The new GEEK

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Getting App HAPPy in the classroom #Win8

This week was a busy one what with Windows in the Classroom training as well as a trip to Havering HSIS (Hsis) with Rob Cox, from Toshiba, to promote CPD courses on Windows 8 and Office 365 in the classroom.

Staff at Hartsbrook School learnt how to navigate their way around the Windows 8 platform effectively picking up some new shortcuts along the way. Sharing ideas for practise, exploring the effective use of ICT in teaching and learning,  as well as having a discussion on teaching with technology versus teaching through technology, staff were then able to research the range of Windows 8 apps available and come up with innovative and creative ways to use them in the classroom. In a week’s time, the staff will be submitting their plans fully trialled and evaluated to share with everyone at Hartsbrook E-ACT Free School. In addition these plans will be available to educators locally, nationally and globally on the Partners in Learning network. I look forward to cross-promoting some of their ideas on my blog too so keep your eye out for future posts.

Travelling over to Romford to share the range of CPD courses I am offering in conjunction with Havering School Improvement Services (HSIS) and Toshiba was very well-received by schools in the Havering area. Starting from Spring Term, I will be running Windows 8 in the Classroom, Win8 Apps in the Classroom and Office 365 in the classroom. All three courses will be run in the Spring and Summer term and we are looking forward to being able to offer more courses in 2014 and beyond. While I was there I was also able to gain a valuable insight into the amazing work HSIS are doing for schools in their area, with particular reference to Dave Smith and the ICT team. It is clear how having an ICT vision from the top is invaluable in developing the ICT & Computing skills of our students today.

As a Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator, I am available to offer a range of courses on Windows 8, Office 365 and teaching through technology. All courses provide the opportunity to earn badges which not only gives you recognised and reputable CPD certification but which build capacity of your school thus in turn positively impacting upon the use of technology in teaching and learning and the development of students’ 21st Century Learning Skills. To find out more please contact me at or tweet me @CharBeckhurst

On top of Havering and staff training at Hartsbrook, there is still the Win8 App Lesson Planning Competition to be launched, posts to write for the Microsoft schools blog, a movie storyboard to be written for a technology company and of course teaching my students. It’s definitely busy being (a) M.I.E.E!

If you or your school are interested in finding out more about the Microsoft Expert Educator program, then just have a look here 


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Microsoft Kick Off 14

On Friday I had the privilege of presenting at Microsoft Kick-Off 14. Presenting to the whole of Microsoft Public Sector, I was able to share the direct impact of the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator (M.I.E.E) Program on learning as well as building capacity amongst educators.  Being a M.I.E.E enables me to share the teaching and learning taking place at Hartsbrook E-ACT Free School at events such as Kick Off 14 and to demonstrate how Windows 8 and Office 365 is being used in education as well as the importance of the M.I.E.E program itself.

At Microsoft Kick-Off 14, I was focusing on the importance of integrating technology into the curriculum and developing 21st Century Learning Skills. Since opening in September 2012, Hartsbrook students have been using Office 365 and Windows 8 to develop their digital literacy skills. However, the difference is that the students have been learning ICT skills through areas of the curriculum such as literacy, maths and humanities; rather than focusing on the ICT skills as stand-alone components. To put this into context students learning about forces and recording science investigations,  undertook  a class tug of war, took photos with one device, accessed them from SkyDrive on another device, downloaded what they needed and then used the photos to make a Photo Story. The technology here has supported and enabled the learning through collaboration, communication, a shared purpose and responsibility and problem solving.

Integration with the curriculum extends teaching and learning opportunities. It opens up a world of possibility for utilisation of Win8 apps to be incorporated with curriculum. I was able to share our 6 week scheme of work entitled ‘Journey Around London’ to illustrate how Windows 8 Apps can be used to develop literacy skills as well as historical, geographical and cultural knowledge and understanding. You can access the scheme of work on my Resources page to find out more.

As an M.I.E.E educator I am now a Microsoft and Partners in Learning trainer which means I am able to deliver Microsoft courses and workshops as well as design bespoke training according to schools’ needs. I am also working in partnership with Toshiba to support teaching and learning on Toshiba devices. Some key projects which I am focusing on for the new academic year are:

–          Windows 8 Lesson Planning App competition 2013. For both secondary and primary schools, this competition is open to teams of students who wish to design a lesson which incorporates a Windows 8 App. Entrants will come together to present/teach their lesson at a day event in November/December. If wish to know more about this, please contact me at

–          I will be doing a number of presentations within Havering, Brentwood and Waltham Forest schools community. For further information, please contact Havering School Improvement Services, ICT Team.

–          As a member of staff of the E-ACT schools groups, we will be running some professional development days involving teaching with technology and Windows in the Classroom badge.


Please get in contact if you are interested in CPD for your school.