NZ Education Blog

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

May, 2012

  • More than 4.5 million Catholic School Students to Receive Microsoft Office 365 for Education

    Today, the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) took an exciting step toward delivering a brighter future for Catholic students around the world, demonstrating there is no greater resource to invest in than that of youth. Recognising changes were needed to provide their students with the 21st century skills they’ll need in their future careers, OIEC is partnering with Microsoft to bring Office 365 and other resources to more than 200,000 Catholic schools all over the world with the potential to reach 43 million students.

    The partnership between OIEC and Microsoft deploys some of the newest technologies, including more than 4.5 million subscriptions to Office 365 for education – a free tool for educators and students worldwide, which will be made available in June this year during the first wave of deployment. The agreement empowers educators and students to do a number of things, including working together on class projects and documents simultaneously, collaborating in real time with virtual meetings, and participating in instant messaging and video conferencing across the globe. They’ll also be able to create and maintain compelling websites and edit them as easily as they would a Word document, and access a new “Social Network of Catholic Education,” designed by Microsoft and based on Windows Azure, as a private element of the Partners in Learning Network.

    For more information see the media press release.

  • Why Microsoft: Office and Office Web Apps, high fidelity documents across desktop and cloud.

    We've been having a lot of discussions with schools regarding their options when wanting to access and edit their Office documents online through a browser. Staff and students are confident and satisfied with a rich interface and tools within Microsoft Office on Windows desktops and Mac's but they desire to extend this access online when users are mobile or on a device without Microsoft Office installed.

    Microsoft provides Office Web Apps extending your familiar Office experience to the web allowing you to access, edit and share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents online sitting on top of our cloud storage and document management products SkyDrive and SharePoint Online.

    One of the many advantages for using Office Web Apps is that the consistent feel and high fidelity that you expect when viewing and editing documents on Microsoft Office, is preserved when interacting with them in your browser. Combine this with built-in 'Save to Web' and 'Save to SharePoint' features directly in Microsoft Office in conjunction with a contextual, rich ribbon for productivity and get the tools required to produce quality content through an easy to use interface anywhere.

    To see this first hand, provides information and demonstrations on our product offerings when you are evaluating other tools in market. Notably when thinking about cloud document access and collaboration you can see live comparisons between Office Web Apps and Google Docs.

    The example below shows a Word document comparison using
    Office Web App (left) and Google Documents (right)


    Take a look at that the circles highlighting areas where your time and effort becomes lost having uploaded your work onto Google Docs. This creates the need for further time within Google Docs when editing the document between the familiar Microsoft Office desktop and Google Docs.

    Check this live demo out yourself and compare...

    Open this Word document in your browser using Office Web App

    Now open the same Word document uploaded to Google Docs

    What's the best thing about getting access to Office Web Apps? You can sign up for free by creating or using a Windows Live ID and uploading your documents to SkyDrive. Read more about SkyDrive in our previous blog post.

    Another option for schools and universities is to sign up for Office 365 for education, providing the same capabilities through Office Web Apps on the SharePoint Online platform and more.



  • Microsoft Learning Suite - free download now available!

    Over 20 of our most popular tools and teacher resources, all in one place.

    Learning Suite by Microsoft is a set of innovative applications for education that create a robust, creative and collaborative learning environment for students and educators. It includes a new, integrated interface that lets you access all these applications in one place, where they are grouped around four categories aligned to how you work - create, collaborate, teach and research and study . It makes managing your tools simpler, and it's especially efficient when combined with Microsoft Windows® 7 and Office 2010. 

    Get many of Microsoft's most innovative applications, web-based tools, and teacher resources in one simple, customizable download. Then access and update them from one easy-to-use interface.

    If you haven't done so already the Learning Suite can be downloaded by logging into the Partners in Learning Network or alternatively directly from here with either a Windows Live, facebook, Google or Yahoo account.

    For more information head to the Partners in Learning Network

  • The INTERFACExpo has begun!

    The INTERFACEXpo is back for 2012 and its free!

    Microsoft New Zealand is a Gold Sponsor at the Interface Expo this year. It is a great opportunity for those of you who make decisions about the direction and implementation of ICT at your school. Throughout the course of the day, attendees will have the chance to hear about the latest solutions, see demonstrations, and talk to experts about deploying ICT solutions in your school. The day is an informative and inspiring combination of: hands-on workshops, keynote presentations, exhibition, and networking with peers.

