NZ Education Blog

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

January, 2013

  • “Learning is changing” – hear Anthony Salcito’s view on this

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Microsoft Education, is mentioned regularly on this blog and it’s not hard to see why. He has an enormous passion for education globally, and is an education leader that is highly recognised and respected.

    Last month, he travelled to Paris to give this compelling “TEDxPantheonSorbonne” talk. Throughout this talk, Salcito gave insight into the changing role of teachers, the internet, collaboration and information. He questioned the traditional classroom roles as a result of these changes, telling educators “Your students are learning without you”.

    His talk prompts us to question how educators can embrace the ever-changing role of technology and how we can empower students to drive personal and meaningful outcomes as a result.

    Take ten minutes to be captivated by Salcito’s thoughts, we certainly are!



  • Optimising the Flipped Classroom with Office 365

    The Flipped Classroom was pioneered by Jonathan Bergmann, Lead Technology Facilitator at Kenilworth School District, Illinois, USA. The Flipped Classroom revolves around the central idea of changing the dynamics of the classroom. In his own words, Bergmann believes in “changing the pedagogy with the aid of technology.” It seems as though teaching is turned on its head – the classroom lecture becomes homework, and classroom time is spent ‘practicing’.

    But in Washington state, USA, numerous college professors are exploring the idea of flipping their classrooms, and with positive results. Students are more engaged in classroom activities and performing better in tests, assignments and exams.

    So what role does Microsoft’s Office 365 play in this innovation? Check out this fantastic video to see how Lync Online can facilitate on the go class time through SharePoint, email, chat and online video conferencing. Office 365 creates a seamless platform for home communication between classmates, lectures, tutors and teachers.

    Follow this link to watch Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Microsoft Education, conduct a fantastic interview with Jonathan Bergmann himself.

    Finally, have a look at this interesting infographic provided by Knewton. It gives a great insight into exactly what a Flipped Classroom can look like and why there is so much hype surrounding it!

  • The countdown to Windows in the Classroom begins

    We are getting closer and closer to kicking off our Windows in the Classroom New Zealand-wide tour and we can’t wait. Give your staff and students the opportunity to benefit from the most innovative tools and technology of today.

    Beginning at the end of this month, 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.

    We’re still taking bookings for our Windows in the Classroom education specialists. You can host a session at your school or attend one in your area. All you need to do is register your interest by emailing

    Alternatively, ‘like’ our new Facebook page to receive regular updates and feedback about the seminars Don’t hesitate to post a question or comment on our wall.

    You can also find out more at our website

    Ensure your school leadership team is across the opportunity afforded by new technologies, by hosting a Windows in the Classroom seminar.

  • Top Eight Educational apps on Windows 8

    Windows 8 has been reimagined for learning. The new Windows 8 educational applications revolutionise classroom learning and student productivity. Now your students can experience the full educational benefits behind months of programming and design. Teaching is made easy - ask your students to sketch a picture and watch their faces light up as it is translated into a realistic physics object. Get your students to connect to the future by building their dream career path and sharing it with their friends. The learning opportunities are endless as Windows 8 applications give new meaning to ‘interactive learning’.


    Attendance allows teachers and tutors to mark class attendance on an easy to use platform that brings their students to life. Mark students as present, absent or late, store a note for a particular student, create numerous calendars or enable flagging of those students with interesting attendance records. The functions are endless in this app and ticking down the roll book won’t ever be a hassle again.

    Age rating: 12+

    Periodic Table

    Chemistry has never been so simple. The Periodic Table app contains comprehensive information of the chemical and physical attributes of all the chemical elements. Students can browse the colour coded elements, enrich their learning with extra images and links and pin their favorite element to their Start screen. Studying is made easy as students can search the elements by name, symbol or atomic number.

    Age rating: 7+


    Career Path

    This innovative application allows children to explore real world career paths based on an aggregate database of more than 30,000,000 data points. Students can select their desired career path and drill down further into the requirements of each occupational role such as skills and qualifications. The application is connected with social networking sites Twitter and LinkedIn, allowing older students to explore and connect with guides and mentors.

    Age rating: 12+My Study Life

    My Study Life is the perfect productivity tool for students, teachers, tutors and lecturers. The application is designed to reduce the stress of study life by storing classes, tasks (assignments, homework, revision, marking) and exams in the cloud. A student’s study life is now available on the go and being organised has never been so easy.

    Age rating: 12+



    This application is the perfect solution to Mind Mapping on a tablet or PC. Mind8 can be used for taking notes, studying, carrying out projects or as an organiser for student life. It has an integrated synchronising feature which keeps students work up to date across all devices.

    Age rating: 3+


    Physamajig makes physics fun, letting students create their own games. Simply sketch a picture and the application translates it into a realistic physics object. But the real learning begins as students add attributes like friction and joints and creating their own games by adding Behaviors to their objects. Play a sport, land on the moon, destroy monsters with your cannon or go online to learn from the fantastic creations made by other users.

    Age rating: 12+


    This application is a great way to get the younger students’ minds buzzing – with a little competition to keep them on the edge of their seats! Wordament is a one-of-a-kind word game, where students compete head to head in real-time, on the same board, against everyone else online. Students try to find the most words possible and earn bonuses by finding longer words.

    Age rating: 10+


    NASA Be A Martian

    Bring science to life with NASA Be A Martian! Invite your students to be a part of a space exploration and learn all about NASA’s missions. Let them view Mars images and videos and be up to date on the latest mission news.

    Age rating: 3+

    Windows 8 makes interactive learning fun and easy. Apps seamlessly synchronise between multiple devices, making the implementation of a BYOD programme all the more worthwhile. To find out more about how Windows 8 can help encourage 21st Century learning, request a Windows in the Classroom seminar today. Follow this link to find out more

  • Collaboration and the role of technology in the 21st Century Classroom

    The 21st Century has seen technology play a key role in classroom innovation. Have a look at this interesting infographic by Open Colleges. As you can see, the changing dynamics of the classroom have revolutionised the arts of teaching and learning. And it can only get better.

    More and more, it is becoming clear that collaboration is the future of education and its ability to optimise 21st Century learning. As a matter of fact, Collaborative Problem Solving will be added to the OECD’s international PISA study in 2015 as a compulsory element of 21st Century skill assessment.

    Students learning in a collaborative, team setting are believed to think at a higher level, take away more information and retain that information for longer than those who work alone. Collaborative workers are more inclined to learn through “discussion, clarification of ideas, and evaluation of other’s ideas”.

    Microsoft Office 365 has all the features you need to operate a creative and collaborative learning environment in the classroom. Check out this great video and see how easy it can be for students to collaborate between themselves and their teacher. Excel Surveys and Lync are two fantastic examples of how Office 365 has changed the future of teaching 21st Century skills.

    And don’t forget, it was a collaborative middle school computer club that combined the two minds that changed the face of computing - Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the founders of Microsoft.