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  • 04/14/11--07:17: By Teachers, For Teachers
  • One of the most powerful tools in our own professional development is other teachers. Professional generosity – sharing ideas and feedback with our colleagues - helps us move forward in our own practice. It helps us tweak, refine and improve what we are doing in our classrooms. I know that sometimes I don’t have time to plough through the vast range of resources and tools that are available, so tips and pointers from others have been invaluable to me. I’ve referred many times to the YouTube channel set up by @innovativeteach and I’ve really enjoyed watching the latest batch of videos prepared by teachers for teachers prior to loading them up.

    The latest innovids added focus on the use of Microsoft OneNote, Bing, Autocollage and Flashcards, as well as how to increase accessibility for SEN students. You can check them out here:

     
    A full list of the innovids available is below:
             
      Innovid title creator tool  
      Using Autocollage Suzy Allen Autocollage  
      Autocollage Starter Simon Woodhouse Autocollage  
      Bing - Using Image Search Dave Garland Bing  
      Bing Search Starter Activity Ollie Bray Bing  
      Bing - OS David Rogers Bing  
      Bing - Screen Reader Ceri Williams Bing  
      Bing Map Field Trips Helen Morgan Bing  
      Deepzoom Creative story telling Alessio Bernadelli Deepzoom  
      Conditional Formatting James Kent Excel  
      Conditional Formatting Ray Chambers Excel  
      Databars and Sparklines Ray Chambers Excel  
      Excel - Conditional Formatting James Kent Excel  
      Excel - Using 3D surface charts Dave Garland Excel  
      Excel - Using Backgrounds Damian Kelly Excel  
      Excel - Using Data to Tell Stories Ollie Bray Excel  
      Excel - Using Goal Seeking Dave Garland Excel  
      Excel - Using Security Settings Damian Kelly Excel  
      Excel 2010 Dropdown Menu Jen Blum Excel  
      Excel 2010 Interactive Worksheet Jen Blum Excel  
      Excel shared workbooks Alessio Bernadelli Excel  
      New Web Queries Ray Chambers Excel  
      Flashcards  Graham Ayr Flashcards  
      Flashcards for Revision Dan Roberts Flashcards  
      Basic Game in Kodu Nicki Maddams Kodu  
      Office 2007 Using Ink Alessio Bernadelli Office 2007  
      Onenote Advanced Damian Kelly OneNote  
      Onenote Basics Damian Kelly OneNote  
      Wiki Linking David Rogers OneNote  
      Linked Notes David Rogers OneNote  
      OneNote Web App Alessio Bernadelli OneNote, Web Apps  
      Photostory in the Classroom Sarah Richardson Photostory  
      Photostory Tips and Tricks Mary James Photostory  
      How to Use Mouse Mischief Dan Roberts PowerPoint  
      Movies from PowerPoint Kristian Still PowerPoint  
      Polygons in PowerPoint 2010 George Purdy PowerPoint  
      Powerpoint - Action Hyperlinks Mary James PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Adding a Photo Album Mandeep Atwal PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Custom Animation  Mandeep Atwal PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Embedding Youtube videos Ollie Bray PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Making Comic Books Ollie Bray PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Making Mind Maps Suzy Allen PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Oracy in MFL James Kent PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Using PPT Plex Alessio Bernadelli PowerPoint  
      PowerPoint - Using Triggers Alessio Bernadelli PowerPoint  
      Powerpoint Interactive Quizzes Nicki Maddams PowerPoint  
      Text Boxes in PPT Nicki Maddams PowerPoint  
      Songsmith - Editing Songs Sarah Richardson Songsmith  
      Songsmith - How to Make a Song Dave Garland Songsmith  
      Web Apps Ray Chambers Web Apps  
      Using High Visibility Settings John Mitchell Windows  
      Word - Cloze and Word Walls Suzy Allen Word  
      Word - Collapsing a Text Suzy Allen Word  
      Word - Giving Feedback James Kent Word  
      Word - Math add-in Alessio Bernadelli Word  
      Word - Tables and Charts James Kent Word  
      Word - Using a Research Function Mary James Word  
      Word - Using Forms in Languages Sarah Richardson Word  
      Word - Using Smartart in Science Dave Garland Word  
      Word - Using Templates Sarah Richardson Word  
      Word 2010 - Matching Activities Jen Blum Word  
             



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    imageJames Marshall, from the Live@Edu team, tells us more about how to get started….

