Office 365 Education Special Report

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Office 365 Education Special Report

  1. 1. INDEPENDENT BUYING ADVICE FOR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS ICT REVIEWS IN THE CLASSROOM: How Office 365 Education helps students learn 6 great reasons to sign up today 16 PAGES OF ADVICE SPECIAL REPORT OFFICE 365 EDUCATION in association with
  2. 2. Spark. Your Office Now Includes Your Students. Put the power of Office365 in the hands of your educators, faculty and students. With cloud storage, collaboration tools, and IT flexibility, it’s easy to inspire new ideas. Experience it today. You purchase Microsoft Office for all your faculty and staff – now add office.com/education students at no additional cost1. Think about every faculty, staff and now student on campus having
  3. 3. Opinion Column Technology isn’t enough to improve learning, says Sarika Rao: attitudes need to change too While the advance of technology seems unstoppable, one question remains unanswered in the classroom: how equipped are we at handling the shifting attitudes of students and teachers alike? As I talk to educators and solution providers, it’s striking how changing attitudes demand a shift in the way we think about and incorporate technology in the classroom. It’s not enough to make the technology available, it must make a tangible difference to the way knowledge is delivered and consumed. Today, educators lead the way: they own the classroom and design their own student experience. They demand the freedom to adopt the tools and technology that help them innovate and create that uniqueness. So anyone who works in IT has their work cut out. Not only must they be flexible enough to empower educators with the right technology, they need to do so while staying compliant, to ensure data integrity, security and student privacy. It’s this tug of war that often results in classrooms with smart boards and even a laptop in front of each student but with no opportunity for collaboration, real communication or creativity. Instead, that freedom tends to happen outside the classroom, where everyone can use their own devices and connect with peers or friends across the globe. To collaborate both inside and outside the classroom, different factors need to fall into place. First is the flexibility to work across devices and browsers, which means productivity tools optimised for their devices so they work best wherever they happen to be. Second is the cloud – tools that are available on-demand, that roam with you and are always up-to-date. It means a service that is always logged in, giving you quick access to documents no matter where you are, and one that’s underpinned by robust security and guaranteed reliability. Third is the most pervasive factor when it comes to collaboration – the all-powerful social. That means bringing social networking capabilities into the classroom. Think newsfeeds, the ability to follow peers, plus instant access to shared documents or sites. It’s also the ability to host and participate in effective online discussions using video conferencing, document sharing and even real-time note taking. Finally, there is control: the ever important security and privacy needs, which grow in importance every day as we get more nimble with the cloud. IT www.pcpro.co.uk/education administrators care deeply about integrated checks and balances that warn you when policies are being violated when sending email with sensitive information. They value the ability to archive data at folder or individual user level. They look for robust support options with guaranteed uptime, tools to monitor the service health at any given time and rapid technical support they can count on for help. No technology or set of tools is cool enough if it’s hard to deploy or manage. Fast, automated updates including those for your apps shouldn’t be the dream of a user or IT administrator: they should be a right. As should ease of managing workloads, from email and calendar to team sites and conferencing tools. A cloud service armed with the best collaboration and communication tools, that allows you to work flexibly while guaranteeing peace of mind through world class security, privacy and reliability – now that’s a tall order, but then that’s why I’m so excited about Microsoft Office 365 Education. With IT budgets being increasingly constrained, the fact that Office 365 Education’s most basic plan A2 is offered free makes a huge difference. Office is not just about Word, PowerPoint, Excel anymore. It’s a family of products and integration with the cloud. But it’s not technology alone that make a service a winner but also the availability of a rich ecosystem of partners to help with complex deployments or just providing advice. When it comes to training and readiness, Microsoft’s IT Academy delivers comprehensive Office 365 readiness for all students, staff and IT professionals, with a single subscription covering the entire institution. Since its launch, Office 365 Education has been embraced by every type of education institution across the world. To make this even better, we at Microsoft are thrilled to offer the Student Advantage benefit (see page 7) to eligible institutions starting 1 December 2013. When you license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus organisation-wide for all your faculty and staff, you now qualify for Office 365 ProPlus subscription licences at no additional cost! As you can tell, I’m genuinely excited about the impact Office 365 Education is having across classrooms. You only need to look at what’s already happening – see page 8 – to be inspired. The future will no doubt bring even more brilliant ideas, and I can’t wait to see them in action. Office is not just about Word, PowerPoint, Excel anymore. It’s a family of products and integration with the cloud Sarika Rao is Microsoft’s senior product marketing manager for Office 365 Education. If you’d like to get in touch, email sarikar@ microsoft.com OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 3
  4. 4. Feature What schools need to know What schools need to know about Office 365 Education (and what you can get for free) Office 365 Education gives teachers and students everything they need to communicate and collaborate, and in doing so aid learning. Over these two pages, we aim to answer all the questions anyone involved in school IT needs to know – from what’s included to how it’s deployed and supported. Q A What is Office 365 Education? As the feature list on the opposite page shows, Office 365 encompasses many things, from a bundled version of Microsoft Office software (with certain plans) to email, document sharing and online video conferencing. The key idea is that you pay a subscription each month or year, and that entitles you to the various services in each plan. Office 365 Education is a special version targeted specifically at educational institutions, including schools. It integrates Exchange-based email, scheduling and contacts management, SharePoint for intranet-based collaboration, and instant messaging and voice and video conferencing and chat using Microsoft Lync. It also provides access to Microsoft’s Office Web Apps; streamlined online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that can be used to view, create and edit documents. Using SharePoint, you can use Office 365 to create a full learning environment where you can share information, manage projects and publish policies, schemes of work and announcements. Q A What can I get for free? All of the above, with 99.9% availability, 24/7 phone support, 25GB of SkyDrive Pro storage, 50GB of email storage space per user, configurable anti-spam and anti-malware protection, plus free Active Directory synchronisation for those schools with an existing Windows Server network. 