An exciting year lies ahead

Its always interesting this time of the year, winding down for christmas gets you thinking about the past year and whats happening in the new year !   20 has seen more innovation from Microsoft, with Office 365 adding more functionality for both business and education, and the ability to turn PC deisgn on its head with the Surface Studio, we have seen all but the death of Windowsphone, but Microsoft never does anything without purpose and thats why I am looking forward to 2017.

Lets take a look at Windows 10 mobile, as you know W10 mobile has been a big part of the Windows 10 direction since it launch.  Dont get me wrong Windows 10 on my Lumia 950 was not a pleasureable experience from the start, but a few builds later my Lumia has truly become my ‘small work PC – with the ability to make calls’.    The big sell was of course UWP or the Universal Windows Platform the ability for apps to be created with one common code base and and for them to work seemlessly across Windows 10 devices.  No mobile store and desktop store  simply one Windows store.

However with the new developments released in W10 mobile during 2016, we have also seen Microsoft pull out of the Lumia range of devices ,  this was replaced with the Elite x3 from HP.  So just whats happening ..   Well the important message going forward in 2017 was released a few weeks ago and that is Windows 10 on ARM.

'Office 365 Love' and Metro Central demonstrated on Surface RTs at the WyConf 2014.
The first attempt of Windows on ARM was the Surface RT – in 2017 it will be a whole new ball game for schools.

So lets wind the clock back to 2013 and the original Surface RT that emerged from Redmond.  Surface RT was Microsoft’s first foray into ARM. Windows RT was a version of Windows 8 that runs on an ARM processor.  However the Surface RT could not utilise any existing software and would only use a really limited number of Apps from its store – so really it limited you to running Microsoft Office on the device.  Manufacturing partners did not see the value of Surface RT against sticking with traditional Windows devices

So Windows has traditionally been based in the Intel x64 platform and when you take a look at the range of processors available these start at the low end Intel Atom  all the way upto the Core I7 processor which is available in high end devices like the Surface Pro / Book.     The Intel Atom though very cheap, really is an uber entry level chip which has been seen in small tablets like the Linx 8.      So where does ARM fit in?   well ARM chips are found in the smartphones and now other devices. ARM was a subset of the Acorn Computer business when its first start producing its RISC based chips in the Acorn Archimedes back in the late 80’s.   Where Acorn stalled and eventually collapsed, ARM simply went on strength to strength producing processors for all the major smartphones on the market.

win_20160914_13_28_20_pro

The Lumia 950 with Windows 10 (right) is really step one in redefining the mobile experience  market. Windows 10 on ARM with the ability to run Win32 will be the games changer of 2017.

So ARM chip are amazingly powerful and amzingly low powered for the price compared with Intel’s offering. ARM chips offer LTE built in (4g connectivity), fast charging  amongst other features,   At that point you realise the gravity of the statement that Microsoft can now get full Windows 10 to run on ARM, this includes UWP but also includes Win 32 applications as well.   So when I talk about Win32 applications, I am really talking about ‘legacy applications’ so things which dont orginate from the Windows store.  So for example Adobe suite on the PC is a Win32 application, so infact its any software which you might have installed from a CD / DVD  in the past.

So what is this meaning for us, (especially ‘us’ in education)? Well  imagine a device, with a touch screen and with a Surface style ‘Pen’, that runs full Windows 10 including your apps & your existing software, (doing so much more than a Chromebook does just in the browser) which has say 15 hrs of battery time in between charges. Good so far? well continue imagining that device with the ability to ‘super fast charge’ by plugging in for 5-10 mins and getting a couple of hours of use from it, plus adding LTE communications ‘built in’ and all this for a price point under £200 – well thats whats coming in 2017.

USB quick charging will give Windows 10 on ARM devices many hours of use from a 5 min charge.
USB quick charging will give Windows 10 on ARM devices many hours of use from a 5 min charge.

So if your a school and your thinking Chromebook for 2017 because they are affordable and they look cool, well my advice for 2017 is  ‘hang on’ for this new range of devices hitting the market. These days its about spending what money we have in education wisely and an ARM based Windows 10 will be that ‘wise’ moment.

So is Windows 10 mobile dead? no !  I believe Windows 10 mobile will be the ‘light version’ in the mobile space with its UWP support. Then you will full Windows 10 on ARM giving you the functionality of Windows 10 now running the range applications but on ultra thin devices. Of course the Intel based devices like Surface will exist for the power user moving forward.

As we enter 2017, Microsoft are re-positioning the ‘mobile-space’ away from Google and Apple.  However I would expect both companies to follow Microsoft’s lead in the next two years.

Remember if you are a school and are looking at refreshing devices in 2017 – hold on .. it will be the best decision you will make !

To find out more come and see me at the Microsoft Stand this year at the BETT Show in London’s ExCel arena.

 

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TEDxNorwichED: My take on thinking differently about education is about why schools need to embrace technology!

What is education? Its about teaching students to learn for the outside world.. It doesn’t get better than Jason Brown’s story

Jason Brown

By JASON BROWN, Friday April 1st 2016

All photographs in this article (apart from any screen captures from Twitter) were taken by James Neale who photographed TEDxNorwichED unless otherwise stated. See the whole album on Flickr here

All links to go said person’s Twitter page.

‘Technology in education’ is kind of what I do. I’ve been a Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassador for Wymondham High Academy since November 2014 and since then have had some great experiences such as presenting about how technology can be used to make a positive impact in education at the Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Seattle, USA and at the Microsoft in Education UK Redefining Learning event at the Microsoft offices in Cardinal Place, Victoria, London. I’ve made some fantastic friends as a Student Ambassador, one of whom, fellow Student Ambassador Ghina Kanawati from Beirut, Lebanon, I speak to every day. I have been put in…

View original post 3,293 more words

Welcome to the Wymondham High SDL Team Blog!

Wymondham High Student Digital Leader Blog

It’s back! We’ve not had a blog for the Wymondham High Student Digital Leader team since the dark days of November 2013! There’s new life and new blood in the SDL team at Wymondham High. The SDLs are ready to take on anything that comes in their path… if it means they get a snazzy OneNote Avenger cape in return of course!

They’re lead by me, an 18 year old A level student and Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassador with a passion for all things computers, technology, education… and chocolate, and Tom Alabaster-Williams, a 17 year old A level student who also has a passion for all things computers and technology… even though he currently owns a MacBook which he describes as ‘slow’ right now.

The SDLs themselves are a group of 17 students at Wymondham High, a comprehensive high school in Norfolk, England, who also share a passion for all…

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Welcome to the BBC Micro:Bit

Its 1982 and its the year of Information Technology,   the BBC Model B is the must have computer device for a generation of students getting their head around the idea of ‘programming a computer’.   As a student of the 80’s one of my favourite programmes was the BBC’s ‘The Computer Programme’ with people like Ian McNaught-Davis and Chris Searle taking people on a journey into the technology ahead.

Those students like myself had come from days of building Lego, possibly playing Pong on a Binatone games console, so the idea of the technology, and especially the idea of programming a computer was a real fascination. Computer Studies was a ‘sort after topic’ by my classmates, and lines of code were produced which gave us the idea and concepts which have stayed with me throughout my working career.

Lets fast forward  a few years –  the ethos changes from programming a computer, to using a computer. Using application like spreadsheets, desktop publishing.   The art of computer programming in the younger generation had almost been wiped out. As an education system, teachers were teaching the IT curriculum, those people with computing skills were carving a career in industry to become the developers of tomorrow.

Let move forward again, I think it was at the Bett Show when Michael Gove the then Minister for Education, declared the Computing (Science) was back on the curriculum! Hurrah a generation of computer programmers will be created to power the economy forward.   That statement sent shock waves through education as we suddenly realised that the majority of the IT teachers in schools had little or no programming skills. Mixed with this a generation of students who have been brought up on technology, these are indeed different times.

Yammer in the classroom
Its different from the first Computing generation – students have been brought up on technology, and computer programming has to be ‘a real sell’ to get students engaged on building the apps of the future.

We have seen the arrival of organisations such as CAS (Computing at Schools) who have done a superb job of upskilling hundreds of teachers with computing skills.  With teachers teaching Scratch, and more recently Python in the classroom, however I have yet to see ‘inspired’ children at the keyboard.   Indeed I get a bit worried when I still see business looking for good Microsoft Office skills in potential employees, rather than computational skills.

However this week I had my first hands on play with a device that may well be pivotal in being able to pick the programmers of the future out of the class – that is the BBC Micro:bit

I will have to admit I am a big fan of the Raspberry PI, and we have had great projects at Wymondham School using the device.   However the Micro:bit is very personal and students get very excited about the visual tangible results from such a small device in their hands. If you can excite students then that’s 80% of the job done, natural curiosity carries the rest.    Also unlike the PI the device does not worry about displays like HDMI etc – it simply plugs in to your existing PC’s through USB.

