NZ Education Blog

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

March, 2011

  • Webcast on SharePoint LMS

    Things are hotting up in the e-Learning space with LMS, collaboration and lecture recording merging into an integrated solution. This is an Interesting video describing the Microsoft platform and in particular the use of SharePoint as a platform on which to build an LMS.

    It changes to english after 30 seconds...



  • New version of Kodu released with Community game sharing

    Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The visual nature of the language allows for rapid design iteration using only an Xbox game controller for input on a Windows PC (mouse/keyboard input is also supported).

    Kodu provides an end-to-end creative environment for designing, building, and playing your own new games. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface. The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously.


    If you are familiar with Scratch ( ) then you can think of Kodu as a 3d equivalent and much more engaging for the students, especially when you put an x-box controller in their hands.

    A key new feature of this version is an option for sharing games in an online community.

    Look for Karl’s Football Frenzy game. Karl presented this last week during a Kodu workshop at the Learning@Schools conference in Rotorua (photos from the workshop will be posted shortly).

    Download from

    There is also a Kodu Game Lab - Classroom Kit for teachers.

  • Word Processing in the Cloud

    In my job I come across a lot of people who blindly follow the advice of “anything but Microsoft” but the reaction from these people after I show them some Web 2.0 tools that Microsoft has developed and made available for free is “wow, I didn’t know Microsoft did that and it is so much better than xgylz product”.

    Just looking at the user interface of the following 2 applications. One reminds me of the Internet in 1995, the other, a Rich Internet Application (RIA) that mimics a modern client application.



    The 2 big differences between the backend solutions are:

    • The Office Web App file format is an open standard, you don’t have to export it to another file format to guarantee long-term access to your information without legal or technical barriers.
    • You or a partner can host a Office Web Application server if data sovereignty or Internet bandwidth costs are an issue (license is covered by Windows CAL and Office 2010 Pro Plus)

    The good news is that even if you have deployed “xgylz” product, you can also use Office Web Apps on Sky Drive.
    You can do this as an individual by signing up at and create a LiveID (you can even use your existing Gmail address as your LiveID login)
    As a school by signing up to Live@EDU for free which allows students and staff to log on using the school email address allocated to them.