4 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT Q A Does it include Office 2013 for desktops? Microsoft partner and let them do all the behind-the-scenes work. Not on the free plan, but upgrade from the free Office 365 A2 plan to the Office 365 A3 plan and you get up to five installations of Office 2013 for Windows per user, or Office 2011 for Mac. Other bonus features include unlimited email storage and archiving, plus eDiscovery tools for SharePoint sites and Exchange mailboxes that tick your school’s compliance boxes. It’s £1.90 per student or £3.40 per staff member per month. How does it differ from other cloud-based services? Q A Office 365 Education is targeted at the needs of education. Emails and documents aren’t scanned or indexed to provide hooks for advertising; Microsoft takes privacy and security seriously. What’s more, Office 365 Education works with familiar Office and Windows tools and services, and across a wide range of PCs, laptops and mobile devices. It’s designed to get the latest emails, the most recent documents and the right information to every user, no matter what device they’re working with. How does Office 365 Education differ from the old Live@edu service? Q A It basically offers more to schools, including more email capacity per user, with 50GB rather than 10GB, the new Office Web Apps, stronger integration with Office 2010 and Office 2013, plus Enterprise-grade intranet and communications with SharePoint Online and Lync Online. Q A Will it work with tablets and smartphone? Q Obviously Office 365 Education works brilliantly with Windows Phone How complicated is it to use? Staff and students will find Office 365 Education very familiar. It works with existing Office 2010 and even Office 2007 applications, and the web-based Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps use  the same user-interface as their Office 2013 equivalents, which is itself a natural development from Office 2010. Moving to Office 365 is a shift, but hardly  a dramatic one. Office 365 isn’t much more difficult  to manage, either. Everything from provisioning new accounts to managing school intranet and internet sites can be done using a simple, browser-based control panel, although there’s nothing to stop techies using PowerShell commands. It’s a whole lot easier than maintaining your own servers. And if you don’t want to handle setup yourself, you can work with a Office 365 Education works across almost every smartphone and tablet on the market, including Android phones as shown here. www.pcpro.co.uk/education
  5. 5. smartphones and Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, including Microsoft Surface. You can draft a document on your tablet and then polish it up on your laptop, and work with other staff or students across the full range of Windows devices. However, Office 365 Education is also happy to work with Android and iOS tablets and smartphones. You can access your email and check  your schedule on an iPhone or  view documents using your Android tablet’s web browser. There are  OneNote apps available for iOS and Android, and users of the Office 365  A3 and A4 plans can use the Office Mobile for Office 365 apps for iOS and Android to create and edit documents. You aren’t limited to Windows devices by any means. Is Office 365 Education  safe, private and secure? Q A Microsoft has signed up to the EU Safe Harbour agreement, meaning the service complies with EU regulations on where your students’ personal data can be stored. You can requests through the admin portal for any less urgent requirements. We already have Office  – do we need to upgrade? Q A easily find out where the datacentres  your school uses are located, and get detailed information on who can access your data and when. All the data is held in 24-hour monitored data centres, and it’s encrypted both at rest on Microsoft’s servers and in-transit over the internet. Your data would arguably be less secure if held within your school. What about reliability and support? Office 365 has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and every document, intranet site and email is being continuously backed-up, with full disaster recovery just part of the service. Microsoft provides 24/7 phone support for all IT issues, and you can make service With Office Web Apps, you can review documents and do lightweight editing from virtually anywhere and on any device with a browser. Will our school have to keep buying new versions? Q A No. One of the joys of Office 365 is that updates are included in the subscription. New and enhanced apps, features and services should be rolled out to every user as they appear. Does Office 365 Education replace the traditional desktop version of Office? Q A Office 365 Education: Versions Compared Plan A2 Plan A3 Plan A4 Price Free £1.90 per student/month, £3.40 per staff/ month £2.20 per student/month, £4.50 per staff/ month Cloud-based email, calendar and contacts ✔ ✔ ✔ Create SharePoint intranet sites for teams with up to 300 subsites ✔ ✔ ✔ Use your school’s own domain name ✔ ✔ ✔ Instant messaging, voice and video chat with Lync Online ✔ ✔ ✔ Online HD video-conferencing and screensharing ✔ ✔ ✔ Web-based viewing and editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files using Office Web apps ✔ ✔ ✔ 24/7 phone support ✔ ✔ ✔ 99.9% uptime SLA ✔ ✔ ✔ Full Office Professional Plus 2013 subscription ✘ ✔ ✔ 25GB of online storage via SkyDrive Pro ✔ ✔ ✔ 50GB of email storage per user ✔ ✔ ✔ Unlimited email storage ✘ ✔ ✔ Archiving ✘ ✔ ✔ eDiscovery tools ✘ ✔ ✔ Hosted voicemail support ✘ ✔ ✔ Enterprise-grade voice and voicemail services ✘ ✘ ✔ www.pcpro.co.uk/education Office 365 doesn’t require Office to run, but if you have Office already then it should work with your existing applications. It works with Office 2007 (with some limitations), Office 2010 and Office 2013, not to mention Office 2011 for Mac. Office 365’s Office Web Apps provides many students and some staff members with everything they need to work. However, when you  need to handle serious quantities of  email or create really slick, professional-looking documents and presentations, nothing works better than full-blown Office. That’s why Office 2013 Pro Plus comes included with the paid-for plans. If I want to try Office 365 Education, do I have to commit to it? Q A Office 365 Education is free in the  basic A2 plan, but if you don’t want to commit you can try the service with a free trial. This gives you an idea of how administration and provisioning work before you set up a full  system, not to mention a good grounding in how it looks and feels from staff and students’ perspectives. For  simplicity, the trial needs to run on a trial  domain. Can we still use our school’s existing domain name? Q A Once you sign up, definitely. Office 365 Education will work happily with an existing domain, allowing you to move to the new email, scheduling and SharePoint Online services while retaining your school’s existing online identity. OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 5
