Today is our Windows 7 Early Adopters Forum for Schools running from Microsoft Reading Campus. We have schools from Dorset, Northamptonshire, Essex, Cheltenham and Leicester along with Warwickshire and Lewisham Authorities sharing their experiences of deploying Windows 7. The majority have deployed to whole schools with others are running Windows 7 in a number of classrooms. Dave Coleman kicked off with Twynham School’s experience of deployment in the summer and his presentation is shown below. Alan Richards from West Hatch is now presenting and his PowerPoint will be on the blog soon.
If you would like an downloadable copy of this presentation email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like a number of schools in the UK we have started a relatively early roll out of Windows 7 and now have over 500 machines running on the new OS. This has not been an entirely smooth road and at times Dave Coleman and his lieutenant Neil Hodgkinson have undertaken much quizzical arm folding and even occasional chin stroking. I am pleased to say that by the end of the first school week log in speeds had dropped to below 1 minute across the site. Before we got to this speed (due to changing the way we did folder redirection) one day I had a fairly bright idea. In a frustrated moment I said to Dave, ‘why do we not have a network of people across the country to talk to about the issues- somebody has probably fixed this already!’. Thus we came up with the idea for a forum for to share experience of Windows 7 deployment in schools.
The Windows 7 Early Adopters Forum is an opportunity for technical staff who have had experience of rolling out Windows 7 (by this we mean at least one IT Suite in their school) to get together and share their ideas. We have managed to twist Ray Fleming’s arm and have the use of a conference room for up to 20 people at Microsoft Reading on October 7th. Ray has also kindly agreed to provide lunch for the event which will run from 10-2pm to allow people time to get there and then get home at a sensible hour. If enough people can make the event we hope to be able to share all the good practice people are doing amongst the group so that everybodys deployment will run smoothly. At the same time we can then put the examples together for our colleagues around the county who will be rolling out in the next year.
If you would like to join us for the Windows 7 Event please drop me an email at email@example.com or RSVP on twitter @mikeherrity and we will book you a place. If you have not rolled out Windows 7 yet but know a colleague who has please pass these details on to them- it could make your life easier in the future!
One of the biggest changes many Network Managers will make in schools during the next 12 months is likely to be updating their school’s Microsoft OS from Vista (or even in many cases XP) to Windows 7. Last Friday saw the release of Windows 7 to many schools who have the Schools Agreement and some will be moving over during this summer break in the next 3 weeks. To support with this I am pleased to say Microsoft Education UK have put on an event next Friday. This will be a mix of technical input from Microsoft bods and on the ground experience from Network Managers who have already undertaken the installation. Further details can be found at Ringmaster Ray Fleming’s blog with details of the speakers including our very own Dave Coleman appearing here.
It is officially the end of term in the UK (the last schools finished today) and for Network Managers 90% of the development work they wanted to do is now possible in the Oasis that is the summer holidays. The next three and a half weeks should be relatively quite for most systems team in terms of teacher interference until the week of 17th August when schools turn their attention to A-level results and then GCSE results the following week. The great news from Microsoft is Windows 7 has gone to RTM today and is therefore available to a variety of companies.
More importantly is the work that the Microsoft UK Education Team seem to have done to make Windows 7 available to those schools on the 7th August with a School License Agreement. In truth I have no idea if the Microsoft UK Education Team have had a hand in this decision to make Windows 7 available but given the different slightly earlier return times to schools in the US and other places this decision would seem to suit the UK market perfectly. Lets thank them anyway even if they had nothing to do with it!
In terms of further details on the release of Windows 7 RTM it seems sensible to hand over to Mr Fleming from Microsoft who has blogged the news ‘live from Atlanta’ earlier today. Oh and if you have any trouble loading up Windows 7 when you get the disk you probably have the one below that Steve Ballmer is clearly going to scratch…..
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is now under way with a Windows 7 Demo. This has all been seen before but a reminder from Microsoft of the Windows 7 Key Features.
- Consistency through the preview window.
- Task bar is your space to use e.g excel can be locked to the task bar.
- Jumplisits enable you to get key documents loaded quicker.
- Drag and drop documents directly into Outlook which instantly become attachments.
- Snapping gives side by side comparison with ease.
- Internal links in Outlook resolve externally in Outlook Web Access.
- Problem Steps Recorder for step by step guide (havent seen this before- awesome!)
How many machines in your schools already have Windows 7 RC on it? At Twynham we have at least 20 laptops with Windows 7 as their primary OS given how stable it is. As you can imagine Dave our Network Manager is desperate to get all our machines onto the full Windows 7 version this summer. He was as you can imagine very disappointed when news came out that this would not be available until October, missing the crucial summer season when 90% of work is done on the network. The good news is Microsoft have announced that Windows 7 RTM (Release to Manufacture) will be available in the last two weeks of July. Will your school install over the summer or wait for next year? This week I blogged on the speed of log in with Windows 7 on a Samsung NC20 netbook which clearly shows the benefit of the new version.
If for some reason you have been asleep during the last year here is a short video showing some of the new features of Windows 7.