Today, we had a fantastic day at the office, when we hosted the “Fun, Free Friday for Schools”. Just over 100 schools attended, and we had an absolutely packed agenda, as we demonstrated lots of the free Microsoft software available for schools to use.
All of the links to the various downloads we mentioned during the day are below. During the day we asked people to share ideas of how they would use the software to enhance their curriculum teaching, but we didn’t get the chance to write them all down – so if you attended the day, we’d appreciate it enormously if you’d add a comment to the blog to say how you hope to use one or more of the resources you saw on the day. And if you were one of the lucky ones who won a copy of Office, then go here to find out how to get the Office 2010 upgrade under the Tech Guarantee programme.
Bing Maps is so much more than just maps and directions. Bing Maps delivers a truly immersive experience that connects people to the world and a growing number of useful and valuable applications. Whether you want to find and view photosynths, see Twitter feeds, explore environmental projects or just explore the world; Bing Maps is a great resource for educators and students to enrich their learning experience.
Photosynth is a tool that takes your photos, mashes them together and recreates a 3-D scene out of them that anyone can view and move around.
Community Clips is a free download from Office Labs that allows you record activity from your computer screen, narrate that activity and save it as a video file. This makes it ideal for recording simple instructional videos and to record student computer activity for assessment purposes.
You can download the Community Clips screen recorder at - http://www.officelabs.com/projects/communityclips/Pages/Default.aspx
Worldwide Telescope is a free download that enables you to access a huge collection of stunning images of the universe from the Hubble Space Telescope and many other space and earth observatories . These can be used to engage students, and to support teaching and learning in Maths and Science. It is a great tool to encourage students in research and project based learning around the planets, the solar system and the stars and to give them an appreciation of the scale, complexity and beauty of the universe.
Worldwide Telescope can be downloaded from http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/Home.aspx
Pivot is a visual way of presenting and analysing data, from Microsoft Live Labs. It’s very difficult to describe in words, so perhaps the best way to see what it can do is to watch this video from the TED Conference 2010
You can download Pivot from the GetPivot website, and use it straight away with the Pivot Collection – or if you’re technical, you can create your own Pivot collection, either in Excel or from a data source. (I used the Pivot Collection Tool for Excel for the SIMS example)
DeepZoom allows students to create image compositions that can be viewed at different resolutions. Photos can be embedded within one another making it an ideal resource to develop thinking skills and digital storytelling.
A great example of the use of DeepZoom technology can be found at the Hard Rock Café - http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/. (You will need the Silverlight plug in to view this)
To make your own Deep Zoom compositions, download a free copy of DeepZoom Composer
You can find a series of tutorials about how to use DeepZoom Composer on the UK Teachers Blog
Outsource your email and collaboration solution using this free offering – give all of your staff and students a 10GB Exchange mailbox, 25GB storage and collaboration space, access to the office web app – oh – and it works on almost any platform and in almost any browser, too.
SkyDrive and Live Sync
Windows Live Sync is about to get an update to keep your PCs and web storage in sync. Giving you 2GB of web storage space and the ability to sync content between multiple PCs, Live Sync is a great way to tool to keep you files and photos up to date. Unfortunately it is still in beta but will be part of the updated Windows Live Essentials – keep an eye out at http://get.live.com
Office Web Apps
The Office Web Apps have just launched this week. They’re at http://office.live.com and they provide free, lightweight editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents through the browser.
Windows Live Messenger
More than just instant chat! Live messenger can be a great way of engaging your students in a more exciting and innovative way of learning. It’ll help save money with free simple video conferencing, and to take the pressure away from email - file sharing becomes instant. You can download it as part of Windows Live Essentials
Ever been stuck with a bit of text or a website that’s in a language you don’t speak? Needed to get something across to a teacher across the seas? Or wanted to have an IM conversation that wasn’t limited by language barriers? Bing Translator bridges the gap between languages, so whether you’re chatting to someone or reading an article, you’re covered.
Windows Live Writer
Live Writer is a programme that allows you to write blog posts offline, and then upload them onto your blog (and it works with all kinds of different blog platforms, like WordPress, Blogger, Community Server, SharePoint, Live Spaces, and lots of others). You can find out a little more about it in my “I love Live Writer” blog post, and download it free with Windows Live Essentials.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
Organise and find your photos really fast by date, descriptive tags or people tags. Richard demonstrated how you can make your photos look better by tweaking exposure, colour or detail. And then it allows you to share your photos easily by publishing to various online services such as SkyDrive or flickr.
You can download the current version as part of Windows Live Essentials
Windows Live Movie Maker
Import your existing photos and digital videos and create great looking movies which can be burned to dvd or published to online services such as SkyDrive or YouTube.
Add impact to your movies with stunning visual effects and soundtracks. Create an animated movie by displaying lots of still images at speeds of up to 33 frames per second.
You can download the current version as part of Windows Live Essentials
Singing in the shower is so last year – get your students creative juices flowing across the entire curriculum using Songsmith - a quick & easy way of creating songs, raps, rhymes and tunes out of whatever comes into your head. Although normally you’d pay for SongSmith, it’s free to education in the UK via the Partners in Learning Network
Maths Worksheet Generator
If you spend a lot of time searching for worksheets with practice problems to give your students, then you'll like Maths Worksheet Generator. You can easily create your own in just a few seconds with the Math Worksheet Generator. This is a tool that generates multiple maths problems based on a sample problem you provide, and then creates a worksheet that you can distribute. By analysing the initial problem you provide, or one of the built-in samples, the generator determines the structure of the expression and provides similar problems. And it tacks on an answer sheet too.
