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    This is a series of posts outlining the workshops at the upcoming Innovative Education Forum . This will give you an insight to what is being covered and the opportunity to download any software, bookmark any websites that will be explored.

    imageI am going to start with a shameless plug for the workshop I am running, ‘Office 2010 in the classroom’ (Workshop 5 on the registration form). I know its’ not the most imaginative title, but it says what it is.

    I wanted to explore again the role of the Office suite in the classroom. I say again, as ten years ago I wrote a series of books called ‘ICT in Action’, (Did anybody buy them? I would love to hear from somebody that did). I wanted to revisit some of those ideas for classroom activities and see how the latest developments can be used to develop learning activities.

    So this workshop will look at some of the useful functions of Office 2010, that can be utilised in the classroom , such as removing backgrounds in images, Sparklines in Excel and exporting presentations to video in PowerPoint. I will also look at how teachers can utilise the free Office Web apps for learning opportunities. In addition , I will be covering a range of plug-ins, such as the Maths-Plugin for Word and OneNote, the Interactive Classroom plug-in, Mouse Mischief and Community clips.

    I will also look at the latest Innovids, created during our summer camp that show how teachers are using Office in the classroom to great effect.  So if you are looking for some great classroom ideas, innovative ways of using Office and a look at the new features of Office 2010 , as well as some features you perhaps have forgotten about, then this is the ideal workshop for you.

    Our Innovative Education Forum is is being held on Nov 30th in Manchester.

    So, Don’t miss out, register today .

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    Fellow Welshman David Rogers will be running this workshop (Workshop 1 on the registration form). He plans it to be highly interactive. After considering the importance of outdoor learning, delegates will get the chance to explore in small groups while completing a mission from Mission:Explore. It might be a good idea to make sure you have suitable footwear if you want venture outside. Although David will probably be wearing shorts, that perhaps is a step too far for many in November!

    Mission:Explore is 102 missions that are designed to encourage young people to safely explore issues in their local environments.  The missions have links to geography, PSHE, sociology, history, maths, science....... While exploring, delegates will use their personal mobile devices to Tweet, Email or text the results. The hash tag for the event is #ukief10.

    On returning there will be a brief discussion and feedback session based around two questions:

    • How can technology help learning outside of the classroom?
    • How could Mission Based Learning be applied to your school?

    The session will end with some practical examples of where technology has been used to enhance or transform the outdoor learning experience, including what happens when you ban pens, pencils and paper.

    Read David's Blog: or follow him on twitter

    Find out more about The Geography Collective here: /

    Find out about Mission:Explore here:

    Find out about our campaign here:

    Don’t miss out, register today

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    It is our pleasure and privilege to announce Professor Sugata Mitra as one of our keynote speakers at this year’s Innovative Education Forum.  Professor Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. He is the instigator of the Hole in the Wall experiment, where a computer was embedded within a wall in an Indian slum at Kalkaji, Delhi and children were allowed to freely use it. The experiment aimed at proving that kids could be taught computers very easily without any formal training. His keynote will explore the concept of ‘Self organising systems in education.’ His premise is that groups of children, given the appropriate resources, can learn to use computers and the Internet on their own, achieve many objectives of schooling on their own, and even attain levels of achievement close to traditional schooling with the help of a friendly, but not necessarily knowledgeable, mediator.

    Professor Mitra’s ideas about learning as a self organising system are based on experimental results, often referred to as ‘the hole in the wall’ experiments. He will be discussing this famous project and more recent research.

    altHe will include his thoughts on the design of facilities and technology for areas where good schools cannot exist and good teachers do not want to go. 

    This keynote hints at a future of education that may be very different from what we have today.

    The Hole in the Wall experiment has left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup read about Mitra's experiment and was inspired to write his debut novel that went on to become the Oscar winning movie of 2009 - Slumdog Millionaire.

    Don’t miss out, register today

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    At a time of enormous change in the UK’s education systems, Microsoft is launching the first ever UK Innovative Schools Programme, bringing together a community of schools to work together and learn from each other and from education experts around the world for one year.


    Through this programme, we’ll provide 10 schools in the UK** with the following benefits:

    • Microsoft Innovative Schools plaque, web site banner and status
    • Formal mentor relationship with one of 10 carefully-selected outstanding Mentor schools in the programme
    • Access to virtual and in-person trainings from Microsoft and renowned education experts from around the world
    • Support (funding) towards travel to mandatory in-person meetings and school visits
    • Support in conducting your own professional development events for schools in your area
    • Access to the global Innovative Schools community of thousands of international schools

    Microsoft first started our global Innovative Schools Programme in 2007, and we have had one English school and 2 Scottish schools take part in this programme thus far. We’re thrilled that schools in the first-ever UK programme will be able to take advantage of the experts, learnings and resources provided to the global programme – as well as being able to connect with the schools themselves. For more information on this programme, and its success thus far, check out this video.

