The Catholic Education Convention kicked off yesterday at the Wellington Convention Centre where Microsoft presented the keynote on Building collaborative learning communities – Microsoft’s vision for 21st Century Learning, presented by Microsoft's Education Lead, Evan Blackman.  

For those of you who missed it, this keynote provided an overview of Microsoft’s vision for 21st Century learning with the new Microsoft global partnership with the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) and what this could mean for New Zealand schools. The partnership means that Office 365 for education is being provided for the community of Catholic schools across the world. This will begin with provision of software for 4.5 million students as part of a three-year alliance plan.  The new network will provide innovative software, services, training and access to technologies that will better prepare students for the jobs of the future.

In addition, OIEC’s community of schools will receive subscriptions for Microsoft Learning Suite, which includes a variety of tools and services that enable educators and students to create, conduct research, study, collaborate and teach. Beginning in 2013, components of the Microsoft Innovative Schools and Innovative Teachers programs will be made available to OIEC to help promote innovative teaching and learning practices. As part of these programs, OIEC schools will have access to the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network, which is the largest online teacher and school leader professional networking community in the world with more than 4 million members worldwide. OIEC will have its own community area within the Partners in Learning Network to allow for collaboration targeted across the Catholic Schools community. In addition, select OIEC schools will participate in the Microsoft Innovative Schools program and will be given additional resources to help promote teaching and learning innovation.

See the media press release  for information on the partnership and for Office 365 sign-up opportunities see here.