2012 has been a year of innovation for Microsoft, with the launch of Windows 8 and Office 365 at the forefront of all the excitement. Here are Microsoft’s top 10 highlights of the year in the Education Sector. We enjoyed them so much, we thought it was only appropriate to share them again.
The Launch of Windows 8
The recent launch of Windows 8 is without a doubt the biggest milestone for Microsoft in 2012. Windows 8 is reimagined for learning. It arms schools and teachers with innovations designed to transform students’ learning experiences. Windows 8 gives students a modern way to consume content and allows them freedom to create, collaborate, produce and share across a range of devices, with touch, mouse and keyboard or pen. Teachers can now use these capabilities to build their students’ 21st century skills and help ensure they reach their potential.
Office 365 for Education
This year marked the launch of Office 365 for education. Available at no cost to educators, students and school administrative staff, Office 365 for education provides collaboration tools that expand learning opportunities beyond classroom walls. Office 365 for Education is a cloud-based suite that includes the familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications, as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online (for more information on the available plans visit Office365.com).
Windows in the Classroom
Behind the scenes, the Education team at Microsoft has spent months designing, organising and scheduling the Windows in the Classroom seminar. From February 2013, we will have two Windows in the Classroom specialists circulating New Zealand delivering complimentary Windows in the Classroom seminars to school leadership teams. The seminars will explore the tools and technologies available to help teach 21st Century skills and optimize the classroom for advanced student achievement. It’s not too late to book a seminar now! The seminars can be held at your school or you can attend a session in your area.
2012 saw the launch of Microsoft YouthSpark, a companywide initiative that, over the coming three years, will create invaluable opportunities for 300 million young people around the world. As Steve Ballmer said, “We can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that”.
Botany Downs Secondary College launches Windows 8 with 24 hour Skype-a-thon
Anthony Salcito, Vice President – Worldwide Education at Microsoft, launched Windows 8 in education through a 24 hour Skype-a-thon. The first of the 24 Skype Calls in 24 time-zones around the world was held at Botany Downs Secondary College here in Auckland.
The Microsoft Surface
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Surface device. For schools wishing to implement a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy, the Microsoft Surface device is the perfect solution. The Surface has the ability to provide students and teachers with a device that has the power and flexibility to create, collaborate and consume in order to provide the best possible learning experiences.
For the last 17 years, TechEd has offered a unique opportunity to industry professionals to stay aligned with Microsoft’s current technologies and new product opportunities. The event invites you and your colleagues to discuss critical technology issues, gain practical advice and network with Microsoft and industry experts. TechEd New Zealand 2012 was very successful, and we look forward to seeing what the 2013 event brings us.
Support Renewed for Partners in Learning
In November we learnt the exciting news that an additional US$250 million in funding has been provided to extend Partners in Learning over the next five years. The Partners in Learning programme makes a valuable impact to the learning outcomes of students around the world, with presence in 119 countries. Its aim is to equip teachers with the skills, resources and tools needed for 21st Century Learning and to prepare students for the global workforce.
Technology and Maori Language Awards
This year, at the Maori Language Awards 2012, Microsoft received the award for ICT. The Awards celebrate the contribution of individuals and organisations who have contributed to Te Reo Maori through their work. Microsoft has collaborated with language experts to bring Te Reo Maori to Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer.
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a competition that encourages students to solve the world’s toughest problems. The 2012 New Zealand winners were Team Mobile Eye from AUT. Their winning solution is a mobile app to assist people with visual impairment to “see” the world around them, through a combination of computer intelligence and crowd-sourced audio support. The competition was intense this year, the winners coming from an initial 400 entries from all over New Zealand. Congratulations to Thought-Wired, Connect, Aura and Mobile Eye for making it to the final stage of the contest.
All in all, it has been a fantastic year. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities 2013 will bring. Merry Christmas everyone!