Jun 03 2014

Microsoft’s Skype ‘Star Trek’ voice translator

Published by under Technology and tagged: , , ,

Star trek

There was more fantastic news about Skype this week. I am not sure if you have heard however but Microsoft announced that soon Skype will have built in ‘real time’ voice to voice language translation. This is amazing news and means that from now on while I am part of any international projects with schools, teachers and students I won’t now have to be Skyping whilst using Google Translate live.

I have been a big champion of Skype over the years see this post from 2009 Skype is a simple yet extremely effective tool for learning

However this latest development really does remove some of the biggest barriers to collaborating internationally. Just think of the potential impact on learning for students and staff in your school. What do you think about this? Do you think it is a good thing? Do you think that this can actually work?

The article can be found here http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/28/microsofts-star-trek-voice-translator-skype or watch the video below


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Feb 23 2014

Technology – Empowering us all

I was looking for examples of how technology changes lives and found this video of Steve Gleason a former American Footballer using a Microsoft Surface, I think it was part of a commercial at the Super Bowl recently. It really is inspiring stuff! Always good to balance the more negative impacts of technology in the media and society with life changing stories.

I’m really excited about hearing more of these stories from teachers all over the world at the Microsoft Expert Educator Global Forum in a couple of weeks time. Like previous events I have been inspired by teachers all over the world who with the support of Technology companies like Microsoft make an incredible impact in their communities.

Another great short video example was surgeons using Kinect technology

There are more fantastic stories on this Microsoft Site – Empowering us all


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Feb 11 2014

Are you still using a VLE if so which one?

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Are you still using a VLE if so which one? At my current school we are currently using the old Frog 3.0 and it is something that students, staff and parents value as a tool for communication. In recent years the school has continued to evolve the way that it communicates to the community and so these days in addition to the VLE there are numerous fantastic ways that it happens.


Most schools who have Frog however are now being encouraged to transfer over to the new FrogLearn, have you recently made the move? How did it go?

If you have switched to a new VLE or a new method of communicating then what is it? How do you ensure that you are still communicating those essentials like Attendance & Behaviour to parents?

I would be interested to hear what you are currently using or plan to use.

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Jan 20 2014

Will you be going to BETT? #BETT14 #BETT2014

I haven’t posted for a very long time; unfortunately a new job and a new baby have kept me busy but both are going extremely well. I am off to BETT this Friday and thought it would be a great opportunity to verbalise plans and to also hear what you will be up to? I will only be there on Friday 24th January and have a full schedule so if you would like to try and catch up then please get in touch this week.

When you go to BETT and only have 8 hours you really have to plan your time, a good start would be looking at the background to the event and more importantly a floor plan. I have struggled to find this but special thanks to Rachel Orr this morning via twitter sharing the Sec Ed guide here: http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/files/3513/8602/3151/Supp-Bett2014.pdf

Next thing is to have some objectives here are mine:

  1. Presenting – I will be sharing the good practice of my current school Devonport High School for Boys at the School Leaders summit on the creative use of social media in schools. I will be presenting with some great people and I am sure it will provide a fantastic debate. http://www.bettshow.com/seminar/Fall-in-like-with-tweeting-How-social-media-can-revolutionise-the-way-you-plan-lessons-and-teach
  2. Supporting Student Leadership at Devonport High School for Boys – Our amazing team of students from Thinkspace http://thinkspace.co.uk/ will be presenting with Microsoft Denmark all week but on Friday will be presenting in one of the learn live sessions and also with Stephen Heppell more details in their BETT Blog http://www.bettshow.com/page.cfm/action=library/libID=12/libEntryID=61
  3. Creating a Strategic ICT Plan – Some of our staff and students will be attending with myself on Friday with the main objective to hunt, forage and develop innovative ideas to inform our strategic plan. There will be more to come on this.
  4. Networking – A chance to meet some new and ‘old friends’ to hatch new plans for collaborative work in the future.

Are you off to BETT? What are your plans?

