Category Archives for Education

Hybrid laptop with Windows 10

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

Windows 10 could potentially be Microsoft’s best operating system yet! If you’re using Windows 8.1, then it’s a no brainer to update. However, there is no need to rush into it.  There is so much to see in Windows 10, but bear in mind that the OS is still in its infancy and is being continually updated. We recommend you carry out a few checks before hitting that ‘upgrade’ button, which we will cover later on in this article.

A lot of people are looking at the prospect of Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1. So we decided to outline the key changes and features in that are said to come with Windows 10.

1. Start Menu

Windows 10 now has brought back the start menu. This start menu brings together the Windows 7 classic start menu, then to the right of that is the Windows 8 start screen. You can alter the tiles on the menu, create folders and more.

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2. Cortana

Cortana is a personal assistant. Cortana gets to know you and helps you get things done. Cortana is also very good for reminders. Cortana will appear in your start bar and you can type things or speak to her. You can also pin her to your task bar for easy access.

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3. Microsoft Edge

Microsoft have decided to create a web browser of their own. It is a faster and more streamlined browser. One of the main new features that Microsoft Edge brings, is the ability to annotate/draw on your web page. Another is that Cortana integrates with this web browser.

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4. Snap Enhancements

When using Windows 10, you can now view up to 4 apps all at once, on the same screen. This has been introduced as ‘Snap Assist’. This features helps you to be more productive on your desktop.

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5. Multiple Desktops

The use of multiple desktops means that you can have a series of desktops with different apps being used on each individual one. So you could have one with your work, and one with your games. So you can freely swap between the two easily.

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6. Xbox app and streaming

For those who are gamers, Windows 10 will come with the Xbox app. Which has the features like recording game play, competing against console players and streaming games from your Xbox to your Windows 10 PC.

7. Continuum

This new feature is good for those who have 2-in-1 (i.e. Hybrid) devices such as the Surface Pro 3. If the keyboard becomes detached, or if the screen flips around, then the user will see a pop up asking to go into tablet mode. This then means that the apps that were previously being used in desktop mode, now take up the whole area of the screen.

8. Windows Hello

Windows hello aims to eliminate password through use of fingerprint reader and face or iris reader. This is a way to ensure that consumers do not have to remember a whole range of passwords.

If you’re a Windows 7 or 8.1 user, Windows 10 is in fact free for you! You also have a whole year to update, ending on the 29th of July 2016.

So you therefore have plenty of time to back up your data, make sure your applications will work and to check that Windows 10 drivers have been released for your computer. Doing this will ensure that the upgrade goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re sceptical, try it out in a local Microsoft store, or ask any friends who have it.

iPad with Apps

The Best iPad apps for Education

Keeping children entertained in class, whilst educating them, can be a challenge.

That’s where the iPad comes into action. Due to its portable format, children can use it at school and at home, and its interactive technology engages children with a memorable experience.

With over 200,000 educational apps available in the app store for the iPad, you are never short of choice. However, this can seem overwhelming. So, we have taken it upon ourselves to choose, what we deem to be the top 5 educational Free, and Paid apps.

Free
  • ClassDojo – ClassDojo is a classroom management platform for teachers to interact with parents and pupils, on the children’s performance in class. The best feature is that Teachers can communicate with the parents. This can be done through sending a broadcasted message or a private message. As for the students, they can create their own account and edit their avatar, then reflect on their performance. They can do this at home or in school.This app not only works on the iPad, but on iPhones, iPod, Laptops etc. This has been rated a full 5/5 on Apple customer ratings.
  • Read Me Stories – Children’s books – Read Me Stories has a new book every day for the children who love to read. Your child can practise reading wherever they are, at any time. Well designed illustrations and captivating storylines entices the children. So children can learn whilst they have fun. This app has been rated at 4/5 on Apples customer ratings.
  • Sushi Monster – Sushi Monster is a game that is based around maths. Its main purpose is to extend the maths knowledge in children, by getting them to practise questions in order to reinforce it into their minds. For each correct answer, you earn points which can then be rewarded with stars, trophies etc. Each level progressively gets harder, with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division questions. This has been rated 4/5 on Apple Customer ratings.
  • IXL Maths Practise – IXL Maths Practise is an interactive mathematics app for years from reception to year 13. It consists of a wide variety of question types, which are then rewarded with virtual prizes such as medals and certificates. This app also gives parents feedback, so they know the level that their child is working at. This app is marked at a 3.5/5 on apple customer ratings.
  • BeeBotBeeBot is initially a floor robot. However this floor robot, is an award winning one. The benefit of this app for children is that it allows them to improve their programming skills and directional language skills, this is done through sequences of directions.This app consists of 12 levels, and the further you get, the harder it gets. Therefore enhancing the child’s skills, and there is a reward of stars at completion. This has been rated at 3.5/5 on Apple customer ratings.