The Micro:bit is a computer developed by the BBC and in conjunction with Microsoft, and will be delivered to Year 7 students for free this academic year.  Not a typical computer with a keyboard etc, more a computing device,  it is packed to the gunnels with programmable buttons, accelerometers, motion detectors etc.  Its is programmed from any PC using the Micro:bit website, and I believe in the future will be able to be controlled from your mobile phone.

One side of the Micro:bit looks like this, with two programmable button and an programmable LED display.

The LED grid on the Micro:bit
The LED grid on the Micro:bit

At the bottom you see a number of I/O pins that can be used to get tactile input from the operator.  For example

When Pin1 is touched, light up the LED panel

OMG – was that just an algorithm ?  This device really gets you hooked just thinking about it.  On the flip side is a map of all the sensors to give the student the idea of how the device is connected and flows.

http://microbit.co.uk

The website is where the action take place.   My advice is to get yourself registered to have a look its great.  Once you have logged onto you will see the environments in which you can code effectively.  The first is Code Kingdoms JavaScipt,  then Microsoft’s Block Editor and finally Microsoft’s TouchDevelop.   However teachers with there head buried in Python will be please to know the Micro@bit will be able to be controlled using Python very soon.

snip_20151003143130
There are a different range of environments to code your Micro:bit

So we spent an hour getting the LED panel to light, sending messages etc.  In its simplest form the website shows the Micro:bit in an emulator so you can test your code before sending it on to the device.

In its simplest form I have just turned on an LED
In its simplest form I have just turned on an LED

I can now compile my code and send it to my Micro:bit if I had it connected to my device.   The Micro:bit connects through a Micro USB cable, and then appears as a drive on your machine.  Simply drag the compiled file to that drive to execute it.

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The Micro:bit working on my Surface 3 device.

This device gives students a real tangible result in their hand; the I programmed it, and it does this scenario.  Instead of children simply dragging script blocks into place on a screen. The future is built around being able to control devices, with skills  sets in using IoT device coming to fruition, the Micro:bit is a catalyst to start a generation in how to code and create programs.

It may well reignite an interest in those who wish to carve a career in Computing /IT.  I am not a believer in ‘everyone is a coder’   Though the Micro:bit with its small size and development backed by Microsoft, BBC and other organisation is a truly a device to inspire a generation of students.

A call to arms from me to you.

Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity of a Micro:bit for every Year 7 student in this years intake. If you haven’t you still have time to register here https://bbcmicrobitschoolregistrationform.co.uk/english.html

Check out the http://microbit.co.uk website, register and get coding your first program to control your device.

Then  wait for your device to be delivered in December and begin to inspire your students with some hands on physical coding.

Follow me @kevin_sait

 

 

 

These are exciting times.. again..

There are only a few times in education that have excited me with technology, the first was the launch of the ‘home micro-computer’ in the early 80’s.  Computers like the Sinclair Spectrum and the BBC Model B had a systematic change on a generation of students with using the technology and programming (as we called it then).

 

Remember when devices like this changed the way we work?
Remember when devices like this changed the way we work?

However I now believe we are back in those exciting times, which again means the advent and use of the technology in the classroom can really affect a generation and beyond. The power of cloud computing has the means and reach to affect everyone, and believe it has the same potential as those days in the 80’s when home computing took off.

Now we all probably use ‘the cloud’ on a daily basis, shopping on Amazon, playing on an Xbox One. However students are now seeing the ability in school to ‘work in the cloud’ using Office 365.   Who thought that a student would start a document in an IT suite, save it to OneDrive for Business, and then open it on an IPad  when they got home, and not have to reformat it, and then ‘share it’ with the teacher instead of printing – truly transformational times – using key 21st century skills in doing so.

We have seen teachers utilise the power of OneNote, the true hidden gem in Microsoft Office.   The idea of digital paper in the classroom, and the ability of those teachers to use OneNote Class Notebook Creator to look at student work and give dynamic feedback in the form of audio and video. Again who would have thought that these technologies would be available in  the classroom?   No more would teachers have to load there car up with textbooks to mark at home, simply by opening the Class Notebook the marking can begin.

Indeed who would have thought the big PC only companies like Microsoft, would be offering these technologies on Apple and Android platforms. Visionaries like Satya Nadella and Anthony Salcito are shaping Microsoft into a company that innovates across a complete generation of users.   A great example of this is the Microsoft Office 365 Proplus benefit, which means students, and teachers can download (for free) the latest version of Microsoft Office for use at home.  Suddenly the playing field is being levelled with the technology, allowing schools to get on with creating innovative teaching and learning both in and out of the classroom.  Do I see other companies affecting change like this ?  No I do not.

So you would think I live in this Utopia world of changing technology in the classroom?   Well kind of!.  At our school we use the cloud to give our students the best opportunities, however teachers still use desktop PC’s connected to IWB’s and only some students bring there own devices into the classroom.      So the final part of this jigsaw really is the hardware, aka the device, aka the tablet.

I've found that drawing spider diagrams in OneNote on my Surface using the pen has helped me to clearly map out ideas and key terms.
I’ve found that drawing spider diagrams in OneNote on my Surface using the pen has helped me to clearly map out ideas and key terms.

Up until now there has only ever been one device on the market which schools have adopted.  A truly revolutionary piece of technology and certainly has its place in the technology timeline.    Schools today especially primary schools still refer to a tablet as an Ipad, but lets look at how it really fits it into the classroom.

A true tablet, has an on screen keyboard, which when in use reduces the screen display (not good for typing that all important essay), or just trying to see the screen.   There is no natural typing position on the tablet, so you either lay it flat, or have to buy a carry case with a stand built into it.  Also the tablet tends to runs the same mobile operating system,  which again has some limitations in day to today use in the classroom.

Students should have a device that has the power of a desktop pc, the portability of a laptop and the flexibility of a tablet wrapped in one device. That is why as a school, we have decided to deploy the new Surface 3 from Microsoft in the classroom.

The Surface 3 fulfils all the needs of education and home
The Surface 3 fulfils all the needs of education and home

Why ?

We all need a why? in our life don’t we?    Why do we do the things we do!   Let me explain the why behind our decision of the Surface 3.

Price – I use a Surface Pro 3 in my day to day work. It has the power of a laptop in the size of a tablet and  simply changes the way I work.  I can run all of the enterprise software I expect to run, use a full size keyboard and have the added bonus of the Surface Pen with OneNote. However for a school the price point has been  simply to high for a mass rollout.  School principal Russell Boulton and Vice Principal Jonathan Rockey now use Surface Pro 3 for all aspects of school life, teaching, assemblies, management meetings – Surface is at the heart of it.

Surface is used by the management of the school
Looking beyond the tablet – Surface allow you to do so much more in school and out.

However Surface 3 addresses this  by coming in at a price point which is cheaper than a comparable  Ipad.

Size – smaller  and lighter than the Surface Pro3  we have noticed how students can simply fit the device straight into the school bag.

Typing position – Surface 3 has a three position kick stand, ideal for typing in the classroom, or using with the pen to take notes in OneNote. With the positive touch Surface keyboard  means Microsoft have learnt from the original type covers which took quite a bit of getting use to.

Windows 10 promises to bring a change in direction for Microsoft, and also technologies such as Hololens a real reality
Windows 10 promises to bring a change in direction for Microsoft, and also technologies such as Hololens a real reality

Its Windows 10 ready  – Surface is future proof, it doesn’t run a cut down version of Windows (goodbye Windows RT) or a mobile operating system, it runs a full version of Windows.  Install whatever software you are running on a PC,  Microsoft products, Adobe products, all enterprise grade software which students should have access to.

Also Surface 3 is Windows 10 ready, so in the home environment, you gain connectivity through to Xbox One  and are able to stream games  direct to you Surface.  After all its important to have down time as well.

Using the Surface Pen, students can take notes in real time as if they were writing into a text book
Using the Surface Pen, students can take notes in real time as if they were writing into a text book

The Surface Pen has been at the heart of many blogs.  In education we recognise the importance of the pen in the classroom.   It has been proven that the pen is ‘mightier than the keyboard’ in the fact the you will retain more by taking notes with a pen. Your brain will filter then information you need to jot down, rather than typing like for like.    The pen also allows you to brainstorm, annotate in no other way.     Added to this the superior inking technologies that have been available since the launch of the original Surface Pro, and in Windows 10 you can now annotate a webpages directly and share it through Project Spartan really means it establishes this device in the education arena for a new way of working.

Computer or Tablet?   like its big brother simply its both,   remove the keyboard, its a tablet. Want to type the essay, click, its a computer. Its simply the best of both worlds at an affordable device.

