NZ Education Blog

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

July, 2014

  • OneNote for Mac and iOS get dressed for school!

    We are thrilled to announce today four major updates for OneNote for Mac, OneNote for iPad and OneNote for iPhone. Building on our recent updates in May, these enhancements make OneNote the best choice for taking notes and staying organized at school.

    Addressing customers top requests, we added several new features in this release including the ability to:

    1. Access your work or school notebooks on your Mac stored on OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online (on Office 365).
    2. Open and insert files, including PDF files, into your notebook pages.
    3. View your password protected sections.
    4. Improved organization, capturing content, and sharing of notes.

    These updates and more are available to download in the App Stores today. Below are some of the details on the updates.

    Access notebooks on OneDrive for Business and Office 365

    We know many of you using OneNote for Mac have been asking for the ability to access your work or school notebooks hosted on OneDrive for Business. With this update you should be good to go! You can now open, sync, and create personal or shared project or class notebooks on OneDrive for Business. Additionally, if you are using OneNote just for work or school, we made it easier for you to get started with OneNote by directly signing in with your organizational account upon opening OneNote.

    Mac - OneDrive for Business

    Insert and view file attachments

    Whether you are a professional preparing for a big meeting with the boss or a student getting ready for a new school year, we’ve added new capabilities to help you stay organized and keep all your notes and related documents together in your notebook. Now you can insert and view files, including PDF printouts, in your notebooks on Mac, iPad and iPhone. For example, on Mac you can drag and drop a PowerPoint deck or a Word document into your notes, as an attachment, and then view it in the OS built-in, Quick Look, or in the app itself.

    Iron Age

    On iPad or iPhone you can insert pictures or documents you receive in Mail or other apps by selecting ‘Open in OneNote.’ That way, even on the go, you are never losing track of important documents relevant to the project you are working on within OneNote.

    iPhone Insert File

    In addition, if you have a PDF file, you can insert it as a printout in your notes, making it easy to annotate with your own notes, whether they be meeting or lecture slides, research papers or class readings.

    Mac PDF Printout

    Unlock password protected sections

    We received many requests for the ability to access password protected sections created on OneNote for Windows. Now you can do so on Mac, iPhone and iPad. Simply navigate to the section and enter your password to access your private notes. Once you have reviewed or edited the notes you can easily lock the section, or after a few minutes it will lock automatically. That way, a confidential company note or study guide remains for your eyes, and your eyes only.


    Organize and re-arrange your notes

    As you add more sections, section groups, and pages to your notebooks you may want to reorder or move items to keep your notes organized. This is especially handy when you’re sharing notebooks with colleagues or students and new content is added by others in different locations of your shared notebook. You can now keep your notebooks organized from Mac and iOS devices.


    iPad - Move pages

    Copy and paste enhancements

    To enhance your experience of capturing content in to OneNote we’ve introduced additional copy and paste improvements this release for both iOS and Mac. If you are doing some research for a project at home, school or work, you can now copy formatted content from websites or other apps and paste in to your notes on any of your devices.

    Email page enhancements

    In addition to the ability to send your notes as PDF attachments in OneNote for Mac, you can now choose to send your notes in the message body. This can be handy when sending meeting or class notes to others.

    Mac - Email page

    Try out these updates today and tell us what you think. We appreciate your feedback as it helps us improve OneNote and deliver on your top requests. Check out our new and recently launched feedback site where you can post your own suggestions and vote for others. We would love to hear from you.

    To learn more about OneNote and download OneNote apps for all your devices go to

  • The complimentary SharePoint in Education event is next week - don't forget to register!

    We are only one week away from the SharePoint in Education event, held at Microsoft New Zealand! It's going to be a fantastic afternoon and we are all very excited to hear the amazing Lou Zulli Jr give his insights on Office 365 in Education. Click here to Register now! More information below:

    If you are from the education sector, and would like to learn more about SharePoint and specifically how it is used in Schools, then this is for you!

    Microsoft is hosting an afternoon get-together with a few presentations followed by networking and drinks. Although FREE to attend, places are strictly limited and Registrations are essential before Friday, 18 July. Click here to Register now! You can also find out more on the ShareThePoint Website here.

