NZ Education Blog

Regular updates from Microsoft in the NZ education sector including events and advice for education staff.

NZ Education Blog

  • Innovative teacher taking learning to the next level at Kerikeri High School

    At Microsoft we love hearing from awesome, real-life educators in the New Zealand community. Today we are placing the spotlight on Bridget Crooks, an inspirational teacher in the far north of New Zealand.

    Bridget is a Drama and Performing Arts Technology teacher at Kerikeri High School. On a daily basis, Bridget strives to provide the best learning opportunities for her students through the use of technology. Bridget makes great use of tools such as OneNote, Sway, and Skype to engage her students and encourage creativity. Bridget’s forward-thinking approach to teaching and learning is exemplified by her collaborative project with an Australian school earlier in 2015.

    Today, we hear more from Bridget about this project and how she is using technology to great effect in her classroom.

    Which technologies and tools do you currently use at Kerikeri High School and in your classroom?

    Kerikeri High School is Office 365. The school runs a BYOD programme and all students have school email addresses, OneDrive storage and access to the Office suite of applications.

    As a school we are constantly learning and upskilling to offer the best to our students. Being a rural school it is a challenge to get our teachers out to PD in the main centres. This year we chose to run a two-day IT conference at our school – bringing the experts to Kerikeri and spending two full teacher-only days learning and upskilling. Presenters came from New Zealand and Australia – offering varied keynote addresses and breakout workshops, covering everything from Content Curation, Microsoft OneNote, Online Assessment and video training in PE.

    Our teachers utilise the Microsoft suite of products. Our communication is supported with Outlook and the traditional programmes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint still feature heavily in our productivity – although more likely in the Web App format on individual devices.

    Along with the more traditional programmes, my drama classroom has made use of Sway and Skype in 2015. I love Sway for how easy it is – and how great it looks on all screens. Most of my revision work is presented this way and all of my presentations are available on Sway!

    What has been the impact of OneNote on teaching and learning?

    I adore OneNote. I’ll wear my purple cape with pride!

    I have always struggled with paper and this year all my school planning and marking has gone paperless. My Surface Pro has been amazing for this – the stylus allowing me to write flawlessly. Next year I will run all my classes on OneNote and cannot wait to share with my students how incredible it is.

    As a school we have also started working towards new appraisal documents with OneNote. We are currently working on creating shared templates and structure.

     OneNote as a teacher appraisal tool

    I teach Drama and Performing Arts Technology. For assessment we need evidence of real stuff – not paper answers. There is no better way to document this than using the students’ phones – or my phone for that matter. This documentation is quick and easy and means I do not miss a beat with evidence for assessment.

    Capturing evidence of student's performances using the OneNote phone app

    Using OneNote and Surface to assess live performances

    The web app is such a bonus – anywhere, anytime on anything. Makes me look super organised too – got to love that!

    How has being a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert helped you with your technology journey?

    Being a MIEE has given me the confidence to realise that what I am doing is great. Before, I think I worked in a bit of a vacuum – I never really thought what I did was special or different; I just loved using different technologies to get the best out of my students and myself.

    I feel supported – I’ve met some great people – mostly virtually, but one day we’ll catch up! The fact that I get to connect with some fabulous minds is such a bonus – we are all busy teachers and cannot hope to know everything – but I have a hotline to the brightest and the best to help me with my questions. That’s pretty cool. I feel very privileged to be part of this group.

    Can you tell us a bit about your collaborative lesson with the school in Australia?

    Project Songologue was a collaborative project with Deanne Joosten, a fellow MIE Expert from Australia. We worked on this theatre piece for one term with our students.

    Deanne and I started planning in the Christmas holidays. We met up over Skype a couple of times and worked on a shared OneNote. I got the inspiration from a post I saw on Facebook – a New York actress called Nina Millin produced a theatre piece called the Beyoncelogues. Basically turning Beyoncé’s song lyrics into solo theatre performances.

    I thought this would be a great idea for my acting students – but using New Zealand artist’s lyrics. Collaboration could be seamless because the Australian students could do iconic songs from their country. And we could utilise NZ and Australian co-authored songs for duologues.

    I got in contact with Nina – who was super excited for us to use her idea as a basis – and we took it from there.

    We decided to run the show simultaneously in Australia and NZ – using similar publicity and design.

    I handed this idea to my senior Performing Arts Technology students. This class is run on a Theatre Company model – I simply commission them, supply the outline of the idea and they produce, direct and present the product.

    They LOVED this. A new idea, working with a wide audience. It is the real life learning that gives them fire to succeed. Reinventing and changing the goal posts is exciting!

    This collaborative project was facilitated by Skype where my students met virtually with Deanne’s students two to three times a week for 8 weeks.  The interactions were positive and full of energy. All our planning was done with a shared OneNote, and directing, rehearsals and performances were conducted via Skype. This was an incredible experience for both schools. 

    Kerikeri High School students Skyping with the Australian students for the first time during Project Songologue

    Skype completely redefined what we were able to do in the classroom. I blogged about this for Microsoft Hot Topics in January, my post can be found here.

    In the next year, how would you like to see you and your school move forward with technology in the classroom?

    2016? What am I planning? Well – going paperless in my classes using OneNote Classroom Notebook. I also plan to integrate SharePoint across our school and use Staff Notebook Creator to revamp appraisal documents for my Department. I’ve got another crazy plan for uniting Drama teachers and students from all over the world!

    For me it is all about the learning experience. I think about what I’d love to do and fit the technologies to that – rather than the other way around. Good teaching for me is about pushing boundaries and trying new things. The Microsoft tools allow me to do this. I am adamant that it’s about the pedagogy not the technology – and I would not do something in my classes just to use a technology. But when it can take the learning to a previously unheard of outcome? Well, that is awesome – and I’ll be all over that!

  • You're invited to participate in the Global Skype-a-Thon!

    Microsoft Global Education Skype-a-Thon
    Join the global movement December 3rd and 4th to  
    celebrate learning without borders!

    At Microsoft, we believe a powerful way to learn is from each other. That’s why we are empowering students and educators around the globe to do just that. On December 3 and 4, Microsoft is hosting a Global Education Skype-a-Thon to celebrate learning without borders. Over the 48 hours, participants will contribute to help reach a goal of one million virtual miles travelled.

    We invite educators to schedule a Skype call in their classrooms or schools with one of hundreds of guest speakers, virtual field trip partners or other classrooms around the world to play Mystery Skype.

    How to get involved.

    It’s easy, and most of all, your participation will help us collectively reach our goal of one million virtual miles travelled!

    Step 1: Go to the Skype-a-Thon site where you will enter our resources page for educators. If this is your first time visiting our site, you will be asked to create your profile. By doing so we can easily connect you up with other schools, and best of all, you will become a member of our Microsoft educator community providing you access to professional development, lesson plans, discussion boards and product training.

    Step 2: Select the type of Skype call you would like to make. You will be presented with three choices

    • Play Mystery Skype – The global guessing game between two classrooms that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.
    • Talk with a guest speaker – Connect your class up with volunteer guest speakers from around the world on a wide variety of subjects.
    • Take a virtual field trip – Take your students on an adventure without leaving the classroom.

    Make sure to schedule your call on either December 3rd or 4th so you can be part of our Global Education Skype-a-Thon.

    Step 3: Have your Skype call on December 3rd or 4th 2015.

    Step 4: After your call, post a creative photo on Twitter or Instagram showing the distance you travelled. Tag it with #skypeathon so everyone can see how your call helped reach the goal of one million virtual miles. We will update the Skype-a-Thon site regularly with our progress. 

    Need Help?

    You can contact the Skype-a-Thon team. Also, take a look at the Sway which shares some examples of the calls you can make and steps on how to get started. 

    In today’s world, we benefit from technology connecting students to limitless amounts of content and knowledge. We are creating citizens of the world from early years and a channel to share ideas, innovation and expertise across borders. Let’s make this Skype-a-Thon an amazing example of the power of learning without borders.

  • Minecraft meets Hour of Code

    We are excited to announce a Minecraft tutorial is now available for this year's Hour of Code, delivered by

    This is a great opportunity to get students of any age involved in coding, using gamification to ensure that it is fun and interesting! 

    Designers and developers from Mojang and Microsoft teamed up with to create a tutorial that teaches students basic commands while staying true to the styling and game play that you expect from Minecraft. The team made sure to include aspects of the Hour of Code tutorial meant for Minecraft fans while ensuring the experience is accessible for any student and educator on any device.

    The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience is needed, and events are suitable for ages 4 to 104!

    Recent updates have been made to the Minecraft in Education site. Come see the team's new video, learn how educators are using Minecraft with their students, and take some learning activities for you to use or adapt for your classroom.

    Change the way you and your students learn with the Hour of Code and Minecraft! 

  • Bud-e Reading joins the Windows education app family!

    To welcome Bud-e Reading to the line-up of Windows apps for education, Microsoft and Bud-e are providing an exclusive offer for New Zealand schools!

    Every school in New Zealand is eligible to receive a FREE version of the Bud-e Reading digital program until the end of 2015! To make the most of this special offer, download Bud-e Reading from the Windows Store. 

     What is Bud-e Reading?

    Bud-e Reading is an app designed for junior students, aged 3-6 years, to aid in the development of literacy skills. Created by Jill Eggleton, a leading New Zealand literacy specialist, Bud-E Reading provides an exciting way to introduce reading and writing to young students.

