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Nearly 760,000 Students Learning Anywhere, Anytime

Learning Anywhere, Anytime a Reality For Nearly 760,000 School Students

Microsoft Schools Agreement Renewed to 2015

Teachers and students across the country have greater access to modern e-learning tools through the renewed Microsoft Schools Agreement and the know-how to use these tools, thanks to Microsoft’s significant commitment to the education sector.

The Ministry of Education has renewed the Microsoft Schools Agreement through to the end of 2015. The agreement provides schools with unlimited access to the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office software for school-owned or leased devices, as well as unrestricted use of Windows Core Servers.

This is one of many ways that Microsoft supports schools to use technology to their advantage. They have been travelling to schools around the country giving free seminars about how to enhance teaching, learning and assessment with technology. To ensure that schools can easily upgrade to Windows 8 and Office 2013, Microsoft will be releasing a step by step Deployment Kit during Term 4, 2013.

Evan Blackman, Microsoft Education Sector Manager, says the renewed Microsoft Schools Agreement gives schools certainty about what technology platforms are available to them, so that teachers and students can fully utilise the technology in their classrooms.

Pauline Barnes from the Ministry of Education agrees, “The extension to December 2015 gives schools greater ability to make IT network management plans.  It will support schools to access and provide modern digital teaching and learning environments.”

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Schools can also use Microsoft’s Office365 cloud service at no cost. With cloud computing, students and teachers can access documents and software from anywhere with any device, irrespective of the software loaded onto the device. It also allows multiple students to work on the same documents at the same time, lending itself to online project work and collaboration between students in different classrooms, cities and countries.

Blackman says technology is now an integral part of the way teachers teach and students learn, and is key to lifting academic achievement in New Zealand.

“E-learning is changing teaching and learning. With our suite of software and infrastructure almost any form of information sharing is possible. For example, rural schools will be able to organise lessons for their students via our video conferencing software, Lync. Equally, teachers will be able to share resources and work on lesson plans together,” says Blackman.

Microsoft is supporting teachers to engage with their students using technology by running free seminars led by education specialists.  These Windows in the Classroom seminars are available to schools across the country and in the last six months have reached hundreds of schools.

A teacher who attended one of these seminars, Matthew Short from Glen Eden Intermediate was impressed, “Windows in the Classroom was an awesome workshop and I came away very impressed at how I could engage my students with these modern tools. Microsoft is now leading ICT in the classroom.”

To make the upgrade to Windows 8 and Office 2013 as easy as possible, Microsoft has created a step by step guide and has completed the first step of the upgrade to help schools to move to this modern technology.

“Technology should enable collaborative learning and give students access to amazing resources, not take educators away from the classroom to roll it out.  So we’ve created a deployment kit that basically does the heavy lifting involved for schools in upgrading to Windows 8, “says Blackman.

Upgrading is particularly important for the schools still using XP software as after April next year, support for XP will be switched off.  Schools still using XP will be vulnerable to viruses and over time will find new technology will not be compatible with XP.

ENDS

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