  6. 6. Feature 6 great reasons to sign up Office 365 Education: 6 great reasons to sign up want worry-free IT you can outsource setup, management and support to a Microsoft partner. Office 365 doesn’t force you to use one specific piece of hardware, operating system, browser or application (although some requirements naturally apply). The choice is always yours. 3 1 You’ll never lose homework again Each staff and student account comes with 50GB of free storage for emails, documents, presentations and associated photos and media. That’s more than enough to last any student throughout their life at school. What’s more, this space is a repository for all their vital files, always available, always online. Saving to the cloud is just as easy as saving to a local hard disk. As the account is accessible from laptops and PCs at home and school – not to mention tablets and smartphones on the move – both staff and students can work wherever and on whatever they like. Students can start a document from school and finish it at home, or vice versa, and the latest version is always within easy reach. There’s no reason to mess around with USB memory sticks or emailed attachments, and no excuse for not bringing homework into class. Frankly, you don’t even have to think about it. 2 a new all-signing, all-dancing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), then that’s great too. If you want all your data in the cloud, then Office 365 is safe, secure and reliable. If you feel more comfortable with local email and storage systems, then Office 365 Education supports a hybrid approach, synchronising local and cloud-based data and giving you the best of both worlds. Office 365 is simple enough to manage within the school, but if you Collaboration within and without the school Collaboration is part and parcel of Office 365. Using just the Office Web Apps, teams of students can work on a single version of an online Word, Excel or PowerPoint document, viewing and making edits simultaneously with all changes synchronised. Teachers and students can also work on the same document at the same time, enabling new styles of teaching and learning. SharePoint Online, meanwhile, provides an ideal platform for group activities and larger projects. Yet Office 365 Education takes collaboration even further. With Lync Online, it’s easy to set up real-time video chats, instant messaging and screen-sharing with students across classrooms, schools and even around the world. Teachers can use it to foster relationships between different Worry-free IT to suit your school Office 365 is incredibly flexible, and how your school uses it is up to you. If you simply want free email with a 50GB inbox, then that’s fine. If you want to make SharePoint Online the platform for 6 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT www.pcpro.co.uk/education
  7. 7. Take advantage of Student Advantage Microsoft has just announced Student Advantage, a new benefit to qualifying institutions that will make it easy for students to use the latest and best version of full Office at their education institution and at home. So what does this mean? From 1 December 2013, any institutions that license Office for staff and faculty can provide access to Office 365 ProPlus – which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and offers the ability for these to be schools and communities, or call in experts without needing to physically bring them into school. Office 365 Education helps staff and students work together – and bring in the wider world. 4 Office 365 Education works on anything Office 365 Education is the perfect fit for Windows, whether you’re running Windows 8 or Windows 7, and whether you’re using PCs, laptops or tablets. Yet it’s not in any way limited to Microsoft technology. Office 365 Education’s email will work perfectly well with Macs, iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones and tablets. The Office Web Apps will run in a browser on Mac OSX, Linux and Chrome OS PCs and laptops, and you can view and edit documents on a wide variety of devices, either using native apps like those for iOS and Android, or in the browser. Even when schools want to centralise on Windows as an OS across all devices, Office 365 Education is ready to embrace a diverse ecosystem, covering just about every computer and device staff and students come into contact with, whether at home or at school. It doesn’t shut anyone out. www.pcpro.co.uk/education 5 locally installed on up to five devices – for students at no additional  cost. To put this into context, a white paper commissioned by Microsoft and released by IDC points out that top candidates for current and future jobs will be measured by capabilities and competencies, with 20 distinct skills bubbling up to the top in millions of high-growth, high-paying job postings. The study provides insight into the skills students need for It can inspire new ways of learning With the power of the cloud behind you, you can investigate new approaches to teaching and learning. Create team sites for staff and students. Manage cross-class projects with SharePoint Online and get everyone involved. Use video chat and instant messaging to let ideas develop and thoughts run wild. Harness Office Web Apps for collaborative activities that  might involve teachers and teams  of students.  Plus, because Office 365 Education works just about everywhere and on almost everything, you can use it to engage students at school, at home and anywhere in-between. Carry learning  outside of the classroom, and take full advantage of mobile technology, whether it the top 60 high-growth, high-wage occupations that will account for 11.5 million new hires and 28 percent of job growth by 2020. Out of those skills, Microsoft Office proficiency was at the top the list. With Student Advantage, students at schools across the globe will have access to the latest, most up-todate version of the world’s leading set of productivity tools in order to give them a competitive advantage when entering the workforce. belongs to the school or to your students. With a little imagination, Office 365 Education might just transform the way you teach. 6 It has the power of  Microsoft Office behind it Some cloud-based services make you  work with unfamiliar apps and tools. Not  Office 365 Education. The Office Web Apps, covering Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Excel, have the familiar look and feel of their desktop versions and many of the same features. Accessible on almost any laptop or PC with almost any browser, they enable students and staff to work anywhere, even if they don’t have an Office license or Office installed. Yet if you need more power, Office 365 Education works hand-inhand with the desktop Office applications. Staff and students can start  projects using Office Web Apps then polish them in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Teachers can set up documents in the desktop Office applications before handing them off  to students to continue the   work in the Web Apps. OneNote has become an invaluable tool for gathering ideas and information, and with Office 365 Education it works across PCs, tablets and smartphones, while Outlook remains the most efficient way of handling emails, calendars and contacts. With Office 365 Education, there’s no need to compromise on less  familiar or less functional apps. OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 7
  8. 8. Feature Education in the classroom Office 365 Education in the classroom: Helping students learn FORWARD-THINKING TEACHERS HAVE EMBRACED OFFICE 365 EDUCATION AND MADE A REAL DIFFERENCE TO THE WAY THEIR STUDENTS LEARN. HERE, WE DISCOVER HOW… It’s easy to make a case for Office 365 Education in terms of cost savings, efficiencies and all the other facts and figures that make budget holders happy, but ultimately the only thing that matters is what it brings to the classroom. Office 365 Education doesn’t just change the way ICT can be deployed in schools, but also the way it can help transform teaching and learning. Getting Organised Partly this comes down to the way Office 365 Education can help staff and 8 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT students work more effectively, both on their own and together. And it can be as simple as sharing times and dates. “I’ve used Calendars massively” says Scott Wieprecht, Enrichment Coordinator for Mathematics at the pioneering Saltash Community School in Cornwall. “They’ve been around for quite a while in Outlook, but the Calendars in Office 365 – the fact that you can share your calendar and compare calendars really quickly – are quite incredible.” At Saltash, Scott and his colleagues use them for timetabling and homework scheduling, but also as a means of keeping staff and students in sync. For example, last year, when his Year 11 students went on study leave, Scott shared his calendar so they could see all his free and PPA slots, plus any evening sessions he had planned. If students needed help at this crucial time, they didn’t need to find out where and when Scott might be available; they could simply log in to Office 365 and schedule an appointment. This didn’t just benefit the one student, but also opened up the www.pcpro.co.uk/education