    (Please visit the site to view this media)


     If you think your school would benefit from this exciting experience, follow these steps to apply for the programme:

    1. Go to the Teachers Blog SkyDrive at THIS LINK and download 2 documents
      • Member School Application
      • Innovative Schools_MemberGuidelines
    2. Read through both documents carefully.
    3. Complete all sections of the Application document, rename it with the name of your school and send it via email NO LATER THAN 1 NOVEMBER, 2010 to Kristen Weatherby at

    We will be reviewing all applications with a panel of experts internal and external to Microsoft, and will notify schools of their inclusion in the programme by 3 December, 2010.

     If you have any questions about the programme or the application, please email me (Kristen Weatherby) at

    **NOTE: This programme is only open to schools in the United Kingdom**

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    Nicki Maddams is an ICT teacher and SSAT Lead Practitioner at Hartsdown Technology College in Margate, Kent. She describes herself on her blog as ‘slightly geeky’. You can find out if this true by attending her workshop (workshop 6 on the registration form) at the UK Innovative Education Forum in Manchester.

    This workshop will look at Kodu, a free, programming environment from Microsoft which is colourful and engaging imagefor learners of all ages.

    This session explores the Kodu game development environment, and how to make a simple game, starting with creating a new world, adding objects and characters and programming them to respond in different ways. This will be illustrated through some  great example games and resources for teaching game design

    In addition this workshop is an opportunity to discuss how programming can be used as an enrichment activity both as a club and as extension tasks in lessons.

    You will find these links useful if you are thinking of attending this workshop.




    Kodu can be downloaded from

    Don’t miss out, register today

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    Ok , I know this is an exaggerated statement, but it does apply to the ones I know. It has struck me that many teachers I meet or find in forums and on twitter are geography teachers, doing great stuff with technology. Has any one else discovered this phenomenon? Or do I need to broaden the range of places I hang out on–line?

    But why in geography rather than other subjects? Understanding this could help in meeting the professional development needs of teachers in other subjects and their use of technology.

    So here are my thoughts, based on on nothing more than casual observation and anecdotal evidence.

    Could it be that Geography teachers are more inclined to use technology, as their subject has traditionally used it ranging from the compass to GPS systems, paper maps to digital imaging?  Creating a culture that is comfortable and actively seeks to use technology, not only as part of being a geographer, but also in teaching the subject.

    I think the applications and technology tools available to Geography teachers are easily identifiable. For example, activities to teach mapping skills can easily be transferred to using the various online maps. The great tools we have at Microsoft, such as Bing Maps, with built in ordinance survey maps and Photosynth, to build 3D views of places. Once seen, their place in the geography curriculum is easily identified.

    If it were only that simple as just having easily identifiable technology  tools that would engage students in their learning. But, plotting points on a paper map can be just as non-engaging when done on a digital map. Real thought needs to be given to the learning activity and learning outcomes that take full advantage of the digital tools, if there is to be any real value in their  use. This is not an easy task and requires skill and understanding on the part of the teacher. But, is made easier with identifiable tools.

    I would like to suggest that perhaps Geography teachers have very little excuse not engage their students with technology. Which is why so many are doing great things.

    Wouldn’t it be great if other subjects had the  same easily recognisable tools as geography? It’s not as easy to identify the maths applications or those suitable for religious studies. Which is why in the Partners in Learning Network we focus on strategies to explore different applications and how they can be used to support learning, even when the connection might not be obvious, such as using Word to explore maths equations .

    So my questions to you are:-

      • Am I right about geography and geography teachers and their approach technology?
      • Are there other subjects that have the same easily recognisable technological  tools that can support learning?
      • What strategies can teachers employ to identify technology that can support learning in their subject?

    I look forward to your comments.

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    Described by it’s founders Michael Furdyk and Jennifer Corriero, Taking IT Global is a virtual hub that aims to get ‘youth everywhere_DSC_0593 actively engaged and connected in shaping a more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable world’ ,this it has done for the past decade, through the use of information technology and the internet to promote and facilitate global citizenship via its online community, .

    Mandeep Atwal, a former Microsoft Worldwide Education Award winner, now works promoting and supporting schools in using Taking IT Global. Her presentation and workshop will explore  and outline what being part of Taking IT Global can offer.

    This includes:-

    • A global social on-line network and hub for civil participation.
    • Content and tools for educators to facilitate rich, interactive learning experiences.
    • Outreach and collaboration tools for events, networks, campaigns and causes.
    • Research, development and sharing of best practices.
    • Facilitated learning experiences through workshops, webinars and e-courses.

    Interested? Then sign up for Mandeep’s workshop (Workshop 3) – Take your classroom global, at our Innovative Education Forum. Where Michael Furdyk, Taking IT Global’s co-founder will also be a keynote speaker.

    If that’s not enough, all delegates will receive a Taking IT Global Individual Educator License, so you will be able to try out this great resource for yourselves

    Spaces are filling up fast, so…

    Don’t miss out, register today

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    Sign Ups for this meeting are now closed.

