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    The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’

    This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011.

    image We have a rich agenda that includes as Keynote speakers, the world renowned Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President of Eidos , Alex Bellos, the author of the popular science book Alex's Adventures in Numberland and Ollie Bray, the National Adviser for Emerging Technologies at Education Scotland

    In addition, delegates will be able to choose from a range of  workshops. I would suggest that you sign up as soon as possible as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

     

    Using the Kinect SDK/Kodu in the classroom

     

    imageClassroom Teachers Ray Chambers from Lodge Park Technology College & Nicki Maddams from Hartsdown College, give hands-on  practical guidance on how to programme and create games in the classroom

    Everyone is a Maths genius, can computer science/technology prove it?

    Dr Chris Imafidon is one of the “World’s foremost scholars on leveraging informatics for learning and exceptional achievement. This workshop will discuss how computer science/technology exposed the myths of  natural Intelligence, genes, gender, IQ, age, background, post-code.

    Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything?

    imageDr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), looks at the big question:  How are we developing and encouraging the next generation of technology innovators in the UK?

    imageBe a Maker: learn to build gadgets with .NET Gadgeteer

    Dr Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche from Microsoft Research.Do you like computer gadgets? Would you like to learn how to build and program gadgets to your own design? Then this workshop is for you!

    Medicines and innovation – the missing link

    imageKandarp Thakkar - STEM Ambassador Programme - This workshop will introduce the STEM programme and give some ‘real-life’ case studies of successful use of this programme in delivering high quality university admissions.

    imageGuerrilla Teaching & Learning

    Daniel Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla educator, co-founder of The Geography Collective and creative director of Mission:Explore. Join this workshop to receive initial training in how to be a guerrilla teacher and learner.

    Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’

    imageDan Roberts from saltash.net community school, presents  light-hearted perspective and interactive & engaging discussion which considers the challenges & issues of schools using social networking, how these can be overcome?

    Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinect package for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open


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    I_Livingstone2BBC Newsnight  last night broadcast an interview with Ian Livingstone, discussing the current of state of computer science education in the UK. You can watch the interview on the BBC iplayer.

    Ian Livingstone is one of the founding fathers of the UK’s interactive entertainment industry, and will be continuing this discussion in his keynote at our Partners in Learning UK Forum. So come and join that discussion by registering for this free to attend event.

    In 1975 he co-founded Games Workshop and launched Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. He soldimage his remaining interest in Games Workshop in 1991. At Games Workshop he published White Dwarf in 1977, the UK’s first interactive games magazine and was its editor for 5 years.

    In 1982 he co-wrote The Warlock of Firetop Mountain with Steve Jackson, the first in the Fighting Fantasy series of interactive gamebooks with sales in excess of 16 million copies in 25 languages. He wrote more than 20 books in the series including Deathtrap Dungeon.

    In 1984 he invested in Domark, one of the first UK computer games publishers, designing the company’s first game Eureka. He joined the board in 1992 and helped merge the company with Eidos Technologies. Following a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1995, he served as Executive Chairman of Eidos plc from 1995 until 2002, and subsequently as Creative Director. At Eidos he helped to secure many of the company's major franchises including Lara Croft:Tomb Raider and Hitman.

    In 2011 in collaboration with NESTA he co-authored Next Gen: Transforming the UK into the world’s leading talent hub for the video games and visual effects industries. You can read that report here.

    He is Life President, Eidos, a Non-Executive Director of SocialGO plc, Non-Executive Director of UKIE, Chair of Skillset’s Computer Games Skills Council, Vice Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, Member of the Creative Industries Council, Trustee of GamesAid and an advisor to the British Council.

    He has been awarded an OBE, a BAFTA Special Award, a British Inspiration Award, the Develop Legend Award, and an Honorary Doctorate of Technology by Abertay University for his contribution to the UK computer and video games industry.

    Along with this keynote, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinect package for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open


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    Maths Made Easy–Alex Bellos

    I first encountered Alex Bellos on BBC Breakfast TV , talking about about his book, Alex's Adventures in Numberland,( which I subsequently went out and bought!) He described his passion and interest in Mathematics.  It reminded me that the subject of Maths has some amazing concepts , ideas and activities, that can engage and inspire students and teachers alike. So why is it so many are turned off maths?, when there is all this great material to create fantastic learning opportunities.

    Alex will be sharing his passion for Mathematics in a keynote at our Microsoft Partners in Learning UK Forum. Click the link at the end of this post to find out more details and register for your free place. Like me, I am sure you will begin to look at maths in a completely different way.

    clip_image002[7]Alex Bellos is the author of the popular science book Alex's Adventures in Numberland, which was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and for Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the Galaxy National Book Awards 2010. It is a bestseller on three continents and translation rights have been sold to 20 territories. Bellos graduated from Oxford in Mathematics and Philosophy and worked for many years at the Guardian, where he ended up as its South America correspondent. He is also the author of Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life and he ghost-wrote Pelé's autobiography.

    Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinect package for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open


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    imageWe are pleased to announce that we have been able to add an extra workshop to the the fantastic list of professional development opportunities at this year’s Forum.

    Bringing classrooms together with Skype

    Ever wanted to collaborate with other teachers, classes and experts around the world to help your students learn? Chances are your budget does not extend to a class trip to Florida to discuss weather patterns or a visit to the Maasai in Tanzania. That’s where Skype in the classroom comes in.

    In this interactive workshop, Jacqueline Botterill, head of social good for Skype, will explain and demonstrate how over 17,500 educators from over 170 countries are already using the free online community to connect with each other, find partner classes and share teaching inspiration. Jacqueline will be joined by some of these teachers to provide practical advice on how to get started with Skype in the classroom, what equipment is recommended and the benefits of connecting with other classrooms.

    Our free places for this event are going fast. So book yours today and join us for this great professional development event from Microsoft UK Partners in Learning.

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open

     

    The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’

    This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011.

    image
    We have a rich agenda that includes as Keynote speakers, the world renowned Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President of Eidos , Alex Bellos, the author of the popular science book Alex's Adventures in Numberland and Ollie Bray, the National Adviser for Emerging Technologies at Education Scotland

    In addition, delegates will be able to choose from a range of workshops. I would suggest that you sign up as soon as possible as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

    Using the Kinect SDK/Kodu in the classroom

    imageClassroom Teachers Ray Chambers from Lodge Park Technology College & Nicki Maddams from Hartsdown College, give hands-on practical guidance on how to programme and create games in the classroom

    Everyone is a Maths genius, can computer science/technology prove it?

    Dr Chris Imafidon is one of the “World’s foremost scholars on leveraging informatics for learning and exceptional achievement. This workshop will discuss how computer science/technology exposed the myths of natural Intelligence, genes, gender, IQ, age, background, post-code.

    Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything?

    imageDr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), looks at the big question: How are we developing and encouraging the next generation of technology innovators in the UK?

    imageBe a Maker: learn to build gadgets with .NET Gadgeteer

    Dr Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche from Microsoft Research.Do you like computer gadgets? Would you like to learn how to build and program gadgets to your own design? Then this workshop is for you!

    Medicines and innovation – the missing link

    imageKandarp Thakkar - STEM Ambassador Programme - This workshop will introduce the STEM programme and give some ‘real-life’ case studies of successful use of this programme in delivering high quality university admissions.

    imageGuerrilla Teaching & Learning

    Daniel Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla educator, co-founder of The Geography Collective and creative director of Mission:Explore. Join this workshop to receive initial training in how to be a guerrilla teacher and learner.

    Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’

    imageDan Roberts from saltash.net community school, presents light-hearted perspective and interactive & engaging discussion which considers the challenges & issues of schools using social networking, how these can be overcome?

    Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinect package for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open


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    Being Brave
    This is the 3rd Microsoft session from the Sunday Times Festival of Education at Wellington College that took place in June. This presentation is by Dan Roberts Deputy Head at saltash.net community school

    In this presentation Dan discusses the school’s ethos and attitude to technology and how they have taken and managed risks.

    He illustrates that by taking risks, controlling the risk of failure and accepting that there will be failures, has a greater impact on learning and learners.

    One of the most productive risks the school took was around the use and adoption of social media by staff and students. Dan will be sharing his thoughts, examples and outcomes in his workshop ‘Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’?’  at our Partners in Learning Forum, So if you are interested in finding out to utilise the power of social media in your school and avoid and reduce the risk, then why not sign up for a free place today.

    image

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open


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    Venue – The Royal Tandoori in Reading 026

    Time - 7:30pm-9:30pm

    Date: 23rd Nov 2011

    Last year’s  informal, free event for Teachers and Educators was a resounding success and the overwhelming feedback was that we should do it again.

    This year’s event will again follow a mix of the usual Unconference or Teachmeet structure. We will have our special guest host @chickensaltash co-hosting along with myself. So why not join us for some great indian street food and a drink.

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

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

    What to discuss and present

    We are looking for cool things you are doing with Microsoft technology and/or examples of work, that illustrate and solve current issues or themes. or are just down right great learning activities. Some of the issues that you might also like to consider for example:-

    • How can you possibly learn through playing games? Project1
    • Is the curriculum meeting the needs of 21st century learners?
    • Is Maths teaching as bad as we are told?

    Through such topics we hope to spark debate, conversation and inspire some great ideas.

    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 on this Facebook page. If you are looking to attend, click the ‘I am attending button’ 

    Places at this event will be limited so sign up today!

    Internet access can be intermittent at venues so be prepared with an alternative, this just adds to the fun. There is no guarantee you will present as presentations will be selected at random, but we will try and fit in as many in as we can.