  9. 9. opportunity to others. As Scott explains, “everyone else in the class could see that, say, someone was coming in to talk through solving linear equations, and if they needed help on that, then they could just click and ask if they could join.” As an indication of success, Scott points to improved results in last year’s GCSE Maths grades. “I’m not going to say that Office 365 was the reason the results were better, but it certainly helped me organise my revision classes.” Team Projects and Collaboration SharePoint, meanwhile, is changing the ways staff and students work on team-based projects at the school. Scott explains that when students start on a new project they set up their own SharePoint Team Site, somewhere they can “chat and keep all the documents they’re working on together”. Not only does this give students a place where they can collaborate, it also guarantees that the team is only working on one version of a file at a time, with everyone adding and amending until the project is completed. “This makes a lot more sense than having one document each that they work on separately, then trying to mash it together bit by bit and line by line,” Scott explains. In fact, with Office 2013 and the Office Web Apps, students can work together in real-time, trying out edits to the live document while discussing them at the same time. This new way of working also changes how teachers get involved. In Scott’s case he monitors the work and takes part in team discussions, not going too hands-on but giving feedback as and when it’s useful. ‘I don’t make corrections to the document, but quite often I’ll say ‘have you looked at this?’” Scott says. “It’s brilliant for feedback. I don’t have to do it all in one big go at the end, it’s a live, continuous process.” SharePoint is also having an impact at Shireland Collegiate Academy, Smethwick, where the school has adopted a “1 pupil:1 device” policy and Office 365 is being used heavily as a teaching tool. “Our Class Sites are now the main driver of lessons,” says the Academy’s e-Learning Director, Kirsty Tonks. “It enables us as teachers to work in ways that we could not without them and students to interact with content and teacher’s interventions in a very natural manner. They are an extension of the physical classroom and help us extend learning opportunities beyond this physical boundary and the timeframes of the school day in a very organised and targeted way.” The college uses Team Sites to help with peer assessment through discussion forums, and in flipped learning strategies where pupils can learn the content and go through some initial testing before the actual lesson takes place. By carefully crafting interactive activities in and out of the classroom, the school gets students engaged across the class, and teachers can use the feedback to reshape lessons and tailor the material. Making Learning More Accessible One of the great advantages of Office 365 is its accessibility. Students can access their email, their documents, their SharePoint sites and their calendar at school and at home, at any time of day Students can access their email, documents, SharePoint sites and calendar at school and at home or night, and on almost any PC or tablet. “They can go on their iPads or whatever other device they have got at home, and still work with the documents,” says Scott. But this accessibility also has another meaning. By providing tools and resources that students can use on many different devices, Office 365 Education makes it easier for every student to reach their potential. All it takes is Office Web Apps and a device with a compatible browser. This, says Julia Adamson, Office 365 Education Pioneers Office 365 is shaking up how students and teachers work together all around the country, not just in Saltash and Shireland. At Ravensdale Junior School, Derby, staff set homework using the Office 365 Calendar and set up SharePoint workspaces where teachers can upload worksheets and students can upload their finished homework. Teachers even use the Team Site features to deliver lessons to students of differing abilities, using group discussions as a starter activity, and wiki pages to deliver differentiated learning resources. Meanwhile, at Oakwood Junior School, also in Derby, staff and students use Lync in and out of school to provide support for each other on homework, with Lync running in the background as they work. Cleverly, the status indicators usually used to mark availability are used to monitor progress. www.pcpro.co.uk/education If a student marks their status as red then they need assistance. Green means they know the answer and are prepared to help others. The school also uses Lync to connect classrooms, so that two separate Year 6 groups can work collaboratively on projects even though they’re located in different areas of the campus. Even Lync’s video-conferencing facilities get a look in, put to work on problem-solving activities and joint presentations. OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 9
  10. 10. Feature Education in the classroom Teaching and Learning Consultant for South West Grid for Learning, is “removing the barriers at every stage, and taking advantage of the things that make learning exciting: technology, being online”. Where offline applications can be restrictive, she feels that Office 365 Education opens doors. “It’s available when they feel they want to engage with it, and everyone has access to the same level of resources. Office Web Apps are really important.” Kirsty Tonks agrees. “The cloudbased nature of Office 365 makes this the most inclusive solution that we have ever used, and increasingly the most accessible,” she says. Using SharePoint group sites has also helped less confident students: “the reluctant participator in the classroom suddenly finds a voice and is able to get involved from home”. Students at Ravensdale Junior School, Derby, can access their homework, and upload the finished work, wherever they happen to be thanks to SharePoint workspaces Communications Technology in the Classroom You might think that video conferencing and instant messaging have nothing to offer in the classroom, but Lync Online actually has huge potential. At Saltash, for example, it’s being used as a vehicle for cross-curricular activities. If, say, a PE teacher wants to talk through modal averages for lap times on the track with a group of students, they can use a tablet or laptop to Lync call through to someone in the Maths department and get an expert view. For the school’s Scott Wieprecht, the great thing about Office 365 is that it makes this kind of thing easy. “Being able to see staff availability - whether they’re in a lesson, or whether they’re online and available - and being able to call them and get an expert’s opinion is incredibly useful,” he explains. What’s more, Lync allows Scott to maintain a presence with students even when they’re split up and working on activities around the school – integrated learning projects, for example. “I can’t be everywhere at once, and if there are six different groups filming in different areas of the school then it’s hard for me to stay on top of what’s going on. If they Lync back to me, though, and I have Lync conversations going on, I can easily see where they are and what they are up to. I know they’re safe, and