    We have reached the venue capacity. Thanks

    Venue - Hilton Deansgate Hotel in Manchester

    Time - 7:30pm-9:30pm

    This is the first time we have hosted such an informal, free event for Teachers, and we are hoping that this something we will do more often in the future.

    Please Join us for drinks and canapés (which I think this is a posh word for crisps) and hot topical debate, with a bit of  fun thrown in, at the Hilton’s vibrant Cloud 23 bar, that provides 360-degree views of Manchester.

    If you have been to a Teachmeet or an unconference like event before, you will have a good idea of what to expect at this event. If you haven’t, then you will enjoy the informal nature of this event.

    We are looking for volunteers to speak in the following:-

    • Mini-Presentations for 10 mins
    • Nano- Presentations 3mins.

    We will also have some Microsoft minute presentations, from our Innovative Teachers highlighting the great free stuff we have to offer.

    What to discuss and present

    We are not looking for product demos or examples of work, unless they illustrate your issue or theme. We would like presentations on issues that are relevant to teachers and learners.
    For example:-

    • How can you possibly learn through playing games?
    • Is the curriculum meeting the needs of 21st century learners?
    • Is twitter really good CPD for teachers? How can we now afford technology?.

    Through such topics we hope to spark debate, conversation and inspire some ideas on how to meet such issues.

    How do I sign up for a presentation?

    That’s easy, just add your name and presentation topic/theme and presentation type (Mini or Nano) as a comment to this post or email me at . Internet access can be intermittent at such venues so be prepared with an alternative, this just adds to the fun. There is no guarantee you will present as presentations will selected at random.

    How do I sign up to attend?

    If you are looking to attend add your name as a comment or email me at 

    If you are attending our UK Innovative Education Forum at the same venue, and staying in Manchester then you are probably already attending, but it wouldn’t hurt to sign up here as well.

    You can follow twitter hash tag for this event at #itmeet 

    We will end the evening with the presentation of awards to this year’s Innovative Teachers, we hope you will join us to celebrate their achievements. There is still time to enter our awards, more details here.

    See you there….

    Agenda – sign up via comments

    Mini Presenters - 10 mins

    • Alessio Bernardelli - Why broadcasting your pupil's work is a confidence booster
    • Dawn Hallybone - Why we need to use Game based learning
    • Stuart Ball - Do we need the role of ICT co-ordinator?
    • David Rogers - Guerilla Innovation - does everything need to be planned?
    • Ian Addison - Why we should blog with children
    • Jan Webb - Why our VLE works for us
    • Colin Graham - Regular Twitter discussions - Waste of time or genuinely helpful CPD?

     Nano Presenters - 3 mins

    • Alessio Bernardelli - Great learninig involves risk and failure - a Deep Zoom view
    • Mandeep Atwal - Giving Students a voice.
    • Jen Deyenberg - Web 2.0 for learning
    • David Rogers - This is our Geography - Why having a dept vision is important
    • Daniel Stucke - Pupil Led CPD - Digital Leaders
    • David Mitchell - How a real audience can add depth to learning
    • Chris Mayoh - Protecting your online identity using Avatars
    • Zoe Ross - Engaging girls in technology


    Andrew Wild
    Fiona Aubrey-Smith
    Steve Warburton
    James Green
    Steph Ladbrooke
    Janet  Chapman
    Alan Parkinson
    Frank  Farrell
    Dr Stephen  Musgrave
    David Mitchell
    Ian Addison
    Flower  Tokutsu
    Anne Morris
    Jamie Bowring
    Francisca Wheeler
    Zoe Ross
    Miles Hudson
    Anne Strachan
    John McLear
    Lucy Jayes
    Drew Buddie
    Nick Jackson
    John Sutton
    Bob Harrison
    Dughall McCormick
    Marc Richardson
    David  Miller
    Andy Fisher
    Colin Graham
    Umran Naee
    Kevin McLaughlin
    Steve Buce
    Dawn Hallybone
    Jenny Ellwood
    Jo Crumblehome
    Tony Sheppard
    Neil Smith
    Kristian Still
    Kerry Turner
    Alessio Bernardelli
    Bev Hartland-Smith
    Sangeet Bhullar
    Chris Allan
    Bill Quinn
    Julie O'regan
    Lee Batstone
    Gideon Williams
    Rebecca Smith
    Julie Boyle
    George Purdy
    John  Barlow
    James Goodill


    Peter Richardson
    Thomas Sale
    Jo Ness
    Kat Howard
    Karl Goddard
    Helen Morgan
    Katie Hauge
    Catherine Elliot
    Walter Patterson
    Emily Nisbet
    Ceri Williams

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  • 10/27/10--03:04: Everybody…..SHOUT!
  • We’re writing this from CapeTown, South Africa, from the 6th Annual Microsoft Innovative Education Forum. It’s the first day of the event, and we’re here with our Innovative Teachers Simon Horleston and Jan Webb, as well as Innovative Schools Calderglen High School (Scotland) and Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning (England). If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve heard us talk about this event and these fantastic educators many, many times.

