NZ Education Blog

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

NZ Education Blog

  • Thailand selects Office 365 for every student nationwide!

    This week, Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) is announcing a sweeping cloud education partnership with Microsoft, one that will provide 8 million students and 400,000 teachers throughout the country with free access to the world's best cloud-enabled productivity software, Microsoft Office 365 for Education. The deal will allow students and teachers throughout the country to create, connect and collaborate on a safe and secure platform. This is the largest cloud education initiative ever, and one that promises to foster sustainable growth and raise Thailand’s overall standard of living for generations to come.

    Partnerships like this are more critical today than ever before, with a recent IDC study citing skills developed through Microsoft Office among the most in-demand for future jobs. By 2020, according to the report, an astounding 30 percent of skilled jobs will require proficiency in Microsoft Office.

    In Thailand today, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 represent the largest unemployed population, a significant barrier to the country’s future prosperity. Through this partnership, Thai youth will develop the 21stcentury skills they need to find productive employment and help lead the country into the future. The agreement builds on Microsoft’s longstanding investment in Thailand’s education system, which in the past 20 years has impacted more than 164,000 teachers and 8 million students across 9,000 schools nationwide.

    This is exciting news for Microsoft, following our recent partnership announcements, including a partnership with the Sao Paolo State Department of Education to provide Office 365 to more than 4 million students, a large-scale cloud education partnership of 7.5 million Office 365 seats deployed by the All India Council for Technical Education and the 4.5 million seats deployed by the Catholic International Education Office. But while Tuesday’s announcement demonstrates positive momentum for Microsoft in Education, it is only a single step on a long journey.

    That journey, which is taking Microsoft to countries and classrooms in every corner of the world, is helping to create a better future for young people, one that is globally connected and economically sustainable. Cloud technology, and specifically Office 365 for Education, can be a great equalizer, helping under-developed countries catch up to those that enjoy relative prosperity. But even in those more prosperous countries, technology can continue to transform the prospects of young people.

    Take Finland, for example. This progressive country is often held up as a model for successful education reform – and rightly so. But even Finland recognizes that its journey to education transformation is ongoing. This week, I’m traveling there to kick off Microsoft’s pilot partnership with more than 100 schools to support teachers and technology. This partnership brings cities, companies and other key education stakeholders together to address the challenges of improving learning environments against a backdrop of shrinking budgets. Microsoft will invest in teacher training, advisory and learning materials so that educators can take full advantage of technology in the pursuit of more effective teaching and learning. As in Thailand, this effort is intended to spark economic and employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

    The road to true education transformation – where technology and pedagogy work seamlessly and hand-in-hand – is a long one, full of twists and turns. But this week, Microsoft has taken an important step forward in two countries with very different educational and societal challenges. As we help Thailand address a crisis of youth unemployment and Finland build on an already exemplary foundation, we recognize that wherever we are, our commitment to building a better and more sustainable future compels us forward.

    This blog was originally posted by Anthony Salcito, Vice President - Worldwide Education at Microsoft. You can read it here.

  • Introducing Office Mix: Online lessons made simple.

    We are very excited to bring to you Office Mix, helping you to make online lessons simple!

    Turn your PowerPoint presentation into an interactive online lesson. We call this a mix. Everything you need to create and share your mix is included. Add audio and video of yourself giving your presentation, write on slides as you talk to them, insert quizzes, practice exercises, and more – all from within PowerPoint. It’s like a screencast, but better. All you need is Office 2013 and the free Office Mix add-in!

    Here's just a snapshot of the awesome things you can do in Office Mix:

    • Record audio or video of yourself giving a lecture. Write and draw directly in PowerPoint, just like you would on the whiteboard.
    • Work in PowerPoint - Creating a mix is as simple as making a PowerPoint document. Just install our PowerPoint add-in, and then create lessons from your existing PowerPoint presentations or new ones.
    • Save Time - Everything you need to create a mix is included in the PowerPoint add-in, so you don’t have to jump between several apps.
  • Infographic: Teachers are heroes!

    It's almost Friday and we thought we'd boost your spirits. The infographic below was posted on the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education blog.

    Check it out, share it and tweet us your thoughts. More importantly, take a minute to pat yourself on the back! Kiwi teachers really are our heroes and we couldn't be more proud!


  • Top Windows 8.1 apps for the classroom - how many are you using?

