NZ Education Blog

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

NZ Education Blog

  • Microsoft Announces Integration between Moodle And Office 365

    On Monday January 19, Microsoft announced the integration of Moodle and Office 365, working with leading Moodle partner Remote-Learner. This announcement transforms education technology, by bringing a more productive experience to both teachers and students.

    "Working closely with Remote-Learner, we're delivering a technical solution for one of the most popular open source learning management systems that aims to provide seamless workflows for both Moodle and Office 365 users,” said Jean Paoli, president of MS Open Tech. “By working closely with the open Moodle community, MS Open Tech will continue taking feedback and maintaining, improving, and adding new features.”

    Some key improvements include:

    • Allowing students and teachers to sign in to Moodle with the same ID, making single sign-on easier and faster for schools.
    • Events created in Moodle will be automatically stored on teachers' and students' personal Office 365 calendars, enabling easy tracking of course events and due dates.
    • Making it easier for teachers to embed interactive online lessons created in PowerPoint with OfficeMix through an open format standard.
    • Documents stored in OneDrive for Business can be associated automatically with Moodle courses. Updates to those documents appear automatically in links in Moodle which streamlines version control and simplifies the integration of content stored in the cloud.
    • Teachers are now able to create assignments in OneNote, have students submit their work via Moodle, and then provide feedback on the student's work in the same OneNote document.

    Jason Cole, CEO of Remote-Learner says, “Educators and trainers who have both Moodle and Office 365 create new learning experiences that leverage the power of both platforms. Moodle administrators can deploy these new features knowing they have the support of both Microsoft and the Moodle Partner community.”

    On Jan. 21 at the BETT Show 2015, MS Open Tech will officially release version 1.0 of this project, which kicked off last September, on GitHub under GPLv3. The plugins will also be available for download from the Moodle plugins directory, via Azure-certified Virtual Machine image and VM Depot.


  • Helping educators get the most out of OneNote with OneNoteforTeachers.com

    By now you have most likely heard about the revolutionary tool called OneNote which is taking the education world by storm! OneNote is an incredibly useful program for teachers and students alike. Here's just a few things that OneNote can do…

     

    Educators can create digital notebooks that:

    • Save time by efficiently organising teaching files and information all in one place
    • Provide innovative ways to get information across to students
    • Easily place text, printouts, tables, ink, web clippings and files
    • Eliminate paper and printing

     

    Students can use OneNote at any school level and subject to:

    • Carry out research
    • Collaborate with their class members, and effectively communicate
    • Learn how to manage information and note-take
    • Voice record important information in class

     

    But, as teachers, how do you get the most out of OneNote?

     

    There are a lot of tips & tricks available, but while these tools can be helpful they are not necessarily the most useful for teachers and classrooms. So, I'd like to introduce the OneNoteforTeachers.com page which has helpful instructional videos tailored specifically to teacher's needs!

     

    Watch videos such as:

    • Enhancing productivity with OneNote
    • Delivering curriculum with OneNote
    • Creating interactive lessons with OneNote

     

    These videos will help educators to use OneNote to its full potential in the classroom, to help students learn and make teacher's lives easier!

     


  • PowerPoint gets interactive with OfficeMix

     

    "The Office Mix add-in for PowerPoint is a new way to tell your story with voice, video, inking, screen recording and interactive magic."


    Bring your lessons to life and personalize students’ learning with Office Mix. There are lots of cool things you can do with Office Mix to turn your PowerPoint slides into interactive online lessons or presentations, here's just a few:

    • Record audio or video of yourself presenting
    • Write on your slides as you speak to them
    • Insert quizzes, polls, labs and online videos

    After you have shared your Office Mix with your class, you can automatically see analytics on who has viewed it and how long they have spent on each slide. This gives you a chance to measure students' engagement and who is taking an active role in their learning.


    St. Andrew's College in Christchurch are encouraging teachers to use Office Mix to facilitate students' learning. They are finding that the feedback from students is that Office Mix is a great tool and that it is "really helpful to have this visual and aural guidance especially from their own teacher and not just a random clip off YouTube". Check out this blog post on the StAC e-Learning Stories blog to read about how the school is introducing Office Mix into the classroom. See an example here of St. Andrew's College teacher Ms Tam Yuill Proctor using Office Mix to help her Year 11 students with how to structure a Level 1 NCEA English essay.

    To download Office Mix, head to the Office Mix website!

    To help you get started with using Office Mix, Microsoft has released a 15-minute webinar! The full webinar can be accessed here. Happy Mixing!


  • Should computer science be a compulsory subject in New Zealand schools?

    Computer science. Most of us don't know what it really entails. What is computer science? How is it taught? How is it used in real life? Quite often it is seen as intimidating, an item for the 'too hard basket'.  Because of this most current students, and even more adults, don't know the first thing about computer science and are afraid to even try it.