    If you are attending our Partners in Learning UK  Forum and staying in Reading, then you are probably already attending, but it wouldn’t hurt to sign up here as well. This is a social event and its good to see who is attending and plan to meet up.

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

    See you there….image

    You can still register for the main Forum event Registration now open


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    We have talked about Worldwide Telescope before, its one of our favourite free applications. But, to do the imagery real justice its needs a large display. So we have teamed up with a company called  Science Dome, who will be presenting Worldwide Telescope in one of their inflatable planetariums as a workshop session at our free forum. This is a great space to show the outstanding and amazing features of Worldwide Telescope.

     

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration open

    clip_image001[4]

     

     

     

    The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’

    This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011 – Full Details can be found here


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    image

    One of the best things about Partners in Learning is that we get to work with outstanding teachers here in the UK. Better still we get to celebrate the fantastic work of their students at our Partners in Learning Forums.

    Gareth from Willows High School in Cardiff, is one of our award winning teachers that will be attending next week’s Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington D.C. He describes his involvement with Partners in Learning as ‘the best CPD I have ever had , the impact on me, my school and my kids has been immense’.

    Gareth will be presenting his project along with 200 hundred teachers from over 100 countries, please join me in wish him good luck in the competition. You can follow his progress and that of Jennifer King (whose project I will describe in my next post) on the twitter hash tag #PILGF. Please feel free to leave a comment wishing him luck. He would welcome your support.

    clip_image001

    His project, Capturing & Recording Sounds won awards at our 2010 UK Forum and the European Forum held in MoscowGareth 1 last March.

    He uses technology to motivate, inspire and enthuse his students, with them amongst other things,  preparing resources to help younger pupils with guitars, drums and keyboards. He has created a website www.askthemusicteacher.co.uk to share their success and support their learning.

    www.askthemusicteacher.co.uk

    Gareth’s motivation lies in the way the technology he uses enthuses learners who had previously had problems with school and are reluctant learners. Subsequently, the success rate in their GCSE music and music technology exams was 100% A*-C. The enjoyment of the pupils is evident in how they continued with the project at home and how they took responsibility for their own learning. He has capitalised on a wealth of free resources from Microsoft,  such as Microsoft Songsmith, Autocollage, Moviemaker and Kinect SDK.  These tools are now being used by other teachers in the school, they’ve been shared with other local schools and the videos that the students have made are available to the wider music teaching/learning community through www.askthemusicteacher.co.uk

    Not only is Gareth a great teacher, but his many talents include Welsh Brass Band conductor of the year and a former winger for Cwm Rugby Club. He is also utilising his talents as a music producer for his students. They have just completed and released their first album, which they have shared throughout the school and community. You can listen to Belong, Believe, Achieve  here.


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    imageMeeting teachers and working with them is major part of what we do at Microsoft Partners in Learning, I first met Jennifer at one of our Fun Free, Friday events, after I demoed our usual free stuff , she came and asked me some questions and to tell me about a great project she was doing with her students. In that conversation I set her the challenge of documenting her project as a Virtual Classroom Tour and entering our 2010 awards. Subsequently,  I heard nothing from her until, pleasingly,  I saw her completed project in my inbox at the competition deadline. That led her on a CPD journey that was so important , that she even re-arranged her honeymoon so she could attend the European Forum in Moscow

    Jen from Strodes College in Egham, is the other award winning teacher that will be attending next week’s Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington D.C.

    Her  project, ‘Mobilising for London 2012’  shows the power of empowering pupils to take control of their own learning. Students took part in a real-life challenge, a real-life brief for a real-life customer. What the students  achieved shows how learners can respond to high expectations with work that can stand its own in a commercial environment.

    Jen 2Jen’s Creative and Media Diploma students were given a brief by Ogilvy UK to prepare a mobile phone app that would promote one of 3 sponsors of the Olympics that will be held in London in 2012, whilst meeting the needs of the mobile phone app users wanting to make the most of their visit to the Games. Students had to show an understanding of the client’s brief and needs before investigating the information that would help them, generating, presenting and refining their own ideas. They had to consider how they would present in different contexts and supported each other in refining and improving what would be in their final presentation,.  They used a range of multimedia tools to present their pitch to the client and had some great feedback. Video clips they made were shared and celebrated at the Oscar-equivalent award ceremony held at the college.

    Jen will be presenting her project along fellow UK Teacher, Gareth Ritter, with 200 hundred teachers from over 100 countries, please join me in wish her good luck in the competition. You can follow her progress and that of Gareth’s in next weeks blog posts and on the twitter hash tag #PILGF. Please feel free to leave a comment wishing her luck. She would welcome your support.


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    I am pleased to announce this year’s award winning teachers. They will be presenting their projects at our Partners in Learning Forum in November.