    Microsoft UK recently blogged about the top Education Apps in the Windows Store. We thought it was such a fantastic list, we wanted to share it with you. The post was written by Stuart Ball, the Partners in Learning UK manager, and gives a refreshingly honest insight into the benefits of these apps in facilitating 21st century learning. Enjoy!

    image OneNote Microsoft OneNote is your digital notebook for keeping track of what's important in your life. Jot down your ideas, keep track of classroom and meeting notes, clip from the web, make a to-do list as well as draw and sketch your ideas. OneNote is your one place to capture and organize everything.
    Logo Wordbrush Words have been trapped in straight lines for too long...set your words free! WordBrush allows you to draw text freely on the screen, each letter following the trace of your finger as though you were painting with a brush.
    Logo Kodu Kodu lets you create games through a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming.
    Logo Physamajig Just sketch something out and it is translated into a realistic physics object. Add attributes such as bounciness, friction, and joints - then create your own games by adding Behaviors to the objects.
    Logo Skitch Touch Skitch Touch is a free tool for communicating visually with friends, co-workers, and the world. Annotate images with arrows, shapes, text, and more. Use Skitch to sketch something new, mark up maps, screen captures, or even a photo.
    Logo QR Code Designers

    QR code design made easy! "QR Code Designer"
    The only application generating custom-designed QR codes.

    Logo Project Sienna Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is a new technology for app imagineers. Build Apps and databases without any programming.
    Logo Bing Translator The Bing Translator App for Windows is your companion when you need to quickly translate what you are looking at. Use your camera or just type the text you want to translate. Text and camera translation work offline with downloadable language packs, so you can get the power of Bing Translator on-the-go, even when you don't have an Internet connection
    Logo Fotor Fotor is the best all-in-one photo editing application. With cutting-edge tools including Basic Editing Tools, Brilliant Visual Effects, Frames, 1-Tap Enhance, Collage, Text, Tilt Shift and Raw Converter, all bundled together in one powerful package
    Logo Nearpod

    Nearpod is a synchronous solution for the use of mobile devices in the classroom. Create multimedia presentations with interactive features such as quizzes, videos, polls, drawing tools, and more

    Logo Socrative

    Educators can initiate formative assessments through quizzes, quick question polls, exit tickets and space races all with their Socrative Windows app. Socrative will instantly grade, aggregate and provide graphs of results to help you identify opportunities for further instruction. Save time and visualize student understanding when it matters, now!

    and currently best app I would pay for…. (and have done so!)

    image Createbook

    Why just read ebooks? When you can create your own!
    CreateBook is an easy to use App allowing users of all ages to create stunning eBooks which include text, video and a range of other media.

    And don’t forget they are Apps for Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, Khan Academy and LinkedIn. As well apps like these for teaching and practicing maths or spellings

    Logo iMath iMath is designed to help children under the age of 12 to improve math ability and develop interests in mathematics
    Logo The Spelling Bee

    'Bee' the bee! Fly between beautiful locations unscrambling words! As you figure out words you get points that will unlock rewards!
    Each level has a random theme that will help you figure out the mixed up word. If you can't guess the word, you can spell any shorter word and still get points!

    Already using some of these apps? Tweet us your thoughts! @MSNZEducation.

  • BYOD Case Study: The Surface Pro's Seamless Integration into Tuckahoe School

    We are very excited to share with you this fantastic case study of Tuckahoe School's adoption of the Surface Pro in their BYOD program. Check out the video and tweet us your thoughts! @MSNZEducation

    Not sure where to start with BYOD? Want to learn more?

    Download our discussion paper which investigates the myths around the BYOD model in schools, and understand the questions which should be addressed when considering allowing students to bring their own devices, and which option might be best suited to a school’s culture.

    This paper is intended to stimulate discussion around what constitutes best practice 1-to-1 learning.

    Download the Whitepaper here.

  • Registrations are almost full for the 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Workshop - don't miss out!

    Helping school leaders clarify their vision for 1:1 learning and building an executable framework to bring this to life.

    Microsoft and CORE Education bring you the complimentary 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Workshop in May 2014. That's not far away! Registrations are almost full for both Auckland and Christchurch workshops, don't miss out!

    This two-day seminar will explore the planning and implementation of 1:1 learning in your school. Facilitated by world education leader, Bruce Dixon, the workshop is designed to support school Principals and eLearning leaders to work together. We recommend two leaders attend from each school.

    "The presenter was completely engaging, and a master of his knowledge. It was a privilege to be led by somebody who has been there with devices in the classroom since their inception." – Stephen Hensman, Principal, Taradale High School.

    We invite you to register your interest to attend the workshop in Christchurch: 12th-13th May, or in Auckland: 15th-16th May.

    In the workshop you will work through the 5 Phases that outline the Design and Deployment Guide to 1:1 learning:

    • Phase 1 – The Compelling Case for Change: Create a solid foundation for a 1:1 initiative, with a clear vision and actionable, measurable goals.

    • Phase 2 – Redesign Learning and teaching: Focusing on rethinking and redesigning all aspects of teaching practice and the learning experience, based on the information garnered and ideas developed in Phase One.

