Ok, big news this month for the infrastructure of Scotland’s flagship learning network, but, before I say any more, watch this wee video.
“To ensure continuity we have taken the step of extending the current RM provision through to December 2013. Microsoft have agreed to provide the tools and services of their integrated application suite ‘Microsoft Office 365 for Education’ for free through to December 2014; this was the first offer of its kind in the world for a national schools project.
Microsoft have also agreed to go further and deliver a package over and above the integrated application suite to deliver on the 5 key principles for Glow. For example, the improvements to the functionality and ease of use of the Glow application suite will be aided by a full-time dedicated staff member funded by Microsoft to help support and promote the service.
As a Government we will also work to integrate the ICT choices made by local authorities for their own education communities within our co-ordinated national effort.“
This last point is a contentious area. Many local authorities have already made the decision to use Google Apps (I wish that was mine!) and do not want to loose them. I personally have spent 7 years building a successful online learning network using Google’s ‘always’ free online tools. Will I ‘evicted’ from my Google Cloud ‘Squat’? Will the transition be supported?
However, the door is not completely closed and as a classroom teacher, I will continue to use Google tools as they are more easily manageable on my iPad and pupils seem to find them more intuitive. Mind you, the iOS version of MS office is due out in the next 4 months as well as the SkyDrive App launching, could this change my mind? I don’t know, but MS Office 365 does look awesome.
All I know is that I want to be able to upload, host, edit, share and collaborate online with my learners using an easily accessible system for learners at all levels and abilities.
I don’t think we are quite there yet, but if my Glow account includes a free X-Box Live Gold membership then….