Tag Archives: time

What we can learn from the current school closures about how to support remote learning | | Microsoft EDU

From time to time, we feature guest blogs from educators who are making a difference in the lives of young people and who are eager to share their success with the Microsoft Education community. These  Changemakers, as we call them, offer insights into the effective use of classroom resources, how to prepare today’s youth for the jobs of tomorrow, and ways that technology can personalize instruction and empower students to lead in their learning. Today’s Changemaker blog was written by Meredith Roe, virtual school program manager for Catholic Education Western Australia. 

The global COVID-19 outbreak is challenging the continuity of learning for schools and other education institutions. Whether you’re at a school that has experience with remote learning, or one that’s learning how to implement it in the moment, there are resources available to help. I’ve found Microsoft Office 365 tools can be especially useful for remote learning. 

The learning opportunity 

Events that close schools can leave us with a sense of loss, sadness and worry, and going remote can come with negative connotations or be considered a second-rate option. However, if we try to see the current crisis, hard as it might be, as a chance for reflection and staff and student skill development, then remote learning seems like less of a burden. Let’s be clear, though, there are important conditions that must be met for remote learning to succeed. I’ve listed the ones that I believe are critical here. 

Staff professional development  

Developing teacher skills ought to be a top priority for any school or system. We can ensure quality learning continues if we prepare teachers through strategic planning and meaningful professional learning opportunities. 

There lots of options for delivering high-quality professional learning. Here are some examples, all of which should be possible to try even during a closure. 

  • Online courses through the Microsoft Educator Community
  • School- or system-led webinars delivered via Teams
  • Access to existing resources in a OneNote or a SharePoint site or many of the other resources that Microsoft have created specifically for remote learning. 

Remember, Teams and OneNote, along with other Office 365 tools, can provide a platform for easy collaboration and communication and access to resources.  

Spending time to skill up for distance learning during ordinary times is worthwhile. If a school ends up not needing to close in the event of an emergency, it will simply have had an opportunity to engage staff in learning that helps integrate technology into the curriculum. It’s hard to argue against that! 

One great resource is the Network of Microsoft Authorized Global Training Partners, which is available to help schools develop a comprehensive professional development plan and staff training. 

Student skill development  

Experience with remote learning can help students gain the skills needed to transition to post-secondary settings, such as college and the workforce. Among other things, it can build resilience and the ability to collaborate and problem solve.

Students need to be given some independence and taught technical skills to be ready for distance learning. Here are some ideas: 

  • Use the Praise app in Microsoft Teams as a badging system and feedback tool when working on skills development.
  • Involve students in your remote learning planning by using Polly, a way to conduct polls in Teams, to determine structure of the class team. 
  • Through Flipgrid you can gather student voice, such as what they perceive as challenges and opportunities during remote learning days. 
  • Microsoft Forms is terrific for feedback, including after a school-closure event is over. 

During the school year, it’s a good idea to promote remote learning as it will provide parents with a springboard for conversations with their children about the importance of keeping learning going.  

Clear expectations  

Clear expectations are essential to make remote learning work. These should include expectations around: 

  • Educator and staff availability
  • Communication tools and strategies 
  • The completion of student work
  • Staff response time to student questions

Ensuring everyone understands these expectations prior to starting remote learning will avoid rash decisions during an emergency. While these plans can be documented in a text-based tool, consider also recording a message in Flipgrid or Stream so staff can access those during the remote learning period if clarification is needed. Also add them to a OneNote document, as a tab in a staff team, for easy access.  

Communication strategy 

During an event that requires schools to move to distance learning, school and system leaders have to communicate regularly with key stakeholders including parents, students, staff, and the relevant authorities. Teams can be a huge help. 

Creating a staff Team will help school leaders and teaching staff remain connected, enable easy sharing of resources, and contribute to a supportive community.  Asking staff to ‘like’ your posts in Teams is an easy way for administrators to make sure all parties are seeing what you’re communicating. And adding the Insights app as a tab in your team will also give you detailed data on staff activity in Posts.  

Staff support 

Remote learning can feel isolating, but with Teams, educators can remain connected to their department leaders, school leaders, and each other. School leaders also need to be visible during remote learning, which can mean: 

  • Being an active member of the team – liking staff posts (emoji’s)
  • Posting a daily staff message of encouragement (announcements)
  • Sharing best practices (through a collaboration space in a Class Notebook, embedded in the Team)
  • Showcasing examples of great work by staff (using the praise tool in Teams)
  • And encouraging the usual banter that would occur in the school corridors and staffroom (gifs, memes).  

Don’t miss the opportunity to also connect and share via Teams calls, which you can record for staff unable to attend the live call, or a Flipgrid video. 

