NZ Education Blog

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

NZ Education Blog

  • Get Microsoft Office for free!

    There are now 17 tertiary institutions across New Zealand which are providing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to their students free of charge!


    What does this mean? The latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote are available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs and Macs, plus 5 tablets (including iPad!)
    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive
    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software
    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file fidelity
      If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit 
      this link and sign in using your institution login and password.



    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.


    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free. We’ll keep you updated and provide direct links to other institutions that are providing this exciting benefit in future blog posts.

  • SharePoint Online introduces the Touch Design mobile experience

    We are so excited to announce that the new SharePoint now allows for more innovative interactions with SharePoint sites and content on mobile devices: contemporary views, device channels, and new native apps (SkyDrive Pro apps and SharePoint Newsfeed apps).

    Mark Kashman, a Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint team this week blogged about how, "From the start, touch has been a key area of investment across all of the products in the new Office, and SharePoint is no exception. Now we're making SharePoint even more touch friendly. The new Touch Design mobile pages enhance the touch experience of two core SharePoint components, SkyDrive Pro and Sites.

    "Now, when you access SharePoint Online from smaller devices-from 11-inch screens down to 4-inch-you have a new app-like experience that enables you to work your best with your documents and team sites," Mark adds.

    Take a look at a few screen shots of SharePoint on 11-inch and 4-inch screens:

    The Touch Design view of "my documents" in SkyDrive Pro on an 11-inch touch tablet device.

    Backstage of the Touch Design experience on a 4-inch screen showing navigation access to Office 365 tiles. After clicking into the SkyDrive Pro tile, you see a "shared with me" documents pivot.

    To find out more, read Mark's full article here. Tweet us your thoughts! @MSNZEducation.

  • Building formative assessment into game-based learning - an innovative example!

    Game-based learning (GBL) is an innovative practice that is working to engage kids in learning important 21st century skills and content. In this sixth grade classroom at Quest to Learn, ongoing feedback is embedded throughout the course of a collaborative geography game called Galactic Mappers. Check it out!

    Game-based learning is predicted to take the education sector by storm as the awareness of 21st Century learning increases throughout the world. Why? When a child progresses through a game, they are learning; if they are actively engaged in the game, their minds are coming to understand a new system. Whether the game is for entertainment or serious purposes, this is true. So, when learning in the classroom feels dull for a student, they are not being engaged and motivated by the learning process. Learning is about acquiring the skills and thinking processes necessary to respond appropriately when under pressure. What gamification gives our students is effective, interactive experiences that motivate their minds by actively involving them in the learning process.

    Windows 8 has numerous learning based apps that are taking classrooms by storm. Among our favourites are Physamajig, which allows students to watch their own sketches be translated into realistic physics objects and Wordament, a very addictive word game, that provides a fun way to improve vocabulary.

  • Tertiary students get free Office 365 ProPlus!


    Awesome! You're keen to make the most of this amazing offer to get Office 365 ProPlus free of charge!

    But what does this mean?

    When you download Office 365 ProPlus you get the latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. These are all available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    You can:

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs or Macs, plus 5 tablets/mobile devices (including iPad!)
    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive
    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software
    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file compatibility

    If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit this link and sign in using your institution login and password.

    So, what's the next step?

     Students at the tertiary institutions listed below are eligible to get Office 365 ProPlus for FREE! Click on your institution's name for more instructions and to get started!


    If your tertiary institution is not listed, you can still check whether you are eligible here.


    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.


    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free.


  • We invite you to join the Microsoft in Education Cloud Forum!

    The Microsoft NZ Education team has created the Microsoft in Education Cloud Forum, a place for Kiwi educators and school IT decision makers to collaborate on all things cloud. The forum is designed to aid conversation and engagement around how to best utilise the cloud in improving learning outcomes and facilitating 21st century learning.

    It's a great channel to ask questions, provide and find recommendations and best practices from other schools and generally become more familiar about what's happening with the cloud in education. Current subgroups include "SharePoint as a Learning Management System (LMS) for education", "HELP with Office 365", "Upcoming Events" and "Learn Yammer". Some schools have even created school cluster discussion pages within the group.

