Monday, 22 September 2014

Getting started with Office 365 #6: Technical stuff – software required by Office 365

This is the fourth post in a short series of Office 365 posts which have been written by Microsoft South Africa, taking you through getting acquainted with Office 365. They are available in the Microsoft Provisioning Guide. See

Office 365 requires the following software:
- The current or immediately prior version of Internet Explorer, or the latest release of Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
- Any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support.

Google Chrome
Latest version can perform all browser-related tasks

Latest version can perform almost all browser-related tasks

Latest version can perform almost all browser-related tasks

Mobile Devices
Not included

Internet Explorer 10
Dependent on Operating System - must have Windows 7 or 8
Windows server 2012, 2008 and Windows 7
32-bit version can be used for all Office 365 tasks
64-bit version can be used for almost all Office 365 tasks

Internet Explorer 9
32-bit version can be used for almost all Office 365 tasks
64-bit version can be used for most Office 365 tasks

Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 or Vista SP2

Internet Explorer 8
Windows 7, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32 bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Internet Explorer 7
Not supported

Office 2010 Service Pack 1
(Service Pack 2 Recommended)

Windows 7, 8, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32-bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Office 2007 with Service Pack 3
Windows 7, 8, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32-bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Office for Mac 2011
with Service Pack 3

Mac OS X 10.6 or later

About Firewalls
To download and install some updates, Office 365 desktop setup needs to connect to the Microsoft Update service. However, in some networks, access to sites and services that are outside of your company’s firewall are blocked by the system administrator. If you cannot access the Microsoft Update service, you need to contact your system administrator for assistance.

Getting started with Office 365 #5: Upgrading from your free trial to the full version

This is the fifth post in a short series of Office 365 posts which have been written by Microsoft South Africa, taking you through getting acquainted with Office 365. They are available in the Microsoft Provisioning Guide
  • Once your domain has been verified as a bona fide education establishment you will be able to convert your trial into the full version when your 30 day trial comes to an end.
  • Go to your dashboard.
  • From the left-hand menu, select purchase services.
  • Select the option for Office 365 plans for education.
  • You will be taken to the screen where you will be able to enter the number of licences for each type (faculty and student). You will see that the licences are free. Select the number of licences you think you will need.
  • Add these to your cart and go to the checkout area. You will not be charged for these licences.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Chromebook #4: Apps for the Chromebook

Submitted by Fiona Beal
One of the great things about using Google Drive and in partivular the Google Chrome browser, is that the list of education apps that integrate with Google Drive  is growing daily. These apps are available from the Chrome webstore. They make a Chromebook really come alive in a classroom setting.

Holly Clark writes a lot about the Chromebook so I thought I would make a start by installing the apps she suggests for the Chromebook in her blog post ‘Chrome Apps perfect for the Chromebook Classroom’  These are apps which, she says, can make student thinking visible.  I have just noticed that she has used a Thinglink interactive image to explain the apps and what they can do in a classroom setting. Click on the image below to be taken to Holly’s interactive image.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Chromebook #3: Create a Pinterest board to store your Chromebook Internet finds

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Now that I have started using a Chromebook I keep seeing great articles about them on the web. One of the best ways to keep a record of those articles is to create a board in Pinterest and store all the wonderful sites you come across. I did just that! Click on the image below to be taken to the Pinterest board entitled ‘Çhromebook posts’.


Chromebook #2: Finding relevant Chromebook tutorials

Submitted by Fiona Beal
I started to look for some tutorials on using Chromebooks and came across this fantastic collection of three tutorials shared via a Thinglink interactive image! (Note to self: must make much greater use of Thinglink). These are tutorials provided by the ICT Co-ordinator at a school known as Saddleback. They are provided in three levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced -  each with its own test and certificate.  Click on the image below to be taken to the actual interactive Thinglink image which will take you in turn to the tutorials.


