevelop Scheme of Work - A complete scheme of work for touchdevelop which sees students design and create an app from scratch.

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    blogexpOne of the most requested apps I get asked for by Teachers is‘Explain Everything’ and ‘Is it available for Windows devices?’ I am pleased to say now it is. Released this week in the Windows Store, one of the top rated ipad apps is now available for Windows devices.

    Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.
    Create slides, draw in any colour, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer. Rotate, move and arrange any object added to the stage. Record and playback your screencast.

    It feature the ability to

    • Add new or existing photos and PDF files
    • Use a variety of tools to edit and annotate
    • Record and playback all actions
    • Export MP4 movies, PNG images and editable .explain project files directly from your Windows 8.1. tablet / Desktop
    • Import files from OneDrive


    Download Explain Everything from the Windows Store

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    TrophyThe 2nd UK Kodu Kup brought together 12 teams, representing 10 schools from around the UK, to compete for the coveted title of ‘Kodu Kup Champions’. The competition proved again that the ‘Computing’ Curriculum is not just about coding, but develops,creativity, challenge and collaboration.

    The quality of the games produced , the attention to detail of all the teams was incredible, these young people are a credit to themselves and their schools.

    After 3 hours of competition the final heated judges deliberation produced the following winners:-

    Primary School Kodu ChampionsExmoor Federation School– a team of 7 year olds called Gryphon Games, who had developed a whole range of merchandise to support their game.

    Secondary School Kodu  ChampionsUppingham Community College– three 14 year old boys who even composed a song to present their great game

    The Queen of Kodu award, for support of women in technology – Haverstock Secondary school , who created an ethical themed game to support the #likeagirl campaign.

    The Judges AwardCardross Primary School from Glasgow , who impressed with their all delivery of a great game and imaginative Presentation.

    A special highly commended ‘Showstopper’ award was given to Marsden Primary School, for a fantastic and entertaining presentation , they used puppets they had made based on their game.

    The over all champions were chosen from these four main categories. The judges felt the team that had developed not only the best game, that had detail, skill and imagination, but also created a compelling back story and an impressive business plan was Uppingham Community College. They are officially the 2014 Kodu Kup Champions and will represent the UK in  Kodu Kup Europe in October.

    Please join me in congratulating them and all the teams – #kodukup



    Kodu Kup Champions 2014



    Uppingham Community College



    photos courtesy of Gerald Haigh

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    I have had Office 365 described to me in many ways! ‘It’s Microsoft’s version of Google Apps, or What happened to Office version 364?’ “Hmmm…. Well it’s …..’

    It’s often difficult to help teachers and schools in a short conversation, to envisage what Office 365 can do and how it can deliver for them a whole cloud based solution.

    Luckily, my Microsoft in Education colleagues in South Africa have created a fantastic and comprehensive collection of resources that can help anyone understand and explore the myriad of possibilities that Office 365 offers.

    Many thanks to Angela Schaerer ( @angschaerer on Twitter) for sharing this .


    Office 365 for Education

    Office 365 for Education Provisioning Guide

    » Getting started
    » Signing up for Office 365
    » Adding users (individually)
    » Adding users (bulk users)
    » Version upgrade
    » Technical stuff
    » Glossary
    Download the full guide

    Communication with email, contacts and calendar

    » Email, calendars and contacts
    » Scenario: Connecting other accounts to email
    » Scenario: People and contacts
    » Scenario: Setting up and using distribution groups
    » Scenario: Staff communication and info gathering
    » Scenario: Staff professional development
    » Scenario: Using and sharing calendars
    Download the full guide

    Productivity with Office Online* and OneDrive**

    Using Office Online through SharePoint
    » Using Office Online through OneDrive
    » Scenario: Using Office Online for assessment
    » Scenario: Using OneNote for student ePortfolios
    » Scenario: Using an Excel Online survey
    Download the full guide

    Connect with the world using Lync and instant messaging

    Using Lync in your school or education institution
    » Scenario: Scheduling a Lync meeting
    » Scenario: Student revision session
    » Scenario: Using a Lync meeting
    » Scenario: Using IM for out of school help
    Download the full guide

    Shared workspaces for collaboration and creativity using SharePoint Sites

    Setting up SharePoint
    Setup guide for SharePoint for Education
    » Scenario: Setting up a public website
    » Scenario: Creating a subsite
    Download the full guide

    Using SharePoint in Education
    Setting up a personal SharePoint site
    » Scenario: Using the Survey App
    » Scenario: Using a team site in SharePoint
    » Scenario: Setting up a student site
    » Scenario: Class projects & assignment submission
    Download the full guide

    Safe and secure social networking with Yammer   

    » Setting up and using Yammer
    » 20 ways to use Yammer in Education
    Download the full guide

    50 ways to connect your learning with your life with Office 365

    » 50 ways to use Office 365 for Education
    Download the full guide

    *Formerly known as Office Web Apps. **Formerly known as SkyDrive.