    Congratulations to this year’s award winners

    Kristian Still Hamble College
    Katie Boothman saltash.net community school
    Will Wright Uxbridge High school
    Emma Dawson Trinty  CE Lower School
    Glyn Rogers Ysgol Gymraeg Gwyn Llyw
    Sarah Coombes Tynecastle High
    Jimmy Edwards saltash.net community school
    Lindsay Purdon Calderglen High School
    Nicki Maddams Hartsdown Technical College
    Ray Chambers Lodge Park Technology College

    We will posting full details of these projects soon.

    Can I take the opportunity to  thank all those teachers who entered this year’s awards. Again we had a record number of entries, the quality of which was extremely high. Thank you for taking the time to submit your project, please don’t let any possible disappointment of not an winning award detract from the fantastic work and commitment you have to the learners in your schools and colleges. We look forward to continue working with and supporting you in the future.


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    imageThe climax of the Global Forum was the gala dinner at Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington D.C. , 18 teachers from 200 were recognised for their outstanding contribution to teaching and learning at our Forum awards.

    I am pleased to announce that UK Teacher, Gareth Ritter from Willows High School in Cardiff won a Partners in Learning Global Forum  award. He now joins an elite group of UK Teachers who have had their work recognised and praised by a global audience and can truly call themselves the best in the world.

    His project focussed on interactive music projects made by students for students. This project was not just about teaching music, but used great pedagogy to develop students as independent and collaborative learners. The judges also praised Gareth and his fellow teachers for their passion and commitment to their students.

    Gareth was not the only UK Teacher at this year’s Global Forum, Jennifer Blum from Strodes College, since she won her UK award  has got married and is expecting a baby, (we are not taking credit for that !), faced stiff and almost impossible to beat competition in her category from the the U.S. delegates. You can find out about her project here.

    You can meet both Jen and Gareth at our version of the Global Forum and at our Teacher Meet. You  can still sign up to the Forum here and take part in the workshops and Keynotes. Or join us for a Beer and a Bhaji and No salad at the Teacher Meet  – sign up here  on our Facebook page.


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    Jennifer Blum, reflects on her experience in this fantastic blog post:-

    They say just participating makes you a winner. But I would have rather won. Hey! I am American after all. However, like any good educator, I have spent some time reflecting on the experience (8 hrs, in fact, as this is the flight time from Dulles to Heathrow) and this is what I have learned:

    1. I am in good company with the other 182 ‘losers’ who did not win; a Hong Kong teacher who uses augmented reality to imageteach English, an Egyptian teacher whose students created a wiki to bring tourists back to Egypt after the revolution, and a Brazilian teacher who managed a television station across 5 schools to offer lessons to the wider community are just a few examples. I feel so honoured to be part of such a talented and inspirational bunch of losers!

    2. Losers get to save space in their luggage for all the other goodies from the Global Forum as they don't have to fit in their framed award. So I was able to take home 65 business cards, six DVD's of data,  two USB sticks full of resources and three bookmarks each with a list of useful websites & tips. All that and a snow globe of the White House.

    3. Even losers can make friends and influence people (just not the judges). I met some amazing people and took away great contacts and ideas. It's all about the networking at the Partners in Learning Forum. As a result, I've secured a journalist to come and speak to my class, a possible lead into educational development consulting and I'm collaborating with four teachers from around the world on a project using Facebook, Twitter and Wiki Spaces.

    So even though I did not win, I did not return empty handed. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I came back full of new knowledge, renewed motivation and a sense of purpose to live up to the honour bestowed on me by the Microsoft Partners in Learning community. My first day back at work was spent emailing staff and administrators the useful resources, links and knowledge gained at the forum as well as setting up CPD training for my department and encouraging my school to enrol in the Innovative Schools Network and hopefully get on the path to becoming a Mentor school.

    The experience Microsoft has given me has offered me the affirmation progressive teachers need and yet has spurred me on to go even further. I cannot thank Microsoft enough for the opportunity, as this journey has won me more than I ever could have imagined.

    Meet Jen and other outstanding Teachers at our Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum.  This  one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’

    This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011 – Full Details can be found here

    If you can’t make the day event in reading then why not sign up to attend the Teacher Meeting on the evening of 23rd Nov. Full details can be found here. https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=278570945508395


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    Ben Rowe from saltash .net community school reflects on his time at the Global Forum as a Pathfinder School.
    image(that’s Ben in the grey jumper, looking like a Westlife reunion!)

    Well, it’s been a two weeks since The Microsoft Partners In Learning Global Forum. I’m trying to get my head around the fact that this time two weeks ago I was on a Segway tour of Washington DC!!!

    Why was I there?

    I went to the forum to represent saltash.net community school. We went as a Pathfinder School. We are now part of the programme and are working towards becoming a Mentor School.

    What does this mean?