    How does Bud-e Reading work?

    Bud-e takes children on a magical adventure through an exciting 3D world, with a delightful cast of characters that guide children along their literacy journey. This fantastic app provides the opportunity for young children to learn letter sounds, as well as read and write high frequency words. The program is taught though a series of educational games and original stores, poems and songs written by world renowned children’s author and literacy expert, Jill Eggleton.

    Get started with Bud-e Reading today and empower your students to take their first steps to reading on their own. 

  • New Zealand teacher featured on a Quick Tip video using Office Mix

    We love seeing the fantastic things New Zealand teachers are doing with Microsoft technologies to improve learning outcomes on a daily basis. 

    Rachel Chisnall is a teacher at Dunedin's Taieri College, and is a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert. Rachel has been using Office Mix extensively in her classroom to communicate key lessons to students in a fun and interactive way. As an MIE Expert, Rachel was able to travel to Redmond earlier this year to attend the E2 Global Educator Exchange. While in Redmond, Rachel collaborated with the U.S. Microsoft Education team to create a Quick Tip video on how to use Office Mix to create a virtual science experiment. 

    Rachel's Quick Tip video demonstrates how teachers can use Office Mix to create assessments that incorporate pre-recorded science experiments and use a quiz to prompts students to predict what will happen next. The tutorial illustrates the steps to embed a virtual simulation into a PowerPoint slide using Office Mix, and how to add questions for formative assessment. The key benefit of Office Mix is that students can work through the lesson at their own pace and re-watch the lesson as many times as they need to ensure the content is understood. Knowledge tests and quizzes in Office Mix are a great way to authentically assess if students understand the science concepts being taught. 

    For more Quick Tip videos on a range of topics, visit the Microsoft Educator Network and get started with free training and development lessons. 

    If you have an education story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear about it. Email and get in touch!

  • OneNote Class Notebook and Office Mix announce new LMS integration features

    The recent announcement on discusses how the OneNote and Office Mix teams are been working together to integrate with all major Learning Management Systems (LMS).This is will bring a multitude of benefits to educators! 

    The team released three key announcements:

    • OneNote and Office Mix are both officially certified to the IMS Global Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard.
    • OneNote Class Notebook LTI is now in General Availability release.
    • OneNote now automatically adds all students enrolled in the LMS course to the course’s OneNote Class Notebook.

    LMS integration with LTI

    In June, both Office Mix and OneNote Class Notebook announced LTI support. This means that both apps are easily integrated with all major LMS—including Canvas, Engrade, Blackboard, Haiku, Moodle, Brightspace, EDUonGo, edX, EdCast and Schoology.

    OneNote Class Notebook allows teachers to launch the OneNote Class Notebook app from their LMS course page, walk through the notebook creation process, and add the created notebook to their course—all without leaving their learning environment. We’ve seen OneNote Class Notebooks created with many LMS systems, including Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Haiku and Moodle. Check out the links below for instructional Mixes on how to get started with these systems! 

    Office Mix adds functionality to PowerPoint that enables educators and students to record audio or video of themselves presenting, ink on their slides as they present them, insert quizzes, polls, online videos and more. Office Mix also enables users to do full screen capture and record anything on their PCs. Via the LTI connection, educators can embed interactive mixes created by themselves or by the community within their LMS as content or assignments. Office Mix seamlessly authenticates students, and their grades are automatically passed back to the LMS grade book.

    IMS certification

    We are also delighted to announce that both OneNote and Office Mix are officially IMS Global Certified. OneNote Class Notebook is compliant to version 1.0 of the standard, and Office Mix complies to version 1.1. Microsoft is a member of IMS Global Learning Consortium and we are committed to supporting open standards and interoperability.

    OneNote Class Notebook LTI now in General Availability release

    The OneNote team would also like to share that the OneNote Class Notebook LTI app is now in General Availability release. All of our existing Preview customers will be able to continue using OneNote Class Notebook LTI as normal. All app configurations will remain in place, and course notebooks will be linked as before.

    Enrolled students are automatically added to the OneNote Class Notebook

    Along with our general release, OneNote is now able to provide a new feature that will save teachers valuable time and effort. LMS integration allows students who are enrolled in a course to add themselves to the OneNote Class Notebook simply by clicking the LTI link. Teachers no longer have to type the names of all of their students during notebook creation. By simply leaving the default option to “Automatically add my students when they access this notebook from the LMS link,” they can be confident that all enrolled students (and only enrolled students) are able to access the notebook. As well as saving time and hassle, this gives teachers much more flexibility—if a student is added to the LMS course roster later in the semester, the teacher does not have to add them separately to the notebook too.

    To learn more about OneNote Class Notebook and Office Mix LTI, please visit and

  • 10 ways to get ahead with Windows 10 in the classroom

    We want to help make teacher's lives a little bit easier! Here are some simple tips and tricks on how the new features in Windows 10 (free to upgrade) save time for teachers and make learning more fun for students. For more extensive training on using Windows 10 in the classroom, check out our Quick Tip videos.

    1. Annotate in Microsoft Edge to easily plan and teach lessons

    With the "Make a Web Note" feature (desktop experience only), you can easily write and draw on your web browser and save images, not only for your own reference, but to share with your students. Microsoft Edge is also a great tool for teaching lessons--just as you would annotate on slides and overheads before, now the Internet is at your fingertips. This tool is also great for students wishing to make notes while doing research or working on a project.

    2. Read without distraction with the Reading View in Edge

    Bring what you want to see front and center. For a clean and simple reading experience, click " Reading View" in Microsoft Edge. This feature minimizes distractions and ads when your students are reading on the web. You can also add articles for future reading to the "Reading List."

    3. Get things done faster with Cortana*, your clever new personal assistant

    Let us make your life easier. Cortana helps you set reminders, manager your calendar, do math, and find documents and resources easily from your own computer or the web, all with one search. She can even tell jokes! 

    4. Snap windows to corners for easy multitasking (Windows key
    Windows key + arrow key)

    Multitasking has a new best friend: Snap Assist ( Windows key + left/right arrow). Snap Assist lets students work simultaneously on four windows easily, side by side. Making a PowerPoint presentation with info from a Word doc and photos? Taking notes in OneNote from your Microsoft Edge browser? Easy.

    5. Set up spoken reminders to keep track of tasks and events

    Ever felt like you have a million to-dos in just one day? Next time this happens, hit the mic icon in the search bar and Cortana* can help. For example, you can say, "Remind me to set up parent-teacher conferences next week." Cortana will feed that information into the calendar, and email apps will send you a reminder at just the right time.

    6. Keep track of your day, and network, from the Action Center

    A simple swipe from the right of your screen will bring up the Action Center, giving you a cumulative view of your emails, Twitter alerts, and security and maintenance updates -- allowing you to manage them or take action right away from that screen. Customize the four bottom tiles through "Notifications and Actions" in Settings and choose what's most important for easy access -- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, quiet hours, tablet mode, brightness, etc.

    7. Organise different workspaces with multiple desktops

    Whether you need them to separate different classes, divide your personal and professional work, or just to keep your desktop less cluttered, you can easily create multiple desktops by selecting the Task View Button (two overlapping rectangles) on the bottom taskbar, or by pressing Windows Key + Tab and selecting "New Desktop."

    8. Leverage new features in the exclusive
    universal Twitter app to stay connected

    Staying connected with your Professional Learning Network is easier than ever with the new universal Twitter app, exclusive to Windows 10. New features include:

    • Twitter Live Tiles
    • Multiple photo Tweets - upload up to four photos per Tweet
    • Animated GIFs
    • Vine playback
    • Share photos
    • Share photos privately in Direct Messages

    9. Transition between PC and Tablet mode seamlessly with Continuum

    Windows 10 is truly the platform you will never outgrow. Students and teachers have the choice of running in desktop or tablet mode and can change at any time. Windows 10 Continuum helps ensure your apps and content can display beautifully from a touch-focused tablet experience to a keyboard-and-mouse desktop experience -- and even as you transition from one mode to another. Windows 10 is also introducing Continuum for phones. With this capability, students and teachers can use their phones like a PC for getting things done, or turn them into large-screen projectors for presentations.

    10. Upgrade your productivity with Office Mobile apps for Windows 10

    For today's busy teacher and student, productivity comes from being able to learn and create using whichever device happens to be available and handy, whether it's a desktop PC, tablet, or phone.

    Windows 10 aims to reinvent productivity with Office Mobile apps. It's built from the ground up for touch, and whether you're using a desktop, tablet, or phone, you can make edits knowing your changes will render across all devices. Your files are automatically saved to OneDrive, making co-authoring and collaboration super easy. This is great for adding comments to students' work, and makes it easier for students to work together on group projects across devices.

    Features like Smart Lookup in the Word app, powered by Bing, are great for bringing additional online resources like images and web references to students without the distraction of going directly online. 

     *Cortana is only available in select markets at launch, experience may vary by region and device. A Microsoft account may be required for some functionality.

  • OneNote partners with FiftyThree to support Pencil and Paper, plus Shape Recognition coming soon

    Digital handwriting—or inking as we like to call it—is now better than ever in OneNote, with support for a variety of new functionalities for our iPad and Windows 10 users.