I can make sure that they’re all behaving themselves.” South West Grid for Learning’s Julia Adamson believes Lync Online – and its easy interaction with Skype – is a really promising technology. “We’re trying to encourage schools to think about the Sharing Ideas with PiL The great thing about Office 365 Education is that your school doesn’t have to go it alone. Microsoft’s Partners in Learning network provides teachers and IT staff with a place where they can exchange ideas and find tips for making the most of SharePoint, Office Web Apps and Lync, along 10 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT with other Microsoft technologies, in the classroom. There are discussion forums, tutorial videos and learning activities, and if you find something that works, you can share it with the wider Partners in Learning community. Join the network at www.pil-network.com. way they might use Lync to present lessons differently, or use expertise in different schools. The whole ‘Skype in the Classroom’ approach is really exciting.” She proposes scenarios that include pulling experts in through audio or video conferences to share their knowledge and experience with the class, or schools in federations using Lync to provide expert teaching in every school without teachers having to drive everywhere. Lync can also be a great way to get classes in one area of the country working with classes in another area, or even with classes halfway around the world. None of this has to mean video, says Julia: “I always say that, if video is a step too far forward for you, then try an audio conference because it’s what you say that’s really important.” Shireland Collegiate Academy already uses blogs, Skype, Twitter and live chat, but is exploring the idea of using Lync across the board. The school’s behavioural and pastoral teams are starting to explore Lync as a medium for staff-student dialogue, and the school plans to use it as part of its student mentoring programme. It may even be used for training new staff, so that they can fully utilise the school’s Lync allows teachers to maintain a presence with students even they’re split up around the school technology – and help students make the most of it too. A Social Network for the School Ask Saltash Community School’s students what they consider to be Office 365’s killer feature and they’ll tell you that it’s Newsfeed. Think of it as the equivalent of Twitter or Facebook, but restricted to specific groups of the school’s Office 365 userbase, and monitored and controlled by the staff. Scott Wieprecht agrees. He uses Newsfeed to spread information, send reminders and keep in touch with his classes, using a system of Twitter-like www.pcpro.co.uk
  11. 11. hashtags to ensure that students stay updated with the most relevant stuff. In effect, it’s using the tools of social networking in a secure, educationfocused way. “It’s a much safer environment, and I feel more comfortable,” Scott says. “I did have a Facebook page for my Maths classes, but they’re much happier logging in to Office  365.” Scott has also found the cloudstorage features of SkyDrive Pro invaluable. “After a lesson all the slides I’ve used – all the worksheets, anything else that I’ve used in that lesson – goes on there. After I’ve marked their work all the answers for the homework and the classwork goes on there as well.” These resources benefit the whole class, but also help those students who, for whatever reason, have been absent from school. Even SharePoint’s survey functions come in for good use at Saltash. Scott uses them to provide immediate feedback at the end of every lesson, with multiple choice questions that recap the lesson’s key points. “I get immediate results about the students and what they got right - it’s like an American pop quiz”, he explains, with the additional benefit that it makes it easier for him to isolate students who need more help with a concept in the next lesson. For Scott, the value of the survey functions are that they make this process so simple: “It’s a very quick way to run a survey. I can knock one out in a couple of minutes.” Shireland Collegiate Academy also uses surveys as a means of testing. Kirsty Tonks describes how they’re used as part of the school’s flipped classroom strategy. For example, one teacher has embedded a video of a scene from Macbeth, which the students watched before answering a series of cleverly crafted closed questions. “The teacher then looked at the results of the survey and their responses and proposed a hypothesis which the students then had to debate the next day,” she explains. At Saltash the real strength of Office 365 has been that it’s not something pushed on the pupils by the staff, but something they’re leading themselves. “They love it,” says Scott. “There are quite a few things that I do in the classroom where I’m really passionate but I have to work to get the kids enthused. With Office 365 I’ve found that it’s the young people who are enthused about it, and that rubs off on me.” www.pcpro.co.uk Ask the OffPerts The Saltash Community School’s student “OffPerts” have a passion for new technology, and their tutorial videos have helped staff and students around the country get to grips with Office 365 Education. We caught up with five of them – two Georges, two Jacks and Max – to find out how they make the most of it. Q What has Office 365 Education done for you, in and out of the classroom? It’s given us a chance to be more organised in lessons, and made it easier for us to learn and contribute. It’s technology-based and modern, which we prefer… it’s more interesting doing things on Office 365 than it is on pen and paper. A Q Is it changing the way you work together and with your teachers? The thing that made us think it was brilliant was that we could actually talk to each other, and it’s perfect for making a space where you can upload your homework. We also don’t have to wait a whole day or a A whole lesson or even a whole hour for Mr Wieprecht to reply to a request. We can just log on and ask him questions if we need help, or if we’re doing group work we can log on and chat with our friends. If you’re doing tasks and you’re doing the same work you can communicate between classes as well, if you needed to. It makes loads of different bridges that you wouldn’t usually have. Q Do you make much use of the Office Web Apps? On the iPad at home. It’s always on, so you just press the home button and then go into Office 365. If you want to go into something quickly you don’t have to go to a computer. A Q What’s the best feature of Office 365 Education other people might not know? Newsfeed is really cool. You know what everyone is getting up to, and you can be all over the place, in the middle of all these conversations. It’s a bit like Facebook, really. You can see what everyone is up to. You can see if they’re online, and see if they’re doing homework at the same time as you. A Q What would you say to anyone thinking of taking on Office 365 Education? There’s nothing else like it. You literally can’t buy anything else like it. It’s that good. It’s all there for you. You’ve got everything you need. You’ve got email. You’ve got social sites. You’ve got things to help you with your homework, and it’s all incredibly useful. A OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 11