    But in our world of rapidly advancing technology, an understanding of computer science is becoming increasingly necessary. Everything around us has somehow been impacted by computer science and code. Want to start your own business? You need to set up and maintain a website. Want to create an app? You need to code. Want to work in agriculture, manufacturing or any other field? Computer skills are a must. Technology is in every aspect of our lives and it will only become more so in future years. We depend on technology. And yet, most of us are unable to write a simple program to calculate how much we spend on our grocery shopping every year.

    There are countless benefits to learning computer science. On a personal development level, computer science is constantly evolving and changing so students are taught important skills of adaptability which come in handy in every aspect of life. On an employment level, university graduates with a computer science degree are among the highest paid in their first job. According to CareerBuilder.com, three of the four highest paying occupations from 2013 to 2017 are computer systems analyst, network and computer systems administrator, and software developer. Furthermore, according to Glass Door, 22 of the 50 best companies to work for worldwide are tech companies. There are endless opportunities within these industries to progress and develop. Check out the graph below which shows that in the next 5 years, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs available, with not enough people to fill these jobs. This is becoming even more important in today's ultra-competitive job market.


    Computer science is a relatively new subject compared to the likes of English, maths and chemistry. Those high up in the schooling hierarchy are apprehensive to substitute computer science for a subject that has existed for a long time. However, there is a disconnect between what is being taught in schools, and what is going to be needed by students when they venture into the world of employment. The next generation of students are going to be ill-equipped for what any future job will require them to do.

    How do we overcome this? The initial solution is to introduce compulsory computer science classes in New Zealand schools to teach students the basics of computer science, coding and programming. The drawback to this is that it would be very costly to implement. And it would be difficult to find enough qualified instructors willing to take on the job. Therefore, it is more practical and efficient to look towards online resources.

    Because of computer science and the Internet revolution, there are now a multitude of resources online which teach computer science, such as Code.org, Treehouse and CodeAcademy.com. Many of these websites are free. The website takes care of everything, so an instructor with programming experience is not necessary. The teacher simply needs to supervise students to make sure they are physically doing the required work. These resources provide a fun and engaging way to get students into coding, enabling the next generation of programmers to take the reins.

    Do you think online resources to teach coding should be implemented in New Zealand schools? Or would it be more meaningful to students to be taught by a physical computer science instructor? Or do you think it is not necessary to teach computer science in schools? We'd love to hear your opinion on this topic, so leave a comment below and get involved in the discussion!

     

  • Show your class the world with Skype!

    Introducing Mystery Skype, an educational game invented by teachers. It's played by two classrooms using Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions. Mystery Skype is a fun way to get students of all ages learning about different cultures and being engaged in subjects like geography, history and languages. It's super easy to register, just go here to find out more and get talking with classrooms all over the world!

     

     

    And now, it's becoming possible to speak with classes in different languages with Skype Translator! Skype Translator was recently previewed to two school classes - one in Washington, USA and one in Mexico City. Watch the video below to see how, with the help of Skype Translator, students were able to overcome the language barrier which previously would have stopped them communicating. This innovation will bring people together like never before, and will open up endless possibilities for people around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate.

     

    The Skype Translator preview program is kicking-off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English, and 40+ instant messaging languages will be available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator sign-up page. Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets. As more people use the Skype Translator preview, the quality will continually improve. Skype also needs your help to fast-track new language releases. So make sure you sign up, let your language preferences be known and get involved!

     

    Teachers in New Zealand and overseas are already using Skype in the Classroom to facilitate collaboration and serve as a resource for innovative lesson ideas. Talk with other classes no matter where they are, take your class on a virtual field trip or find guest speakers and invite them into your classroom. These are just a couple of ideas, the opportunities are endless! Click here to join Skype and take your classroom experience to the next level!

     

  • “The real virtue is not in the tools we create, it is in how we use the tools to create" - an interview with Sir Ken Robinson

    Anthony Salcito (Vice President of Education for Microsoft Corp.'s Worldwide Public Sector organisation) recently spoke with Sir Ken Robinson about his thoughts on the explosion of technology in education and what this means for creativity and learning.  For those that have not heard of Sir Ken Robinson, he is an author and speaker, and is world-renowned as an education & creativity expert. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been viewed more than 25 million times and seen by an estimated 250 million people in over 150 countries. His 2006 talk is the most viewed in TED’s history!

    Take a look at the video below where Anthony and Sir Ken Robinson sit down and chat about the future of technology in education. It's an insightful and interesting view into Robinson's beliefs about the potential technology holds for encouraging creativity and human growth.

    So, what has the explosion in technology meant for imagination and learning? According to Robinson, the impact has been enormous. “Tools have extended our physical reach, allowing us to do things physically we couldn’t otherwise do, but they’ve also expanded our minds,” he says. “The relationship between tools and intellectual, physical and spiritual development is really powerful.”

    But while Robinson believes that tools play an important role in creativity, he sees an even higher calling for technology. “The real virtue is not in the tools we create, it is in how we use the tools to create, how creative we become with the tools,” he says. “The challenge with technology is not a technological one, it’s a spiritual one.” The challenge education providers are facing is what to do with the technology and tools that are available. Robinson believes that there is unlimited potential for schools and that by unleashing students’ creativity, we can help them develop the kinds of skills that will serve them well in their careers, and as leaders of future generations.

