Educators: Bring Jane Goodall to your classroom with April 2 and 9 Skype events

Hello, changemakers and compassionate citizens!

Dr. Jane Goodall is one of the biggest changemakers in history, making huge discoveries about chimpanzees and dedicating her life to making things better all over the world. Despite growing threats to wildlife, people and ecosystems, she still has plenty of hope for the future. Why? Because she believes in the power of young people motivated to make a difference. That’s why she created the Roots & Shoots program of the Jane Goodall Institute!

So, what is it, and how did it start? It all began in 1991 on Jane Goodall’s front porch in Tanzania, when a small group of students told Jane they felt powerless thinking about the problems all around them. This is something she had heard from people everywhere she went, but what could she do? All at once Jane realized the solution was right in front of her. She encouraged the group to use their voices and ideas to address the issues they saw, the things that mattered most to them. Roots & Shoots was born.

In the 28 years since it started, Roots & Shoots has expanded its reach to over 80 countries around the globe, impacting the lives of countless young people. This very special program has been providing young people with the skill-building and tools that they need to make a positive impact in their communities.

Roots & Shoots is all about finding solutions by looking around and getting involved to address issues facing people, animals and the environment. This holistic approach, using the R&S 4-Step Formula, makes Roots & Shoots an “easy-to-adopt” framework creating a generation dedicated to building a more sustainable planet. The program operates with a firm understanding that young people aren’t waiting until tomorrow to take action, they’re facing problems today and are likewise addressing issues facing the planet head on, right now.

“More and more young people around the world are taking action now, today, on projects they are truly passionate about. I am very excited to have the opportunity to connect with classrooms around the globe for this Skype in the Classroom broadcast and to discuss how we can improve the world for people, animals and the environment we share.”

– Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace

You may be wondering how young people can get involved with the program. The GREAT news is that there are many ways to participate as a part of Roots & Shoots! The program has a diverse network of change-makers and allows individuals to get involved at ANY LEVEL they feel comfortable with. No action is too small! During the Skype in the Classroom broadcast, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the actions you and the young people you mentor can take today and gain the skills to continue building service-learning campaigns in your own communities.

Roots & Shoots provides resources for both youth activists and adult mentors and empowers young people to become the type of leaders who will make compassionate decisions to make the world a better place. Through the program, youth activists lead local change through service while developing the skills and traits of compassionate citizens.

Whether it’s natural disasters, homelessness, pollution or even climate change, being a part of Roots & Shoots means choosing what kind of difference you want to make. From that front porch, a new generation has emerged to create a global movement. Young people in Roots & Shoots are not only the future, they’re the present, and they’re changing the world today.

An Idea for Educators

Adult mentors interested in assisting youth activists in their journey to make the world a better place have the opportunity to participate in Roots & Shoots FREE online course for educators. Throughout the course, educators unlock the skills necessary for fostering the growth of compassionate citizens. Not only will the educators receive professional development through this course, but they will then be capable of mentoring youth in the process of designing community action campaigns using the Roots & Shoots program model.

Connecting with students through Skype in the Classroom

Roots & Shoots is so delighted for the opportunity to work with Skype in the Classroom to bring an exciting broadcast and live chat experience to your students on April 2nd & 9th. Classrooms around the world will be able to tune in to this Skype in the Classroom broadcast event as we explore together how to make a difference in our own communities! Dr. Jane and the Jane Goodall Institute team will be answering as many questions as they can in the live chat.

We’re looking forward to sharing this experience with so many change-makers!

Ok, I’m in! How can I join the event and prepare my classroom?

Share the plans on your participation and preparations for the event with us @SkypeClassroom, @JaneGoodallInst and @RootsandShoots with #Skype2Learn.


Watch as Microsoft celebrates education changemakers April 3-4 at E2 in Paris

Just a few months ago, we announced our next Education Exchange (E2) event in Paris. This year’s Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) event will be held in Paris, France, from April 2 through April 4, 2019, with the support of local and international governments.