    • Phase 3 – Lead the Shift: The vision and goals have been set. It’s time to turn the vision into reality, and theory to practice. This phase develops strategies in the key areas of stakeholder engagement, financial models, equity of access, community buy-in and teacher professional growth to support your initiative.

    • Phase 4 – Manage Implementation: Once all the strategies for change are in place and being put into action, schools are ready to plan the actual 1:1 implementation. This implementation covers a range of tasks, including managing the budget, creating a 21st century learning environment, conducting a readiness assessment and establishing critical partnerships, culminating in the actual start

    • Phase 5 – Evaluate Continuously: Effective evaluation of your initiative is the backbone of its success. Without any genuine commitment to such a process, the impact of the previous 20 Steps can be marginal. It underpins the ongoing development of a program and ensures the best possible outcomes for students, staff and the school.

  • It's here! We bring to you Anthony Salcito’s 2014 Global Forum Keynote Speech

    Can you believe it's been a whole month since the 2014 Global Forum in Barcelona? We are still buzzing and in a timely fashion, Anthony Salcito's Keynote Speech has officially been released!

    Since the Forum, Anthony's blog Daily Edventures has shared some incredible stories. Anthony has featured a guest blog from Todd La Vogue (a Microsoft Expert Educator and Global Forum winner), he's showcased the students from ESADE and Saltash.net who brought their unique and important perspective and energy, he's shared The Pitch competition, and of course, announced all the winners.

    In Anthony's own words, "While I do love to share my view on the future of learning – and of course demo the latest apps from Microsoft and our partners – the true magic of the Global Forum is in the connections that are forged at this incredible event. If you were not able to be at the Global Forum in person, this is a great way to share in the spirit of the Global Forum, and the incredible, powerful work that takes place in every corner of the globe to provide students with the education they need to succeed in the 21st century."

    Tweet us your thoughts @MSNZEducation and of course, enjoy!

  • Partners in Learning is now the Microsoft Educator Network - and much more!

    We are pleased to announce that the Partners in Learning Network has undergone somewhat of a makeover and is now the Microsoft Educator Network! We'd just like to highlight some of the great new features of the Microsoft Educator Network that will make your experience as an educator even more valuable.

    1. Professional Development Courses Landing Page. This is a new page on the site designed to present our seminars and courses in context to each other so that you, as an educator, can determine which courses you want to explore in more depth.

    2. New features in Professional Development

    • My Learning Page: The new My Learning page associated with each course keeps track of your course status (what’s been taken, what’s left to be taken, a link to the transcript of what’s been taken and the button to generate the course certificate if you have completed the course). In the case below, you are seeing the course status for someone who completed the Teaching with Technology self-assessment and has a personalized learning path.

    • Certificate generator: When you have fully completed a course, a button will appear on the page enabling you to generate a PDF certificate that you can download and print. 

     3. Upgrades to Teaching with Technology

    • Microsoft Certified Exam: If you are interested in taking the MCE, this page tells you how you can get vouchers. In addition, you can download the TWT Study Guide.

    4. New seminar: Windows 8 in the Classroom

    • Windows 8 in the Classroom takes all the Windows 8 videos and puts them in one place and enables you to earn a badge for watching them.

     

    5. New badge for 21stCentury Learning Design

    • You can now earn a 21st Century Learning Design badge. Like any course, if you have taken a course in person, please send us your list and we will badge them. Soon, you will be able to take 21st Century Learning Design courses on the Educator Network and earn a badge and certificate just like the other courses!

    There are still more exciting features to come! For now, take a look around the Microsoft Educator Network website, sign up if you haven't already, and spread the word!

  • Microsoft World Tour School - Hellerup School, Denmark

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft, recently blogged about the innovative Hellerup School in Denmark. Hellerup School is one of the Microsoft World Tour Schools in the Innovative Schools Program. The school is operating in one big open classroom environment without walls. Students are encouraged to work according to their individual learning styles in a synergy relationship with educators, management and parents that is based on trust and mutual commitment.

    Hellerup School frequently has visitors from the education environment on all continents that want to see the innovative and creative way education works within the school. Check out this video to get a look into the world-leading 21st century practices and designs Hellerup utilizes!

  • St Andrew's College Creates Student ePortfolios with OneNote and Office365

    Sam McNeill, Director of ICT at St Andrew's College, recently blogged about one Year 6 class' fantastic work with OneNote for creating ePortfolios. We enjoyed it so much, we thought we'd share it with you. You can see Sam's full blog post here!