    Check out the full interview below!

     

  • Sway Preview expands and delivers more feature improvements!

    It’s been only 10 weeks since Sway Preview was launched, and there's already been over one million unique visitors to Sway.com and over 175,000 requests to join, and those numbers grow by thousands daily. On the back of this demand, Sway Preview is now open to everybody - with no waitlist!

    The Sway team is asking educators for their help in shaping the future of the app! Many educators with access to Sway Preview are loving the opportunity to transform presentations and bring ideas to life in a new and exciting way. If you want to test out Sway Preview go here. Once you've checked it out, we'd love for you to tell us your thoughts through the User Voice forum and see what other people have said. Your suggestions will help improve Sway and grow the app.

    Recent improvements to the app include:

    • Adding Bing Image Search and 'suggested searches'
    • Undo and re-do actions
    • Bullets and numbering
    • Editing text on the canvas
    • Reordering sections more easily
    • Import a PDF into Sway
    • Improvements to the Colour Picker

    If you want to read about all of these enhancements in more depth, check out this Sway blog post.

    Sway is being adopted by the Microsoft Innovative Educators network across New Zealand who are using the app to create engaging and innovative presentations that can be used in classrooms in the new year. Check out the MIE Minute Newsletter which is now on Sway and see how the app can be used!   

    There are some amazing Sway presentations emerging - click on the images below and check them out!

              

       

     

  • Update: Sir George Seymour College, Travel Careers & Training and the Southern Institute of Technology are now providing Office to every student for free!

    We're very pleased to announce that Sir George Seymour CollegeTravel Careers & Training and the Southern Institute of Technology have joined the list of New Zealand institutions providing Office to their students for free. There are now 20 tertiary institutions across New Zealand which are providing the Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus benefit to their students free of charge!
      

    What does this mean? The latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote are available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs and Macs, plus 5 tablets (including iPad!)
    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive
    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software
    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file fidelity
      If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit 
      this link and sign in using your institution login and password.

     

    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.
     
    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free. We’ll keep you updated and provide direct links to other institutions that are providing this exciting benefit in future blog posts.
      

     

  • Quick Tip Videos from Microsoft - tech ideas to use in your classroom!

    There is unlimited potential for educators to improve students' learning experiences using the latest Microsoft technologies such as OneNote and Office Mix. Design engaging lessons? Improve collaboration? Get your message across in a new way? Captivate students' imaginations? All of these common goals can be achieved by using technology more effectively in the classroom! However, as educators it can often be difficult keeping up with the latest technologies and tools available. These products have the potential to improve the quality of your classroom experience, but how do you incorporate them into your lessons?

     

    To make it easier to harness the power of technology in the classroom, Microsoft have created a series of 2-minute Quick Tip Videos that show educators how to use Microsoft products in their classroom. These videos help educators to uncover the true potential of the technologies they are already using.

     

    Whether you are finding it difficult coming to grips with the latest classroom technologies, or you've heard about the cool things Microsoft products can do and want to know how to use them in your own classroom, these videos will be a useful starting point. They provide handy hints and tips to show you how to maximise the full potential of Microsoft's latest classroom technologies. Check them out here, and start using these fantastic ideas in your classroom!

  • Get Microsoft Office for free!

    There are now 17 tertiary institutions across New Zealand which are providing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to their students free of charge!

     

    What does this mean? The latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote are available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs and Macs, plus 5 tablets (including iPad!)
    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive
    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software
    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file fidelity
      If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit 
      this link and sign in using your institution login and password.

     

     

    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.

     

    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free. We’ll keep you updated and provide direct links to other institutions that are providing this exciting benefit in future blog posts.

  • Teachers using OneNote to enhance classroom activities and encourage student creativity!

    Students often find creative writing a challenge, right? Not anymore! Using OneNote and other tools, a child can extend their imagination and surprise themselves with their own creativity. OneNote provides a new way to draw the best out of your class!

     

    Mr Dekker, a teacher at St. Andrew's College, gave his Year 6 students the task of creating "Pick a Path" stories using OneNote, and illustrating their creations in Minecraft or Paint.Net. Along the way, Mr Dekker's class were able to read each other's stories and give feedback to their classmates. The result? Students that were fully engaged in a writing task which is often found very difficult.

     

    Take a look at Harry who used Minecraft to improve the quality and creativity of his story. Harry was able to use his imagined world to reflect on his writing and make changes where he thought they were needed.

     

    Mr Dekker's class were already competent OneNote users, however the "Pick a Path" stories posed a new way of using the tool which presented an exciting challenge for the class. To read the full story from St Andrew's College, go here.

     

    The creativity of students is astounding, but sometimes it takes tools like OneNote to help them reach their full potential!

     

    Here at Microsoft NZ we are thrilled to hear about this exciting use of OneNote in an everyday New Zealand classroom. Got a story like this that you want to share? Then email us at nzeducation@microsoft.com.

