NZ Education Blog

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

NZ Education Blog

  • Collaborate in Office—Office tools to collaborate in and out of the classroom

    This post was taken from Office Blogs

    Welcome to 2016! You may remember the release of Office 2016 and the new features it brought focused on collaboration. In the new year we will continue to plan, develop and release new features to help you collaborate—especially inside the classroom. Before these new features are released, let’s take some time to look at what’s already available to help you to collaborate in and out of the classroom!

    OneNote Class Notebook—the ultimate collaboration tool

    If you have not yet started using OneNote, you are missing out! OneNote can be used anywhere, on any device, with anyone (get it here)! OneNote Class Notebooks are described as an Office 365 wizard that allows teachers to quickly set up the ideal OneNote collaborative environment for the classroom, including public and private spaces.

    Check out what some teachers have to say about OneNote:

    Get started collaborating in the classroom with OneNote Class Notebook Creator!

    Sway—the best digital storytelling app for interactive class materials, presentations, projects and more

    Sway is a new digital storytelling app from Office that is great for project or problem-based learning. Teachers can create interactive web-based lessons, assignments, project recaps, newsletters, and more—right from a phone, tablet, or browser. Students can collaborate and use Sway to create engaging reports, assignments, projects, study materials, and portfolios. Sways are easy to share with the class or the world and look great on any screen.​​​ Sway is currently available on the web, on Windows 10 PCs/tablets, as well as on iPhones and iPads. Click here to learn more about Sway for education.

    Office Online—all the tools you need on the web

    Did you know that Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available on the web? So are OneNote, Sway, Outlook Mail, Contacts and Calendar! With Office Online, students can work in the same document and see changes happening in real-time by other students.

    • Have a sign up form for dates to bring snacks? Send a link to students so they can all open it up and add when they want to bring their snack.
    • Want students to work as partners on an essay about Grace Hopper and her contributions to Computer Science? Students can create, share and edit a document in real-time and see the edits their partners are making as they make them.

    Office Online saves as you go. Everyone on your team can see changes to text and formatting as they happen, so you can all stay on the same page as your work evolves. There’s even Skype chat integration to have discussions about your document as you work. If you haven’t tried it yet, go to to get started!

    OneDrive file storage in the cloud—automatically save, store, share and collaborate

    OneDrive is a cloud storage where you can save documents on the web and be able to access them from any device. OneDrive makes it easy to use Office Online: Word, PowerPoint, Excel or OneNote on the web! Best of all, if you’re not in the document at the time your peers make the edits, you’ll get an email notifying you of the changes. Every change is synced in the document, automatically saved on OneDrive and made visible to the team, so you can catch up on what you’ve missed.

    Skype in the classroom—guest speakers, virtual field trips or classrooms from around the globe

    Skype in the classroom is a free global teaching community. Play Mystery Skype and partner with a classroom from around the globe teaching students about differences and similarities with other cultures. Connect with a guest speaker and video stream them into your classroom to inspire students and teach them about new careers. Go on a virtual field trip to South Africa to learn about the endangered African penguins or head over to the lab to learn about plankton and why they are so important. Stuck on developing curriculum ideas? Check out this long list of live Skype lessons.

    Sound awesome? Register to take part here!

    Sound like cool tools you would use in your classroom? Find more information about this here.

    —Joanie Weaver, program manager for the Office Core team

  • Hack The Classroom 2016

    Disrupt. Empower. Transform.



    In just 8 days' time, on the 30th Jan at 5am (EST) Microsoft in Education is hosting Hack The Classroom! This is the largest free online digital event that Microsoft has hosted and is to help inspire educators and school leaders worldwide! It'll give you an insight into the latest trends in education and help incorporate new ideas and tools into your classrooms. Don't worry if the 5am start time is a little too early for you, everything will be available on-demand as long as you register for the event!

    Included in this event are some truly inspirational speakers. From Hadi Partovil the creator of and Dale Dougherty, the founder of MAKE Magazine. Both of whom have helped hacked learning spaces across the globe to provide innovative and new experiences for students.


    Plus, MIE expert educators Leah Obach from Canada and Jeff Kash from the USA will both be speaking as well. They will be talking about their experiences and giving you tips on how to hack your classrooms to create an improved learning environment. If you have any questions for any of the speakers during the event, feel free to ask them.


    Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn how to hack your way to a more innovative learning environment for your students. Register now!

  • Surface at St Andrew's College in Christchurch, New Zealand


    We are excited to share with you some of the incredible teaching and learning that is happening at St Andrew's College in Christchurch, New Zealand with Surface. Check the video out below or at 


    Director of ICT, Sam McNeill piloted the Surface Pro 3 at its launch, with the number of teachers using Surface in the classroom now over 30. Sam has blogged about the school’s journey with Surface and other digital technology throughout the College. Check out his blog for some fantastic insight into the natural integration of technology and eLearning strategies in the classroom.  


    The video also features Microsoft Innovative Educators: Ben Hilliam, Tam Yuill Proctor and Wilj Dekkers. These three teachers have been recognised by Microsoft as global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers for better learning and student outcomes.  


    The video also highlights the integration of OneNote, Office Mix, Minecraft and Skype into the classroom. 


    To learn more about what these amazing teachers are doing and how it is helping improve students education check out the video!

  • Welcome to our Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts!

    We would like to extend a special welcome to our new Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts!

    New Zealand now has 58 MIE Experts! This is a real testament to the outstanding work that New Zealand teachers are doing with technology innovation in their classrooms. We are looking forward to working with this outstanding group of educators throughout 2016. 

    The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert program is an exclusive program created to recognise global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers for better learning and student outcomes. MIE Experts work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education. They advocate and share their thoughts on the effective use of technology in education with peers and policy makers. They provide insight for Microsoft on new products and tools for education, and they exchange best practices as they work together to promote innovation in teaching and learning. You can read more about the MIE Expert Program in this Sway.

    This year, we will have over 3,700 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts around the globe. About 800 of our MIE Experts can be found inside our 400 Microsoft Showcase Schools.

    If you would like to become a MIE Expert in 2017, applications will be open from April - June 2016. Stay tuned for more information! 

  • After School Innovation in New Zealand – Matt Richards, New Zealand

    This post has been adapted from Anthony Salcito's "Daily Edventures" blog post

    Innovative education doesn’t just happen during the traditional school day. Thanks to Matt Richards curious students in New Zealand and around the world are able to explore, create and learn in a unique after-school program.

    Richards, who first became interested in education while filling in at an after-school program, has gone beyond his classroom to build experiences for students that will make a life-long impact. After building the first makerspace in Australian schools (on his own time, and with scraped-together resources), Richards and his students were featured on the local news. But that was just the beginning.

    “After the media attention,” he tells us, “I was tweeted by the Australian Space Research Institute and asked if my students wanted to design and run experiments on the International Space Station. I said ‘yes, please!’ The experiment they have devised is sending tadpoles to space to see what space frogs look like and how they behave. The chance to Skype with astronauts during the ‘mission’ is exciting too!”

    Today, Richards facilitates Mineclass (here’s his Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert summary of the project), which brings students together from around the world to collaborate on complex Minecraft challenges. How does it work?

    “Students prototype creations and modify them using design thinking,” Richards says. “Redstone (coding blocks) and computational thinking are employed to create working computers, etc. The student admins in Mineclass are called Jedi Masters. They guide groups and teach participating teachers the basics of Minecraft. Minecraft encourages coding. Several of the students participating in the project have coded bespoke plugins to achieve specific goals.”

    Whether he’s building after-school learning environments, or helping students build their own projects with peers around the globe, Richards is part of a new breed of educators that is breaking down the barriers between school and after school, helping today’s students learn anytime and anywhere.

    Enjoy this Edventure with Matt Richards, the director of The Mind Lab by Unitec and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

    What inspired you to become an educator?

    Ten years ago I was working as the managing editor of a publishing company. I was tired of working just for profit. I wanted to work in a field that changed lives and made the world a better place.

    My girlfriend at the time managed a before- and after-school care service. She was short staffed one day and asked me to help cover a shift. I enjoyed working with the kids so much that I got my teaching qualifications and became a primary school teacher. My Dad had always told me that teaching was the most important profession as it created our future.

    What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?

    Creating the first K-12 Makerspace in Australian schools was a highlight for me. I didn’t ask permission. I just did it over the holidays. I converted the upstairs of the library, re-purposed furniture and got friends in the industry to donate some tech. When school term kicked off I invited Channel 9 news in to do a story. Making the night time news was a hit with the kids and the community. We were the “school of the future!” Not bad for a little school in rural Australia.

    Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?

    Innovation and learning is how we fix the world. We have some big issues facing us as a species right now and new thinking is needed if we want to have a future. Global collaboration is the way forward.

    A project that I facilitate called is an example of global collaborative learning. Students from around the world learn, play and innovate together in a shared Minecraft world. The students run the show in Mineclass. They create the challenges, which have to be completed in teams. It’s a great example of a connectivist learning environment.

    Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?

    The biggest challenge we face in education today is a lack of agility and vision. The world is changing fast. Automation, robotics and A.I. are changing the workplace and jobs. New disruptive technologies are being invented daily. Unless established education systems evolve quickly, they will become obsolete.

    In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?

    A lot of things excite me about the future! Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and global learning networks are defining this Age of Learning. By 2020, the whole world may be online. How fast will we evolve when every innovator on the planet is networked? It’s an exciting time to be alive!

    About Matt Richards

    • Birthplace: Newcastle, Australia
    • Residence: Wellington, New Zealand
    • Blog:
    • Twitter: @sirmattrichards
    • Educational background:Bachelor of Arts (Media & Writing), Southern Cross University; Graduate Diploma of Education, Newcastle University; Google Certified Innovator; Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. I have worked as a primary teacher, secondary teacher, Director of Innovation and now I work in an educational social enterprise.
    • Websites I check every day: Reddit, Motherboard, Neatorama, Lifehacker, Makezine, Gizmodo, Edutopia
    • Favorite childhood memory: Lying on the garage roof stargazing.
    • Favorite book: Neverness by David Zindell
    • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Minecraft and Hololens
    • What is the best advice you have ever received? With our thoughts we make the world.
  • Latest OneNote updates —Embed video, record audio, insert files and more

    This post has been taken from Office Blogs

    We’re excited to announce that we added a lot of great capabilities including some of our top education and OneNote Online requests—the ability to add audio and file attachments to your notes!

    Audio recording

    Listen up. Whether you’re preserving a lecture for posterity or practicing your accent, a recording is the natural way to capture it. With the addition of audio recording to the web, iPhone and iPad, you’ll always have the right tool for the job at hand.

    To start recording on the web, click Insert and then Record Audio. Once you’re finished recording, click Stop. You can play the file by selecting it and then clicking the Play icon that appears.

    Audio recording on iOS is great for teachers and students alike. Students can easily practice pronunciations for a foreign language class or capture their latest guitar solo in music class. Teachers can give quick audio feedback to students—directly in their Class Notebook. We’re excited about our first version of audio recording for iOS, but have plenty of additional features we plan to add. Please share your feedback to help shape the next version.

    Insert file attachments into OneNote Online

    Now imagine this: you’re a student using OneNote Online in class to take notes. Once the lesson is done, the teacher sends out the PowerPoint slides for that day. Wouldn’t it be great if you could store those slides directly alongside your class notes? Or if you’re a teacher, have you ever wanted to build lesson plans and insert files directly onto the page? Well, wait no longer.

    You can now add any file to a page using file attachment. Students, simply click Insert, File Attachment and then select the file you wish to attach to the page. Now when it’s time to study for the quiz, you have all the materials in one place or if you’re the teacher you can write the quiz!

    We’re continuing to add and improve features in OneNote Online, so stay tuned for more updates like this one in the months to come.

    As always, we encourage you to provide feedback by voting and adding ideas on the OneNote Online feedback site.

    Embedded Video in OneNote 2016 for Windows desktop

    OneNote’s canvas has always been a great tool to share thoughts or express an idea. Today we’re excited to announce a brand new capability to the OneNote 2016 desktop canvas, embedded Online Video! This has been a top request from our customers.

    With the new Online Video button, you can now insert your favorite YouTube, Vimeo and Office Mix content directly on the OneNote canvas and take your notes right next to it.

    To insert a video, from OneNote 2016, click Insert, then click the new Online Video button.

    Inside the dialog, paste the address to your YouTube, Vimeo or Office Mix video and then click OK. The video will then be inserted onto the canvas—it’s that easy!

    Embedded YouTube video

    Embedded Office Mix video

    We’re working to add more video sources soon, so stay tuned! Also, tell us on the OneNote feedback site what types of video you’d like to be able to embed.

    Embedded video will be available for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers or from in the coming weeks. We will bring embedded video to OneNote Online, Windows 10, Mac, iOS and Android over the coming months.

    OneNote badge for Android

    Need to get your thoughts down even faster? Big multi-tasker? There’s a badge for that: introducing OneNote badge for Android.

    The new badge can float anywhere on your screen, even above other apps. Now you can easily browse the web and write down your quick thoughts or copy/paste without having to move between apps, helping you to stay focused.

    Launch the badge by pulling down the notification tray and tapping the OneNote badge notification. Then, when you’re done, simply pull the badge to the bottom of your screen to dismiss it. Notes are saved to your Quick Notes section by default, but if you prefer to stay fully organized, don’t worry, you can also choose the notebook and section that you want your notes to go into.

    In addition, you’ll be able to select the notebook and section of your choice when you share content with OneNote using Add to OneNote. As soon as you share content with OneNote, the badge will have a small lightning icon.

    We are rolling out OneNote badge in phases on Android and it may take up to two–three weeks for all of you to get badge.

    OneNote for iOS

    Touch the OneNote app. Now touch it again, but with Force. OneNote for iPhone 6S/6S+ now supports Force Touch (a feature that senses the level of force exerted) to let you quickly create a new note or pop into Recent Notes. In addition, OneNote is now optimized for the iPad Pro to take advantage of the new screen resolution and other major capabilities.

    Phew, that was a lot of stuff! We always want to hear your feedback so make comments below or follow these links.

    Get OneNote: iOS | Android | Windows

    Suggestions: OneNote UserVoice


  • Innovative teacher taking learning to the next level at Kerikeri High School

    At Microsoft we love hearing from awesome, real-life educators in the New Zealand community. Today we are placing the spotlight on Bridget Crooks, an inspirational teacher in the far north of New Zealand.

    Bridget is a Drama and Performing Arts Technology teacher at Kerikeri High School. On a daily basis, Bridget strives to provide the best learning opportunities for her students through the use of technology. Bridget makes great use of tools such as OneNote, Sway, and Skype to engage her students and encourage creativity. Bridget’s forward-thinking approach to teaching and learning is exemplified by her collaborative project with an Australian school earlier in 2015.

    Today, we hear more from Bridget about this project and how she is using technology to great effect in her classroom.

    Which technologies and tools do you currently use at Kerikeri High School and in your classroom?

    Kerikeri High School is Office 365. The school runs a BYOD programme and all students have school email addresses, OneDrive storage and access to the Office suite of applications.

    As a school we are constantly learning and upskilling to offer the best to our students. Being a rural school it is a challenge to get our teachers out to PD in the main centres. This year we chose to run a two-day IT conference at our school – bringing the experts to Kerikeri and spending two full teacher-only days learning and upskilling. Presenters came from New Zealand and Australia – offering varied keynote addresses and breakout workshops, covering everything from Content Curation, Microsoft OneNote, Online Assessment and video training in PE.

    Our teachers utilise the Microsoft suite of products. Our communication is supported with Outlook and the traditional programmes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint still feature heavily in our productivity – although more likely in the Web App format on individual devices.

    Along with the more traditional programmes, my drama classroom has made use of Sway and Skype in 2015. I love Sway for how easy it is – and how great it looks on all screens. Most of my revision work is presented this way and all of my presentations are available on Sway!

    What has been the impact of OneNote on teaching and learning?

    I adore OneNote. I’ll wear my purple cape with pride!

    I have always struggled with paper and this year all my school planning and marking has gone paperless. My Surface Pro has been amazing for this – the stylus allowing me to write flawlessly. Next year I will run all my classes on OneNote and cannot wait to share with my students how incredible it is.

    As a school we have also started working towards new appraisal documents with OneNote. We are currently working on creating shared templates and structure.

     OneNote as a teacher appraisal tool

    I teach Drama and Performing Arts Technology. For assessment we need evidence of real stuff – not paper answers. There is no better way to document this than using the students’ phones – or my phone for that matter. This documentation is quick and easy and means I do not miss a beat with evidence for assessment.

    Capturing evidence of student's performances using the OneNote phone app

    Using OneNote and Surface to assess live performances

    The web app is such a bonus – anywhere, anytime on anything. Makes me look super organised too – got to love that!

    How has being a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert helped you with your technology journey?