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    Guest Post written by James Cross

    James is MediaCore's Director of Education, and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He loves learning, technology, design, and things that bleep.

    Today's students are the ‘Netflix Generation’ — they've  grown up in a world where video is available instantly, on-demand, and on any device. In fact, college–age students in the 18 - 24 age bracket are the biggest consumers of online video — with each watching an average of 398 online videos per month.

    With video now accounting for 43% of all online traffic — (and that predicted to double by 2016) — forward–thinking colleges and universities are looking to explore the rich educational possibilities video can offer.

    Students at these institutions are no strangers to video: they increasingly watch it on mobile devices, consume content across multiple screens, and love creating their own videos. Because of this, it's vital for any instructor incorporating video into their course to fully understand why video can be such an effective tool for teaching the Netflix Generation:


    Video resonates with students

    As a medium, video resonates with students like no other. This resonance carries through to learning materials, too;

    online video, when incorporated in to online and blended approaches to learning, can have a powerful impact on students’ engagement.

    Video puts students in control of their learning

    Every student is different: They learn in different ways and at different paces. We now know that the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the traditional lecture isn’t the best way to support their learning.

    Online video, on the other hand, gives them the same control over their learning that they have over their entertainment content: they can watch, rewind and re–watch as many times as they need to, and revisit content at any point in the future when they need a refresher.

    Video takes advantage of the devices in students’ hands

    Traditional educational resources such as PowerPoint files and Word documents don’t translate very well to the devices students are using for their learning today, and they certainly don’t take advantage of the power and portability of modern smartphones and tablets.

    But video does: the growth of online video has gone hand-in-hand with the growth of smartphones and tablets (there’s a reason your iPhone’s screen is the same 16:9 ratio as most video content!). Video leverages mobile devices for learning in a powerful and impactful way.

    Video is a powerful medium for learning

    Video can capture the essence of a great professor or instructor, which is why we’ve seen tremendous growth in online video learning resources like the Khan Academy over the past few years.

    Video is especially powerful in subjects with practical elements, such as medicine, veterinary science, drama, physical education and music. With video, medical procedures and student performances can be captured and safely shared, in full HD — allowing students to learn, and access material any time, in a highly visual and engaging way.

    clip_image004Video lets students take their learning anywhere

    Online video is highly portable. In conjunction with new handheld technologies and networks such as 4G/LTE, students can access HD quality video–based learning content at any time and place — allowing them to take their learning with them wherever they go.

    Colleges and universities are increasingly incorporating learning experiences outside of the traditional lecture setting — such as industry placements. With mobile video, students can access their learning materials on-demand during these placements, enhancing and enriching the learning experience.

    In the time that we've been helping institutions develop and realise their video strategies, we've seen time and time again how, when used properly, video can to transform teaching and learning — both in and outside of the classroom. We compiled some of what we've learned in a free eBook about The Netflix Generation, including offering actionable strategies for engaging today's students using video, and a complete overview of the technology an institution can take advantage of to do this.

    You can download the free eBook here. And, if you have any personal stories of how video has affected your teaching or learning, please get in touch — I'd love to hear from you. Follow James on Twitter @JamesRCross.

    You can download the Windows 8.1 Mediacore App from the Windows Store

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    Ray Chambers, (@lanky_boi_ray) Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and award winning teacher, describes how and why he got his students involved in Kodu Kup UK. Ray shares his thoughts on this year great event.

    Last year saw the launch of the Kodu Kup UK and it was amazing to see all of the entries and the hard work being put into each of the entry. This year I launched the Kodu Kup in my school, Uppingham College in Northampton, in a big way and went into a few assemblies and told the students about the opportunities. When I mentioned that the students had the opportunity to go to the Microsoft HQ in Reading, their eyes lit up.

    In year 7/8 we have been doing a lot of programming over the last 2 years. We decided to get a head start on the new curriculum and have been using Kodu as a way in for our students. They connect with it and they relate to it. Our students use Xbox controllers to program their games, but you can use alternatives such as the keyboard and mouse.

    This year the brief had changed slightly and the students were allowed to make a game on whatever they wanted! They had to come up with a concept, studio name and all of the background information for their game. We had a number of entries from Uppingham Community College but were really shocked when we were shortlisted. It was such an honour to get just a nod to say congrats on your hard work.

    clip_image001This meant that the team ‘MADD HATT GAMES’ were invited to Reading on the 17th of July to present their game concept. The interesting thing is that it’s a bit of a fairy tail this story. When I told the students we all realised that the date of the competition was the date we were all due to go France on a trip. The students weren’t sure whether they would be able to cancel their places on the trip. They went home and spoke to parents and decided that they would cancel and give their place up for another student. What a choice to make, particularly when it’s a whole year group residential.