    Pencil and Paper by FiftyThree support

    OneNote on iPad now supports writing with the Pencil by FiftyThree stylus. Use Pencil to write, draw and erase with enhanced precision and ease. Simply pair your Pencil with your iPad and then select it from your stylus options in OneNote. You’ll immediately notice the added feedback of the Pencil is great for a variety of inking scenarios, and the ability to easily flip the Pencil and erase in a familiar way, making it a top selling stylus for iPad.

    Are you a fan of the Paper app by FiftyThree? Now you can take your notes, checklists and sketches and send them to OneNote to get your content on virtually any device and work with others in shared OneNote notebooks. Whether you want to use Pencil directly in OneNote or start in Paper and share to OneNote, we’ve got you covered. For full details on Paper’s OneNote integration, check out FiftyThree’s blog post.

    Apple Pencil for iPad Pro support

    As previously announced, we now have Apple Pencil stylus support in OneNote for iPad Pro. Now you can easily sketch, outline, write and annotate to your heart’s content. 

    Ink Shape Recognition

    In response to one of our top requested features on OneNote’s UserVoice, we’re excited to announce a new feature called Ink Shape Recognition coming to OneNote this November for iPad, iPad Pro and our Windows 10 app. Ink Shape Recognition is a new mode that will automatically convert your hand-drawn shapes into perfect-looking shapes while inking. It recognizes over a dozen shapes including basics like circles, triangles and squares, but also more complex shapes like quadrilaterals, pentagons and hexagons.

    To turn on Ink Shape Recognition, just tap the new Convert to Shapes button on the Draw tab.

    Once enabled, simply draw shapes with your pen (or press the button to the left of Convert to Shapes to draw with mouse or touch) and watch as your shapes automatically are converted into better-looking versions of themselves! It’s great for everything from basic flowcharts and mind maps to Venn diagrams. We know teachers will be eager to try shape recognition out for Math class!

    New Surface Pen and Pen Tip support

    Along with the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book announcement came a new Surface Pen and Pen Tip kit, both of which are available for pre-order now and begin shipping October 26, 2015.

    The new Surface Pen has increased pressure sensitivity, adds an eraser at the top and lets you click and hold for Cortana—all while still letting you click once to open a blank page of OneNote—even if your Surface is locked. You can then quickly jot down any flash of inspiration, easily convert it to text and share it with others.

    The new Surface Pen Tip kit lets you choose a pen tip with the right feel for you. Stay with the medium tip for the familiarity of a #2 pencil or swap it for a low-friction tip similar to a fine point pen. Choose from four different tips in the kit—each of which is included with the purchase of the new Surface Pen or sold separately if you want to have extra tips on hand.

    Excited about all the changes? Don’t already have OneNote? Get it here.

    As always, Microsoft appreciates your feedback. Please continue to give us suggestions and ideas on the OneNote UserVoice.

  • Introducing the new Online Educator Community

    We have taken an exciting step toward fulfilling this mission by launching the new Microsoft online educator community website, a centralised resource and engagement tool for educators that makes it easy to access a global network of educators, free interactive training and best practices.

    Microsoft's educator community is the one location where educators can come together with peers and experts from around the world for materials, advice, examples and results to enrich instruction. All this with the flexibility to view on any device, at any pace.

    We invite you to explore and join the educator community today to begin sharing and learning with over 1.5 million of your peers from over 235 countries.

    On the new community site, educators can earn points and badges as they acquire skills, earning recognition from their peers along the way. They can also share their achievements, lesson plans and other content via social channels - all seamlessly integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

    View this video to see highlights.

    Here are just a few of the ways you can engage with this powerful community:

    Find a lesson. Discover one of the thousands of live or on-demand lessons already created by teachers just like you. Or, create and share your own within this global community.

    Connect with others. Reach out, connect and collaborate with educators, classrooms and experts around the world via Skype or online chats.

    Share your expertise and thought leadership by contributing unique content that inspires and educates.

    Play Mystery Skype, a fun, easy and powerful way for students and teachers to collaborate with classrooms thousands of miles away or right next door.

    Get trained. From webcasts to quick tip videos to workshops, Microsoft provides online and in-person training and professional development resources to help educators master the use of collaborative technologies in their classrooms. Learn how to make the most of OneNote, Sway, Windows, Office 365 Education, Minecraft and more - and earn points and badges along the way!

    As you get started, be sure to spend a few minutes up front to create a robust user profile. The more information about yourself, your teaching style and areas of expertise you provide, the better prepared you'll be to inspire and attract others to connect with you.

    Educators around the world are already realising the benefits. Here's what just a few of our early participants are saying:

    "Microsoft's new educator community is stunning! Nicely designed, general and oriented to all participants in the education field. What I like most are the courses for personal development, and mainly those on new educational tools such as Sway and OneNote. Having such a website is an important step toward global collaboration between educators all around the world. This website will help the community find what it needs and make the teaching and learning experience more global."
    - Walid Chaafi, Tunisia

    "Connecting with others around the globe is now easier than ever. With Skype Lessons, Mystery Skype partners, and teachers around the globe available in the new platform, your classroom is no longer confined to four walls. The world is your classroom with Microsoft Education and Skype."
    - Michael Soskil, USA

    "The new website is very informative and gives me opportunities to learn, to share and to collaborate with amazing educators around the global who are passionate about teaching and inspiring students by breaking up 'the wall' of classroom. My favourite part is the courses on Teaching with Technology, which help educators know how to use technology in teaching effectively. This useful page helps me adapt technology tools for my own professional development and to bring revolutionary change in education."
    - Nam Ngo Thanh, Vietnam

    "I love that the refresh of Microsoft's educator community puts all of the things educators love most, like Skype in the Classroom, free professional development, innovative lesson plans and so much more, in one convenient location."
    - Eric Patnoudes, USA

    Visit and join the educator community today!

  • A New Era of Windows 10 Devices from Microsoft

    Last week, Microsoft made an exciting announcement regarding a range of innovative new Windows 10 devices!

    The team's approach to devices is to create and reinvent categories - like they did with Xbox and Xbox Live, with Surface being the tablet that can replace your laptop, with Lumia and Continuum, with Surface Hub, and of course with HoloLens being the only platform enabling you to mix holograms into your world. Microsoft's latest range of devices are built to make the most of Windows 10!

    Surface Book

    The new, ultimate laptop from Microsoft brings together best in class performance with the versatility of pen and touch.

    Surface Pro 4

    The tablet that can replace your laptop just got thinner, lighter and faster.

    New Lumia Phones

    The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL combine Windows 10 innovation with our most powerful hardware and top-of-the-line imaging to help you be more productive. And the Lumia 550, our most affordable 4G LTE smartphone running Windows 10.

     Microsoft Band 2

    The new Band can help you live healthier and achieve more with a new curved screen, a barometer, and apps for email, text, running, biking, the gym, and golf.

    Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition

    Designed to help Windows developers mix holograms into their world. Microsoft HoloLens devices will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2016 to developers in the United States and Canada. Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, holographic computer, enabling high-definition holograms to integrate with your world. Unlock all-new ways to connect, create, collaborate, and explore. 

     Xbox One

    With an upcoming update bringing Windows 10 to Xbox One, backward compatibility, hot games, all new bundles and the most advanced controller we’ve ever created for Xbox One and Windows 10.

  • Top teacher-requested features added to OneNote Class Notebooks

    This blog post has been taken from the Office Blogs post

    The OneNote team has some exciting announcements to share! As we mentioned on the Microsoft Education blog earlier this month, OneNote Class Notebooks and OneNote Staff Notebooks are now available for Office 365 customers (teachers and faculty) around the world. We’ve seen OneNote Class Notebooks created in 95 countries, and Staff Notebooks created in 45 countries. More OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks are being created by teachers and staff every day!

    We are listening to feedback from teachers and staff and improving Class Notebooks based suggestions from educators. Today we are happy to announce the upcoming release of two new capabilities, which are a direct result of talking to teachers and were also announced in our blog post back in May. We will gradually roll out these features to education customers over the coming weeks. We will also release these updates to Staff Notebooks in the near future.

    Remove students or co-teacher permissions from a Class Notebook

    The top request we’ve heard is to be able to easily remove a student’s permissions from a Class Notebook. When a student leaves the class, you can now quickly go into the Class Notebook app and remove that student from your class by clicking the Add or remove students tile. Removed students will not have access to the Class Notebook anymore. However, their work will still remain in your notebook, so that you can choose to archive it or delete it permanently.

    You can also now remove co-teachers by clicking the Add or remove teachers tile. This will remove permissions of any co-teacher who had access to the Class Notebook.

    Add student groups to a class notebook

    Teachers are now able to add groups (i.e. class lists) of students to a Class Notebook. This allows a teacher to add an entire class by just typing one name into the Add students dialog—e.g. “Mrs. Smith’s Math class Period 1.” Previously, each student needed to be entered manually, so we hope this feature will save teachers a lot of time. We hope this will also help simplify the process of adding students to a class while leveraging work already done by IT staff for preparing class lists in Office 365.

    We also support Active Directory Security Groups and Office 365 Groups when adding students.

    Update group membership changes to your class notebook

    Did a bunch of students join or leave your class this year? Not to worry! The Class Notebook app can now grab updates in group membership from your school directory. Simply click the Add or Remove Students tile and proceed through the steps. You will be able to preview the latest list of students in your class, and we will set up or remove their student notebooks once you confirm.

    New languages supported

    In addition to these two top features, we also want to announce that OneNote Class Notebooks now supports Right-to-Left (RTL) languages, including Arabic, Hebrew and Persian.