    Being a MIEE has given me the confidence to realise that what I am doing is great. Before, I think I worked in a bit of a vacuum – I never really thought what I did was special or different; I just loved using different technologies to get the best out of my students and myself.

    I feel supported – I’ve met some great people – mostly virtually, but one day we’ll catch up! The fact that I get to connect with some fabulous minds is such a bonus – we are all busy teachers and cannot hope to know everything – but I have a hotline to the brightest and the best to help me with my questions. That’s pretty cool. I feel very privileged to be part of this group.

    Can you tell us a bit about your collaborative lesson with the school in Australia?

    Project Songologue was a collaborative project with Deanne Joosten, a fellow MIE Expert from Australia. We worked on this theatre piece for one term with our students.

    Deanne and I started planning in the Christmas holidays. We met up over Skype a couple of times and worked on a shared OneNote. I got the inspiration from a post I saw on Facebook – a New York actress called Nina Millin produced a theatre piece called the Beyoncelogues. Basically turning Beyoncé’s song lyrics into solo theatre performances.

    I thought this would be a great idea for my acting students – but using New Zealand artist’s lyrics. Collaboration could be seamless because the Australian students could do iconic songs from their country. And we could utilise NZ and Australian co-authored songs for duologues.

    I got in contact with Nina – who was super excited for us to use her idea as a basis – and we took it from there.

    We decided to run the show simultaneously in Australia and NZ – using similar publicity and design.

    I handed this idea to my senior Performing Arts Technology students. This class is run on a Theatre Company model – I simply commission them, supply the outline of the idea and they produce, direct and present the product.

    They LOVED this. A new idea, working with a wide audience. It is the real life learning that gives them fire to succeed. Reinventing and changing the goal posts is exciting!

    This collaborative project was facilitated by Skype where my students met virtually with Deanne’s students two to three times a week for 8 weeks.  The interactions were positive and full of energy. All our planning was done with a shared OneNote, and directing, rehearsals and performances were conducted via Skype. This was an incredible experience for both schools. 

    Kerikeri High School students Skyping with the Australian students for the first time during Project Songologue

    Skype completely redefined what we were able to do in the classroom. I blogged about this for Microsoft Hot Topics in January, my post can be found here.

    In the next year, how would you like to see you and your school move forward with technology in the classroom?

    2016? What am I planning? Well – going paperless in my classes using OneNote Classroom Notebook. I also plan to integrate SharePoint across our school and use Staff Notebook Creator to revamp appraisal documents for my Department. I’ve got another crazy plan for uniting Drama teachers and students from all over the world!

    For me it is all about the learning experience. I think about what I’d love to do and fit the technologies to that – rather than the other way around. Good teaching for me is about pushing boundaries and trying new things. The Microsoft tools allow me to do this. I am adamant that it’s about the pedagogy not the technology – and I would not do something in my classes just to use a technology. But when it can take the learning to a previously unheard of outcome? Well, that is awesome – and I’ll be all over that!

  • You're invited to participate in the Global Skype-a-Thon!

    Microsoft Global Education Skype-a-Thon
    Join the global movement December 3rd and 4th to  
    celebrate learning without borders!

    At Microsoft, we believe a powerful way to learn is from each other. That’s why we are empowering students and educators around the globe to do just that. On December 3 and 4, Microsoft is hosting a Global Education Skype-a-Thon to celebrate learning without borders. Over the 48 hours, participants will contribute to help reach a goal of one million virtual miles travelled.

    We invite educators to schedule a Skype call in their classrooms or schools with one of hundreds of guest speakers, virtual field trip partners or other classrooms around the world to play Mystery Skype.

    How to get involved.

    It’s easy, and most of all, your participation will help us collectively reach our goal of one million virtual miles travelled!

    Step 1: Go to the Skype-a-Thon site where you will enter our resources page for educators. If this is your first time visiting our site, you will be asked to create your profile. By doing so we can easily connect you up with other schools, and best of all, you will become a member of our Microsoft educator community providing you access to professional development, lesson plans, discussion boards and product training.

    Step 2: Select the type of Skype call you would like to make. You will be presented with three choices

    • Play Mystery Skype – The global guessing game between two classrooms that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.
    • Talk with a guest speaker – Connect your class up with volunteer guest speakers from around the world on a wide variety of subjects.
    • Take a virtual field trip – Take your students on an adventure without leaving the classroom.

    Make sure to schedule your call on either December 3rd or 4th so you can be part of our Global Education Skype-a-Thon.

    Step 3: Have your Skype call on December 3rd or 4th 2015.

    Step 4: After your call, post a creative photo on Twitter or Instagram showing the distance you travelled. Tag it with #skypeathon so everyone can see how your call helped reach the goal of one million virtual miles. We will update the Skype-a-Thon site regularly with our progress. 

    Need Help?

    You can contact the Skype-a-Thon team. Also, take a look at the Sway which shares some examples of the calls you can make and steps on how to get started. 

    In today’s world, we benefit from technology connecting students to limitless amounts of content and knowledge. We are creating citizens of the world from early years and a channel to share ideas, innovation and expertise across borders. Let’s make this Skype-a-Thon an amazing example of the power of learning without borders.

  • Minecraft meets Hour of Code

    We are excited to announce a Minecraft tutorial is now available for this year's Hour of Code, delivered by

    This is a great opportunity to get students of any age involved in coding, using gamification to ensure that it is fun and interesting! 

    Designers and developers from Mojang and Microsoft teamed up with to create a tutorial that teaches students basic commands while staying true to the styling and game play that you expect from Minecraft. The team made sure to include aspects of the Hour of Code tutorial meant for Minecraft fans while ensuring the experience is accessible for any student and educator on any device.

    The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience is needed, and events are suitable for ages 4 to 104!

    Recent updates have been made to the Minecraft in Education site. Come see the team's new video, learn how educators are using Minecraft with their students, and take some learning activities for you to use or adapt for your classroom.

    Change the way you and your students learn with the Hour of Code and Minecraft! 

  • Bud-e Reading joins the Windows education app family!

    To welcome Bud-e Reading to the line-up of Windows apps for education, Microsoft and Bud-e are providing an exclusive offer for New Zealand schools!

    Every school in New Zealand is eligible to receive a FREE version of the Bud-e Reading digital program until the end of 2015! To make the most of this special offer, download Bud-e Reading from the Windows Store. 

     What is Bud-e Reading?

    Bud-e Reading is an app designed for junior students, aged 3-6 years, to aid in the development of literacy skills. Created by Jill Eggleton, a leading New Zealand literacy specialist, Bud-E Reading provides an exciting way to introduce reading and writing to young students.

    How does Bud-e Reading work?

    Bud-e takes children on a magical adventure through an exciting 3D world, with a delightful cast of characters that guide children along their literacy journey. This fantastic app provides the opportunity for young children to learn letter sounds, as well as read and write high frequency words. The program is taught though a series of educational games and original stores, poems and songs written by world renowned children’s author and literacy expert, Jill Eggleton.

    Get started with Bud-e Reading today and empower your students to take their first steps to reading on their own. 

  • New Zealand teacher featured on a Quick Tip video using Office Mix

    We love seeing the fantastic things New Zealand teachers are doing with Microsoft technologies to improve learning outcomes on a daily basis. 

    Rachel Chisnall is a teacher at Dunedin's Taieri College, and is a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert. Rachel has been using Office Mix extensively in her classroom to communicate key lessons to students in a fun and interactive way. As an MIE Expert, Rachel was able to travel to Redmond earlier this year to attend the E2 Global Educator Exchange. While in Redmond, Rachel collaborated with the U.S. Microsoft Education team to create a Quick Tip video on how to use Office Mix to create a virtual science experiment. 

    Rachel's Quick Tip video demonstrates how teachers can use Office Mix to create assessments that incorporate pre-recorded science experiments and use a quiz to prompts students to predict what will happen next. The tutorial illustrates the steps to embed a virtual simulation into a PowerPoint slide using Office Mix, and how to add questions for formative assessment. The key benefit of Office Mix is that students can work through the lesson at their own pace and re-watch the lesson as many times as they need to ensure the content is understood. Knowledge tests and quizzes in Office Mix are a great way to authentically assess if students understand the science concepts being taught. 

    For more Quick Tip videos on a range of topics, visit the Microsoft Educator Network and get started with free training and development lessons. 

    If you have an education story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear about it. Email and get in touch!

  • OneNote Class Notebook and Office Mix announce new LMS integration features

    The recent announcement on discusses how the OneNote and Office Mix teams are been working together to integrate with all major Learning Management Systems (LMS).This is will bring a multitude of benefits to educators! 