This will be our fifth annual E2 | Education Exchange. The event is all about celebrating the incredible work done by changemakers in education from around the globe. The essence of E2 is celebration, recognition, collaboration and inspiration.

This year, we’re excited to come together in Paris to congratulate the many heroes in classrooms around the world. You can tune in live on the Microsoft Education Facebook page.

Join us live on the Microsoft Education Facebook page for the Keynotes:

New this year: Check out our video series, “Who’s new in EDU,” streaming live from E2 in Paris, to better understand how these incredible educators became the changemakers they are today. Watch and see how you could become the next MIEExpert at E2 in 2020!

Join us on Twitter and follow along!

  • Road2E2: Check out the stream of amazing videos and social posts from educators all over the world by following #MicrosoftEDU and #Road2E2. Join the conversation and support your fellow educators!

More highlights to expect during the week of E2:

  • The Learning Marketplace and new “You Can in :90” videos shot live from the event. The Learning Marketplace is a mini trade show where educators showcase their work. It gives participating educators the chance to see how other teachers are using Microsoft technologies in their classrooms and lets Microsoft employees learn how teachers and students are applying the tools we create. Teachers gather new lesson ideas, make connections and leave inspired.
  • Microsoft Certifications: During the event, educators can get certified as a Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA). Over 180 educators took exams during the last event. This was an ambitious undertaking, as many of the courses were new and required increased proficiency in the tools.

Educators are our heroes. The community of Microsoft Innovative Educators, with all you do to serve your students, is truly humbling. Each day, you help your students thrive by providing the best learning experiences possible, preparing them to lead our world tomorrow. To attend E2, start by becoming an MIEExpert. 

For a chance to come to E2 next year, become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.  Here’s how to start!

We invite all educators to join the Microsoft Educator Community – there you’ll find on-demand professional development and training courses that can lead to becoming a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE). After becoming a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE), you can continue your journey toward becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE). Nominations will be open from April 15 – July 15, 2019.


How AutoPilot helps schools manage shared devices

In my job I chat a lot with both school leaders and IT admins about how they can simplify the management of their devices, making it faster and easier for their end users (usually students, teachers and admin staff) to get started and complete the work they need to do on a device.

Unlike many corporate environments, schools have a very high number of “shared devices” in operation, where students of different year levels require access on the same device and, in some scenarios, even teachers need to log into the same device and access different apps and security settings. In the next two blog posts I’m going to go a bit deeper into how schools can approach this challenge with modern deployment practices, leveraging cloud identity in AzureAD, easier enrollment of devices using Microsoft Autopilot and finally a couple of tweaks for a faster user sign-in experience using Microsoft Intune as the Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool.


As this blog post will be a little longer (and more technical) I’m going to give you a break down of what is to come so you can skip to the important sections relevant to you:

  • Part One:
    • Identity – why use a cloud identity?
    • Why use AutoPilot?
    • Configuring Autopilot
    • Enrolling your device
  • Part Two:
    • Intune vs Intune for Education
    • What are CSP?
    • Building a custom CSP Policy
    • Using LOB App Deployment in Intune

Now it’s worth stating at this stage that I am not an IT administrator by profession. Whilst I’m probably more technical than many, I’ve got the following working through a combination of relying on the detailed guides in the Microsoft Docs and awesome technical colleagues who have shared some of their expertise with me. Additionally, like you, I read a bunch of blogs to see how people have done this in the past. This blog is a small contribution to the community who like to learn from other’s experiences. If you’re reading this and are more technical than me and see some improvements or corrections in what I’ve done – I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

With that said, let’s get started!

Identity – why use a cloud identity?