    The students in this team were Joe Banerjee, Alfie Finch-Crichley and Jonathan Haley. They were a group made up from year 7 and year 8 and had been working on their Kodu game at home through the use of Skype. They would share their levels and collaborate in order to make sure their game was effective.

    We arrived at the train station in the morning and the students had so much ‘kit’ with them. It was interesting to see all the work they had put in. They had brought a guitar, monopoly board, key chains and even loom bands! These guys meant business. After a 2-3 journey on trains and bus’s we arrived at the Microsoft HQ to be greeted by lots of lovely people. The students were very humbled by many of the people who struck up conversation but you could see they were really nervous.

    The first half of the morning brought excitement. There were many schools who stood out for me. A primary school ‘Exmoor Federation School’ had a team of 7 year olds who went by the name of ‘Gryphon Games’. These guys were so on point. There was a young lad called ‘Guy’ who knew the game inside out and had a lot of charisma. I really enjoyed their presentation and it was great to see some of their merchandise they had produced. They did a fantastic job.

    Another group who stood out were a group of young women who were encouraging women to get into technology. They had a great campaign behind them ‘#likeagirl’. The idea being that many people stereotype and say things like ‘you do it like a girl’. They were proud to be girls and they wanted to show that they like things just like any other person. It was a great message and I can see big things on the horizon for them.

    clip_image002We broke for lunch (the important bit) and it was interesting to see what MADD HATT GAMES were tweeting. They were clearly loving the lunch provided by Microsoft. I have to say, I love the mini cheeseburgers.

    It was after the lunch break that it was time for MADDHATTGAMES to present their game. They started off by talking about the team and explaining where they were from. They took some pride in coming from the smallest county in England ‘Rutland’ and they made a point of this which made me chuckle. They told jokes and then the merchandise game out. They had talked about some of it on the train but their presentation really showed how much they wanted it.


    clip_image003They had included onesie’s, flip flops and even went as far to talk about making games consoles! I was impressed! They then presented the audience with Kodu Loom bands and even some key chains. They had put together a business plan! Things were only just getting started, the next minute they pull out their guitar and perform a song in front of the whole audience. This takes guts, I couldn’t do this and I commend them for doing this. They finished their presentation and you could see the relief on their face. The hard work was done.

    A few more schools presented but they were all just as good. In the second half, the school that really stood out for me was ‘Marsden Primary School’. They Had a lovely group of students but they had presented a little puppet show to show the concept and they also had a lot of fun with it. When they invited a judge up for a live demo of their game, another judge chuckled. At this point, the little girl invited the other judge up saying that it was rude to point. They were lovely and had the whole room laughing for the right reasons.

    We all had to leave the room next while they made their decisions! I remember having to make decisions like this in the past and it is not easy! There was so much talent in their room and so much drive from each student that they all wanted it. Microsoft were nice and gave us Ice Cream while we waited and it was a great opportunity for the students to talk to each other and to other people.


    clip_image004When it came to the secondary school award, you could feel the tension with my students, they were all looking at each other like ‘who could it be’. Then they announced that they were the winner of the secondary school category. Their faces were priceless, they were in shock as they stood on the stage with their mouths open. That wasn’t it yet though! They had to announce the overall winner of the Kodu Kup. This would be the person who goes on to represent the UK in Belgium! The judges spoke to each other just to confirm they all had the right person and this just added to the tension. You could see all of them on the stage wondering who it could be. It was lovely that the girls from Afon Taf came to present the award to the rest of the groups so that they could pass it on to the new Kodu Kup champions. They calmed people down and explained how difficult it was to be in the situation last time and then announced the over all winner.


    If you thought their faces were shocked before… you should have seen it now. It didn’t really sink in. They were all looking at each other and I don’t think they believed their ears. Teachers get disgruntled from time to time about changes being made to teaching etc… but this is what it is all about! Seeing your students succeed and being so thankful about it. They came back off the stage and were like Oh ‘SIR! We Won!’ it was just such a great feeling for them. I could see the amount of hours on top of homework and school work that had gone into that presentation and I was so happy to see them rewarded for it. They’re all very excited and have already started planning their game on different platforms ready for the final. I wish them the best of luck and I hope they’re having a fantastic summer.

    Thanks again to all the schools that made this year’s Kodu Kup such a great event. We will let you know how Madd Hatt Games get on in Kodu Kup Europe in October.

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    image_thumb[1]All great brands change their name at some point without diminishing the brilliance of the product . Who remembers  Opal Fruits to Starburst , Jif to Cif and of course Marathon to Snickers. During the past 10 years I have been involved with Microsoft we have been the Innovative Teachers Network, the  Partners in Learning Network and now I am pleased to announce our new name, the Microsoft Educator Network.

    We still have all the great resources , hot topic discussions and great global community of teachers that you have always known us for . Please update your favourites with a new URL . Your login details will be exactly the same. If you haven’t joined yet then it’s free and you will get access to a huge range of professional development tools.