    As always, reach us on Twitter @OneNoteEDU with feedback or email us directly at You can find answers to common questions here.

  • Download free Office 2016 Quick Start Guides

    To coincide with the recent release of Office 2016, we put together a set of handy Quick Start Guides that introduce you to the newest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.

    Whether you’re coming from previous versions of your favorite apps and want a quick orientation about where to find familiar basics or you’re entirely new to Office and want an overview of how to get to some of the most important things, each of our Quick Start Guides provides helpful information that you can read, print out and share.

    Guides are now available for all three of our recent Office releases. Download just the ones you want or get the entire set for your preferred operating systems.

    Office 2016 for Windows

    Visit Office 2016 Quick Start Guides to download guides for the desktop versions of Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016 or OneNote 2016 on any recent version of Windows.

    Office Mobile for Windows 10

    Visit Office Mobile Quick Start Guides to download guides for the modern versions of Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, or OneNote on Windows 10.\

    Office 2016 for Mac

    Visit Office 2016 Quick Start Guides for Mac to download guides for the Mac versions of Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016 or OneNote 2016 on Mac OS X Yosemite or El Capitan.

    While viewing any guide, you can save a copy of it to your computer, zoom in to get a closer look at a screenshot, or search for feature names or keywords to quickly find something in the text. 

  • 8 top Microsoft resources for teachers

    "At Microsoft, we create products with teachers in mind and they tell us that products like OneNote, Sway, Minecraft and Skype help them bring new creativity and engagement to the classroom. We are inspired by what’s possible when teachers meet students where they’re at, help them to learn at their own pace, and then propel them to reach new heights in their learning. There’s no better place to use technology – and its promise to change lives – than in the hands of great teachers!"
    Anthony Salcito (Microsoft Vice President, Worldwide Education)

    With the right technology platform and training, teachers around the world are finding inspiring new ways to use personalized approaches to impart 21st century skills to their students. 

    Today, we'd like to provide you with 8 fantastic resources to help enable individualised teaching and learning:

    1. Office 365 Education

    New and no-cost features to Office 365 Education, along with the recent launch of Windows 10, are offering huge improvements for educators and students.We have simplified our education lineup, moving to a single, free plan for all academic institutions and adding several new features to help schools meet their security and compliance requirements. We’ve also made it easier for teachers and students to sign up and start using free Office tools. Anyone with a valid school email address can sign up! Simply visit Office in Education to get started. 

    2. OneNote 

    OneNote Class Notebook & Staff Notebook are now available globally for all Office 365 Education customers. In a recent IDC research study, OneNote has been shown to address the top 10 activities teachers describe as “time sinks.” For more information and helpful guides on how OneNote can help teachers deliver effective lessons and cut down on administration tasks, visit

    3. Skype in the Classroom

    New Skype in the classroom field trips are ready! Teachers can take their students on an adventure in their own classroom by signing up for a virtual field trip with Skype.

    4. Sway

    Sway – a digital storytelling app in the Office portfolio – recently moved from preview to general availability. Teachers have been using Sway to reimagine class lessons, recap class projects, provide supplemental material for parents, provide new accessible storytelling tools to their students, and more. Sway has also helped students breathe new life into school projects, class reports, and even personal portfolios.

    5. Snip

    Snip is a new screen capture tool that lets you tell your story in your own voice while you ink on an image, a photo that you take with your webcam, or a digital whiteboard. And you can share that story by copying your snip to the clipboard, sending it in an email, and embedding it on a website. Educators are using Snip to provide personalized feedback to students and students are using Snip to express their creativity and to collaborate with teachers and classmates.

    6. Coding for Students

    In addition to learning how to use technology, we see the growing interest from students to learn how to create technology. Teachers can help their students understand and learn more about creating technology with these new resources:

    • Microsoft YouthSpark Hub has various resources and programs to learn digital skills and computer science, for students to prepare for the jobs of the future or even to start their own business.
    • Microsoft Imagine tools and resources are available to teachers at no cost to help their students learn the fundamentals of coding while engaging in fun projects.  Take it to the next level by leveraging contests through the Imagine Cup competition hub to help your students use those fundamentals to become creators of technology.  New for this school year, Imagine Cup Earth leverages a partnership with NASA that teaches earth sciences and programming at the same time. Inspire your students to build their skills and bring their ideas to life and possibly win prizes!  And, if you are interested in creating a coding club, our Coding Club Starter Kit will help get you started.
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy is offering even more no cost computer science courses for students at all levels, coupled with resources to help teachers better integrate technology into their curriculum.
    • Creative Coding Through Games And Apps, a new computer science curriculum designed to spark interest in teens for computer programming and for teachers with little or no background in the field, launched today and is free to teachers.

    7. "Liberating Genius, The First 20 Days"

    With Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter, Inc. we’re providing teachers with a free, customisable and interactive e-book: “Liberating Genius, The First 20 Days.” This free e-book guides teachers through the introduction of Genius Hour.

    8. Microsoft Educator Network

    Receive free professional development and training via the Microsoft Educator Network. View a range of resources, tutorials, and professional development courses to help teachers make the most of technology in the classroom. 

    We hope you can make use of some of these fantastic resources in your classroom! 

  • OneNote adds support for iOS 9 and iPad Pro with multitasking, Spotlight search and Apple Pencil

    The OneNote team are excited to release their newest OneNote for iOS update, which adds support for several new features of iOS 9, spiffs things up for the upcoming iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and—as always—has numerous improvements in response to customer feedback.

    Twice as nice with iOS 9

    With Split View, you can have OneNote open side-by-side with another app, making it easier than ever to take notes while watching a lecture, reviewing slides or reading a paper for class.

    Slide Over enables you to open OneNote atop another app and jot down whatever strikes your fancy without interrupting your current task.

    Search your notes with Spotlight

    We’ve added support for Spotlight to OneNote on iOS 9. Pop open search and start typing to jump directly to your notes. We’ll even search through images, PDFs and handwriting.

    Pencil it out on iPad Pro

    Prepare your sharpener for November—we’ll have Apple Pencil and iPad Pro support ready, waiting for you.

    Better UI support for Arabic and Hebrew in iOS 9

    Support for Arabic and Hebrew has been greatly improved with the addition of mirrored UI; your text is no longer the only thing that’s right to left.

    Pick a side…any side (for the page list)

    Previously, we moved the page list to the left side of the screen to improve handwriting for right-handed users. You can now choose to have it on the right or the left side. Twice as many choices, 100 percent more satisfied lefties!

    Bugs zapped

    In the last release, our typographically inclined users let us know we hadn’t lived up to our excellent reputation for font rendering. We dug out our linoleum blocks and resolved the issue (a fix for Mac is in the pipeline).

    Additionally, we were a bit too fond of trips down memory lane, prompting you to sign in…repeatedly. Like your notes, your sign-in information will be fastidiously remembered.

    Last month today

    We added Page Previews to Landscape mode, and many customers rightly noted that we didn’t add a setting to turn them off and on. Now you can; we added a switch in settings.

    Excited about all the changes? Don’t already have OneNote? Get it here.

    As always, we appreciate your feedback. Please continue to give us input and ideas at the OneNote feedback site,

  • The Power of Digital Pen & Surface in Schools - Inking Your Thinking Case Study

    This post has been re-blogged from the Australian Teachers Blog

    Tablet PCs and the use of digital pen enabled devices in schools is nothing new however, with more and more research about the impact of the “power of the pen” on learning, teachers, student and school leaders are increasingly looking to how student devices can improve learning outcomes. In 2014 Microsoft Australia in partnership with Victoria Department of Education & Training and Victoria University undertook a research project to investigate the impact of pen devices, particularly Microsoft Surface, at different age levels across three schools.

    Through three classroom case studies, it explored how Surface and the Surface Pen can promote new learning for students and the use of innovative pedagogies by teachers. The complete findings are detailed in the Inking Your Thinking report which can be downloaded below and summarised here.

    The case study was conducted across three Victoria DET schools across four age groups:

    • Dallas Brooks Community Primary School
    • Horsham West Primary School
    • Hawkesdale P-12 College

    The research objectives can be summarised in this excerpt:

    "The study highlighted how naturally students use the Surface multimodal touchscreen, keyboard and pen to develop 21st century skills. Surface Pen, in particular, expanded their learning choices by enabling them to annotate images, maps and graphs and to write symbols, take notes and draw straight onto their devices. Teachers found that Surface devices opened a wider range of learning experiences, incorporating visual, oral, kinaesthetic and aural approaches. Students thrived on the opportunity to use them to learn independently, express their ideas and present and reflect on their learning."

    The research was designed to answer the following three questions:

    1. How can Surface devices be integrated into K-12 school settings to maximise learning?
    2. How does a 2-in-1 device with a stylus impact on learning scenarios in educational contexts?
    3. Do teachers and students think that 2-in-1 devices impact on the quality of learning, and the ways they represent their learning?

    Each case study involved students developing 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication as they engaged in new learning across different school subjects across the various year levels. Each case study consisted of learning scenarios that exemplify the various curriculum focus and leverage the power of the pen.

    The findings included teachers found that Surface devices opened a wider range of learning experiences, incorporating visual, oral, kinaesthetic and aural approaches. Students thrived on the opportunity to use them to learn independently, express their ideas and present and reflect on their learning.

