NZ Education Blog

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

January, 2014

  • Join us for the College & Career Readiness Virtual Event, February 13 and 18

    Join us for a special two-hour virtual College & Career Readiness Event

    Choose the event time that fits your schedule: 
    Thursday, February 13 | 8:00 – 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time | Add this event to your calendar
    February 18th from 12:00-14:00 Asia/Singapore/ 15:00-17:00 PM Sydney | Add this event to your calendar

    Register Now! 

    Who should attend: If you are in education, this event is for you! Administrators, educators, instructors, teachers, faculty, career counselors, curriculum planners are encouraged to attend.
    Format: Live, interactive virtual broadcast with engaging chat and Q&A opportunities for attendees and industry experts

    About the Event

    For technology educators, the responsibility of preparing students for success in higher education and future careers is no small one. Educators are tasked with fostering a dynamic set of foundational soft skills and technical skills in technologies that never stop evolving. The pace of change in the job market, technology platforms, and in-demand skills can outstrip educators’ ability to keep up—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Join Microsoft IT Academy program for an informative, free, two-hour virtual event showcasing the latest best practices technology educators can adopt to effectively guide college and career-minded students, and foster a new generation of innovators in the IT and developer technology fields.

    This virtual event will consist of six mini-sessions hosted by industry experts and drilling down into the topics that matter most to you.

    Speakers to be announced shortly!

    8:00 – 8:10 A.M.: The Global Skills Gap and Job Market Landscape
    An overview of the technology skills development landscape and roadmap for guiding students to success.

    8:10 – 8:28 A.M.: Extending Today’s Technology Curriculum in the Classroom and Online
    Explore the value and best practices for adopting technology curriculum and certification in the classroom and online learning platforms, including Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate, and Microsoft Certified Professional certification tracks.

    Entry-level Technology for Your College- and Career-Minded Students (two sessions)

    8:28 – 8:46 A.M.: Technology for Everyone:  Validating your students’ success in Microsoft Office
    The right mix of tools, training, and certification is essential to inspire entry-level students to set a course for a future career using the latest business technologies. We’ll review the best practices for getting students started on a productive path, including the value of Microsoft Office training and certification options.

    8:46 – 9:04 A.M.: Entry-level technology for your college and career-minded students 
    Aspiring technologists thrive when immersed in the IT and developer technologies they’ll work with every day in future roles. Learn about Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) training and certification, and how it helps students get hands-on with the latest technologies.

    9:04 – 9:22 A.M.: Technology Endorsements that Get Recognized
    Helping students develop solid technology skills is just part of the learning equation. Validation is a critical, ongoing need to ensure students stay motivated, focused, and empowered. Learn from IT Academy educators and learning experts on ways to endorse and validate students’ skills.

    9:22 – 9:40 A.M.: The Last Mile: Résumé Building and Interview Techniques
    Standing out in a crowded job marketplace requires sharp self-promotion skills. Join a panel of hiring experts on the very latest hiring trends and best practices for successfully landing entry-level technology roles. We’ll discuss tips for creating résumés that can’t be ignored, and interview preparation tips that you can share with graduating students.

    9:40 – 10:00 A.M.: Q&A – Get your questions answered live!

    Register Now! 

    Keep up with the latest details on this unique event for the educators across the globe!
    Stay tuned to this blog and IT Academy social channels for event updates as we announce guest speakers and session details

  • Choosing Surface for the Classroom: St Patrick's College, London

    Continuing on from our blog yesterday, we are delighted to bring you another fantastic example of the success a school has experienced by choosing Surface as their BYOD tablet.

    St Patrick’s College in London offers industry-standard vocational coursework to a diverse population of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and their mission is to prepare their students for career success.  As part of this mission, they decided to provide second-year students with Microsoft Surface, which comes pre-loaded with Office.  

    A recent study found Microsoft Office applications rank #3 in a list of the top 20 in-demand skills for high-growth and high-pay careers, so they knew their students would be learning skills that could help them with their careers.