    We went along and shared our schools’ innovative practices in a meeting that involved over 70 schools! It was a wonderful opportunity to speak to a ballroom full of inspirational and innovative practitioners. I learnt so much and made some fantastic contacts with people from all corners of the world.

    We also spent the whole week taking an active role in fascinating workshops that dealt with a huge variety of topics. These were all inclusive and interesting. I left with a head crammed full of new, exciting ideas.

    I met my mentor school and my coach and a great deal of time was spent with these people, generating ideas and getting a feel for the education scene on a global scale.

    Did it benefit me?

    YES! I have come away from the course feeling enabled and excited. I have gained a much broader outlook on education and what innovation in the classroom actually looks like.

    Will it benefit my school?

    Of course! I am looking at collaboration, teamwork and the teaching environment. The findings I have and future projects that are in motion will, I hope, I have a positive impact on the school as a whole. It will also provide the support structure to keep improving and continue being an innovative school.

    All said and done the experience I enjoyed has been career changing. I have never been involved in something so exciting and enjoyable. It has given me a whole new lease of life as an educator and will keep me inspired for a long time to come.

    We will announcing details of our next Partners in Learning Schools programme shortly on this blog. In the meantime you can follow how Ben and his school are getting on with the programme on his blog - http://frenchrowe.edublogs.org/


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    IMAGE_013Yesterday we held our Microsoft Partners in Learning UK Forum, we will be blogging about the event shortly, due to circumstances beyond our control we missed something out yesterday.

    Each year we present the Partners in Learning Teacher Awards, one of those awards recognises the outstanding contribution an educator has made to supporting others through the Partners in Learning Network. This year that accolade is presented to Dan Roberts, Deputy Headteacher at saltash.net community school.

    Dan has tirelessly championed the Partners in Learning Network as something that teachers should access as part of the own professional learning network. Not only has he encouraged teachers in his own school. But, last year he spoke to over 1500 educators about how Partners in Learning can support them in the use of technology in the classroom. Dan does this not just in the UK , but has reputation amongst educators internationally as being as innovator in field of engaging young people with their learning. A great example of this is how he has helped his students create their own E-book on how Teachers can utilise Facebook and other social media as a tool for their own students learning. By selling this book for a small donation the students are raising money for charity, you can help them raise as much as they can by downloading the E-book at http://www.justgiving.com/SaltashEbook

    This is just another example of the great work Dan creates and shares with the education community and clearly illustrates why he is the most deserving recipient of this year’s award.

    Please join me in congratulating Dan, either by leaving a comment here on this blog , or contacting him through Twitter on @chickensaltash


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    Tony McDaid Head Teacher from , Calderglen High School reflects on his time at the Global Forum as a Global Mentor School.

    I found this year’s Global Forum in Washington to be an inspiring event and I had the privilege of working with school leaders who were focussed on transforming learning within their schools. The Innovative Schools’ track managed to be both fast paced and reflective and there was a willingness from all participants to learn from each other. Our group included schools from Sweden, England, Spain, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, among others. There were opportunities for discussion, sharing ideas and to stretch our thinking. Over the week we were posed a series of ‘what if questions’. One memorable ‘what if’ was - ‘What if schools no longer existed’, which challenged all of us to think beyond our traditional school boundaries. The exercise saw us taken to the National Mall, site of the Washington Monument and Korean War Memorial where we were set a series of learning challenges. It reminded all of us that we should capitalise on our local environment to maximise learning opportunities, although we accepted that Washington DC presented a superb location for this task!

    As a mentor school, it was also a wonderful opportunity to meet the school leaders that we will be working with during the course of this year. Together, and with the support of a great coach in Dan Buckley, we were able to identify our common goals for the year ahead and develop a workable plan that will bring about real change. We are fortunate that our school, Calderglen High, will be working in partnership with saltash.net community school, Cornwall and Sartre High School, Berlin. Spending the week in the company of Ben Rowe (and virtually via twitter and email with Dan Roberts) from saltash.net makes me feel that we will have an excellent year ahead. I have never met two more prodigious ‘tweeters’. I know we have forged a friendship that will last well beyond the programme.

    Meeting some members of ‘Team UK’ for the first time proved to be one of the best parts of the week. Gareth Ritter and Jen Blum’s amazing work on the teacher track showed that the influence of inspiring teacher’s will change the lives of young people.

    A word or two for my Scottish colleagues, Ian Stuart and Ollie Bray who were contributors to the teacher’s track as coach and judge respectively. "Slàinte mhòr agad!" (Great health to you). It was with pride that three kilted Scots participated in such an event. Ian and OIlie are both currently playing a significant role in transforming learning in Scotland and I know they will continue to do so.

    There were so many other highlights beyond the Forum including newly formed friendships and life long memories. The conversation with a White House Secret Service agent who strangely didn’t want his picture taken with Ben Rowe will also be remembered!

