NZ Education Blog

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

September, 2012

  • A "thought provoking, inspirational" Innovative Schools Workshop Last Week

    The two-day workshop at Botany Downs Secondary School reached maximum capacity, as more than 120 educators gathered to discuss, debate and collaborate on the best ways to utilise information communication technologies (ICT) within the classroom. The event was part of the Partners in Learning Programme which is a global community of education leaders and teachers who encourage and share learning practises with their peers and schools. 

    All participants were extremely positive about their experience, enjoyed the interactive aspect of the workshop and the tangible next steps they were provided at the end of the workshop. One of the key highlights for the attendees was the presentation by 2010 Worldwide Innovative Teacher Winner Chris Clay from Botany Downs Secondary College on his experiences winning the Microsoft Innovative Educator Award in New Zealand.

    At the event there was also an exciting annoucement of three new Pathfinder Schools Trident High School, Whakatane High School and Te Kura O te Paroa to join Botany Downs Secondary School and Howick College.

    For more information on the programme or to attend future workshops, please do not hesitate to email me


  • Are you New Zealand's most innovative teacher?

    Are you or someone you know using technology in innovative ways to engage students in more effective learning? Has this learning process helped to improve the learning outcomes among students?

    Every year, Microsoft recognises New Zealand's most innovative educators to highlight and celebrate the great work achieved through utilising ICT in the classroom. Nominate yourself or one of your peers for a Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award.  All current full-time and part-time primary and secondary schools from both private and public schools throughout New Zealand can enter.

    Last year’s winner, physical education teacher Julia Breen from Howick College, has said that “Winning the award has been a real honour. The professional development opportunities have been outstanding” 

    Prizewinners will receive:
         Attendance at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum
         One Samsung Slate PC (RRP NZ $2,399) 
         One Xbox 360 Kinect Package for the winners school: (RRP NZ$599)
         And lots more

    Enter a teacher at

    Entries close Monday 8 October.

  • Weeky Office365 for Education Tip #4

    For those of you who do not have Office365 for Education but are looking to deploy it within your school or institution, this tip is just for you!

    The best way to prepare for Office365 for Education is provided for you within the Office365 community on one of the wiki pages.
    This provides all the top ways to get your deployment off to a great start by being prepared, including:

    1. Familiarize yourself with Office 365 features
    2. Keep it simple
    3. Plan your tenant carefully
    4. Network readiness
    5. Directory clean-up and preparation
    6. Desktop
    7. Mail migration, readiness and performance
    8. Planning for a hybrid configuration
    9. Admin support and use training
    10. Public folders
    11. Server-side Exchange applications

    Do you have an Office365 for Education tip you would like to share? Comment on the blog or send me an email at

  • 21st Century Learning Enquiry

    Parliament’s Education and Science Select Committee have launched an enquiry about education needs for the country’s future. The intention of the enquiry is to investigate and provide recommendations on the best structures, tools and communities that could better enable students and educators to attain the knowledge and skills, such as digital literacy, that the 21st Century demands of us.

    Nikki Kaye MP says, “Through the enquiry there is an opportunity to hear from stakeholders across both the education and technology sectors about how we ensure that New Zealand children can become even more digitally literate.”

    Microsoft has invested in communities and technology to support learning over many years, as we see it as a critical component of a smart, connected and competitive New Zealand. Recently the Committee took the time to hear from Anthony Salcito (Vice-President, Education) while he was in New Zealand.

    Microsoft’s education investments are guided by research on the needs of teachers and learners. Through this, we have found that one of the most important contributions we can offer is to support teachers in sharing their work among themselves, to nurture innovations that were incubated in individual classrooms and bring them to the world. Partners in Learning for example is about teachers helping one another, and it’s free to join.

    For more on Microsoft New Zealand's contribution to New Zealand education see the link below.


  • Weekly Office365 for Education Tip #5

    If you’re a Live@edu customer you might be wondering to yourself where you can find out more information about the upgrade to Office 365 for education.

    The upgrade Wiki on the Office365 Community (which is also a great place to go for more Office365 related info) is packed full of information about the upgrade, which is split into three stages:

    Stage 1: Upgrade domain

    Stage 2: Upgrade users

    Stage 3: Set a password for your Office 365 Admin Account

    The upgrade from Live@edu to Microsoft Office 365 for education gives students, faculty, and staff free access to the same versions of key Office 365 tools available to enterprises, extending your investment in Live@edu.

    Do you have an Office365 for Education tip you would like to share? Comment on the blog or send me an email at

  • 10 Things You’ll Never Have to Say With the new Office

    Since the announcement of the new Office, millions of people have downloaded the Consumer Preview.

    On our Microsoft News site, there's a list of "10 Things You’ll Never Have to Say With the new Office" which will be beneficial for those of you interested in what the new Office entails.
    These are all phrases you will hear yourself saying in the classroom and during presentations or meetings and therefore should ve valuable in saving you time and energy.   

    Read the 10 things you will never say again here or download the consumer preview.

  • Launch of Microsoft YouthSpark

    Last week Steve Ballmer launched Microsoft YouthSpark at an event streamed online around the world.

    Microsoft YouthSpark is a new companywide initiative that will create opportunities for 300 million young people around the world over the next three years, as we know young people everywhere face real challenges.  For example, youth unemployment is twice the average rate for the population as a whole, which is indicative of a growing opportunity divide between young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not.

    From Partners-in-Learning to Office365 for Education to Skype in the Classroom, Microsoft is marshaling a wide range of company’s programs to support youth.  As Steve Ballmer said last week, “We can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that".

    See the announcement here.

    Read more about YouthSpark.



  • Weekly Office365 for Education Tip #6

    This tip discusses the possibilities of an online classroom with Office365 for Education!

    Office365 for Education enables teachers to give online presentations so their students can learn from anywhere. These can be interactive with the students and saved for future viewing.
    This video aims to describe this process in less than 3 minutes.