    Surface with Windows and Office RT is helping St Patrick’s College provide a real-world technology experience for their students allowing them to make the transition from the classroom to the workplace with confidence. Due to the success of the Surface rollout, the London School of Business & Finance Alliance Cooperation, of which St Patrick’s College is a member, has purchased 10,000 Surface RT tablets to be deployed to students at other member universities. Vicente Fraser, Chief Information Officer of LSBF believes, “There is a big shift toward mobile and tablet computing, and educational institutions like ours have to be at the front of that trend.”

    Check out the video above!

  • Educators and Students are Choosing Surface and Changing the Classroom

    Tablets in the classroom is one of the biggest trends in education today – many schools are in the midst of implementing a “1-device-per-student”-type project, and many teachers are incorporating technology in new and innovative ways into their lesson plans. If you visit your local school, you’ll see that Year 3 has changed a lot since you were there! And over the past year, we’ve seen that Surface adoption in education has continued to grow and have a positive impact on the way students learn and prepare for their futures. We believe the reason Surface has been chosen by so many schools is that it enables educators and students to teach and learn in new ways. Allowing them to be more productive, more mobile and deliver real outcomes.

    Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts was looking for a device for their 1:1 computing initiative for a few years, but hadn't found anything they thought was versatile enough to be used across subjects and grades, and intuitive enough to be adopted in a deep and meaningful way by both teachers and students… until they found the Surface Pro. They decided to equip all 700 of their students and faculty with a Surface Pro tablet and Office 365. Since the deployment last fall, Surface has become a part of academic life at Williston. From working together on group projects in PowerPoint, using shared OneNote Notebooks for student – teacher collaboration, or posting multi-media homework assignments, they have seen how using Surface and Office 365 has fostered more real-time interaction and collaborative learning between students and teachers – bringing down the walls of their classrooms and making Anytime, Anywhere Learning a reality.   

    Look out for another great video tomorrow!

  • Office 365: Your complete resource guide

    Microsoft is committed to the success of every student, and our goal is to help students reach their full potential through the world's leading productivity tools in Office 365. It is important to us that, as educators, using Office 365 is made easy in order to support and facilitate 21st century learning in your classroom. Here's two fantastic resources you should keep bookmarked for the year ahead:

    • The Office 365 Technology Blog: HERE

    This is the official technology blog announcing the various new services available on Office 365.

    • Office 365 - Training & Learning: HERE

    In addition to what is available on the Partners in Learning Network, this resource has videos and how to guides for getting teachers and students started on using Office 365.

    Happy learning!

  • Office 365 for Education versus Google Apps: Everything you need to know

    Why Microsoft recently came up with this fantastic infographic, and we had to share it with you! The image gives you excellent insight into how Office 365 for Education can be leveraged in the classroom to help our students gain the 21st century skills so crucial in preparing them for the modern workforce.

    To interact with the links on the full image, please see the original post at Enjoy!

  • Anthony Salcito on how Student Advantage prepares students for the workforce

    Futures recently spoke to Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Education at Microsoft, on how the Student Advantage programme will transform the way students learn. The report was written by Kelly Ng and gives fantastic insight into the benefits Microsoft technology is bringing to 21st century learning in the classroom. We thought we'd post the full article here, but if you want to hear more from Futures, simply go to

    IT Skills for the workforce

    Communication skills, attention to detail and proficiency using Microsoft Office topped the list of 21st century skills that students will need for the top 60 high-growth and high-salary jobs, according to a recent study by IDC and Microsoft.

    The study evaluated 14.6 million job descriptions between April 2013 to September 2013 to identify the 20 most common hard and soft skills required for today’s job market. IDC further validated these skills by examining 60 jobs that have high-growth and wage potential between 2013 and 2020.

    Knowing Microsoft Office is ranked third of these top 20 skills, with understanding individual programmes Microsoft PowerPoint and Word placing 11 and 13 on the list. Microsoft Office was the only software solution noted within the top 20 skills.

    Launch of Student Advantage

    Understanding that Microsoft Office proficiency is an important tool for preparing students for the workforce, Microsoft launched Student Advantage, a benefit that extends Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost if their institution is licensing Office for staff and faculty.

