NZ Education Blog

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

December, 2013

  • Blended Learning From the Ground Up

    Getting Smart recently created this awesome infographic on what schools need to implement blended learning. As the infographic describes, blended learning is more than electronic textbooks and productivity tools. It involves inventing and adopting new learning environments that work better for students and for teachers.

    Do you need help with the tools needed for using the classroom to start blending your classroom? Go to to learn about our complimentary Windows in the Classroom Seminars.

  • New tools for educators now live on Partners in Learning!

    We would like to introduce you to the cool new tools for educators now available on Partners in Learning. In particular, the featured Windows 8 Apps are a fantastic resource to keep you up to date on the most innovative classroom tools.

    A top featured App this week is Brain Pop, an App which allows your students to watch a different animated movie every day, then test their new knowledge with an interactive quiz. It currently has 100 tutorial and 918 learning activities. But like all of these featured education Apps, it's growing every day!

    Check out all of the tools here and don't forget to sign up to Partners in Learning for access to other fantastic tools and resources for innovative teaching! 

  • Drawboard PDF - The Perfect Solution to Homework Marking

    Currently the #1 PDF app in the App Store, Drawboard PDF has been designed by an Australian developer and is free for a limited time only. You can now view, annotate and manage student PDF documents the easy way! This App is ideal for replacing the pen and paper, avoid printing documents again by using these innovative features that make annotating a PDF a breeze.

    You can either upload or create a new PDF, annotate using the extensive array of tools and then save it back as a compatible PDF. Drawboard distinguishes itself by its intuitive user interface and experience, stylus and touch input separation, smooth and natural pen, and array of tools.

    Features include:

    • Open and read PDF documents
    • Toggle between using an activated stylus and finger touch to perform annotations
    • Create new PDF documents of different size, orientation and page count
    • Radial menu with the following features:
    • Smooth and natural inking pen/stylus inking - change stroke width and colors
    • Eraser - also works on the back of the stylus eraser where functional, and right click on mouse
    • Undo/Redo
    • Select tool to move annotations around the screen
    • Shapes - rectangle, ellipse, line, arrow
    • Text markup - highlighter, underline, strikeout, squiggly
    • All annotations have the option for varying colors, widths, opacities, fills etc
    • Bookmarks
    • Search
    • Share by email
    • Print
    • Recent document recovery
    • Open large document file sizes
    • View and display options
    • Save as a compatible PDF
    • Insert, Rotate and Delete Pages

    Find out more and download the App here, it won't be free for much longer!

  • You're invited to the Windows Learning Series

    This exclusive series will show you why now is the best time to modernize your schools with Windows 8.1 and the new Office, and how you can leverage this technology to drive better learning.

    Register today for these additional educator-focused webcasts:

    • Dec 10: How to make your students good digital citizens
    • Jan 14: Promoting 21st century skills
    • Feb 11: The best Windows 8 apps

    Sign up to Partners in Learning for regular invitations to webcasts and other interesting resources!

  • Student Advantage now available – the best way to get Office for your students

    It is our pleasure to announce that, beginning 1st December 2013, every school in New Zealand that licences Office for staff and faculty is eligible to get Office 365 Pro Plus for students at no additional cost.

    The Student Advantage benefit will support schools’ BYOD and 1:1 Learning programmes, enabling students to have the full Office software on their own device. 

    What’s included in Office 365 Pro Plus?

    Office 365 ProPlus is the full version of Office and includes student favourites like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook and more. Office 365 ProPlus is a user-based service and allows each student to install on up to five PCs or Macs. Students can install on home or personally-owned devices and are covered throughout their time at the school.

    All New Zealand state and integrated schools have this benefit available now (through the coverage of the Ministry of Education Microsoft Schools Agreement).

    To take up this Student Advantage added benefit, the next steps are:

    1. Add the zero-cost Student Advantage SKU to your Microsoft agreement; and
    2. Deploy the no-cost Office 365 A2 Plan service for staff and students; then
    3. Students are able to download the Office Pro Plus client software to their devices (up to 5 devices per student).

    Please contact your Microsoft Reseller for more details:

    • For schools enrolled in the Microsoft Schools Agreement with the Ministry of Education, please contact Datacom on 0800 22 55 428, or
    • For all other schools, please contact your Academic Reseller or partner.