    “Surface’s pen is an advantage, especially in Mathematics. Explain Everything is a really good app for Mathematics because they can record little videos with them talking... being able to write with Surface’s pen is especially good for fractions which are really hard to do on a laptop because you have to type them all in. So Mathematics is definitely more easily achieved on the touch device.” (Teacher at Hawkesdale interviewed)

    Seeing pen enabled devices have an impact at each level demonstrates that it’s not just high school maths and science that can benefit from a pen enabled device. Equipping learners at all levels with a digital stylus device can have great benefits for their learning. This and other related research can hopefully help schools make research and data based decisions on their choice of learning device for their students.

    The read the short and full reports please download either below.

    Download the Inking Your Thinking Short Report here.
    Download the Inking Your Thinking Long Report here.

  • The new Office is here!

    It’s here! Yesterday was the worldwide release of Office 2016 for Windows. This marks a milestone in delivering new value for Office 365 subscribers with a focus on collaboration, apps that work for you, a perfect pairing with Windows 10, and security features businesses will love. It also marks a new model for delivery, where subscribers can expect to get more frequent updates with new features and improvements. Along with Office 2016 for Windows, we have also released Office 2016 for Mac as a one-time purchase option, along with several new and enhanced Office 365 services.

    The new Office—takes the work out of working together

    Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating. It shouldn’t have to be. We set out to make working together easier and more impactful by building a suite of integrated apps and services that removes barriers and empowers teams to do and achieve more.

    Office has always been the go-to tool for helping individuals do their best work—whether for professional documents, powerful analyses or school presentations. People often start and end their work in Office, but there is often a messy middle that involves a lot of discussion—in person, by phone or via various tools—as well as multiple (sometimes conflicting) inputs. Today we are delivering a set of experiences that is built for making teamwork seamless.

    • We have had real-time co-authoring in all of our web apps since 2013. We are now taking it to the next level by building it directly into our native apps. With this release, we’re making co-authoring in Word real-time, which lets you see what others are writing immediately, as it happens. We’re committed to expanding real-time co-authoring to each of our native apps and you should expect to see more over time.
    • Skype for Business is now available in the client apps, allowing you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs. This same experience will be coming to Office Online later this fall. Skype for Business also has faster screen sharing and now adds the option to start a real-time co-authoring session from any conversation or meeting.
    • Keep teams connected with Office 365 Groups, now available as part of Outlook 2016 and in a new Outlook Groups app on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Office 365 Groups allows individuals to easily create public or private teams. Each group includes a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage for group files, and a shared OneNote notebook to keep the team productive.
    • Office 365 Planner helps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates and update status. Planner’s visual dashboards and email notifications help keep everyone informed on the overall progress of their initiative. Planner will be available in preview, to Office 365 First Release customers, starting next quarter.
    • Originally unveiled earlier this year, GigJam is today available in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016. GigJam is an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people.

    Works for you

    In today’s workplace, we have too many apps, devices and tools—we just don’t have enough time. Office is built to cut through the complexity and help you get things done quickly. It gets work done for you.

    Some highlights:

    • Outlook 2016 provides the smartest inbox yet, delivering lightning fast search, removing low priority mail automatically and making sure everyone on the To: line has the right access to modern, cloud-based attachments from OneDrive.
    • We also have significant new updates to OneDrive for Business coming later this month across sync, browser, mobile, IT control and developer experiences. The highlight is the preview of the next generation sync client for Windows and Mac, offering improved reliability and selective sync, as well as increased file size and volume limits.
    • Tell Me helps you easily and quickly find the right Office feature or command, and Smart Lookup brings insights from the web right into your documents. Previously available only in Office Online, Tell Me and Smart Lookup are now available across the Office 2016 client apps.
    • Excel 2016 now includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart-types to help you make the most of your data.
    • The cloud-powered most recently used documents list allows you to pick up right where you left off in seconds, because it travels with you across your devices whether working in Office Online, the mobile apps or in the 2016 client apps.

    Perfect with Windows 10

    While we have made a lot of progress on delivering Office cross-platform and remain committed to this strategy, we see Windows as being “home” for Office. Together, Office 365 and Windows 10 are the most complete solution for getting things done.

    • With Windows Hello, you can sign in to your PC and Office 365 with a simple look or a touch—no need to type a password anymore.
    • In the coming months, Cortana will get even smarter and more useful by gathering intelligence on Office 365 through Outlook 2016 support.
    • With the Office Mobile apps and Continuum on Windows phones, your phone can act as a desktop, and you can project, create or edit your presentation or sales budget from your phone to a monitor while using the same phone to take notes with the OneNote app.
    • Sway on Windows 10 was released in early August, and customers love it! It has received a 4.6/5 app store ranking, with customers calling it “funtastic,” “brilliant” and “elegant.” People love Sway’s simple and intuitive yet powerful approach to next-generation digital storytelling. With Sway, you provide the content, and Sway creates beautiful, shareable, interactive stories that look great on any screen.
    • Our Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) have also received great reception and 4+ app store rankings. Customers say they are touch-friendly, fast and easy to use—making them wonderful for on-the-go-productivity

    Office 2016 for Mac

    In July, we released Office 2016 for Mac to our Office 365 customers. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote are a significant step forward and provide the best of both worlds for Mac users—a familiar Office experience paired with the best of the Mac platform. The level of engagement and excitement about this Office for Mac release has surpassed our expectations. As promised in July, today Office 2016 for Mac will also be available as a one-time purchase.

    Ongoing Office 365 customer value

    Whew—that was a lot! With this release, we’re also shifting the cadence of Office on Windows to feel much more like the cadence we have on the Office mobile and web apps, which release every month with new value. So, going forward, Office 365 customers will now enjoy new features and capabilities delivered continuously in the Office desktop applications as part of their subscription. It’s a new day for our desktop apps.

    And as a bit of a teaser, here are some examples of the types of new features and benefits Office 365 customers will see:

    • Built for teamwork—We’re committed to rich co-authoring and collaboration across our native clients, starting in Word 2016, with other big advances in collaboration coming throughout the year. By the end of 2015, we’ll introduce Office 365 Groups insights and discovery in Office Delve. In addition, we will have a new generation of personal work analytics in Office Delve that will help individuals, teams and organizations to be more effective at work by understanding their reach and impact, time allocation and network.
    • Works for you—For those of you who are excited about our new charts and forecasting, we will be delivering even more new charts, formulas, connectors and other Excel capabilities throughout the year. (If you’re interested in telling us which charts and charting features you’d like to see first, we have a survey going on our Excel Facebook page right now!). We also have some very exciting developments in the pipeline for PowerPoint that will make it easier to design and deliver presentations to wow and engage your audience.
    • Perfect on Windows 10—We are especially excited about how even more valuable your personal assistant Cortana can be when she has insights from Office. This will start to allow Cortana to unlock helpful scenarios, like retrieving your documents, preparing for meetings and more.

    Get started

    We want to thank all of our Preview customers who have been with us since as early as February, trying out the new apps, giving us feedback, and helping to shape the final product. Your feedback has been invaluable, and we thank you for helping make the best Office yet.

    We hope you are excited as we are about the new Office. Buy it, try it or learn more—but please keep your feedback coming!

    • Are you ready to purchase? Buy Office 365 to get the new 2016 apps.
    • Are you an existing Office 365 customer who is ready to upgrade? Go here for instructions on how to upgrade to Office 2016 for home, or here for business customers.
    • Do you want to learn more? Go to
  • Innovation in NZ's tertiary education ICT sector recognised

    University of Otago virtual student desktop wins Supreme Award at the 2015 Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards

    The University of Otago has taken out the Supreme Award at the Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with the Tertiary Education ICT Conference.

    Held in Dunedin on August 27th as part of the 33rd Annual Tertiary ICT Conference, the Microsoft Innovation Awards celebrate ICT excellence within the tertiary education sector.

    The University won the award for its delivery of a virtual desktop to students that provides a consistent learning environment for over 30,000 students across their far flung campuses, from its main Dunedin campus, to students in over 30 countries.

    The virtual desktop was described by the Award judges as significant innovation at scale, which demonstrably improved the learning experience for the University’s students and provided them with a consistent anytime, anywhere access to the learning environment.

    The three categories for the 2014 awards were Excellence in Technology Delivery, Excellence in Technology Innovation, and Excellence in Technology for Learning, Research and Students.

    As well as winning the Supreme Award, the University of Otago virtual student desktop project won the Excellence in Technology Innovation category prize. The other two categories were both won by the Waikato Institute of Technology, which won the Excellence in Technology Delivery category with its Data Transport project, and won the Excellence in Technology for Learning, Research and Students for its Student Enrolment project utilising Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. 

    Each category winner was awarded a $3,000 prize package, and the Supreme Award winner also took away the Microsoft Innovation Award trophy.

    Evan Blackman, Education Sector Manager at Microsoft New Zealand, says it was impressive to see the New Zealand education institutes leading the way with innovative use of cloud services, and projects which were having an impact at scale to deliver better outcomes for the institution'staff and students.

    “The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding innovation and dedication we see in the use of technology to improve learning and research results in the New Zealand tertiary education sector.”

    The Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards are another example of Microsoft’s commitment to the education sector. Other initiatives include the Partners in Learning programme, supporting student internships through the Microsoft Student Accelerator programme, and leading software solutions designed to facilitate learning through the use of technology.