    This morning we listened to perhaps the two most inspirational Microsoft presenters I’ve heard in my many years at the company. Mteto Nyati, managing director of our South African subsidiary of Microsoft welcomed us to this spectacular country, and spoke from the heart about his upbringing “on the wrong side of the line” and how education has gotten him to where he is today.

    Next, our worldwide vice president of education, Anthony Salcito, provided the opening keynote. He announced a new global collaboration between Microsoft Partners in Learning, the Smithsonian Institute in the United States, and Taking IT Global. (If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll remember that the founder of Taking IT Global is speaking at our Innovative Education Forum in Manchester on 29-30 November.)

    Shout - Logo FinalThe partnership is called Shout and was inspired by one of our keynotes from last year’s Innovative Education Forum in Brazil. Last year we heard from Jean-Francois Rischard, author of the book High Noon: 20 Global Problems and 20 Years to Solve them. In his keynote, Rischard spoke about the 20 problems facing the world and how no one country can solve them alone.

    Teachers and schools in Australia were inspired by this, and began working with Microsoft and Taking IT Global on a project around deforestation. That project has turned into the Shout network (, where teachers and students from around the world can collaborate on environmental problems  -  and impact real research being conducted by Smithsonian scientists.

    Every month there will be webcasts, curriculum materials and a new challenge on the Shout community. The first challenge is around deforestation, and students in South African schools are already measuring the circumference of trees near them and adding data to a global repository accessible by researchers at the Smithsonian institute.

    One of the head teachers from Australia who began this project speaks about it as “connecting peers with a purpose” around an activity and then watching the work and collaboration take on a life of its own.

    I’m not doing this exciting project justice, so I recommend that you go to the Shout website and check it out for yourself. You can also follow Shout on Twitter

    If you like what you see and want to learn more, come to our Innovative Education Forum on the 30th November in Manchester, where Michael Furdyk and Mandeep Atwal of Taking IT Global will be giving a keynote and interactive workshop on Taking IT Global and Shout. (For more information or to register for the forum, go to the Partners in Learning Network at

    We’ll have more from South Africa as the week continues. Stay tuned!

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    This was my 6th Worldwide Innovative Education Forum and in my opinion it was far the best. Here are my reasons why:- image

    • This event clearly identified itself as an event about learning and not just technology.
    • The projects presented by teachers were diverse, but all focussed on teaching and learning, and how technology complemented that process.
    • The host country of South Africa clearly illustrated how education is a driving force for transformational change.

    All this in a global context , which is such a unique feature of the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, to be able to bring teachers, schools and educators from across the globe to share best practice, ideas and innovation.

    I have listed a number of blog posts below describing the event. But here are my own experiences that I would like to share.

    I am always drawn to projects where teachers have gone ‘over and above’ to provide engaging learning for their pupils. Two teachers from India, Asija Himani and Krishna Sharma had projects that I found inspiring. Krishna’s project inspired her students to attend school, but the amazing fact was she is doing this with 215 students and one laptop , that she has bought herself, and will take her 15 years to pay back the government loan. Asija’s project was how she had created a scheme of work for the application of mathematics. This involved students using fractal mathematics to measure cancer cell development. I was amazed at how she had imagebrought two very complex subjects to a level of understanding that was accessible for her students.

    It was also great to catch with some old friends. Chu Tsz Wing, a teacher from Hong Kong who I met at last year’s event, was back with a Microsoft OneNote project inspired by a conversation we had together last year. This was very humbling to know that it is possible to have such an influence.

    Also, meeting the people of Capetown was a pleasure and a surprise, especially hotel worker Desmond, who greeted me in perfect welsh. He had lived in Machynlleth for a while, we welsh are global people.

    Finally, I must thank the UK Team that attended. Jan Webb and Simon Horleston, for their fantastic presentations and efforts to talk to as many people as possible. They both reached the semi finalist stage of the competition , with Jan going on to win an award in the Collaboration category. Congratulations to both of them. Many thanks to Steve Baker and  Merlin John , who had the arduous, imagebut rewarding task of judging some of the 150 projects. Thanks also to our two Mentor Innovative School Headteachers, Tony McDaid from Calderglen High School and Madeline Cotson from Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning, and finally Maureen McTaggart for her insightful and complementary comments and great company.



    Merlin John Online

    Webb’s Wide World

    The Official Microsoft Blog

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog

    Ewan McIntosh’s Blog

    Lianne Morgan’s Photostream


    If you would like to find out more about Microsoft Partners in Learning and how you can take part in an Innovative Education Forum, then register for the next event being held in the UK. It’s free and spaces are filling up fast.

    Don’t miss out, register today

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  • 11/08/10--23:01: Microsoft Learning Suite
  • imageIt’s been awhile since we posted anything regarding free applications. So here is something that we think you will find really useful.

