Microsoft ‘More than your OS’


Microsoft ‘More than your OS’

6 Nov ’11 #Success PLN Teaching 0

Two summers ago I was fortunate enough to attend the Microsoft teacher summer camp, I fondly recall just how positive everybody was and the breadth of education profession that was represented; primary, secondary, special, a full complement of subjects and experience, teachers, Heads of Department, Year Heads, Assistant heads and of course Stuart and Kirsten from Microsoft.

I have maintained a number of the professional connections made that summer and warmly appreciate the day-to-day influence these colleagues have are having on my career. And yes, I did mean day-to-day, albeit almost always via Twitter or email.

@chickensaltash – Dan Roberts

@cerirwilliams – Ceri Williams

@GeekyNicki -Nicki Maddams

@Lanky_Boi_Ray – Raymond Chambers

@davidErogers – David Rogers

@asober – Alessio Bernardelli

I can not recommend these guys and gals highly enough. Just lurk and soak up the ideas or nudge them, despite how motivate = busy they are, each are immensely support of the profession.

On which note, my thanks to Stuart and Ray, who gently podded me to submit my VCT. The Twitter conversation went as follows

@Lanky_Boi_Ray So want to do a VCT but workload making it near impossible – 24 Oct

@KristianStill I know the feeling lots of changes at our place only just managed to get it done with last lesson Friday 24 Oct

@Lanky_Boi_Ray We started our journey into Interactive Fiction w ppt. So maybe…. Hardly in the same league as @Lanky_Boi_Ray  24 Oct

@KristianStill @innovativeteach go for it dude! You have nothing to lose! I bet your being modest! Go kick some butt!! 24 Oct

…more procrastinating on my part… considering I already have the VCT proforma downloaded and ready on my desk top.

During the week the odd tweet of encouragement fleeted through my stream, and if I am honest, the team player in me started to feel I was some how letting TEAM ‘Summer Camp’ down. Now I know that I didn’t have anything to compare Rays exciting Kinect project but that was not a suitable excuse for not ‘pulling my finger out.’ With the deadline clock counting down, late Sunday afternoon I got stuck into the VCT, pausing only for our family meal and the most important duty of bedtime reading (Barry the Fish with Fingers). Late into the evening I proudly shared my meagre accomplishment with Ray, as ever, super supportive.

@KristianStill @innovativeteach WOOHOO!!! knew you could do it! Nice one! 31 Oct

Now as I have tweeted, the VCT is hardly cutting edge, nor is it particular sexy tech (nothing near Kinect) in fact I have referred to it as ‘Volvo’ tech. A reference to the wonderful 1990 film ‘Crazy People.’ It may not be sexy but its everything good tech should be, ubiquitous, simple, and reliable.


Boxy but good.


It involves using the ‘REVIEW’ feature and embedding audio feedback (wma) within the actual WORD file, not attached with it.

Let’s face it, Microsoft WORD is ubiquitous, has any teacher or student not used it? Surely not. The REVIEW’ is simple yet significantly under used IMHO. Finally, working offline, its ultra reliable. All I added was a little audio through ‘Voice Recorder’ that simple embedded itself within the file.

So, it is with a great deal of thanks to Ray, I am proud to share with you that this very simple, ‘boxy’ VCT was awarded one of ten ‘Education Forum’ awards for 2011. The good news, Volvo are still going strong, and that is very little wrong with being boxy.

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