  • ShareThePoint offering valuable courses for teachers

    ShareThePoint are providing courses to teachers in Whanganui, Auckland and Hawkes Bay on Office 365, SharePoint and OneNote. 

    Course duration: TWO 1/2  Days            Course cost: $100 (plus GST) each

    There are two courses specific to the role of those attending

    1. Class Sites and Teacher Resources in SharePoint/OneNote for Teachers

    This course is for anyone who is using SharePoint for a School or Staff Intranet and is responsible for maintaining the classroom site and/or a OneNote Classroom Notebook (see outline below). It is an introduction for people who are new to SharePoint 2013 and want to use it for classroom sites, class blog sites, and document management.

    2.  SharePoint/OneNote for IT Administrators

    This course is for anyone who is responsible for creating and maintaining the SharePoint environment (see outline below). It is an introduction for people who are new to SharePoint 2013 and want to use it for staff intranets, classroom sites, teacher resources and also learn how to manage permissions and navigation.

    NOTE: This course is for SCHOOLS who have already deployed, or are close to deploying, Office 365.

    These courses are subsidised by Microsoft and are therefore offered at the low cost of $100 per half-day.

    Attendees are required to bring their own laptop.

    Course dates

    Whanganui – 14 October, Auckland – 28 October , Hawkes Bay – 3 November

    This course is also available as a private on-site course, where an instructor will com​e to your school and train 12 -16 people in any or all of the modules listed. Please contact ShareThePoint​ for pricing.​

    Course prerequisites 

    Attendees should have experience with Internet Explorer and Office products such as Word, Excel or Outlook. Previous experience with SharePoint (any version) is ideal but not required.

    Course outlines

    MORNING (8.30am-12.30pm): Class Sites/OneNote for Teachers

    Designing and building a personal class site using web parts and collaborative tools.

    Register here.


    • Demonstration of What is Possible, Site Structure and Layout
    • Finding Your Way Around
    • Working with Content


    • Editing the Home page
    • Inserting Videos
    • Announcements, Discussion Boards and using Yammer


    • Classifying Documents
    • What is a View?
    • Sorting and Filtering Documents
    • Sharing Documents
    • Migrating Content from your Shared Drives


    • Creating New Pages
    • Working with Pictures
    • Using Web Parts to add content to pages


    • High Level Overview
    • Managing Permissions for Class Sites


    • Using the OneNote Class Notebook Creator within you Class Site
    • Managing Permissions

    AFTERNOON (1-5pm): SharePoint/OneNote for IT Administrators

    Register here.


    • Home Site for School and/or Staff Intranet
    • Available Options
    • Creating a New Page
    • Creating a New Site
    • Managing Shared Resources
    • Site Templates
    • Set up – Site Features


    • Introducing Permissions
    • Securing the Site Pages Library
    • Updating Member Permissions
    • Checking Permissions
    • Managing Unique Permissions


    • Introducing Navigation
    • Changing the Global Navigation
    • Changing the Quick Launch


    • Migrating Documents from File Shares
    • Managing Metadata Updates
    • Archiving of Documents, Sites and Class Notebooks.


    • Installing the OneNote Class Notebook Creator App
    • Planning for Storage


    • Overview of the SharePoint Online Admin Center
    • Managing Promoted Sites
    • Creating Site Collections
    • Managing Storage

    To register for these courses, visit ShareThePoint

  • We are now looking for Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts!

    Microsoft are recruiting New Zealand teachers to become MIE Experts!

    The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert program is an exclusive program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers in the effective use of technology for better learning and student outcomes.

    MIE Experts work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education. They advocate and share their thoughts on effective use of technology in education with peers and policy makers. They provide insight for Microsoft on new products and tools for education, and they exchange best practices as they work together to promote innovation in teaching and learning.

    The MIE Expert program is a 3-year program. If at the end of three years, you want to continue as an expert, you will need to complete a new self-nomination form and demonstrate that you have continued to grow as an educator by learning new technologies and applying them in your classroom in innovative ways.

    To apply, simply fill out a self-nomination form

    Who is an MIE Expert?

    We are looking for self-driven educators who are passionate about their careers, inspiring students with outside-the-box thinking and a true collaborative spirit. Resourceful and entrepreneurial, they relish the role of change agent, and work to achieve excellence in education using advanced technologies and social media.

    When educators become MIE Experts, they have the following opportunities:

    • Receive publicity and promotion via social media and other Microsoft channels

    • Professional and career development opportunities and certifications

    • Share their expertise with world-renowned educators and specialists to scale their innovations

    • Present in Microsoft’s global EduCast Webinar series (

    • Participate in focus groups giving feedback to a development teams on Microsoft products

    • Join invitation-only special events from Microsoft

    • Share their passion for Microsoft with peers and policymakers, and through social media, blogs and videos

    • Test out new products while in beta form

    • Represent Microsoft through product demonstrations, and by attending events

    • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training and coaching colleagues and inviting them to join the online Microsoft Educator Community

    • Collaborate with innovative educators across the globe using Skype in the Classroom

    • Host regional events showcasing uses of Microsoft technology in the classroom

    • Achieve eligibility to attend the Microsoft Global Educator Exchange Event (E2), Spring 2016

    How to apply

    Step 1. Review the program opportunities and activities

    MIE Experts are advocates for using Microsoft technology to improve student learning. In a year, MIE Experts typically:

    • Attend EduCast Webinars (
    • Become a part of a focus group giving feedback to a development team on a Microsoft product
    • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training and coaching colleagues and inviting them to join the online Microsoft Educator Community
    • Develop your own capacity as a thought leader by:Try out new products as they come out and are in beta form
      • Speaking at conferences
      • Regularly participating in social media such as Facebook and Twitter referencing #MSFTEDU and using our Social Chorus tool to amplify your messages.
      • Authoring a blog that highlights innovative uses of Microsoft technologies in the classroom
      • Presenting in local or global webcasts
    • Collaborate with innovative educators across the globe using Skype in the Classroom
    • Host regional events showcasing Microsoft technology
    • Mentor 3-5 colleagues throughout the year and encourage them to apply to become an Expert Educator

    Step 2. Join the Microsoft Educator Community

    As part of the self nomination process, You will be asked to tell us a little about yourself:

    • Why you would like to consider yourself to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.
    • Describe a lesson you have taught in which you have incorporated Microsoft technologies in an innovative ways.
    • How do you think being and MIE Expert will impact your teaching.

    Be creative, Be bold! Simply tell us about you in any way you choose, a video, a hosted document, a Sway, a Mix whatever format you are most comfortable with! You will need to submit a URL to your chosen method of response.

    Join the Microsoft Educator Community and fully complete your profile.

    MIE Experts will be selected by the regional Microsoft representative based on the quality of the responses to the self-nominations form, the level of innovation and use of Microsoft tools described in the learning activity and the level of detail in how becoming a part of the program will impact both teaching and student learning.

    Applications to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert are open now! Simply visit this self-nomination form to apply.  

    For more information on the program, visit the MIE Expert website

  • Announcement: a new tool for educators, Snip

    Snipping is an everyday task for millions of Office users. They paste screenshots into emails, documents, presentations, notebooks, etc., and write text explaining the concept that the screen snips help illustrate. But imagine if you could dictate that story—in your own voice—and save it as part of the snip. Or you could explain an idea while white-boarding it with digital ink. Or take a photo with your webcam and paste it in an email or embed it on a website without ever leaving the application you created it in.

    Snip makes all these things possible while keeping the basic task of snipping just as easy as it always was. But therein lies the challenge: a big part of designing Snip was getting people to see the possibilities of what they could create with it. Or as Snip’s tagline says, “Why just show when you can show and tell?”

    It was a tricky concept for people to wrap their heads around because it represents a new way of performing a familiar task and making the result of that task much more powerful and easier to share. But once people saw examples of media-rich snips, which you can see on the Snip website, they instantly got the concept. And they started to change the way they work. “Sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful. Snip is transforming the way people think about communicating their ideas and providing feedback on others’ ideas,” explained Anoop Gupta, distinguished scientist and leader of the Snip team.

    “The team that built Snip is also the team that is responsible for Office Mix,” added Aravind Bala, partner engineering manager for Snip. “We’ve learned that Office Mix users who leverage the ability to annotate content with voice and inking love it and use it all the time to communicate messages and ideas. So we developed Snip as a lightweight way of making use of these capabilities within a process that is performed daily by some users. Our job is to present snipping in a way that’s easy to use and compelling. Over time, people’s behavior will change.”

    “Much of the inspiration for Snip came from our work with educators and students,” said Jim Federico, principal product manager for Snip. “Snip is already being used by educators to deliver personalised feedback to students, and students are using Snip to share their creativity with teachers and their classmates. Since releasing this tool a short time ago, we’ve been impressed with the amount of usage by Windows users. We’ve also been humbled by the amount of feedback we’ve received from people who are helping to shape our vision for this tool.”

    Download Snip and give it a try! You can send us your feedback to help make Snip even more powerful.  

  • Imagine Cup Earth, an exciting new contest for students!

    Code With NASA Science!

    Imagine Cup Earth is a new contest for students ages 6-18 in which you’ll use computer programming to create a game, simulation, or story inspired by the kinds of earth science that NASA and other researchers do every day. 18 winning students will win prizes totaling $36,000! You can read the official rules here.

    Do I need to know coding?

