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    Some of you may have joined something called the Microsoft Innovators Teachers Network when Twitter and Facebook were only twinkles in the eyes of their developers back in 2000s. This was a first for teachers. Being able to share and collaborate best practise and support on a global scale. That was 10 years ago. During that time technology and pedagogy have evolved and developed, all along supported by different iterations of the site, from Microsoft Innovative Teachers Network, the Partners in Learning Network and the Microsoft Educator Network.

    I am pleased to announce that we now have brought these great global teacher resources right up to date.

    Traditionally whenever we update, we have a new name. from now on we are Microsoft in Educationand the new URL is http://education.microsoft.com . Update your favourites now.


    Our new site
    has all our resources in one place. Over the next few blog posts I will be highlighting the great resources you can find here. Including Badges for professional development. Teaching with technology, 21st Century Learning design, Showcase Schools, free software and the Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts community.

     

    If you are not a member already, you can join for free using Twitter, Facebook, O365 and Microsoft Account. So come on join us today. If you have been a previous member, then this is a great time to visit and see what's new.

       

     

     Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the various features of the new Microsoft in Education Community, so come and join us.

     

       

     

     


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    With all the time spent marking and grading over the course of a year, educators regularly find themselves praising and awarding for students for their hard work and efforts. So every now and then it's nice to recognise those teachers who really have stood out for their contributions and achievements in a particular area.

    That is exactly what the Pearson Teaching Awards are all about, and we are delighted to share the news that a member of the Microsoft in Education community had their hard work acknowledged during the ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on Sunday 18th October.

    Ray Chambers award hi-res

    Regular readers of this blog will already be familiar with MIEExpert Ray Chambers, who is head of ICT at Uppingham Community College, and somewhat of a trailblazer in terms of the integration of Minecraft into the curriculum. Earlier this year Ray earned a Silver award for Outstanding use of Technology in Education, and last Sunday he was presented with the Gold Platos Awards For Outstanding Teachers within the same category.

    Anyone tuning in to BBC2 on Sunday night may have seen 'Britain's Classroom Heroes', and if you watched all the way to the end you will have seen the moment Ray was presented with his award (56’55” in the broadcast). The next day he was also interviewed by BBC Radio Leicester during which he spoke talk about his award, and also how he sees technology playing an important and considered part in education.

    When asked if he had a particular style of teaching, Ray way quick to speak of how he approaches the use of technology in the classroom as a pathway to understanding the subject matter:

    "Anything that engages the students. One of the things we like to do is use Minecraft to teach some of the difficult topics in computer science… Getting students to read out of text books can be a bit draining. What we can do to make it engaging is get them to still do their reading from the text book and do the theory, but then build a Minecraft world out of it, or do programming, or do robotics."

    Later on in the interview Ray also offered his thoughts on the notion the way that some tech is being misused in classroom, particularly in the often hasty use of devices and apps:

    "I don't think people actually look at the bigger picture - what are the students going to get out of using that particular app? …[If they] take a lot of time to digest what the students will get from it, you'll have a bigger impact, I think."

    But taking a class in Computer Science or lessons in coding doesn't necessarily limit the learning to the realms of technology, as Ray continues:

    "[coding] is a great way to engage their problem solving, and actually there's a lot of links in finding patterns in algorithms that link with music as well."

    We'd recommend listening to the whole interview, as it is a very thought provoking discussion that teachers of all subjects will be able to take things from. It can be found here on BBC iPlayer, and is available until Wednesday 18th November (the interview with Ray starts around the 2'03" mark).

    ---

    We do hope you'll join us in congratulating Ray on this achievement, and if you'd like an insight into what it is he is doing in the classroom that's causing the excitement, you can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.


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    Next week at Future Decoded on the Microsoft in Education stand we will hosting a number of theatre sessions, including one dedicated to exploring the ways that Minecraft can be used within the classroom across all areas of the curriculum.

    If you haven’t registered for Future Decoded yet, we do have a limited number of spaces available for education customers to attend the Education Keynote Session with Anthony Salcito - click here for more details.

    E2 - MD - 3

    However if you won't be joining us at the Excel next week but would still like to gain a greater understanding of how Minecraft can be used in the curriculum, the Microsoft EduCast series will be hosting a session that will be of interest:

    Minecraft in the Classroom: Game-Based Learning Takes Off!
    Minecraft is undeniably one of the hottest games in education—whether you’re new to the game or a Minecraft Master, we’ll have the Minecraft Team and current educators using the game tell you all about how to get started, how Minecraft is used to teach different subjects and scenarios, and how to take it to the next level.