Backup plan 

As educators we know, there will always be a need for a backup plan. It’s true when physically in the classroom, and its true with remote learning. A staff member or student might be without internet, for example. Keep in mind that if students sync their OneNote/Class Notebook before leaving school at the point of closure, they can continue to work offline.   

The more opportunities students and staff are given to use the tools needed to make distance learning a success, the smoother the transition to this type of learning will be. In an ideal world, such a transition would be seamless and the disruption to learning limited. I think that’s achievable with Teams, OneNote, and other Office 365 tools but, going forward, planning and preparation are the key to making this possible! 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

New homepage, features, and more! – From the Myxer

We’re barely into 2020, and yet so much has happened in such a short time. We know many of you, like the Mixer team here in Redmond, are practicing “social distancing,” learning how to “flatten the curve,” and otherwise taking precautions amid the outbreak of COVID-19. We’re proud and heartened by the stories you’ve shared and the ways we’ve seen Mixer streamers and their communities using Mixer to stay in touch digitally and support each other during this challenging time. Thank you for continuing to make the Mixer community shine as a positive and welcoming place for new and existing members alike.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on a set of new features and capabilities based on feedback we’ve heard from you. These are focused on improving discoverability, empowering communities of all sizes and making it easier to find your new favorite Mixer creators. We’re rolling them out starting today.

  • New Mixer homepage – We’ve refreshed the Mixer homepage across all platforms to give more focus to featured content as well as provide smart, AI-powered recommendations. The most immediate change you’ll notice on your homepage is that we’re introducing a new layout that displays all featured creators at the same time.

    Below the “Featured,” “Top Category,” and “Partner Spotlight” sections, you’ll also find brand new content rows. These rows will highlight and recommend streams from community events, cultural moments, and more tailored content as time goes on. The rows will be a mix of AI-powered personalized recommendations and editorially programmed content, ensuring you can discover and join even more communities across Mixer.

  • Auto-Hosting for everyone – We’ve spent the last month testing Auto-Hosting with Mixer Partners and now we’re excited to share it with every streamer. With this feature, you’ll be able to create a list of specific streamers that you want to automatically host when you’re offline. We’ve added a host of customization options as well.

    You’ll be able to set your Auto-Host list to host in a priority order or to pick at random. With showcase, you’ll be able to set custom Auto-Host time durations. This means Auto-Host could switch to a new streamer from your list every hour (you determine the time) instead of when that hosted streamer goes offline.

    You can access your Auto-Hosting setting in the Broadcast dashboard.

  • Higher-Quality Emotes – This top community ask is no longer “Soon™”, it’s finally here! Starting today, we’re enhancing all emotes to 28 pixels across all platforms, introducing new prefixing requirements and completely refreshing our global emotes. New global emotes will be visible today and all partner emotes will be updated over the next few weeks.
  • Ad Break (Beta) – Our Mixer Partners have been testing advertising pre-roll for the last few months and now we’re expanding our advertising testing with an Ad-Break beta. With this, Partners can choose when they want to run ads during their stream. This was a request from the Mixer Partner community, and we’re excited to be testing it as part of the full package of monetization opportunities on Mixer.
  • Xbox Viewing Improvements – We’re continuing to add more features to the new Mixer viewing experience on Xbox. This new experience is built from the ground up to get you to your favorite streamers as fast as possible. With the April Xbox One system update that’s in some Insider rings now, you’ll see the additions of emotes and subscriber badging in chat.

    Ember messages will also get the flair they deserve to help them stand out. We’ve also made it easier to access stream settings for selecting chat layout or video quality. Outside of this latest Xbox One system update, we also expect to have Gift Subs available in the new experience in the coming weeks.

  • Partner Badging on Homepage – To make it easier to find Mixer Partner channels, we’re adding the new badging to the homepage as well.

  • Notifications UX Improvements – We’ve added a new notification bell to the pages of channels you follow, so you have better control over which channels will trigger “go live” notifications.

  • Clips Creation Improvements – Clip creation is now available for more viewers of Mixer Partners and Verified channels in the Mixer app on iOS and Android. Clip creation on mobile respects the Rank, Subscriber, and Moderator permissions that the channel owner has set.

There’s much more coming, and we’re excited to share details soon. Going forward, we will be posting more frequent community updates on this blog. They’ll cover everything from events, to community news and features! Stay tuned for more updates and please keep sharing your feedback on Twitter with us at @WatchMixer.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – i5-6600K, Z170 ITX M/B, 16GB RAM bundle

I’ve too much stuff again, time to shift it.