    The Microsoft Learning Suite is a wealth of free resources from Microsoft, that have been gathered together under one title, The Learning Suite.

    Divided into 4 areas:- Collaboration, Creativity, Research and study and Teacher tools. It contains many familiar applications we have talked about in previous posts. Such as Autocollage and Songsmith (first brought to you for free by the UK Partners in Learning team I might add) Worldwide Telescope and Ribbon Hero.

    But there are far more applications , too many to list here, but includes, the Microsoft Digital Literacy Programme, Kodu, Windows Live Tools, Bings maps SDK and many more.

    imageHere are three that have caught my eye.

    Inkseine is an ink application that complements Microsoft OneNote, and is described as ‘Microsoft Journal on steroids’, it’s ideal for Windows tablet and slate devices. But , I think it has real potential as an interactive whiteboard application.

    Sticky Sorter is an easier way to capture, sift through, and organize hundreds of research observations traditionally done on physical sticky notes in an affinity diagramming exercise. Data recorded in Excel can be imported into Sticky Sorter, which converts it into sticky notes. These can then be re-organised, just by moving the sticky notes around.

    Here’s a strange one, Project Tuva , these a series of famous lectures by the famous physicist, Richard Feynham. These videos have their own enhanced video player, that  features searchable video, linked transcripts, user notes, and interactive extras. Don’t be put off by the black and white 1960’s production, with all the additional information, these videos are compelling and make an ideal study resource for students.

    You can access all the Learning Suite resources at :-

    and for these resources and more at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Teachers Toolkit:-


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    We are pleased to announce the  10 UK Innovative Education Award Winners who will be presented with their awards, as recognition of their Innovative Teacher status, at our Education Forum in Manchester. (There are still a few places left. sign up HERE ). They join an ever increasing group of UK Innovative Teachers, that include Dan Roberts, Ollie Bray, Alessio Bernardelli, David Rogers and of course our latest worldwide event winner Jan Webb.

    Judging such great projects always proves to be a very difficult and challenging exercise. The standard and quality of every one of the entries illustrates the outstanding work being undertaken in schools throughout the UK.  They also show the outstanding progress being made in classrooms throughout the UK in integrating technology effectively into learning. They represent some of the best uses of technology across a wide range of different schools and scenarios.

    Congratulations to this year's Microsoft UK Innovative Education Award winners Who are...

    Name School Virtual Classroom Tour
    David Mitchell Heathfield Primary School World Cup Blogging
    Gareth Ritter Willows High School Capturing Sound
    Jennifer Blum Strodes College Mobilising for London 2012
    Jo Debens Priory School Specialist Sports College Space Explorers. Space Creators
    Julian Wood Wybourn Community Primary Imaginary Worlds
    Lindsay Purdon Calderglen High School Ancient storytelling for 21st century
    Louise Dorian Lodge Park Technology College Xtraordinary Singing
    Paul Horrell community school 1 to OneNote
    Peter Fox Oakfield Community College Animation in RE
    Steph Ladbrooke Pedmore C of E Primary Community of enquiry

    You can view and download these projects for this community on the UK partners in Learning Network

    Please join me in posting a comment to congratulate these great innovative teachers.

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    What school doesn’t care about these measures these days (for better or worse…). Well…our friends in the IT Academy programme might be able to help you out a bit. They have some new offers for teachers and students in the form of new certifications – and they have data showing that Microsoft certifications really do give your school tangible results.

    The IT Academy team will be at our Innovative Education Forum in Manchester on 29th and 30th with computers set up to allow teachers to test out certification exams on the spot. (There are still spaces left for the Forum – but they’re filling up fast! To register, go to the Partners in Learning Network!)

    In addition, they’re running online seminars to give you an idea of what Microsoft Certification really means and how you might take advantage of it at your school. Details on the online seminars are below – check them out or visit the IT Academy stand at our Innovative Education Forum in a few short weeks!


    Microsoft Certification Online Seminars – Registration Open – Limited Places Available
    Hundreds of UK Schools, Colleges & Universities are experiencing the benefit of building Microsoft Certification directly into their ICT curriculum. MTA Logo rgb
    Microsoft training and certification now generates League Table Points and is nationally accredited and mapped. Students can even gain a GCSE Grade B directly through Microsoft Certification. Staff and the wider community can even get involved.
    To find out more attend our 15 minute online seminar and explore:
    · Microsoft Certification & National Accreditation
    · The Microsoft IT Academy Programme
    · League Table Points through Microsoft CertificationMicrosoft Office Specialist Logo (2010)
    · Microsoft Certification equivalency to GCSE Grade B
    · Online testing – so no more administration
    · And much, much more…
    Places are limited to 20 attendees per seminar

    Click here to register.

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    You may know families in your school who have benefitted from the government’s Home Access scheme. Thousands of families have taken advantage of this offer to provide computers and broadband for their children to use at home and school.