    Having been running for a few months now, we're building up a fantastic membership of schools who have deployed Office 365 and are looking to learn more about its functions. We're loving watching this forum grow, and would like to invite readers of the NZ Education Blog to request an invitation if you are interested in joining!

  • Trading In The Whiteboard for OneNote and a Surface Pro

    Once again, Sam McNeill, the Director of ICT at St Andrew’s College, has blown us away with his innovative and creative use of technology in the classroom. Sam runs the St Andrew's College "eLearning Stories" blog which provides a virtual “look through the classroom window” into the exciting eLearning happenings in the various classrooms around the fully-independent, co-educational school for pre-school to Year 13. Recently he blogged this original post (here), about some of the great work a Year 9 Math class is doing with OneNote and Surface. You can read it below!

    This morning I was invited by Mr Ben Hilliam to sit in and observe one of his Year 9 Math classes. I was keen to do this as I knew the Maths Department had been experimenting with the combination of MS Onenote, a Microsoft Surface and a Miracast device to wirelessly broadcast the screen of the tablet through the classroom projector.

    The following video is a screencast of Mr Hilliam’s first 6 minutes of the lesson. He is writing on the Surface Pro directly, and using MS OneNote to record his voice and handwriting in the background:

    All students in this Year 9 class have read only access to this OneNote notebook so they can revise at anytime, and in this instance the lessons were being recorded for a student that was absent for the week. Once uploaded to YouTube, the link is inserted into the Notebook for student access.

    What impressed me about this section of the lesson was the ease of the technology – it essentially existed in the background and in many ways, it was a direct substitute for the role of a whiteboard. Mr Hilliam was still asking students questions back and forward and they were still coming up and pointing to places on the graph on the projected image on the whiteboard to indicate their answers. The big difference however was that this was being recorded digitally for later revision.

    Towards the end of last year we undertook training for a lot of 2014 Year 9 teachers and introduced them to the SAMR model. I recently came across a new poster for this:

    Explaining the SAMR model through coffee

    Explaining the SAMR model through coffee

    The teaching in this Year 9 Math class falls clearly in the augmentation range – the teaching is not obviously different however the technology operating in the background provides massive functional improvement. Students, both those absent and physically present in the class, can all revise the concepts being taught at anytime.

    Here are some photos of the students at work practicing the concepts that had been taught:

    A student reviewing the MS OneNote content recorded moments earlier by Mr Hilliam, and then practicing in his exercise book.

    A student reviewing the MS OneNote content recorded moments earlier by Mr Hilliam, and then practicing in his exercise book.

    Students around the room making using of their laptops to review / rewind the concepts as taught and recorded from the start of the lesson

    Students around the room making using of their laptops to review / rewind the concepts as taught and recorded from the start of the lesson

    Whilst the phrase “ubiquitousness of technology” is over used, this lesson did demonstrate that when used effectively, the technology is not at the forefront of the lesson. It was not gimmicky or flashy, instead it provided functional improvement to what was already a great lesson.

    I am excited to see how other curriculum areas make use of technology like this in their classrooms and will blog about these in the future. As the Director of ICT it’s important for me to support initiatives like this that trial how new technologies can be used in the classroom. On my recent trip to Edutech 2014 I trialled a MS Surface Pro 3, some of the only demonstration units outside of the USA, and was very impressed. I have pre-ordered one for our staff to trial once it is released and am interested to see at what point in the future touch screen devices like this may replace the traditional laptops given to staff.

  • Windows in the Classroom Tip #4: Office 365 – Creating consistency in your students’ daily lives

    Teaching our students to develop time management skills and learn how to prioritise their school, work and personal lives is never an easy task. During Windows in the Classroom seminars, our education specialists teach senior leadership teams and teachers from all over New Zealand how our expectations of students can be better met with 21st Century technology. One of the fantastic benefits of Office 365, is the way in which Microsoft Lync and Outlook work together to create a seamless and consistent system of communication between students and teachers.