     

    Want to learn more about how to set up OneNote in your classroom? Check out this awesome link - Getting Started with the OneNote Class Notebook Creator: A Walkthrough for Teachers

  • Spread the word to your friends!

    Spread the word to your friends!

     Share that you may be eligible to get Office for free through your school/tertiary institution for a chance to win a Surface!

    Use Vine, Instagram or Twitter and the hashtag #GetOffice365Contest to let your fellow students know that they may be eligible to get Office 365 for free. When you share you will be entered for a chance to win a Surface Pro 3! One lucky winner each week from now through until December 30th will win. See below for how to enter or read the Official Rules. School students can enter too, as long as they are 13 years or older.

    How to enter:

    You can enter by sharing on Twitter, Instagram or Vine.

    1. Share a video, photo or short statement on Twitter, Instagram or Vine encouraging others to see if they can Get Office 365 for free from their institution (by checking if your institution's name is listed above or asking your school/institution).

    2. Include the hashtag #GetOffice365Contest and a hashtag with the name of your school/tertiary institution.

    3. Include the link to the GetOffice365Contest page at aka.ms/yikrv1

    4. Follow @Office on the social channel you use to share your entry.

  • Update: Massey University and Western Institute of Technology - Taranaki are now providing Office to every student for free!

    Again, we're very excited to announce the latest additions of Massey University and Western Institute of Technology, which are now too are providing Office to their students for free.

    As we've posted over the last few weeks, the below listed tertiary institutions are providing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to every student free of charge - and now Massey University and Western Institute of Technology - Taranaki have joined the list!

    What does this mean again? The latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote are available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs and Macs, plus 5 tablets (including iPad!)

    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive

    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software

    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file fidelity

    If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit this link and sign in using your institution login and password.

    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.

    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free. We’ll keep you updated and provide direct links to other institutions that are providing this exciting benefit in future blog posts.

  • Announcing Office Sway Preview: reimagine how your ideas come to life

    Say hello to Sway! Sway is an entirely different way to express yourself and bring your ideas to life. When your ideas are born, you want to explore, visualize and share them—quickly and easily, wherever you happen to be, and on whatever device you have. You want your ideas to be understood. Sway helps you do just that. It’s a new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas, from your phone or browser. It is easy to share your creation and it looks great on any screen. Your ideas have no borders, edges, page breaks, cells or slides. Your mind is a continuous canvas, and Sway brings this canvas to life. Sway helps you focus on the human part: your ideas and how they relate to each other. Sway takes care of the design work—a Sway is ready to share with the world as soon as it is born. 

    The good news: While for the rest of the world Sway is invitation-only, in New Zealand the iPhone app is a free download in the iTunes store. Once you sign into Sway from the app, it also unlocks the full web-authoring experience. We are just starting our journey with Sway and want you to help us shape its future.

    Find out more about Sway here and tweet us your thoughts at @MSNZEducation.

  • Office 365 ProPlus benefit available for faculty and staff starting December 1st!

    We're excited to share that that faculty and staff will, as of December 1st, be able to access the same Office 365 ProPlus benefit as their students. This means that any school or tertiary institution licencing Office for all of their faculty and staff can now include an Office 365 ProPlus subscription at no extra cost for all students, faculty and staff.

    Extending the Office 365 ProPlus benefit to faculty and staff ensures that teachers are using the latest versions of Office and the same feature set as their students. It will allow teachers to install full Office on up to five PCs or Macs and unlock the editing capabilities of the Office apps for iPad. It also gives them access to all their Office documents both at school and at home. With Office 365 ProPlus teachers can take advantage of great Office apps and add-ins like Office Mix to record and publish class lectures.

    How does my school take advantage of this benefit you ask?

    This is a benefit of the Ministry of Education’s agreement with Microsoft, where every state and integrated school in New Zealand is eligible to get Office 365 ProPlus software for your students, and soon your teachers and faculty.

    Office 365 ProPlus includes all the familiar and full Office applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and offers the ability for these to be locally installed on up to five devices and available offline. This also includes Office for Mac and Office for iPad.

    To enable your students (and soon staff) to get Office software for their personal use, the next steps are:

    If you already have the Office 365 cloud service:

    1. Contact Datacom to add the no-cost student and faculty Office 365 Pro Plus SKU's to your Microsoft agreement (faculty from December 1st)
    2. Assign the Office 365 ProPlus software to your students (in the Office 365 Admin Portal) and staff from December 1st
    3. Download – your students and staff are then able to download the Office 365 ProPlus software to their personal devices

    If you don’t have the Office 365 cloud service:

    1. Contact Datacom to add the no-cost Office 365 Plan A2 and the Office 365 Pro Plus licences to your Microsoft agreement
    2. Deploy Office 365 for your school (quick deployment at www.fasttrack.office.com, or you may need a partner to assist)
    3. Assign the Office 365 ProPlus software to your students and soon staff (in the administration portal in Office 365)
    4. Download – your students and staff are then able to download the Office ProPlus software to their personal devices

    You can contact Datacom to find out more and take these steps at nzschool@datacom.co.nz.