    You may not be aware that families can apply for home access packages with assistive technologies, to help their children with special needs. To date more than 7,000 families have taken advantage of the offer for assistive technology packages, but there are many more still available to families who can benefit from them.

    If you know a student who might qualify, it may be worth having a chat to their family to make sure they are aware of this offer. The deadline for assistive technology applications is the end of November. More details (from Becta) are below.

    So what will a learner get in a Home Access package with Assistive Technology? As each package is tailored to the learner’s individual needs it’s difficult to say exactly, but it could include anything from specialist access devices, such as a mouth-controlled mouse, dedicated software to help them more easily interact with web pages or even touch screen technologies to help them access a computer and the internet.

    Want to learn more?

    Details about the eligibility criteria for Home Access packages with Assistive Technology, the type of equipment on offer and how to apply can all be found on the dedicated website
    If you’d like to see a short film about how Assistive Technologies are making a real difference to learners with severe disabilities or special educational needs take a look here.

    You can also learn more about how Assistive Technology helps learners, as well as finding helpful support resources by visiting the Our Home Access website’s Assistive Technology and SEN pages.

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    Those of you who joined us for Microsoft’s Innovative Education either online or in person yesterday may have noticed that I was carrying some extra weight as I welcomed everyone to the event and introduced our keynotes onstage. This is not something I’d usually announce on this blog, but I am indeed having a baby in February.

    The Partners in Learning team and my manager, our Education director, have been trying to figure out the best way to cover for me while I’m on maternity leave. We decided to divide up some of my work amongst Education team members, leave Stuart in charge of our new Innovative Schools Programme, and hire someone to manage our Innovative Teachers Programme from January through August 2011.

    Ideally, we’re looking for a teacher who is passionate about teaching and wants to be an advocate for Microsoft technology in learning. We are happy to work with existing teachers who want an 8-month secondment with Microsoft, or with recent teachers who are looking for an interesting and fulfilling experience to add to your CVs. The work is exciting, fast-paced, and demanding, but you’d get to work with a great team and it’s certainly fun.

    The official job details are below, along with an email address for you to send your CVs. You can see there is a very short window to send in your CVs, as we’re closing this application process on 9 December 2010 – NEXT WEEK.

    Please take a look at the information below and use the contact email below if you have any questions.


    Job Description

    The role works as part of the UK Education Team. The role is to carry on the execution of the Worldwide Innovative teacher programme for the UK. This is an established worldwide programme. This is part of the wide Partners in Learning programme. The Purpose of the role is outlined below

    The Innovative Teachers Programme Manager will run all activities associated with the Innovative Teachers Programme as part of Partners in Learning in England, Scotland and Wales. This includes:

    • Co-writing the UK Teachers blog
    • Running the teacher evangelist programme – and speaking at conferences and school/authority/partner events
    • Managing teacher travel and projects for the European Innovative Education forum in Moscow in March
    • Finishing development of CPD materials for teachers
    • Managing Twitter and other social marketing of MS programmes to teachers
    • Organising any free events for teachers, such as trainings for teachers and partners

    Applicants should have classroom teaching experience with a focus on using technology to enhance teaching and learning as well as experience and willingness to work closely with a team and evangelise Microsoft technology to teachers.

    The role is a Maternity cover position and we require someone from January 2011 to August 2011.

    Microsoft’s vision for Education is ‘Anytime Anywhere Learning for All’. Through the use of technology we believe that this vision will become a reality. We believe technology can really help students and educators realise their full potential. Education is a strategic market for Microsoft as we try to influence the next generation of decision makers by giving them a great experience of Microsoft technology.

    Key Accountabilities
    • Working as part of the UK Education team and driving the Innovative teacher programme
    • Adoption of Microsoft technologies by teachers
    • Teachers proactively talking about Microsoft technologies as an aid to teaching
    • Teachers Blogging and tweeting with positive comments on Microsoft technology as an aid to learning

    Key Success Criteria

    • Great feedback from community
    • Development of Ideas and execution to evolve the Innovative teacher programme
    • Great feedback from internal stakeholders

    Knowledge, Skills and Experience

    1) Essential Experience

    • A deep and broad understanding of the IT needs of teachers in the UK both at Primary and Secondary level.
    • Sound knowledge required of Microsoft technology including Windows and Microsoft Office
    • Ideally the candidate should be an existing teacher
    • Presentation Skills essential – ability to present to audiences on the use of technology by teachers in the classroom.
    • Good teaming skills to work across the Microsoft education team
    • Existing user of Blogs and Tweets

    2) Technical Skills

    • Good understanding of Microsoft Windows and Office and how these technologies are used by teachers. Ideally the candidate should also understand other Microsoft technologies like Microsoft OneNote.