    The sessions will be broadcast from the USA, meaning they will be occurring later in the day here in the UK. The first run of the session will take place on Tuesday November 10th at 1700 GMT (0900 PST), but for the night owls among you there is a later session taking place in the early hours of Friday morning at 0100 GMT on November 13th (1700 PST, Thursday November 12th).

    Minecraft head

    ---

    About Microsoft EduCast:

    Looking for a spark? Microsoft EduCast is a fresh series bringing together academic leaders, innovative institutions and pioneering educators in a monthly series for educators. Connect with educators around the world as this live interactive webinar platform allows you to chat with attendees globally-- share your ideas as you hear from speakers on the hottest topics in edtech, then engage in live Q&A directly with the presenters! Joining the community is easy- simply register to attend, and get ready for a year of innovation and inspiration. Each attendee will receive a completion certificate for attending each webinar.


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    As an avid Twitter user and participant of the hash chat, I have been thinking could Twitter be used to deliver CPD courses in a social way? As sort of 'not so massive online course'. I would like to invite you to join with me in an experiment. The new Microsoft Educator Community has a number of courses with associated badges. I am planning to run a series of webinars with associated support through Twitter and Yammer, to develop a group of Educators that undertake activity together to earn their badges for CPD. It will be a bit like those people that meet together to go running in parks, but warmer!

    To join MEC Club is easy, click on this link to sign up for a virtual ticket. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mec-club-tickets-19422817169This will give you the details of the first Webinar, please make sure you use a relevant email address, as I will use that to add you the associated Yammer group. MEC Club will also use the Twitter hash tag #mecclub Next, join the free Microsoft Educator Community – www.education.microsoft.com

    The first Webinar will be on the 16th November 4.30pm –Join Us

    We will try and endeavour to complete as many of the Microsoft Educator Community Badges as we can, for as long as people wish to be part of the club.

    Here are just some of the badges you can earn:-

    • 21CLD
    • Digital Literacy
    • Facebook Master
    • Twitter Master
    • Skype Master Teacher
    • Teaching with Technology

     

    Along the way we can share experiences, ideas and best practice. MEC Club is open to all UK educators, regardless of device and software preference. We are looking at developing CPD and great teaching and learning.

    By joining the Microsoft Educator Community and having a look around you will earn your first few badges. So come on join MEC Club. You know the first rule….. talk about MEC Club


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  • 11/24/15--03:04: Skype-a-thon
  • When - December 3rd - 4th

    Take a break from the Xmas plays and festivities by taking part in a 24 hr Skype-a-thon, a global classroom experience.

    Click this image to register for an activity.

    Check out this Sway for ideas and activities.

    Once you have planned your activity you need to work out how many miles your class has virtually travelled and share online.

    Use the hash tag #SkypeThon

    How far will you travel?


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    For those that have joined #MEC Club, our social media CPD (and you still can at any time ------) We have a very special present for you to redeem at BETT.

    We have partnered with Prodigy, who will be able to give you an opportunity to certify your professional development and become a Microsoft Certified Educator.

    So what better excuse do you need to tell your Head to allow you to go to BETT. Not only will you return with loads of free pens, but you will better qualified when you leave!

    What you need to do?

    Join the new Microsoft Educator community – http://education.microsoft.com– This is free

    Complete by BETT the Teaching with Technology course (not basic) – This is free

    At BETT come and find me @innovativeteach on the Microsoft Stand. – This is free

    I can point you to where you can get and take your free Microsoft Certified Educator Exam (it will talk about half an hour, at least it's a place to sit down J) – This is free

    Afterward come back to the Microsoft Stand and take a MECflie with your new qualifications. – This is free

    Follow #mecclub for all the latest updates. Making CPD social


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    "My Precious"?

    Posted on December 10, 2015 by lannywatkins75

     

    Paul 'Lanny' Watkins is one of our latest Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and #MECClub member. To be fair, he is more Bilbo Baggins than Gollum. But, how many of you recognize his experience.

    Being honest is not the easier thing and having to be honest is essential if I am going to write this blog.  As I am writing this I am hoping that I discover I am not alone….and that someone out there can simply say "ditto".

    In a recent survey I came across it stated over 85% of people said that recognition motivated them.  I am definitely one of those.  When I first discovered the Microsoft Educators Network (as I believe it was called ) I spent a lot of time completing the online courses.  The success was motivational.  I found myself wanting to start another after completely on.  When colleagues would come into my room at lunch time and asked me about what I was doing I would briefly tell them but then quickly move on to show them how well I was doing.  To my shame I may have once or twice told them to look at it but never really helped or directed them. I guess there was this mentality that as Head of ICT I should be the one at the top of the mountain, so to speak. I was so wrong.