So remember Surface 3 is a great device for education, its not the holy grail. Simply go and buy loads of devices for your school does not mean results will improve or attendance will go up (as some companies will have you believe), its a part of the strategy of teaching and learning for your school. Added to services such as Office 365 in the classroom, and preparing students for a world where employers are looking for Microsoft Office skills for there high paid jobs – Surface 3 connects all of this with your students at an affordable price.

These are the reasons why Wymondham High Academy, have chosen the Surface 3 in the classroom, this has been done in starting at our end goal of improving teaching and learning in the classroom through technology – our device of choice is the last step.

surface 3 3

It would be wrong to say our journey will ever end however Surface 3 has just made it a whole lot better for students and teachers.  These really are exciting times.

 

Catch me at this years E2 Educator Forum in Redmond from the 28th April, or follow the Wymondham journey with Surface by following @kevin_sait

 

 

Students being creative with Yammer

I am a firm believer, if you give a student the right tools, their  creative side will show through.   Recently we have seen this through our schools social network – Yammer in the recent months, proving the value of communication in the school.   Yammer itself was probably a bit of a gamble in the school market, my previous school did not see the value in it, however at Wymondham they took the risk. Russell Boulton was aware of what Enterprise Social meant and how we could manage any risk. So Yammer was born in January 2014.

Initially usage was limited to our Sixth Formers. However word soon got round ‘socially’ and numbers started to pick up. Then our IT teaching staff started to investigate is use and started teaching e-safety through it, things like:

  • how to setup your profile
  • what information do you want to make public
  • what posts are applicable

This has been rolled out to different year groups during the year, with some students ‘getting ahead of the game’ before hand! Some of our Wymondham High O Team leaders interviewed some students about ‘life before and life after’ we moved to Office 365 & Yammer.

 

What I found interesting is the need to communicate,  we are a big school (well in my eyes we are) and the ability for students to communicate with teachers without having to spend a lunchtime looking for them has been a real plus.  The students in the video talk about being able to communicate with teachers – its important to them.

Of course we have teachers who embrace the idea and are happy to utilise Yammer to its upmost. For example MFL teacher Kay Southgate has been a leading light on using Yammer and OneNote in the classroom with her Year 7 classes.  Kay’s group on Yammer can only post in French (that’s the rules), but there are some superb conversations happening all the time.  Of course the social media term of a ‘Like’ has almost replaced the traditional team point system from the past!

Yammer fanatic Kay Southgate with her Yammy
Yammer fanatic Kay Southgate with her Yammy

So students enjoy using the technology, and it proves a complete benefit in finding out what goes on in a school the size of ours. The next step however surprised me also.    We started seeing students create different groups such as My Poetry, My Drawings, Your Creations and a story-writing group where students began to showcase there work to others in this social showcase that they now had.  This was not run by teachers but by students and have become very popular, remember this isn’t homework its just children being creative and being able to do so by having the right toolset to achieve those goals.

Capture

So here is a great example in the Story writing group, taken a few days ago.   This group has been started by a group of Year 7 students and now has a healthy membership and as you can see Yammer has enabled the students to feedback and evaluate others work.  These are fairly early days but shows the potential of an Enterprise Social network in school as a tool for students to self evaluate the work of others !

Yammer initially to me was all about improving communication using mobile devices as the end point, and this has certainly been the case for us, as you can see.  These are our stats from the Yammer dashboard for the past 30 days.  Social, as a form of communication is certainly the chosen method for students.  As a school its dawning that Yammer is the quickest method of communicating to students !

 

Our Yammer stats

Yammer also fills a great arena of e-safety for Year 7s but also allows us to collaborate effectively with other high schools and feeder schools using this familiar technology.   I would always regard Yammer as Work in Progress as the only limitation on its use as an educational tool will be how creative our students want to be.

Yammer Enterprise is free for Office 365 subscriptions for education. For more information follow me on Twitter @kevin_sait

 

 

 

Old Buckenham High School a year on….

Old Buckenham Area School circa 1938
Old Buckenham Area School circa 1938

 It was a year ago I first met with Aron Whiles, who was then the new head teacher of Old Buckenham High School.  Our first conversation went something like..

we want to do something with out technology in school!

The rest is history as the say,  here is a summary of what can be achieved in a year. Its certainly work in progress and I am sure in 2015 there will be a lot more to tell.

 

Old Buckenham High School is a small size high school based in South of Norfolk, and has been at the centre of village life since opening in 1938.   Today OBHS (as its known) has about 600 + students, and has recently been involved in the journey of transforming the use of technology in the classroom.     OBHS over the past  years has not been able to invest openly in the ‘technology’ which we see in a lot of bigger ‘academy’ schools in the area, but has more recently has played catchup and now will have overtaken a lot of other Norfolk schools with its use of technology entering the classroom.

The teaching vision was to allow students access to mobile devices to facilitate their learning , utilising Microsoft Office 365 as a content and learning platform.  The great part of this story is how the school went around thinking about there ‘mobile first’ strategy, instead of simply buying devices and then deciding how to use them in the school, they looked at the ‘technology vision’ and worked its way backward leading to the right decision in the hardware choices.

The first part of the journey has been well documented on this blog  The first part of the journey was to ensure the school had the correct infrastructure to support the schools vision of using Office 365 in the classroom.  The school implemented an upgrade program of the core and perimeter switches, and brought a new server running Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 r2.   As headteacher Aron Whiles said,

there is no point in having a fast car if you have not got the road to run it on!

From a non technical perspective, that statement from Aron Whiles, showed great understanding of the situation. It is really important to make sure that any infrastructure is upto dealing the workload it will be required for.   There is no point in deploying Office 365 into computer rooms with slow internet connections as the experience would not be pleasurable for teacher or student!

The next stage was a big jump!, the school had no Wi-Fi and it was decided that initially the science block should be enabled.  This soon rolled into ‘well lets get a price’ for the whole site.   Prices came in from suppliers invited to quote and there was a big difference!  to complete the whole school the top price was £52,000,  the lowest price was £18,000 , for installing the RUKUS Wi-Fi solution – my obvious advice as a school is make sure you shop around it really does pay!

So over the summer break Wi-Fi was enabled, over the whole school, meanwhile the Network Manager had created the Office 365 tenancy and using the free DirSync tool had created over 600 Office 365 account for staff and teachers.

So we had the infrastructure, we now needed to decide on the device to work with Office 365 and our students working in the cloud.   What were we looking for? . Traditionally  the Ipad has been the only route forward for schools, primarily being the only tablet device available. However these days we now have both Android and Windows devices to look at,  price is always keen for a school in any deployment, so we initially looked at the Google Nexus and the Toshiba Wt8.   However though unplanned sometimes a delay in making a decision can be a helpful one..

While we were evaluating tablets, a new range of Windows 8 tablets from Linx http://linxtablets.com was launched, the Linx 7, Linx 8 and Linx 10. These tablets feature full Windows 8.1, a quad core processor and start from just £62.00 + vat.

The Linx 7 inch tablet  a quad core Windows 8.1
The Linx 7 inch tablet a quad core Windows 8.1

The  super smooth 7 inch tablet from Linx is ideal for students as a personal learning device.   It allows students to use all the functionality of Windows 8.1 and Office 365.   The quad core processor gives a responsive feel to the product, and with a MicroSD card to upgrade the memory you just cannot go wrong.

For more information on this superb range of devices look at http://linxtablets.com

The Linx tablets allow the real possibility of increasing our vision of allowing every child in school to have access to a device to accompany their learning journey at school.  Using the familiar Windows 8 interface, its a natural progression to the transferring of documents to the desktop PC knowing where everything is.

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Windows 8 is supported by a wide range of hardware vendors, making choosing the correct hardware for schools an easy choice.

Also the Windows platform gives us the scalability to look at different models for different needs in the future.  Where as a tablet is just a tablet, we may require, bigger screens, full tactile keyboards, or improved inking capabilities which is the great thing about the Windows platform, there are plenty of hardware vendors that can supply a range of devices to meet the school’s needs.

So the school had the vision about how the use of mobile can help with learning in the classroom, it overcame the deployment issues and made the infrastructure sound and then decided on the right technology to inspire the vision.    However there was still one thing missing,  that was the students!   The school started its own digital leader team, whose aims are

to support and develop the use of mobile technology throughout the school.

The team was formed to help other students and teachers understand Office 365 and cloud technologies, as these are skills for students for there future.  The team’s first job was to complete a tech day at Wymondham High Academy, with the training team. This focused on some key skills of Office 365, some fun with the Raspberry PI and finally some hands on with Office Sway and gaming solutions like Project Spark.