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Nov 10 2013

Announcing the 2014 Expert Educators

I am extremely humbled to hear the news this week that I have been selected as one of Microsoft’s Expert Educators for 2014. It is fantastic news and I can’t believe that I have been selected to join the 250 teachers from the 22,000 who have applied from 158 countries. I began my learning journey with Microsoft’s Partners in Learning back in 2008 and looking at those teachers that have been selected it confirms the positive impact that Microsoft has had on my own classroom as a teacher and the school communities that I have worked with in that time. Many of the teachers that have been selected not just from the UK (you can see their mug shots below) but from many other countries around the world are teachers that I have collaborated and created with over the last six years.

I am extremely excited to have yet another opportunity to work alongside so many inspiring teachers once again to share good practice and to develop opportunities to innovate back in my own classroom and those that I am now working with.

You can see what Anthony Salcito has said about it here: http://dailyedventures.com/index.php/2013/11/07/announcing-the-2014-expert-educators-and-mentor-schools/

A full list of the expert’s can be found here: http://www.pil-network.com/Forums/ExpertEducators/Barcelona2014/GBR




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Nov 01 2013

National Leaders of Education International Benchmarking tour

The last couple of weeks I have been enjoying reading the insights of several National Leaders of Education (NLE’s) from the UK as part of a International Benchmarking study tour with the National College to Eastern Australia. The main objective is Learn from Success and help inform the current debate around the future of the UK education system. If you haven’t read any of these yet then they are definitely worth a look. The main link is from Kieran Earley, special thank you to Kieran for sharing his and the learning of others to a wider audience.


All the posts can be found here:


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Oct 30 2013

Was iOS 7 made on Microsoft Word?

Published by under Technology and tagged: , , ,

I am sure you must have seen this by now but thought I would post it just in case you haven’t. It is brilliant!

Another good thing is the link that Vaclav shares at the end to his new ebook on using Microsoft Word maybe worth a look.


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Oct 29 2013

Are you thinking of teaching abroad? This will really help

Some months ago I put together a series of short articles for the TES about teaching overseas. Over the last month I have had many people message me on Twitter or contact me through my blog asking advice for starting to look for jobs abroad so therefore I have decided to collate some of the articles here in one place for you:

Me pictured with Minichickenman in paradise but we had to return.

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Oct 25 2013

What is Moovly?

I discovered a new website this week called Moovly, very similar to videoscribe in a way however very easy to use and could be good for using with students in the classroom and for many other things. I tried it out creating this short animation in less than ten minutes from creating a free account to sharing it via YouTube.

What do you think?

Check out http://www.moovly.com/ you can also follow them on twitter @moovly

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Oct 14 2013

Microsoft in Education Professional Development Program

Are you a teacher in a school who trains or coaches other teachers? Are you a trainer who works with schools developing professional development? Then there is a fantastic opportunity for you to become a member of a free community with brilliant resources, the latest research and the opportunity to share and learn from other people in a similar role to you.

By joining the community you can:

  • Learn about the latest research findings on effective (and ineffective) professional development models and the implications for trainers of educators and school leaders.
  • Understand how you can utilize the Partners in Learning professional development model including needs assessment, adaptable training materials, and evaluation tools.
  • Access over 150 hours of content including level 100 (Digital Literacy), 200 (Teaching with Technology), and 300 (21st Century Learning Design) research-based professional development and adapt to meet your needs.
  • Participate in ongoing discussions, professional development and receive recognition for the important work you do.
  • Receive marketing assets including email signatures, co-branded workshop certificates, email templates and more.

In addition to this, currently we are launching a monthly theme which has some exciting opportunities each month:

  1. News and information about Microsoft resources and programs that can help you grow your training provision (virtual universities, highlighted tools, links to resources and more)
  2. Trainer Spotlights – showcasing the work of other trainers
  3. An opportunity to win a trip to the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum in March
  4. ‘1 Minute Wonder’ talking heads videos from existing practitioners on different themes



So sign up and register today, it is free and a fantastic opportunity.

Here is how you can join Piltrainer:

Step 1: fill out application at www.piltrainer.com

Step 2: view the on-demand webcasts

Step 3: become a Partners in Learning Training provider!

You can also follow us on Twitter


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