    The team released three key announcements:

    • OneNote and Office Mix are both officially certified to the IMS Global Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard.
    • OneNote Class Notebook LTI is now in General Availability release.
    • OneNote now automatically adds all students enrolled in the LMS course to the course’s OneNote Class Notebook.

    LMS integration with LTI

    In June, both Office Mix and OneNote Class Notebook announced LTI support. This means that both apps are easily integrated with all major LMS—including Canvas, Engrade, Blackboard, Haiku, Moodle, Brightspace, EDUonGo, edX, EdCast and Schoology.

    OneNote Class Notebook allows teachers to launch the OneNote Class Notebook app from their LMS course page, walk through the notebook creation process, and add the created notebook to their course—all without leaving their learning environment. We’ve seen OneNote Class Notebooks created with many LMS systems, including Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Haiku and Moodle. Check out the links below for instructional Mixes on how to get started with these systems! 

    Office Mix adds functionality to PowerPoint that enables educators and students to record audio or video of themselves presenting, ink on their slides as they present them, insert quizzes, polls, online videos and more. Office Mix also enables users to do full screen capture and record anything on their PCs. Via the LTI connection, educators can embed interactive mixes created by themselves or by the community within their LMS as content or assignments. Office Mix seamlessly authenticates students, and their grades are automatically passed back to the LMS grade book.

    IMS certification

    We are also delighted to announce that both OneNote and Office Mix are officially IMS Global Certified. OneNote Class Notebook is compliant to version 1.0 of the standard, and Office Mix complies to version 1.1. Microsoft is a member of IMS Global Learning Consortium and we are committed to supporting open standards and interoperability.

    OneNote Class Notebook LTI now in General Availability release

    The OneNote team would also like to share that the OneNote Class Notebook LTI app is now in General Availability release. All of our existing Preview customers will be able to continue using OneNote Class Notebook LTI as normal. All app configurations will remain in place, and course notebooks will be linked as before.

    Enrolled students are automatically added to the OneNote Class Notebook

    Along with our general release, OneNote is now able to provide a new feature that will save teachers valuable time and effort. LMS integration allows students who are enrolled in a course to add themselves to the OneNote Class Notebook simply by clicking the LTI link. Teachers no longer have to type the names of all of their students during notebook creation. By simply leaving the default option to “Automatically add my students when they access this notebook from the LMS link,” they can be confident that all enrolled students (and only enrolled students) are able to access the notebook. As well as saving time and hassle, this gives teachers much more flexibility—if a student is added to the LMS course roster later in the semester, the teacher does not have to add them separately to the notebook too.

    To learn more about OneNote Class Notebook and Office Mix LTI, please visit and

  • 10 ways to get ahead with Windows 10 in the classroom

    We want to help make teacher's lives a little bit easier! Here are some simple tips and tricks on how the new features in Windows 10 (free to upgrade) save time for teachers and make learning more fun for students. For more extensive training on using Windows 10 in the classroom, check out our Quick Tip videos.

    1. Annotate in Microsoft Edge to easily plan and teach lessons

    With the "Make a Web Note" feature (desktop experience only), you can easily write and draw on your web browser and save images, not only for your own reference, but to share with your students. Microsoft Edge is also a great tool for teaching lessons--just as you would annotate on slides and overheads before, now the Internet is at your fingertips. This tool is also great for students wishing to make notes while doing research or working on a project.

    2. Read without distraction with the Reading View in Edge

    Bring what you want to see front and center. For a clean and simple reading experience, click " Reading View" in Microsoft Edge. This feature minimizes distractions and ads when your students are reading on the web. You can also add articles for future reading to the "Reading List."

    3. Get things done faster with Cortana*, your clever new personal assistant

    Let us make your life easier. Cortana helps you set reminders, manager your calendar, do math, and find documents and resources easily from your own computer or the web, all with one search. She can even tell jokes! 

    4. Snap windows to corners for easy multitasking (Windows key
    Windows key + arrow key)

    Multitasking has a new best friend: Snap Assist ( Windows key + left/right arrow). Snap Assist lets students work simultaneously on four windows easily, side by side. Making a PowerPoint presentation with info from a Word doc and photos? Taking notes in OneNote from your Microsoft Edge browser? Easy.

    5. Set up spoken reminders to keep track of tasks and events

    Ever felt like you have a million to-dos in just one day? Next time this happens, hit the mic icon in the search bar and Cortana* can help. For example, you can say, "Remind me to set up parent-teacher conferences next week." Cortana will feed that information into the calendar, and email apps will send you a reminder at just the right time.

    6. Keep track of your day, and network, from the Action Center

    A simple swipe from the right of your screen will bring up the Action Center, giving you a cumulative view of your emails, Twitter alerts, and security and maintenance updates -- allowing you to manage them or take action right away from that screen. Customize the four bottom tiles through "Notifications and Actions" in Settings and choose what's most important for easy access -- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, quiet hours, tablet mode, brightness, etc.

    7. Organise different workspaces with multiple desktops

    Whether you need them to separate different classes, divide your personal and professional work, or just to keep your desktop less cluttered, you can easily create multiple desktops by selecting the Task View Button (two overlapping rectangles) on the bottom taskbar, or by pressing Windows Key + Tab and selecting "New Desktop."

    8. Leverage new features in the exclusive
    universal Twitter app to stay connected

    Staying connected with your Professional Learning Network is easier than ever with the new universal Twitter app, exclusive to Windows 10. New features include:

    • Twitter Live Tiles
    • Multiple photo Tweets - upload up to four photos per Tweet
    • Animated GIFs
    • Vine playback
    • Share photos
    • Share photos privately in Direct Messages

    9. Transition between PC and Tablet mode seamlessly with Continuum

    Windows 10 is truly the platform you will never outgrow. Students and teachers have the choice of running in desktop or tablet mode and can change at any time. Windows 10 Continuum helps ensure your apps and content can display beautifully from a touch-focused tablet experience to a keyboard-and-mouse desktop experience -- and even as you transition from one mode to another. Windows 10 is also introducing Continuum for phones. With this capability, students and teachers can use their phones like a PC for getting things done, or turn them into large-screen projectors for presentations.

    10. Upgrade your productivity with Office Mobile apps for Windows 10

    For today's busy teacher and student, productivity comes from being able to learn and create using whichever device happens to be available and handy, whether it's a desktop PC, tablet, or phone.

    Windows 10 aims to reinvent productivity with Office Mobile apps. It's built from the ground up for touch, and whether you're using a desktop, tablet, or phone, you can make edits knowing your changes will render across all devices. Your files are automatically saved to OneDrive, making co-authoring and collaboration super easy. This is great for adding comments to students' work, and makes it easier for students to work together on group projects across devices.

    Features like Smart Lookup in the Word app, powered by Bing, are great for bringing additional online resources like images and web references to students without the distraction of going directly online. 

     *Cortana is only available in select markets at launch, experience may vary by region and device. A Microsoft account may be required for some functionality.

  • OneNote partners with FiftyThree to support Pencil and Paper, plus Shape Recognition coming soon

    Digital handwriting—or inking as we like to call it—is now better than ever in OneNote, with support for a variety of new functionalities for our iPad and Windows 10 users.

    Pencil and Paper by FiftyThree support

    OneNote on iPad now supports writing with the Pencil by FiftyThree stylus. Use Pencil to write, draw and erase with enhanced precision and ease. Simply pair your Pencil with your iPad and then select it from your stylus options in OneNote. You’ll immediately notice the added feedback of the Pencil is great for a variety of inking scenarios, and the ability to easily flip the Pencil and erase in a familiar way, making it a top selling stylus for iPad.

    Are you a fan of the Paper app by FiftyThree? Now you can take your notes, checklists and sketches and send them to OneNote to get your content on virtually any device and work with others in shared OneNote notebooks. Whether you want to use Pencil directly in OneNote or start in Paper and share to OneNote, we’ve got you covered. For full details on Paper’s OneNote integration, check out FiftyThree’s blog post.

    Apple Pencil for iPad Pro support

    As previously announced, we now have Apple Pencil stylus support in OneNote for iPad Pro. Now you can easily sketch, outline, write and annotate to your heart’s content. 

    Ink Shape Recognition

    In response to one of our top requested features on OneNote’s UserVoice, we’re excited to announce a new feature called Ink Shape Recognition coming to OneNote this November for iPad, iPad Pro and our Windows 10 app. Ink Shape Recognition is a new mode that will automatically convert your hand-drawn shapes into perfect-looking shapes while inking. It recognizes over a dozen shapes including basics like circles, triangles and squares, but also more complex shapes like quadrilaterals, pentagons and hexagons.