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OBHS Tech Team members getting to grips with controlling a robot arm with the Raspberry PI during the tech day

After a productive day the team changed there name to the OBHS Tech Team, to reflect there aims and the role they are to play in the school.   The end of the day also made them more confident with editing pages in SharePoint Online and also supporting users with queries on products like OneDrive for Business.

I think everyone understood the benefits of saving to OneDrive and its flexibility, and once we had looked at OneNote and what can be achieved with Office Lens (mobile app), students were feeling excited about the future of using technology within the school.     These students are now working with teachers to develop great SharePoint sites for sharing resources, have established a Yammer presence to collaborate with other schools (and the Digital Leader team here at Wymondham High).    These students really are the future about changing the way things happen with technology at school.

 

In reflection the school (which didn’t have a big pot of money) has been able to establish a policy for enabling students to share, communicate and collaborate using Office 365, been able to offer the first steps for students to use mobile devices in the classroom and create a sustainable BYOD scenario for the future.   This has been done with a shared vision of the senior leadership group and the right approach to maximise the investment. Rather than thinking ‘lets buy the devices and then decided what to do with them’ the school started with ‘ what’s the end vision’ and lets map everything  back from there.  This is now backed up with the Tech Team a core bunch of students with the passion and excitement to transform learning in the classroom.

OBHS
The OBHS Tech Team complete there Office 365 tech day with the training team from Wymondham High.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Photos: A year in the O Team

By JASON BROWN, Thursday November 27th 2014, 19:23 PM

Today marks a year since I first met Kevin Sait and Harry Traynor and so I thought that today would be a good day to share some photos from the past year that really show what we’ve done. Enjoy!