    I think that it would be fair to say I was a 'Gollum'.  I would sit at a computer, working through the course, with self awe of what I was achieving, hiding it from others, just like Tolkien's character with his ring.  I hadn't always been that way, and thankfully it didn't last that long.  How many of us have been blessed with a strong department?  I have.  And in that department there are two of us!  My colleague Scott (@scottgorvett1) is a PE specialist who is passionate about IT.  He is leading  Year 7 ICT and when I take over the classes in Year 8 I am so thankful for the foundation that he has laid.  It's staff like him that raise the profile of ICT in a school.  If I was to be asked the question what's the best thing you have done as a head of department I would have every right to say 'the 100% pass rate A*-C for last 3 years' or '50%+ rise in Level 6 attainment at end of KS3 over last two years' or 'the pupils predicted passes but left with distinctions', but it wouldn't be those.  Maybe it would be my schools involvement in the production of Safer Internet Day 2015, or being invited as a guest speaker at various events, all things to be proud of but is not them.

       

    The best best thing I did was introduce staff in my school to the Microsoft Educator Community.

    If you want to cause a buzz about ICT in your school this is what you need to do:

    1. Identify initially a small group of staff who have shown a passion for ICT and use it within their subject area

    2. Get them to register on education.microsoft.com and take them through the site

    3. Get them to sign up on twitter

    4. Engage in promotion and encouragement with each other over achievements over twitter.  Or as the pupils would say "get some banter going!"

    5. Watch it grow

    Whilst this grows it becomes infectious!  Trust me.  My nights are spent engaging with a number of colleagues about the MEC and their activities.

    Achievements of a MFL teacher in 1 month Achievements of a PE teacher in 1 month

       

    We currently have a competition going on between 3 teachers – PE, MFL and Primary. Their progress has been amazing.  Between them they have earned over 30 badges and each have completed 3 or 4 learning paths.

       

    How often have you entered school to be met by a singing and dancing french teacher/member of SLT because she earned a badge the night before!!!

    And staff talk about what they see and want to be part of it.  It's making CPD free and fun!

    What is the role of a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert?  Do you have a vision of by this time next year how many teachers from your school will be applying for the program? If not plan one now.

    Encourage your staff to get involved, to put what they learn into practice.  Ultimately to be innovative in ways that impact education in amazing ways.

    Equip and encourage your staff to raise the profile of ICT at your school…and have a little fun along the way!

    You can join #MECClub, our social media CPD by just following the hash tag and signing up for free to http://education.microsoft.com

    The Microsoft Educator Community welcomes everybody, not just people of Middle Earth.


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    Are you going to BETT 2016? Would you like to win a BBC micro:bit? Then enter our Twitter selfie Win-a-micro:bit competition and you could be randomly selected to win a BBC micro:bit, which we will send you as soon as we can.

    To enter is easy, just tweet a picture or selfie-type image of yourself at BETT, with a reference to a micro:bit. It could be yourself sporting one of our exclusive micro:bit stickers, attending one of the many sessions on micro:bit at the Microsoft stand or stands of our partners. There will be plenty of micro:bit activities at the show , so maybe a picture with one in your hands?

    We will randomly choose a tweet from the hash tag #winamicrobit thread. We have 25 to give away each day, so that's nearly 1 every 12 minutes. Winners will be notified via Twitter, with a full list posted on the Microsoft BETT stand each day. You can tweet and enter as many times as you like. Retweets will not be eligible. So the more 'selfies' you post, the better your chances of winning. But, you are only eligible to win once and you must include the hash tag #winamicrobit

    Please note : Winners will be sent their micro:bit prizes after devices have distributed to teachers across the UK Winners will be contacted via Twitter to collect details of where to send their prize.

    Summary

    Attend BETT 2016

    To enter – Tweet a micro:bit themed selfie with #winamicrobit

     


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  • 02/02/16--04:36: Kodu with ComputerXplorers
  • Congratulations to three more primary schools that have been awarded the coveted Kodu School plaque for their innovative use of our coding software.

    Anglesey Primary School in Birmingham, Boldmere Junior School in Sutton Coldfield and Oatlands Junior School in Harrogate (pictured with director of ComputerXplorers Yorkshire, Jude Parker) were all nominated to receive the award by Partners in Learning education technology specialists ComputerXplorers.

    ComputerXplorers nominated the schools because they are acting as trailblazers, embracing and developing the new computing curriculum with foresight and innovation.