  • Update: NMIT and Waiariki Institute of Technology are now providing Office to every student for free!

    We are delighted to announce that Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and Waiariki Institute of Technology now too are providing Office to their students for free.

    To reiterate, and as we posted last week, the below listed tertiary institutions are providing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to every student free of charge - and now NMIT and Waiariki Institute of Technology have joined the list!

    What does this mean again? The latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote are available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs and Macs, plus 5 tablets (including iPad!)

    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive

    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software

    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file fidelity

    If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit this link and sign in using your institution login and password.

    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.

    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free. We’ll keep you updated and provide direct links to other institutions that are providing this exciting benefit in future blog posts.

    DON'T FORGET! Spread the good news to your friends! Share that you may be eligible to get Office for free through your school/tertiary institution for a chance to win a Surface!

    Use Vine, Instagram or Twitter and the hashtag #GetOffice365Contest to let your fellow students know that they may be eligible to get Office 365 for free. When you share you will be entered for a chance to win a Surface Pro 3! One lucky winner each week from now through until December 30th will win. See below for how to enter or read the Official Rules. School students can enter too, as long as they are 13 years or older.

    How to enter:

    You can enter by sharing on Twitter, Instagram or Vine.

    1. Share a video, photo or short statement on Twitter, Instagram or Vine encouraging others to see if they can Get Office 365 for free from their institution (by checking if your institution's name is listed above or asking your school/institution).

    2. Include the hashtag #GetOffice365Contest and a hashtag with the name of your school/tertiary institution.

    3. Include the link to the GetOffice365Contest page at aka.ms/yikrv1

    4. Follow @Office on the social channel you use to share your entry.

  • Tertiary students may be eligible to get Microsoft Office for free!


    We are excited to announce that the below listed tertiary institutions are providing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to every student free of charge.

    This means the latest version of the full Office productivity suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote are available for offline and online use to best prepare you for class. As long as you’re a current student at an eligible institution that has activated the service, you’ll be able to use this software for free.

    • Install on up to 5 compatible PCs and Macs, plus 5 tablets (including iPad!)

    • Sync across all your devices with OneDrive

    • Gain valuable skills on the world’s most popular productivity software

    • Use the same programmes as your lecturers and tutors to ensure full file fidelity

    If you are enrolled at an eligible tertiary institution that has activated the service, you can download the software by signing in to Office 365 using your institution login and password. If you’re a student at one of the below tertiary institutions, simply click on the corresponding link and follow the instructions. If your institution isn’t listed below but has activated this service, you can visit this link and sign in using your institution login and password.

    Don’t forget, you’ll need your tertiary institution account login and password to sign in and take up this benefit.

    Did we miss out your tertiary institution? Ask your institution’s IT department about getting Office for free. We’ll keep you updated and provide direct links to other institutions that are providing this exciting benefit in future blog posts.

    Spread the good news to your friends!

    Share that you may be eligible to get Office for free through your school/tertiary institution for a chance to win a Surface!

    Use Vine, Instagram or Twitter and the hashtag #GetOffice365Contest to let your fellow students know that they may be eligible to get Office 365 for free. When you share you will be entered for a chance to win a Surface Pro 3! One lucky winner each week from now through until December 30th will win. See below for how to enter or read the Official Rules. School students can enter too, as long as they are 13 years or older.

    How to enter:

    You can enter by sharing on Twitter, Instagram or Vine.

    1. Share a video, photo or short statement on Twitter, Instagram or Vine encouraging others to see if they can Get Office 365 for free from their institution (by checking if your institution's name is listed above or asking your school/institution).

    2. Include the hashtag #GetOffice365Contest and a hashtag with the name of your school/tertiary institution.

    3. Include the link to the GetOffice365Contest page at aka.ms/yikrv1

    4. Follow @Office on the social channel you use to share your entry.

  • The 2015 New Zealand Imagine Cup Competition Is Now Open!


    Calling all students aged 16 years and over!

    The 2015 New Zealand Imagine Cup Competition Is Now Open: Register Now!

    Microsoft’s premier student technology competition, Imagine Cup, returns for its 13th year with three big competitions: Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. You could win a trip to compete in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., the home of Microsoft for the coveted Imagine Cup trophy and $50,000.

    Get your team together, learn about the competitions, and register now!

    We are now accepting submissions to the 2015 competition. Deadline for Phase 1 is the 5th of December – check out http://aka.ms/icnz for more info.

     Phase 1 – Submissions – Oct 21st – Dec 5th

    Phase 2 – Develop Prototype – Dec 10th – Feb 27th

    Phase 3 – National Finals – March 8th – 9th

    Read More On Last Year's Winners - Team Estimeet

    Team Estimeet, our 2014 NZ winning team in the Innovation Category won a place at the Worldwide finals. The team went onto compete against 9 other teams from around the world and took out the top prize in the Innovation Category including $50,000USD in prize money. The team built a solution that improves the way people meet. The solution involved developing a Windows Phone app that help users understand how far people are from a scheduled meeting location, the apps focus was to reduce time spent calling and texting people when running late for meetings.

