Microsoft Showcase Classroom

(c) @GlennWoolaghan [Twitter]

Yesterday I spent the day with Microsoft looking at their Showcase Classroom. I really did not have a clear perception of what to expect other than looking at different mobile devices. So what did the day entail (and was it worth it!)?

Firstly it was free other than the cost of getting to London, Victoria and back for 10:00am – 3:30pm. A cup of coffee and a pain-au-chocolate later and we was shown a brief “Sway” presentation before the big reveal, doors slid open in our relatively small room, showing a much larger room with bright colours, comfy stool and giant bean bags. We grab a mobile device… this is going to be interactive! I pick a rugged grey “Stone” tablet with keyboard and a carry handle, colleagues pick HP tablets or Surface Pro’s – they all do the job they need to do.

We are asked to rate out the following out of four possible options: Don’t know what it it, aware, used a bit, used a lot using coloured post-it’s.

  • Windows 8.1 – its search capabilities and seamlessness
  • Yammer – social networking in a safe environment
  • Office 365 – buckloads, I even learnt about “Delve” (did you know a 365 account gives you 5 downloadable office’s?)
  • OneNote – the collaborative side utilising OneNote Classroom
  • OneDrive – limitless
  • Lync (Skype for Business) – connect to others and record sessions!

Now I was able to answer “used a lot” for all but that’s more a comment upon the organisation I work for and the projects I am involved in. I found the delivery that followed upon these technologies well thought-out and verging on seamless. a worthy day for the less tech proficient for sure. We had an outline of Mix and Sway (yes I felt an over whelming smugness) and then a hard-sell pitch for taking back-end services and pushing to our learners – progress, options, etc. (way off but lord-able goals). Finally we had highlighted windows 10 and  HoloLens.

I certainly found the day worthwhile but I took a number of key things with me…

  1. The organisation I work for are certainly embracing the tech discussed
  2. Although the room looked funky the backless “stools” were not nearly as comfortable as the “sit-in” bean bags
  3. Despite discussing how being untethered from the front of the classroom is ideal, it wasn’t applied (beyond a demonstration)
  4. A number of technologies will not work fully until we are in a 1-2-1 device position (such as OneNote)
  5. I cannot see myself bringing everything together under one platform, I am all for diversity in technology (Our D.A.V.E. intranet covers the likes of Delve and Yammer)
  6. Finally, there was a lot of discussion around learners subverting the technologies. More of this on a future post.



Ringr Mobile

Recently I was starting to look into recording a long distance conversation, Skype was the most common medium with various recording options but no clear winner. Enter Ringr Mobile for iOS, a free high quality call recording app, where the only effort is to sign up. Once signed up and logged in you can start a new conversation by entering the email of the person you wish to speak to, set a date & time and a message.

Update: Having talked with the developers I have now tried it on a iPhone 5C and the date & time are editable, it is an iPhone 6 Plus (iPhone 6 untested) issue. It is strongly advised to put in the details of the date, time and focus of your recording if using an iPhone 6 Plus as this is the only way your collaborator will know! I am informed an update is on its way, hopefully this will be fixed. 

Once you have sent the invite out you will see a list of initiated requests containing the email address and the time you requested. So to the developers I ask that the initiate screen asks for…

  • Name (emails can be obscure or not well known)
  • Email address
  • Date and time of suggested call (to be set by user iPhone 6 Plus issues to be corrected)
  • Message (topic)

A future feature would be to enable suggested date and time changes from the invitee if suggested timings are not convenient. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic app, the pay-off comes with the fact that you then have your conversation (the invitee receives a code to put into their iOS device) and on termination have the ability to download the audio that comes in four MP3 128kbps flavours…

  1. Mixed (mono)
  2. Mixed (stereo) with one participant on the left channel and the other participant on the right
  3. Interviewer (mono)
  4. interviewee (mono)

The grief that you can save, particularly if you are looking to have captured evidence of a phone conversation for assessment. I hope the developers keep up the great start they have done with this app. Definitely one with huge potential for evidencing and it claims to be is coming to android. Keep an eye out here –

Update: The Developers recommend keeping app open whilst audio uploads