Although free educational apps are good, there generally comes to a point within them where you cannot proceed further onto higher levels due to having to purchase them. So, is it really worth paying the money? We believe so, yes. The small amount to pay unlocks a multitude of levels, skills and more.

Paid
  • Book Creator for iPad – Book Creator for iPad enables children to create picture books, comic books, photobooks, journals etc. You can add photos and images from the iPad gallery, add music, video and your voice recordings. Along with these features, you also get a pen tool where you can annotate the book, and 50+ text fonts and colours. Once created, you can publish this into iBook store, or share it into iCloud, Google drive and Dropbox. This app has been rewarded the best educational app in the 2015 BETT Awards. It has been rated 4.5/5 on Apple customer ratings. At the price of only £3.99.
  • abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing – This app enables the early years to learn their letters through interactive activities. The children are shown how to write the letters by the use of an arrow key, then they trace this with their finger. The sounds are then taught through the installed voice recordings. Teachers and parents are able to monitor the child’s progression online, as well as receiving weekly updated emails. It has been rated 4.5/5 on Apple customer ratings. The price is £4.99.
  • Quick Maths – Quick Maths is aimed at children 9-11 years old. This maths app will take your arithmetic skills to next level. With multiple stages and levels in the app, the difficulty increases throughout. This app provides feedback for teachers and parents. It allows the children to develop general arithmetic at their own level and speed. The game becomes addictive and therefore the new knowledge and skills is then embedded into the children’s mind. This has been rated a 4/5 on Apple customer ratings. The price is £2.49.
  • Move the Turtle, Programming for kids – Move the turtle is an app which allows children to learn the beginning stages of Programming, using intuitive graphic commands. This app is designed for children aged 5+, and rewards are given to the children for succeeding in levels. You can share the procedures via public links. This app allows the child to think independently. It has not yet been rated on Apple customer ratings, however we believe this a top app. So why not give it a go? For only £2.99.
  • Safari Tales, literacy skills through creative play – Safari Tales is an African adventure packed app. This app is seen through the eyes of five baby animals. There are plenty of games to play, all testing the children’s skills and knowledge. There are stickers to be collected and fossils to be found. A storybook can be filled with all of the adventures, and parents and family are able to view this. Parents are able to choose the length that the child uses this app for at one time, and are able to set a reading age. The child will develop their reading skills, learn to build sentences and create questions to ask the meerkat. This app has been rated 3.5/5 on Apple customer ratings. The price is £2.99.

 

 

Create a great-looking, easy to use Blog for your school

If you are interested in starting a Blog, why not try Primary Blogger?

Primary Blogger is a free tool that gives staff and pupils the power to create a Blog designed specifically for your class or school.

For the uninitiated, a Blog is a website and much more. It allows you to keep the outside world updated with your latest news. Anyone with an internet connection can view your Blog ‘posts’ and leave comments of their own. Blogs are really well suited to schools because they are so interactive. Pupils can post about their work and parents view the Blog to see for themselves. This is a great way to engage pupils and parents alike with the use of IT.

Primary Blogger is based on the industry-leading Blogging software, WordPress. Millions of people and companies use WordPress to host their Blogs, everyone from Katy Perry to Adobe. We even use WordPress here at Coretek, so you know it must be good!

The difference with Primary Blogger is the technical stuff has been simplified, so users of any age will have no problem creating Blog posts quickly and simply. It also has a strong Spam filter designed especially for Primary Schools, so you know its totally safe.