The sunset over Wymondham High's field - a year ago today (and on the night when all of this began for me!)
The sunset over Wymondham High’s field – a year ago today (and on the night when all of this began for me!)
Kevin Sait speaks about Wymondham High at the Bett Show on January 22nd 2014.
Kevin Sait speaks about Wymondham High at the Bett Show on January 22nd 2014.
The first computers in the school to receive the upgrade to Windows 8.1 were the desktops in S27 on May 12th 2014. These machines were originally intended as 'showcase machines' for Windows 8.1.
The first computers in the school to receive the upgrade to Windows 8.1 were the desktops in S27 on May 12th 2014. These machines were originally intended as ‘showcase machines’ for Windows 8.1.
Here we are participating in the K-12 YamJam on May 22nd 2014.
Here we are participating in the K-12 YamJam on May 22nd 2014.
Jason passes his MOS exam on May 28th 2014.
Jason passes his MOS exam on May 28th 2014.
Students from Wymondham High sit MOS practice exams in S27 (the room that would become the Training Centre) on June 5th 2014.
Students from Wymondham High sit MOS practice exams in S27 (the room that would become the Training Centre) on June 5th 2014.
Student Digital Leaders Tobias Dunn and Will Singleton show off the Surface RT tablets to Technology Journalist Gerald Haigh in N13, captured beautifully by Kevin on June 5th 2014.
Student Digital Leaders Tobias Dunn and Will Singleton show off the Surface RT tablets to Technology Journalist Gerald Haigh in N13, captured beautifully by Kevin on June 5th 2014.
Jason and Paul lead one of the very first Office 365 assemblies in Wymondham High's South Hall on June 18th 2014.
Jason and Paul lead one of the very first Office 365 assemblies in Wymondham High’s South Hall on June 18th 2014.
Jason and Paul lead one of the very first Office 365 assemblies in Wymondham High's South Hall on June 18th 2014.
Jason and Paul lead one of the very first Office 365 assemblies in Wymondham High’s South Hall on June 18th 2014.
The O Team and Kevin Sait walk past the Wymondham High Academy sign on June 23rd 2014.
The O Team and Kevin Sait walk past the Wymondham High Academy sign on June 23rd 2014.
The O Team, Kevin Sait and Student Digital Leaders Will Singleton and Toby Dunn outside Wymondham High on June 23rd 2014.
The O Team, Kevin Sait and Student Digital Leaders Will Singleton and Toby Dunn outside Wymondham High on June 23rd 2014.
The O Team, Kevin Sait and Student Digital Leaders Will Singleton and Toby Dunn outside Wymondham High on June 23rd 2014.
The O Team, Kevin Sait and Student Digital Leaders Will Singleton and Toby Dunn outside Wymondham High on June 23rd 2014.
'There's a superhero in everybody', Kevin Sait the Yammer superhero at the WyConf 2014.
‘There’s a superhero in everybody’, Kevin Sait the Yammer superhero at the WyConf 2014.
Office 365 promotion at the WyConf 2014.
Office 365 promotion at the WyConf 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
Harry Traynor taking a photo at the WyConf 2014.
Harry Traynor taking a photo at the WyConf 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team and Student Digital Leaders at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
Jason playing with the Surfaces at WyConf 2014. June 25th 2014.
Jason playing with the Surfaces at WyConf 2014. June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
The O Team at the WyConf 2014, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on June 25th 2014.
Harry and Jason take a selfie at the WyConf 2014.
Harry and Jason take a selfie at the WyConf 2014.
'Office 365 Love' and Metro Central demonstrated on Surface RTs at the WyConf 2014.
‘Office 365 Love’ and Metro Central demonstrated on Surface RTs at the WyConf 2014.
Jason models the Yammer T-Shirt at Lake Buttermere on June 30th 2014.
Jason models the Yammer T-Shirt at Lake Buttermere on June 30th 2014.
Jason models the Yammer T-Shirt at Lake Buttermere on June 30th 2014.
Jason models the Yammer T-Shirt at Lake Buttermere on June 30th 2014.
Microsoft Office Specialist certificates ready to be given out to students at Wymondham High on July 10th 2014.
Microsoft Office Specialist certificates ready to be given out to students at Wymondham High on July 10th 2014.
Flying dream! Yammy pictured at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), the world's largest military airshow on July 11th 2014.
Flying dream! Yammy pictured at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), the world’s largest military airshow on July 11th 2014.
Flying dream! Yammy pictured at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), the world's largest military airshow on July 11th 2014.
Flying dream! Yammy pictured at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), the world’s largest military airshow on July 11th 2014.
The O Team and Head of Microsoft UK Education Steve Beswick at the Microsoft HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014.
The O Team and Head of Microsoft UK Education Steve Beswick at the Microsoft HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014.
Visit to the Microsoft HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014!
Visit to the Microsoft HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014!
Dreaming big - this is the entrance to work that Harry wants to have!
Dreaming big – this is the entrance to work that Harry wants to have!
Harry and Paul enjoy a game of FIFA on the Xbox One at the Microsoft UK HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014.
Harry and Paul enjoy a game of FIFA on the Xbox One at the Microsoft UK HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014.
The O Team with the Xbox team in the iconic 'tiled room' on July 17th 2014 at the Microsoft HQ in Reading.
The O Team with the Xbox team in the iconic ’tiled room’ on July 17th 2014 at the Microsoft HQ in Reading.
Here is Harry Traynor suitably impressed with the Surface Pro 3 at the Microsoft HQ in Reading.
Here is Harry Traynor suitably impressed with the Surface Pro 3 at the Microsoft HQ in Reading.
Here is Jason suitably impressed with the Surface Pro 3!
Here is Jason suitably impressed with the Surface Pro 3!
Head of Microsoft UK Education, Steve Beswick, watches Harry Traynor's Office 365 Promotional Video on a Surface Pro 3.
Head of Microsoft UK Education, Steve Beswick, watches Harry Traynor’s Office 365 Promotional Video on a Surface Pro 3.
The O Team with Mandeep Atwal, whom we are very well connected to as a school. July 17th 2014.
The O Team with Mandeep Atwal, whom we are very well connected to as a school. July 17th 2014.
Here is the O Team dismantling N1 ready for upgrading on July 23rd 2014 as soon as the school term ended!
Here is the O Team dismantling N1 ready for upgrading on July 23rd 2014 as soon as the school term ended!
Harry Traynor removes cabling from N1 on July 23rd 2014 in preparation for room upgrades over August.
Harry Traynor removes cabling from N1 on July 23rd 2014 in preparation for room upgrades over August.
Yammies like Surfaces too! Yammy Yamming on a Surface on July 23rd 2014.
Yammies like Surfaces too! Yammy Yamming on a Surface on July 23rd 2014.
The air compressor became the 'O Team Weapon of Choice' on July 24th 2014 when we cleaned out around 60 desktops in the blistering heat.
The air compressor became the ‘O Team Weapon of Choice’ on July 24th 2014 when we cleaned out around 60 desktops in the blistering heat.
The air compressor became the 'O Team Weapon of Choice' on July 24th 2014 when we cleaned out around 60 desktops in the blistering heat.
The air compressor became the ‘O Team Weapon of Choice’ on July 24th 2014 when we cleaned out around 60 desktops in the blistering heat.
O Team members Paul Harvey and Nick McGee cleaning out computers from M02 using an air compressor on July 24th 2014.
O Team members Paul Harvey and Nick McGee cleaning out computers from M02 using an air compressor on July 24th 2014.
O Team members Paul Harvey and Nick McGee cleaning out computers from M02 using an air compressor on July 24th 2014.
O Team members Paul Harvey and Nick McGee cleaning out computers from M02 using an air compressor on July 24th 2014.
M02 looking lovely and clean after it's summer clean on July 25th 2014.
M02 looking lovely and clean after it’s summer clean on July 25th 2014.
M02 looking lovely and clean after it's summer clean on July 25th 2014.
M02 looking lovely and clean after it’s summer clean on July 25th 2014.
O Team members (L-R) Jason Brown, Nick McGee and Harry Traynor pictured on July 25th 2014 after having spent several days cleaning M02 reading for the Autumn Term.
O Team members (L-R) Jason Brown, Nick McGee and Harry Traynor pictured on July 25th 2014 after having spent several days cleaning M02 ready for the Autumn Term.
Jason's ThinkPads and Harry's Razer Blade in the library at Wymondham High after a fun day playing around with Adobe software on July 30th 2014.
Jason’s ThinkPad and Harry’s Razer Blade in the library at Wymondham High after a fun day playing around with Adobe software on July 30th 2014.
Here's IT room S26 pictured on August 12th 2014 after a successful upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1.
Here’s IT room S26 pictured on August 12th 2014 after a successful upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1.
Jason and Harry retire to Norwich on August 19th to do some photography.
Jason and Harry retire to Norwich on August 19th to do some photography.
Jason and Harry doing some photography in Norwich on Augudt 19th 2014.
Jason and Harry doing some photography in Norwich on August 19th 2014.
Jason and Harry doing some photography in Norwich on Augudt 19th 2014.
Jason and Harry doing some photography in Norwich on August 19th 2014.
Jason and Harry doing some photography in Norwich on Augudt 19th 2014.
Jason and Harry doing some photography in Norwich on August 19th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
The O Team takes a step back in time at the Museum of Computing History in Cambridge on August 20th 2014.
Kevin and Andy play Pong at the Museum of Computing History on August 20th 2014.
Kevin and Andy play Pong at the Museum of Computing History on August 20th 2014.
Wymondham High IT technician Andy Underwood was [worryingly] good with the gun! August 20th 2014.
Wymondham High IT technician Andy Underwood was [worryingly] good with the gun! August 20th 2014.
Kevin experiences the thrill of virtual reality at the Museum of Computing History on August 20th 2014.
Kevin experiences the thrill of virtual reality at the Museum of Computing History on August 20th 2014.
Jason proudly holds up an OS/2 Warp box at the Museum of Computing History on August 20th. 'Software that came in a BOX?'
Jason proudly holds up an OS/2 Warp box at the Museum of Computing History on August 20th. ‘Software that came in a BOX?’
Jason and Kevin point to the WyTraining sign above the Training Centre door on a very bright and sunny August 21st 2014.
Jason and Kevin point to the WyTraining sign above the Training Centre door on a very bright and sunny August 21st 2014.
Jason and Kevin point to the WyTraining sign above the Training Centre door on a very bright and sunny August 21st 2014.
Jason and Kevin point to the WyTraining sign above the Training Centre door on a very bright and sunny August 21st 2014.
'Windows 8.1 has truly arrived at Wymondham High'. The infamous photo of an O Team Fujitsu laptop with a line of Surfaces behind it was tweeted on August 22nd 2014 to advertise Windows 8.1 in our school.
‘Windows 8.1 is well and truly at Wymondham High’. The infamous photo of an O Team Fujitsu laptop with a line of Surfaces behind it was tweeted on August 22nd 2014 to advertise Windows 8.1 in our school.
Here is one of five of the 10GBps Fibre-Enabled switches installed by the O Team during August 2014, this one pictured just after installation on August 28th 2014.
Here is one of five of the 10GBps Fibre-Enabled switches installed by the O Team during August 2014, this one pictured just after installation on August 28th 2014.
Yammy takes a trip up north to York with Kevin, pictured here on the Mallard record-breaking steam locomotive on August 29th 2014.
Yammy takes a trip up north to York with Kevin, pictured here on the Mallard record-breaking steam locomotive on August 29th 2014.
A refurbished N1 after computers had been reinstalled by the O Team on September 1st 2014.
A refurbished N1 after computers had been reinstalled by the O Team on September 1st 2014.
To advertise 'bring your own device to school', I tweeted this photo of my ThinkPad, Surface and Nokia on September 2nd 2014 - the eve of the Autumn Term.
To advertise ‘bring your own device to school’, I tweeted this photo of my ThinkPad, Surface and Nokia on September 2nd 2014 – the eve of the Autumn Term.
The O Team Training Centre opened on September 3rd 2014, open for business training, school meetings and student learning (pictured here in October 2014 with Yammies sitting in a business meetings!)
The O Team Training Centre opened on September 3rd 2014, open for business training, school meetings and student learning (pictured here in October 2014 with Yammies sitting in a business meeting!)
The 'Tuesday IT Club' was launched in September 2014. This is the club where we teach students things that IT lessons don't teach them. Here they are learning about networking on November 11th 2014.
The ‘Tuesday IT Club’ was launched in September 2014. This is the club where we teach students things that IT lessons don’t teach them. Here they are learning about networking on November 11th 2014.
The 'Tuesday IT Club' was launched in September 2014. This is the club where we teach students things that IT lessons don't teach them. Here they are learning about networking on November 11th 2014.
The ‘Tuesday IT Club’ was launched in September 2014. This is the club where we teach students things that IT lessons don’t teach them. Here they are learning about networking on November 11th 2014.
Here is the Tuesday IT Club building networks on October 8th 2014.
Here is the Tuesday IT Club building networks on October 8th 2014.
O Team member Nick McGee attempts to install InTune on a row of Surface tablets on September 15th 2014.
O Team member Nick McGee attempts to install InTune on a row of Surface tablets on September 15th 2014.
Jason and Harry just before the first Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High School on September 16th 2014. Three assemblies were presented:  September 16th, September  18th and October 3rd.
Jason and Harry just before the first Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High School on September 16th 2014. Three assemblies were presented: September 16th, September 18th and October 3rd.
Jason leads an Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High on September 18th 2014. The saying 'Jason Says' became a catch phrase at Old Buckenham High after Jason instructed the audience to get their smartphones out and hold them proudly in the air.
Jason leads an Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High on September 18th 2014. The saying ‘Jason Says’ became a catch phrase at Old Buckenham High after Jason instructed the audience to get their smartphones out and hold them proudly in the air.
Jason leads an Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High on September 18th 2014. The saying 'Jason Says' became a catch phrase at Old Buckenham High after Jason instructed the audience to get their smartphones out and hold them proudly in the air.
Jason leads an Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High on September 18th 2014. The saying ‘Jason Says’ became a catch phrase at Old Buckenham High after Jason instructed the audience to get their smartphones out and hold them proudly in the air.
Jason Brown Launch Office 365
Jason leads an Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High on September 18th 2014. The saying ‘Jason Says’ became a catch phrase at Old Buckenham High after Jason instructed the audience to get their smartphones out and hold them proudly in the air.
Yammer makes its way into an IT lesson on September 19th 2014.
Yammer makes its way into an IT lesson on September 19th 2014.
The Microsoft IT Academy plaque arrives at Wymondham High Academy on September 22nd 2014.
The Microsoft IT Academy plaque arrives at Wymondham High Academy on September 22nd 2014.
HJason, Harry, Kevin and Yammy pose for a selfie after a successful Office 365 presentation at an Old Buckenham High School open evening on September 23rd 2014.
HJason, Harry, Kevin and Yammy pose for a selfie after a successful Office 365 presentation at an Old Buckenham High School open evening on September 23rd 2014.
The OneDrive poster created by Harry Traynor was tweeted on September 24th 2014. Harry has made several funny Office posters which are now on display in the Training Centre.
The OneDrive poster created by Harry Traynor was tweeted on September 24th 2014. Harry has made several funny Office posters which are now on display in the Training Centre.
The O Team enjoy some Microsoft cupcakes to celebrate Jason's 17th birthday on September 29th 2014.
The O Team enjoy some Microsoft cupcakes to celebrate Jason’s 17th birthday on September 29th 2014.
Jason delivers the third and final Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High to Year 7 students wearing a Yammer t-shirt on October 3rd 2014.
Jason delivers the third and final Office 365 launch assembly at Old Buckenham High to Year 7 students wearing a Yammer t-shirt on October 3rd 2014.
10 Yammies from the USA arrive at Wymondham High on October 8th 2014.
11 Yammies from the USA arrive at Wymondham High on October 8th 2014!
Surface tablets in use at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Surface tablets in use at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Surface tablets in use at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Surface tablets in use at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Year 8 Student Digital Leader Tobias Dunn shows off his IT skills at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Year 8 Student Digital Leader Tobias Dunn shows off his IT skills at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Technology at Wymondham High is used to control robots at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Technology at Wymondham High is used to control robots at the Year 6 Open Evening on October 15th 2014.
Jason and Kevin lead an Office 365 training session for students and parents of Old Buckenham High in Room 24 at OBHS on Saturday October 18th 2014.
Jason and Kevin lead an Office 365 training session for students and parents of Old Buckenham High in Room 24 at OBHS on Saturday October 18th 2014.
Jason and Kevin lead an Office 365 training session for students and parents of Old Buckenham High in Room 24 at OBHS on Saturday October 18th 2014.
Jason and Kevin lead an Office 365 training session for students and parents of Old Buckenham High in Room 24 at OBHS on Saturday October 18th 2014.
Jason and Kevin lead an Office 365 training session for students and parents of Old Buckenham High in Room 24 at OBHS on Saturday October 18th 2014.
Jason and Kevin lead an Office 365 training session for students and parents of Old Buckenham High in Room 24 at OBHS on Saturday October 18th 2014.
Mission accomplished! Jason and Kevin celebrate with a selfie with Yammy after a successful parent and student Office 365 training session at Old Buckenham High on Saturday October 18th 2014. This was also the day the 1,000th user joined the WH-AT.net Yammer network.
Mission accomplished! Jason and Kevin celebrate with a selfie with Yammy after a successful parent and student Office 365 training session at Old Buckenham High on Saturday October 18th 2014. This was also the day the 1,000th user joined the WH-AT.net Yammer network.
Kevin and Jason were even papped and appeared on the front page of Lumia Magazine!
Kevin and Jason were even papped and appeared on the front page of Lumia Magazine!
The O Team play around with Harry's new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on October 22nd.
The O Team play around with Harry’s new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on October 22nd.
The O Team play around with Harry's new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on October 22nd.
The O Team play around with Harry’s new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on October 22nd.
The O Team play around with Harry's new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on October 22nd.
The O Team play around with Harry’s new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on October 22nd.
Meanwhile Wymondham High's first Surface Pro 3 tablet arrives. This one was for Principal Russel Boulton (pictured October 22nd 2014).
Meanwhile Wymondham High’s first Surface Pro 3 tablet arrives. This one was for Principal Russel Boulton (pictured October 22nd 2014).
Over the October half-term we cleaned out some of our old rubbish. Here is Harry Traynor proudly holding a 'CD snake' made out of 760 old CDs/DVDs we threw out on October 27th 2014.
Over the October half-term we cleaned out some of our old rubbish. Here is Harry Traynor proudly holding a ‘CD snake’ made out of 760 old CDs/DVDs we threw out on October 27th 2014.
The O Team tear down Wymondham High's terminal servers and give them a good clean on October 27th 2014.
The O Team tear down Wymondham High’s terminal servers and give them a good clean on October 27th 2014.
The O Team tear down Wymondham High's terminal servers and give them a good clean on October 27th 2014.
The O Team tear down Wymondham High’s terminal servers and give them a good clean on October 27th 2014.
Jason Brown signs the Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassador form on November 7th 2014, a day after Wymondham High became an International Microsoft Showcase School.
Jason Brown signs the Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassador form on November 7th 2014 with a Yammer pen, a day after Wymondham High became an International Microsoft Showcase School.
On November 6th 2014 Wymondham High became an International Microsoft Showcase School. Pictured here are Jason, Harry and Kevin in front of the IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
On November 6th 2014 Wymondham High became an International Microsoft Showcase School. Pictured here are Jason, Harry and Kevin in front of the IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
On November 6th 2014 Wymondham High became an International Microsoft Showcase School. Pictured here are Jason, Harry, Kevin and Vice Principial Jonathan Rockey in front of the IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
On November 6th 2014 Wymondham High became an International Microsoft Showcase School. Pictured here are Jason, Harry, Kevin and Vice Principal Jonathan Rockey in front of the IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Kevin stands proudly in front of the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Kevin stands proudly in front of the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Worldwide Microosft Student Ambassadors Jason Brown and Harry Traynor stand in front of the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassadors Jason Brown and Harry Traynor stand in front of the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Jason and Kevin take a selfie with Yammy by the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Jason and Kevin take a selfie with Yammy by the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 13th 2014.
Jason photographed on November 26th 2014 by Kevin after having been told about the O Team Venture commerical enterprise plans that could potentialy generate tens of thousands of pounds.
Jason photographed on November 26th 2014 by Kevin after having been told about the O Team Venture commerical enterprise plans that could potentialy generate tens of thousands of pounds.