    We have two skill level brackets so you can compete in the one that’s right for you:

    Beginner: No coding experience necessary! You can learn to code with free online coding kits from Microsoft Imagine and make your first game, app, or science project in about half an hour using our free learn-to-code tools Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop, or Project Spark. After doing a couple of those coding kits, you should be ready to start thinking about your project for Imagine Cup Earth.

    Here are some suggestions to get you started on your coding journey:

    • If you’re interested in making a game, try using Kodu Game Lab on your Windows PC and our KoduMan coding kit to build your first game. If you’re not on a Windows PC, try using Microsoft Touch Develop which is a website that works on any computer or touchscreen device like a phone or tablet; the Brick Breaker coding kit is a great place to start.
    • If you want to try coding an app you can use on your phone or tablet, try Microsoft Touch Develop and our Magic Ball coding kit.
    • If coding a story intrigues you, you could try using Project Spark on your Xbox One or Windows 8 or 10 PC with our Lunchtime Blues coding kit.

    Intermediate: For this bracket, you’ll create a web app in the language of your choice such as HTML5/CSS/Javascript, or Python, or anything else. The only requirement is that it runs in a web browser. You can either host your project on your own website or use our free-for-students Microsoft Azure cloud hosting service. Your web app will use real earth-science data provided by NASA to explore the role of chlorophyll and algae in our world’s oceans.

    What is the deadline to submit my project?

    We know that around the world, students have many different school schedules. So we have three global deadlines and you can pick the one that’s right for you! They are:

    First Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT December 15, 2015

    Second Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT March 31, 2016

    Third Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT June 15, 2016

    You can enter any round you want. You can even enter multiple rounds – if you don’t win one round you can make a new project or improve your old one and try again!

    What are the prizes?

    Six students will win a prize for each round, three in each of our two skill level brackets:

    Beginner Bracket

    Intermediate Bracket

    For the best earth-science themed game, app, or simulation using Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop, or Project Spark.

    For the best web app exploring an earth-science topic using actual NASA data.

    1st Prize: $3,000

    1st Prize: $3,000

    2nd Prize: $2,000

    2nd Prize: $2,000

    3rd Prize: $1,000

    3rd Prize: $1,000

    What should my project be about?

    Thanks to our partnership with NASA, we have some great inspirational material for you to start with.

    Projects for Beginner Coders

    If you’re competing in our Beginner skill bracket, please take a look at these four articles from NASA’s Earthdata website and choose one as the inspiration for your project. For each article we have provided some project ideas. You can use one of our ideas or make up your own! But you must pick one of these four articles for your project.

    Zebras without borders: Zebras who have been unable to migrate for generations started doing so. How did they know where to go and when was the right time to leave?

    • Make a game about animals finding a new migration route
    • Create a simulation where you adjust temperature and rainfall until you successfully trigger an animal migration
    • Tell a story about how you imagine animals might find new migration routes

    Shadowing the tuna boats: Fishing boat captains have recorded data on fish harvests for hundreds of years and scientists use it to study the depletion of tuna. Scientists are taking that data and applying it to a simulation of how captains make decisions about when and where to fish.

    • Make a game about directing fishing boats to only catch mature tuna and not young ones
    • Create a simulation where you set quotas on how many tuna fishing boats are allowed to catch and see how the tuna population changes year to year based on your quotas
    • Tell a story about being a fishing boat captain who wants to keep the tuna population healthy

    Prosperity shining: Satellites have measured the amount of light generated by cities since the 1970s. Scientists can correlate light levels with prosperity – the richer the city, the brighter the lights.

    • Make a game where you add more and more lights to a town before the satellite passes overhead
    • Create a simulation where you adjust the prosperity levels of cities and see how their brightness changes
    • Tell a story about how a small town grows larger and the townspeople keep adding more lights to their buildings

    Pedestrians of Eddy Avenue: Eddying currents in the ocean near Australia help create vibrant ecosystems.

    • Make a game where you move invasive species out of an eddy area to protect the local wildlife and plants
    • Create a simulation where you adjust the location and speed of eddies and see the result on the ecosystem
    • Tell a story about a family of hungry sea urchins who eat too much kelp, making it hard for other wildlife to survive

    Projects for Intermediate Coders

    For this skill bracket, you will create a web app that uses real scientific data showing algae levels in Earth’s oceans measured by a satellite detecting Chlorophyll-A in the water. This data is used by scientists to detect unusually large blooms of phytoplankton algae, often caused by excess nitrogen from farm fertilizer runoff, which in turn can deplete an area of water of oxygen and kill the fish living there. But they also use the satellite data showing Chlorophyll-A to measure other things, such as the movement of ocean currents, jets, and plumes. Once you can see something, you can measure it and use it in all kinds of ways.

    Here’s the NASA Earthdata article you can start with: Cleaner water from space.

    What you do with that data is up to you! Here are some suggestions:

    • Find another data source for average daily temperature at a particular point in an ocean. (Or one for pollution levels, or proximity to agricultural areas, or anything else.) Write code that connects the two data sets and produce a web app that lets the user examine possible relationships. Does temperature affect phytoplankton development? Does it grow more heavily along major cargo shipping lanes? Is there more of it near major cities? You can explore any of these topics by connecting two data sets and coding an interface that lets the user examine and experiment with these connections.
    • Scientists in Sweden are harvesting excess algae growth and turning it into biogas. Create a game where the player identifies large algae blooms and collects the excess algae to preserve fish stocks. Use the scientific data in your gameplay so the player can zoom to real dates and locations where algae blooms happened and attempt to harvest the algae before it kills too many fish.
    • Find a particularly large algae bloom in the data set. Code a web app that tells the story of that bloom – where it happened, what might have caused it. Give the user the ability to explore the story interactively, tracking the growth of the bloom over time or digging into linked online resources that can shed more light on the story.

    You can download the data file here.

    Read more articles about algae blooms, fish kills, and chlorophyll levels here:

    What do I submit?

    For both skill brackets, your entry will consist of the following:

    • Project Summary: Include a short description of your submission and how it applies to the topic
    • Project URL: This is a link to your actual software project.

    If you use Kodu Game Lab, you will share your project to the Kodu community site:

    If you use Microsoft Touch Develop, you’ll share it at the Touch Develop community site:

    If you use Project Spark, you’ll share it at the Spark community site:

    If you build a web app and host it online, provide the URL for your web app.

    If you build a web app and want to submit it as a .zip file containing everything needed to run it locally in a web browser, please upload the .zip file to a cloud storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive, make the file public, and provide the URL to download the file.

    • Project Video URL: Record a video of no more than 3 minutes showing your project while you explain what you’ve done. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just use a smartphone or webcam to record the video so you can tell our judges about your project. When you’re done, upload your video to any website or to a cloud storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive, and then provide the URL to view your video.
    • Project Screenshots: Take 3 screenshots of your project in action and upload them to our site.
    • Consent Form: If you're 13 or younger, you'll need to download the Consent Form and have your parent or guardian complete it.

    How do I get started?

    Register now for Imagine Cup Earth! You’ll need to create a Microsoft Account first if you don’t already have one, and if you’re 13 years old or younger you’ll need your parents’ help. Then sign up for the contest and visit your Dashboard where you’ll find the submission form for your entry.
  • Free tools for teachers on the Microsoft Educator Network

    The Microsoft Educator Network has made it easy for you to find the resources you need for the classroom! Free tools for teachers is a comprehensive library of guides, learning activities, tutorials, and helpful resources to help teachers make the most of their favourite classroom apps and Microsoft products. 

    Here's just a few of the great resources you can find on the site:

    Accessibility Guide for Educators
    Access a selection of resources designed to help educators ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, special needs and learning style differences, have access to learning tools to support their learn. Find step-by-step tutorials to introduce you to some of the most commonly used accessibility features in Microsoft products, and read about case study schools who have successfully implemented accessible learning options using technology. 

    Get handy tips and tricks to help teachers and students analyse, manage, and share classroom material in new ways. Find helpful "how-tos" and video tutorials to help you get the most out of Excel in the classroom. 

    Everything you need to get started with Kodu! Teach your students programming by letting them have fun creating and playing their own games. Find all of the resources you need to get Kodu set up in your classroom, including the Kodu Classroom Kit - a set of lesson plans and activities to help teachers, after school program instructors and administrators run a variety of classes using Kodu. 

    Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum
    Help your students live and thrive in the 21st century digital world with Microsoft's Digital Literacy Curriculum. These e-learning materials help you teach and assess computer concepts and skills so your students can use technology to develop new social and economic opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities. Gain access to three levels of coursework, from beginner to advanced, with modules available for both online and offline use. 

    OneNote Toolkit for Teachers
    Learn how to effectively use OneNote in your lesson planning and classroom. The OneNote Toolkit for Teachers is a OneNote notebook with step-by-step interactive lessons that cover everything from the basics of OneNote all the way through lesson planning and ePortfolio concepts. Examples of these concepts are also built into the notebook. 

    Office 365
    This extensive library includes lots of great resources to help you get the most out of Office 365, including: 50 ways to use Office 365 in Education; a tutorial on Flipping the Classroom with Office 365; and an eBook on how Office 365 can help the teacher and students in their day to day work. 

    Head to Free Tools for Teachers to get ahead with your favourite apps and Microsoft products! 

  • Tools to Unlock Learning: The OneNote for Learning Literacy Toolbar

    This post has been taken from the Microsoft in Education Blog 

    On the same day in August 2015, two important announcements were made on different sides of the world. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a new report on secondary school attainment, showing that progress is slowing just as "upper secondary schooling has been transformed from a vehicle towards upward social mobility into a minimum requirement for life in modern societies."