    You can sign in using your Live ID or your login for Facebook, Office 365 , Yahoo or GMail, we won’t spam you with any emails unless you request information us.

    Being a member will give you an  opportunity to become a Microsoft Educator Expert, details which will announce shortly. Or your school can apply to join an elite global community of Showcase Schools. Finally, if you, your colleagues and school are looking for free Professional development and skills review then our Free Teaching with Technology course is ideal and is one of 6 free courses you can access as a member of the Microsoft Educator Network.


    Click to Sign up today – Microsoft Educator Network



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    A guest blog post from James Stuttard. who brilliantly describes the start of their 1:1 journey at Spratton Hall School , Northampton

    In the spring of 2012 I was sat in a heads of department meeting in the Library. Surrounded by books and the 20 aged computers, the future of the Teaching and Learning at our school was being debated. Ideas were thrashed around, concepts and acronyms shouted across the floor and the discussion was getting jolly exciting! Every idea that was proposed faced a problem; at peak times, we did not have enough computer rooms to satisfy demand. It was clear, however we changed Learning at Spratton, we needed to massively increase our IT provision.

    We weren’t comfortable with the idea of BOYD, and the school's governors didn't like the idea of leasing devices to the pupils. The proliferation of low cost, but powerful Windows 8 devices made it slightly cheaper to give a tablet to each child in a number of year groups then it would cost us to replace our 3 IT Suites. Microsoft's offering, the trifactor of a Store with modern apps, the compatibility with our existing equipment and management tools we were used to, was a compelling choice for us.

    Staff needed to be using the same platform as the pupils, and they need more time to adapt to the tools that the pupils picked up in minutes.

    We bought all teachers a powerful Windows 8 Tablet, and signed the school up to Office 365. We then embarked on an extensive training program with teaching staff, where we broke them into small groups that met each week for 40 minutes. The thing we kept emphasizing within the training is how modern tools like the amazing OneNote app can be used to support learning and how to cope with 20 devices in a classroom.

    Teachers, well some took to it immediately and some needed more time. We established a small list of suggested tools to complete different tasks, and focused on them with the most nervous.

    This summer we have bought 100 Toshiba Encore devices for the first group of pupils to use. The school's Digital Leaders helped pick it out, they liked how fast Kodu ran on it, the Head Teacher loved the price and I loved the support we got from Toshiba and Microsoft - 6 free days of training from Tablet Academy!

    You cannot give each child a device and have Office covered under your normal EES Licensing, it is for shared computers only. Thankfully, there is something called Student Advantage and it is simply a brilliant solution. Working with our reseller, NS Optimium we were their first customer to take up Student Advantage as a free license option on our EES renewal and it couldn't have been easier to do.

    Setting up Student Advantage took 4 minutes to sort out.

    Once NS Optimum added Student Advantage to our EES, all we had to do is add the license key to Office 365. Then it's like applying a license to any user. It was so quick I thought I had made a mistake. Student Advantage even lets us use the fabulous Microsoft Office iOS app with the handful of ipads we use in some parts of the school.

    It won't change everything just yet

    This is a project that is seriously long term, it is going to take time for our Teachers and Pupils to get used to using tablet devices in their lessons, we are going to continue the regular staff training, and our digital leaders are going to be even more important in supporting our work.


    Click here if If you want to know more about Student Advantage

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    Have you started back to school and have thought,’ I wondered what else I could do?’ I remember that moment. Luckily for me I found an opportunity with with Microsoft. Now it could be you! Tablet Academy in association with Microsoft  are looking for the right person to be part of an exciting project based at our London Offices in Victoria.

    We are looking for a teacher/trainer/consultant with excellent knowledge of the Microsoft Windows platform and use of mobile devices in a school environment

    Have a look at the details below. If you have questions – Tweet me  @innovativeteach

    The closing date is soon. So get in touch if you have questions or an interest.

    It could be you ..


    • £40,000 per annum plus potential bonuses/commissions.
    • Reasonable Travel Expenses to the place of work at Cardinal Place (Victoria)
    • One-year contract with potential longer-term employment opportunities.
    • 1st October 2014 start date or a soon as.
    • Full time position (40 hours per week)


    3 days a week delivering the Windows 8 experience at the centre:
    •    Hosting experiential days for senior educators, ministers, teachers and industry partners within the purpose built environment.
    •    Developing new learning experiences within the purpose built environment.
    •    Teaching/presenting/training within the space.
    •    Promoting activities online through social media and blogs.
    •    Supporting Microsoft and it's partners to develop new ideas for innovative use of the space.
    2 days a week supporting the Tablet Academy within the UK:
    •    Delivering on-site CPD for teachers at schools.
    •    Delivering workshops in schools with students using tablets and technology.
    •    Developing learning materials and lesson plans around the use of tablets in the classroom (from home).
    •    Supporting Tablet Academy and Partner events through delivering hands-on activities and potential Keynote presentations. 
    •    Business development (from home).