    My final reflections are for the Microsoft team. The work of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Programme under the outstanding leadership of Stuart Ball, and with oversight from Steve Beswick, has an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for our schools. Their desire to support transformational change will help schools on what can sometimes be a challenging journey.

    I have no doubt that the work of this year’s Microsoft Global Forum will have an impact on the lives of young people in our school. It helped remind me of why it is essential that we continue to strive to be innovative and connect with young people’s learning, using all of the technology available – and the venue was amazing!


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    Ollie Bray from Education Scotland reflects on his time at the Global Forum as a judge.

    I’ve been involved with and a member of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Community since 2006. I became more heavily involved in 2009 as UK, European and Worldwide award winner for my use of computer games to enhance learning activities and to develop social interaction.

    Since 2009 I have continued to support the programme in a number of ways and this has included being a judge for the UK forum and also in Berlin for the 2010 European forum. I was honoured to be asked to be a judge for the 2011 Worldwide forum this year in Washington DC.

    Being a judge is hard. Not only because of the accountability and responsibility that the role brings but also because of the cross sector and cross culture of projects that have to be evaluated. Being a judge is however a complete privilege and you get to meet and talk to some of the most innovative teachers in the world. Many of these teachers are working in very difficult circumstances to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people.

    This year I judged projects from USA, Brazil, Nigeria, Germany, Ecuador, New Zealand, Canada and Chile. In there own way they were all outstanding often providing solutions to enhance learning where there were particular issues and local circumstances.

    With over 180 projects to judge there were 40+ judges at the Worldwide Event and I am sure co-ordinating such a bunch of opinionated people is not an easy task. But Deirdre Butler (Ireland), Kirsten Panton (Denmark) and Jacques Denies (Belgium) did a great job of keeping us all in line as well as sharing valuable expertise from their own personal experiences as educators and past judges.

    Before the judging started we had two days of training to make sure that everyone understood the process and that we shared a common language. I was also delighted that this year the judging criteria was more linked to the emerging Innovative Teaching and Learning Research that has been conducted by Maria Langworthy and her team and funded by Partners in Learning.

    As a judge you work with two other judges from other parts of the world. For the Washington event I was teamed up with Philip Walker (Australia) and also Gabi Barna (Romania) both who have an amazing track record of transforming classrooms and contributing to system wide change.

    The judging process is as follows. First of all you look at the submitted Virtual Classroom Tours (VCT) for each of the participants. This helps you get an overview of the project. Next you discuss the VCTs with your judging team, share your thoughts and your questions about the impact of the work and the teacher. Then individually to visit each of your projects and there is a chance for the teacher to give you a pitch and for you to ask questions on impact, assessment, collaboration, etc. You discuss your interviews with your judges team and then individually fill in your score cards. Each score card has a very robust rubric associated with it. The results are then cross checked and moderated by the senior judges is necessary.

    Although all of the projects we judged were very good. I was lucky enough to judge two of the first place winners.

    Chris Clay (New Zealand) received first place in the extending learning across the classroom category for his project “Linking Educational Accomplishments to Real-World Needs”. Chris created an online community that connects more than 140 teachers and students across New Zealand to tackle real-world biological challenges. Utilizing technology, students develop collaboration, critical-thinking, problem-solving, communication and digital literacy skills, as well as a love for learning.

    A team from the United States made up of Doug Bergman, Johnny Kissko, Louis Zulli, Donna Thomas and Margaret Noble recived first place in the collaboration category for their project “When Fish Fly”. Their students worked together across time-zones and state boarders to integrate computer science, fine arts, business and economics. Student design teams developed a dynamic motion-based game simulation for Kinect for Xbox 360 that replicates the sights, sounds, history and “sense of place” of Pike Place Fish Co. in Seattle.

    A complete list of all of the 2011 winners can be found on this Microsoft Press Release. Including our winner from the UK

    (Wales) Gareth Ritter who is doing some amazing work with technology and music.

    As well a judging I had the opportunity to attend the keynote presentations from Anthony Salcito (Vice President for Microsoft Education) and also David Christian. Davids work with Microsoft and the Gates Foundation on ‘Big History’ is defiantly going to be worth watching over the next 12 months.

    Overall a stunning event and huge thank you to my traveling companions Ian Stuart (Islay High School), Tony McDaid (Calderglen High School), Ben Rowe (Saltash.net), Gareth Ritter and Jen Blum (our two UK European Award winners) and finally Stuart Ball and Steve Beswick (from Microsoft). Thank you!


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    Gareth Ritter, from willows High School in Cardiff, reflects on his time at the Global Forum as a Teacher award winner.

