Free Microsoft Programs: Part 2

Hi all, as promised here is part 2 of the free programs that Microsoft offers.


Pivot is a visual way of presenting and analysing data, from Microsoft Live Labs. It’s very difficult to describe in words, so perhaps the best way to see what it can do is to watch this video from the TED Conference 2010

You can download pivot here : and use it straight away with the Pivot Collection


DeepZoom allows students to create image compositions that can be viewed at different resolutions. Photos can be embedded within one another making it an ideal resource to deepzoom20composer20splash_3develop thinking skills and digital storytelling.

A great example of the use of  DeepZoom technology can be found at the Hard Rock Café – (You will need the Silverlight plug in to view this)

To make your own Deep Zoom compositions, download a free copy of DeepZoom Composer

You can find a series of tutorials about how to use DeepZoom Composer on the UK Teachers Blog

Live@edu/Office 365

Outsource your email and collaboration solution using this free offering – give all of your office365_2staff and students a 10GB Exchange mailbox, 25GB storage and collaboration space, access to the office web app – oh – and it works on almost any platform and in almost any browser, too.

Bing Translator

Ever been stuck with a bit of text or a website that’s in a language you don’t speak? Bing-logoNeeded to get something across to a teacher across the seas? Or wanted to have an IM conversation that wasn’t limited by language barriers? Bing Translator bridges the gap between languages, so whether you’re chatting to someone or reading an article, you’re covered.

In part 3 will be talking about cloud based services and apps. Until then thanks for reading. 


Free Microsoft Programs: Part 1

Well that was an eventful summer. Firstly I have to apologies for not keep this blog up to date hopefully you will understand when I tell you what I have been up to. On Friday 13th July (unlucky for some) my second daughter Matilda “Tilly” was born a full 7 weeks earlier than planned! So as you can imagine I have been a bit preoccupied with generally not sleeping and other new baby related stuff.

The second very cool thing that has happened is that I have finally got confirmation that I have passed my Med. So I am very pleased with that, although as you can imagine this has been eclipsed by our new arrival. But hey 18 months’ worth of hard work has finally paid off and graduation is in November half term, so that’s something to look forward to.Title

Finally I have finished my photography website (this has been on the cards now for a long time) you can find it here . All the photos were taken by me over the course of several years.

A while back I promised that I would do a series of posts that show some free software that Microsoft offer. So here is part one of this series.

Bing Maps

Bing Maps is so much more than just maps and directions. Bing Maps delivers a truly immersive experience that connects people to the world and a growing number of useful Binmg Mapsand valuable applications. Whether you want to find and view photosynths, see Twitter feeds, explore environmental projects or just explore the world; Bing Maps is a great resource for educators and students to enrich their learning experience.


Photosynth is a tool that takes your photos, mashes them together and recreates a 3-D scene out of them that anyone can view and move around. This is a very quick and easy tool to use.

Community Clips

Community Clips is a free download from Office Labs that allows you record activity from community-clipsyour computer screen, narrate that activity and save it as a video file. This makes it ideal for recording simple instructional videos and to record student computer activity for assessment purposes.

You can download the Community Clips screen recorder at –

Worldwide Telescope

Worldwide Telescope is a free download that enables you to access a huge collection of stunning images of the universe from the Hubble Space Telescope and world wide telescopemany other space and earth observatories . These can be used to engage students, and to support teaching and learning in Maths and Science. It is a great tool to encourage students in research and project based learning around the planets, the solar system and the stars and to give them an appreciation of the scale, complexity and beauty of the universe.

Worldwide Telescope can be downloaded from

Well I hope that has wetted you appetite please subscribe so you don’t miss out on part 2 coming soon. Once again thanks for reading this blog and sticking with it even though it has not been updated as much as I would like.

The KINECT Green Screen

Hi all I have finally got around to making my first KINECT application! Well adapting the sample supplied with the KINECT SDK, but I am still very pleased with it. At we run a course called creative i-Media, if you’re a teacher you have probably heard of it. Anyway part of the course involves creating a movie trailer, I thought it would be a great idea if we could use Green screen technology to make some of these trailers rather than have 30 film trailers filmed in the school corridors. I looked up how to set up a green screen and then discovered that the KINECT is capable of this and that there was a sample program that allowed you to do this. I decided that although the sample was good I could make it better by adding a few things to it (The below video shows the program working).

The KINECT Green Screen

Since I have created/adapted this we as a school intend to use it for year 5 day and several teachers are interested in using it in their lessons. An example of which is history, the teacher wants to add historical photos to the background and teach their lesson from different virtual locations. The media department is also interested in using this for obvious reasons. I hope you enjoy using the program. As I said in the video I will make a generic version of this program without the branding at a later date but if you can’t wait for that you can download this program from here. Please check out for more KINECT programs as well as if you would like any help from the K-Team.

My next blog post will be about Windows Phones running windows 7.5 which have been given to students for two weeks to see what they can do with them, until next time.

Many thanks for reading, if you have time please vote for my blog thank you.

Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (PELeCON) 2012

Hi, it has been a few days since the 2012 Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference kinect-pr-top-1(PELeCON), just enough time for all of that information to sink in a properly reflect the goings on for the day that I attended and presented on my KINECT Generations project.

I was lucky enough to attend this event last year and was even luckier this year to present at the conference. The conference was open by Steve Wheeler who welcomed everyonepeleconand introduced Alec Couros who gave a fascinating talk on a project where his students created all of the resources for. I also liked his “Learning Project” this is where his students decided to just pick something they could not do and learn how to do it. It seems really simple but very effective; it got me wondering about how often we as teachers over complicate something when a simple solution can be found.

After the break it was my turn to present! A few months back I was on a train returning home from the 2012 BETT show after presenting on the Microsoft stand showing off the KINECT and KODU. Whilst on the train I was talking to my good friend Dan Roberts about how I should present at PELeCON if my pKinect Generations Projectaper got accepted, I decided that if my paper did get accepted I would present only using the KINECT and not touching the laptop. This didn’t seem to be so much of a risk at the time until I was actually in the lecture theatre setting up. The idea was to use hand gesture to navigate the presentation. Thankfully it worked and was very well received. A copy of my presentation can be found below; I have had to take out the videos as they were too big for slide share to handle.

Another highlight for me was to attend Helen Keegan’s talk on how she used an Alternate Reality Game to run a module at her University. The game was totally immersive and was based around a character called Rufi Franzen. Rufi would contact students via YouTube and leave them clues by remixing Steve Jobs speeches. The students where very unsure at first but then decided to answer Rufi back using similar responses. Eventually the students where directed to the town centre of Manchester. The students believed that they would find out who Rufi Franzen was what they found was their work displayed on the big screen. They loved it, and couldn’t believe that they had been part of a game for the entire module. It was all very clever and the students really enjoyed taking part.

I had an excellent time at the conference and was very pleased that my presentation was very well received. If you get chance to go to next year conference I would whole heartedly recommend it.

As I am finishing writing this I am expecting a Skype call about a webinar I will be conducting very soon on the use of “Skype in the classroom” so watch this space for an update and details of how you can tune in.

Till next time.

Microsoft Easter Camp

As promised, I said I would be doing a post on the Microsoft Easter Camp I attended to help train other teachers to use Kodu in the classroom. Kodu is a very easy 3D game developer software that is free to download. I have in the past had year 5 students from our partner Primary Schools create interactive games. It is that easy and quick to create something in this software. This was a very fun and successful event; I met lots of other like-minded teachers who had some fantastic ideas about using ICT in the classroom.

We were also shown lots of “FREE” software, now like most teimagesachers I love that word as our department’s budget is not huge and anything that costs nothing definitely catches our eye. Although I was aware of some of the software that was available, I was surprised at how teachers were not aware of any of this software. I have decided that I will be doing a blog post series on each of these free and readily available software solutions. So please look out for these posts in the up and coming future.

Whilst at the Easter camp we were tasked with making a Kodu resource to help aid other teachers in producing something using the KODU software. I decided to make an Innovid on how to create a 2 player Kodu football game where users just use one X-Box 360 controller. In case you didn’t realise you can plug an X-Box 360 controller into your PC or Laptop and it will work with Kodu. If you ever want to see how quickly a 3D game can be made just download Kodu, plug in an X-Box 360 controller and give it to an 11 year old, fast is not the word for it. A copy of my Innovid can be seen below.

2 player Kodu game

All of the software can be found at If you ever get chance to attend one of these events take the opportunity you will not be disappointed. Please look out for future posts on my experience at the 7th Plymouth International Enhanced Learning Conference where I will be presenting about how I use the KINECT in the classroom and my work with the K-Team on the 19/04/12. I will be also doing a blog post on a new project I am launching with a colleague Jen Dunkey @arcticdunks called the .COMmunity Project. If you are not following Jen please do as she has some amazing ideas on how to engage students.

Thanks for reading.  

PELeCON, Easter Camp & the KINECT

Wow it has been a while since I have posted on here! You can tell it’s that busy time of year again when we are all trying are best to make sure that all our students realise their full potential and get the grades they deserve. Sorry this is only a short post but as I’ve said I have been really busy with the year 11’s.

I have finally finished my Masters Dissertation on Safeguarding and E-safety so that will be posted on here soon once its accredited around May time I think is the next marking window, I will keep you posted.

peleconSome more brilliant news is that I am going to be presenting at the Plymouth International E-learning Conference (PELeCON) about my work with the KINECT and the KINECT Generations Project that I have set up. I have currently been setting up and running training sessions for teacher and students so that the students can build KINECT programs for the staff as well as android phone apps.


I am also off to Easter Camp at Microsoft HQ soon to offer training on the use of Kodu in imagesthe classroom so if you are at PELeCON or Easter Camp please make sure you come and say hello!

I will be doing a more in depth post about these events later. Please keep checking back as I will be announcing a new project soon. If you would like to be involved in any future projects please contact me.

Thanks for reading.