    Ever wondered how to get the best out of the Outlook Web App in Live@edu? Over on the UK Live@edu team blog this week we’ve been posting short videos that take you step by step through some of the basic features of OWA. These videos are great for you to watch on-demand and learn how to use your Live@edu account more effectively.

    Tips #1 – Getting started with Outlook Live: Evan Archilla introduces the Outlook Web App and some of the keyboard shortcuts you can use to navigate around more quickly.

    Tips #2 – Searching, Filtering, Auto-Replies & Signatures: Evan Archilla talks about how you can search and filter your mail, and how you can set your auto-reply and signature from within OWA.

    Tips #3 – The Calendar: Evan Archilla takes you through the steps to get to grips with your calendar, sharing it with others and creating meetings.

    Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we post more tips and tricks about OWA, SkyDrive and the Microsoft Office Web Apps. You can always subscribe to our videos on YouTube, and follow the UK Live@edu team on Twitter, @ukliveatedu.

    Not using Live@edu yet? Enrol your school today, free! http://www.microsoft.com/liveatedu




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    clip_image001

    Microsoft Image Composite Editor or ICE for short, is one of those applications that doesn’t immediately spring to mind has having a role in the classroom. But it is a ideal for students to record places, geographical features and with it’s new features motion and movement in physics and P.E.

    Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the application creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. The stitched panorama can be shared and viewed in 3D by uploading it to the Photosynth web site.

    A new new feature allows you to take stills from a video

    Application name – Image Composite Editor

    Free download from - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ice/

    Requirements – You will need to ensure that you have the latest .NET frameworks and Visual C++ updates


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    clip_image001

    Microsoft Image Composite Editor or ICE for short, is one of those applications that doesn’t immediately spring to mind has having a role in the classroom. But it is a ideal for students to record places, artefacts, geographical features and with it’s new features, motion and movement in physics and P.E.

    Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the application creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. The stitched panorama can be shared and viewed in 3D by uploading it to the Photosynth web site.

    Application name – Image Composite Editor

    Free download from - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ice/

    Requirements – You will need to ensure that you have the latest .NET frameworks and Visual C++ Runtime library updates

    The video feature only works if you have Windows 7. It allows you to take stills from a video, this works best with activities that involve tracking movements such as running and long jump in P.E. and tracking moving objects in physics.




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  • 04/19/11--04:32: Spring has Sprung
  • imageSpring has well and truly sprung in the Microsoft offices in Reading this week, with the arrival of the very first Easter Camp for teachers.  20 teachers, mostly from schools taking part in our Innovative Schools programme, have been taking part in a professional development workshop held over two days in the school holidays.  It’s great to know that there are teachers who are so committed to developing the learning of their students that they are prepared to give up a couple of days of their well-earned Easter holiday and that despite the challenges being faced by everyone in education at the moment, they can remain enthusiastic, committed and open to new possibilities.  Teachers were introduced to a whole host of new tools – free, as well as being challenged about how to use the tools they already have in a creative way. That’s incredibly important in these times when budgets are an important consideration in schools. As we learn things truly thoroughly when we are challenged to teach what we know to others, teachers prepared instructional guides called Innovids to demonstrate a feature or use of one of the tools they had learnt about.  The software used for the screen captures is a free download called "Community Clips”, which can be found here. The guides will be shared on the Innovativeteach Youtube channel – the first batch from Easter Camp are now available.  Why not check them out?  And why not get to grips with a new tool yourself by going through the process of making a video to explain it to your students or your colleagues?