    "One of the things I love about St Andrew’s College is the fact that we are a school from Yr1 to Yr13 and in my role as Director of ICT I get the chance to see learning in action in classes across this age range. Today I met with one of our new teachers, Mr Wilj Dekkers, who teaches a Yr6 class and together we chatted about his use of Microsoft OneNote for creating ePortfolios for his students."

    "For the uninitiated, ePortfolios are essentially a way for students to create a record of their learning, some of their work (either in progress or ‘published’), and being able to share it with others (usually the teacher, parents or other students in the class). Historically, this type of work has been put into a scrapbook or clear file and one of the great things about an ePortfolio is the ability to add audio and video, alongside the photos and written work of students."

    After giving his students some basic guidance around logging into Office365 and creating documents in OneDrive, they were then asked to share their ePortfolio OneNote Notebook with Mr Dekkers. Here is a good example of one page of an ePortfolio:

    "The convenient aspect for Wilj is that he can see the work of any student anytime, anywhere at the click of a button. Additionally he can comment directly into the ePortfolio to provide encouragement, feedback and feedforward. This feedback, along with the electronic format of these ePortfolios which can double as traditional homework workbooks, resulted in a parent emailing Wilj the following about her son:"

    "[He] has worked harder at his homework than ever before and whilst he still needs a bit of a nudge to get into it, he is certainly putting in more effort than he has in the past. Thank you for your efforts to make the work relevant and interesting."

    "Because these ePortfolios are all stored online in OneDrive (part of Microsoft’s Office365 which St Andrew’s College subscribes to), the content is always “real time” and accessible anywhere, whether at home or in the class. An additional benefit of this is that students can work collaboratively on work together. Inevitably, this resulted in a large novelty factor for students as they saw their peer’s work ‘magically’ appear in their OneNote notebook as they worked together on something. However, this also has real, tangible, benefits as Wilj explained:"

    "I had a student home sick vomiting. As he started to feel better, he got out his computer, logged into Office365 and started planning the board game he and his friend at school were working on. He emailed an invitation to work collaboratively on the document to his friend and together they continued the planning, meaning they were not behind the others simply because one was not physically at school."


    Wilj's work is a fantastic example of how OneNote can be used to facilitate 21st Century learning in the classroom. A huge thank you to Sam for sharing this great story! Don't forget to read the full post here.

  • It's the 8th April and from today, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. What does this mean for your school?

    Today is April 8th 2014. This is the date that Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP.

    What does this mean for your school?

    If your school is still running Windows XP from today, you may be exposed to potential risks. Your school will no longer receive updates for Windows XP from Microsoft, including security updates that can help protect your school’s PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

    Many software and hardware vendors will no longer support their products that are running on Windows XP. For example, the new Office leverages the modern Windows and will not run on Windows XP. When problems arise, online and phone-based technical support will no longer be available to assist you or your school IT partner.

    We're here to support your school's full migration off XP and on to a modern learning environment. If your school has replaced Windows XP with Windows 8 or 8.1, you are eligible to win a prize of up to $15,000 worth of Dell PCs, laptops and tablets! Today is the last day you can enter.

    Are you a state or integrated school? The Microsoft Schools deployment kit takes the hard work out of upgrading your school's computers to Windows 8.1. You should have received this - find out more here!

    If your school is no longer running Windows XP and has migrated on to Windows 8 or 8.1, simply fill out the entry form here before the end of today. You can also click here to find an FAQ to assist you in your migration.

  • A Celebration of Innovation in Action: A Look Back at the 2014 Global Forum

    "I have often said that education has the power to transform the world. After the incredible week we had at the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, I know this adage could not be more true. Over 1,100 educators, school leaders, government officials, education leaders and students from 97 countries gathered together to share innovative ways to harness the power of technology, all for the betterment of education. It was indeed transformative for me, and I hope for everyone involved." - Anthony Salcito, Vice President Microsoft Worldwide Education, rounded off the event perfectly.

    Check out this fantastic recap of the 2014 Global Forum. Stay tuned for how you can have the chance get involved next year!

  • Announcing the Office you love, now on the iPad!

    Over a billion people on the planet use Microsoft Office to get more done at work and at home. Every day we hear from you how important it is to have a great productivity experience on all the devices you use. We take that very seriously – we know that means you want the authentic experience of Office, made right for the device you’re using.

    Starting today, you can download Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad from the App Store.

    The apps have the robust capabilities and familiar look and feel that is unmistakably Office, while offering a fantastic touch experience built from the ground up for iPad. With the free versions of the apps, you can read your Word documents, view your Excel data and present with PowerPoint.

    Your documents will look as good as they do on your PC and Mac®, and better than ever on your iPad. With an Office 365 subscription, you can edit and create new documents with the iPad. When you edit a document, you can be sure that content and formatting will be maintained across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone. And, you always have access to your up-to-date documents in OneDrive.