    What an amazing experience the Partner in Learning global Forum has been. I arrived late on Sunday 13th November, On the Monday all delegates were put into groups and we worked collaboratively using the latest technology available. I felt so very lucky to have visited Washington in the company so many of the world’s finest educators. The first keynote speaker was Will Richardson, this really was an eye opening presentation showing that you really need to educate our youngsters for the 21st century and we must get away from the current teaching methods that have been in place for the last 200 years. He shared his vision of classrooms changing becoming innovative classrooms. He commented on the use of mobile phones in the classroom, why shouldn’t pupils be allowed to use their mobile phones in the classroom? If the teacher asks a pupil a question surely it makes sense for the pupils to take out their mobile phone, search the question and then be able to answer it, that’s what happens in the real world. People use the technology around us to make our lives easier. All the key note speeches were well thought out and thought provoking. The event was a great opportunity to share good practice, ideas and resources. I, like many other teachers were so proud to be able to showcase our pupils work on a global stage. On the Tuesday afternoon we were given time to set up our booths. This really was a great experience watching the 130 finalists from across the globe setting up their projects.

    The amount of food was unbelievable; you know you’re in America when the choice of breakfast drink is tea, coffee or Pepsi. It was like that famous Home Alone scene where Kevin orders a ridiculous amount of food on room service, it was great.

    Every day was started off with a keynote speech. Anthony Salcito, the vice president of Microsoft education gave a great keynote. He spoke about the need to deliver 21st-century lessons that will prepare our pupils for the world they are going to. His keynote speech was really interesting, when I hear keynote speeches like this it really makes me think how would this change benefit my pupils. In answer to that question it would change their lives.

    Anthony Salcito also demonstrated the use of the kinect in the classroom with the release of the SDK. I found this really interesting and I know that friends back in the UK who have also been working with the kinect will enjoy and look forward to the plans Microsoft have for it. I’m a firm believer that if we can bring into the classroom the passion our pupils have for their games at home we will raise standards and their achievement and attainment. Our pupils play games at home past 12:00 at night, if they fail a level they don’t give up until they pass the level they are playing even if it takes them into the early hours, they always want to succeed. I’ve always believed that we need to bring that passion into the classroom and the kinect does that for us. I have already seen the benefits in my school.

    Anthony Salcito also announced a revamped version of the Partners in Learning website, I really can’t wait to start using the beta version. This will open up global collaboration for teachers and it was really nice to see Stuart Ball have some recognition from the stage for all his hard work.

    Another great keynote speaker was Arne Duncan, the secretary of education for the USA. I really couldn’t believe that I was sat in the same hall as the Secretary of Education. I really did feel special being sat amongst some of the finest educators I ever met and being spoken to by such a distinguished person in education.

    We made a brief visit to the Smithsonian environmental research Centre. Here we worked in teams to build an ROV. It was great working with these innovative teachers to solve a problem and look how this type of project could be used with pupils.

    After our trip we returned to the hotel by 3:15 PM and I had to quickly get ready to meet my first judge and present my project. My first judge seemed impressed with the project and the work that the pupils had produced. My second judge visited at around 4:30 PM and again seemed very interested in what the pupils had achieved. I really enjoyed talking about the pupils at Willows high school and it was great to showcase their work to a global community.

    It was a real spectacle. Everyone was celebrating after such an eventful week. After we had our meal (with NO salad) it was awards time. As far as we were concerned we were all winners by being there. For me the highlight of the week was meeting some amazing people. It was great to be a part of the UK team; they are a great bunch of people with so much enthusiasm for education.

    The time had come for the awards presentation. I couldn’t believe my ears when my name was read out. I was so proud of my pupils, their work had world recognition. As I walked towards the stage it was a strange feeling. So many people were clapping and cheering, it took a while to sink in.

    The whole event was a life changing experience and one that I will never forget.

    Thank you Microsoft Partners in Learning

    For more info on our Award Winning Project please visit www.askthemusicteacher.co.uk


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    imageWe have always been big advocates of the free software from Microsoft that can support teaching and learning. It was Partners in Learning UK that first brought you AutoCollage and Songsmith for free.

    The biggest piece of feedback we had about this, was that all the software was distributed across a myriad of websites, making it less than simple to install across school networks.

    imageWe are now pleased to announce the Learning Suite, a collection of our favourite free applications in a simple download application. The Learning Suite allows users to select the applications you wish install and tells you which ones you already have.

    Another useful feature, is that as we add resources to the Learning Suite in the future, it will automatically update itself every time you run it. Enabling you, colleagues and your students to have access to the latest free resources from Microsoft as and when they appear.

    You can download the Learning Suite from the UK Partners in Learning Network or click here to Download Learning Suite

    You will need a Live ID to download the Learning Suite and is only available from the UK Partners in Learning site. This will give you access to all these awesome  resources -------------------------->

    If you are looking for support resources for many of the applications in the Learning Suite then, you should check out our YouTube Channel. This Learning Suite playlist has over 20, 3-5 minute videos created by Teachers explaining how to use these applications in the classroom.