    Date: Wednesday 23 July - 4-6pm

    Venue: Microsoft New Zealand Ltd, Level 5/22 Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland 1010  Bing Maps


    Click here to Register now!     


    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Boost for Kiwi students as Microsoft NZ helps hone digital skills

    Graduates from the Microsoft IT Academy’s ‘Microsoft Office Specialist’ course have earned special recognition from Hekia Parata, Education Minister, as well as digital skills to aid their future.

    The nine students from Mana College in Porirua were presented with graduation certificates and congratulations from Parata in a Connect Smart Week event at Parliament.

    “It was a privilege to present these very deserving students with their graduation certificates,” Parata says. “Programmes like this are a great way of making sure our kids are equipped to work in today’s modern workforce.”

    The graduating Mana College students were Krystal Bishop, Tautahi Johnstone, Jammee Kirikino, Jayden Charteris, Naki Eriepa, Karina Kinvig, Chelsea Hawkins, Asilika Tuiwainunu and Carlos Graham.

    Mana College is participating in a nationwide pilot programme of the Microsoft IT Academy, which is being run in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. It is the only participating school in the greater Wellington region, with a further nine schools throughout the country participating in the programme.

    The aim of the Microsoft IT Academy is to improve digital literacy and equip students with skills for the modern workforce. The global initiative also encourages students to consider the technology sector as a career option.

    The Microsoft IT Academy has 300 different courses, from basic computer literacy skills in software through to high-end skills preparing students to become IT professionals.

    As a result of the programme, Mike Webster, Principal of Mana College, says there has been a strong increase in information technology literacy amongst students. To date more than 100 students have participated in the programme, which has now been adopted as part of their regular curriculum.

    The pilot programme was established in early 2013, and Evan Blackman, Microsoft’s Education Sector Manager says the company is thrilled with its success both at Mana College and the other schools. Microsoft is looking forward to expanding the programme in the coming year.

    “The IT Academy programme is designed to help lift employability for the modern workforce, as well as opening up pathways into technology-based careers,” he says.

    “It provides the resources and content that allow schools to lead students through industry-recognised training and certification programmes.”

    For more information on IT Academy, visit here.

    *This article was originally posted by Catherine Murray on Educate Tech Day.

  • NCEA Hub: The coolest new Education app in the Windows Store!

    We are very excited to announce the NZ created, NCEA Hub app, which is only available in the Windows Store!

    Students are now able to track their progress towards achieving an NCEA qualification throughout the school year and look up information on NCEA standards and subjects. The app allows students working towards a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 NCEA certificate to keep track of how many credits they have achieved as well as provide standard information and resources.


    • Add and manage individual subjects and achievement standards.
    • Specify any endorsement (Merit or Excellence) you gained at each standard.
    • Easily view your total number of credits as well as the number of credits at each endorsement level (Merit or Excellence).
    • See your progress towards individual subject endorsements (Merit or Excellence).
    • Supports NCEA Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
    • Track your Numeracy and Literacy credits which are required for achieving an NCEA Level 1 certificate.
    • Sync your NCEA progress to an online NCEA Hub⁺ account so you can update your progress on multiple devices.
    • Easily access up-to-date NCEA subject and standard information.
    • Find links to NZQA resources such as past papers, exemplars and marking schedules as well as from third-parties such as No Brain Too Small and StudyIt.

    Find out more and download this fantastic app here!

  • O365 and SharePoint 4 Schools - Essentials. Register now!

    Microsoft NZ and ShareThePoint bring you "Office 365 and SharePoint 4 Schools Essentials" - Register now!

    This one-day intensive course is an introduction for people who are new to SharePoint 2013 and want to use it for staff intranets, classroom sites, class blog sites, document management and student-parent collaboration.

    Please refer to the attached PDF Flyer on this blog post for more information!

    Target Audience
    Trainer, End User, Project Manager, Knowledge Manager, Help Desk.


    Morning Only (9am - 12.30pm): for people who need the introduction to using SharePoint, and what is possible.
    Afternoon also (9am - 5.00pm): for people who need to be able to configure the site, and introduce new processes.