    Your Office 365 subscription not only gets you the Office for iPad apps installed on up to 5 tablets, but also 5 copies across Office for your PCs and Macs.  With one subscription all of your devices are covered, so you can work the way you want.

    You can find out more and read the FAQ right here!

  • Register your interest now for the 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Workshop!

    Helping school leaders clarify their vision for 1:1 learning and building an executable framework to bring this to life.

    Microsoft and CORE Education bring you the complimentary 21 Steps to 21st century learning workshop in May 2014.

    This two-day seminar will explore the planning and implementation of 1:1 learning in your school. Facilitated by world education leader, Bruce Dixon, the workshop is designed to support school Principals and eLearning leaders to work together. We recommend two leaders attend from each school.

    "The presenter was completely engaging, and a master of his knowledge. It was a privilege to be led by somebody who has been there with devices in the classroom since their inception." – Stephen Hensman, Principal, Taradale High School.

    We invite you to register your interest to attend the workshop in Christchurch: 12th-13th May, or in Auckland: 15th-16th May.

    In the workshop you will work through the 5 Phases that outline the Design and Deployment Guide to 1:1 learning:

    • Phase 1 – The Compelling Case for Change: Create a solid foundation for a 1:1 initiative, with a clear vision and actionable, measurable goals.

    • Phase 2 – Redesign Learning and teaching: Focusing on rethinking and redesigning all aspects of teaching practice and the learning experience, based on the information garnered and ideas developed in Phase One.

    • Phase 3 – Lead the Shift: The vision and goals have been set. It’s time to turn the vision into reality, and theory to practice. This phase develops strategies in the key areas of stakeholder engagement, financial models, equity of access, community buy-in and teacher professional growth to support your initiative.

    • Phase 4 – Manage Implementation: Once all the strategies for change are in place and being put into action, schools are ready to plan the actual 1:1 implementation. This implementation covers a range of tasks, including managing the budget, creating a 21st century learning environment, conducting a readiness assessment and establishing critical partnerships, culminating in the actual start

    • Phase 5 – Evaluate Continuously: Effective evaluation of your initiative is the backbone of its success. Without any genuine commitment to such a process, the impact of the previous 20 Steps can be marginal. It underpins the ongoing development of a program and ensures the best possible outcomes for students, staff and the school.

  • The Windows 8.1 Deployment Kit is here!

    We are very excited to announce that the Windows 8.1 Deployment Kit will this week be arriving on the desks of all NZ State and Integrated Schools, with rolls of less than 700 students.

    What’s in the kit?

    The deployment kit contains a ready-made ‘image’ of the latest Microsoft computer operating system and Office productivity tools, as well as a ‘plain English’ installation guide. This disk allows your school to deploy Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 2013 across all your school-owned computers when you are ready. You will find all the documentation necessary to complete a full deployment of the latest Windows and Microsoft Office desktop.

    What’s in the kit?

    • Windows 8.1 image, including:  - Office 2013 Professional Plus - Internet Explorer 11
    • Guidance on implementing an automated image deployment process using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013
    • How to video’s
    • Microsoft Schools Deployment Kit terms of use.

     What should you do now?

    1. Pass the disk onto the relevant IT staff in the school, or to the school’s technology provider/partner.
    2. If you don’t have a partner, email nzeducation@microsoft.com and we can direct you to a partner.
    3. Don’t forget:
  • OneNote now on Mac, free everywhere, and service powered!

    OneNote is the ultimate extension for your brain, but it’s not complete if it’s not instantly available everywhere. We’ve already made a lot of progress in that direction with our mobile, tablet and online web experiences. But there was still a gap. People frequently asked for OneNote on Mac, and for more ways to capture content.

    Today we’re very excited to complete the OneNote story with three major developments:

    1. OneNote for Mac is available for the first time and for free. With this, OneNote is now available on all the platforms you care about: PC, Mac, Windows tablets, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android and the Web. And they’re always in sync.
    2. OneNote is now free everywhere including the Windows PC desktop and Mac version because we want everyone to be able to use it. Premium features are available to paid customers.
    3. The OneNote service now provides a cloud API enabling any application to connect to it. This makes it easier than ever to capture ideas, information and inspirations from more applications and more places straight into OneNote, including:
    • OneNote Clipper for saving web pages to OneNote
    • me@onenote.com for emailing notes to OneNote
    • Office Lens for capturing documents and whiteboards with your Windows Phone
    • Sending blog and news articles to OneNote from Feedly, News360 and Weave
    • Easy document scanning to OneNote with Brother, Doxie Go, Epson, and Neat
    • Writing notes with pen and paper and sending them to OneNote with Livescribe
    • Mobile document scanning to OneNote with Genius Scan and JotNot
    • Having your physical notebooks scanned into OneNote with Mod Notebooks
    • Connecting your world to OneNote with IFTTT

    Go to www.onenote.com to get OneNote for free for your Mac, PC or other devices, and try out the new OneNote service connected experiences.