    More than any other skill, literacy is the key to school completion, employment and earnings in life, according to the report. The OECD goes on to assert that literacy for life is best developed in context and with formative feedback.

    The other announcement, out of Redmond, Washington, was far more encouraging: highlighting the creation of the OneNote for Learning literacy toolbar, to be released later this year. The toolbar embeds tools for developing literacy into an app designed for contextual formative learning.

    Developed by the OneNote team and literacy experts, the OneNote for Learning literacy toolbar provides "enhanced dictation powered by Bing speech recognition services, immersive reading that uses Windows services of simultaneous audio text playback with highlighting, and natural language processing that relies on Microsoft Research."

    Dr. Betsy Doone, professor of Special Education at the University of South Florida, stated:

    Although created to meet the unique learning needs of students with dyslexia, OneNote for Learning literacy toolbar provides access for all learners, ensuring that the tenets of Universal Design for Learning are met. Software programs that provide a range of attributes create accessibility opportunities for a range of learners, increasing functionality and learning outcomes. English language learners, students with disabilities, and students with limited academic opportunities all benefit from OneNote toolbar. Providing access to learning to all students benefits our future.

    The involvement of experts in the building of the OneNote for Learning literacy toolbar has paid off in the form of a strongly research-founded education resource. Assessment that centers on formative feedback is among the most effective practices. [1]

    OneNote enables frequent feedback, as well as reflection on learning that develops metacognition supported by research in persistence [1].

    OneNote has been shown to improve student exam performance when it is used to prepare and to reflect on learning [2], and to improve note taking quantity and efficiency in students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia [3] . Students who use OneNote as their learning hub are prepared to be independent learners who are accomplished in the 21st century skills needed in higher education and workplaces that have adopted OneNote [4] [5] [6]. OneNote also supports knowledge sharing in distributed teams of the type students will join in college and career [7].

    The strongest impact on reading skills comes from attention to spatial and auditory perception--skills like those enabled by the OneNote for learning literacy toolbar. According to Hattie, writing skills are best developed through strategies and practice in planning and revising, especially in peer groups, activities that are effective in OneNote. It is this type of "comprehensible input" that seems to be the most direct path to acquiring the grammar and vocabulary of a language, and to applying the language in real communicative situations.

    OneNote can support classroom and out-of-class comprehensible input through engagement in a receptive stage of reading and listening followed by a productive stage of speaking and writing -- because all of the tools are easily accessed and learned. Overall writing ability has been shown to increase significantly with tools like OneNote, with the largest increases noted in groups who used mobile devices in all stages of the writing process [9]. And, research has shown that reluctant readers were more motivated to read eBooks, which is flexibly enabled with the OneNote for Learning literacy toolbar [10].

    [1]  Hattie, J. (2013). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London: Routledge.  [1]  Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

    [2]  Michaelsen, A. S., & Mohr, T. C. (2010). Better exam results: how students and school leadership learn when introducing new technology such as OneNote in school.

    [3]  Garbo, R., Mangiatordi, A., & Negri, S. (2012). A Computer Based Support to Guided Note Taking: A Preliminary Study on University Students with Dyslexia. International Journal of Technology and Inclusive Education (IJTIE), 1(2), 52-59.

    [4]  Beheshti, M. V., Jambhekar, K., & Deloney, L. A. (2010). Utility of Microsoft OneNote for the Efficient Aggregation and Dissemination of Learning Materials in Radiologic Education. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 7(11), 893-897.

    [5]  Barber, C., Haque, N. & Gardner, B. (2009). one point: Combining OneNote and SharePoint to facilitate knowledge transfer. Drug Discovery Today (14) 17-18, 845-

    [6]  Penciuc, D., Abel, M. H., & Van Den Abeele, D. (2013). Support for Collaborative Building of a Railway Technical Solution during Tendering. In Information Systems, E-learning, and Knowledge Management Research (pp. 301-310). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

    [7]  Sharp, H., Giuffrida, R., & Melnik, G. (2012). Information flow within a dispersed agile team: a distributed cognition perspective. In Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming (pp. 62-76). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

    [8]  Scott III, R. H. (2011). Tableau Économique: Teaching economics with a tablet computer. The Journal of Economic Education, 42(2).

    [9]  Warschauer, M. (2009). Learning to write in the laptop classroom. Writing and Pedagogy, 1(1), 101-112.

    10] Maynard, S. (2010). The impact of e-books on young children's reading habits. Publishing Research Quarterly, 26 , 236–248.

  • Introducing Creative Coding through Games and Apps - a free course!

    We are excited to announce the availability of a new course to get your students hooked on computer science! Creative Coding through Games and Apps is now available for schools across the world, for free! 

    Creative Coding through Games and Apps engages early-teens in their first extended exploration of computer science. Students learn how to code by working in a real software development environment to design, program and publish mobile apps and games. Learning to code by creating real products, students discover how to make amazing things and have an impact on their world. 

    Creative Coding through Games and Apps is designed for a broad range of students, including those who may have never before considered programming. The course can be delivered with success by any teacher, regardless of computer science background, and includes all necessary materials for teacher prep, lesson plans, presentations, student assignments, homework, projects and tests. Featuring online and in-class lessons that emphasise hands-on coding, the course can be taught via any modern web browser on phones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers. The course length is flexible, requiring 6, 9, 12 or 18 weeks, depending on the time available in your school. And the combination of online plus in-class resources provides flexibility in teaching style, allowing teachers to choose the right balance for their students of in-class instruction and out-of-class study.

    For more information on the Creative Coding through Games and Apps course, check out the Course Evaluation for an introduction video and downloadable package with sample materials and an overview of the course. 

    If you're ready to get started, head to the complete Creative Coding through Games and Apps course and download the full set of free resources! 

    Give your students a firm foundation in computer science and prepare them for today's computer-intensive world with this free course. Get started now! 

  • The journey of a U.S. school integrating OneNote

    This blog post has been taken from the Office Blog, written by Michael Smith and Palie Cantu of the Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Washington State.

    When the Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart began a 1:1 program back in 1996, the earliest educational technology beneficiaries were those mainly integrating word processing and Internet access into their curriculum, such as English and Social Studies. The technology was not quite as user-friendly to the Science, Math and other less keyboard-friendly disciplines. When we moved to tablet PC devices in 2003, we discovered digital inking and soon a whole new world of educational technology integration opened for all curricula.

    With the new tablet PCs, we explored a third-party digital inking solution, but quickly moved to Windows Journal for ease of use and accessibility. The novelty of inking was enticing, but it still wasn’t quite what we needed in an educational environment. We needed more than just the ink capabilities— we needed organisation, structure, flexibility and simplicity.

    Upon finding OneNote 2003, a small group of math and science teachers explored the new tool and began incorporating it right away. Because of the ease of digital ink, complex symbols and drawings could be created without awkward keyboard stokes or software add-ins. As with any good ideas, other disciplines took notice and soon followed.

    As our teachers and students explored OneNote, they found an integral tool that takes the ease of pencil and paper and combines it with built-in organization, automatic back-ups, audio /video recording capabilities, word processing, spreadsheet functions, graphing tools and the ability to change the size of the digital paper. Let’s not forget a student favourite—colour ink customization for differentiated learning techniques!

    Collaborating with the OneNote Class Notebook Creator

    One thing that was missing for us was the ability to easily share and collaborate with this new tool. Distributing the work from teachers to students and back again was cumbersome. It was a valuable process, so we found ways to do it via clumsy combinations of email and posting files to our LMS portal.  This proved to be quite a lengthy process with lots of potential points of failure. There were a few other schools, blessed with talented programmers on staff who found ways to make sharing and collaboration happen within their network infrastructure. Unfortunately, we, as well as most schools in the world, did not have this resource. Microsoft integrated these techniques and now, as an Office 365 school, using the OneNote Class Notebook Creator tool, we can share our notebooks from teacher to student, administration to faculty and more broadly.

    Now with our current shared notebook setup, the teacher places the information in their OneNote notebook, it shows up automatically in the students’ notebooks. The students add their responses and it’s viewable by the teachers in their own notebooks in a matter of seconds! As early adopters of the new OneNote tool, we were beta testing a version of shared notebooks last school year.

    Individualized Learning

    Teachers can now create their own digital texts by gathering sources and organising them in OneNote notebooks shared with their students by means of the OneNote Class Notebook Creator tool. Gone now are the days when these teachers must ask students to NOT mark up the textbooks.

    In these digital textbooks, students are ENCOURAGED to highlight, colour, circle and annotate the information to benefit their unique learning styles. There are probably many textbooks still teaching that Pluto is a planet and have maps with incorrect country names and borders. With our shared notebooks providing digital textbooks, we don’t have to wait years for updated information.

    The metaphorical “light goes on”

    As a school with 18 years of 1:1 experience, we’re used to many national and international visitors coming to see our teachers and students in action.  These visiting educators and administrators have often heard of OneNote and might have a theoretical concept of this process prior to setting foot on campus. But when they enter our classrooms for the first time, seeing the engagement of the students, the simplicity of the solution and the natural fit in an educational environment—the metaphorical “light goes on”—and theoretical understanding meets tangible comprehension. Like any other teacher, these “a ha!” moments of realization are highlights of my day.