    To turn on Ink Shape Recognition, just tap the new Convert to Shapes button on the Draw tab.

    Once enabled, simply draw shapes with your pen (or press the button to the left of Convert to Shapes to draw with mouse or touch) and watch as your shapes automatically are converted into better-looking versions of themselves! It’s great for everything from basic flowcharts and mind maps to Venn diagrams. We know teachers will be eager to try shape recognition out for Math class!

    New Surface Pen and Pen Tip support

    Along with the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book announcement came a new Surface Pen and Pen Tip kit, both of which are available for pre-order now and begin shipping October 26, 2015.

    The new Surface Pen has increased pressure sensitivity, adds an eraser at the top and lets you click and hold for Cortana—all while still letting you click once to open a blank page of OneNote—even if your Surface is locked. You can then quickly jot down any flash of inspiration, easily convert it to text and share it with others.

    The new Surface Pen Tip kit lets you choose a pen tip with the right feel for you. Stay with the medium tip for the familiarity of a #2 pencil or swap it for a low-friction tip similar to a fine point pen. Choose from four different tips in the kit—each of which is included with the purchase of the new Surface Pen or sold separately if you want to have extra tips on hand.

    Excited about all the changes? Don’t already have OneNote? Get it here.

    As always, Microsoft appreciates your feedback. Please continue to give us suggestions and ideas on the OneNote UserVoice.

  • Introducing the new Online Educator Community

    We have taken an exciting step toward fulfilling this mission by launching the new Microsoft online educator community website, a centralised resource and engagement tool for educators that makes it easy to access a global network of educators, free interactive training and best practices.

    Microsoft's educator community is the one location where educators can come together with peers and experts from around the world for materials, advice, examples and results to enrich instruction. All this with the flexibility to view on any device, at any pace.

    We invite you to explore and join the educator community today to begin sharing and learning with over 1.5 million of your peers from over 235 countries.

    On the new community site, educators can earn points and badges as they acquire skills, earning recognition from their peers along the way. They can also share their achievements, lesson plans and other content via social channels - all seamlessly integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

    View this video to see highlights.

    Here are just a few of the ways you can engage with this powerful community:

    Find a lesson. Discover one of the thousands of live or on-demand lessons already created by teachers just like you. Or, create and share your own within this global community.

    Connect with others. Reach out, connect and collaborate with educators, classrooms and experts around the world via Skype or online chats.

    Share your expertise and thought leadership by contributing unique content that inspires and educates.

    Play Mystery Skype, a fun, easy and powerful way for students and teachers to collaborate with classrooms thousands of miles away or right next door.

    Get trained. From webcasts to quick tip videos to workshops, Microsoft provides online and in-person training and professional development resources to help educators master the use of collaborative technologies in their classrooms. Learn how to make the most of OneNote, Sway, Windows, Office 365 Education, Minecraft and more - and earn points and badges along the way!

    As you get started, be sure to spend a few minutes up front to create a robust user profile. The more information about yourself, your teaching style and areas of expertise you provide, the better prepared you'll be to inspire and attract others to connect with you.

    Educators around the world are already realising the benefits. Here's what just a few of our early participants are saying:

    "Microsoft's new educator community is stunning! Nicely designed, general and oriented to all participants in the education field. What I like most are the courses for personal development, and mainly those on new educational tools such as Sway and OneNote. Having such a website is an important step toward global collaboration between educators all around the world. This website will help the community find what it needs and make the teaching and learning experience more global."
    - Walid Chaafi, Tunisia

    "Connecting with others around the globe is now easier than ever. With Skype Lessons, Mystery Skype partners, and teachers around the globe available in the new platform, your classroom is no longer confined to four walls. The world is your classroom with Microsoft Education and Skype."
    - Michael Soskil, USA

    "The new website is very informative and gives me opportunities to learn, to share and to collaborate with amazing educators around the global who are passionate about teaching and inspiring students by breaking up 'the wall' of classroom. My favourite part is the courses on Teaching with Technology, which help educators know how to use technology in teaching effectively. This useful page helps me adapt technology tools for my own professional development and to bring revolutionary change in education."
    - Nam Ngo Thanh, Vietnam

    "I love that the refresh of Microsoft's educator community puts all of the things educators love most, like Skype in the Classroom, free professional development, innovative lesson plans and so much more, in one convenient location."
    - Eric Patnoudes, USA

    Visit and join the educator community today!

  • A New Era of Windows 10 Devices from Microsoft

    Last week, Microsoft made an exciting announcement regarding a range of innovative new Windows 10 devices!

    The team's approach to devices is to create and reinvent categories - like they did with Xbox and Xbox Live, with Surface being the tablet that can replace your laptop, with Lumia and Continuum, with Surface Hub, and of course with HoloLens being the only platform enabling you to mix holograms into your world. Microsoft's latest range of devices are built to make the most of Windows 10!

    Surface Book

    The new, ultimate laptop from Microsoft brings together best in class performance with the versatility of pen and touch.

    Surface Pro 4

    The tablet that can replace your laptop just got thinner, lighter and faster.

    New Lumia Phones

    The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL combine Windows 10 innovation with our most powerful hardware and top-of-the-line imaging to help you be more productive. And the Lumia 550, our most affordable 4G LTE smartphone running Windows 10.

     Microsoft Band 2

    The new Band can help you live healthier and achieve more with a new curved screen, a barometer, and apps for email, text, running, biking, the gym, and golf.

    Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition

    Designed to help Windows developers mix holograms into their world. Microsoft HoloLens devices will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2016 to developers in the United States and Canada. Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, holographic computer, enabling high-definition holograms to integrate with your world. Unlock all-new ways to connect, create, collaborate, and explore. 

     Xbox One

    With an upcoming update bringing Windows 10 to Xbox One, backward compatibility, hot games, all new bundles and the most advanced controller we’ve ever created for Xbox One and Windows 10.

  • Top teacher-requested features added to OneNote Class Notebooks

    This blog post has been taken from the Office Blogs post

    The OneNote team has some exciting announcements to share! As we mentioned on the Microsoft Education blog earlier this month, OneNote Class Notebooks and OneNote Staff Notebooks are now available for Office 365 customers (teachers and faculty) around the world. We’ve seen OneNote Class Notebooks created in 95 countries, and Staff Notebooks created in 45 countries. More OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks are being created by teachers and staff every day!

    We are listening to feedback from teachers and staff and improving Class Notebooks based suggestions from educators. Today we are happy to announce the upcoming release of two new capabilities, which are a direct result of talking to teachers and were also announced in our blog post back in May. We will gradually roll out these features to education customers over the coming weeks. We will also release these updates to Staff Notebooks in the near future.

    Remove students or co-teacher permissions from a Class Notebook

    The top request we’ve heard is to be able to easily remove a student’s permissions from a Class Notebook. When a student leaves the class, you can now quickly go into the Class Notebook app and remove that student from your class by clicking the Add or remove students tile. Removed students will not have access to the Class Notebook anymore. However, their work will still remain in your notebook, so that you can choose to archive it or delete it permanently.

    You can also now remove co-teachers by clicking the Add or remove teachers tile. This will remove permissions of any co-teacher who had access to the Class Notebook.

    Add student groups to a class notebook

    Teachers are now able to add groups (i.e. class lists) of students to a Class Notebook. This allows a teacher to add an entire class by just typing one name into the Add students dialog—e.g. “Mrs. Smith’s Math class Period 1.” Previously, each student needed to be entered manually, so we hope this feature will save teachers a lot of time. We hope this will also help simplify the process of adding students to a class while leveraging work already done by IT staff for preparing class lists in Office 365.

    We also support Active Directory Security Groups and Office 365 Groups when adding students.

    Update group membership changes to your class notebook

    Did a bunch of students join or leave your class this year? Not to worry! The Class Notebook app can now grab updates in group membership from your school directory. Simply click the Add or Remove Students tile and proceed through the steps. You will be able to preview the latest list of students in your class, and we will set up or remove their student notebooks once you confirm.

    New languages supported

    In addition to these two top features, we also want to announce that OneNote Class Notebooks now supports Right-to-Left (RTL) languages, including Arabic, Hebrew and Persian.

    As always, reach us on Twitter @OneNoteEDU with feedback or email us directly at You can find answers to common questions here.