    You can learn more about these fantastic developments, right here!

  • Greetings from the Global Education Forum!

    The Microsoft in Education Global Forum 2014 kicked off to an amazing start with over 1100 educators, school leaders and government officials from nearly 100 countries coming together in Barcelona to celebrate innovation in education and work together to transform education for the 21st century. The event has grown to be one of the most important events on the Microsoft, and education industry calendar – and each year it continues to break new ground to push learning forward, share best practices and make vital connections within this important community.
     
    This year, the Forum provided an opportunity for more influencers, school leaders and educators to participate in this exciting event, including; 150 Government Education Leaders, 260 Educators, representing our Expert Educator program, 300 School Leaders from the most innovative schools around the globe, 30+ Global Media and 50+ Partner sponsors.
     

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Education for Microsoft.

    Highlights so far;

    • 260 Microsoft Expert Educators started their individual project competition with their Surface devices, judged by over 100 worldwide education thought leaders. Award winners will be announced at the Gala today.
    • 80 Microsoft Mentor Schools and 34 World Showcase Schools initiated an inspiring week of collaboration, leadership and learning.
    • Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Sonia Recasens, officially opened the event on Tuesday 11th March during the welcome reception. Attendees had the opportunity  to discover new technologies and immersive learning scenarios through the Tech Showcase where partner sponsors provided hand on experience and demo’s of the latest technology.
    • On Wednesday 12th, the opening Keynote brought together all 1100 attendees and a number of special guests to provide an insightful start to the week ahead.
      • Eve Psalti, Global Director, Education Audience, introduced the keynote and framed the session about “be the change that you want to see in the world”;
      • Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Microsoft Europe, focused on the need for technology skills in a global world;
      • Xavier Prats Monne, Deputy-Director General for Education of the European Commission, who will be appointed Director General on July 1. to manage a 9,4 billion €€ budget aimed at transforming education across 28 countries;
      • Montserrat Gomendio, Secretary of State for Education, Training and Universities, Spain, announced the creation of two new platforms. (1) an open platform content with Creative Commons to provide a network between regional governments, involving teachers, families and students will share experiences and inspiration in education, (2) a digital book platform, which will facilitate the acquisition of books at significantly lower price to help families in crisis;
      • Anthony Salcito delivered the main keynote focused on Microsoft’s commitment to education, a view on the future of learning, and provided some home truths of what we all need to be thoughtful about when thinking about transforming education with technology. The keynote also included a demo of latest apps, Microsoft and partner solutions.

    .

    New Zealand's very own Expert Educators, Theresa Bosch of Baradene College and Steve Martin of Howick College.

     Beautiful Barcelona!

  • Countdown to Barcelona: 2014 Global Forum Kicks off Next Week

    The 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain is next week! For the Expert Educators and Mentor School leaders we’ll be celebrating, this event is the culmination of many years of hard work on the front lines of education reform.

    Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Worldwide Education, describes the scale of the event perfectly.

    "When we bring together the world’s most innovative educators – this year, a group of 1100 teachers, school leaders, higher-education faculty and government officials representing 97 countries – we will see living, breathing proof of Aristotle’s assertion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The combined energy and enthusiasm of these education innovators always translates into new ideas and inspiration that is then transmitted to the attendees’ schools, their countries and beyond. The Global Forum also creates life-long professional development networks among participants, leading to continuous growth, long after the closing keynote."

    Don't forget that New Zealand will be represented by Theresa Bosch from Baradene College and Steve Martin from Howick College will attend the Global Forum, as part of being selected to take part in the Microsoft Expert Educator Program! Our very own Anne Taylor, Schools and Academic Programs Manager, will be there reporting back too.

    We'll keep you updated on the exciting happenings at the forum, but you can also follow along on Twitter through #MicrosoftGF and #MSExpertEducator.

  • Getting Microsoft Office for your students has just become easier.

    Student Advantage enables every school in New Zealand that licenses Office for staff and to be eligible to get Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. You can get it now!

    This supports the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or 1:1 learning programmes that you may be looking at implementing, or are currently running in your school. Office 365 Pro Plus is the full version of Office and allows each student to install the full version of Office on up to five PCs or Macs.

    To take up this benefit, the next steps are:

    1. Contact Datacom to add the zero-cost license Student Advantage SKU to your Microsoft agreement.
    2. To do this you will be invoiced a $75 administration fee from Datacom.
    3. If you do not already have Office 365 A2 plan ordered, this will also need to be ordered and will be included in the $75 administration fee above.
    4. Check with Datacom that your contact person for Office 365 and Student Advantage activity is correct.
    5. Deploy the Office 365 A2 Plan service for staff and students; then Students are able to download the Office ProPlus client software to their devices (up to 5 devices per student).