    Check out the video above to get an idea of how students and teachers can benefit from Office 365. Want to find out more?

    Windows in the Classroom seminars finish at the end of June – and our schedule is filling up fast! You can host a session at your school or attend one in your area. All you need to do is register your interest by emailing

  • Top 100 Education Apps on Windows 8

    Let’s face it. Apps are now an integral part of our everyday lives. We use them to check the weather and check into a flight, to see when the next bus is coming, record notes, read books, play games and much more.

    A great outcome of the app revolution is the transformative learning that apps can help foster. There are thousands of education apps in the Windows marketplace from early learning “games” to study aids and even apps that will help you manage the classroom, with more being published every day.

    To get you started, we’ve curated a list of 100 education apps that we hope you’ll find helpful. You can access this by loading it below.

    For even more, visit: or go directly to the Windows Store.

  • 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! 

  • 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.  

  • 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

  • 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
  • Top Windows 8.1 apps for the classroom - how many are you using?

    Microsoft UK recently blogged about the top Education Apps in the Windows Store. We thought it was such a fantastic list, we wanted to share it with you. The post was written by Stuart Ball, the Partners in Learning UK manager, and gives a refreshingly honest insight into the benefits of these apps in facilitating 21st century learning. Enjoy!

    image OneNote Microsoft OneNote is your digital notebook for keeping track of what's important in your life. Jot down your ideas, keep track of classroom and meeting notes, clip from the web, make a to-do list as well as draw and sketch your ideas. OneNote is your one place to capture and organize everything.
    Logo Wordbrush Words have been trapped in straight lines for too long...set your words free! WordBrush allows you to draw text freely on the screen, each letter following the trace of your finger as though you were painting with a brush.
    Logo Kodu Kodu lets you create games through a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming.
    Logo Physamajig Just sketch something out and it is translated into a realistic physics object. Add attributes such as bounciness, friction, and joints - then create your own games by adding Behaviors to the objects.
    Logo Skitch Touch Skitch Touch is a free tool for communicating visually with friends, co-workers, and the world. Annotate images with arrows, shapes, text, and more. Use Skitch to sketch something new, mark up maps, screen captures, or even a photo.
    Logo QR Code Designers

    QR code design made easy! "QR Code Designer"
    The only application generating custom-designed QR codes.

    Logo Project Sienna Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is a new technology for app imagineers. Build Apps and databases without any programming.
    Logo Bing Translator The Bing Translator App for Windows is your companion when you need to quickly translate what you are looking at. Use your camera or just type the text you want to translate. Text and camera translation work offline with downloadable language packs, so you can get the power of Bing Translator on-the-go, even when you don't have an Internet connection
    Logo Fotor Fotor is the best all-in-one photo editing application. With cutting-edge tools including Basic Editing Tools, Brilliant Visual Effects, Frames, 1-Tap Enhance, Collage, Text, Tilt Shift and Raw Converter, all bundled together in one powerful package
    Logo Nearpod

    Nearpod is a synchronous solution for the use of mobile devices in the classroom. Create multimedia presentations with interactive features such as quizzes, videos, polls, drawing tools, and more

    Logo Socrative

    Educators can initiate formative assessments through quizzes, quick question polls, exit tickets and space races all with their Socrative Windows app. Socrative will instantly grade, aggregate and provide graphs of results to help you identify opportunities for further instruction. Save time and visualize student understanding when it matters, now!

    and currently best app I would pay for…. (and have done so!)

    image Createbook

    Why just read ebooks? When you can create your own!
    CreateBook is an easy to use App allowing users of all ages to create stunning eBooks which include text, video and a range of other media.

    And don’t forget they are Apps for Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, Khan Academy and LinkedIn. As well apps like these for teaching and practicing maths or spellings

    Logo iMath iMath is designed to help children under the age of 12 to improve math ability and develop interests in mathematics
    Logo The Spelling Bee

    'Bee' the bee! Fly between beautiful locations unscrambling words! As you figure out words you get points that will unlock rewards!
    Each level has a random theme that will help you figure out the mixed up word. If you can't guess the word, you can spell any shorter word and still get points!