    NOTE: This course for SCHOOLS who have already deployed, or are close to deploying, Office365. When registering, please specify whether you wish to attend the HALF DAY (morning only), or the FULL DAY.


    FREE places are limited to TWO per school. If registering more than TWO per school you will be required to pay $150+GST per person for the half-day session and $250 + GST per person for the Full day.

    Attendees are required to bring their own laptop.

    This course is also available as a private on-site course, where an instructor will come to your school and train up to 12 people in any or all of the modules listed. Please contact us for pricing.

    Course Content:



    Explore the Collaboration and Social features for staff and students to work together.

    * Use My Site and Personal Profile
    * Use Discussion Boards for Collaboration
    * Add an Announcement or School Notice


    Introduction to using lists, libraries and blog sites, for classroom collaboration. You will learn how to work with content, upload and view documents, and interact with a SharePoint site.

    * Sort, Filter and Working with Content in Lists
    * Change Views on Lists and Libraries
    * Upload Documents
    * Create and Comment on Blog Sites


    Make the most of tools you use daily and learn about integration points with SharePoint. Use OneNote and Lync along with other Office tools.

    * OneNote
    * LYNC in Classrooms

    * Document Co-authoring
    * Export SharePoint Data

    * Integration with Outlook



    Create a Staff Intranet and a classroom collaboration site.

    * Modify a Site Collection
    * Create a Team Site for a Subject
    * Edit the Home Page A: Format Tab
    * Edit the Home Page B: Insert Tab
    * Inserting a Video
    * Changing the Site Icon
    * Changing Regional Settings


    Use navigation to help people quickly and easily find the information they need.

    * Navigation
    * Change the Quick Launch
    * Change the Top Link Bar (Global Navigation)


    Create a school notices list, classroom list and contacts list as examples to manage information online and customise lists and views to meet your needs.

    * Lists
    * Modify a List
    * Create a Pre-populated List
    * Create a Custom List
    * Delete a Column


    Display your information such as school events, notices and documents on specific pages. Explore the use of SharePoint as a Knowledge Wiki.

    * About Web Parts
    * Using Web Parts
    * Create a Page
    * Check In and Publish a Page
    * Create New Wiki Pages
    * Publishing Pages


    Learn how to use SharePoint to effectively manage documents and images.

    * Introducing Libraries
    * Working with Documents
    * Create a Document Library
    * Enable Document Versioning
    * Collect Feedback on a Document
    * Create a Picture Library

  • Yammer Enterprise now included in Office 365 Education plans!

    As of 7th July, Yammer Enterprise was made available to all academic institutions at no additional cost. Yammer basic was always available for free as an enterprise social network option but did not allow for granular management of this environment as many organisations require.

    Yammer Enterprise is now free under Office 365 for Education A2, A3 & A4 plans! The Office 365 A2 plan is the free plan available for staff and students. Our Office 365 for Education offering was recently enhanced with additional no-cost Office application downloads for students through Student Advantage and will now include Yammer Enterprise. All existing Office 365 Education plan schools will receive licenses for Yammer Enterprise.

    So what is Yammer Enterprise?

    Yammer Enterprise is an enterprise social networking platform providing seamless, open sharing, and cross collaboration within your school. It is a transformational technology which has changed the way students and staff work. It promotes sharing ideas, thoughts, finding information and asking questions to innovate and collaborate.
    The possibilities for using Yammer in education are endless. Here just a few scenarios that might help get
    the ideas going:
    ·       Classroom/Teacher/Campus collaboration – teacher to student, student to student, mentoring, questions, announcements
    ·       Departmental collaboration – professor sharing, collaboration, information sharing
    ·       Projects – project information, graduate student projects, sharing of ideas
    ·       IT helpdesk – questions, information sharing
    ·       Research – sharing ideas, working cross teams, working with external parties securely
    ·       Alumni – Alumni collaboration, announcements, jobs
    ·       External collaboration with researchers, companies, other universities/schools.

    If I have an existing Office 365 Education tenant what do I have to do to get Yammer Enterprise?

    If you already have A2 or A3 academic skus enabled the ‘Yammer Enterprise’ license will just appear in your tenant. You do not have to order anything additional to make this work.  You still have to activate Yammer within your Office 365 Education tenant. See steps here and Activation FAQ here.