  12. 12. Feature A Question of Support A Question of Support IT’S ALMOST INEVITABLE THAT HITCHES AND GLITCHES WILL OCCUR WHEN SWITCHING TO ANY NEW IT SERVICE, BUT THERE’S FREE SUPPORT ON OFFER EVERY STEP OF THE WAY gives you all the detail you could wish for. You get clear indications of any parts of the Office 365 service undergoing maintenance or updates, while another page warns you of any scheduled maintenance coming up. Despite all this online support, Office 365 Education still comes with free phone support – and that extends to schools that use the free A2 plan. Phone support is available 24/7 for critical issues that prevent the service running, and during business hours for noncritical issues that still affect access to the service. Critical issues will get a response within one hour while less critical issues will be next business day. Moving a school to a new cloud-based service for email, productivity and collaboration is no trivial undertaking, and while Office 365 Education is extremely reliable and surprisingly easy to manage, even expert IT staff and IT-literate teachers may find themselves flummoxed occasionally. What’s more, there’s always a fear that – with the free A2 plan – you may be left high and dry when it comes to support. Luckily, that’s not the case. Microsoft backs up schools that make the move with proper business-grade support, whichever plan they choose, and that’s without considering a wide range of other resources. Whatever your question and whatever your problem, you’re never far away from an answer. Support Within the Portal The Office 365 Portal, where admins setup and manage accounts and services, is your first stop for help. Here you’ll find a Support link on the main dashboard. You can type in a question to get help from experts in the Office 365 community, or browse FAQs covering the most common issues or requirements. 12 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT If you need advice on something more specific, the troubleshooting tool helps you drill down to the right topic, as you first isolate the part of the service that’s affected then focus on the issue in hand. With just a little information, the troubleshooter can direct you to the more relevant knowledgebase article. The advantage of using a service that’s being used by so many schools and businesses is that, if you have a problem or a question, it’s likely that someone will have had it before. . Yet sometimes that’s not possible. For more hands-on help you can submit a service request, which goes direct to a support representative who will usually make contact by email within a few hours. The New Service Request wizard handles the initial contact, while reminding you to provide as much information as possible, plus any relevant notes or files. Support requests in progress can be viewed and edited, so you can ask for additional information or add notes or log files if need be. If you need to check on the health and running of the Office 365 service itself, then the Service Health screen Online Support Informal Microsoft resources such as the UK Schools Blog (http://blogs.msdn. com/b/ukschools/) are a goldmine of information on Office 365 Education. Outside the portal, you’ll find plenty of other resources for support online, whether you need help with deployment and setting up accounts, or whether you want to push further into more advanced features or setting up a hybrid onpremises/cloud-based Office 365 solution. If you like to get your own hands dirty, there’s plenty of expert advice to help you out. For example, the Office 365 Support Page on support.microsoft.com (http:// support.microsoft.com/ph/15834/ www.pcpro.co.uk/education
  13. 13. en-gb) can lead you to a range of FAQs, installation guides, quickstart guides and walkthroughs, including useful information for those wanting to set up active directory synchronisation and/or single sign-on. The Office 365 Community Site (http://community.office365.com/ en-us/default.aspx) can also be invaluable, with FAQs and Wikis covering common Office 365 procedures and potential pitfalls. While not specific to the Education version of Office 365, these resources can still provide schools with information to make setup and management easier. Webcasts cover the trickier points of using SharePoint, there are links to guides covering mail flow or domains in Office 365 or how best to configure the school’s PCs, and there are some great forums where you can post about any challenges you’re facing. It’s also a great place to find out about any changes to Office 365 before they happen. And while it’s more applicable to business than education, Microsoft’s fastrack.office.com website still incudes a wealth of knowledge in easily followed steps that can help novice Office 365 Education admins trial Office 365 then deploy it across their school. Of course, there’s more to support than simply setting up the nuts and bolts. Staff and students may need basic training and an introduction to the features of the service. Here the support section of the office.microsoft.com website can be particularly useful. As well as free training on the Office 2013 desktop applications, there are basic tutorials on using the Office Web Apps to collaborate, on using mobile devices to work with SharePoint Online, and on using Lync to set up virtual meetings and video chats or use instant messaging. Education, not to mention using other Microsoft technologies in schools. For example, it has tips and tutorials on using the service and its applications both inside and outside the classroom, plus some easy-to-follow walkthroughs and inspiring posts on schools and teachers that are already using Office 365 to change the way they teach. The Microsoft in Education (www. microsoft.com/education/) UK website can also be a powerful resource, with webcasts covering Office 365 deployment and implementation, links to useful tools and access to an extensive library of SlideShare presentations covering Office 365 Education and a whole lot more. However, the education community extends beyond national boundaries, which is where Microsoft’s Partners in Learning programme comes in. Partners in Learning is a global community of innovative, enthusiastic IT-literate educators, sharing ideas and best practice about harnessing ICT for education. At www.pil-network.com/ you’ll find tutorials across a wide range of topics that could help both staff and students, whether it’s adding and editing contacts in the Outlook Web App, using Lync in school or best practices for managing student email. You’ll also find descriptions of learning activities that make the most of Office 365 Education, and discussions on everything related to ICT and education, including Office 365. What’s more, Partners in Learning is a Making More of Office 365 Education Beyond setup, management and configuration, there are also educationspecific online resources that can help your school make the most of Office 365. Microsoft is working hard to reach out to the education community, and its UK Education Cloud Blog (http://blogs. msdn.com/b/ukeducloud/) provides insight into the key topics that affect schools – everything from privacy to efficiency, with plenty of information about Office 365 too. The UK Schools Blog (http://blogs. msdn.com/b/ukschools/) is another goldmine of information on Office 365 www.pcpro.co.uk/education great place to go if you need to build your Office 365 Education skills, or simply find out how others are using the service. The Teaching with Technology curriculum provides courses that help teachers get to grips with technology in the classroom and use it to support their teaching, and there are useful webinars on using Office 365 and other Microsoft products in schools. The IT Academy In short, there’s no shortage of help available for schools running Office 365 Education, whichever plan you use. Yet there are also opportunities to foster a higher level of in-house expertise, while developing skills in cloud computing that will benefit both staff and students in their long term goals. The secret is to sign up to Microsoft’s IT Academy Programme Partners in Learning is a great place to go if you need to build your Office 365 Education skills A more formal way to boost your school’s IT skills is to sign up to Microsoft’s IT Academy Programme, with a subscription covering teachers, your IT team and your