    Enjoy !


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    After the great success of the last three Microsoft Partners in Learning Teacher Camps, we are taking the concept on the road – this is an open invitation to all Teachers in Scotland. So if you want to spend time with other innovative educators, then this is an ideal event for you.

    Camp Scotland takes place at Calderglen High School, starting 10:00am on Thursday 26th and finishing 4:00pm Friday 27th January 2012.

    This event is free to attend.

    What will I be doing at Summer Camp?

    We will give you training in using free Microsoft 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. In addition you will also be learning how to deliver the same training to colleagues in your own schools. These resources will take the form of screen capture videos, which we call Innovids. You can see examples of these on the Partners in Learning YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/innovativeteach

    How do I apply?

    We don’t want videos or lengthy biographies from you, to apply for this free event, just email three tweet-esque type statements (140 characters or less) to Odette Fraser – itnukteam@hotmail.co.uk  before the closing date Friday 16th Dec. 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 25 applicants with the most intriguing and innovative ideas, who will be notified on Friday 13th January 2012.

    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 Scotland interested in teaching and learning, and how technology can support that, rather than the technology itself. This event is for teachers 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 headset with a microphone or Headphones and a Microphone
    • a laptop running Windows Vista or Windows 7,
    • Office 2007 or 2010 (not essential)
    • You need to have installed and have working , Community Clips -Freely available at http://www.officelabs.com/projects/communityclips/Pages/Default.aspx
    • We will send you a list of tools to download and install when we confirm your attendance.

    What will I be expected to do?

    We would like to create two innovid resources, including the one you will create on the course. We will collect those resources and post them to our YouTube Channel and GLOW.

    We will offer you support if you wish you recreate this course in your school and 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.

    Can’t make this event?

    Don’t worry we are planning a Teacher Meeting on the evening of the 26th January, open to anybody who wants attend, where you will be able to share great ideas and chat with like minded teachers. Details will be posted early in the New Year.


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    This year’s event was a  of a change of direction for us. Firstly, we held the event at Microsoft UK HQ in Reading and we had a greater focus on Computer Science and Maths. Rather than our usual focus of ICT across the curriculum. You can read the various highlights of the day from these attendees on their blogs.

    Dan Roberts“ Having the opportunity to meet other innovative teachers and to look at the examples of their work in their classrooms was amazing”

    Ray Chambers – “I was so over the moon about finally meeting people who I had talked to on twitter for months.”

    Doug Woods – “it was refreshing to see that people still feel able to be innovative in schools despite the current economic and political climate.”

    Nicki Maddams – “I felt totally inspired, listening to him (Ian Livingstone Keynote Speaker)”

    Philip Anderson- “I met SO MANY people with great things to share and I had the time and opportunity to speak to so many of them too”

    Jimmy EdwardsI would definitely recommend that you join the Partners in Learning Network as you will be hard pressed to find a better CPD experience anywhere”

    A highlight of the whole event for me, came at the Teacher Meeting, from two teachers, Becy Allen @trainieeteacher and Katie O’Reilly @kforeilly, they are trainee teachers at Plymouth University they talked about how they use blogging and networking. Both spoke incredibly well and it was clear that they are very passionate about what they do. You can find their blogs here and here. Expect great projects from these two in the future

    The Award Winners

    imageThis Forum  celebrates of our Partners in Learning Teacher Award winners. This year’s role of honour is :-

    Kristian Still

    Hamble College

    Katie Boothman

    saltash.net community school

    Will Wright

    Uxbridge High school

    Emma Dawson

    Trinty CE Lower School

    Glyn Rogers

    Ysgol Gyfn Gwyn Llyw

    Sarah Coombes

    Tynecastle High

    Jimmy Edwards

    saltash.net community school

    Lindsay Purdon

    Calderglen High School

    Nicki Maddams

    Hartsdown Technical College

    Ray Chambers

    Lodge Park Technology College


    (Please note Kristian Still is missing from this photo. We have no idea where he went. We suspect he is working for MI5 !)

    Choosing four projects to represent the UK at the European Forum in March was an almost impossible task, but with the help of judges, Walter Patterson and Ollie Bray, we managed to identify four projects that we feel best represent some of the current innovative thinking and use of technology in the classroom.awards_AutoCollage_7_Images

    The four winning projects are from – Nicki Maddams- A Kodu Curriculum, Ray Chambers, – Kinect Olympics Katie Boothman – The HIT Squad and Lyndsay Purden  - Learning Journeys with OneNote.  Sarah Coombes’ project was highly commended and all received an Xbox 360 and Kinect for their school. Their projects can be downloaded from the UK Partners in Learning Network.This year’s outstanding contribution award went to Dan Roberts.

    Thank you to all  those that attended, we hope you went away inspired and full of ideas.


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