    In light of this announcement we'd encourage you to visit the official blog post and a number resources
    available below:
    ·       Microsoft in Education Blog - A view of the mobile Yammer applications available for iOS, Android,
    Windows and a handy FAQ
    ·       Yammer Enterprise Activation Guide – A good overview for IT administrators to help you through
    activating your Yammer network.
    ·       If you’re using SharePoint 2013 on premise you can integrate with Yammer Enterprise to provide
    an enhanced social experience with SharePoint 2013 SP1.
    ·       The Yammer app for SharePoint that was released in July embeds Yammer feeds into SharePoint
    sites (similar to the Yammer web part that is available for SharePoint 2010 & 2007). The Yammer
    app for SharePoint is available free of charge in the Office Store.
    ·       If you’d like to understand the Yammer Enterprise service compliance roadmap regarding security,
    compliance and privacy we can provide the list of plans for Yammer key standards and
    ·       Find out how other tertiary education institutions are using Yammer to improve engagement
    on the Yammer customer success web site.

    If you have any other questions, please contact your IT Partner.

  • SharePoint in Education Event - Register now!

     SharePoint in Education - your invitation!

    If you are from the education sector, and would like to learn more about SharePoint and specifically how it is used in Schools, then this is for you!

    Microsoft is hosting an afternoon get-together with a few presentations followed by networking and drinks. Although FREE to attend, places are strictly limited and Registrations are essential before Friday, 18 July. Click here to Register now! You can also find out more on the ShareThePoint Website here and the attached PDF Invite file of this blog!

    Date: Wednesday 23 July - 4-6pm

    Venue: Microsoft New Zealand Ltd, Level 5/22 Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland 1010  Bing Maps


    Click here to Register now!     


    Don't forget to register by Friday 18th July! We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Office Mix is a Game-Changer for Teachers

    Last month, we announced the customer preview of Office Mix, a tool designed to make it easier for teachers to incorporate online content into their lesson plans. Since then, we’ve been gathering feedback about what educators find most useful about the tool and how to make it even better, and we’re sharing what we’ve learned at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Atlanta this week. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised to see teachers using Office Mix in ways we hadn’t anticipated (for example, asking students to create their own mixes), and we noted some usage trends that will influence how we evolve the tool in the future.

    This blog post was originally posted on the Office Blog. You can read it here.

    Easily discover and share lessons created with mixes

    The top request we’ve received from teachers is to make it easier to share mixes. In response, we created a public Gallery designed for sharing and discovering great lessons. Through the new public Gallery, you can upload your favourite mixes, make them available to others, and browse content created by others to spark ideas or share with your class.


    We’ve heard from educators that finding relevant, useful content can be a challenge, and we hope the Gallery makes that just a little easier. Additionally, you can now embed Office Mix content, so it can show up on virtually any website.

    More ways to use mixes in the classroom

    We’ve also learned how teachers are incorporating Office Mix into their classrooms. Here are some of the ways we’ve heard about:

    • Formative assessment feedback loop. Almost all of the mixes that have been created for instructional purposes have assessments built in.
    • Bite-sized learning. The vast majority of mixes created are shorter than five minutes, suggesting that educators are using Office Mix to teach individual concepts rather than replace entire classroom lessons.
    • Global appeal. Though we haven’t localized Office Mix (the website and materials are only in English at this point), we are seeing mixes in a variety of foreign languages: Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romanian, and even Finnish.
    • Not just for teachers. We were surprised to hear from a number of teachers that they were asking students to create mixes as part of project-based learning assignments.
    • Catch-up. Though this doesn’t seem to be the predominant use of Office Mix, some teachers are using it to record their class lectures for students who missed a class or would benefit from a repeat of the lesson.

    More Office Mix partners means more education materials are available

    The list of content partners continues to grow (in addition to the partners we announced in May: Khan Academy and the CK-12 Foundation). University of Colorado’s PhET physical science simulations app is now available through Office Mix. An Office Mix math app from GeoGebra is expected to be available later this month. Check out for advanced viewing of thousands of STEM education materials that will be freely available through GeoGebra in Office Mix.


