Blog written by education writer Gerald Haigh
Microsoft’s ‘Office for iPad’, launched in March 2014, and offers iPad users greatly increased choice and functionality. One school quick to see the possibilities for learning is Honywood, a successful secondary academy in Essex which has had some 1200 iPads, used by staff and students on a one-to-one basis, since 2012. Office for iPad was introduced immediately after the March launch.
In many ways it was a natural step. ‘We already had Office in the school,’ says network manager Charles Greig, ‘and just before the Office app came out, we set up Office 365’ Adding Office for iPad was, for Charles, a straightforward adding of value.
‘It is important for us to get the best value from all of our investment in technology, including PCs, tablets, licensing and the time we invest in setting up services like Office 365, This development allows me to achieve that because it shows a cohesion between platforms that is important to both learners and parents and teachers, and this is something that from a technical point of view we will be looking to exploit as much as possible.
The rationale for an extensive iPad programme like Honywood’s is to support personalized, anytime/anywhere learning. Adding the Office app, and providing Office 365 for the school, makes the iPad an even more capable one-to-one device. As Charles Greig explains, ‘The student’s ability to work across devices, whether it’s a Windows 7 PC at school, or a Home PC of whatever kind, or their iPad allows a teacher to be confident that a learner will have every opportunity to complete their work regardless of the access to their own IT or platform chosen by their family.
They also now have the option to save to OneDrive – another level of backup, which fits our idea of having as much redundancy as possible.’
This increased interoperability, according to Charles, will please those parents who have been asking about how the iPad policy will sit alongside the technology which they have at home.
‘Using all these products in conjunction allows me to allay those qualms in a way that would have been more complicated than it is now.’
The school is in its early days both with Office 365 and Office for iPad Even so, the take up has been, according to Charles Greig, ‘Pretty positive. We’ve given it to the teachers and students, but not pushed it, or done any special training and it’s spread pretty well by osmosis.’
Once users engage with all the possibilities, it seem likely that Honywood’s already highly effective one-to-one programme will receive a considerable boost from Office for iPad together with the school’s ‘Student Advantage’ subscription to Office 365. As Charles Greig says, ‘I believe that the learners, through ‘Student Advantage’ can download Office at home for the time they are students enrolled in the school. This will benefit learners by removing a cost that we couldn’t have expected them to meet and would have been a barrier to their achievement.’
Here, Microsoft’s Sarika Rao explains how, through ‘Student Advantage’ licensing, your students can – as Charles Greig explains -- achieve anytime, anywhere learning at no cost to themselves.
Users can download the Office apps for free to read, view and present documents, spreadsheets and presentations. To get the full editing and creation experience, you need an Office 365 ProPlus subscription.
- For students the best deal is of course through Student Advantage, which enables schools (that licenses Office for staff and faculty) to provide access to Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost.
- To enable staff within your school to use the full features you will need to upgrade your Office365 subscription to include Office 365 ProPlus for those staff at a cost of £20.28 p.a. (ERP)
An O365 ProPlus subscription not only gets you the Office for iPad apps installed on up to 5 tablets, but also 5 copies of Office for your PCs and Macs. With one subscription all of your devices are covered, so you can work the way you want.
You can read more about Student Advantage and how to deploy it on our education blog.
We’ve also got some great resources that you can use to promote Office 365 ProPlus to your students and staff.
Through the Student Advantage program, students at schools across the globe have access to the latest, most up-to-date version of the world’s leading set of productivity tools in order to give them a competitive advantage when entering the workforce. This is especially great in light of a recent study by IDC which points out that top candidates for current and future jobs will be measured by capabilities and competencies, with 20 distinct skills bubbling up to the top in millions of high-growth, high-paying job postings. Out of those skills, Microsoft Office proficiency was No. 2 on the list.
Please get in touch with your reseller to learn more about deploying Office365 ProPlus for staff, Student Advantage and the promotional resources.