    There are still three events taking place over the next two weeks, so come along to check it out! Details of the events and locations are below, and you can register here.


  • Microsoft Solutions for Research Management

    If you are tasked with helping make your institution’s research activity more productive, we recommend you explore Microsoft Solutions for Research Management.

    With Cloud delivery (Windows Azure) and in-house Sharepoint solutions, these Research Management Solutions from Microsoft are smart and affordable platforms as well as tools that can help IT decision makers. These are designed to enable better collaboration and deliver smarter tools for analysis, development, plus powerful on-demand computing power at a lower cost of ownership.

    Try Windows Azure.

    Sign up to a 90-day Windows Azure complimentary trial. Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage research applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters.

    Free Virtual Research Management SharePoint extensions.

    With SharePoint 2010, create your own secure research environment with virtual tools. Access over 13 SharePoint 2010 modules and extensions for project management, collaboration and data management scenarios. Download Here.


  • SkyDrive - Personal cloud storage for Windows available anywhere

    Continuing on with the wave of improvements of the popular SkyDrive cloud storage solution, we are excited to take another big step towards making SkyDrive far more powerful. You can now take your SkyDrive with you anywhere, connect it to any app that works with files and folders, and get all the storage you need—making SkyDrive the most powerful personal cloud storage service available.

    We are also now offering 7GB free for all new SkyDrive users. Providing enough space for over 99% of people to store their entire Office document library and share photos for several years, along with room for growth.

    Here’s what’s available for use, starting now:

    • SkyDrive for the Windows desktop - view and manage your personal SkyDrive directly from Windows Explorer on Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista with this new preview app available in 106 languages worldwide.
    • Fetching files through - easily access, browse, and stream files from a remote PC running the preview app to just about anywhere by simply fetching them via
    • SkyDrive storage updates - a new, more flexible approach to personal cloud storage that allows power users to get additional paid storage as their needs grow.
    • SkyDrive for other devices - we’ve updated the SkyDrive apps on Windows Phone and iOS devices, bringing better management features and sharing options to those devices. We’re also releasing a new preview client for Mac OS X Lion, letting you manage your SkyDrive right from the Finder.

    You can download the new SkyDrive apps now, but you might want to take a look at this video first, which gives you a glimpse of all the things you can do with the new SkyDrive.



  • Congratulations to Team Mobile Eye!

    The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a competition that encourages students to solve the world's toughest problems.

    Visual impairment is one of those, and Team Mobile Eye from AUT took on the challenge. Their winning solution is a mobile app to assist people with visual impairment to “see” the world around them, through a combination of computer intelligence and crowd-sourced audio support.

    Congratulations to Team Mobile Eye for winning the Imagine Cup NZ 2012!

    Team Mobile Eye explains their solution.

    It was an intense competition this year. From an initial 400 entries across the country, four very strong teams were chosen from to contest the final stage of the NZ 2012 contest. These were Thought-Wired, Connect, Aura and Mobile Eye. You're all awesome.

    Imagine Cup NZ 2012 finalists celebrate.

    For those that attended I know you’d agree that the competition was massive – we were delighted to host more than 1,000 people to enjoy the event in the Auckland Town Hall. What great enthusiasm for these innovators who will be hi-tech leaders in NZ's future.

    Check out the full coverage of Imagine Cup 2012 here

    For more information on Microsoft Imagine Cup visit

  • NZ Educator Hailed For Innovation

    Julia Breen, who won an Innovative Educator Award at the 2011 New Zealand Partners in Learning Forum, doesn’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to innovating in the classroom.

    After being told her plans to bring television studio technology to the classroom were out of reach, the Physical Education teacher secured low-cost resources to meet her objectives. By using the free Microsoft Moviemaker software, the students own mobile devices and a green sheet with a spotlight, she created a technique called "green screening" to assess leadership skills.

    Breen’s year-12 students recorded each other leading year-9 students in team-building exercises. They then recorded evaluations of each other, and using green screens, added the critique on top of the raw video. This helped students who were uncomfortable with giving and receiving criticism and taught collaboration and critical thinking.

    The results speak for themselves, with “Excellence” grades increasing to 33% from 21% the previous year.

    Join the Partners in Learning Network and experience global collaboration, free teacher resources and ways to improve your personal teaching practice using technology!

    For more information visit daily edventures, a 365-day look at global educations heroes.