    Check out the team video

    Learn More about the 2014 Winning Teams
    34 teams of students were flown to Microsoft's hometown of Seattle this past July for the Imagine Cup 2014 Worldwide Finals. The teams competed for the top spot in Games, Innovation or World Citizenship, and then faced off in a live round, on stage before an audience of thousands, with VIP judges including Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella!

    Meet the winning teams and find inspiration for your 2015 project!

  • OneNote Class NoteBook Creator - making collaboration between students and teachers easy!

    In the words of Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Microsoft Worldwide Education, "sometimes all it takes for an amazing project to be born is the ability to listen."

    "It was March 2013, and Jonathan Grudin was attending the Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education (WIPTTE). It’s not immediately apparent from his unassuming aura, but Jonathan is actually a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and somewhat of a legend within Microsoft and beyond as a pioneer in computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). With years of experience and groundbreaking research contributions, Jonathan certainly has a lot to share, but on this day his ability to listen allowed him to truly hear the needs of educators around the world, planting a young seed in his mind that would come to be nurtured by passionate peers in the company to become the OneNote Class Notebook Creator."

    So, what is the OneNote Class Notebook Creator?

    OneNote Class Notebook Creator lets teachers set up an ideal OneNote environment for their classes in minutes. With this SharePoint app for Office 365, teachers will quickly set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities, all within one powerful OneNote notebook. OneNote class notebooks free the teacher to focus on learning, not software or a device. Student work and teacher feedback are exchanged automatically in one place virtually anytime, anywhere.

    This app will create a class notebook, which includes three types of sub-notebooks:

    • Student Notebooks – private notebooks that are shared between each teacher and their individual students. Teachers can access these notebooks at any time, but students cannot see other students’ notebooks.

    • Content Library – a notebook for teachers to share course materials with students. Teachers can add and edit its materials, but for students, the notebook is read-only.

    • Collaboration Space – a notebook for all students and the teacher in the class to share, organize, and collaborate.

    With OneNote powering your class learning experiences, join teachers around the world who:

    • Empower students to take naturally visual notes with ease—place images, text, printouts, tables, ink, screenshots, and files anywhere in OneNote’s “anything, anywhere” freeform canvas

    • Keep tabs on student performance—see exactly which students soar and struggle by observing their full learning process, from note-taking, to problem solving, to submission

    • Revolutionize homework feedback with real-time coaching while students work

    • Encourage collaborative creativity between students with fast synchronization on pages

    • Lead class with OneNote projected in full screen mode as the digital whiteboard

    • Eliminate paper by replacing printouts on paper with printouts to OneNote

    • Organize every lesson, handout, and assignment in flexible shared notebook structure

    • Combine OneNote with the creative power of digital ink to deliver the most natural digital educational experiences possible

    You can find fantastic, easy to follow, step-by-step set up instructions right here. Below is a sneak peak into what you'll get to do. We'd love to hear about your experiences with the OneNote Class NoteBook Creator - tweet us at @MSNZEducation!

     

  • Australia & New Zealand Expert Educators gathering in Sydney last weekend

    What happens when you bring some of Australia’s most innovative educators together? Well, the Microsoft education team in Australia & New Zealand was looking forward to finding out when the Innovative Educators Expert Program Australia/New Zealand kicks off with a two day forum in the weekend just been.

    The Innovative Educator Expert Program is a global Microsoft initiative which recognises pioneer educators who are using technology to transform education.   

    The programme features 37 Australian and 12 Kiwi educators who are coming together to share ideas and the details of how they are using Microsoft technologies to engage students and their peers in innovative ways to positively impact learning.

    Throughout the year-long programme, our ANZ Expert Educators will be sharing their experiences and working together as a community to promote ideas to innovate in teaching and learning.

    As a starting point, our educators used the hashtag #mseduweekend, over the course of the 11 and 12 October so Twitter users could keep an eye out for tweets over the weekend. You can still look at these tweets now - head on over to Twitter and check out @MSNZEducation while you're there. 

    To keep up with our Expert Educators, visit this blog to see their posts and experiences throughout the program! Look out for a post very soon introducing New Zealand's Innovative Educator Experts too.

  • OneNote in Education: Teachers using OneNote in the classroom

    Take a look at how the teachers at Cary Academy in Cary, North Carolina, seamlessly integrate OneNote into their classrooms to elevate the education of students through presentation, organisation, and real-time collaboration with both students and other educators.

    But what about a Kiwi school's experience? Shane Mann, physics and science teacher at Rathkeale College in Masterton, recently sent us a fantastic email sharing his experiences with OneNote in the classroom. We thought we'd share it with you!

