Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to
water, nurture and grow it.... so we ca
n live on the fruit of our learning
and plant more seeds.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

ULearn14 Breakout 3: Windows in the Classroom - Arnika Brown, Cyclone Computers

I'm catching up on my reflections from ULearn14.  Better late than never.

One of the Breakouts I went to at ULearn14 was held by the team at Cyclone, who market for Microsoft.  I found out a lot of things that this breakout that I didn't know before. 

For example, we can get a whole lot of Microsoft support and set up in our school for free under the deal with the MOE.  I went to this MOE site where lots of questions can be answered and probably not many teachers or principals know much about what is on offer.  Essentially Microsoft are offering pretty much everything Google offers schools, including a teacher dashboard to collate what is happening in your class easier.  Here are some screen shots from February 2015:




And did you know this about the BYODs your students may bring to school?



Here are the bare bones of the breakout:

Arnika Brown opened with these remarks and questions:

  • 21st Century learning design is about ensuring students have the skills to enter the workplace, to engage in further learning.
  • Do we have 21st century classrooms? 
  • Has teaching and learning evolved? 
  • It is more than changing the furniture in the room. 
  • It is about how we teach.  The PLD we get and how we use it. 
  • How do you share information with students so they can get it efficiently?
  • How do we see what our kids are doing?
Arnika then went on to discuss:  What is in Windows 365?

OneNote available to all teachers through the MOE Microsoft contract and is part of Office on your computer.  This is how teachers can access the students' work. 

SharePoint  is a web application framework and platform developed by Microsoft. First launched in 2001, SharePoint integrates intranet, content management, and document management.  SharePoint is mostly used by midsize businesses and large departments.

Windows 365 is the brand name used by Microsoft for a group of software plus services subscriptions that provides productivity software and related services to its subscribers. For consumers, the service allows the use of Microsoft Office apps on Windows and OS X, provides storage space on Microsoft's cloud storage service OneDrive, and grants 60 Skype minutes per month. For business and enterprise users, Office 365 offers plans including e-mail and social networking services through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Lync, SharePoint and Office Web Apps, integration with Yammer, as well as access to the Office software.

OneDrive has 1 terabyte of saving capacity, so Arnika was recommending moving all the data schools and teachers save into OneDrive.  She did warn not to cut of TeacherWrite completely, but to give teachers time to change over, e.g. 6 months.

Skype Classroom is a great teaching tool.  This link will take you to a video where there are kids talking about how they learn using Skype and where you can join up.  Last year I did my first Skype with a class.  I blogged about it in the post My first Skype session with my class.

Arnika told us about how we can do a Microsoft Educators course and earn badges.  The aim is to help teachers be technologically able and to be able to use technology in the class to enhance learning and teaching, as well as expand the skills of the children.

The 21CLD resource was spoken about by Arnika.  Students around the world need advanced skills to succeed in the globalized, knowledge based world of today. 21st Century Learning Design, or 21CLD, professional development helps teachers redesign their existing lessons and learning activities to build students’ 21st century skills. It can be linked to your national or local curriculum standards. The program is based on rubrics developed and tested internationally for the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project.

Arnika stressed that importance and the need to have the right devices, the tools, the training, the empowerment for teachers to ensure their students have great meaningful learning experiences.

We also got to check out the first Chrome Book Computer (HP) coming into the country in the following few months.  It was to be set at the same price point as the Chrome Book but would not be limited to Microsoft products, as the Google Chrome Books have been limited to Google only products.  These ones would allow the user to choose the most appropriate program to achieve what they wanted.


I personally really liked the colour, size and weight of the device.  As a teacher I think it is best to give the students a choice as to the program they want to use to best present their learning, and I do not want to be limited to either Microsoft or Google products, I want to access both so I can do my best work.

Essentially this breakout was an advertisement for Microsoft and the products, support and training which Cyclone can provide teachers and schools.  I thought when I signed up for it that it would be a bit more practical, but I found the discussion around how some schools are currently using the products to enhance teaching and to be in contact with students and their learning to be very interesting.

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