And I know these were taken late, but these are still pretty epic so I thought I’d include them!

Jason takes a selfie with IT/Computing teacher Andrew Howard and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa on November 28th 2014.
Jason takes a selfie with IT/Computing teacher Andrew Howard and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa on November 28th 2014.
Jason takes a selfie with IT/Computing teacher Andrew Howard and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa on November 28th 2014.
Jason takes a selfie with IT/Computing teacher Andrew Howard and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa on November 28th 2014.

 

Jason and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa take a selfie with Yammer next to the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 28th 2014.
Jason and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa take a selfie with Yammer next to the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 28th 2014.
Jason and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa take a selfie with Yammer next to the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 28th 2014.
Jason and Year 7 Student Digital Leader Savina Ghunowa take a selfie with Yammer next to the Microsoft IT Academy plaque on November 28th 2014.

As can be seen from the photos, we’ve had an amazing adventure this year. Who knows what kind of adventures next year will bring. The O Team is only going to get bigger.

Be sure to follow the Wymondham High O Team on Twitter for regular Wymondham High IT updates: @WyHighOTeam

The O Team also has a YouTube Channel with several Office 365 tutorial videos for students at Wymondham High Academy.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you can read all about my amazing life(!):@JasonBrown2K13

Also be sure to follow Kevin Sait’s Twitter for Microsoft Educational updates and updates on IT in the classroom at Wymondham High: @kevin_sait

Last updated: Friday November 28th 2014, 22:15 PM

November 27th 2013 – November 27th 2014: A year of student involvement in IT at Wymondham High Academy

By JASON BROWN, Wednesday November 26th 2014, 23:15 PM

It’s incredible really. A year ago I was just like any other Year 11 GCSE student: spotty, studying hard for mock GCSE exams and madly passionate about computers and technology. Whilst much of that hasn’t changed (apart from the fact that I’m now 17 and studying for mock AS exams), my life over the past year certainly has.

Here I am a year ago. Just a typical Year 11 student with only passion to my name. Now I have so much more!
Here I am a year ago. Just a typical Year 11 student with only passion to my name. Now I have so much more!

Today marks a year since I first met Kevin Sait, Head of IT Strategy at Wymondham High and Harry Traynor, who was a Year 13 A level student a year ago but is now an IT technician apprentice at Wymondham High Academy. It’s incredible to think that had I not attended a small meeting in an IT room (N12) about Microsoft IT Academy and Microsoft Qualifications at Wymondham High at 3.00pm on Wednesday November 27th 2013, my life would not be where it is today.

I remember going to the meeting in N12, meeting Kevin Sait and telling him that I was interested in programming and interested in taking a Microsoft Technology Associate exam in C# Software Development Fundamentals at some point in my life at Wymondham High. There weren’t many people at the meeting. I remember there were maybe two A level students, myself, Harry Traynor, Kevin Sait and Mr Dickerson (Head of IT/Computing teaching), who didn’t stay around for very long, and that was about it. The two other students left quite early after they had discussed with Kevin the pathway they wanted to take with their MTAs. Whether they did them or not, I don’t know, but what I do remember is Kevin being absolutely overjoyed that a student [me] was taking a keen interest in the IT facilities at school and I remember him getting me signed up onto Yammer before you could say ‘let’s get you on Yammer’. I also remember excitedly setting up Office 365, SkyDrive Pro (now OneDrive for Business) apps on my Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone 7.8 device and generally being elated about the whole thing. Then he told me about DreamSpark, which a friend of mine who went to another school had, and before the day had ended I had already downloaded Visual Studio Ultimate 2013 from there and Windows 8.1 Pro. At that point in time, DreamSpark and the free software was the big thing for me.

Normally on a Wednesday evening I would attend a GCSE Media Studies lesson with a friend of mine, but on that particular night I had excused myself from the lesson to go to this small meeting. I remember walking out of the meeting at around 4.15pm to be greeted with the stunning sunset that is the featured image for this article. This sunset was one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen in my life and this photo that I took on my Nokia Lumia 710 and then processed in Photoshop Lightroom 5 when I got home really reminds me of the evening that I met Kevin Sait and Harry Traynor.

