Last month I was given the log in details for Live@Edu from Richard Barham and our department set to work to see how this whole Microsoft Web Apps thing worked.
We (or rather I) didn’t make too auspicious a start which resulted in a swift call to Richard to determine exactly where we logged on. When being told it was through Hotmail (or Windows Live to be more precise) it further exemplified just how much of a change this Cloud Model is going to be. “No you can’t use Hotmail as its blocked” has become a well-worn mantra certainly at Perins and at other schools and now I had to use it to log on!
The interface we get is once logging on is recognisable although navigation to other areas requires is not automatically obvious (to an adult of course!). I am told that this is a temporary design and one that will be improved with the introduction of Sharepoint web parts. Our school plans are not set in stone but we favour the layout used at Redbridge where the features are embedded in the Moodle rather than its own interface (http://www.redbridge-iae.ac.uk/) username: firstname.lastname@example.org password: moodle
That said in no time we had sent emails, created Contacts and played about with the different software apps. Dan Gardner our AST in e-learning (@EnglandRaider) has suggested a comparison between Web Apps and Office 2010 to see the functionality – and that is for a further blog. On playing I would guess that we have no more than 30% functionality for Web Apps although somewhat “predictably” or should that be “disappointingly” there is the “open in Office 2010” icon which appears on every application which clearly offers the prospect of integration and extra features. I guess this integration opportunity is not unexpected and on testing it throws up some interesting oddities for example – you cannot make tables in Word Live but a file made in Word 2010 with tables that is subsequentlyopened in Word Live shows the tables!
A quick trawl around the net reveals some of the recent improvements to WebApps – now 3 months old (http://portal.itproportal.com/portal/news/article/2010/9/24/microsoft-updates-office-web-apps/) and (http://www.youtube.com/officevideos#p/u/5/F7rg5rcRHiY). Although shared concensus is that it still has a long way to go to catch up with Google Docs. Further rumours indicate a replacing of the Sky Drive with some sort of SharePoint model so I’ve decided to follow it on Twitter (@Office)
I dont know enough about Sharepoint but I do know a man who does and have contacted Mike Herrity (@mikeherrity) over at Twynhams School for a vist and a chat.