    Partners are already letting us know that they are excited about the opportunity to broaden their reach, allowing them to help more educators. “The goal of the CK-12 Foundation is to create, curate and allow customization of high quality, free content that we can then make available to all teachers globally. Our partnership with Office Mix has allowed us to provide teachers with a faster, simpler way to integrate this information into their PowerPoint lessons,” said Neeru Khosla, executive director of the CK-12 Foundation.

    Listen to what teachers are saying about Office Mix

    Here are a few of our favorite comments so far from teachers who have used Office Mix:

    Brien Gorham, English Teacher at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

    • “Mix provides teachers with an easy way to create flipped lessons for students since most teachers are already familiar with PowerPoint. Being able to create self-directed content for students creates more class time for more challenging project work and writing assignments. Having students work with ‘static content’ at home allows for more differentiated instruction time in the classroom. Being able to track their progress is an essential feature of this tool.”

    • “The familiar interface of PowerPoint is one of its greatest strengths. The layout of the Mix toolbar is easy to navigate and very user friendly. Another huge advantage is that teachers can easily repurpose their extensive libraries of existing PowerPoints into student directed content. Finally, the analytics are simply fantastic. I can see at a glance if students are engaging with the content, how in-depth that engagement is, and, through quizzes and questions, how much of that content they absorbed.”

    Helen Gooch, Microsoft Fellow and Master Trainer

    • Office Mix offers great analytics so that as your students complete a lesson or learning activity, you can see how well they mastered the objectives, and you can view the results if you included quiz questions such as multiple choice, true/false, and short answer. Or, you can monitor how long they spent on various aspects of your instructional sequence. Did they breeze through certain parts or did they truly take their time to learn. These are great formative assessment features!”

    Vicki Davis, full-time teacher and IT director for a small school in Camilla, Georgia and blogger at

    • “Think of it [screencasts] like team teaching with myself – an online me and a face to face me. Because it is so easy, Office Mix is changing everything about how I screencast. Just click the Office Mix Plug in inside PowerPoint and record the video slide by slide. It lets you do screencasting, embed videos, write on the screen and will record webcam.”
  • Trading In The Whiteboard for OneNote and a Surface Pro

    Once again, Sam McNeill, the Director of ICT at St Andrew’s College, has blown us away with his innovative and creative use of technology in the classroom. Sam runs the St Andrew's College "eLearning Stories" blog which provides a virtual “look through the classroom window” into the exciting eLearning happenings in the various classrooms around the fully-independent, co-educational school for pre-school to Year 13. Recently he blogged this original post (here), about some of the great work a Year 9 Math class is doing with OneNote and Surface. You can read it below!

    This morning I was invited by Mr Ben Hilliam to sit in and observe one of his Year 9 Math classes. I was keen to do this as I knew the Maths Department had been experimenting with the combination of MS Onenote, a Microsoft Surface and a Miracast device to wirelessly broadcast the screen of the tablet through the classroom projector.

    The following video is a screencast of Mr Hilliam’s first 6 minutes of the lesson. He is writing on the Surface Pro directly, and using MS OneNote to record his voice and handwriting in the background:

    All students in this Year 9 class have read only access to this OneNote notebook so they can revise at anytime, and in this instance the lessons were being recorded for a student that was absent for the week. Once uploaded to YouTube, the link is inserted into the Notebook for student access.

    What impressed me about this section of the lesson was the ease of the technology – it essentially existed in the background and in many ways, it was a direct substitute for the role of a whiteboard. Mr Hilliam was still asking students questions back and forward and they were still coming up and pointing to places on the graph on the projected image on the whiteboard to indicate their answers. The big difference however was that this was being recorded digitally for later revision.

    Towards the end of last year we undertook training for a lot of 2014 Year 9 teachers and introduced them to the SAMR model. I recently came across a new poster for this:

    Explaining the SAMR model through coffee

    Explaining the SAMR model through coffee

    The teaching in this Year 9 Math class falls clearly in the augmentation range – the teaching is not obviously different however the technology operating in the background provides massive functional improvement. Students, both those absent and physically present in the class, can all revise the concepts being taught at anytime.

