Today, we are excited to share with you a brand new Education app freshly released on the Windows Store, designed by our very own Stuart Ball from the Microsoft UK Education team.
With many excellent education resources in our archives, Stuart designed the Microsoft UK Education Free Resources App with the purpose of centralising our tools and resources into one hub to provide educators with the ease and flexibility of accessing resources at any time, for free!
Stuart shares his inspiration for creating the app, along with his short (three week) journey from 'coding-beginner' to 'app designer'.
So what compelled Stuart to create the app?
During the summer break, I set my self the challenge of learning to be a Developer. After all, we are asking teachers to learn this skill, so it was a case of ‘practice what you preach’. My starting point was to find a coding package to learn. That was easy, there are so many free resources available, so I chose Touchdevelop . Next , I needed some help. On the Touchdevelop site, I found a series of helpful tutorials and courses and also stumbled across a couple of names I recognised from the Partners in Learning Network, David Renton and Ray Chambers. A few tweets later and I was ready to go. Or so I thought. Ray asked me ‘What did I want to make?’. That sort of stumped me for a while, but I suspect it may be a wall many teachers and students also stumble into. ‘What shall I make?’ A game seemed the obvious choice, but I have Kodu for that. Then Ray offered me a piece of advice. He asked me whether there was something that I seemed to do repeatedly, that an app could replace. This gentle suggestion set my thoughts into motion, and quickly directed them to the following: Until today, I regularly spent time emailing educators lists of links to free Microsoft Education resources, and this could be replaced by an App.
So during my holiday instead of reading, I coded! On my Surface RT I might add. As I worked through my plan , I discovered different techniques, some of which you will probably see in the App. I have purposely left it ‘hobbyist’, hoping that it will inspire people that learning to code is not the difficult task they might perceive it to be and that they too can get an App in the Windows Store after three weeks of learning. I can’t lie to you, I feel quite proud of myself.
What does the app do?
The App is a simple menu interface that links the many free resources that not just Partners in Learning have, but have been produced by the whole Microsoft UK Education Team.
The app is effectively a ‘one stop shop’ for the following resources:
- Resources to support Computer Science
- Windows 8 E- Books
- A list of Free Win 8 Apps for Education
- Links to our Education Blogs, Slideshare, Youtube Channel
- and even links to the blogs of our Rockstar teachers who share their best practice and resources.
Stuart would welcome any comments and feedback on his App which he will be updating it regularly. Now what will he try next?