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An introduction to Office 365 with Cowplain school!

Following on from our successful event at Microsoft HQ, we visited Cowplain School so they could receive their prize from being the runners up on the day!


The theme for the Microsoft event was ‘Office 365 in Education’, so we decided to develop and expand on this topic in order to enhance the students knowledge on what really is Office 365.

The day consisted of two 2 hour sessions with the year 7 pupils at Cowplain School. We begun the day with a presentation that outlined what Office 365 is and how to sign up. We then touched on each of the Office 365 apps and how they can be used in education. The last app of the presentation was Sway, this is wen we introduced the days activity. The pupils were tasked with creating a Sway on their school, to be showcased at the upcoming open evening for new potential year 7 students.

The students separated off into 3 IT suites and begun the activity. The students currently have experience with Google Drive but wanted to learn more about Office 365 in order to begin using it at home and at school. So this was a totally new experience for all of the students. What followed was an array of collaborative, exciting sways that outlined why they enjoy their school. Throughout this activity we took into account how the students were working and how they were using the Office 365 app.

We gathered back in the gym at the end of each session to have a roundup of the days activities. We then announced a group from each class who really impressed us with their work. Each group was awarded with an Amazon voucher to use at their pleasure.

This day enabled us to teach many students about the wonders of Office 365 and how each of the apps can help within their education. It also meant the students were able develop within an app they had never even heard of before! Overall, a successful day!


What can Sway do for me?

During our ‘office 365 in education’ event with Microsoft last week – we were shown some pretty cool things that you can do with PowerPoint. However, another application that we were briefly shown is Sway. We wanted to look more at Sway and what Sway can do for you.

Sway is an online app that enables you to create presentations, reports, personal stories and newsletters. You are able to operate sway from your portable devices and your web browser on your desktop, meaning that as soon as you have an idea you can revolutionise it into a creation in seconds. Sway is both quick and easy.

Sway differentiates from PowerPoint due to the addition of multiple features. Sway has no cells, borders, page breaks or slides, the canvas adapts to fit the chosen devises screen.

Sway is very interactive as you are able to select photos from your OneDrive or Facebook and turn them into interactive photo albums for viewers to sift through.

Sway takes care of the design part, you are the thinker. This means that everything you add, is already being formatted for you. Just drag and drop content/images and watch sway react. If you do not like the chosen design you can select the ‘remix’ button to see another. Or, it is still customisable if you have a particular design in mind.

Sway enables you do to pull sources in from across the web without even leaving the application! Pull in videos from YouTube, images from your camera roll, OneDrive cloud storage plus much more. Sway will even suggest searches to help you find relevant content, videos tweets etc.

Sharing Sway is easier than ever. You do not have to have the app to open up the creation, or be signed up. You can just click on the produced link to open it up in a web browser. This is perfect for sharing with those who may have different software packages to yourself.

Sway is so diverse, it can be used in school, at University or at work. So why don’t you give it a go today? Check it out here.

To get a feel of what you can create within Sway, take a look at this fantastic presentation here!

To recap some of the top features in Sway, take a look at the following video –


What happened at the Microsoft and Coretek ‘Office 365 in Education’ event?

Tuesday 23rd February 2016 saw  our first joint event with Microsoft. The day revolved around ‘Office 365 in Education’, and what a day it was!

The day began with an Introduction to Office 365 from a guest speaker at Microsoft called Richard Green. He explained what Office 365 and how you can sign up to it. thumb_DSC_0797_1024

Following on from this, Stuart Ball held a very impressive talk on ‘the cool things you can do with Office 365’. We particularly focused in on PowerPoint. Stuart showed that there is so much to PowerPoint than you could ever imagine. Features include active text boxes, impressive graphic editing and annotation. One feature that really impressed the students was being able to program the buttons on an Xbox controller or guitar hero to write/draw on and control the slide. He also did an interactive display of how an electrical current running through the students holding hands, can power the PowerPoint.


The next part of the day saw the students and teachers split. The students were given the task to create a PowerPoint presentation about Office 365 and were given strict criteria to aim towards. This included a total of 5 slides, an image and a word beginning with ‘S’ to describe Office 365 on each slide. The teachers on the other hand stayed in the auditorium with Stuart to learn about the advantages of Office 365 from a teaching perspective and how they can use it better within the classroom.


Steve Oke from Coretek assisting the student with their presentations!

