NZ Education Blog

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

September, 2013

  • Apply to become an Expert Educator and get the opportunity to win a trip to the Partners in Learning Global Forum 2014 in Barcelona!

    Submit your application to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert before the September 30th, 2013 deadline to be considered for this exclusive program. Completing and submitting your application means you'll have an opportunity to join the Expert Educator Program and an all-expense paid trip to the Partners in Learning Global Forum 2014 in Barcelona–Spain. The Forum is where the worlds' most innovative educators will gather March 11–14, 2014 to learn together and to be inspired.

    The Microsoft Expert Educator program is an exclusive, one-year program that recognises educator visionaries around the world who use technology to create better learning and student outcomes. As an Expert Educator, you will be a global advocate, sharing your knowledge with other educators and education leaders. You will exchange best practices and learn alongside some of the most innovative educators in the world.

    When you become a Microsoft Expert, you will receive:

    • A trip to join 250 other Expert Educators at the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain
    • A free Microsoft Surface RT for your school
    • Promotion of your good work through publicity and marketing
    • Professional and career development

    To work on your application, please click here.

  • Announcing Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, and new Surface Accessories

    Today, in New York, Microsoft announced the next generation of the Surface family of devices and accessories. You can preorder and find out everything you need to know here about the Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and the new accessories, all available for preorder in New Zealand soon!

    Check out the video below, and get excited! We are! 

  • Tutorial: Adding resources to your OneNote notebook

    Microsoft Partners in Learning is a $500 million global initiative working with schools and educators to improve teaching and learning practices; optimize the use of technology within pedagogy to improve learning outcomes; and help every student receive an excellent education and gain the skills they need in work and life. As a member, you get access to free tutorials and other fantastic resources to help you and your school create and enhance lessons that elicit 21st Century Skills in students.

    This is one of the helpful tutorials hot on the Partners in Learning website right now. If you don't already know, OneNote is a digital notebook that lets you store all your valuable class or project knowledge in one place. Whether your information is text, pictures, or in a paper folder, it can be digitized, organized, and easily accessed from OneNote. You are productive because everything you need on a subject is at your fingertips. You will be able to build learning connections with other teachers and your students for the ultimate school experience.

    We'd love to hear your thoughts, tweet us at @MSNZEducation!

    Interested in learning more about using OneNote and other 21st century learning tools in the classroom? We're still taking bookings for our Windows in the Classroom seminars. Register your interest by emailing

  • Easier school collaboration and increased cloud storage with SkyDrive Pro.

    It's extremely evident that today’s learning environments and student preferences are focused on producing more and more content via digital mediums in the form of rich Microsoft Office documents, interactive games, photo and video libraries. One challenge that arises as a result of this shift, is having a way to store and access this content anywhere, anytime, regardless of device. The majority of users tend to choose a consumer cloud storage service like SkyDrive or use a school file server. Valuable knowledge and content is not typically manageable or searchable by schools in the case of consumer cloud storage and file servers can be unreliable and hard to access outside of school grounds.

    With Office 365 for Education, Microsoft provides a rich set of enterprise grade services via the cloud which can be managed by a school or preferred partner. Office 365 for Education demonstrates the power of highly available, modern cloud services that can help facilitate curriculum ICT integration. 

    Take the opportunity to see this vision in action by registering for one of our  Windows in the Classroom seminars.

    One of the key services included in Office 365 for Education is SkyDrive Pro. It's the place where staff and students can store, sync, and share their files across multiple devices with ease and security. Until last week, 7GB per user made up the available storage for SkyDrive Pro, as part of Microsoft’s evolving and maturing cloud service offerings this storage has now increased to 25GB per user by default.

    With SkyDrive Pro you can collaborate with others in real time and edit documents from virtually anywhere via a web browser using Office Web Apps. Accessing your files from multiple devices (including Windows Phone, Windows 8, iOS, and Android devices) is a cinch with native SkyDrive Pro and Office Mobile apps.

    There are three new significant improvements to SkyDrive Pro for Office 365 for Education subscribers - to help you be more productive:

    • Each user now gets 25 GB of SkyDrive Pro storage space (up from 7 GB).
    • You can now increase users' SkyDrive Pro storage beyond the default 25 GB-up to 50 GB and 100 GB.
    • With the new Shared with Me view, you can easily find documents others have shared with you.