Check out the Blog from one of our schools – Copythorne Infant School, which is a great example of what can be achieved:

http://swallowscopythorne.primaryblogger.co.uk/

If you are interested in setting up a Blog for your school, get in touch or head over to the Primary Blogger site.

http://primaryblogger.co.uk/

If you are looking for a full school website with blogging included, why not get in touch with Coretek? We offer a web design service especially for schools based on the industry leading WordPress platform.

OneDrive – Microsoft’s DropBox Killer

If you have never come across OneDrive, or similar competitors in the Cloud Storage arena such as DropBox or Google Drive, the concept is simple. Microsoft are offering you a 15GB slice of the Cloud where you can save photos, documents, anything you like. All for free.

There are a number of advantages to saving work to the Cloud, rather than saving everything on your computer:

Access your files from anywhere: Any files saved to OneDrive will be accessible from anywhere. All you need is a machine with internet connectivity. This also leads on to the next big advantage…

Access on almost any device: You are no longer limited to the confines of your laptop or desktop. You can access all your OneDrive files straight from your smartphone. A free app is available for all of the main providers: Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

Easily share files: You can choose to keep your OneDrive folders private or share them with whoever you like.

In addition to the above, with the OneDrive desktop app, you can designate a folder on your PC to automatically sync with OneDrive. No need to log in and enter your credentials. This can also double up as a home backup solution for those holiday snaps that you just can’t afford to lose.

New Website

New Coretek Group Website is LIVE!!!

So after many months of hard work, a lot of discussion, and a few late nights, the new shiny Coretek Group website has gone live!

It has been redesigned to reflect our company ethos and updated branding, which is clear, concise and transparent.

Company MD Garry Miller said of our new website:

I see our company website as an important window for our clients. We have a great team of people with innovative, technical and design skills. I wanted to show these skills and what better than with a new website!

We invite you to have a look around at each area of the site, and see what our Group encompasses. Maybe you’ll find out that we could offer a service you didn’t know we did? Maybe you know someone who could benefit from our services?

What ever your situation the team at Coretek are here to help, so get in touch today to see if we can help you and your business!

P.S. Don’t forget to:

Hardware Leasing for Schools

As Educational IT budgets are tighter than ever, it can be difficult to raise capital. One option to consider is leasing hardware and spreading the cost over monthly payments.

Coretek can arrange hardware leasing on behalf of our clients from market leading lenders such as Investec and Dell. If you are interested, please contact the office and ask for our finance department.

Why OneNote is the best program you’ve never heard of

Microsoft Office is one of Microsoft’s flagship titles. It’s been around for over 20 years and is used throughout the world by everyone from primary school children to company directors.

Most users have heard of the more established applications in the office suite such as: Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. But what about the lesser known titles? Today, I am going to focus on OneNote which is a superb note-taking and planning piece of software.

So what exactly is OneNote? In a nutshell, it is a central place to organise your notes and keep a variety of documents all grouped together. It can be used for a number of different tasks: from project management, brainstorming to planning your day.

If you would like to see One Note in action, here is a useful video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYQS-b-xFFU

To really get to grips with OneNote, the best way is to dive in and start using it for yourself. The General tab in OneNote has a brief summary on the different features available.

If you are not convinced yet, here are 5 reasons why you should give OneNote a try:

1. Access your Notes from anywhere – OneNote is not only available on your PC but also on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Mobile. Access your Notebooks from any PC via your Windows Live or Hotmail account. If you are out of the office and need to take a quick note, now you can.

2. Auto-save – Your Notebooks are being constantly saved so there is no risk of closing OneNote and losing any data.

3. Collaborate with colleagues at the same time, on the same Notebook – You and your colleagues can work on a notebook simultaneously, with each user’s initials next to their contribution. Ideal for situations when a team of people are working together on a project. Try doing that in Word.

4. Take pictures with your smartphone straight into your Notebook – Using the OneNote app, you can take a photo with your smartphone and this will go straight into your Notebook.

5. Integrate with Office – OneNote integrates seamlessly with the other Office products. You can assign Outlook tasks, insert Word or Excel documents directly into your Notebook or print directly into OneNote from the print menu.

Thanks to OneNote, I have managed to rid myself of all ‘to-do’ lists and my desk is a post-it free zone! Plus, this is only a small selection of the features it has to offer. It’s is an invaluable part of my daily workflow and couldn’t be without it. I strongly recommend giving it a try.

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