    Here are some photos of the students at work practicing the concepts that had been taught:

    A student reviewing the MS OneNote content recorded moments earlier by Mr Hilliam, and then practicing in his exercise book.

    A student reviewing the MS OneNote content recorded moments earlier by Mr Hilliam, and then practicing in his exercise book.

    Students around the room making using of their laptops to review / rewind the concepts as taught and recorded from the start of the lesson

    Students around the room making using of their laptops to review / rewind the concepts as taught and recorded from the start of the lesson

    Whilst the phrase “ubiquitousness of technology” is over used, this lesson did demonstrate that when used effectively, the technology is not at the forefront of the lesson. It was not gimmicky or flashy, instead it provided functional improvement to what was already a great lesson.

    I am excited to see how other curriculum areas make use of technology like this in their classrooms and will blog about these in the future. As the Director of ICT it’s important for me to support initiatives like this that trial how new technologies can be used in the classroom. On my recent trip to Edutech 2014 I trialled a MS Surface Pro 3, some of the only demonstration units outside of the USA, and was very impressed. I have pre-ordered one for our staff to trial once it is released and am interested to see at what point in the future touch screen devices like this may replace the traditional laptops given to staff.

  • Kiwi students set to compete in the 2014 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals

    Four University of Auckland students who designed an innovative social interaction app for mobile devices have been selected to compete in the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle, USA, next month.

    Hayden Do (19), Jason Wei (19), Chris Duan (30), and Derek Zhu (22) beat out more than 150 other teams from around the globe at the recent Imagine Cup World Semifinals with their app called ‘Meep’, which helps friends meet up by tracking their locations in real time.

    After first impressing the judges to win one of the three top awards in the New Zealand Imagine Cup competition held in April, they will now compete for one of three $50,000 grand prizes. They are one of only 33 teams that made it to the worldwide finals and will compete against the top nine teams in the world in the innovation category.

    The panel of judges will include Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, as well as Co-Founder, Hadi Partovi, and Reddit General Manager, Erik Martin. One team will also have the opportunity to meet with Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.

    Nigel Parker, Developer Experience Director for Microsoft New Zealand, says it is impressive to have seen teams of Kiwi students making it to the global finals of the Imagine Cup for several years running.

    “Having been involved with the Imagine Cup for a number of years in New Zealand I am inspired by the students who passionately disrupt the technology landscape both locally and globally as a result of their fresh thinking and entrepreneurial spirit. New Zealand has punched above its weight placing in the top ten in the world four times in the last five years,” says Parker.

    “We’ve seen a lot of Imagine Cup teams go on to do great things. For example, I was encouraged to see Vigil Monitoring, formed off the back of the winning New Zealand Imagine Cup team in 2012, win the Callahan Innovation Hi-Tech Pre-Commercialisation Company of the Year Award last month.”

    This year Microsoft extended the reach of the local Imagine Cup competition by partnering with the University of Auckland to train and place 75 students in 22 companies to work over the summer.

    “Of the students placed, 10 have secured ongoing employment and these students represented the majority of the students that made it through to our national finals of the Imagine Cup competition in April. This is aiding the connection between tertiary education providers and high-tech firms,” says Parker.

    Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. Students compete in teams of up to four people in the Games, Innovation or World Citizenship competitions to create an original technology project from start to finish. The teams create an idea, make a plan, build the project and then compete, giving them the opportunity to learn how to launch their business and bring ideas to market.

    This year’s Imagine Cup World Finals will be hosted at the University of Washington during TechReady, the Microsoft Technical Conference, giving students the chance to meet with a broad range of people in the industry. The Meep Team will be accompanied by a mentor from Microsoft New Zealand.

    Now in its 12th year, Imagine Cup inspires students around the world to innovate across all of Microsoft’s technology platforms. Microsoft worldwide student competition is a truly global competition with around 16,900 students in 11,700 teams submitting 7,500 projects worldwide. This year there were 73 entries in New Zealand from across the country.

    The Imagine Cup World Final will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA from July 29 through to August 2. To see the full list of the World Finalists teams, visit the Imagine Cup blog here: