3,2,1, Launch Microsoft

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in News | No Comments

On Thursday 2nd May a group of students from saltash.net community school were asked to give a presentation. This however was not just any presentation. This presentation would be to some of the top minds in some of the latest technologies from across the country. This presentation would be at Microsoft Headquarters in Reading.

The group, who called themselves “The OffPerts” (the Office Experts), began in September 2012 after Enrichment Coordinator, Scott Wieprecht, attended a Microsoft Summer Camp on the new educational offering, Office 365. They tasked themselves with discovering all the benefits of this new service to education, and how it could directly benefit their education.

After getting used to the cloud based system, from using it in classes, the OffPerts then decided to share their wealth of knowledge with the wider world, and launched their own website, www.offperts.com, which they used to provide support and information. This then finally evolved to producing “OffVids” which are videos explaining the simplest ways to get the most out of each of the features in Office 365, and why the students think it benefits their learning.

The group have quickly found a following online and their twitter account is now followed by some of the biggest names in Microsoft UK. It was still however with some surprise that during the Easter break the school received a call asking if it would consider coming to present live at Microsoft’s Official Launch for Office 365 in Education. It would be presenting amongst some of the leading experts in the business, and this would be the first time in its history that students had led a presentation at a Microsoft Launch.

“The students were incredible,” Scott Wieprecht, the OffPerts coordinator, tells us. “I think standing up in front of 30 people in a class full of people you know is difficult enough, but to travel 200 miles and speak to over 100 adults that you know are experts in the subject really takes some guts.”

The trip, accompanied by Deputy Head Linda Griffin, was a huge success with the OffPerts catapulting into even more ‘fame’ and seeing their following double almost overnight.

“The 6 students talked for 30 minutes without breaking a sweat and managed to talk about all the key features, and, most importantly, explain to those watching why it was so useful for their education. Everyone commented about how great it was to hear from students who are actually using this day to day.”

Microsoft ‘tweeted’ themselves about the OffPerts presentation: “So great to see a group of students presenting and using Office365 with such confidence.”

The team, who are now taking the idea behind the project worldwide with their “Global OffPerts” project, are now hoping the presentation will lead to even more public speaking opportunities, and have already had several offers from partners wanting to interview and work with them.

“The only disappointing part of the whole trip was that the biggest laugh from the presentation came from year 7 student Isaac announcing to everyone in the room that ‘built in contact’ means he no longer struggles to send information to teachers with “silly” names like mine,” said Mr Wieprecht!