    Since becoming a Microsoft Partner in Learning two years ago, ComputerXplorers have introduced Kodu to over 200 schools throughout the UK. ComputerXplorers owners across the country support local schools though delivering technology based in-class and after school clubs. Kodu is used as a platform for coding in the company's 'design your own video game' module where children use x-box controllers to create and play their own games.

    Jill Cooper, head teacher of Oatlands Junior School, says: "Our pupils seized the opportunity to create their own computer games and developed valuable skills along the way. Using ComputerXplorers to facilitate the classes meant we had direct access to expert knowledge and insight, which in turn enabled the children to really stretch their own capabilities. Achieving the Kodu School Award is a fantastic testament to what they achieved."

     


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    Apply to attend the London session of the 2016 CS50 workshop.

    In response to educators expressing an interest in adopting curriculum that provides secondary school students with an introduction to computer science providing them with a strong foundation in computational thinking, problem solving, computer science and programming skills, Microsoft has partnered with Harvard to bring CS50 Computer Science Principles (CS50 CSP) to secondary schools, globally.

    Harvard CS50

    Adapted for secondary school success by Harvard University’s Professor David J. Malan and with Microsoft’s support, the curriculum is based on the This is CS50 course, which originated at Harvard University and is now also taught at Yale.

    Due to the robust amount of student-facing resources, CS50 Computer Science Principles (CS50 CSP) is able to scale up or down to accommodate students with no previous programming/computer science experience and those who have experience in using one or multiple text-based programming languages. CS50 CSP provides students with a true introduction to computer science, including but not limited to just programming.

     

    Training Course for Educators

    CS50 CSP Educator Implementation Training is a 2 and 1/2-day, in-person workshop designed to prepare teachers for teaching CS50 CSP in their classrooms. The workshop guides teachers through key components of the CS50 learning experience, and highlights the pedagogy and methodology that has made secondary school student success a reality for educators in the CS50 Pilot. Educators receive hands-on experience with the curriculum and a deep understanding of the course’s three guiding principles:

    1. Rigor: The curriculum provides engaging and challenging curriculum that is designed to consistently introduce students to and engage them in computer science problem sets that are real world based and relevant in today’s 21st century economy.

    2. Accessibility: The curriculum is designed to ensure all students, regardless of background are capable of success;

    3. Community: A key component to student success is educator engagement in a vibrant online educator community and on-the-ground experiences that are student-focused.

     

    Audience and objectives

    This training is designed for teachers who plan to teach CS50 CSP in a classroom setting. It is assumed that educators’ experience with programming and/or teaching programming will vary, but that all participating educators will feel confident in a text-based programming environment. Teacher learning objectives include:

    • Become familiar with C Programming language and the span of computer science and computational thinking concepts addressed in the course. Educators receive answers to specific questions about programming concepts and skills during problem set walkthroughs . It is expected that some participants will require further study beyond the workshop days to gain sufficient knowledge and skills to be ready to teach the course. All participants are expected to complete pre-course work, which is estimated to take approximately 12 hours.
    • Experience an introduction to CS50. This includes a behind the scenes look at the course design and pedagogy.
    • Learn about Objectives and Assessments. Understand expectations and assessments and how to position students for success.
    • Understand how to use the course materials. This includes making use of suggested teaching strategies, addressing learning challenges that students may encounter, preparing and presenting lessons, and providing students’ all necessary resources. Demonstrations of how to maximize the use of features in the course’s integrated development environment (IDE) are also provided.
    • Learn tips and tricks for creating and growing your school’s computer science learning community. Educators are provided with tips and tricks to create a computer science learning community at their school and they are encouraged to connect with the larger CS50 community and come together for events such as hackathons, final project fairs and puzzle day.
    • Leverage the Support of Microsoft. Connect students, through Skype in the Classroom, to MSFT CS50 Alumni and other MSFT subject matter experts who work on projects that are relevant to students’ lives. Student connections to real developers and engineers deepens their learning experience and helps illustrate the wide range of computer science career options and demonstrate how computer science is relevant to students’ lives.
    • Understand how to teach the course. This includes the general teaching approach, the CS50 guidelines for grading (just part of the course’s secret sauce), and flexible use of course resources.
    • Understand further preparations that may be needed to be ready to teach the course. This includes preparing student devices and or computer labs for using the course IDE and other online resources. Connecting with other CS50 educators and sharing resources to gain knowledge about programming concepts and to stay one step ahead, as well as further study of the course resources to be ready to use them on a daily basis.

     

    Upon Workshop Completion

    Educators completing this two and ½ day workshop will

    • Receive a Certificate of Participation from Harvard, in which the hours of participation are recorded
    • May apply to run their own their CS50 CSP Implementation Workshop for other educators in summer 2017.

