NZ Education Blog

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

May, 2013

  • Everest ascent 60th anniversary celebrated by Internet Explorer

    The 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest has special significance for us as New Zealanders.

    To celebrate the historic ascent, Internet Explorer has teamed up with Mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears and his foundation GlacierWorks to launch Everest: Rivers of Ice. This immersive, exploration platform allows visitors to travel the peaks and valleys of the Everest region through sweeping multi-touch HTML5 panoramas and interactive features that brings the area to life and, most importantly, highlights the dramatic changes to the area’s surrounding glaciers.

    While much of Microsoft’s work to address climate change has focused on using IT to advance energy efficiency and reducing our own carbon footprint, we recognize that technologies like Internet Explorer can also be used to help tell the story of how climate change is altering the face of the planet.

    The touch-friendly features of the site provide a highly intuitive way to explore the Everest region and illustrate the impact of climate change on the surrounding area.

    You can read more about Everest: Rivers of Ice over on the Microsoft Green Blog.

  • The future of education technology

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Microsoft Education, recently blogged about how he envisions the future of educational technology. He talks about how “nothing is constant but change” in the world of education and how education technology such as flipped classrooms, smart boards, social media and other devices have revolutionized the classroom that we know today.

    Take a look at this Edudemic infographic (click on the image to enlarge it). It gives you a good idea of what education technology may look like in 20 years and how classrooms will run, teachers will teach and students will learn.

    Are you interested in learning about how education technology can transform your classroom? Windows in the Classroom seminars are still running! 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

  • EduTech in K-12 - What works?

    Technology adoption in K12 classrooms is taking the world by storm. Classrooms world-wide are using cell phones, e-readers, tablets, and smartboards which impact hugely how teachers teach and students learn.

    However, it is not uncommon to hear teachers’ concerns about the effectiveness of educational technology on student learning. For example, while 76% of teachers surveyed across the US believe that internet and search engines are mostly positive for student research, 64% believe that digital tech does more to distract than to help.

    How are you implementing technology in the classroom? What is effective and what is not? How is your teaching affected by educational technology? What are the best opportunities to showcase the power of technology to enhance your students’ achievements?

    Take a look at this fantastic education infographic created by It gives great insight into EduTech, its misconceptions and how to implement it into your classroom.

    Are you interested in learning more? Read more about the fantastic benefits Office 365 for Education can bring to your school right here.

    We’re still taking bookings for our Windows in the Classroom seminars, but spaces are running out fast! 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


  • Bill Gates delivers captivating TED Talk - "Our teachers deserve better"

    Bill Gates recently presented an extremely inspiring TED Talk, focusing not only on professional development for teachers, but heavily on the importance of feedback. We want to share it with you. Gates believes that “everyone needs a coach”. “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. Unfortunately, there’s one group of people who get almost no systematic form of feedback to help them do their jobs better. And these people have one of the most important jobs in the world. I’m talking about teachers.”

    “Until recently, over 98 percent of teachers just got one word of feedback: ‘Satisfactory,” Gates stated. “Our teachers deserve better.” Gates then goes on to explain how ongoing support for our teachers via systematic feedback and mentoring is a significant step forward that needs to be taken in the education system.

    Check out the TED Talk above for yourself, and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear!

  • Office Web Apps: Collaboration with co-authoring

    Have you tried Microsoft’s Office Web Apps? Microsoft has introduced a fully featured, inclusive approach to productivity that spans platforms, devices, browsers, online and offline experiences. Since we launched the Office Web Apps in 2010, we have made various investments in Office Web Apps to ensure people can work together, author documents and access Office content anytime, from anywhere, with ease. The Office 365 blog recently posted about the immense benefits and future plans of Office Web Apps, and we wanted to share them with you. You can also read the full article here.

    As we think about how people communicate and collaborate today and how their needs will evolve in the future, we'd like to share our plans for some of the investments we are making in the Office Web Apps over the next year and beyond. Most excitingly, this includes big changes in co-authoring capabilities.