    Please contact your Microsoft Reseller for more details:

    ▪ For schools enrolled in the Microsoft Schools Agreement with the Ministry of Education, please contact Datacom on nzschools@datacom.co.nz.

    • For all other schools, please contact your Academic Reseller or partner.

  • St Andrew's College: Increasing Student Engagement & Enthusiasm for Writing with OneNote!

    Sam McNeill, Director of ICT at St Andrew's College in Christchurch, recently wrote this fantastic blog post on the school's use of OneNote. We were so delighted to see the increase of student egnagement and enthusiasm for writing with OneNote, that we had to share it with you. You can see the full blog post here, but we thought we'd give you a few snippets now.

    "I had the privilege of meeting with Dr Jeni Curtis today to discuss her use of Microsoft OneNote in her Yr9 English class, and discuss how this was one of the key tools she was using to achieve her aim of a paperless environment in her classroom. I was aware that a number of staff at St Andrew’s College were exploring the different ways that OneNote could be used in their teaching and, after seeing some unsolicited parent feedback to Dr Curtis, I knew I needed to write a blog about it."

    "OneNote is sometimes described as ‘the hidden jewel’ in the Microsoft Office Suite and for those unfamiliar with the programme, it can best be described as an electronic version of the traditional ring-binder, replete with the coloured tabs/dividers down the side. Since all students at St Andrew’s College have access to a free copy of MS Office (along with the web-apps via Office365), the decision to use OneNote by Dr Curtis made perfect sense."

    The Setup:

    "All students initially required some assistance with setting up their OneNote notebooks for English and then sharing this with Dr Curtis. Critically, they were able to set the sharing permissions so that she could both read and edit their notebooks. Once completed, it meant that as the teacher, Dr Curtis could look at the student’s equivalent of traditional “exercise books” at anytime, allowing direct feedback and comments.

    Additionally, Dr Curtis shared a “read only” OneNote notebook with the students where they could see useful materials for the courses, explanations of various terms as well as expectations for them around homework and other activities."

    The First Task – An Introductory Letter & A Video Response:

    "The first task for the Yr9 English students in their steps towards a paperless classroom was to write an introduction letter to Dr Curtis using their shared OneNote notebook. What they didn’t expect was that they would receive a personalised video response from Dr Curtis that they could all watch directly within OneNote itself."

    Video Response to Introductory Letter

    Video Response to Introductory Letter

    "This certainly left an impression on the students of the class, and was actually achieved relatively easily through the neat feature of OneNote that allows for the recording of audio and video notes directly within a notebook. This innovative idea for marking homework and giving feedback was appreciated not only by the students, but also by the parents, with one taking the time out to email Dr Curtis the following congratulations:

    I must congratulate you with using One Note for marking the children’s writing. Callum showed me the video clip commenting on one of his assignments. It was really impressive and useful. It is such a great use of technology and had helped Wayne and I appreciate the use of technology in classroom environment. We were a bit unsure with 1:1 computer concept to begin with.

    I hope Callum is working hard in your class. I had seen his shifts of interests from not liking writing to enjoying writing in the last 2 assignments, which is wonderful.

    As a teacher that is incredibly gratifying to hear that your efforts to engage students is having the type of impact mentioned by the parent above, and equally, as the Director of ICT at St Andrew’s College, I am thrilled that the teaching staff are using the tools in authentic ways like this."

    To read about the second task and much more, read Sam's full post here!

  • Top 100 Education Apps on Windows 8

    Let’s face it. Apps are now an integral part of our everyday lives. We use them to check the weather and check into a flight, to see when the next bus is coming, record notes, read books, play games and much more.

    A great outcome of the app revolution is the transformative learning that apps can help foster. There are thousands of education apps in the Windows marketplace from early learning “games” to study aids and even apps that will help you manage the classroom, with more being published every day.

    To get you started, we’ve curated a list of 100 education apps that we hope you’ll find helpful. You can access this by loading it below.

    For even more, visit: aka.ms/Apps4Edu or go directly to the Windows Store.

  • The countdown to the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum begins!

    The 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum is fast approaching, and we are very excited. Not only is the Global Forum the best education event of the year; it’s also life-changing for everyone who attends.