This is a great way to get to know Chromebooks. Thank you to Andrew Moriates from Saddleback School for sharing so generously. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Chromebook #1: Getting to know the Chromebook

Submitted by Fiona Beal
imageLast week I was kindly loaned a Chromebook by Alister Payne, Deputy Principal at WPPS school in Cape Town. (Their school is planning to use Chromebooks throughout). Great excitement! These devices are currently not readily available in South Africa...but the first consignments are on their way! I had the privilege of using a Chromebook at the Google Teacher Academy in New York in 2012 and was impressed with its immediate start up speed in less than 10 seconds, it’s 8 hour battery and its light weightnot to mention it’s cheap cost (R3,500)! Ever since that time I have been waiting in anticipation for them to hit the South African market. They are mainly ideal for a 1:1 classroom with good Internet connectivity.

The video below is a quick take on Chromebooks. 


My first task was simply getting to know the Chromebook. A wonderful interactive Thinglink image created by Rafranz David was a great start! Click on the image below to be taken to the original Thinglink Interactive image.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Applications for Microsoft Innovative Educator Program are now open…don’t delay in getting involved!


The Microsoft in Education Global Forum is taking place in Redmond, Washington in March 2015. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator, join the Microsoft Educator Network and upload a learning activity that demonstrates how you are using 21st century teaching practices in your classroom by 15 October 2014

Microsoft believes that technology alone cannot build 21st century skills for students. Technology is an accelerator, but alone it does not enable change. Microsoft believes in the power of the educator, and the impact educators can have when they are brought together and recognized for their achievements.

Microsoft offers engagement opportunities aimed at empowering educators like you effectively use technology to develop your students’ 21stcentury skills. Join over a million educators, helping over 190 million students in over 200 countries who are shaping the future of education by becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator – Expert (MiE – Expert).

As some of the world’s most innovative educators, MIE Experts advance the conversation about improving student outcomes through innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Participants of the program can expect:
  • Free Microsoft tools and technology
  • Exclusive professional development opportunities
  • To develop your personal “brand” and career as a thought leader by participating in case studies, speaking engagements and content development
  • Eligibility to earn an all-expense paid trip to the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Redmond, Washington in March 2015.

As an MiE – Expert your role in the Community will be to:
  • Build educator capacity for using technology in teaching and learning to improve student learning
  • Advise Microsoft and education institutions on how to integrate technology in pedagogically sound ways
  • Be an advocate at conferences, events and trainings for how Microsoft technology can improve learning

Get started with four easy steps

Step One: Review program commitment
Your commitment as a MIE Expert is to be an advocate for using Microsoft technology to improve student learning. In a year, MIE Experts typically:

  • Attend 8-10 webinars to learn about and give feedback on new technologies and education concepts
  • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training or coaching educators and inviting them to join the Microsoft Educator Network (educators at your school and/or 200 others)
  • Develop your own capacity as a thought leader:
    • Speak at 2 or more conferences
    • Regularly contribute to social media such as Facebook and Twitter referencing #MSFTEDU
    • Author one blog every quarter referencing Free Tools or Hot Topics blogs on MSEN
    • Participate in at least 4 teach meets showcasing Microsoft technology
Step Two: Join the Microsoft Educator Network (MSEN)
Join the Microsoft Educator Network and fully complete your profile

Step Three: Submit a learning activity
Submit a learning activity. Learning activities are typically a project-based or inquiry-based activities that exemplify the use of 21st century teaching practices. The best past learning activities have included references to the 21st Century Learning Design rubrics, included examples of students’ work, and a video explaining the learning activity. All learning activities should be submitted in English to apply to become a MIE Expert. See learning activities from MIE Experts.

Step Four: Send an email to with a link to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Network and a link to your Learning Activity, and complete the online form found at before 15 October, 2014.
Just do it! Nothing to lose…so much to gain.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Doodle 4 Google Teacher Afternoon at WPPS School in Cape Town on Tuesday 16th at 2:30pm. Join the Doodle4Google Team!

What are you doing on Tuesday afternoon from 2:30 – 3:30pm? Why not join the Doodle 4 Google team at Western Province Preparatory School in Cape Town? A letter from the team follows:

Dear Principals and Teachers

Google South Africa invites you to join us for an afternoon of technology and creativity. 