  • Download free Office 2016 Quick Start Guides

    To coincide with the recent release of Office 2016, we put together a set of handy Quick Start Guides that introduce you to the newest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.

    Whether you’re coming from previous versions of your favorite apps and want a quick orientation about where to find familiar basics or you’re entirely new to Office and want an overview of how to get to some of the most important things, each of our Quick Start Guides provides helpful information that you can read, print out and share.

    Guides are now available for all three of our recent Office releases. Download just the ones you want or get the entire set for your preferred operating systems.

    Office 2016 for Windows

    Visit Office 2016 Quick Start Guides to download guides for the desktop versions of Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016 or OneNote 2016 on any recent version of Windows.

    Office Mobile for Windows 10

    Visit Office Mobile Quick Start Guides to download guides for the modern versions of Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, or OneNote on Windows 10.\

    Office 2016 for Mac

    Visit Office 2016 Quick Start Guides for Mac to download guides for the Mac versions of Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016 or OneNote 2016 on Mac OS X Yosemite or El Capitan.

    While viewing any guide, you can save a copy of it to your computer, zoom in to get a closer look at a screenshot, or search for feature names or keywords to quickly find something in the text. 

  • 8 top Microsoft resources for teachers

    "At Microsoft, we create products with teachers in mind and they tell us that products like OneNote, Sway, Minecraft and Skype help them bring new creativity and engagement to the classroom. We are inspired by what’s possible when teachers meet students where they’re at, help them to learn at their own pace, and then propel them to reach new heights in their learning. There’s no better place to use technology – and its promise to change lives – than in the hands of great teachers!"
    Anthony Salcito (Microsoft Vice President, Worldwide Education)

    With the right technology platform and training, teachers around the world are finding inspiring new ways to use personalized approaches to impart 21st century skills to their students. 

    Today, we'd like to provide you with 8 fantastic resources to help enable individualised teaching and learning:

    1. Office 365 Education

    New and no-cost features to Office 365 Education, along with the recent launch of Windows 10, are offering huge improvements for educators and students.We have simplified our education lineup, moving to a single, free plan for all academic institutions and adding several new features to help schools meet their security and compliance requirements. We’ve also made it easier for teachers and students to sign up and start using free Office tools. Anyone with a valid school email address can sign up! Simply visit Office in Education to get started. 

    2. OneNote 

    OneNote Class Notebook & Staff Notebook are now available globally for all Office 365 Education customers. In a recent IDC research study, OneNote has been shown to address the top 10 activities teachers describe as “time sinks.” For more information and helpful guides on how OneNote can help teachers deliver effective lessons and cut down on administration tasks, visit

    3. Skype in the Classroom

    New Skype in the classroom field trips are ready! Teachers can take their students on an adventure in their own classroom by signing up for a virtual field trip with Skype.

    4. Sway

    Sway – a digital storytelling app in the Office portfolio – recently moved from preview to general availability. Teachers have been using Sway to reimagine class lessons, recap class projects, provide supplemental material for parents, provide new accessible storytelling tools to their students, and more. Sway has also helped students breathe new life into school projects, class reports, and even personal portfolios.

    5. Snip

    Snip is a new screen capture tool that lets you tell your story in your own voice while you ink on an image, a photo that you take with your webcam, or a digital whiteboard. And you can share that story by copying your snip to the clipboard, sending it in an email, and embedding it on a website. Educators are using Snip to provide personalized feedback to students and students are using Snip to express their creativity and to collaborate with teachers and classmates.

    6. Coding for Students

    In addition to learning how to use technology, we see the growing interest from students to learn how to create technology. Teachers can help their students understand and learn more about creating technology with these new resources:

    • Microsoft YouthSpark Hub has various resources and programs to learn digital skills and computer science, for students to prepare for the jobs of the future or even to start their own business.
    • Microsoft Imagine tools and resources are available to teachers at no cost to help their students learn the fundamentals of coding while engaging in fun projects.  Take it to the next level by leveraging contests through the Imagine Cup competition hub to help your students use those fundamentals to become creators of technology.  New for this school year, Imagine Cup Earth leverages a partnership with NASA that teaches earth sciences and programming at the same time. Inspire your students to build their skills and bring their ideas to life and possibly win prizes!  And, if you are interested in creating a coding club, our Coding Club Starter Kit will help get you started.
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy is offering even more no cost computer science courses for students at all levels, coupled with resources to help teachers better integrate technology into their curriculum.
    • Creative Coding Through Games And Apps, a new computer science curriculum designed to spark interest in teens for computer programming and for teachers with little or no background in the field, launched today and is free to teachers.

    7. "Liberating Genius, The First 20 Days"

    With Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter, Inc. we’re providing teachers with a free, customisable and interactive e-book: “Liberating Genius, The First 20 Days.” This free e-book guides teachers through the introduction of Genius Hour.

    8. Microsoft Educator Network

    Receive free professional development and training via the Microsoft Educator Network. View a range of resources, tutorials, and professional development courses to help teachers make the most of technology in the classroom. 

    We hope you can make use of some of these fantastic resources in your classroom! 

  • OneNote adds support for iOS 9 and iPad Pro with multitasking, Spotlight search and Apple Pencil

    The OneNote team are excited to release their newest OneNote for iOS update, which adds support for several new features of iOS 9, spiffs things up for the upcoming iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and—as always—has numerous improvements in response to customer feedback.

    Twice as nice with iOS 9

    With Split View, you can have OneNote open side-by-side with another app, making it easier than ever to take notes while watching a lecture, reviewing slides or reading a paper for class.

    Slide Over enables you to open OneNote atop another app and jot down whatever strikes your fancy without interrupting your current task.

    Search your notes with Spotlight

    We’ve added support for Spotlight to OneNote on iOS 9. Pop open search and start typing to jump directly to your notes. We’ll even search through images, PDFs and handwriting.

    Pencil it out on iPad Pro

    Prepare your sharpener for November—we’ll have Apple Pencil and iPad Pro support ready, waiting for you.

    Better UI support for Arabic and Hebrew in iOS 9

    Support for Arabic and Hebrew has been greatly improved with the addition of mirrored UI; your text is no longer the only thing that’s right to left.

    Pick a side…any side (for the page list)

    Previously, we moved the page list to the left side of the screen to improve handwriting for right-handed users. You can now choose to have it on the right or the left side. Twice as many choices, 100 percent more satisfied lefties!

    Bugs zapped

    In the last release, our typographically inclined users let us know we hadn’t lived up to our excellent reputation for font rendering. We dug out our linoleum blocks and resolved the issue (a fix for Mac is in the pipeline).

    Additionally, we were a bit too fond of trips down memory lane, prompting you to sign in…repeatedly. Like your notes, your sign-in information will be fastidiously remembered.

    Last month today

    We added Page Previews to Landscape mode, and many customers rightly noted that we didn’t add a setting to turn them off and on. Now you can; we added a switch in settings.

    Excited about all the changes? Don’t already have OneNote? Get it here.

    As always, we appreciate your feedback. Please continue to give us input and ideas at the OneNote feedback site,

  • The Power of Digital Pen & Surface in Schools - Inking Your Thinking Case Study

    This post has been re-blogged from the Australian Teachers Blog

    Tablet PCs and the use of digital pen enabled devices in schools is nothing new however, with more and more research about the impact of the “power of the pen” on learning, teachers, student and school leaders are increasingly looking to how student devices can improve learning outcomes. In 2014 Microsoft Australia in partnership with Victoria Department of Education & Training and Victoria University undertook a research project to investigate the impact of pen devices, particularly Microsoft Surface, at different age levels across three schools.

    Through three classroom case studies, it explored how Surface and the Surface Pen can promote new learning for students and the use of innovative pedagogies by teachers. The complete findings are detailed in the Inking Your Thinking report which can be downloaded below and summarised here.

    The case study was conducted across three Victoria DET schools across four age groups:

    • Dallas Brooks Community Primary School
    • Horsham West Primary School
    • Hawkesdale P-12 College

    The research objectives can be summarised in this excerpt:

    "The study highlighted how naturally students use the Surface multimodal touchscreen, keyboard and pen to develop 21st century skills. Surface Pen, in particular, expanded their learning choices by enabling them to annotate images, maps and graphs and to write symbols, take notes and draw straight onto their devices. Teachers found that Surface devices opened a wider range of learning experiences, incorporating visual, oral, kinaesthetic and aural approaches. Students thrived on the opportunity to use them to learn independently, express their ideas and present and reflect on their learning."

