NZ Education Blog

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

November, 2012

  • Microsoft Renews Support for Partners in Learning Programme

    Yesterday at the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague, it was announced that an additional US$250 million in funding has been provided to extend Partners in Learning (PiL) over the next five years.

    In 2003, the PiL programme was established to make a valuable impact to the learning outcomes of students around the world. Currently it’s in 119 countries, and has trained 11 million teachers and 200 million students. The programme aims to equip teachers with the skills, resources and tools required for 21st century learning and prepare students for the global, competitve workforce.

    Bill Gates, interviewed by Anthony Salcito, said that the the renewal is a testament to the programmes success and is "really pleased to see the continuing commitment to innovations that can help all students and teachers reach their full potential".

    Renewing the PiL program means improving the learning outcomes of hundreds of thousands of students and honouring a strong, growing community.

    Join the online PiL network here and read the full media release for more information.  


  • Upgrade from Live@edu today!

    The upgrade to Office 365 for education is happening! By September next year, all Live@edu customers will need to complete the upgrade to Office 365 for education

    The Office 365 upgrade builds on your existing Live@edu deployment—mailboxes, calendars, and contacts do not move, and there is no need to re-provision accounts. Microsoft provides the tools and guidance at each stage—simply follow along by using the upgrade planning worksheet. Use it to estimate how much time you will need for the key tasks required before, during and after the upgrade.

    1. Download the Upgrade Planning Worksheet. This tool provides customised guidance to plan each phase of the upgrade. Start by selecting the scenarios that apply to your Live@edu configuration.
    2. Prepare for the upgrade. Review the outcome of the upgrade planning worksheet and visit the upgrade centre to better understand each step in the upgrade process
    3. Start the upgrade to Office 365.

  • How an Australian School is using Kinect and Happy Action Theater to Reach Children with Autism

    Mathieu Marunczyn, a teacher at Jackson School in Victoria, has integrated the Xbox Kinect into the classroom routine of children with autism spectrum disorders.  

    The Kinect, along with Happy Action Theater, has allowed the children to immerse themselves in play, and in doing so they can begin to communicate with others, be physical, and practice their social and language skills. The Happy Action Theater game has no menus, buttons, scores or goals, it is simply based on the interactive scenes and therefore generates creativity and social interaction of the children. 

    The Kinect provides an effective tool for teachers to interact with and teach their children. For more information on xbox360 and Kinect see the website.

    Read the full article here.

  • Windows 8 Devices for Next Academic Year

    To help you with your device plan for next year, this blog post is about the new devices running Windows 8!

    Typically, in most education institutions, there's a need for a range of different devices for different users and scenarios. Whatever the scenario you're buying for, you're going to find a computer that's been tailored precisely for your use, whether its tablets, convertibles, ultrabooks, laptops, desktops or all-in-ones.

    A good place to start is the New Zealand Windows PC Buying Guide, which highlights the benefits of each of the devices:

    • Tablets: Blazing fast, with longer battery life to go where you go, do what you do, and never slow you down
    • Convertibles: It's a tablet that can be turned into laptop, and it's designed to work as hard as it plays by offering a new level of flexibility
    • Laptops: Sleek, light machines with dazzling graphics and serious power
    • Desktops and all-in-ones: Big screens and loads of power and memory to get things done
    • Windows RT tablets and PCs: Thin and light, with extended battery life, Windows RT PCs are designed for life on the go

    See the New Zealand Windows 8 Website for more information. 


  • Technology and the Maori Language Awards 2012

    Last week, the Māori Language Awards 2012 were held in Tauranga, where Microsoft received the award for ICT. The event celebrated the contributions of 30 individuals and organisations who have contributed to te reo Māori through their work.

    Microsoft has collaborated with language experts to bring te reo Māori to Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer. To add a te reo Māori user interface to these products you can install the free downloads for each product. These products would be especially useful for Maori schools and educators.

    Microsoft attendees at the Māori Language Awards 2012 said the event was inspiring.

    Add a te reo Māori user interface by installing the free downloads.

  • Why You'll Love Windows 8

    Windows 8 is reimagined for learning. It arms schools and teachers with innovations designed to transform students’ learning experiences. It gives students a modern way to consume content and allows them freedom to create, collaborate, produce and share across a range of devices, with touch, mouse and keyboard or pen. Teachers can now use these capabilities to build their students’ 21st century skills and help ensure they reach their potential.

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President of World Wide Education at Microsoft, has put together 8 reasons why Windows 8 is great for education:

    Two of these, I think are particularly important for educators - the cloud foundation and the ability to open students to the world of education apps.

    The cloud foundation of Windows 8 means that students and teachers can easily access their information, collaboration and productivity tools. SkyDrive and Office 365 for education are central to the Windows 8 experience. This offers a flexible, anywhere, anytime learning experience across a range of different devices, both in and out of the classroom.

    Opening students to the world of education apps means that now there is a variety of experiences and content available that can aid in teaching in learning in the form of applications. I recently published a blog about the many different education apps available on Windows 8.

    These are just two of the many reasons why you'll love Windows 8. See the full list by Anthony Salcito here.  

  • New Releases for Partners in Learning Network

    The Partners in Learning Network launched some exciting new features last week.

    There are two features in particluar I would like to call out:

    The new Teaching with Technology curriculum helps any teacher develop the knowledge and skills needed to integrate ICT into their teaching, which is critical to helping students develop 21st century skills. This supports professional development whether you are a school leader or a classroom educator. The curriculum provides the opportunity to take a number of courses and includes a self-assessment in order for you to develop a personalised learning path. When you have completed and passed all six courses, you will automatically be awarded the Teaching with Technology badge.


    Another new feature is the ability to Earn Badges, the Partners in Learning Network awards badges for the skills and knowledge that are learned and shared through our online professional learning community. Microsoft believes your achievements should be recognised so that you can share your accomplishments and knowledge with your colleagues and communities.


    See the Partners in Learning Network for more information or register here.


  • Experience the Whole Web with Windows 8

    One of the greatest features of the new Windows 8 is Internet Explorer 10.

    A faster and more fluid experience, Windows 8 has focused on fully embracing the standards for the modern web including HTML5 and Javascript. The experience is immersive due to the touch screen capabilities and it changes the conversation from an apps only discussion to a modern apps and rich Web experience for mobile and PC devices. 

    From the video below, you can see exactly how Windows 8 provides a whole web experience. In particular, see how the share function featured in the video shows how teachers and educators can share important websites or class pages with their students.

    For more information see the Windows 8 and IE10 websites.

  • 10 Reasons Why BYOD is a Good Idea

    Thank you to one of our subscribers for sending this link through to me.

    Recently I blogged about the BYOD for Schools Whitepaper, where Bruce Dixon from the Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation and Sean Tierney from the Worldwide Microsoft Partners in Learning Programme set out to examine the potential deployment models from teaching, learning and IT management perspectives.

    A recent article by Miriam Clifford and InformEd in Australia, has published 10 reasons why BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a good idea.
    The article discusses how Generation Y are so dependent on technological devices, that it is up the educators to take advantage of this.

    Reasons include the ability for devices to help learning become a part of students lives, it also provides the capacity to save time and cost within schools.

    See the full article here.