    Easy Referencing

    Jeannie Nervais and Jen Blum

    Word

    How to use Microsoft Photosynth

    Gareth Ritter

    Live Essentials, Online

    LiveWriter

    Ben Rowey

    Live Essentials

    Making Flashcards for Drama

    Lucinda Purvis

    Flashcards

    Making Phonics Flashcards

    Jo Price

    Flashcards

    Piratey IF

    Jane Cooke

    Excel

    PowerPoint Plex

    Chris Mayoh

    PowerPoint

    The Reference Function in Word 2010

    Dan Roberts

    Word

    Windows Live Writer

    Jimmy Edwards

    Live Essentials

    How to use LiveWriter

    Dan Roberts

    Live Essentials




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  • 04/26/11--03:51: Space to Learn
  • imageSome teachers and learners find themselves in environments that are less than ideal for learning.  Teachers who are inspirational will inspire, whatever their environment and some teachers in inspirational spaces will fail to make the most of their learning space. But the environments we live, learn, work in have the POTENTIAL to change our mood, our receptivity, our engagement.  Some places have a calming effect, others are stimulating.

    This was recently a topic shared with many of our innovative schools in a LiveMeeting with expert schools designers Fielding Nair and was also discussed by teachers in a recent Twitter #ukedchat.  It certainly provoked some passionate discussions. There is a lot of discussion  online about learning spaces – check out Stephen Heppell and Ewan McIntosh, for example.  Just looking at these amazing buildings makes me re-think the teaching methods I would like to be using.

    But what is our own environment like? Does our environment affect the way we deliver learning to our students?   Without the luxury of designing the learning spaces we are working in from scratch,  we try to replicate the learning possibilities that inspirational spaces provide, often within the constraints of very old or inadequate buildings. And while the physical space we use for our learning is easily captured by a photograph, the virtual spaces we are using for learning provide a real challenge for us.  Designing a virtual learning space that encourages anytime, anyplace, autonomous, collaborative learning is a big consideration as we harness the technologies available to us in the 21st century.

    But do we have environment-led learning or learning-led environments? And how do the virtual and physical spaces complement each other? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.




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    A Ribbon Hero enthusiast

    At our recent Easter Camp one of the most warmly received free applications was Ribbon Hero.  This simple plug-in for Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 uses a ‘game format’ to test and improve your skills in using Word, Excel PowerPoint and OneNote. In each application a task is set and you acquire points on how well you do in completing that task. Each task is based around a particular range of functions such as formatting text in Word or inserting video in PowerPoint, for example. Ribbon Hero helps and guides you if you don't know how to use these functions. It enables you to learn alot more about the functions and features of Microsoft Office.image

    As with all the best Hero movies, there is always a sequel and Ribbon Hero 2 is now available. This gives the infamous Office Paper clip character, Clippy, his second chance. Ribbon Hero 2 uses a comic style , with lots of animations and graphics that will have a particular appeal, especially to your students.

    Both these simple games are ideal to learn more about the functions of Microsoft Office.

    Application name – Ribbon Hero

    Free download from - http://www.officelabs.com/ribbonheroimage

    Requirements – Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2010

    Application name – Ribbon Hero 2

    Free download from - http://www.ribbonhero.com/

    Requirements – Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2010




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    imageThere are still more amazing innovids to be seen – short instructional guides prepared by teachers, for teachers. This week’s clips that have been added to the Innovative Teach YouTube channel can all be found by following the links below. Check out the previously published innovids here and here. There are now 80 innovids shared by teachers and we are looking forward to the landmark of our 100th, which will be coming soon!

    Community Clips for Explanations

    Claire Alvati

    Community Clips

    Community Clips and Zoomit

    Kristian Still

    Community Clips

    Making Video Tutorials

    Simon Woodhouse

    Community Clips

    Deepzoom Resource and VLEs

    Scott Tooley

    Deepzoom

    Climate

    Graham Ayr

    Excel

    Grades

    Graham Ayr

    Excel

    Conditional Formatting in Excel

    Nicki Maddams

    Excel

    Excel as a Diagnostic

    Scott Tooley

    Excel

    IE8 Accelerators

    David Rogers

    Internet Explorer

    Small Game in Small Basic

    Nicki Maddams

    Small Basic




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    imageThere are many amazing teachers in our schools who make a difference in the lives of the children they teach everyday. There are many amazing teachers who would love to use technology more effectively to help them do this, if only they had someone to give them a few tips or ideas about how to use it. There are many amazing teachers who know they’ve seen someone, somewhere show them how to use something …… but the memory is filed away in their brain and they just can’t seem to quite remember how.  So how can we keep learning? Keep being reminded?