The sunset over the field at Wymondham High on November 27th 2013 - the evening I first met Kevin Sait.
The sunset over the field at Wymondham High on November 27th 2013 – the evening I first met Kevin Sait.

When my friend came out of the Media Studies lesson, we walked home together and I remember her saying as I unlocked my bike in the freezing cold, ‘you’re in your element’. And indeed I was.

I went home and told my parents who were also absolutely amazed. My father in particular, who is a self-employed IT technician, was very pleased to hear about all of these IT opportunities that I’d be getting at school. And back then I wasn’t talking about visits to Microsoft or becoming a Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassador or rebuilding the IT infrastructure of the school over the summer holidays or even getting a job out of it at the end. I was just talking about doing Microsoft exams and being able to get my hands on a free copy of Visual Studio!

So, a year on and what am I talking about now?

I’ll answer that question in a bit, but I’ll briefly go through what has happened over the past year in terms of my personal experiences in being part of student involvement in IT at Wymondham High Academy.

For a photographic record of the past year, you can view my latest article!

'Jason Brown has #joined the wh-at.net nwtwork. Take a moment to welcome Jason.' This is genesis.
‘Jason Brown has #joined the wh-at.net network. Take a moment to welcome Jason.’ This is genesis.

Although I joined Yammer a year ago today and this was when it all really started, from November to April it was all about drawing up plans with Kevin and talking about how we could use technology in school. My first post on this blog was all about becoming a Microsoft IT Academy and was published on February 17th 2014. You can read it here, and on the Microsoft Education Blog too because it made it to there, too!

The exciting stuff really kicked off in April when I had to create something to promote Office 365 in our school for my O Team application. I decided to make a video about the benefits that Office 365 brings but in a fun and fast way, quickly demonstrating some of the things it could do. My target audience were Year 7s who have the attention span of a fish! The whole video only took two days to create and at first I thought it was solely for application purposes, but man was I wrong! Little did I know when I was sitting there creating it, that this video would eventually be shown to the whole school in assemblies through May 2014 and I’d receive feedback such as ‘I am inspired’ and ‘I’m going to use this!’ and better still used to open a Microsoft Education Conference in Canada in May 2014. You heard me correctly there!

Here we are participating in the K-12 YamJam on May 22nd 2014.
Here we are participating in the K-12 YamJam on May 22nd 2014.

After the success of the video, and presumably a good interview, I became a member of the O Team in May 2014. I had been friendly with A level student Harry Traynor prior to me becoming an O Team member, but over the coming months a strong friendship would develop. Becoming a member of the O Team meant the world to me. It meant that I’d gain real-world IT experience in school and also be able to build great links with Microsoft and above all work with Kevin Sait, Harry Traynor and Paul Harvey in managing the school’s IT.

On May 22nd I took part with several of our Student Digital Leaders in a worldwide K-12 YamJam on the Yammer YCN network. After having sat a GCSE Geography and English Literature exam on that day, it was lovely to be able to do something fairly relaxing, simply talking about what I loved to other schools. It was a great feeling to represent the school’s use of technology on a worldwide scale.

Although I still haven’t gotten round to doing my C# MTA, after some studying and hard work, I passed my Outlook 2013 MOS exam on May 28th 2014 with 100% in two areas of the exam, 92% on one and 77% on the other. This was the first Microsoft qualification that I gained, aged 16. I am hoping that this qualification gives my CV the edge over competition because it is a a unique qualification to have.

Jason passes his MOS exam on May 28th 2014.
Jason passes his MOS exam on May 28th 2014.

In June 2014 I was still sitting GCSE exams but this was when the O Team went social. The Twitter and YouTube accounts went live and were both a hit! At the time producing videos explaining how to use Office 365 in school was a great ‘revision break’ which is why a lot of the O Team videos were produced in June whilst I was still sitting GCSEs. Although the channel doesn’t have a thousand videos, we do have a steady stream of subscribers and our most viewed, video, ‘How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1’, has over 12,000 views.

The Twitter feed has been very successful and is growing day by day. We get around 1 or 2 new followers per week and we are retweeted and favorited by Microsoft, Yammer, Nokia, Office 365 and OneNote a lot! If you want to find out about what we are doing in school in terms of IT, the O Team Twitter is the place to go!

I finished my GCSE exams on June 23rd 2014 and from there I had a long summer holiday that would last for well over 2 months. I could have spent my summer holidays at home being very bored but instead I decided to spend it at school with the O Team refurbishing the school’s IT and deploying Windows 8.1 onto our 700 desktops and 200 laptops.

The O Team and SDLs presented Office 365 at the WyConf, held on June 25th 2014 at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.
The O Team and SDLs presented Office 365 at the WyConf, held on June 25th 2014 at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

On June 25th the O Team attended the WyConf teacher training event at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. Here, with the Student Digital Leader Team, we told staff members at Wymondham High what we do with Office 365 and how it can be used in the classroom, demonstrating various Office apps on a variety of devices from Surfaces to conventional laptops.

After this most of my work was basically ‘housekeeping’ until the school term ended on July 23rd. This involved helping Harry and Paul support lessons with the Surface tablets, tidy up the Surface trolleys and begin to set up our Training Centre that would open in September to businesses and students.

But how can I forget the most important event in July? The trip to Microsoft HQ in Reading! This was organised in June by Kevin and as an ‘O Team outing’, and a big thank you from Kevin for the work we had done, we were taken out for the day to Microsoft HQ on July 17th to meet some Microsoft employees, mostly notably Mandeep Atwal, Helene Fyffe and Steve Beswick, to learn about career opportunities at Microsoft (big ambition!) and also to play on the Surface Pro 3 which at the time was a brand new tablet device. The day at Microsoft was one of my favourite days of the year and I would love to go back again at some point in the future.

The O Team with the Xbox team at the Microsoft HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014.
The O Team with the Xbox team at the Microsoft HQ in Reading on July 17th 2014.

Over the course of July and August we tore the whole school to pieces and pretty much rebuilt our IT infrastructure. This was where the real-world experience in networking, systems management and deployment was had, delivered to us by IT technicians Andy Underwood and James Dunlop. The summer was also when our resident Raspberry-Pi and Minecraft expert, Nick McGee, joined the O Team as a reward of his hard work over the summer helping to deploy Windows 8.1, clean our computers, rebuild our IT rooms and clear out all of our old stuff, as well as lots of other bits and pieces, of course!

Being an O Team member allowed me to become great friends with Harry Traynor, pictured together in Norwich on August 19th 2014.
Being an O Team member allowed me to develop my friendship with Harry Traynor, pictured together in Norwich on August 19th 2014.

The summer also saw several little outings by the O Team. Harry and I had a lovely day out in Norwich taking photos and then editing them with Adobe software back at my house, and August also saw the O Team trip to the Computer Museum in Cambridge where Kevin and Andy introduced the O Team to some ‘tech’ that was a ‘little bit before our day’ (and we thought anything pre-Windows XP was old!) Many of these outings involved a little trip to McDonald’s, most notably a McDonald’s just off the A505 at Royston where I had a chocolate milkshake in a ‘never-ending cup’ as Kevin put it. And of course, GCSE results came out. As you can probably imagine, I was delighted when I got 3 A*s, 8 As and 1 B, including an A* in IT and English (which is probably why I enjoy writing these long articles!)

Here is the O Team dismantling N1 ready for upgrading on July 23rd 2014 as soon as the school term ended!
Here is the O Team dismantling N1 ready for upgrading on July 23rd 2014 as soon as the school term ended!

September saw a new term and an influx of new Year 7s signing up to our Yammer network, perhaps thanks to teachers such as Mr Howard (IT) and Mrs Southgate (languages) running lessons on Yammer. From August 2014 to September 2014 several hundred new users signed up to Yammer with the growth figures being ridiculously high. 500% growth springs to mind! Over the course of the next few months more and more members would sign up to Yammer with the 1,000th member being Charlie Bennett who joined the network on October 18th. Today, we have 1,174 users on our network and this figure is only likely to keep growing. The response we had from new students joining the school was remarkable. As I said in my last blog post, many of them were thrilled about Wymondham High having a social network and offering something a little bit different to other schools. ‘We never had anything like this in my old school’ was how one new Year 7 student put it.

Surface tablets are extremely popular in lessons at Wymondham High, whether it be maths, geography or science.
Surface tablets are extremely popular in lessons at Wymondham High, whether it be maths, geography or science.