students. (www.microsoft.com/education/ itacademy). A relatively inexpensive subscription covers every teacher, ever member of the school IT team and every student for a year, and includes a rich curriculum of over 250 Microsoft e-learning courses and a huge selection of instructor resources, including lesson plans and schemes of work. Schools with an IT Academy subscription can access Office 365 training material, while staff can both build their knowledge and gain Microsoft certification. With courses covering deployment and administration, they’ll be able to deploy Office 365 more efficiently and handle any issues that arise during setup, management or migration. For large schools or schools sharing resources across a federation it’s a fantastic investment. Meanwhile, teachers, staff and students can take courses on Office 365’s collaboration and communication features. These won’t simply help them get more out of their ICT in class, but also help them develop expertise that will help them in later studies and work. After all, the cloud is the future of IT, and it makes sense to get a head start. These courses lead to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams, preparing students for future employment and giving teachers tangible development rewards. Throw in regular webinars and a strong community, plus free software for staff and students, and joining the IT Academy is a great way to get the most from Office 365 Education. OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 13
  14. 14. Feature Choosing a partner Office 365 Education: How, When and Why to Choose a Partner IT’S TEMPTING TO DIVE STRAIGHT INTO OFFICE 365 AND DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF, BUT PARTNERS BRING VALUABLE EXPERIENCE THAT CAN SAVE TIME AND MONEY If your school wants to deploy Office 365 Education, there’s no reason why you can’t do it on your own. The setup process isn’t beyond anyone with a modicum of administration experience, and if your school has staff with experience of Microsoft Exchange and Windows Server, then they’ll probably find it a breeze. Setting up Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online services involves a few steps, but nothing an experienced IT admin will find too taxing, and nor should configuring and maintaining user accounts cause any nightmares. If you want to dip a toe into the water, kicking off with a free trial will cost you nothing bar a little time and effort, and you can convert that free trial into a live production installation when the time is right. However, partners can help. Their experience can speed up the process, while a school with more advanced deployments involving identity federation and single sign-on will certainly benefit from partner assistance. They can get it up and running with add-on services, make it interoperate with existing services or throw in pre-configured templates that reflect the specific needs of primary, secondary schools and further/higher education institutions. Vitally, a good partner is a source of advice and support – the kind of advice and support that saves you time and money. How Partners Help This, says Julia Adamson, Teaching and Learning Consultant for the South West Grid for Learning (SWGFL), is one of the most important things a partner can provide. “It’s about having someone there to ask ‘how should we go about this?’ and ‘what’s the most successful way of implementing this solution?’.” A 14 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT partner can help a school work out what they’re trying to achieve and how best to go about it. “A lot of time the school just wants to understand what’s possible, and will use our knowledge and experience,” Adamson notes. A not for profit trust, funded by 15 local authorities across the South West of England, SWGFL works with schools to provide them with broadband A not for profit trust, South West Grid for Learning has proved an excellent technology partner for schools in the South West of England. connectivity and online learning resources and services, with an emphasis on child safety and security. After years of success with a SharePoint product, Merlin, it’s now moving many of its schools to a custom version of Office 365 Education. Part of the trust’s work is in helping schools understand the compliance and regulatory issues. “Schools need to understand what it is that they’re required to do,” Adamson notes, “and we’ve been a point of contact for them there. They can come to us and ask ‘can I use this? What do you advise?’ It is on people’s minds.” Matt Brunton is Operations Director for IAM Cloud, a consultancy and cloud-services company providing Windows Azure-hosted Identity and Federation services for Office 365. For him, support is a crucial part of what partners can offer. “[Office 365 is] new to them and they might not understand how some of the processes work. There are areas where, even if you can do it yourself, you’d be quite wise to hook up www.pcpro.co.uk/education
  15. 15. with an experienced Office 365 partner who can provide you with support.” This goes beyond having someone on the end of the phone who can fix a glitch, to having someone who can tell you how to get the basic things done. “That’s where a partner can add real value,” Brunton says. “They can even remote desktop in and show you how.” Nuts and Bolts Partners can also help with the more advanced forms of an Office 365 Education deployment, particularly migration from on-premises email and calendar services, single sign-on and Lync Online configuration. Hybrid solutions, where in-house servers synchronise with services running in the cloud, are a key option for schools that would prefer to keep specific data in-house, but still want to take advantage of the email, collaboration and calendar services of Office 365. Having a single sign-on for a whole range of services can also be a must. “Having a single user name and password that can authenticate users into all these services is a bit dull and a bit techy,” explains SWGFL’s Julia Adamson, “but actually it makes a huge difference. If you have a seven-year-old with four different passwords for four different accounts, it’s far better to have a single username and password that takes them everywhere they need to get to, safely. There’s also so much less administration on the teacher.” SWGFL has been working on a tailored Office 365 Education service that links in with existing schools information services to populate and update the Office 365 accounts automatically. Matt Brunton agrees. Creating accounts manually for every student and member of staff is perfectly possible, but involves a certain amount of labour. “If you’re getting anywhere above 100 users, then doing it manually becomes impractical.” Using Active Directory Federation Services with IAM Cloud’s solution, which provides authentication and single sign-on without on-premises servers, simplifies things dramatically. “It’s making the whole Office 365 process a no-brainer, really. You don’t have to think too hard about it. It just happens.” Partners can handle this nuts and bolts work. “For a school or college to enable single sign-on,” says Brunton, “they either need to do some quite complicated stuff in-house or pay some high consultancy fees. Alternatively, they www.pcpro.co.uk/education can take on a software-as-a -service product like we have, which works right out of the box. With other partners who are doing things with Lync Online and SharePoint Online it’s much the same story.” Yet partners can do more. They can also help share best practice, spread ideas on how to make the most of Office 365 Education, and help schools implement new strategies for ICT-based teaching and learning. They can also get schools moving with add-ons and templates that are built specifically to cover the needs of schools or colleges. SWGFL, for example, provides