    There was a documentary on the television at the weekend about the Pitmen Painters. A group of miners in Yorkshire learnt about art appreciation – not by reading lots of books about the art and it’s meaning, but by actually DOING it, by getting “inside the head” of the artist by trying to emulate what they had done.  This could equally apply to the teachers who have learnt how to use a technological tool by creating a 2 or 3 minute instructional video – an innovid.  There were some lines in Lee Hall’s play, which featured in the documentary that stuck in my head:

    “Real art is something that’s shared.”

    Just as the miners shared their pictures and learnt from each other,  the innovids have been shared on the imageInnovativeteach YouTube channel. Check out the latest additions below!

    “Real art is for everyone.”

    So is learning. So is technology. So is learning using technology. What one person has learnt and developed into an innovid is there for everyone else to share and learn from. A constant reminder of those tips and tricks we file away at the back of our minds and a constant source of inspiration.

    What have you been doing in your classroom that might help another teacher? What would you like to know how to do? Do you have some different ideas for using the tools that have already been shared in innovids? Let us know in the comments!

    Innovid title

    Brief Description

    tool

    How to Compress Images using Office 2010

    How to compress images using Office 2010 for use on websites or sending by email.

    Office

    How to Create Screenshots in Office 2010

    This video shows how to create and insert screenshots quickly and easily from an application you are working in.

    Office

    How to Customise Ribbons in Office 2010

    This video shows how to create customised tabs and ribbons for your class in Office 2010 - a great way to personalise resources so they are appropriate for the group you are teaching.

    Office

    How to use shortcuts in Office

    This is an introduction to using shortcuts in Office and other Windows applications. 

    Office

    Review Tools For Assessment for Learning

    How to use the review tool for self and peer assessment.

    Office

    Animations in PowerPoint

    This video shows how to create animations using PowerPoint.

    PowerPoint

    How to Edit Photos In PowerPoint

    This video shows how to use the Format tools in Office 2010 for photo editing within an application.

    PowerPoint

    How to use Mouse Mischief for PowerPoint

    This video shows how to use the Mouse Mischief plug-in for PowerPoint to develop interactive presentations.

    PowerPoint

    How to use Plex for PowerPoint

    This video shows how to use the Plex add-in for PowerPoint to group slides in a presentation

    PowerPoint

    How to use PowerPoint 2010 to use create Adventure Games

    This video shows how adventure games can be created in PowerPoint 2010 to reinforce literacy skills.

    PowerPoint




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  • 05/11/11--12:53: CPD is it for me?
  • I had the privilege last week of delivering a keynote to students at Plymouth University at their Onwards and Upwards Conference #onandup. I joined Oliverstuart%20ball Quinlan and others in imparting our experiences to the next generation of teachers.

    I spoke about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and although this is something I work on delivering with Partners in Learning, talking about it directly was a different experience for me. I began by discussing my own CPD journey, starting with my work with science in primary schools with bugs and spiders. I illustrated how, as you can imagine, suggesting activities to develop science teaching with tarantulas might not appeal to everybody! ( yes, that is a real tarantula!). I realised it was not the activities I was doing and how I did them, but WHY I did them, the thinking behind their design and the impact they had on learning that was the real value to the professional development of others.

    This is one of the fundamental principles of the Partners In Learning programme here in the UK. We  encourage educators to be reflective about their practice and to share their thoughts with others through tools such as a Virtual Classroom Tour or Innovids. This encourages teachers to create their own Professional Learning Network / Community (PLN/PLC). Twitter seems the obvious tool to start this, and whilst it is undoubtedly a fantastic tool for CPD, we need to remember that effective CPD has to meet the needs of the individual, and believe it or not, Twitter is not everybody’s social media of choice. In addition there are other just as effective, but different types of CPD sources. Such as your own colleagues, conferences, subject associations, books and the Partners in Learning Network.

    imageThe impact of having connections to many different CPD sources and contributing to them was clearly illustrated at the conference. Dan Roberts (@chickensaltash) was known by the majority of the audience, some were even actively involved in projects he was leading. His impact through his PLN is immense, he does this, not spending his life engaged online , he does have to teach after all, but by interacting with the different elements in his PLN. As a result others can have access to one of the most innovative, creative and independent thinkers I know.(Why he hasn’t won a National Teaching Award is beyond belief!), but likewise and importantly, he is also learning from them. This is not just happening locally in Plymouth , but globally. Surely this is a measure of the success of a multi resource approach to creating your PLN. Dan illustrates that ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ (excuse the chicken pun) does NOT create an effective PLN.