    "I have been using the tool with my Year 9 Science class for the past 5 weeks and it is fantastic. As a teacher, it is extremely easy to share content and monitor student progress. My students have not needed to use a pen and paper at all! The feedback from students is very positive. They are desperate to continue using the technology for the rest of the year and have found lessons to be far more interesting and engaging. In addition to this, I have found myself becoming more of a facilitator of learning helping the students to work through the content at their own pace.

    During the trial I had most students using the original Surface Pro with the stylus pen. At the moment we have 70 of these devices that form 2 COW trollies and a number that are issued from the Library. This was by far the best device as it enabled students to complete the tasks while getting the most out of the technology without limits. The use of the pen was very popular and became a normal function of every lesson. We also had 2 iPad minis, 1 iPad, 1 Windows 8 laptop, 1 MacBook Air and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. All of these other devices had limits and were not as functional as the Surface Pros."

    We are delighted to hear of Shane's positive and exciting experience with OneNote and Surface in the Classroom. Got a story like Shane's to share? Email us at nzeducation@microsoft.com.

    Want to learn more about how to set up OneNote in your classroom? Check out this awesome link - Getting Started with the OneNote Class Notebook Creator: A Walkthrough for Teachers.

  • Microsoft EduCast: Register to attend Oct 14th Teaching with Technology Webinar

    Teach with Tech: How you can transform your classroom with technology!  

    REGISTER NOW

    ABOUT THIS EDUCAST

    As educators, the innovation you bring to the classroom amplifies and influences a generation. Staying ahead of the technology curve is critical to delivering current and compelling lessons that help students earn certifications critical to college and career goals. In this webcast, hear from educators including Katherine Schmit who has used technology to help her students compete at the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championships and award-winning science teacher, author, and researcher Steve Martin and Katherine Schmit on how teaching and innovation can come together to advance students’ skill sets in the most effective and engaging way.

    October 14th, 2014 at 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Pacific

    For start and end times in other locations, please click HERE

     Steve Martin

    Steve Martin is a science teacher at Howick College in Auckland, New Zealand. He is an author, honorary lecturer and researcher who has won awards for both teaching and innovation.

     Katherine Schmit

    Katherine came to teaching through the Washington State Career and Technical Education Business Route, employed as a library assistant when the school saw her technical skills and asked her to become a teacher. She uses her 20+ years of business experience to quantify her college experience in conjunction with 2 years of CTE teacher courses and is in the 7th year of teaching Business and Technology at Kalama High School

    Upcoming Microsoft EduCast webinars. Register for the series today!

    NOV 11, 2014:  Let's Get Creative!: Learning with Bing and Office Mix

    DEC 9, 2014:  Collaborative Classrooms: Using O365 to learn together

    JAN 14, 2015:  Flip This Classroom! Creating deeper learning experiences with personalised learning

    FEB 10, 2015: Wow, Windows 8!: Now Windows 8 can simplify and amplify student learning experiences 

    MAR 10, 2015: Job Well Done! Prepping students with 21st century college career

    APR 14, 2015:  Up in the Clouds: Using the cloud to deliver engaging and immersive learning experiences

    MAY 12, 2015:  Winning in a Digital World: Helping your students succeed in technology

    JUN 9, 2015:  Blended Learning 101: A technology toolkit for 21st century classrooms

  • Education Empowered - Book your complimentary Microsoft in Education Seminar today!

    Ensure your school leadership team is across the learning opportunities afforded by new technologies, by hosting a Microsoft in Education seminar.

    What is it?

    This complimentary seminar will help you explore the tools and technologies available to help educators teach 21st century skills and optimise the classroom for advanced student achievement.

    It's a great starting point for any school considering or enhancing their 1-to-1 learning programme, and it allows you to see the diversity of Microsoft software and HP devices applied to learning. Windows 8.1 will also be demonstrated through learning how it can be used to inspire students and improve educational outcomes.

    Your end-to-end solution begins here.


    In this seminar you will:

    • See rich curriculum samples and global examples of best practices that demonstrate how technology can enhance teaching, learning, and assessment for students.
    • Understand how technology and devices enable consumption, creation, and collaboration for students, educators, and parents.
    • See how students can continue learning where they left off - at home, in the library, or at the park.
    • Discover how students can organise their learning, take notes, and become highly efficient in the way they study.
    • Learn where to get free tools that spark imagination and inspire learning.

    Booking:

    To book a Microsoft in Education Seminar at your school or for more information, email nzeducation@microsoft.com. You can also find out more by visiting microsoft.co.nz/educationseminars.

    Proudly supported by:

  • Student Advantage: Your next steps on how to get Office 365 ProPlus at no additional licensing cost!

    With Student Advantage, your school can enable all your students to have the full Microsoft Office software for personal use, at no additional licensing cost­*.

    This is a benefit of the Ministry of Education’s agreement with Microsoft, where every state and integrated school in New Zealand is eligible to get Office 365 ProPlus software for your students.   

    Office 365 ProPlus includes all the familiar and full Office applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and offers the ability for these to be locally installed on up to five devices and available offline. This also includes Office for Mac and Office for iPad.