resources on how to use Office 365 in and out of class, along with ready-made SharePoint Online site templates with staff, governor, parent and student areas, all linked through with newsfeeds and calendars, and customisable with the school’s own colours and logos. It also provides training where needed. Brunton explains, “but in theory a partner can do absolutely everything. It can be a completely managed service.” Choosing a Partner With so many companies now climbing onto the cloud-services bandwagon, you won’t suffer from a lack of choice. In some areas, organisations such as SWGFL can act as a partner or make connections between schools and third-party partners. In others, schools may be left more to their own devices. Many large education IT vendors, When and whether schools need a partner will depend a lot on the school and what it’s trying to achieve When to find a Partner When and whether schools need a partner will depend a lot on the size of the school and what it’s trying to achieve. There’s nothing to stop a school taking the DIY approach and deploying Office 365 Education direct from Microsoft, but the right partner can add great value both quickly and efficiently. For example, your school might simply need a partner to help with the initial setup and provide occasional support and advice while the school handles day-to-day administration. It is, however, entirely up to you. Office 365 Education allows a whole gamut of approaches, from a complete DIY deployment to an IT-as-a-service model where the partner handles all aspects of setup, management and administration. “It depends on what the school is trying to get rid of in terms of workload,” Find the right partner for your school, college or university by heading to Microsoft Pinpoint: http:// pinpoint.microsoft. com including Viglen, Capita, BFC Networks, Novotronix, Shaping Cloud and RM, now provide cloud-based IT services based on Office 365, but with additional products or services integrated. Otherwise, a range of consultancies can provide expertise in Office 365 migration and deployment, although it’s vital to find one with experience in both Office 365 and education. And the latter is important. Many consultancies might have experience in the small business enterprise market, but might not be aware of the differing needs of education. “It isn’t going to not work,” says Matt Brunton, pointing out that the back end is the same. “But there are a whole heap of nuances around the education sector in general, and the nuances around schools are different from the nuances around colleges. In reality, it makes a lot more sense to go for a company that actually has experience of working in the education sector.” Julia Adamson agrees. “It is different. We know the systems schools have got in place now, and being tailored for education is an important feature of the way we work with Office 365.” Luckily, help is at hand. Microsoft can provide interested schools with details of partners who have relevant experience, or schools can look themselves using Microsoft Pinpoint (http://pinpoint. microsoft.com). In short, Office 365 Education is brilliant if you go it alone, but even better if you find the right partner. Microsoft and Pinpoint can help you make the right choice. OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT 15
  16. 16. QA Ask the Expert Office 365 Education Ask the Expert ALEX PEARCE IS FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF BFC NETWORKS, AND A SHAREPOINT MVP SPECIALISING IN THE USE OF MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGIES IN EDUCATION. HERE, ALEX ANSWERS SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS SCHOOLS HAVE ABOUT OFFICE 365 EDUCATION. Is it simple to add or remove students and teachers to and from the system? Q applications, or SharePoint Online, Exchange Online or Lync Online. A If we use Office 365, are we still OK with UK laws and regulations? Both teachers and students can be added to the system very easily. The Office 365 Education Portal is easily laid out, allowing you to create teachers and students and give them email or access to SharePoint Online. Remember that you want to be able to identify between teachers and students when in SharePoint Online to allow them to see only the data that is relevant to them. You don’t want students seeing staff documents within the staff area, for  example. Q How easy is Office 365 to deploy? Is it something the average school can do? A Implementing Office 365 Education can be as simple as you want it to be, and you can get a Microsoft Partner to do it for you. It depends on how you want to use it. You can have something simple, using services such as Exchange Online and Lync Online, and then add SharePointbased solutions which are tailored for schools and academies. But why not give SharePoint a go anyway, creating sites for staff and students to collaborate together? How much time does it take to manage once it’s up and running? Q A The Office 365 Education Portal screen is very easy to navigate and manage for creating users, adding them to groups and resetting passwords. A Microsoft Partner could always help you to enable Single Sign On to your school or academy’s log-on system, so your staff and students only have to log in once to their computer to reach all the great features of Office 365. 16 OFFICE 365 SPECIAL REPORT Are we stuck if our school internet connection goes down? Q A No. Office 365 Education offers much more offline capabilities than its rivals. There’s the offline mode of Office Web Access, synchronisation of documents to local PCs or your network thanks to SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint Online, plus Outlook’s ability to cache email. But that’s not to ignore how important it is to ensure that you have a good support mechanism for your schools’ internet line, or access to a backup line. When you talk to your ISP or your local council or supplier, you need to ensure that you’re getting good bandwidth and high uptime guaranteed. Don’t be afraid to invest in a good internet connection. It’s worth every penny. Can I mix and match Office 365 plans if staff need desktop applications? Q A Yes, you can. You could have some staff just using Exchange Online Plan 1, then have a mix-andmatch between A2, A3 and A4 where you have assigned the staff the licences according to the features they require. Some may need the desktop Q A The UK Government has set out a requirement for cloud services, which Office 365 matches and exceeds. Datacentres are based in Europe and are amongst the most secure you’ll find anywhere. Microsoft is always working hard to reach the next level of regulation to demonstrate that Office 365 is safe and can be used in education, government, health and other public services. Office 365 has been accredited IL2, which is part of the UK’s G-Cloud cloud framework. Not all rival services can say the same. What happens if we leave Office 365 later? Is all our data lost? Q A If you decide to leave Office 365 Education you need to plan the removal of the data the same way you would if you decided to deploy your data to the cloud service. As part of your plan you may want to remove and safeguard your files, but there are ways to do this to ensure that you get everything correctly. The trick is to plan the migration before you leave – not that you’ll find any reason to once you’re up  and running. Do the Office Web Apps have the features our students need to get their homework and coursework done? Q A Absolutely. The Office Web Apps are great and even better when being used in Office 365. You’ll get no more excuses on the lines of “I have an Apple Mac at home and I can’t open Word” or “I don’t have Office installed on my computers or tablet.” Office Web Apps can be used across the board. www.pcpro.co.uk/education

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