Microsoft has made freely available a whole school perception survey built around the Innovative Teaching and Learning Research (ITL Research). This was the first research to correlate the learning design by teachers and the skills development and demonstration by students. This whole staff survey provides insights into perceptions around teaching approaches, barriers to ICT integration, impact of professional learning and understanding of the skill-set referred to as 21ST Century Skills.

You must be registered (free) on the Microsoft Educator Community and review this training MIX to get the unlock code.

Many schools use this to measure the impact of whole-school improvement activities and also use this to ensure that the use of technology is driving the skills identified as being critical for living and learning.




This is worth shouting about!

The Innovative Teaching and Learning Research Materials are all available in two places. This is the CORE RESEARCH behind the development of the 21st Century Learning Design Rubrics and much of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning assets.


1. www.itlresearch.com and now also in

2. Microsoft’s Educator Community




Microsoft in Education have just released the 21st Century Learning Design online course. This used to only be available as a 2-day face-to-face workshop and now all the content, learning tasks and resources are available FREE. You do need to register at education.microsoft.com for access.

Begin the online course here





The 21CLD Professional Conversation Guide is an integral part of a whole school approach to innovation. The guide provides scaffolded conversations underpinned by the ITL Research and 21CLD approaches to dig deeper into understanding the successes and potential opportunities in learning design to explicitly deliver essential skills.

Access the guide here




Today’s curricula do not fully prepare students to live and work in an information-age society. As a result, employers today are often challenged with entry-level workers who lack the practical skills it takes to create, build and help sustain an information-rich business. Although reading, writing, mathematics and science are cornerstones of today’s education, curricula must go further to include skills such as collaboration and digital literacy that will prepare students for 21st-century employment. Establishing new forms of assessment can begin a fundamental change in how we approach education worldwide



Digital Transformation requires Digital Leadership

How to LEAD for collective creativity.

(From the amazing Ted Talk by Linda Hill)

Leadership is the secret sauce.

But it’s a different kind of leadership, not the kind many of us think about when we think about great leadership. One of the leaders I met with early on said to me, “Linda, I don’t read books on leadership. All they do is make me feel bad.” (Laughter) “In the first chapter they say I’m supposed to create a vision. But if I’m trying to do something that’s truly new, I have no answers. I don’t know what direction we’re going in and I’m not even sure I know how to figure out how to get there.” For sure, there are times when visionary leadership is exactly what is needed.

But if we want to build organizations that can innovate time and again, we must recast our understanding of what leadership is about. Leading innovation is about creating the space where people are willing and able to do the hard work of innovative problem solving.

Find the three LEADERSHIP BEHAVIOURS in the TedTalk here

Don’t bring your dirty learning to school!

What is dirty learning?

I think of this as the opposite experience to what is packaged and delivered in many schools.

When I think of this kind of learning I think of-

  1. Self regulated by the learner. Emotion is the gatekeeper of cognition here.
  2. Unstructured.
  3. Not bound by time
  4. Fluid socialization
  5. Non-linear
  6. Rapid design sprints. They call it play/ mucking around/ testing/ trying/ exploring
  7. Sometimes without obvious purpose (other than amusement/ distraction)

Many young students arrive at school having normalized the use of digital to learn through, to build with, to communicate and to make sense of the world. They do not separate their digital experiences from their real-world experiences, they are just experiences.

They may find themselves immersed in a world of linear analogue learning and one where their experiences, knowledge, skills and wonder are not invited.

The dirty learning has to happen before 8am and after 320pm


Successful leadership in challenging circumstances

8 Strategies for improvement

6 Questions to challenge yourself

makingthe difference.PNG


These are the 8 areas in which research suggests leaders of schools in challenging circumstances can make a real difference.

  1. Focus on learning and teaching
  2. Generate positive relationships
  3. Provide a clear vision and high expectations
  4. Improve the physical environment
  5. Provide time and opportunities for collaboration
  6. Distribute leadership and build teams
  7. Engage the community
  8. Evaluate and innovate


And the key questions for each of these:

  1. In our school, what do we do already?
  2. What else could we do?
  3. What should we stop doing?
  4. Why are these changes important?
  5. What impact will they have on learning?
  6. How will we know?



Access the full guide http://www.thegovernor.org.uk/freedownloads/nationalcollege/making-difference-successful-leadership-challenging-contexts.pdf



Who doesn’t like something for nothing? This awesome collection is from Microsoft Education Community here


21st Century Learning Design The 21CLD materials are presented in an easy to use, highly interactive way in this app. Using this app will help educators identify and understand the opportunities that learning activities give students to build 21st century skills.

AutoCollage Photo collages celebrate important events and themes in our lives. Pick a folder, press a button, and in a few minutes AutoCollage presents you with a unique memento to print or email to your family and friends.

Chemistry Add-in

The Chemistry Add-in for Word makes it easy to insert and modify chemical information, such as labels, formulas, and 2-D depictions within Microsoft Office Word. Additionally, it enables the creation of inline “chemical zones,” the rendering of print-ready visual depictions of chemical structures, and the ability to store and expose chemical information in a semantically rich manner.


ChronoZoom enables you to visualize the history of everything—the cosmos, Earth, life, and humanity—in your Web browser. You can browse through history to find data in the form of articles, images, video, sound, and other media.

Creative Commons Add-in

This add-in for Microsoft Office enables authors and editors to embed Creative Commons licenses directly into Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. With a Creative Commons license, authors can express their intentions regarding how their works may be used by others. The add-in allows the selection of a license, downloads it from the Creative Commons website, and inserts it directly into the working document.

Digital Education Services

This Windows app brings together multiple services, applications and programs in the education space with a common goal of improving the quality of learning.