    The research was designed to answer the following three questions:

    1. How can Surface devices be integrated into K-12 school settings to maximise learning?
    2. How does a 2-in-1 device with a stylus impact on learning scenarios in educational contexts?
    3. Do teachers and students think that 2-in-1 devices impact on the quality of learning, and the ways they represent their learning?

    Each case study involved students developing 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication as they engaged in new learning across different school subjects across the various year levels. Each case study consisted of learning scenarios that exemplify the various curriculum focus and leverage the power of the pen.

    The findings included teachers found that Surface devices opened a wider range of learning experiences, incorporating visual, oral, kinaesthetic and aural approaches. Students thrived on the opportunity to use them to learn independently, express their ideas and present and reflect on their learning.

    “Surface’s pen is an advantage, especially in Mathematics. Explain Everything is a really good app for Mathematics because they can record little videos with them talking... being able to write with Surface’s pen is especially good for fractions which are really hard to do on a laptop because you have to type them all in. So Mathematics is definitely more easily achieved on the touch device.” (Teacher at Hawkesdale interviewed)

    Seeing pen enabled devices have an impact at each level demonstrates that it’s not just high school maths and science that can benefit from a pen enabled device. Equipping learners at all levels with a digital stylus device can have great benefits for their learning. This and other related research can hopefully help schools make research and data based decisions on their choice of learning device for their students.

    The read the short and full reports please download either below.

    Download the Inking Your Thinking Short Report here.
    Download the Inking Your Thinking Long Report here.

  • The new Office is here!

    It’s here! Yesterday was the worldwide release of Office 2016 for Windows. This marks a milestone in delivering new value for Office 365 subscribers with a focus on collaboration, apps that work for you, a perfect pairing with Windows 10, and security features businesses will love. It also marks a new model for delivery, where subscribers can expect to get more frequent updates with new features and improvements. Along with Office 2016 for Windows, we have also released Office 2016 for Mac as a one-time purchase option, along with several new and enhanced Office 365 services.

    The new Office—takes the work out of working together

    Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating. It shouldn’t have to be. We set out to make working together easier and more impactful by building a suite of integrated apps and services that removes barriers and empowers teams to do and achieve more.

    Office has always been the go-to tool for helping individuals do their best work—whether for professional documents, powerful analyses or school presentations. People often start and end their work in Office, but there is often a messy middle that involves a lot of discussion—in person, by phone or via various tools—as well as multiple (sometimes conflicting) inputs. Today we are delivering a set of experiences that is built for making teamwork seamless.

    • We have had real-time co-authoring in all of our web apps since 2013. We are now taking it to the next level by building it directly into our native apps. With this release, we’re making co-authoring in Word real-time, which lets you see what others are writing immediately, as it happens. We’re committed to expanding real-time co-authoring to each of our native apps and you should expect to see more over time.
    • Skype for Business is now available in the client apps, allowing you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs. This same experience will be coming to Office Online later this fall. Skype for Business also has faster screen sharing and now adds the option to start a real-time co-authoring session from any conversation or meeting.
    • Keep teams connected with Office 365 Groups, now available as part of Outlook 2016 and in a new Outlook Groups app on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Office 365 Groups allows individuals to easily create public or private teams. Each group includes a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage for group files, and a shared OneNote notebook to keep the team productive.
    • Office 365 Planner helps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates and update status. Planner’s visual dashboards and email notifications help keep everyone informed on the overall progress of their initiative. Planner will be available in preview, to Office 365 First Release customers, starting next quarter.
    • Originally unveiled earlier this year, GigJam is today available in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016. GigJam is an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people.

    Works for you

    In today’s workplace, we have too many apps, devices and tools—we just don’t have enough time. Office is built to cut through the complexity and help you get things done quickly. It gets work done for you.

    Some highlights:

    • Outlook 2016 provides the smartest inbox yet, delivering lightning fast search, removing low priority mail automatically and making sure everyone on the To: line has the right access to modern, cloud-based attachments from OneDrive.
    • We also have significant new updates to OneDrive for Business coming later this month across sync, browser, mobile, IT control and developer experiences. The highlight is the preview of the next generation sync client for Windows and Mac, offering improved reliability and selective sync, as well as increased file size and volume limits.
    • Tell Me helps you easily and quickly find the right Office feature or command, and Smart Lookup brings insights from the web right into your documents. Previously available only in Office Online, Tell Me and Smart Lookup are now available across the Office 2016 client apps.
    • Excel 2016 now includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart-types to help you make the most of your data.
    • The cloud-powered most recently used documents list allows you to pick up right where you left off in seconds, because it travels with you across your devices whether working in Office Online, the mobile apps or in the 2016 client apps.

    Perfect with Windows 10

    While we have made a lot of progress on delivering Office cross-platform and remain committed to this strategy, we see Windows as being “home” for Office. Together, Office 365 and Windows 10 are the most complete solution for getting things done.

    • With Windows Hello, you can sign in to your PC and Office 365 with a simple look or a touch—no need to type a password anymore.
    • In the coming months, Cortana will get even smarter and more useful by gathering intelligence on Office 365 through Outlook 2016 support.
    • With the Office Mobile apps and Continuum on Windows phones, your phone can act as a desktop, and you can project, create or edit your presentation or sales budget from your phone to a monitor while using the same phone to take notes with the OneNote app.
    • Sway on Windows 10 was released in early August, and customers love it! It has received a 4.6/5 app store ranking, with customers calling it “funtastic,” “brilliant” and “elegant.” People love Sway’s simple and intuitive yet powerful approach to next-generation digital storytelling. With Sway, you provide the content, and Sway creates beautiful, shareable, interactive stories that look great on any screen.
    • Our Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) have also received great reception and 4+ app store rankings. Customers say they are touch-friendly, fast and easy to use—making them wonderful for on-the-go-productivity

    Office 2016 for Mac

    In July, we released Office 2016 for Mac to our Office 365 customers. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote are a significant step forward and provide the best of both worlds for Mac users—a familiar Office experience paired with the best of the Mac platform. The level of engagement and excitement about this Office for Mac release has surpassed our expectations. As promised in July, today Office 2016 for Mac will also be available as a one-time purchase.

    Ongoing Office 365 customer value

    Whew—that was a lot! With this release, we’re also shifting the cadence of Office on Windows to feel much more like the cadence we have on the Office mobile and web apps, which release every month with new value. So, going forward, Office 365 customers will now enjoy new features and capabilities delivered continuously in the Office desktop applications as part of their subscription. It’s a new day for our desktop apps.

    And as a bit of a teaser, here are some examples of the types of new features and benefits Office 365 customers will see:

    • Built for teamwork—We’re committed to rich co-authoring and collaboration across our native clients, starting in Word 2016, with other big advances in collaboration coming throughout the year. By the end of 2015, we’ll introduce Office 365 Groups insights and discovery in Office Delve. In addition, we will have a new generation of personal work analytics in Office Delve that will help individuals, teams and organizations to be more effective at work by understanding their reach and impact, time allocation and network.
    • Works for you—For those of you who are excited about our new charts and forecasting, we will be delivering even more new charts, formulas, connectors and other Excel capabilities throughout the year. (If you’re interested in telling us which charts and charting features you’d like to see first, we have a survey going on our Excel Facebook page right now!). We also have some very exciting developments in the pipeline for PowerPoint that will make it easier to design and deliver presentations to wow and engage your audience.
    • Perfect on Windows 10—We are especially excited about how even more valuable your personal assistant Cortana can be when she has insights from Office. This will start to allow Cortana to unlock helpful scenarios, like retrieving your documents, preparing for meetings and more.

    Get started

    We want to thank all of our Preview customers who have been with us since as early as February, trying out the new apps, giving us feedback, and helping to shape the final product. Your feedback has been invaluable, and we thank you for helping make the best Office yet.

    We hope you are excited as we are about the new Office. Buy it, try it or learn more—but please keep your feedback coming!

    • Are you ready to purchase? Buy Office 365 to get the new 2016 apps.
    • Are you an existing Office 365 customer who is ready to upgrade? Go here for instructions on how to upgrade to Office 2016 for home, or here for business customers.
    • Do you want to learn more? Go to
  • Innovation in NZ's tertiary education ICT sector recognised

    University of Otago virtual student desktop wins Supreme Award at the 2015 Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards

    The University of Otago has taken out the Supreme Award at the Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with the Tertiary Education ICT Conference.

    Held in Dunedin on August 27th as part of the 33rd Annual Tertiary ICT Conference, the Microsoft Innovation Awards celebrate ICT excellence within the tertiary education sector.