    Required Skills and competencies

    •    Experience and understanding of teaching using technology creatively. 
    •    A passion for Microsoft Technologies.
    •    A good understanding of cloud technologies such as Office 365 which supports the Microsoft Cloud First / Mobile First philosophy.
    •    Comfortable with tablet pedagogies, 21st century teaching and learning and new pedagogic approaches.
    •    An understanding of the responsibilities a teacher has in their day-to-day role within a school.
    •    Ability to adapt and learn new technologies.
    •    Good communication/presentation skills for hosting and training.
    •    Organisational skills required for managing your own diary and responsibilities.
    •    Creative thinking involved in developing and delivering engaging lessons.
    •    Good social media skills or eagerness to engage in social media.
    •    Able to commute/work in London.


    •    The successful candidate will manage his or her own day-to-day diary and tasks. 
    •    They will report direct to the Tablet Academy and Managing Director Mark Yorke.
    •    They will receive full Tablet Academy support in the form of email, office 365 account and CPD support if required.
    •    They will also communicate directly with the Microsoft Education team regarding the centre activities.


    •    You will be expected to take holiday during the school holidays identified by the City of London Council.
    •    Your contract will include 30 days paid holiday including public Bank Holidays.


    Further information

    To Apply

    •    Applicants should email a covering letter highlighting why you feel you would be right for the position along with an up-to-date CV to
    •    Posted applications can be sent to Tablet Academy, Red House Glass Cone, High Street, Wordsley, Stourbridge, DY8 4AZ.

    Application closing date

    •    12th September 2014.
    •    Successful candidates will be informed on by the 13th September 2014

    Interview date

    •    Successful candidates will be invited to attend an interview at Microsoft Offices, Cardinal Place, Victoria, London on 25th September 2014 (am)
    •    Candidates will be asked to deliver a 10 minute presentation about their experiences in teaching with tablets and Microsoft technologies followed by questions from a panel of 4-5 people from Tablet Academy and the Microsoft Education team.

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    Educators will be familiar with Blooms Taxonomy of Educational objectives, which classifies orders of thinking. Now Microsoft has a range of tools specifically designed to support pupils through this learning journey. Join us in exploring exciting new ways to learn in an effective, personal and more immersive way than ever before.


    View our new apps in education infographic below. The infographic can also be downloaded via our SlideShare channel.

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    Eve Psalti , Director of Microsoft Partners in Learning invites Educators across the UK to apply for the opportunity to join one of the biggest global communities in Education.


    At Microsoft, we believe that technology alone cannot build 21st century skills for students. Technology is an accelerator, but alone it does not enable change.  We believe in the power of the educator, and the impact educators can have when they are brought together and recognized for their achievements. 

    Microsoft offers engagement opportunities aimed at empowering educators like you effectively use technology to develop your students’ 21st century skills. Join over a million educators, helping over 190 million students in over 200 countries who are shaping the future of education by becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator – Expert (MiE – Expert).

    As some of the world’s most innovative educators, MIE Experts advance the conversation about improving student outcomes through innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Participants of the program can expect:

    • Free Microsoft tools and technology
    • Access to a Windows 8.1 device
    • Exclusive professional development opportunities
    • To develop your personal “brand” and career as a thought leader by participating in case studies, speaking engagements and content development
    • Eligibility to earn an all-expense paid trip to the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Redmond, Washington in March 2015.

    As an MiE – Expert your role in the Community will be to:

    • Build educator capacity for using technology in teaching and learning to improve student learning
    • Advise Microsoft and education institutions on how to integrate technology in pedagogically sound ways
    • Be an advocate at conferences, events and trainings for how Microsoft technology can improve learning

    imageGet started with 4 easy steps:

    Step One: Review program commitment

    Your commitment as a MIE Expert is to be an advocate for using Microsoft technology to improve student learning. In a year, MIE Experts typically:

    • -Attend 8-10 webinars to learn about and give feedback on new technologies and education concepts
    • -Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training or coaching educators and inviting them to join the Microsoft Educator Network (educators at your school and/or 200 others)
    • -Develop your own capacity as a thought leader:
      • -Speak at 2 or more conferences
      • -Regularly contribute to social media such as Facebook and Twitter referencing #MSFTEDU
      • -Author one blog every quarter referencing Free Tools or Hot Topics blogs on MSEN
      • -Participate in at least 4 teach meets showcasing Microsoft technology

    Step Two: Join the Microsoft Educator Network (MSEN)

    Join the Microsoft Educator Network and fully complete your profile

    Step Three: Submit a learning activity

    Submit a learning activity. Learning activities are typically a project-based or inquiry-based activities that exemplify the use of 21st century teaching practices. The best past learning activities have included references to the 21st Century Learning Design rubrics, included examples of students’ work, and a video explaining the learning activity. All learning activities should be submitted in English to apply to become a MIE Expert. See learning activities from MIE Experts.