    So if you are asking the question , CPD, is it for me ? The answer is yes, and the good news is you have a vast array of resources to choose from to create a network that is personal to you and meets your own professional development needs.


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    imageSpring is in the air and a conference season is rapidly approaching! One highlight that I’m really looking forward to is the Sunday Times Festival of Education, which will be held at Wellington College in Reading on the 25th and 26th June this year. This year, the festival is being held in partnership with Microsoft and it promises to be even more memorable than last year’s event.  There are speakers from a wide range of backgrounds taking part in the event, with much opportunity to have our thinking challenged, our tastebuds tickled and our brains stretched. There’ll be something for everyone and to find out more, book tickets and check out the programme, the website is here.  Keep checking the Festival of Education website as there will be more and more information on there in the next few weeks before the event. And if you are using twitter as part of your professional network, follow @educationfest2011 and checkout the hashtag, which is #educationfest2011.

    As part of the Partners in Learning commitment to sharing good practice about what is going on in the classroom, we have award-winning teachers Gareth Ritter (@ritzertech), Dan Roberts (@chickensaltash), Mandeep Atwal (@Shoutlearning)image talking about how technology has made a difference in their classrooms and Isobel Bryce (@issybryce), head teacher from Saltash.net, will be talking about how it has made a difference in their school. Stuart (@innovativeteach) and I (@innovteach2) will be there too, sharing a range of free tools and talking about the difference that collaboration can make to learning.  Come say hi to us on our stand and visit our workshops for inspirational ideas that you can take away and use in your classrooms. Put the date in your diaries and book your ticket for some great value professional development - we’re looking forward to meeting lots of you there!


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  • 05/20/11--05:15: Fun, Free Days at Microsoft
  • imageI can assure you that these days will be fun and will have lots free goodies. The Partners in Learning team will be there , along with the rest of the UK Education Team and we will be demonstrating the wide range of free software and addins that Microsoft offers for FREE that can support learning in your classroom. This will be like our Free stuff from Microsoft Blog series Live !

    Demonstrations will include Mouse Mischief, Windows Live Movie Maker, Photosynth, Stamp Add-In for PowerPoint, Office Ribbon Hero 2, Montage, Bing Maps to name just a few.

    Two days have been organised to meet the specific and differing needs of Primary and Secondary Schools

    For Primary

    Fun Free Day for Primary Schools at Microsoft Campus, 23rd June 2011

    So if Are you a teacher, IT coordinator, network manager, advisor or educator working in the primary sector? Then this is the day for you.

    If you would like to come along, meet some of the team, see some demonstrations and have the opportunity to ask us questions, you can register via here - https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032487566&Culture=en-GB

    We have 120 spaces available, so register today to guarantee yours

    For Secondary

    Fun Free Day for Secondary Schools at Microsoft Campus, 13th June 2011

    So if Are you a teacher,network manager, IT coordinator advisor or educator working in the Secondary sector? Then this is the day for you.

    If you would like to come along, meet some of the team, see some demonstrations and have the opportunity to ask us question, you can register via here - https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032487565&Culture=en-GB

    We have 120 spaces available, so register today to guarantee yours




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  • 05/26/11--00:06: Who is teaching whom?
  • imageA shift is happening in the classroom.  A teacher who isn’t too confident about a new tool calls on one of her class to show her how to do it. Why not? She knows how to help children develop their learning and has some idea that this tool will help engage her pupils in motivating, active learning experiences. She knows that the tools will enrich what is happening in her class. She has the vision and the willingness to give it a try. But she’s stuck.  So she learns ALONGSIDE her class. It’s not that she doesn’t know what she is doing, but that she is developing her skills ALONGISDE her class’ learning. This is increasingly becoming a familiar story in schools and I believe it sends out very valuable messages to our children. That we aren’t necessarily an expert in everything. That it’s ok to to ask for help. That it’s ok to keep learning throughout our lives. That experts come in all shapes, sizes, ages. That problem-solving is done calmly and in co-operation with others. That when things don’t work right the first time, we don’t give up, we find a way around it.