You can download it from EducationLabs.
Photostory 3 allows your pupils and students to create videos from still images. They can add narration, music and special effects. It is ideal resource to use in all areas of the curriculum.
Photostory can be downloaded for free at - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx . You will also find this resource on Digital Storytelling in the classroom useful. - http://www.microsoft.com/education/teachers/guides/digital_storytelling.aspx
Microsoft and Moodle
If you’re using Moodle, you don’t have to miss out on some great free tools – using our Office for Moodle plugin you can open from and save directly to a Moodle site, and with the Moodle Plugin for Live@edu, you can get your recent mail and calendar items right within your Moodle learning environment.
Autocollage allows you to take a group of photos and turn them into exciting collages with the click of a button, which can then be printed or emailed.
Autocollage also interacts with Windows Live Photo Gallery for a seamless connection to your extisting photo libraries. It's a great time saver, for example when you've got photos from a school trip, or you need to get students to create a mood board. There's a video demo on the Microsoft Research site. Although AutoCollage is normally sold as a product, if you're in UK Education (teachers or students) you can download it free from the Partners in Learning website.
Kodu is a visual programming language for creating games designed to be accessible for children and an ideal way to ignite an interest in computer science whilst teaching other skills such as cooperation, logic and creativity.
DreamSpark is a programme designed to give all students access to Microsoft tools and training materials at no cost.
Digital Literacy Curriculum
This is the home page for the English version of the Digital Literacy Curriculum – which is available in 34 languages – including Welsh! It’s a lovely set of curriculum resources with an interactive interface which allows people to study at their own pace and in ways that suit their own learning style! It’s available online and it’s also FREE !! The goal of the Digital Literacy Curriculum is to teach basic computer concepts and skills so that people can use computers in everyday life. Modules cover Computer Basics; Desktop Applications; the Web; Safety and Security; and Digital Lifestyles. Once you have completed all five modules, you are ready to take an Entry Level 3 qualification with OCR or City and Guilds and you have the foundations for a journey to higher level skills which could provide a real boost to your employability.
Office Ribbon Hero
The new prototype Office Ribbon Hero is designed to test the effectiveness, feasibility and appeal of delivering Office training in a game-like setting. The heart of Ribbon Hero is a set of challenges that users play right in the Office applications. These challenges expose users to features that they might not be aware of and which can help users get their work done faster.
In addition, Ribbon Hero awards points for using both basic features, such as, Bold and Italic, and for using the features introduced in the challenges. Ribbon Hero does some analysis of the person’s usage patterns to prioritise the order in which it presents challenges. And then to add the competitive element, Ribbon Hero integrates with Facebook so you can share your success (or in my case, failures) with your friends.
Want to keep your students' attention? Try a little Mischief. Mouse Mischief is a tool that Microsoft makes available free of charge, and that allows teachers to work with Microsoft Office PowerPoint to make interactive presentations. Mouse Mischief integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, enabling teachers to insert questions, polls and drawing activity slides into their lessons. Students can actively participate in these lessons by using their own mice to click, circle, cross out or draw answers on the screen.
Create online personlised revision materials for your students and pupils. These flashcards can contain images and audio, making them an ideal resource for language and special educational needs teaching. The Flashcards give feedback on how well students and pupils are doing, allowing them to identify the areas they need to improve. Go to EducationLabs to find out more and to create your own Flashcards.
Internet Explorer Accelerators
With Internet Explorer 8, Accelerators reduce the time it takes to do simple tasks, such as find an address, translate a word, or perform other routine tasks online? Until now it was likely a series of cutting and pasting information from one webpage to another. Now there's a better way. The new Accelerators in Internet Explorer 8 help you quickly perform your everyday browsing tasks without navigating to other websites to get things done. You can find out about, and download Accelerators here
pptPlex is a free add-in for PowerPoint that makes it simple to present non-linear content and interact with your slides more dynamically – it’s a very different way to present.
XNA is a games development platform for Windows OS, Phone and Xbox 360. It is an ideal way to engage your most enthusiastic students and teach them some core programming skills applicable to all Microsoft platforms.
Innovids are a series of instructional videos created by teachers for teachers as part of the UK Partners in Learning Network programme. Using community clips and Moviemaker, teachers have recorded how they use a range of Microsoft applications in the classroom. These include Office 2007, as well as applications such as AutoCollage and Bing. Each video shows not only how to use the software , but a context in which to use it effectively to support learning across the curriculum.
You can access and download these Innovids from the UK Partners in Learning Network - http://uk.partnersinlearningnetwork.com or the UK Partners in Learning YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/innovativeteach
Partners in Learning Network
This a global community of teacher who value innovative uses of ICT that improve and support learning. By joining the UK Partners In Learning Network, you can:
- Create or join communities & discussions
- Find lesson plans and activities, as well as share your own resources
- Download free software such AutoCollage and Songsmith
- Collaborate with like-minded colleagues, to develop best practice in your own classroom and community
Our UK Teachers Blog supports this Network, with all the latest developments, ideas and news that we think can help and support teachers.
UK Teachers Blog -
UK Partners in Learning Network - http://uk.partnersinlearningnetwork.com