    Educators Apply Here http://cs50.harvard.edu/ap/apply


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    Overheard this great conversation between a Teacher and Student this week, that I thought would share.

    Student – ' Sir, why is Python called Python?'

    Teacher – 'Its named after Monty Python'

    Student looks blank

    Teacher – 'You know the famous 1970s comedy team, Monty Python's Flying Circus'

    Student none the wiser, 'Oh, I thought it was because it constricts the enjoyment out of learning to code !'

    I think probably the student has a point. We are at a place with computing where with have a plethora of great resources for learning, we are spoilt for choice with coding languages, hardly a week goes by where a new physical computing device is released and there is great support for teacher development from organisations like Computing at Schools and Microsoft.

    Already in my travels around the UK, I am finding students and teachers who are disgruntled and disillusioned with the way Computing is developing in schools and often cite the exam syllabus are the root of their woes. Your thoughts?

    So here is an idea. How do we ensure a way to teach the fundamentals of coding and computing and ensure that interests and expectations of teachers and students remain high and challenged?

    These two books dropped on my desk. Could they be these used to develop a curriculum to teach Python using Minecraft?

    Love this book and these guys, the book guides you through how to use the Minecraft API on various platforms and utilise Python to control and develop some amazing ideas in Minecraft. I particularly like building a working clock in Minecraft and the sections on physical computing, where an event in Minecraft can control and event in the real world.

    Martin and David, any chance of a micro:bit update ? Will it interface with Python and Minecraft?

     

    Adventures in Minecraft -Martin O'Hanlon and David Whale

     

     

     

     

    This is my current read and it has really broadened by limited skills with Python. It has a little more structured approach, that you would recognise from other learn to code books. It also has a fantastic range of great activities for kids to do, including physical computing.

     

    Learn to Program with Minecraft – Craig Richardson

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I can't recommend these books highly enough. They are the perfect way to learn Python and understand Minecraft.

    If you are looking for more teacher resources, check out this post from Clive Beale


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    As an avid Twitter user and participant of the hash chat, I have been thinking could Twitter be used to deliver CPD courses in a social way? As sort of ‘not so massive online course’. I would like to invite you to join with me in an experiment. The new Microsoft Educator Community has a...

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  • 11/23/15--19:04: Skype-a-thon
  • When – December 3rd – 4th Take a break from the Xmas plays and festivities by taking part in a 24 hr Skype-a-thon, a global classroom experience. Click this image to register for an activity. Check out this Sway for ideas and activities. Once you have planned your activity you need to work out how...

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    For those that have joined #MEC Club, our social media CPD (and you still can at any time ——) We have a very special present for you to redeem at BETT. We have partnered with Prodigy, who will be able to give you an opportunity to certify your professional development and become a Microsoft Certified...

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    “My Precious”? Posted on December 10, 2015 by lannywatkins75   Paul ‘Lanny’ Watkins is one of our latest Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and #MECClub member. To be fair, he is more Bilbo Baggins than Gollum. But, how many of you recognize his experience. Being honest is not the easier thing and having to be honest...

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    Are you going to BETT 2016? Would you like to win a BBC micro:bit? Then enter our Twitter selfie Win-a-micro:bit competition and you could be randomly selected to win a BBC micro:bit, which we will send you as soon as we can. To enter is easy, just tweet a picture or selfie-type image of yourself...

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  • 02/01/16--20:36: Kodu with ComputerXplorers
  • Congratulations to three more primary schools that have been awarded the coveted Kodu School plaque for their innovative use of our coding software. Anglesey Primary School in Birmingham, Boldmere Junior School in Sutton Coldfield and Oatlands Junior School in Harrogate (pictured with director of ComputerXplorers Yorkshire, Jude Parker) were all nominated to receive the award...

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    Apply to attend the London session of the 2016 CS50 workshop. In response to educators expressing an interest in adopting curriculum that provides secondary school students with an introduction to computer science providing them with a strong foundation in computational thinking, problem solving, computer science and programming skills, Microsoft has partnered with Harvard to bring...

    0 0

    Overheard this great conversation between a Teacher and Student this week, that I thought would share. Student – ‘ Sir, why is Python called Python?’ Teacher – ‘Its named after Monty Python’ Student looks blank Teacher – ‘You know the famous 1970s comedy team, Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ Student none the wiser, ‘Oh, I thought...

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      Computing skills are intrinsically linked to science and on British Science Week digital day (Friday 11 March) education technology specialist and with the support of the Microsoft Educator Community ComputerXplorers will be delivering free Kodu sessions for children and CPD sessions as part of its annual Programming for Primaries awareness event. ComputerXplorers established Programming...

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