    Step Four: Send an email to  with a link to your profile and a link to your learning activity on the Microsoft Educator Network before 15 October, 2014.

    Any question please send an email to Mandeep Atwal –

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    Tell us how SURFACE TABLETS could transform your lessons and win a set FOR YOUR ENTIRE CLASS!



    Calling All Students and Teachers!! You Can Win 35 Surface RT Microsoft Tablets

    Tablets and mobile devices are transforming the classroom. Do you have any innovative ideas on how tablets can positively impact teaching or learning in YOUR school? Perhaps you would use apps to create engaging maths tutorials, or film your science experiments and collaborate on results. We would like you to share these ideas through a short video or animation for a chance to win 35 Microsoft Surface RT tablets for your entire class!  The competition is open to all UK Schools to students and teachers of all key stages. Schools may submit up to 3 entries

    Tablets for Schools and Microsoft are excited to be working together to bring this competition to all full-time students and teachers in UK schools. Winners will be announced on the Tablets for Schools and Microsoft Websites on the 18th November, and will also contacted via email.

    Here’s what you need to do….

    1. Check out the judging criteria and understand the competition rules.[Download the rules here] Note that videos must be quite short – between 2 to 3 minutes long. The Competition period runs from 12.01:00 am GMT on 14th September until 11.59:59 p.m. GMT on 14th November (inclusive) . Schools can submit up to 3 entries.
    2. Come up with a theme or style around which to base your idea– this could be anything from Shakespearean plays to the latest dance craze. Use your imagination!
    3. Upload your videos to Youtube
    4. Submit the YouTube video link to the following email:T4S-surface-competition[at] by 14th November. You have to submit your full details ; Name of School, Teacher’s Name, Student’s Name, email and contact phone of the School,  plus a confirmation of parental permission for students involved. By entering the competition you agree with the full Terms and Conditions. [Download the Terms & Conditions here]
    5. If you have any questions, please forward them toT4S-surface-competition[at]
    6. Winning entries will be determined on 18th November. Finalists will be published on the T4S and Microsoft Websites.

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    image image

    A series of events for school leaders and technologically innovative teachers to experience how Windows 8 Tablets can help transform the classroom through hands-on immersive activities delivered by the Tablet Academy.

    Leading a revolution in learning through the use of mobile devices is not only the greatest challenge of our generation; it is also our greatest opportunity.

    The right technology in the hands of teachers, with access to the best solutions and pedagogical training will create a force that truly transforms education across the UK.

    The Windows platform has been at the heart of information technology in schools and businesses for almost 40 years and is now well positioned to support the use of mobile devices in all sectors.

    It is for this reason that we would like to invite school leaders and technologically innovative teachers from state and independent schools across England, Scotland and Wales to an immersive hands-on session with the Tablet Academy in order for them to acquire a full appreciation of what the Windows 8 Tablet platform has to offer in an educational setting.

    Delegates will be issued with an 8" Windows 8.1 Pro tablet that will be used during the event and is theirs to keep and use back in the classroom. image

    Delegates can choose to attend:

    Morning event (9.00 -12.00)
    Afternoon event (13.00 -16.00).

    Some venues will be offering tour delegates free entry or actvities either side of the times outlined above. Further details will be provided on your tickets.

    Price: £105.00 (+VAT)
    including 8" Windows 8 Pro Tablet.

    No boring conference centres or hotels for these sessions. These will be taking place in some of the greatest tourist attractions in the UK. A castle, a Zoo, a Palace and the Eden project are just some of the great venues.

    Sign up to the session nearest you here -

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    Originally posted on the Office Blog

    We’ve been tremendously proud over the years to see OneNote helping teachers revolutionize learning in their classrooms.


    Across the country and around the world, we’ve seen many classrooms innovating with OneNote to power 21st century digital learning experiences by:OneNote class notebooks

    • Empowering students to take visual notes with ease—place images, text, printouts, tables, ink, screenshots and files in OneNote’s “anything, anywhere” freeform canvas.
    • Eliminating paper by replacing printouts on paper with printouts to OneNote.
    • Combining OneNote with the creative power of digital ink, especially on Surface Pro 3, to deliver the most natural digital educational experiences possible.

    These types of experiences with OneNote in the classroom inspired the OneNote team, in partnership with Microsoft Research and Microsoft China, to develop the concept of the OneNote class notebook.  The OneNote Class Notebook Creator app helps teachers quickly set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities—all within one powerful notebook.