    Since first introducing co-authoring in the Office Web Apps, we’ve seen an increasing demand for more fluid and dynamic collaboration capabilities when working online. We’ll introduce real time co-authoring in the Office Web Apps so that all file authors will automatically see presence and edits from others as they happen without needing to refresh. This is a subtle change, but a great enhancement to enable even richer collaboration.

    We have started to deliver on this in the PowerPoint Web App where users can now see each other's changes almost immediately. You can see it in action in the video below or give it a try yourself with your presentations stored in SkyDrive or SharePoint Online. In the next few months you'll see PowerPoint Web App co-authoring get even faster and real time co-authoring support in the other Office Web Apps.

    Check out this video and get an idea of how cool co-authoring in Office Web Apps really is.


  • CIO Road Test: Microsoft Surface Pro Beats Apple iPad

    Kevin Pashuk, Chief Information Officer at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario Canada, recently featured in a guest post for CRN, where he outlined the immense benefits the Microsoft Surface Pro brings to education. We thoroughly enjoyed what he had to say, and wanted to give you a quick preview.

    Pashuk makes an excellent comparison between the Apple iPad and the Microsoft Surface Pro. Have a read, because you will certainly learn a few things.

    “As someone charged with identifying future technology trends that may impact education in particular and IT in general, I find it valuable to actually get my (or my team's) hands on a particular piece of technology rather than just read about it in an article.”

    “If you check out the satchels of many executives today, there are three devices -- a laptop computer for working, an iPad (or Android) tablet for quick reference and browsing (as well as a session or two of Angry Birds), and a mobile phone.

    Enter the Microsoft Surface Pro.”

    “I picked up one a few weeks ago that was configured with 128 GB of storage and a touch-type keyboard (real keys, not the flat version). An extra power supply and a Targus USB 3.0 docking station were added to the mix.

    One of the first things I noticed about the Surface Pro (other than its great styling, which bore an uncanny resemblance to the walking tank in Star Wars) was its speed. It booted from cold in six seconds, and the response was quick. It was as fast, if not faster than my laptop, even in processor-heavy applications like Adobe Lightroom.”

    Pashuk then goes on to describe the validity of Windows 8 in education and how the “real test of this device was to take it on the road. I used to be one of those people with three devices. For this trip, I took just the Surface Pro and my phone.”

    You can find out how the Surface Pro (coming to New Zealand very soon!) passed the test and read the rest of the article here.

  • Anthony Salcito’s Daily Web Edventures have premiered!

    The very first Daily Edventure’s Web Show premiered this week and we are so excited to share it with you.

    So what’s all the fuss about? Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Microsoft Education, explains, “Every day, I get to see and experience the best practices in education as I travel the globe and speak to heroes in education. We also hear that the readers of this blog love the videos we share. So, the Daily Edventures Web Show is our chance share and celebrate the best ideas and practices in education today in a fun and energetic video show. Each episode will be a little bit different, with a different theme – game-based learning, one-to-one, accessibility or building teacher capacity.”

    Anyone can contribute videos, ideas and stories. Just send your thoughts, photos and videos to

    There will be plenty more to come, and we’ll make sure you get to see them. For now, check out the premier right here:


  • Office 365 Education - What's included?

    If you are considering using Office 365 Education for your school, you will probably want to know what’s in it for you. Office 365 Education gives you SharePoint collaboration spaces, Exchange Email, web versions of Office apps, Lync communications and SkyDrive storage services.

    To get the full outline, check out the Office 365 service descriptions for SharePoint Online for yourself, but here’s a good idea of what you’ll receive:

    • 10GB base storage
    • Additional 500MB storage per user (so with 10,000 users, you’ll get 5 Terabytes of storage to get started with!)
    • Site collection maximum of 100GB per site
    • Up to 3,000 site collections
    • Additional 7GB of storage per user in their SkyDrive Pro
    • A public website default storage of 5GB, with a max of 100GB
    • Maximum file size of 250MB per file

    Check out the full software boundaries and limits here!