    3) Personal Attributes

    • Self-motivated and tenacious
    • Ability to work in a team
    • Results oriented and good decision making skills
    • Resilient to making long term strategies effective
    • Good communicator with team members and customers
    • Capable of seeing projects with long timescales through to completion
    • Working cross company and coordinating resources

    4) Qualifications

    • Degree qualification essential
    • Teacher related qualifications essential

    5) Process

    • Please send you CV to – Claire Harris – Talent Source Programme Coordinator – (
    • Closing date for this role is 9th December 2010

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    Whilst we are in the midst of the Winter weather I am basking in the warm glow of yet another successful UK Innovative Education clip_image002Forum. With over 160 teachers and educators, 2 keynotes, 6 workshops and 10 award winning teachers, this has been the largest and most successful forum we have held.

    It started on Monday night with our Teachmeet style Innovative Teachers Meeting. We had some great presentations from volunteers, who not only talked about some great projects, but clearly showed their passion and dedication for teaching and learning. I particular enjoyed the work of David Mitchell and his class blog, you should check it out and leave a comment here . Jan Webb showed us how to make a VLE really work. Jen Deyenburg, a teacher who just moved here from  Canada  and whom I met at last year’s worldwide event, described her love of Geo-caching and the impact it can have on learning. There was a lot of really amazing stuff, which just shows how Partners in Learning is a true global community. I must publicly thank Dan Roberts for his tremendous efforts in co-hosting this event with me.

    Tuesday it was the main event, our one-day Innovative Education Forum for educators. We had two great keynotes form Michael Furdyk and Professor Sugata Mitra, which were both streamed live to teachers in Scotland and Wales. Recordings from the streaming can be found at NGfL Cymru. (We will post higher-quality videos of both keynotes and other event activities as soon as they are ready.)

    It would very easy for me to tell you how good it was. But, I will leave that to some teachers from our network to tell you what they thought.

    David Rogers, an Innovative Teacher Award winner at last year’s event

    What I enjoyed most about the event was the chance to speak to the most of the 10 award winners. The atmosphere of the event allowed for easy networking, and as there wasn’t too much crammed in to the programme there were many opportunities to chat to people.

    Also, the event reinforced my impression of the Partners in Learning network: a bunch of people who are all about learning and recognising teachers that make learning exciting, effective and engaging.

    Jen Deyenberg, an Innovative Teacher Award winner from Canada’s event

    Being part of the Partners in Learning program and being a Canadian Worldwide Innovative Forum representative has led me to new ideas, new technologies, and new collaboration partners and opportunities.

    The UKIEF was no exception, I had the chance to meet many of my “tweeps” and reconnect with inspiring people that have influenced my practise.

    Louise Dorrian in the North Hants Evening Standard

    I was completely shocked and overwhelmed. There were so many fantastic projects so it was amazing to be chosen. The innovative use of technology and games-based learning is definitely popular. It has been really good for the students to know that people across the UK know about the project.

    clip_image004Finally, I must mention our ten UK award winners who  presented their fantastic projects, to the delegates:- David Mitchell, Heathfield Primary School, Gareth Ritter, Willows High School, Jennifer Blum, Strodes College, Jo Debens, Priory School Specialist Sports College, Julian Wood, Wybourn Community Primary, Lindsay Purdon, Calderglen High School, Louise Dorian, Lodge Park Technology College, Paul Horrell, community school, Peter Fox, Oakfield Community College, Steph Ladbrooke, Pedmore C of E Primary.

    We also awarded Innovative Teacher status to Nicki Maddams and Julie Boyle for their work in making Innovids, our instructional videos for teachers. This year’s Outstanding Contribution award went to Guy Shearer, Principal at Lodge Park Community College, for his continued support of the Partners In Learning programme.

    Such was the quality of this year’s entries that it made it very difficult to choose four to be invited to attend the European Forum in Moscow in March next year. The four Innovative Teachers we finally decided upon are: Gareth Ritter, Jennifer Blum, Jo Debens and Louise Dorrian. We will be updating you on their progress and journey to this event.

    Thank you to everybody who attended and contributed to making the UK Innovative Education Forum such a fantastic event.

    You can view and download the workshop presentations, videos and photos as they become available, along with the Teacher projects from this community on the UK Partners in Learning Network.

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    We have had lots of requests for the workshop presentations, livestream recordings and teachers projectsimage, from those that attended and  those who could not make the UK Innovative Education Forum.

    We have created a community on the UK Partners in Learning Network. That contains all the Virtual classroom tours (teacher projects), presentations from the workshops, links to blog posts about the event and the  recorded livestreams from NGfL Cymru of the keynote presentations. We will be adding more resources, such as video, as they become available. So, once you have joined the community, set up the email alerts to automatically alert you to any new material that has been added. Setting up an alert in the community is easy. Click on the section title e.g. Shared Documents. Click > Actions, then Click > Alert me.

    The community can be accessed here . You will need a Windows Live ID to access the community and to join the Partners in Learning Network.

    Please feel free to leave any comments in the discussion area of the community of your experiences and thoughts about event.

    Please note that the UK Partners in Learning Network will offline form 10th Dec – 15th Dec for essential maintenance and upgrades. We apologise for the inconvenience , but when normal service resumes we will have a greatly improved network.