    Built on Office 365 and SharePoint Online, the OneNote Class Notebook Creator saves teachers time and boosts classroom efficiency by:

    • Making it easier to collect homework, quizzes, exams and handouts.
    • Enabling all student work and teacher feedback to be exchanged automatically in one place virtually anytime, anywhere.
    • Combining real-time, individualized coaching of a shared notebook with the collaborative creativity of OneNote and digital handwriting.

    The app creates a OneNote class notebook, which is organized into three areas:

    • Student notebooks: Private notebooks that are shared between the teacher and each individual student. Teachers can access these notebooks at any time, but students cannot see each other’s notebooks.
    • Content library: A place where teachers can handout course materials to students.
    • Collaboration space: A space for anyone in the class to share, organize and collaborate.

    Like OneNote, the app is free for educators with Office 365 and is available today in the Office Store. Visit to learn more about OneNote, including how to install it on all your devices. Follow these steps to get started with the OneNote Class Notebook Creator:

    1. IT administrator: Install the OneNote Class Notebook Creator app for teachers to use by following the installation instructions.
    1. Teachers:Learn how to create a class notebook and experience it with an interactive guide. More OneNote teacher training available at OneNote for

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    The BCS Certificate in Computer Science Teaching offers professional recognition to current teachers of Computing and demonstrates their technical and pedagogical competence, as well as their engagement with their own professional development. It is evidence-based certification provided by Computing At School and accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for ICT. There are two versions of the Certificate, one for secondary and one for primary teachers.

    The Certificate launches on 1st October and is a roll-on, roll-off programme; once registered, teachers have one year to work towards and present their evidence. Teachers have to provide three types of evidence: their CPD log, a software project, and a pedagogical investigation. Teachers who have taken Microsoft's Software Development Fundamentals MTA qualification can claim an exemption from the second part, as can teachers who have a recent computer science-related degree including a final-year software project.

    Sue Sentance, CAS Coordinator of the BCS Certificate, said "For the second part of the Certificate, we want teachers to show that they have the necessary technical skills to deliver Computing effectively in the classroom. We are confident that teachers who have undertaken the MTA (Software Development) will have demonstrated these skills as part of the work they do towards this qualification, so are happy to offer these teachers an exemption for the second part of the Certificate."

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  • 10/24/14--00:19: Kodu Kup Europe
  • imageBack in July Uppingham Colllege became 2nd UK Kodu Kup Champions. This meant that they received an invite to Kodu Kup Europe in Brussels

    Last week they joined teams form Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Greece, Portugal and Belgium. In a Battle of the Kodu minds teams of students are going to pitch their Kodu games to a panel of judges that include MEPs.

    The UK team,of Joe, Alfie and Jonathan AKA ‘Gatesy’, accompanied by their back up Matt and Minder, Ray Chambers have been busy preparing their award winning game from the summer. As Madd Hatt Games they created‘Confined’ and adventure game with twists and turns that would challenge a commercial title.

    On the first day, the team have keenly checked out the competition. They were worried about the Norwegians who had a strong team and have already moved in to coding with Unity. They did seem to spend a lot of time with the all girl team from Finland. The boys assure me that this is purely tactical research. But, they need’nt have worried , it was the team from Greece that proved to be the surprise package.

    Day 1 was all  about getting to know everybody. This code camp was being run at the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Brussels. The morning session covered team building and Lego robotics.

    Day 2 was a whirlwind. Myself , Alfie and Matt were invited the the launch of the European Commission report – Computing our Future– Alfie had the honour of being invited on to the stage to be on a Q & A panel hosted by the Vice President of the European Union – Neelie Kroes. He had no hesitation in giving a brilliant answer, which I managed to record on my phone.





    Bz5ol8JIEAEeNMbDay 3– The day of the competition . I know as the UK we never do well in Europe, think Eurovision.  But this day was never going to be a case of ‘nil point!’ . All the teams had been given expert coaching in public speaking, not that the UK needed training to speak up! There confidence and ability to interact with both adults and other students is something they , their parents and school should be very proud of.

    You can see their full presentation here on our YouTube Channel -

    You can find out how they did here on the BBC News site -

    You can read more about their experience here


    Kodu Kup UK will be back in the new year. Bigger and better. Keep a look out in January

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    Ok so that’s the first term over. Now what? Maybe your thoughts are turning towards Professional Development (ok , Xmas holidays first , then Professional Development). What will that be? What will it look like? Do we have the time? who will deliver it? Will it meet our needs as a school, Will it meet my needs? and can we afford it? All of these are important and valid questions. But in my experience by the time you have solved the majority its too late.

    So I am hoping I can help here, especially when it comes to the of technology in the classroom. This image is one of my favourites and I have used it many times it highlight how this situation is probably true today. A teacher aimlessly feeding in content to a device, a student operating it, with others being passively fed the information and not one of them seems engaged. Just don’t get me started on computers are just for boys, where are the girls in this. Try making some analogies for yourselves, how close to this ‘vision’  is your school’s use of technology?