Publish PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Sway, and PDF documents publicly without losing any formatting for free

Expression Web 4

Expression Web is a full-featured professional tool for designing, developing, and publishing compelling, feature-rich websites that conform to web standards.


Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.

Local Language Tool

The most commonly used features within specific Microsoft products and operating systems have been localized to a language interface through a LIP. Downloaded free of charge, each LIP enables you to install a local language version as a “skin” on top of an existing installation of the Windows operating system and standard Microsoft Office system applications. This gives you the unique ability to use the technology in a language that is familiar and that honors your linguistic and cultural distinctions.

Mathematics Add-in

Works with Microsoft Word 2013, 2010 and 2007, and Microsoft OneNote 2010 and 2013. With this add-in, you insert an advanced math problem (from algebra to calculus, physics, or statistics) and then click to simplify complex expressions or to solve. Use these advanced math computational and graphing capabilities to: Plot a function, equation, or inequality in 2-D or 3-D, and save the results, solve an equation or inequality, calculate a numerical result, compute the inverse of a matrix, matrix operations, list operations, and integrals.

Mathematics 4.0

FREE! FREE! FREE! Graphing Calculator

From basic math to precalculus, Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 can help you visualize and see mathematical concepts as you’ve never seen them before. This free downloadable tool includes step-by-step instructions and explains fundamental concepts. The wide range of tools to help students with complex mathematics includes a full-featured graphing calculator that’s designed to work just like a hand-held calculator and ink handwriting support to recognize hand-written problems.

Math Worksheet Generator

Do you spend a lot of time searching for worksheets with practice problems to give your students? Now you can easily create your own in just a few seconds with the Math Worksheet Generator. This is a tool that generates multiple math problems based on a sample, and then creates a worksheet that you can distribute. By analyzing the math problem you provide, or one of the built-in samples, the generator determines the structure of the expression and provides similar problems. We tack on an answer sheet too.


Minecraft in education is a way to teach, learn and inspire. It’s students visiting ancient civilizations to create and play out their own stories. It’s exploring mathematical concepts like perimeter, area, and volume by breaking and placing Minecraft blocks. It’s practicing collaboration, problem solving, digital citizenship, and leadership skills through creative thinking and innovative design.

Movie Maker

The sights, sounds and action of a movie are a great way grab your students’ attention and bring subjects to life. But who has time to teach and make movie magic? You do – with Windows Movie Maker. In just minutes, you can turn photos and video clips on any subject into interesting movies with special effects, sounds, and captions. Then share them with your class, on the Web, or DVDs so everyone can enjoy.

Office Lesson Planner

The Office Lesson Planner is a free tool that makes it easy to create daily lesson plans using Microsoft Word 2013 and 2016. The planner combines lesson plan templates and a “task menu” that displays a comprehensive library of daily learning targets developed from academic standards for math and English Language Arts.


Is an add-in for Microsoft OneNote. It provides additional functionality that is commonly requested. Although OneNote is fantastic software, we cannot include every piece of functionality in it. In some sense, Onetastic is a way to prototype and play with the things that are possible with OneNote.

Photo Story

A Microsoft Garage project, Photo Story helps you tell engaging stories using your photos. Simply choose a day, a theme and a soundtrack, and the app will create a rich stylized video from the best photos of the day. (for Windows phone)

Skype Translator Skype Translator helps you communicate across language barriers, bringing people closer together. Simply use almost any Skype-enabled device to make a free Skype Translator video or voice call with someone who speaks another language — and start talking. Translator is currently available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin. More languages are coming soon.

Small Basic Help your students start writing their first programs quickly and easily. With only 15 keywords and an inviting development environment, Small Basic is structured to help them succeed. Students who wish to advance their software development skills can also take advantage of Small Basic’s online guides and e-books to help them move ahead.


Bring your screenshots to life with voice and ink. Quickly take a screen shot, annotate and record, then share all from an easy-to-use menu that hovers over your desktop. Why show when you can show-and-tell?


Socl — pronounced social — allows you to express and share your ideas through rich post collages comprised of images, links, captions and videos. Socl is a research project from Microsoft Research FUSE Labs and began as an experiment in social search targeted at students for the purpose of learning. Following the lead of the Socl community, Socl has since evolved to be a service where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful posts that take only seconds to create.


Spark your students’ creativity, engage their interest, and improve learning outcomes by creating and sharing music in the classroom with Songsmith. Songsmith automatically generates musical accompaniment for anyone’s voice and can help you teach music, math, and many other subjects in innovative new ways. Sometimes helping kids “find their spark” is the hardest part of stimulating learning; Songsmith is a great way to encourage creativity.

Top 100 apps from the Windows store

There are thousands of education apps in the Windows store. To get you started, we’ve created a list of 100 education apps that we hope you’ll find helpful. For even more, go directly to the Windows store.


TouchDevelop is a development environment for mobile and Web apps that runs on any device. It is designed to adapt to your skills and helps you grow at your own pace. Working through 3 different levels, you can become an expert in no time! In the TouchDevelop environment, you write scripts by touching the screen. You can then share your scripts with other TouchDevelop users or submit your script as an app in the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store.

WorldWide Telescope (WWT)

Enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.

Zoomit v4.5

ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image.




Why online communities FAIL.


Well intentioned Online Communities of Practice often fail because

1.      They are created with good intentions but vague intent.

2.     They are created without any idea of learning theory or how people learn in a socialized context

3.     Participants are not provided with induction to this online worksite

4.     Roles are vague, variable or simply not visible

5.     Technical friction results in critical masses not engaged

From eConstruction Glue- available soon.