Microsoft has created an offer for the Government’s Home Access programme to bridge the "digital divide" between home and school. The Microsoft Home Learning Package is comprised of the "Ultimate" edition of Office 2007 – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Windows Live Essentials, plus online features like Photosynth, SkyDrive (storage), Virtual Earth and Worldwide Telescope.

“We know that when students have access to technology at school as well as at home they are more motivated and their parents are able to take a more active interest in their education," says Steve Beswick, Microsoft’s director of education.

Make IT HappyThe Parliamentary Technology Committee (Pitcom) and E-Skills UK are offering schools thousands of pounds in prize money in the annual “Make IT Happy” technology challenge.

Now in its third year, the competition challenges students aged 9 to 11 to use technology creatively and imaginatively - and make people happy. The contributions can range from video sketches to radio shows, to interactive websites, to downloadable podcasts - in fact anything that can make people laugh while having a positive impact on their local community.

Engaging PlacesEnglish Heritage and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) have joined forces to create a website designed to tap into “the world’s biggest teaching resource” - the buildings and streets round you. The new site is part of the Engaging Places initiative developed to support teachers to utilise the buildings and places around them when helping children to understand why buildings and places matter. And it goes by the same name.

With the support of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, Engaging Places looks at the whole built environment from grand historic buildings to the children’s own local neighbourhoods and streets. Visitors to the site will find activities, suggestions for lessons and visits. It can also be used for the new key stage 3 curriculum and Learning Outside the Classroom (another Government backed education programme).

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