    We have some excellent resources that can help you learn how SkyDrive Pro could be best used at your school.
    Check out Training: Sync libraries using SkyDrive Pro.

    We also have a great quick reference card attached below that would be a good way to gain adoption of SkyDrive Pro and Office 365.

    You can subscribe to our official announcements for Office 365 including the recent SkyDrive Pro and Exchange Online storage increases on our Office 365 technology blog.

  • Mairangi Bay School Principal reviews his Surface RT experience


    Bruce Warren, Principal at Auckland's Mairangi Bay School, recently took a Microsoft Surface RT with him on a two-week study tour of Korea. This recent article by Interface Magazine gives us a fantastic run down of his thoughts, feelings and experiences towards the device. But here's a few of Bruce's words:

    "My first impressions were positive. I liked the design: the size; the black metal feel; the widescreen depth of colours; the realistic feel of the type cover keyboard; the weight; the kickstand; the preloaded Office software; and the easy connectivity to Wi-Fi, so that I could catch up on Facebook and email on the go."

    "I used OneNote for organising all my notes and readings, and the angled rear camera easily captured presentation slides. I used my smartphone for photos and downloaded them via USB port. I could then use them in a PowerPoint presentation I delivered on the Surface connected via USB/ VGA to a projector."

    "Many times I was pleased I had the Surface RT, as I would not have lugged my hefty laptop from the hotel to lectures. Other educators were equally impressed. Now that I’ve returned, I find I use it at home to browse the web, check email and Facebook updates. I could see it becoming a preferred device at our school by staff and students."

    Don't forget, the Surface Offer for Education Institutions ends on the 30th September!

    To remind you, this offer includes the following special pricing on Surface RT to New Zealand schools and higher education institutions, through Authorised Surface Retailers:

    • Surface RT (32GB) - RRP1 for the Offer NZ$294 (Standard RRP1 is $499)
    • Surface RT (32GB) with Touch Keyboard Cover - RRP1 for the Offer NZ$371 (Standard RRP1 is $649)
    • Surface RT (32GB) with Type Keyboard Cover - RRP1 for the Offer NZ$432 (Standard RRP1 is $698.99)

    All the prices above include GST

  • Microsoft NZ's Education Lead speaks about 21st century learning design at the NZ Education Summit

    The education team is at the NZ Education Summit today at the Aotea Centre, Auckland. It's been a fantastic day so far, the highlight for us definitely being Education Sector Lead, Evan Blackman, delivering a keynote on Microsoft's 21st century learning design.

    Blackman spoke about the fantastic learning and teaching resources (tools, tutorials and learning activities) that you gain access to as a member of the Partners in Learning Network. He also talked about the innovative research Microsoft is carrying out to ensure that school leaders are equipped on their journey to 21st Century teaching with technology.

    And we can't forget the hot topic of how Microsoft's Partner's in Learning Programme can help you as an educator ensure your students are acquiring a new, 21st century, set of skills.

    Tweet us your thoughts on these topics at @MSNZEducation - we'd love to hear!

  • Microsoft Partners in Learning turns 10!

    We are very excited to announce that this month marks the tenth anniversary of Microsoft's Partners in Learning!

    James Bernard, WW Director, Partners in Learning, this week commemorated the occasion, "Ten years ago, we recognized that education systems around the globe simply weren’t working. With a model built to support the 19th century industrial revolution, it was clear that change was not only necessary, but critical to the future success of our children and our society. It was also clear that governments were not equipped to make this massive transformation happen on their own. The private sector would have to play a significant role, and Microsoft stepped up to do just that."

    "With a firm conviction that every child deserves a quality education, and over $750 million dollars committed to date, Partners in Learning has had the resources and reach to accelerate the progress of education reform. I’ve been involved in Partners in Learning for over five of its ten years, and I’ve been privileged to witness first-hand the program’s impact. We’ve recognized and supported Innovative Schools as well as Expert Educators. We’ve given exemplary teachers a platform to share their experiences on a global stage through our Global Forum and other Partners in Learning events taking place in every region. And we’ve helped millions of teachers use technology in their classrooms to engage students and transform learning."

    So, If you’re not already, join the Partners in Learning Network! We can't wait to see what the next ten years have to come.

    Interested in become a Microsoft Expert Educator? Apply here!