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    I do ! The first time I accessed the internet was in 1995, whilst on a project with BT, I logged on and looked at a website about Fractal Mathematics and Chaos theory. I know, very geeky! But did you realise that their are 9 million people in UK who have never been online, which I find staggering. So this campaign is a great idea, aims to create Digital Champions.

    Any one of us can be a Digital Champion. It can be as simple doing something really quick and easy like registering someone for a free/low-cost training course, or even as organising and running an event. There are 9 top things you or or even your students could could do to be a great UK Digital Champion.

    Here is what the site suggests on ways to become a Digital Champion
    1. Show people the way
      If you know of people who are unaware of how to get to a computer, fill up a train, plane or automobile and take them right to the door of the nearest UK online centre.
    2. Run an event
      It doesn't take a huge fancy conference centre to train people. A few computers, a few trainers and lots of people willing to learn it the best way to put on an event and make a big change.
    3. Share some skills
      Your web knowledge may come as second nature, but some people would be a little nervous if you asked them to hold a mouse. Using the tried and trusted Pass IT On method you can start with the basics and soon they'll be browsing with the best of us.
    4. Give some stuff
      Everyone has an old laptop or monitor hidden away at home so donate your hardware for recycling or simply wipe your computer and give it to a granny. If you're struggling to find a use for your spare change, find a community group or volunteer organisation, or gift a low-cost web-ready PC so you can help get someone online.
    5. Tell your boss
      Rather than knocking on your manager's door asking for a pay rise or moaning about the food in your canteen, see if they'd like to join the campaign and help make a difference.
    6. Make a big fuss
      If you don't fancy standing on your local high-street evangelising with a megaphone, you could try writing to your local MP, or telling your online social 
    7. Shout about what's going on
      Do you know of a local community project or training event that's helping people to get online? Send in your stories, pictures and videos and we'll tell the world.
    8. Spread the love
      From finding long lost relatives to making and sharing music, there are millions of reasons why people love the Internet. The way to get more people online is to make them love it too.
    9. Provide big ideas
      We've got our own thoughts on how to get everyone in the UK to benefit from the Internet, but two (or 2 million) heads are better than one. Spill your brains; there's no such thing as a dumb idea

      This is a great opportunity for schools to develop some great community links, utilising not just the resources of the school , but also the skills of your students and staff.

      Find out what you can do at , go on try it today.

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      For once I wish I could be first in announcing something, but the power of social networking has beaten me. I first saw this tweeted by Dave Garland from saltash,net community school. Two days later, David Rogers , one of our Innovative award winners had blogged about it. So rather than me try to explain , David has kindly agreed to guest post on our blog and outlines the potential of this resource in the classroom. So what are these Guys so excited about. It’s a new web application from Microsoft Fuse Labs called Montage.

      Montage is a shareable, personal, visual album of the web. You are able to design your personal Montage around a topic by adding content that pulls information from a variety of sources including, RSS feeds, Twitter, Bing News, YouTube, video and Bing Images

      Here are David Rogers’ thoughts on this new application.

      Montage allows users to sign up via their Microsoft Live, facebook or Twitter accounts, so sign up is easy. Then it’s  a case of entering a search term in the dialogue box.

      This is an example of what arrives.  The search results look and feel like a magazine, but each section is editable in terms of it’s montage 3content and display.  I was a little disappointed to see that Montage is very USA biased, and I hope that an option to limit searches within UK search results is available soon.  I also noticed that quite a lot of the content is quite commercial.

      Having said this, I can see a number of potential uses for this, especially as users are able to edit, save and publish their Montages. The link could be put into a blog and shared with a class, although the app would greatly benefit from an embed code option (although I may have missed this, I did look around).

      Here is an example of a custom Montage I produced in around 10 minutes:

      montage 4

      Within the page there is:

      • A twitter feed for #uksnow
      • A youtube video interviewing travellers in the UK
      • A selection of photographs
      • A ‘pinned’ article on Gatwick (although this linked to a US newspaper)
      • 2 rolling news items – these are populated with latest pages for the search inputted (for example ‘positive effects snow’)

      Visit the Montage here. montage 5

      There are currently eight panel choices, including a text function which would allow a teacher to set a task at the top of a page. It would also be good to be able to include specific URLs.

      Montage 6

      I can see a number of classroom applications for this:

      • Illustrating the limitations of web searching and bias – why have I selected the information in each panel?
      • A montage could be created and shared with a class to limit search time.  this would be good for classes that are new to the enquiry process, or if there isn’t enough time to allow a fully independent and open enquiry.

      All in all, looks like a potentially useful tool, but will need some classroom trials first….

      I totally agree with David’s points, this is an application that is really worth having a look at. We would love know what you think and how you could use it in the classroom. Feel free to leave your comments.

      Thanks again David for post, you can find his blog at If any of you would like a guest spot on our blog , email me at

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