September also saw me starting my A levels at Wymondham High and building great relationships with my teachers. Of course, everybody in my year knows that I am mad about IT and everybody knows that I have a strong connection to the IT team at school and I know how the network works and so on and so on. With this comes positives such as spreading my enthusiasm about this around the year group and getting them to use the services we can provide, and negatives such as people moaning at me when the Wi-Fi doesn’t work or if Python isn’t installed on a computer, but this is the real world. This is what you get when you work in IT and I get this from teachers and students. It’s to be expected! I feel that part of my great relationship with teachers comes from having a passion for the subjects they teach, but also it comes from being friendly and willing to help with IT problems. Whether that’s showing them how to use Yammer, setting up groups or deploying Surfaces in their lessons, I am always happy to help. And I think they see that.

Jason Brown Launch Office 365
Old Buckenham High Office 365 launch assembly by Jason Brown – September 2014.

Before the new term the Surface tablets were in their infancy at Wymondham High. Now they’re everywhere, being used by everybody in their lessons as great alternatives to booking an IT room. The geography, maths and science departments probably use them the most and it’s great to see these tablets being used and the students enjoying them. It is the biggest reward we can possibly ask for after having spent months setting these devices up and deploying them.

September and October also saw interest in IT management at Old Buckenham High School and Robert Kett. We have gotten further with Old Buckenham and so during the course of September and October I presented some assemblies about Office 365 which went down extremely well with the students and also attended some open evenings and Saturday training sessions to talk about Office 365.

Maintaining a great relationship with staff is crucial. Here I am with my computing teacher, Andrew Howard, and SDL Savina Ghunowa on November 28th 2014.
Maintaining a great relationship with staff is crucial. Here I am with my computing teacher, Andrew Howard, and SDL Savina Ghunowa on November 28th 2014.

The audience of the assemblies were shocked when I instructed them ‘to get their smartphones out’ and the saying ‘Jason says’ allegedly went around the school for a week or two after the assembly, with students there allowing themselves to get phones out in lessons because ‘Jason says’. The feedback I had from the assemblies was positive with some staff members saying ‘I could not present an assembly like Jason does’. Looking back at the photos from the assemblies, I could see that everybody in the audience was engaged. It was a truly great feeling going up there and talking about what I love to 250 students at a time. Presenting is what I live for!

The boys in red, Jason Brown and Kevin Sait, take a selfie with Yammy after a successful parent Office 365 training event on Saturday October 18th 2014. This was the day the 1,000th user joined the Yammer network.
The boys in red, Jason Brown and Kevin Sait, take a selfie with Yammy after a successful parent Office 365 training event on Saturday October 18th 2014. This was the day the 1,000th user joined the Yammer network.

In terms of what we’re doing at Old Buckenham, we are managing their IT on a contract-based plan and also teaming up with their Digital Leaders who are visiting the school next week to work on some great Raspberry-Pi projects. This is the ultimate in school-to-school collaboration from a student-lead perspective.

We opened the Training Centre up in September and this was when we began running our Tuesday IT Club. This is a fairly large club of enthusiastic students, with ages ranging from Year 7 to 11 who come down to the Training Centre every Tuesday afternoon to learn about all things IT. We teach them things that they aren’t taught in their IT lessons at school and we give them hands-on experience. We have just spent the past few weeks teaching them all about networking, getting them to ping one another and even build their own cables and set their own networks up, and now they are using this knowledge to learn how to build a Minecraft server, taught by Year 11 O Team member Nick McGee, who said that whilst it was ‘exhausting’ teaching them, it was also ‘great fun and a rewarding experience’.

Throughout October we also recruited new Student Digital Leaders to try and get the younger generation inspired. Interviewing began on November 3rd and ended on November 17th, with the final Student Digital Leaders being selected on November 20th. We have five new Student Digital Leaders – four Year 7s and one Year 9. They will start their roles representing IT from a student’s point of view in January 2015 after their inaugural meeting on December 12th.

Student Ambassador and A level student, Jason Brown (left), Head of IT Strategy, Kevin Sait (centre) and Student Ambassador and IT Apparentice, Harry Traynor (right).
Student Ambassador and A level student, Jason Brown (left), Head of IT Strategy, Kevin Sait (centre) and Student Ambassador and IT Apparentice, Harry Traynor (right).

The story ends on November 6th 2014 when Wymondham High Academy finally became a Microsoft International Showcase School and Harry and I became Worldwide Microsoft Student Ambassadors. What does this mean? You can read my article about what it means, but in short it means we’ve done it. We had an ambition to use Microsoft technology in school to its full potential, and we’ve done it. And we’re going to carry on. We are now recognised on an international scale as being a leader in using Microsoft technology in an educational institution. And we are mighty proud of it.

So to come back to the question, what am I talking about now?

To say the least, the future is bright. Today we unofficially launched our O Team Venture commercial enterprise. This is the first step in generating money from the O Team. When we talked about these proposals in July at Microsoft they said they were pretty sure that we were the first school in the UK to do this, if not the world. The O Team could go down in history, if it hasn’t done already.

The 2015 Student Digital Leaders have been chosen and in those five we can already see potential future O Team members. We inspire the younger generation and provide them with opportunities that no other school can provide. The opportunities I’ve had over the past year have been out of this world, but the opportunities future O Team members will have will be even better as we continue to develop our links with Microsoft and ‘the big world’.

There is a strong likelihood that thanks to being in the O Team and proving my worth to the right people that I will be able to get an IT apprentice at Wymondham High after my A levels in 2016 to gain even more real-world experience. From here, I intend to go onto Microsoft or another large tech company. For the past year my Dad has been saying ‘you’re going to end up working at Microsoft,’ and I hope he is right!

Jason photographed on November 26th 2014 by Kevin after having been told about the O Team Venture commerical enterprise plans that could potentialy generate tens of thousands of pounds, a year after all of this began.
Jason photographed on November 26th 2014 by Kevin after having been told about the O Team Venture commerical enterprise plans that could potentialy generate tens of thousands of pounds, a year after all of this began.

To conclude, this post is not only an insight into the past year of my life from a student IT perspective, but also a massive thank you to Kevin Sait and the others who have made all of this possible. It is just incredible to think that had I not attended that small meeting on that Wednesday evening, my life could have taken a completely different path. Had it not been for a couple of posters on a few doors in school, I wouldn’t have known about any of this. This just proves that the ‘best gifts always come in the smallest packages’.

My friend no longer goes to Wymondham High, but I still speak to her and see her regularly. If she knew exactly what I was doing and what the future holds for me, I’m sure she’d still say ‘you’re in your element’. And indeed I am.

Be sure to follow the Wymondham High O Team on Twitter for regular Wymondham High IT updates: @WyHighOTeam

The O Team also has a YouTube Channel with several Office 365 tutorial videos for students at Wymondham High Academy.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you can read all about my amazing life(!): @JasonBrown2K13

Also be sure to follow Kevin Sait’s Twitter for Microsoft Educational updates and updates on IT in the classroom at Wymondham High: @kevin_sait

Last updated: Friday November 28th 2014, 22:22 PM

Welcome to the O Team

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Welcome to the Wymondham High O Team.   It is these team of students who have helped design build and implement Microsoft’s Office 365 at Wymondham High Academy Trust.   I am at the age of 43 very lucky to work with such a talented and focused bunch of students.

Let me give you a rundown of the team starting left to right.

Will Singleton – Will as a Year 7 as helped mastermind getting Year 7 students into using Office 365 and is a key team player.  Will is a Microsoft Office Specialist and uses his skills to showcase collaboration and sharing documents in his year group.

Paul Harvey – Paul has finally finished is A-levels and is one of our Yammer Social Network Managers in school.  Always available to help both students and staff. Paul also led on deploying Surface RT in the school.  Paul’s analytical mind has meant any challenge we have set him has been completed, well before target.

Me – Head of IT Strategy and Office 365 Ninja.

Harry Traynor – Harry is a senior O team member and all round champion of anything IT related.  A keen eye for design, some of Harry’s internal promotional posters have found fame with companies like Microsoft and Yammer Inc.

Jason Brown – Media man, a keen photographer Jason’s skills are really coming to the front following his successful application to become an O Team member. Jason has made several Office 365 learning videos which populate the O Team YouTube channel.  Again Jason’s videos have found their way onto the world stage and have been used to recently open an education conference in Canada.

Tobias Dunn – Toby is another Year 7 Microsoft Office Specialist, and Office 365  champion in the school.  Toby also codes using Touchdevelop and more recently Project Siena.

 

The team recently appeared in a live YamJam where they discussed using social media in the classroom with educators from around the world and regularly work with staff from Microsoft using Lync and Yammer.   The next  thing on the list is the launch of Office 365 with our colleagues at Old Buckenham High School, where the O Team will be leading an assembly to over 500 students.     So all I can say is watch this space as news from this extremely talented team will make it way across social media.

To find out more about the O Team’s Youtube channel follow the link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD1CCYyjLcw2dt0RMFFea6A