Where: Western Province Preparatory School, Centenary Pavilion, Upstairs, 49 Newlands Road, Claremont. Street parking available on Eyton Road or surrounds

When: Tuesday, 16th September 2014, from 14:30 to 15:30


Google has launched South Africa’s first dedicated Doodle 4 Google competition. One lucky child will have their artwork - or Doodle - displayed on the Google South Africa homepage for millions to see. And what’s more, their school will win a R100,000 technology grant. For more competition information you can keep an eye on the website.
To celebrate the launch and inspire you and your fellow teachers around the combination of technology and creativity in the classroom, we’d like to invite you to a Doodle 4 Google Teacher Afternoon.

The event will inform teachers of the Doodle 4 Google competition, which will see thousands of young young people across the country doodle on the Google logo, inspired by the theme “South Africa of My dreams”.

The afternoon will also give you the opportunity to learn more about Google Apps for Education, directly from Googlers, and provide hands-on tips and tricks of how teachers around the world are using the internet and digital tools to enhance learning experiences.

Of course, there will also be Google goodies for creative inspiration.

We hope you can make it! Please spread the word and RSVP here.

The Doodle 4 Google Team

7 great opportunities for teachers to participate in upcoming local and international competitions

Recently several really exciting competitions, both local and international, being announced with great prizes. Here they are gathered together in one post. Think about entering!


1.  Microsoft Innovative Educator Closing date for South Africa 15th October

The Microsoft in Education Global Forum taking place in Redmond, Washington in March 2015. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator, join the Microsoft Educator Network and upload a learning activity that demonstrates how you are using 21st century teaching practices in your classroom by 15 October 2014


2. Google’s Doodle for Google Competition ‘South Africa of my dreams’ Closing date 22nd October

There are great prizes and one talented artist will see his or her artwork on the Google homepage and receive a R100,000 technology grant for his or her school. the competition form can be downloaded. The website also provides some useful classroom activities.


3. PUKU Literacture Foundation  Story competition, welcoming stories in isiXhosa Closing date to be announced

PUKU Books has created a special Facebook page for information about the  competition as it becomes available. It can be viewed at



4. Global Virtual classroom web design competition (using Google sites) Closing date for application is September 25th


Who may participate?
Teacher guided Primary (Grades 1-7) and Secondary (Grades 8-12, or equivalent) classes and youth groups around the world that have access to the Internet and know or are willing to learn Google Sites are eligible. A  group should have 15-40 students, between 7 and 18 years old as of September. If more than 40 students would like to participate, please apply as two groups and submit separate applications. Groups are placed into collaborative teams with two other schools from around the world.

Technical skill requirements
The teacher in charge must be familiar with Google Sites and capable of helping students build web pages.

5. The first Digital Innovation in Learning Awards! Closing date October 1st


Are you an educator who pushes the boundaries? Five special awards will celebrate edtech trailblazers, community builders, virtual connectors and other teacher leaders. Read more about it 

6. Academy of AppSmash Awards Awards announced November 13th


Submit your AppSmash for consideration in the 1st annual Academy of AppSmash Awards! Once submitted and validated, smashes will be available for voting for each category. This competition doesn't state a closing date but the awards will be announced on November 13th at the iPad Summit in Boston. Attendance is not necessary to win but they say they would love to see you there!

7. The 2015 SAATCHI GALLERY / DEUTSCHE BANK Art Prize for Schools Closing date Monday 12th January 2015.


The Saatchi Gallery / Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools is open to primary, secondary and sixth form schools from around the world who are invited to submit art work from students up to and including the age of 18. Schools can enter as many art works as they wish, and there is no prescribed theme for works entered, nor is there a restriction on media used (sculpture, painting, installation, photography and mixed media art works are all eligible and welcome).

A first prize of £10,000 will be awarded to the winning school's Art Department, with a further £2,000 given to the winning pupil to be spent on art and computer equipment. Two further runner-up prizes of £5,000 each will be awarded to the second and third placed schools, with a further £1,000 to each of the winning pupils.

Why not think about entering one of these competitions?