    To enable your students to get Office software for their personal use, the next steps are:

    If you already have the Office 365 cloud service:

    1. Contact Datacom to add the no-cost Office 365 Pro Plus SKU to your Microsoft agreement
    2. Assign the Office 365 ProPlus software to your students (in the Office 365 Admin Portal)
    3. Communicate this benefit to your students and parents (using the ready-made communications templates, see the link below)
    4. Download – your students are then able to download the Office 365 ProPlus software to their personal devices

    If you don’t have the Office 365 cloud service:

    1. Contact Datacom to add the no-cost Office 365 Plan A2 and the Office 365 Pro Plus licences to your Microsoft agreement
    2. Deploy Office 365 for your school (quick deployment at www.fasttrack.office.com, or you may need a partner to assist)
    3. Assign the Office 365 ProPlus software to your students (in the administration portal in Office 365)
    4. Communicate this benefit to your students and parents (using the ready-made communications templates, see the link below)
    5. Download – your students are then able to download the Office ProPlus software to their personal devices

    You can contact Datacom to find out more and take these steps at nzschool@datacom.co.nz.

    Communicating to Students and Parents

    • We’ve prepared a set of materials that include email templates, posters and web banners you can re-purpose to communicate with your students.  Click here for details.
    • A step-by-step guide to downloading Office 365 Pro Plus can be found here

    *Datacom may charge an administration fee, for further details please contact Datacom at nzschool@datacom.co.nz.

  • Office Mix – The Evolution Of The Whiteboard? St Andrew's College Leads the Way in Classroom Innovation Again!

    We are very excited to feature another one of Sam McNeil's blog posts, showcasing yet another example of the exciting work St Andrew's College in Christchurch is doing in facilitating 21st century learning in the classroom. You can view his original blog post here. We encourage you to browse through his previous posts too, you won't be disappointed! Love your work Sam!

    "We are fortunate at St Andrew’s College that there are a number of teachers that are “flipping the classroom” in various ways and using a number of different technologies to support this. Examples already blogged about include:

    One of the common tools that has been used by a number of these teachers is the ageing Microsoft product called Community Clips. This has been a reliable piece of software for creating screencasts however it has struggled with new devices, failing to support the native resolution of the Surface Pro3 devices we are trialling with a number of teachers in various classrooms.

    Enter Office Mix.

    This relatively new product is a free plugin for Microsoft Powerpoint that allows you to record your screen, voice and video all at the same time. Additionally, it allows your Powerpoint to become interactive, with students able to complete quizzes directly within a slideshow.

    The key feature that appealed to Mr Hilliam was the recording of his screen in full, native resolution and the ease with which he was able to launch recording. Whilst the older Community Clips also allowed you to select a section of the screen to record, this is far easier in Office Mix.

    Because Office Mix records native resolutions the files can become quite large – it’s not unusual for these to get up to around 400MB for a 10minute video clip. However, because most of the teachers at St Andrew’s College subsequently upload them to YouTube.com the size is less relevant. YouTube automatically streams the best quality video that the user’s internet connection supports, so those with high speed can comfortably watch in HD.

    I recently asked Mr Hilliam to demonstrate this combination of Microsoft OneNote and Office Mix recording to a visiting delegation of Principals and Senior Leaders from the Independent Schools of New Zealand and this is the video he made on the fly:

    Year 9 class solving algebraic problems

    SUMMARY:

    St Andrew’s College has interactive whiteboards in every classroom in the Preparatory School from Years 4-8 and these are used widely by the teachers and students. However, these units, projectors and associated software are expensive to purchase and install.

    It’s intriguing to see how alternative configurations can deliver equivalent functionality, but also extend on it in two important ways:

    1. The teacher is not “tethered” to the front of the room – with Miracast technology they can roam around the room, allowing students to write on a tablet and have that displayed on the “whiteboard” at the front of the room for all students in the class to see.
    2. Through shared OneNote notebooks, all students get a copy of the examples, working and dictation from the teacher (if the Office Mix recording is uploaded to YouTube and the link shared in the Notebook).

    Whilst SurfacePro3 tablets are not cheap, we are currently trialling them with five classroom teachers across Maths, English and the Preparatory School. The initial feedback is that they would happily hand back their school-supplied laptop and use the SurfacePro3 as their primary and only device full time.

    I was pleased to hear this, especially after I have set the challenge of writing school reports on the 12″ screen of the SurfacePro3 and only using the web interface of our Student Management System (Synergetic).We have also pre-ordered a number of ScreenBeam Pro for Education miracast units. These units have additional security enhancements for classrooms, and also come with a VGA / HDMI converter so existing older style VGA projectors do not need to be replaced immediately.

    From what we have seen these units also hold the wireless connection more reliably and are easier to connect to than the existing miracast units we currently use.

    These technological advancements are definitely contributing to a smarter, and more evolved version of the traditional whiteboard."

    Again, you can access Sam's full post and other fantastic work here. Awesome stuff!