NZ Education Blog

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

November, 2013

  • SharePoint Online introduces the Touch Design mobile experience

    We are so excited to announce that the new SharePoint now allows for more innovative interactions with SharePoint sites and content on mobile devices: contemporary views, device channels, and new native apps (SkyDrive Pro apps and SharePoint Newsfeed apps).

    Mark Kashman, a Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint team this week blogged about how, "From the start, touch has been a key area of investment across all of the products in the new Office, and SharePoint is no exception. Now we're making SharePoint even more touch friendly. The new Touch Design mobile pages enhance the touch experience of two core SharePoint components, SkyDrive Pro and Sites.

    "Now, when you access SharePoint Online from smaller devices-from 11-inch screens down to 4-inch-you have a new app-like experience that enables you to work your best with your documents and team sites," Mark adds.

    Take a look at a few screen shots of SharePoint on 11-inch and 4-inch screens:

    The Touch Design view of "my documents" in SkyDrive Pro on an 11-inch touch tablet device.

    Backstage of the Touch Design experience on a 4-inch screen showing navigation access to Office 365 tiles. After clicking into the SkyDrive Pro tile, you see a "shared with me" documents pivot.

    To find out more, read Mark's full article here. Tweet us your thoughts! @MSNZEducation.

  • Announcing the 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools

    Last week, Anthony Salcito had the honour of announcing Microsoft’s 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools. Members of both programs are part of an exclusive, year-long program designed to recognize educators and schools that are on the leading edge of education innovation. Expert Educators were selected from nearly 22,000 educators in 158 countries, while Mentor Schools came from nearly 250 schools in 75 countries. These educators and schools are using technology to transform education, often overcoming overwhelming obstacles in order to prepare their students to be 21st century leaders.

    Salcito explained how, "Winning Expert Educators are not only doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems. For example, one of our winners created digital literacy courses and produced audiobooks for non-native speakers and the blind, and then designed a multimedia centre to allow any student or teacher to access their work and experiment with broadcasting language lessons. Yet another designed a history project for their students to study medieval history. Students took in-person tours of medieval castles, researched and compiled all their information, and then created virtual tours that could be used by other teachers and students who could not visit the castles in person. These innovators set an outstanding example for their peers."

    "Or take winning Mentor Schools like GENTE (Gin Exp Novas Tecnologias Educacion) in Brazil, and Campbelltown Performing Arts High School in Australia. At GENTE, the focus on personalized learning has completely transformed their curriculum and learning outcomes. Each student creates his or her own online “formative itinerary” that lists the skills they already have and the ones they need to develop. A digital adaptive evaluation system monitors what the student has learned, and where they can improve. At Campbelltown Performing Arts High School (CPAHS), action learning project teams explore four key areas of 21st-century learning: project-based learning, personalized learning, flexible learning spaces and student voice. CPAHS is firmly committed to practices that improve learning outcomes for students and prepare them as 21st century citizens who have the capacity to reflect deeply, collaborate effectively, think critically and work creatively."

    "The Expert Educators and Mentor Schools programs are designed specifically to help enable major transformations for both the educators and the schools. This year’s winners will benefit from the access to technology that they receive as part of Microsoft’s ongoing programs. We also see the programs as a “fellowship” of sorts: winners will not only work extremely closely with Microsoft, but they will also have access to a global community of world-class educators and schools."

    Look out for the applications for 2015 later next year!

  • Your Guide to Everything BYOD

    We are very excited to share with you Microsoft's latest BYOD discussion paper put together by Partners in Learning Australia. This paper is a significant update from the previous version and gives you a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about implementing a BYOD programme in your school. 

    The ongoing debate regarding the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model in schools warrants deep analysis to help educators and institutions understand this provisioning model and its potential benefits and pitfalls for learning. This discussion paper sets out to define and investigate current BYOD models to clarify which questions should be addressed in the context of your school’s culture, to determine the most suitable BYOD model for your situation. It is intended to stimulate discussion around what constitutes best practice 1-to-1 learning.

    The paper explores all of your questions around the following:

    • Do schools still need to provide computers?
    • Five potential models of BYOD:
    1. School mandates a device
    2. School-defined single platform laptop, plus another device
    3. School-defined multi-platform laptops
    4. Student choice of  laptop or tablet
    5. Bring your own whatever connects to the Internet 
    • Myths and misperceptions of BYOD
    • To BYOD or not to BYOD?

    Readiness, planning, technical support for devices, maintenance of devices, software licensing, security, school policy and parental consent, device life cycle and warranties.

    • Preparing the infrastructure

    Network and security considerations, file considerations, print considerations, software considerations.

    • Security solutions

    You can view and download the full guide by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post!

    Keen to find out more about 1:1 Learning programmes for your school? Register now for the 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Workshop!

    Facilitated by world education leader, Bruce Dixon, the complimentary workshop is designed to support school Principals and eLearning leaders to work together. We recommend two leaders attend from each school. We invite you to attend the workshop in Auckland, on 11th-12th November, or in Wellington, on 14th-15th November.

    Places are limited and the first workshop is only 10 days away! Find out more here or register now by emailing

  • Collaboration just got easier: Real-time co-authoring now available in Office Web Apps

    The Office 365 team has just announced the arrival of real-time co-authoring in Office 365, as well as a whole host of new features in the Office Web Apps that will help the education sector collaborate and work together more productively both Online and Offline.

    Students and educators can contribute and edit documents simultaneously in the Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App or Excel Web App. New real-time presence helps you see where your co-authors are working in the document so that you don't create conflicts as you edit.

    Additionally, the new ability to see changes to text and formatting as they happen will help you and your co-authors stay on the same page as your ideas
    develop and evolve.

