NZ Education Blog

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

December, 2012

  • Reflecting on 2012 – A year of Education Milestones for Microsoft

    2012 has been a year of innovation for Microsoft, with the launch of Windows 8 and Office 365 at the forefront of all the excitement. Here are Microsoft’s top 10 highlights of the year in the Education Sector. We enjoyed them so much, we thought it was only appropriate to share them again.

    The Launch of Windows 8

    The recent launch of Windows 8 is without a doubt the biggest milestone for Microsoft in 2012. Windows 8 is reimagined for learning. It arms schools and teachers with innovations designed to transform students’ learning experiences. Windows 8 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.


    Office 365 for Education

    This year marked the launch of Office 365 for education. Available at no cost to educators, students and school administrative staff, Office 365 for education provides collaboration tools that expand learning opportunities beyond classroom walls. Office 365 for Education is a cloud-based suite that includes the familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications, as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online (for more information on the available plans visit

    Windows in the Classroom

    Behind the scenes, the Education team at Microsoft has spent months designing, organising and scheduling the Windows in the Classroom seminar. From February 2013, we will have two Windows in the Classroom specialists circulating New Zealand delivering complimentary Windows in the Classroom seminars to school leadership teams. The seminars will explore the tools and technologies available to help teach 21st Century skills and optimize the classroom for advanced student achievement. It’s not too late to book a seminar now! The seminars can be held at your school or you can attend a session in your area.

    Microsoft YouthSpark

    2012 saw the launch of Microsoft YouthSpark, a companywide initiative that, over the coming three years, will create invaluable opportunities for 300 million young people around the world. As Steve Ballmer said, “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".

    Botany Downs Secondary College launches Windows 8 with 24 hour Skype-a-thon

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President - Worldwide Education at Microsoft, launched Windows 8 in education through a 24 hour Skype-a-thon. The first of the 24 Skype Calls in 24 time-zones around the world was held at Botany Downs Secondary College here in Auckland.

    The Microsoft Surface

    Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Surface device. For schools wishing to implement a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy, the Microsoft Surface device is the perfect solution. The Surface has the ability to provide students and teachers with a device that has the power and flexibility to create, collaborate and consume in order to provide the best possible learning experiences.

    TechEd 2012

    For the last 17 years, TechEd has offered a unique opportunity to industry professionals to stay aligned with Microsoft’s current technologies and new product opportunities. The event invites you and your colleagues to discuss critical technology issues, gain practical advice and network with Microsoft and industry experts. TechEd New Zealand 2012 was very successful, and we look forward to seeing what the 2013 event brings us.

    Support Renewed for Partners in Learning

    In November we learnt the exciting news that an additional US$250 million in funding has been provided to extend Partners in Learning over the next five years. The Partners in Learning programme makes a valuable impact to the learning outcomes of students around the world, with presence in 119 countries. Its aim is to equip teachers with the skills, resources and tools needed for 21st Century Learning and to prepare students for the global workforce.

    Technology and Maori Language Awards

    This year, at the Māori Language Awards 2012, Microsoft received the award for ICT. The Awards celebrate the contribution of 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. 

    Imagine Cup

    The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a competition that encourages students to solve the world's toughest problems. The 2012 New Zealand winners were Team Mobile Eye from AUT. 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. The competition was intense this year, the winners coming from an initial 400 entries from all over New Zealand. Congratulations to Thought-Wired, Connect, Aura and Mobile Eye for making it to the final stage of the contest.


    All in all, it has been a fantastic year. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities 2013 will bring. Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Bring learning to life with a Windows in Classroom Seminar!


    Microsoft will be helping to kick off the next academic year with a Windows in the Classroom seminar for your school.  There will be two Windows in the Classroom specialists travelling New Zealand delivering Windows in the Classroom seminars to school leadership teams.  With these complimentary two-hour seminars your school leadership team will explore tools and technologies available to help teach 21st century skills and optimise the classroom for advanced student achievement.  You’ll learn the diversity of Microsoft software and devices applied to learning and how to get more out of the software you use every day.  We will also demonstrate how Windows 8 applies to learning and how it can be used to inspire students and improve educational outcomes.

    These two-hour seminars can be held at your school or in the local area so book a session today! Book fast as spaces and times are limited.

    If you are interested, please email or see the website for more details


  • Windows To Go - Introducing a more flexible way of teaching

    As a teacher, regularly preparing class material both at school and at home can be hard to manage. File transferring and saving various versions of the same document isn’t always easy and we end up with the wrong and unsaved versions.

    Windows To Go, one of the many new features of Windows 8 Enterprise, provides educators with an easy solution - an imaged version of Windows 8 that reflects your school desktop. Windows To Go is a self-contained, portable operating system that runs solely on a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. It enables a consistent environment without the fuss of a laptop or briefcase.

    Educators are now able to take their USB’s and put them into their home PC, whether it be running Windows XP, Windows 7, or even on a Mac. When turned on, the PC will boot from the USB device to a managed school desktop, which has the option of being password protected. Added to this, at their own discretion, teachers are given the freedom to choose which applications and security settings are set to that particular desktop.

    Windows To Go allows teachers to fully benefit from bringing their own PC to school if a balance of their personal and professional lives is desired. It also enables the flexibility of file sharing with colleagues and students if a teacher is unable to attend a presentation or meeting. 

    Find out more about how Windows To Go can benefit your educational institution here with our FAQ.

  • Teaching 21st Century Skills has never been so easy – get in now!

    Have you booked your Windows in the Classroom seminar yet? Spaces are filling up, and fast! Give your staff and students the opportunity to benefit from the most innovative tools and technology of today.

    From February 2013, senior management teams from schools all over New Zealand will experience a complimentary two-hour seminar delivered by two Windows in the Classroom education specialists. The seminars will center around exploring the tools and technologies available to help educators teach 21st Century skills. For any school considering enhancing their one-to-one student learning programme, Windows in the Classroom will demonstrate the diversity of Microsoft software and relative devices available to aid student learning.

    Your senior leadership teams will gain a comprehensive understanding of how Windows 8 applies to learning by inspiring students and improving educational outcomes. 

    Make sure you don’t miss out when the Windows in the Classroom seminar comes to a school near you! We’re taking bookings for our Windows in the Classroom education specialists now, and we don’t want to miss
    anyone out. You can host a session at your school or attend one in your area.

    Find out more at our website Register your interest by emailing


  • Find out what your students really think!

    Last month, Microsoft launched Excel Surveys in SkyDrive. This survey feature of the Excel Web App in SharePoint Online is a great way to collect up-to-the-minute information in a classroom or lecture hall setting. Getting real time feedback from your students and staff can be a challenge. This is a great way to encourage students and staff to become actively engaged in the learning process at the same time as providing valuable feedback.

    For example, Excel Surveys enables data collection by numerous student groups to be easily shared between classmates and teachers. Accessibility is a key feature of the Excel Surveys, demonstrated by the ability to share data with the click of the mouse and the easy compatibility with laptops, tablets and smart phones.

    Teachers are able to benefit from the real time feedback opportunity offered by the thoughts and opinions of students immediately after a lecture or class. The surveyor can then follow up by making use of the wide variety of Excel functions and learn more about the information collected.

    Real time data collection and data accessibility is now so quick and easy, interactive activities in the classroom have never been so efficient!

    Visit the WindowsBlog for the step-by-step process on how to create an Excel Survey today.

    Take a quick look at the new Office365 Preview and see the benefits of this new Excel Web App in SharePoint Online for yourself.