    Already using some of these apps? Tweet us your thoughts! @MSNZEducation.

  • Thailand selects Office 365 for every student nationwide!

    This week, Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) is announcing a sweeping cloud education partnership with Microsoft, one that will provide 8 million students and 400,000 teachers throughout the country with free access to the world's best cloud-enabled productivity software, Microsoft Office 365 for Education. The deal will allow students and teachers throughout the country to create, connect and collaborate on a safe and secure platform. This is the largest cloud education initiative ever, and one that promises to foster sustainable growth and raise Thailand’s overall standard of living for generations to come.

    Partnerships like this are more critical today than ever before, with a recent IDC study citing skills developed through Microsoft Office among the most in-demand for future jobs. By 2020, according to the report, an astounding 30 percent of skilled jobs will require proficiency in Microsoft Office.

    In Thailand today, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 represent the largest unemployed population, a significant barrier to the country’s future prosperity. Through this partnership, Thai youth will develop the 21stcentury skills they need to find productive employment and help lead the country into the future. The agreement builds on Microsoft’s longstanding investment in Thailand’s education system, which in the past 20 years has impacted more than 164,000 teachers and 8 million students across 9,000 schools nationwide.

    This is exciting news for Microsoft, following our recent partnership announcements, including a partnership with the Sao Paolo State Department of Education to provide Office 365 to more than 4 million students, a large-scale cloud education partnership of 7.5 million Office 365 seats deployed by the All India Council for Technical Education and the 4.5 million seats deployed by the Catholic International Education Office. But while Tuesday’s announcement demonstrates positive momentum for Microsoft in Education, it is only a single step on a long journey.

    That journey, which is taking Microsoft to countries and classrooms in every corner of the world, is helping to create a better future for young people, one that is globally connected and economically sustainable. Cloud technology, and specifically Office 365 for Education, can be a great equalizer, helping under-developed countries catch up to those that enjoy relative prosperity. But even in those more prosperous countries, technology can continue to transform the prospects of young people.

    Take Finland, for example. This progressive country is often held up as a model for successful education reform – and rightly so. But even Finland recognizes that its journey to education transformation is ongoing. This week, I’m traveling there to kick off Microsoft’s pilot partnership with more than 100 schools to support teachers and technology. This partnership brings cities, companies and other key education stakeholders together to address the challenges of improving learning environments against a backdrop of shrinking budgets. Microsoft will invest in teacher training, advisory and learning materials so that educators can take full advantage of technology in the pursuit of more effective teaching and learning. As in Thailand, this effort is intended to spark economic and employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

    The road to true education transformation – where technology and pedagogy work seamlessly and hand-in-hand – is a long one, full of twists and turns. But this week, Microsoft has taken an important step forward in two countries with very different educational and societal challenges. As we help Thailand address a crisis of youth unemployment and Finland build on an already exemplary foundation, we recognize that wherever we are, our commitment to building a better and more sustainable future compels us forward.

    This blog was originally posted by Anthony Salcito, Vice President - Worldwide Education at Microsoft. You can read it here.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Introducing Office Mix: Online lessons made simple.

    We are very excited to bring to you Office Mix, helping you to make online lessons simple!

    Turn your PowerPoint presentation into an interactive online lesson. We call this a mix. Everything you need to create and share your mix is included. Add audio and video of yourself giving your presentation, write on slides as you talk to them, insert quizzes, practice exercises, and more – all from within PowerPoint. It’s like a screencast, but better. All you need is Office 2013 and the free Office Mix add-in!

    Here's just a snapshot of the awesome things you can do in Office Mix:

    • Record audio or video of yourself giving a lecture. Write and draw directly in PowerPoint, just like you would on the whiteboard.
    • Work in PowerPoint - Creating a mix is as simple as making a PowerPoint document. Just install our PowerPoint add-in, and then create lessons from your existing PowerPoint presentations or new ones.
    • Save Time - Everything you need to create a mix is included in the PowerPoint add-in, so you don’t have to jump between several apps.