Thin ITX PC sold elsewhere
Thin Mini-ITX rig – £150 inc
M/B, CPU cooler, case and PSU bought new in June last year, the rest bought second hand at the same time. Been running Ubuntu on this, very smooth, but have replaced it with an NUC for an even smaller footprint.
Gigabyte B85TN (with both half height and full height I/O shields)
Intel i5 4670S
8GB Crucial 1600MHz DDR3L (2x4GB)
Silverstone NT-07 Nitrogen CPU cooler
Phnx Toem Thin Mini-ITX Case
Akasa 120w PSU
Toshiba 128GB mSATA SSD

ITX bundle – £200 inc
M/B purchased second hand in July last year, CPU from another forum in 2016, RAM last month. Been running sweetly in an FT03-B Mini and was going to be an upgrade for sprog 2 but she doesn’t need it.
Asus Z170i Pro Gaming
Intel i5 6600K
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2133MHz (2x8GB)
Windows 10 Pro (tied to M/B)

i7 mATX bundle sold elsewhere
mATX bundle – £240 inc SOLD
M/B bought new on Amazon in 2016, was my daily driver until April last year, CPU and RAM bought second hand last month, was going to be an upgrade for sprog 1 but he doesn’t need it.
Asus Z170M-Plus
i7 6700K
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2133MHz (2x8GB)
Windows 10 Pro (tied to M/B)

I also have a Silverstone TJ08-E case that I have had for years that I could do with either of the bundles if there is interest, probably not worth listing individually.

Will consider trades for low mileage 4TB for WD Red or Seagate Ironwolf NAS drives.

Any questions just ask.

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Eye transplant nonprofit turns to supply chain modeling

Time is vital to Eversight, a nonprofit that helps restore sight through donations, transplants and research. The organization, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., recovers and transports organs and tissue throughout the country, using them for research and transplants.

The organization annually provides about 8,000 tissues per year for transplants.

Recovering tissue is extremely time-sensitive, with a small time frame to recover and then use the tissue. So, to operate within its time constraints, Eversight turned in October 2019 to Llamasoft, a predictive analytics and supply chain management vendor, for more advanced supply chain modeling.

Time limits

“We have some time frames that are very stringent,” said Ryan Simmons, director of clinical services at Eversight.

Tissue may be recovered up to 24 hours after a donor dies, Simmons said. However, surgeons prefer to recover the issue within 12 hours. Recovered eye tissue may then be stored for up to seven days.

“Surgeons typically want to use that tissue transplant within four or five days of a patient passing,” Simmons said.

We have some time frames that are very stringent.
Ryan SimmonsDirector of clinical services, Eversight

In addition to the time limitations, it’s impossible to predict when, and how much, tissue will become available.

“We can’t just make an order,” Simmons said. “We have to predict the best that we can.” Typically, he added, only one parcel gets shipped at a time.

Temperature also is a critical factor. The tissue has to remain at a set temperature or it could be damaged.


Previously, to help predict demand, Eversight relied on Microsoft Excel. That worked somewhat, Simmons said, but the venerable spreadsheet program couldn’t complete advanced supply chain modeling and predictions.

Many of Llamasoft’s customers used Excel in the past, said Ryan Purcell, director of global impact at Llamasoft.

“Typically, [users] will use Excel until they hit the breaking point,” he said.

Eversight hit that point last year. Simmons, who is working on a master’s degree in supply chain management at Michigan State University, came across Llamasoft in a class.

“It seemed like a very powerful program,” Simmons said. He contacted Llamasoft and found that the vendor was a good fit for Eversight. 

Using Demand Guru, a demand modeling program from Llamasoft, Eversight is working on creating better demand forecasts. With Supply Chain Guru, a supply chain modeling and management program, the organization is creating models to plan better routes and optimize for cost and speed.

Because Eversight didn’t begin working with Llamasoft in earnest until the fall 2019, many of its models have not yet been completed. However, creating models has been fairly easy, Simmons said, and the few models that are done seem to work well.

“Learning to do the modeling, that wasn’t too big of a challenge,” he said.

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PowerShell tutorials capture attention of admins in 2019

As 2019 reaches its end, it’s time to look back at the tips and tutorials published this year that mattered the most to the Windows Server audience.

Microsoft has redoubled its efforts to make PowerShell the overarching management tool for workloads no matter where they reside. Interest in automation and PowerShell tutorials that explain how to streamline everyday tasks continue to resonate with readers. In this top-five compilation of the 2019 tips that picked up the most page views, nearly all the articles focus on PowerShell, from learning advanced text manipulation techniques to plumbing the features in the newer, open source version initially dubbed PowerShell Core. But the article that claimed the top spot indicates many administrators have their eyes on a relatively new way to manage resources in their organization.