    To change things, professional development is obviously the answer. But, how much from this picture has that moved on in Professional development training. Often it is still somebody feeding information into PowerPoint and the audience being passive. We as a teaching profession have to adopt and utilise different approaches to our learning. Just as we expect our students to do with their’s. But , honestly how often do we really do that.

    The TALIS report says‘ Teachers that engage in some kind of professional development activity  are more likely to use student-centred teaching’ , with the use of technology in the classroom being the second most cited training required behind special needs.

    So here is a possible solution to at least contribute to solving the issues around Professional development in the use of Teaching with technology.

    What you need is a course that is free to all, has a self assessment tool to identify your needs, available online, works at your own individual pace, has support and extension activities and meets UNESCO competencies for ICT in Education. Sounds too good to be true? Click here for fanfare. Look no further than our ‘Teaching with Technology’ Course available for free on the Microsoft Educator Network.


    The Teaching with Technology (TwT) curriculum is designed to help educators understand how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can enhance the teaching and learning experience and enable students to acquire 21st century skills. Among many benefits, Teaching with Technology is free, aligned with the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, and self-paced (log back on at any time to pick up where you left off).

    The self-assessment will help you create a personalized learning plan you can follow to master specific competencies. The results of the assessment can help you determine which courses you want to build into your plan and which are optional. Upon completing at least one of the six courses, you will receive a Teaching with Technology badge. Retake the self-assessment at any time to check progress on your learning plan and see the competencies you are developing.

    The courses are:-

    COURSE 1: Why does the UNESCO ICT-CFT promote technology literacy?
    COURSE 2: Selecting ICT resources to support curriculum outcomes
    COURSE 3: How do technology and pedagogy mix?
    COURSE 4: Use basic ICT tools to support teaching and learning
    COURSE 5: Organize and manage the use of ICT in your classroom
    COURSE 6: Technology literacy and your professional development

    So imagine a scenario where in your school prospectus you can state that ‘ALL’ staff meet UNESCO standards for ICT. Where every member of staff has this qualification. If some staff feel that they need some pre-training then access the Digital Literacy Curriculum, which could also be used to support parents and the wider community. If you or your staff need further extension of Teaching with Technology then there are the 21st Century Learning Design Materials. All of this this is available on the Microsoft Educator Network… for free.

    Here is another thought…. maybe you are a teaching school or school looking to develop training with partner schools or even an independent consultant or education authority and looking for training materials. I could make Microsoft in Education Trainers. Just send me a tweet and follow @innovativeteach . This will give you access to support materials , workshops and materials to run workshops. I will be blogging on the various resources over he next few weeks.

    So before you make any decisions on your professional development have a look at Teaching with Technology.

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    We have gathered together our largest group of Expert Educators ever and introduced a new Fellows programme.  We are proud to have this elite group of distinguished expert educators join us and others from around the globe. MIE Fellows are selected by invitation only to be recognized as expert educators utilizing Microsoft technologies in the most pioneering ways. 

    So please join me in congratulating all of this year’s Microsoft Innovative Educators Experts #mieexpert15   

    Tommy Stanley   Cornwallis Academy   Steve Lydiates Sandymoor School
    Chris Jones Cornwallis Academy   Alison Howells Cwmclydach Primary School
    Phil Moody  Furness Academy    Leanne Hunt SS Gabriel and Raphael Catholic Primary 
    Servante Shaddow Furness Academy    Nathan Wilcox Ynysboeth Primary
    Charlotte Coade Simon De Senlis Primary    Charlotte Beckhurst  Brookhouse Primary School
    Tom Prosser Simon De Senlis Primary    Natalie Lockhead Kirklandneuk Primary school
    Kevin Sait Wymondham High School   Marie Renton  Lochfield Primary School
    B Pearce Wymondham High School   Emma Hicks Arnold Hill Academy 
    Matthew Pitts Broadcylst Primary School   Gareth Baldwin PontyPridd High School
    Anthony Lees Broadcylst Primary School   James Protheroe Darran Park Primary 
    Hugo Horlick  Oasis South Bank Academy    Mark Martin  St Mark Academy 
    Matthew Gray Oasis South Bank Academy    Daniel Kerr Sandymoor School
    Julie Cooper Sandymoor School   Sophie Elvin Stage Star School 
    Cath Wicks Thai Primary school   Matthew Davies Treorchy Comprehensive School
    Susan Jones Brynnau Primary   Amanda Crabb Kersland School 
    Annette Lafrate Gryffe High School      


    and MIE - Fellows

    Dan Roberts 

    Devonport High School

    Ian Stuart

    Scottish Government

    Scott Weiprecht

    Saltash.NET Community School 

    David Renton

    Furness Academy

    Jennifer King

    Showcase Classroom Expert

    Claire Lotriet

    Henwick Primary School

    Philemon Burney

    Showcase Classroom Expert

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