    The University won the award for its delivery of a virtual desktop to students that provides a consistent learning environment for over 30,000 students across their far flung campuses, from its main Dunedin campus, to students in over 30 countries.

    The virtual desktop was described by the Award judges as significant innovation at scale, which demonstrably improved the learning experience for the University’s students and provided them with a consistent anytime, anywhere access to the learning environment.

    The three categories for the 2014 awards were Excellence in Technology Delivery, Excellence in Technology Innovation, and Excellence in Technology for Learning, Research and Students.

    As well as winning the Supreme Award, the University of Otago virtual student desktop project won the Excellence in Technology Innovation category prize. The other two categories were both won by the Waikato Institute of Technology, which won the Excellence in Technology Delivery category with its Data Transport project, and won the Excellence in Technology for Learning, Research and Students for its Student Enrolment project utilising Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. 

    Each category winner was awarded a $3,000 prize package, and the Supreme Award winner also took away the Microsoft Innovation Award trophy.

    Evan Blackman, Education Sector Manager at Microsoft New Zealand, says it was impressive to see the New Zealand education institutes leading the way with innovative use of cloud services, and projects which were having an impact at scale to deliver better outcomes for the institution'staff and students.

    “The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding innovation and dedication we see in the use of technology to improve learning and research results in the New Zealand tertiary education sector.”

    The Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards are another example of Microsoft’s commitment to the education sector. Other initiatives include the Partners in Learning programme, supporting student internships through the Microsoft Student Accelerator programme, and leading software solutions designed to facilitate learning through the use of technology.

  • ShareThePoint offering valuable courses for teachers

    ShareThePoint are providing courses to teachers in Whanganui, Auckland and Hawkes Bay on Office 365, SharePoint and OneNote. 

    Course duration: TWO 1/2  Days            Course cost: $100 (plus GST) each

    There are two courses specific to the role of those attending

    1. Class Sites and Teacher Resources in SharePoint/OneNote for Teachers

    This course is for anyone who is using SharePoint for a School or Staff Intranet and is responsible for maintaining the classroom site and/or a OneNote Classroom Notebook (see outline below). It is an introduction for people who are new to SharePoint 2013 and want to use it for classroom sites, class blog sites, and document management.

    2.  SharePoint/OneNote for IT Administrators

    This course is for anyone who is responsible for creating and maintaining the SharePoint environment (see outline below). It is an introduction for people who are new to SharePoint 2013 and want to use it for staff intranets, classroom sites, teacher resources and also learn how to manage permissions and navigation.

    NOTE: This course is for SCHOOLS who have already deployed, or are close to deploying, Office 365.

    These courses are subsidised by Microsoft and are therefore offered at the low cost of $100 per half-day.

    Attendees are required to bring their own laptop.

    Course dates

    Whanganui – 14 October, Auckland – 28 October , Hawkes Bay – 3 November

    This course is also available as a private on-site course, where an instructor will com​e to your school and train 12 -16 people in any or all of the modules listed. Please contact ShareThePoint​ for pricing.​

    Course prerequisites 

    Attendees should have experience with Internet Explorer and Office products such as Word, Excel or Outlook. Previous experience with SharePoint (any version) is ideal but not required.

    Course outlines

    MORNING (8.30am-12.30pm): Class Sites/OneNote for Teachers

    Designing and building a personal class site using web parts and collaborative tools.

    Register here.


    • Demonstration of What is Possible, Site Structure and Layout
    • Finding Your Way Around
    • Working with Content


    • Editing the Home page
    • Inserting Videos
    • Announcements, Discussion Boards and using Yammer


    • Classifying Documents
    • What is a View?
    • Sorting and Filtering Documents
    • Sharing Documents
    • Migrating Content from your Shared Drives


    • Creating New Pages
    • Working with Pictures
    • Using Web Parts to add content to pages


    • High Level Overview
    • Managing Permissions for Class Sites


    • Using the OneNote Class Notebook Creator within you Class Site
    • Managing Permissions

    AFTERNOON (1-5pm): SharePoint/OneNote for IT Administrators

    Register here.


    • Home Site for School and/or Staff Intranet
    • Available Options
    • Creating a New Page
    • Creating a New Site
    • Managing Shared Resources
    • Site Templates
    • Set up – Site Features


    • Introducing Permissions
    • Securing the Site Pages Library
    • Updating Member Permissions
    • Checking Permissions
    • Managing Unique Permissions


    • Introducing Navigation
    • Changing the Global Navigation
    • Changing the Quick Launch


    • Migrating Documents from File Shares
    • Managing Metadata Updates
    • Archiving of Documents, Sites and Class Notebooks.


    • Installing the OneNote Class Notebook Creator App
    • Planning for Storage


    • Overview of the SharePoint Online Admin Center
    • Managing Promoted Sites
    • Creating Site Collections
    • Managing Storage

    To register for these courses, visit ShareThePoint

  • We are now looking for Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts!

    Microsoft are recruiting New Zealand teachers to become MIE Experts!

    The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert program is an exclusive program created to recognize global educator visionaries who are using technology to pave the way for their peers in the effective use of technology for better learning and student outcomes.

    MIE Experts work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education. They advocate and share their thoughts on effective use of technology in education with peers and policy makers. They provide insight for Microsoft on new products and tools for education, and they exchange best practices as they work together to promote innovation in teaching and learning.

    The MIE Expert program is a 3-year program. If at the end of three years, you want to continue as an expert, you will need to complete a new self-nomination form and demonstrate that you have continued to grow as an educator by learning new technologies and applying them in your classroom in innovative ways.

    To apply, simply fill out a self-nomination form

    Who is an MIE Expert?

    We are looking for self-driven educators who are passionate about their careers, inspiring students with outside-the-box thinking and a true collaborative spirit. Resourceful and entrepreneurial, they relish the role of change agent, and work to achieve excellence in education using advanced technologies and social media.

    When educators become MIE Experts, they have the following opportunities:

    • Receive publicity and promotion via social media and other Microsoft channels

    • Professional and career development opportunities and certifications

    • Share their expertise with world-renowned educators and specialists to scale their innovations

    • Present in Microsoft’s global EduCast Webinar series (

    • Participate in focus groups giving feedback to a development teams on Microsoft products

    • Join invitation-only special events from Microsoft

    • Share their passion for Microsoft with peers and policymakers, and through social media, blogs and videos

    • Test out new products while in beta form

    • Represent Microsoft through product demonstrations, and by attending events

    • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training and coaching colleagues and inviting them to join the online Microsoft Educator Community

    • Collaborate with innovative educators across the globe using Skype in the Classroom

    • Host regional events showcasing uses of Microsoft technology in the classroom

    • Achieve eligibility to attend the Microsoft Global Educator Exchange Event (E2), Spring 2016

    How to apply

    Step 1. Review the program opportunities and activities

    MIE Experts are advocates for using Microsoft technology to improve student learning. In a year, MIE Experts typically:

    • Attend EduCast Webinars (
    • Become a part of a focus group giving feedback to a development team on a Microsoft product
    • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training and coaching colleagues and inviting them to join the online Microsoft Educator Community
    • Develop your own capacity as a thought leader by:Try out new products as they come out and are in beta form
      • Speaking at conferences
      • Regularly participating in social media such as Facebook and Twitter referencing #MSFTEDU and using our Social Chorus tool to amplify your messages.
      • Authoring a blog that highlights innovative uses of Microsoft technologies in the classroom
      • Presenting in local or global webcasts
    • Collaborate with innovative educators across the globe using Skype in the Classroom
    • Host regional events showcasing Microsoft technology
    • Mentor 3-5 colleagues throughout the year and encourage them to apply to become an Expert Educator

    Step 2. Join the Microsoft Educator Community

    As part of the self nomination process, You will be asked to tell us a little about yourself:

    • Why you would like to consider yourself to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.
    • Describe a lesson you have taught in which you have incorporated Microsoft technologies in an innovative ways.
    • How do you think being and MIE Expert will impact your teaching.

    Be creative, Be bold! Simply tell us about you in any way you choose, a video, a hosted document, a Sway, a Mix whatever format you are most comfortable with! You will need to submit a URL to your chosen method of response.

    Join the Microsoft Educator Community and fully complete your profile.

    MIE Experts will be selected by the regional Microsoft representative based on the quality of the responses to the self-nominations form, the level of innovation and use of Microsoft tools described in the learning activity and the level of detail in how becoming a part of the program will impact both teaching and student learning.

    Applications to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert are open now! Simply visit this self-nomination form to apply.  

    For more information on the program, visit the MIE Expert website