    Teachmeets for teachers are happening all over the country and a very special one is happening in Blackpool on June 16th. This time the children are going to be showing groups of other children and their teachers how they’ve been using technology to help their learning. Find out more about this amazing Kidsmeet here. Watch out for some amazing children sharing their learning with others and some amazing teachers who have been partners in learning with their classes.

    So what have YOU learnt from the children you teach this week? Are you open to learning from your class? Do your class expect you to be the font of all knowledge, source of all wisdom? Or are they independent and autonomous learners with you as their map-reader, guiding them as they navigate their way through their learning experiences? Do you feel that you would be criticised for not having sufficient knowledge or skills yourself? Or would it make you feel vulnerable to admit to your class that you don’t have all the answers? How do YOU manage this situation in your own classroom?


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    Photosynth describes itself as a powerful set of tools for capturing and viewing the world in 3D. Take a load of photos of a scene, from many different angles and many perspectives. Upload them to the site and it will ‘stitch’ them together to create a 3D visualisation.

    The site has some great examples. Check out these ‘Synths’ of Stonehenge and the Sphinx and the detail you can see of the Space Shuttle is amazing. Just viewing these synths makes them useful classroom resources in their own right. Challenging your students to make their own offer great learning opportunities.

    Photosynth also allows you to view great panoramas, such as this one of the Grand Canyon. To create your own you need to compose your panorama using the free Image Composite Editor and just upload the finished image to the Photosynth site.

    Application name – Photosynth

    Free access at - http://photosynth.net

    Requirements – You will need a Live ID to upload to the site and have the latest version of Silverlight installed.

    If you happen to have a device that supports iOS then download the Microsoft Photosynth App to create some awesome synth images. Moving a person whilst taking the photos creates some great 'arty' effects.


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    imageGames have long been used in class to engage and enthuse learners, from bingo to the latest TV game show format to the use of the latest gaming consoles to provide interesting contexts for learning, including descriptive writing, databases and problem solving. Kodu goes a step further and allows learners to become creators of their own games on XBox or PC’s.

    Kodu is a free downloadable visual programming language that “is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone.” The programmes can be created on the Xbox or PC using either a game controller or keyboard/mouse actions. Learners can create a range of terrains, worlds and characters, controlling the characters’ movement, sound and vision using intuitive icon-based language that is suitable from KS2 upwards.

    imageThere is a wealth of resources to support the use of Kodu for learning -check out how to get started when creating a basic game on our YouTube channel innovid. Once you enter the world of Kodu, there are games to play on pre-prepared worlds and easy to follow tutorials to take you through the features of Kodu.  Check out the user forum here and the Microsoft Research information here.

    Application name – Kodu

    Free access at - http://fuse.microsoft.com/project/kodu.aspx

    Requirements – You will need a graphics card that supports DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 2.0 or higher




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  • 06/06/11--23:30: Dare to be Different
  • imageThe fence had been pulled open. Diggers stood silently on the corrugated soil. The stands at Gresty Road were empty, silent with not even a faint whisper of a cheer remaining. Sprinklers were showering the arid ground.  It’s not really how you expect to see the local football ground before the end of the season and it made me look at it differently. Instead of the tired turf showing all the signs of the usual wear and tear after months of pleasing cheering fans, this was a new start.  Seeds were being sown and later that day as I walked back past the ground for a second time, the furrows had been flattened.  I’m sure there will be much tender loving care from the groundsmen as they nurture the pitch back to a perfect green in readiness for a hopeful new start to another season.

    What makes the difference? The tender loving care. A bit like learning, really. Seth Godin in his book, Linchpin, suggests that differences are made when people give of themselves, take risks and act as humans rather than cogs in a machine to personalise what they do for those around them. But how many times do people still keep doing the same old thing? Keep playing on the worn out turf with the bare, muddy patches when what really needs to be done for healthy growth is to plough everything up, sow, roll, water and be patient. Not change for the sake of change or something that is rushed into, but change that is carefully planned (don’t tear up the pitch in the middle of the season!). Creating the right conditions for that change to happen is key – timing, watering, fertilising, patience.  Stuart talked about professional networking and its role in professional development in his post …………….          Godin goes on to say that sharing without needing something back in return is a gift that allows us room to experiment and room to find fulfillment in what we do. If professional sharing is the seeds, what do we need to do to churn the soil so we can have new, healthy growth free of weeds and bare muddy patches?


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    imageContinuing with the theme of games being used to help learning from our last Free Stuff blog post, Mouse Mischief is a fantastic way to engage students in interactive learning opportunities and can make any Microsoft Powerpoint 2010 or 2007 into a game.

    Mouse Mischief describes itself as a tool that integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, enabling you insert questions, polls, and drawing activity slides into your lessons. Students can actively participate in these lessons by using their own mice to click, circle, cross out or draw answers on the screen.  When the Mouse Mischief add-in is downloaded, it creates a new tab within PowerPoint for easy preparation and combination of static and interactive slides .

    imageThere is a wealth of resources and lessons available online and when you search through PowerPoint templates in Office 2010, there is a whole section of shared Mouse Mischief templates, too.  Check out the Mouse Mischief innovid to help get you started.

    Application name – Mouse Mischief

    Free access at - http://www.microsoft.com/multipoint/mouse-mischief/en-gb/

    Requirements –  You will need a graphics card that supports DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 2.0 or higher

    If you have also downloaded the STAMP accessibility add-in and have experienced any issues with the Mouse Mischief ribbon in PowerPoint 2010, you will be glad to hear there is an easy fix by following these steps (for Windows 7):

    1. Uninstall Mouse Mischief, exit PowerPointimage

    2. Click the Start button

    3. Type cmd and press return

    4. This brings up a command line

    5. Type CD AppData

    6. Type CD Local

    7. Type CD Microsoft_Corporation

    8. Type DIR

    9. There should be a single directory, with a number such as “Microsoft.Multipoint.Misc_Path_ryyvyople4fozchjgoz45ldjqotlpqht” (Note: the text ryyvyople4fozchjgoz45ldjqotlpqht will be different on your system)

    10. Type RD /S Microsoft.Multipoint.Misc_Path_textfromyoursystem

    11. Re-install Mouse Mischief, run PowerPoint




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    imageAfter the great success of the last 2 Summer Camps and the Easter Camp held earlier this year, we will be running another Summer Camp this year – this is an open invitation to all of you reading this blog to apply. So if you have time this summer, perhaps your plans for other events and holidays have not materialised and you still want to spend time with other innovative educators, then this is an ideal event for you.

    Summer Camp takes place at Microsoft UK Headquarters in Reading, starting 10:00am on Tuesday 24th August and finishing 4:00pm Wednesday 25th August. You need to find your own way there - the train is best and there is a free bus from the station. We have sorted a hotel and an evening meal for you.

    What will I be doing at Summer Camp?

    We will give you training in using our free software to create teaching and learning resources for the classroom. You will have time to design, create and evaluate those resources and collaborate with others. You will also get the chance to speak to experts at Microsoft about our technology. This year we have a theme – VISUAL CREATIVITY – and we will be preparing sequences of lessons that release students’ (and teachers’!) creativity, whichever subject area they are studying. Watch out for budding film-makers!

    You will join a select group of educators as part of the Partners in Learning Network that have opportunities to contribute to the work Microsoft Partners in Learning are undertaking in education in the UK and will provide some of the experience needed for applying to a *NEW* special programme we will be announcing later this summer.

    How do I apply?

    We don’t want videos or lengthy biographies from you, to apply, just email three tweet-esque type statements (140 characters or less) to innovteach2@live.co.uk before the closing date 12:00pm 8th July 2011. These statements should be ideas of how you would, or are using Microsoft technologies to support learning across the curriculum. For example:-

    • using conditional formatting in Excel to help visual learners in numeracy
    • using PowerPoint to create animated flicker books
    • using the Songsmith to create mobile ringtones

    Also include details of your school, subject expertise and pupil age range in your application. We will select 15 applicants with the most intriguing and innovative ideas, who will be notified on 15th July 2011.

    I am not an ICT teacher is it worth me applying?

    Yes, most definitely, we are looking for classroom innovators in learning, rather than techie whizz kids. This event is targeted at those Teachers in the UK interested in teaching and learning, and how technology can support that, rather than the technology itself. This event is for teachers in the UK in Primary, Secondary and Special school settings.

    What will I need to bring?

    We expect you to bring some of the tools you are using already:

    • a digital camera or a device that enables you to take digital image
    • a laptop running Windows Vista or Windows 7, with the following free downloads functioning fully:

    Movie Maker 2.6Autocollage, World Wide TelescopeWindows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Movie Maker and any associated software such as Silverlight and .net framework installed.

    What will I be expected to do?

    • To create a teaching resource
    • To share what you have learnt when you go back to school

    You will need to be able to upload images from your camera onto your computer so that you can learn to how to manipulate them in a number of ways!

    You will receive a certificate welcoming you as a Partners in Learning Teacher and more ideas about how to enhance pupil through the use of technology.

    We are looking forward to receiving your applications. If you have any questions post a comment or contact us via email at innovteach2@live.co.uk .

    Get applying and Good Luck.




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    imageTo continue with the “playful learning” theme of some recent blog posts, there’s been a bit of a buzz going on this week as the tools to let us create our own Kinect XBox games have been released. There’s some amazing learning potential – perhaps you are a teacher who knows a little bit about coding and can create some cool learning opportunities for your students or perhaps you have older students who are developing their own coding skills.  Imagine having the universe at your fingertips with the amazing Worldwide Telescope enabled by Kinect!  Being able to use augmented reality in the classroom becomes a reality. Check out some initial attempts by one of our innovative teachers, Ray Chambers and learn from some of the experts who were involved at special Kinect for Windows SDK event recently.

    Application Name: Kinect for Windows SDK

    Free Access at: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/download.aspx

    You will need:




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    I wanted to share with you the thoughts of my colleague at Microsoft , Ellie Jones , who accompanied us to a great event last weekend, The Festival of Education.

    festivalIt’s the time of year where with the summer sunshine (well some), the festival season is upon us. Ok, so I wasn’t showing off my wellies and descending down on Glastonbury trying to make my way through all the mud and find a spot for my tent,  however I did  attend The Sunday Times Festival of Education along with some of my colleagues and customers at Wellington College , Berkshire.

    This is the second year that this festival has run and is already showing popularity with attendees growing from 500 attendees last year to 2000 attendees this year, continuing to grow next year with a target of 5000.

    During the 2 day festival, those attending were able to attend varying presentations with over 150 speakers including Bob Geldof, Michael Gove, Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Robert Winston  as well as Microsoft with guest speakers from some of our Innovative  schools.

    Ollie Bray, Musselburgh Grammar School – Why computer games change the way students learn

    Mandeep AtwalSHOUT  - Inspiration to explore, connect and make a difference

    Dan Roberts, Saltash.net – A climate of change and being brave

    Isobel Bryce, Saltash.net– School transformation through partnership

    Stuart Ball, Partners in Learning, Microsoft – Connecting teachers, connecting learners

    Jan Webb , Partners in Learning, Microsoft– A classroom without walls

    Sir Mark Grundy and Kirsty Tonks, Shireland Collegiate Academy– Outstanding school improvement through technology

    The festival saw some great speakers, interesting debates and a wide and varied audience from across the country. On top of all this success,  for once instead of the typical rain clouds often seen at festivals, the weather turned out exceptional as well. No wellies needed!

    For those who attended the sessions from Jan and myself, I have attached to this post the presentations with the links to the applications we mentioned and discussed.

    Who else was at the festival, what did you think? We would welcome your comments.




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