    And because Office Web Apps now save as you go, your team's edits are included and seen as they happen. 

    Check out the details here:

    The changes are being rolled out now across Office 365 and SkyDrive, and are part of Office 365's regular upgrade cycle.  


  • Announcing the Surface in the Classroom Accessory Design Challenge

    Today we are very excited to announce the launch of the Surface in the Classroom Design Challenge!

    Calling all designers, teachers, students & parents! We want your ideas for how classrooms can evolve to support 1:1 learning with Surface tablets. Submit a design sketch and a description of your idea, and you will be entered for a chance to win a Surface 2, or a Surface Pro 2. The grand prize winner will receive 32 Surface 2’s and an Anthro Charging Cart to be donated to the school of their choice!

    To find out more and to enter, click here. We can't wait to see all the entries!

  • Microsoft Announces the 2014 NZ Expert Educators and Mentor Schools

    Following on from our blog last week, Announcing the 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools, Microsoft NZ is excited to announce that New Zealand's very own Theresa Bosch of Baradene College and Steve Martin of Howick College have been selected as Expert Educators. Added to this, Baradene College has also been selected as a Mentor School. As members of these programmes, Baradene and Howick will become a part of an exclusive one-year initiative that recognises pioneer educators and school leaders using technology to transform education.

    Paul Muckleston, Managing Director of Microsoft NZ, commented that “Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor schools are inspiring examples of how individuals and schools are using technology to prepare their students for the 21st Century. Not only are they doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems. They set an outstanding example for their peers and we hope that they will benefit from the access to technology that they receive as part of Microsoft’s ongoing programs.”

    What is an Expert Educator, and how did Theresa and Steve become one? The Expert Educator programme chooses 250 educators every year to become part of an exclusive global community of educational leaders, who use technology to positively impact learning and student outcomes. In order to be selected, Theresa and Steve underwent a rigorous application process, including an online application, learning activity and video. They were required to create a learning activity and a two-three minute non-professionally produced video that describes their project and how they used technology and innovative teaching practices to impact student outcomes.

    Over the coming year, Theresa and Steve will work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocating and sharing their experiences on effective use of technology in education with peers and policy makers. In addition, they mentor other educators and help train them in education technologies and on the use of Microsoft products and tools.

    Theresa and Steve, as Expert Educators and Baradene College as a Mentor School will receive a range of benefits including:  

    • An invitation to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum, Barcelona taking place in March 2014
    • Free Surface devices for their schools
    • Insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies
    • Professional and career development opportunities and certifications including peer coaching.

    In Steve and Theresa's own words:

    Steve: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as one of Microsoft’s Expert Educators! I look forward to making the most of the mentoring and learning opportunities that are now available to me, as well as being able to connect with like-minded educators at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum. Being a Microsoft Expert Educator will help me to increase learning outcomes for my students, as well as drive technology in education on a global stage.”

    Theresa: "Being selected as a Microsoft Mentor School is an amazing honour for our school and will inspire us as a learning community. We look forward to using this community to help us better prepare our students for the world of work, as well as sharing our experiences with schools around the world. I’m also thrilled to have been selected as one of Microsoft’s Expert Educators and look forward to the experience."

    Click here for more information on Expert Educators and Mentor Schools!

    We look forward to keeping you updated on our NZ winners' journey over the coming months.

  • 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Workshop - a success!

    Last week saw the exciting launch of Microsoft NZ’s first series of the 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Workshop. We are so excited to announce that both the Wellington workshop (held at Scots College) and the Auckland workshop (held at Botany Downs Secondary College) were a huge success. Over 50 educators in Auckland and 30 in Wellington attended, ranging from Principals to teachers and ICT Directors.

    The workshop worked through 5 Phases that outline the Design and Deployment Guide to 1:1 learning:

    • Phase 1 – The Compelling Case for Change: Create a solid foundation for a 1:1 initiative, with a clear vision and actionable, measurable goals.
    • Phase 2 – Redesign Learning and teaching: Focusing on rethinking and redesigning all aspects of teaching practice and the learning experience, based on the information garnered and ideas developed in Phase One.
    • Phase 3 – Lead the Shift: The vision and goals have been set. It’s time to turn the vision into reality, and theory to practice. This phase develops strategies in the key areas of stakeholder engagement, financial models, equity of access, community buy-in and teacher professional growth to support your initiative.
    • Phase 4 – Manage Implementation: Once all the strategies for change are in place and being put into action, schools are ready to plan the actual 1:1 implementation.
    • Phase 5 – Evaluate Continuously: Effective evaluation of your initiative is the backbone of its success.

    Bruce Dixon, co-founder and President of the Anywhere Anytime Learning Foundation, facilitated wonderful conversations around 1:1 strategies and 21st Century Learning. Focus was on the pedagogy that drives student outcomes and then the technology that supports that. Our feedback indicated that school leaders found the workshop very helpful in either setting strategy and/or deploying the 1:1 programme, depending on which stage they were at.

    General feedback surrounding the workshop highlighted Bruce’s great depth of knowledge and his willingness to “tell it as he sees it”. Many attendees commented on the value of having their key decision makers attend the conference and emphasized the relevance of learning strategies for Principals and Senior Leaders. Those who were in the early days of developing a 1:1 learning programme commented that they will look back on the course in the future and see it as a critical point for their school. One school leader, currently in the process of deployment, viewed the workshop as an “oasis” to gather their thoughts and move their school forward in the implementation of a 1:1 learning programme.

    All in all, it can certainly be said that the two days were immensely valuable for all attendees, no matter which stage and depth of knowledge they had of 21st Century Learning. Schools left feeling highly informed, confident and supported in their way forward and their understanding of the importance of the pedagogy.