5. Windows Compatibility module expands PowerShell Core reach

The first PowerShell Core release, version 6.0, arrived in January 2018, but it was a step back in many ways for administrators who had been used to the last Windows PowerShell version, 5.1. This new PowerShell version, developed to also run on the other major operating system platforms of Linux and macOS, lost a fair amount of functionality due to the switch from the Windows-based .NET Framework to the cross-platform .NET Core. The end result was a fair number of cmdlets administrators needed to do their jobs did not run on PowerShell Core.

With any project of this size, there will be growing pains. Administrators can continue to use Windows PowerShell, which Jeffrey Snover said will always be supported by Microsoft and should serve IT workers faithfully for many years to come. But to ease this transition, the PowerShell team released a Windows Compatibility module in late 2018 to close the functionality gap between the Windows and open source versions of PowerShell. This tip digs into the background of the module and how to use it on PowerShell Core to work with some previously incompatible cmdlets.

4. How to use the PowerShell pending reboot module

Among the many perks of PowerShell is its extensibility. Administrative functions that were once out of reach — or laborious to accomplish — can magically appear once you download a module from the PowerShell Gallery. Install a module and you get several new cmdlets to make your administrative life just a bit easier.

For example, after Patch Tuesday rolls around and you’ve applied Microsoft’s updates to all your systems, the patching process generally is not complete — and the system not fully protected from the latest threats — until the machine reboots. A Microsoft field engineer developed a pending reboot module that detects if a Windows system has not rebooted. These insights can help you see which users might require a nudge to restart their machines to make sure your patching efforts don’t go for naught. This tip explains how to install and use the pending reboot cmdlet.

3. How to configure SSL on IIS with PowerShell    

Among its many uses in the enterprise, Windows Server also functions as a web server. Microsoft shops can use the Internet Information Services role in Windows Server to serve up content and host web applications for use across the internet or in a company’s private intranet.

To keep threat actors from sniffing out traffic between your IIS web server and the clients, add HTTPS to encrypt data transmissions to and from the server. HTTPS works in tandem with Transport Layer Security (TLS), the more secure ancestor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Most in IT still refer to the certificates that facilitate the encrypted transmissions between servers and clients as SSL certificates. This tip explains how to use PowerShell to deploy a self-signed TLS/SSL certificate to an IIS website, which can come in handy if you spin up a lot of websites in your organization.

2. Hone your PowerShell text manipulation skills

It might seem like a basic ability, but learning how to read text from and write text to files using PowerShell opens up more advanced avenues of automation. There are several cmdlets tailored for use with text files to perform several tasks, including importing text into a file that can then be manipulated for other uses. It’s helpful to know that while text might look the same, Windows PowerShell and PowerShell Core have different ways of dealing with encoding. This tip covers some of the finer details of working with text in PowerShell to broaden your automation horizons.

1. Azure AD Premium P1 vs. P2: Which is right for you?

Most organizations require some way to manage their resources — from user accounts to physical devices, such as printers — and Active Directory has been the tool for the job for many years. Based on Windows Server, the venerable on-premises identity and access management platform handles the allocation and permissions process to ensure users get the right permissions to access what they need.

Microsoft unveiled its cloud-based successor to Active Directory, calling it Azure Active Directory, in 2013. While similar, the two products are not a straight swap. If you use Microsoft’s cloud, either for running VMs in Azure or using the collaboration apps in Office 365, then you’ll use Azure Active Directory to manage resources on those platforms. This tip digs into some of the permutations between the two higher-end editions of Azure Active Directory to help you decide which one might work best for your organization.

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For Sale – AOC AGON AG251FZ 240Hz 24.5″ LED FHD (1920×1080) Freesync 1ms Gaming monitor

Don’t have time for competitive gaming anymore. Purchased brand new from Amazon 5 months ago, still have original packaging and power adaptor. The DisplayPort cable which came with it was faulty so this includes the one I bought.

Club3D CAC-2067 DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.4/HBR3 Cable DP 1.4 8K 60Hz 1m/3.28ft, Black

I’ll be moving from Durham to Staffordshire soon so collection is available from Durham up to the 13th of December, after that date from Staffordshire.

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For Sale – AOC AGON AG251FZ 240Hz 24.5″ LED FHD (1920×1080) Freesync 1ms Gaming monitor

Don’t have time for competitive gaming anymore. Purchased brand new from Amazon 5 months ago, still have original packaging and power adaptor. The DisplayPort cable which came with it was faulty so this includes the one I bought.

Club3D CAC-2067 DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.4/HBR3 Cable DP 1.4 8K 60Hz 1m/3.28ft, Black

I’ll be moving from Durham to Staffordshire soon so collection is available from Durham up to the 13th of December, after that date from Staffordshire.

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