    The Global Forum recognises and celebrates the achievements of  educators and school leaders who are on the leading edge of education innovation, paving the way for their peers in the use of technology to improve learning and student outcomes. The forum will bring together winners from the Microsoft Expert Educators Programme and the Microsoft Mentor Schools Programme, along with government officials, press, education leaders, sponsor and partners for a once-in-a-lifetime, energetic and collaborative conference. The event will be attended by more than 1,000 innovators from 97 countries. In other words, it’s a big deal. And it’s made exceptional by the amazing and inspiring educators who take part in the conference, generously sharing what they’ve learned to change education for the better around the globe.

    Microsoft New Zealand is proud to announce that Theresa Bosch from Baradene College and Steve Martin from Howick College will attend the Global Forum, as part of being selected to take part in the Microsoft Expert Educator Programme.

    We'll keep you updated on the exciting happenings at the forum, but you can also follow along on Twitter through #MicrosoftGF and #MSExpertEducator. Not long to go now!

  • Migrate your school's PCs off XP and on to Windows 8 or 8.1 and be in to win $15,000 worth of Dell PCs, laptops and tablets!

    On April 8th 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. That's not far away.

    What does this mean for your school?

    If your school is still running Windows XP by this date, you may be exposed to potential risks. Your school will no longer receive updates for Windows XP from Microsoft, including security updates that can help protect your school’s PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

    Many software and hardware vendors will no longer support their products that are running on Windows XP. For example, the new Office leverages the modern Windows and will not run on Windows XP. When problems arise, online and phone-based technical support will no longer be available to assist you or your school IT partner.

    We're here to support your school's full migration off XP and on to a modern learning environment. Every school that replaces Windows XP with Windows 8 or 8.1 on all school PCs by 8th April 2014 will be eligible to win a prize of up to $15,000 worth of Dell PCs, laptops and tablets!*

    If your school is no longer running Windows XP and has migrated on to Windows 8 or 8.1, simply fill out the entry form here before the 8th April 2014. You can also click here to find an FAQ to assist you in your migration.

    *Terms and conditions apply. Please visit www.microsoft.com/nz/education/xpeos for more information.

  • Student Advantage: Get Office 365 ProPlus for your students, at no additional cost!

    Student Advantage enables every school in New Zealand that licenses Office for staff to be eligible to get Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost! You can get it now! This supports the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or 1:1 learning programmes that you may be looking at implementing, or are currently running in your school.

    To take up this benefit, the next steps are:

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

    Please contact your Microsoft Reseller for more details:

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

    We have also produced a handy ordering and deployment guide for you, with details of how to assign your licenses to your Students.

    If you are an existing Office 365 for Education customer (either through EES or directly through our website) with single or multiple tenancies, or if you are a brand new Office 365 for Education customer, please take a look at this deployment guide and FAQ to find out more about how to get up and running quickly.

    You can access it here!

  • Scots College sees Office 365 as a "key factor on BYOD strategy"

    Scots College, an independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys Years 1 - 13, recently deployed Office 365 as their school wide staff and student productivity tool. After hosting their complimentary Windows in the Classroom Seminar (http://www.microsoft.com/nz/windowsintheclassroom/), Assistant Principal of the Senior School (NCEA) and ICT Manager, Alistair West saw Office 365 as "a key factor on our BYOD strategy".

    "In order to facilitate going fully mandated BYOD, we needed a system whereby students could create, edit, collaborate and access files online on any device or operating system. Office 365 is the best solution we have found for that. We are using OneNote for management meetings, our appraisal system and SkyDrive Pro for sharing and collaborating on documents."

     

    "So far we have held staff training sessions on SkyDrive Pro, sharing files and folders, collaborating on documents and using the Newsfeed. A student BYOD/Office 365 session will be held later this month. Some staff have begun using the sharing features of Office 365 to provide real-time feedback to students working on reports/essays. Gail Moynagh (Teacher of Mathematics and Science), has been using the drawing tools in OneNote on an interactive whiteboard to share her lessons with students. In one instance, a student was at home sick, he could log in, open the shared OneNote and see notes appear in real-time."

     

    When asked on how she was using Office 365 in and outside of the classroom, Gail explained, “The massive advantage I see in it is the ability for collaboration with ease between staff and staff, staff and students and students and students. The features of the NewsFeed seem like they will be an excellent way to get information to users quickly and easily.”

     

    "One of the many strengths we are seeing of Office 365 is that it is using resources that our staff were already familiar with (e.g. Word, Excel) and we are just making the next obvious step into doing this in the cloud," Alistair explains. "This makes it more approachable and less overwhelming for staff that are not confident with the use of technology. However, it appears to have huge opportunities for our savvy users as well and we are just beginning to really see its full potential."

     

    "We are just beginning to see how Office 365 can facilitate 24/7, anytime, anywhere, personalised learning."

    You can book your complimentary Windows in the Classroom Seminar here: http://www.microsoft.com/nz/windowsintheclassroom/.