    Office 365 was introduced more than a year ago, and there are now more than 110 million students, teachers and staff all over the world using it.

    More than 35,000 schools worldwide are currently eligible to use the Student Advantage benefit. Since 1 December, when Student Advantage was officially rolled out globally, these schools have had the option to provide students access to Office 365 at no additional cost.

    Benefits that Student Advantage brings

    “Productivity is a very important workload for schools. Giving students access will not only enrich the value of Office for them, but for teachers and staff as well,” Salcito added.

    Office 365 ProPlus provides tools, such as Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel that students are already familiar with and are now powered by the cloud. Students can install these tools on up to five devices, so learning is not limited to the classroom.

    Another benefit available in the Student Advantage programme is the Lync client, which is offered in Office 365 ProPlus. “Instead of Lync Online which was previously included in Office 365, students now get the full version of Lync that gives added functionalities such as recording, gallery video view, white boarding and screen sharing,” noted Salcito.

    Moreover, the solution has the ability to integrate between multiple modalities of deployment. “For example, schools that are deploying Exchange or SharePoint on premise can integrate these tools with the cloud. Or, a user who wants to use Office offline, can choose to sync the application dynamically with Skydrive when online.”

    One of the most important features schools will appreciate is the privacy and backend management control that can be expected in an enterprise deployment. “Besides ensuring students’ privacy and an advertising-free environment, school leaders can also take ownership of a student’s account if there is any suspicious activity,” he said.

    Looking ahead

    “We can expect more applications being built on the Office platform, so teachers can benefit from simple apps built into the productivity tool. For example, an application that many school leaders I’ve met appreciate is the ‘word cloud function’ built into PowerPoint that generates a word cloud easily. All you have to do is highlight the text you are interested in, and the app does the rest for you,” he described.

    Salcito expects more innovative education initiatives to come from institutions in Asia. In October, Microsoft recognized 250 ‘Expert Educators’ and 80 ‘Mentor Schools’. Of these, 33 Expert Educators and 19 of the Mentor Schools are from Asia. That is great representation from Asia as they were selected from more than 22,000 educators in 158 countries and 250 school leaders in 75 countries.

    “These educators and school leaders are on the leading edge of education innovation in the use of technology to improve learning and student outcomes. They are great examples of leaders who are using technology to do something transformational, around content, connection or enabling learning anywhere, anytime and anywhere,” concluded Salcito.

  • Don't forget to tune in to the Promoting 21st Century Skills Webinar!

    It is no secret that students today require skillsets that are hugely different from what was needed to secure jobs a decade ago. We see this change playing out everywhere in the world, and the gap between what employers are looking for and what recent graduates have to offer is only widening.

    So, it's a new year, and the perfect time to get up to scratch on the power of how 1:1 learning can be used in the classroom to develop 21st century skills. That is why on 14th January, Microsoft is hosting the latest in our Partners in Learning Virtual University webinar series featuring global experts and covering some of the most exciting innovations in education today. This session, Promoting 21st Century Skills, will be co-hosted by Richard Olsen, Assistant Director of ideasLAB, and Adrian Blight, Managing Director of Imagine Education.

    In his role at ideasLAB, an Australian education research and development incubator, Olsen identifies new technologies and their transformative possibilities for schools and for learning. He specializes in online learning communities, social networking, inquiry-based learning and game-based learning.

    For his part, Blight specializes in helping governments, NGOs and the corporate sector worldwide build the capacity of educators and maximize the impact of new technologies on teaching and learning. Blight is also responsible for training educators across the Middle East and North Africa as part of The British Council’s Connecting Classrooms program.

    This session will look at the key skills needed in the workforce and how those needs have evolved in the past decade. We will also look at why the capacity to learn is more important than knowing information – the all-important skills vs. knowledge shift. And we’ll explore how modern social learning leads to positive interdependence where knowledge is co-constructed around objects of inquiry, along with the non-linear path of inquiry-based learning in solving complex problems.

    This event is available at 7:00 am PT or 5:00 pm PT. Please join at the time most convenient for you. For more details on this important dialogue, and to register, click here.