Lunch was the next part of the day. After lunch, everyone was treated to a tour around Microsoft Headquarters. The student’s were very excited to say the least! We were shown the Microsoft Xbox centre, which was a particular favourite for the students! Other key features were the Microsoft Experience room and the state of the art Gym supported by Nuffield Health.



Some of the children enjoying the tour!


The Microsoft Xbox room!

The next part of the day saw the children finishing their presentations in preparation to present them to everyone later in the day. At this time, the teachers and the students were split once again. This time one of Coretek’s team, James Bell, held a session for the teachers on signing up to Office 365. Within his presentation James showed the teachers the Office 365 portal. This included where to access the different Office 365 programmes as well as where to download the latest software which is available as part of the subscription.

To finish the day, we saw the group of students from each school present their PowerPoint presentations which they had created. Each school received certificates at the end of the day.


The event was a complete success as the very first Microsoft and Coretek integrated event.

Microsoft and Coretek’s main mission was to empower these students and all students on the planet to achieve more. Teachers are the key goal and we are committed to providing teachers the tools and training needed to redefine learning.

The new Microsoft Educator Community has a wealth of resources to support training and professional development. This allows educators to stay current with the right mix of student-focused technology, experiential learning, and virtual collaboration to help students learn and grow. Find out more from one of the expert educators here.

If you would like to find out more, please contact us at marketing@coretek.co.uk or through our social media channels.

Office 2016

What is new in Office 2016?

As you may already know, Office 2016 is here. Office on Windows offers a new exciting set of features, with already over one million customers using it across Windows and Mac, within the preview or the download.

There are two versions of Office: the universal apps which are easier to use on mobile devices, and the desktop version that is best situated for a PC with a keyboard and mouse, but is also touch enabled. Due to the OneDrive cloud storage – you can pick up where you left off within the apps, when changing devices.

So we have taken a look at the top 5 features of Office 2016.

1. Collaboration/Team Work

Office 2016 introduces a new way for people to collaborate within Documents. Perfect for an office environment.

  • Firstly you can now do real-time co-authoring. This means that there needs to be no more sharing round of Documents. You can invite your co-workers into the Document and you can then see them live editing which is tagged with their names.
  • Skype for Business now allows you to IM, talk or video chat right into your documents. From Skype you can now start a real-time co-authoring session straight form any conversation or meeting.
  • There now is Office 365 Groups. This means that you, as an individual, can create private or public teams. In each group you get a shared calendar, OneNote notebook, cloud storage for group files and a shared inbox.

2. Tell Me

  • In the centre top of the program title bar, sits a query box. This is called the ‘Tell Me Box’.
  • The use of this, is that you can type in how to do something in Office. You will then be given a list of commands, leaving you to choose what is best situated for your needs.

3. Smart Lookup

  • Smart lookup is a new feature to Office 2016 that integrates Bing into Office. Smart Lookup is a useful knowledge booster.
  • You highlight a word or phrase and then select the ‘smart lookup’ service.
  • This provides you with a bar on the right side, that gives you a definition, spelling, location and some contextual information on the word/phrase.

4. Microsoft Sway

  • Microsoft Sway was originally introduced as a standalone service, but has now been introduced through Office 2016.
  • Sway allows you to make media presentations, it has been called a renovated PowerPoint. Drag and drop videos and photos from YouTube, your computer and any social media platforms.
    This is a browser based app that is accessible through Office 365.

5. Power Query

  • The Power Query tool allows you to import into Excel data from public data sources. You can connect to many data sources such as Wikipedia, Facebook etc.
  • When you refresh the document, this will also automatically refresh the imported data in correspondence to what that data would be online. So it is constantly synced.

Office 2016 works very well with Windows 10. All of the Office 2016 apps work perfectly within Windows 10 on the PC and mobile devices. A feature of Windows 10 called ‘Windows Hello’ will log you into Windows 10 and Office 365 all at once. Don’t know about Windows 10? Check out our blog on Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?.

So now you know what Office 2016 will deliver for you. But how do you get it?

Consumers or Home Users

– Visit the Microsoft store to purchase.
Choose the right package for you, but don’t forget to back up your files before any installation/download.

Businesses or Schools

– Get in touch with us to discuss pricing options for volume licensing.

If you are not yet sure, you can try a preview for one month, to see if Office 2016 is right for you.
Click on the banner below to try out Office Business Premium for 1 month for up to 25 users.