It’s amazing how many conversations I’ve been having around cloud identities recently as school leaders are starting to understand they need to be able to simplify user access to key resources via Single Sign On (SSO), and open up both cloud/internet solutions as well as traditional on-premise hosted solutions. There are plenty of confusing diagrams out there trying to explain what this is about – the following is the simplest I could find:



Essentially, the above is showing two scenarios:

  1. The user may sign into an “on-premise” identity platform (on the left), in this case Active Directory (still incredibly common in schools) which, through the use of a tool called AzureAD Connect can automatically sign into a cloud identity as well, in this case Azure Active Directory (AzureAD or even AAD).
  2. Alternatively, the user may sign directly into a cloud service (on the right) using their AzureAD credentials. In fact, if their device is managed by the school, it may even be joined to AzureAD only.

Why does this matter? As an example, I was talking with a school recently where teachers were required to use up to four different usernames/passwords to access their key platforms such as signing into a computer, accessing their email, accessing their Student Management System (SMS) and accessing their cloud collaboration suite (Office365 in this case). Simplifying this through a single cloud identity saves time and frustration for everyone! It also improves security as people are more likely to choose a secure password if they only have one to remember.

Additionally, schools are increasingly wanting to sign into third party cloud apps with the same credentials – this blog post I wrote shows a school accessing eight different solutions with just their AzureAD identity.

The key point is: identity matters. If your school does not have a cloud identity of some sort, you’re going to be inherently limited in what you can do.

As the focus of this blog is primarily around AutoPilot, I’m not going to go deep into Identity – some useful background reading I would share is earlier blog posts I’ve written around:

For the purposes of this blog, if you’re wanting to use AutoPilot then your Office365 Tenant must have either the AzureAD P1 or P2 plans – see the differences here. With many schools opting for the M365 A3 Suite, this includes AzureAD P1:

Azure Active Directory Premium P1. In addition to the Free and Basic features, P1 also lets your hybrid users access both on-premises and cloud resources. It also supports advanced administration, such as dynamic groups, self-service group management, Microsoft Identity Manager (an on-premises identity and access management suite) and cloud write-back capabilities, which allow self-service password reset for your on-premises users.

To proceed with AutoPilot you need your users in AzureAD (and licensed with P1 or P2) so if you’ve not got that far, best to stop and sort before continuing on (if you want help with this, check out School Data Sync which can automatically add users from your Student Information System).

Why use AutoPilot?

It’s always a good question to ask, and before answering if you’re brand new to AutoPilot then it’s worth watching the video at the top of this blog post and then getting into the official AutoPilot Documentation here. If you’re coming from an Apple device management world and are familiar with the Device Enrollment Program (DEP) then the concepts of AutoPilot will be very familiar for you.



Windows Autopilot is a collection of technologies used to set up and pre-configure new devices, getting them ready for productive use. You can also use Windows Autopilot to reset, re-purpose and recover devices.
This solution enables an IT department to achieve the above with little to no infrastructure to manage, with a process that’s easy and simple.

Windows Autopilot is designed to simplify all parts of the life cycle of Windows devices, for both IT and end users, from initial deployment through the eventual end of life. Leveraging cloud-based services, it can reduce the overall costs for deploying, managing, and retiring devices by reducing the amount of time that IT needs to spend on these processes and the amount of infrastructure that they need to maintain, while ensuring ease of use for all types of end users.

Back to the why use it…..

  • Devices become enrolled / locked to your organisation. If a user (authorised or not) resets the Win10 OS back to factory settings, as soon as it connects to the internet again it will register back to your organisation, making it largely useless to anyone if it was stolen.
  • Speeds up and simplifies the Win10 setup process – you can optionally skip quite a few of the steps you normally need to undertake in Win10 e.g. requiring the user to agree to the EULA, choosing their privacy settings, configure whether the user will be an Administrator or a Standard user, and depending on deployment mode, can even skip keyboard preferences.
  • Devices can be assigned to specific users, meaning when they turn it on for the first time, connect to the internet they’re greeted by name as part of their organisation.
  • AutoPilot Reset allows an IT Admin to remotely reset the device, returning it to the original state, but keeping it joined to AzureAD and enrolled into Intune for management – think of this like a “spring clean” at the beginning of the school year or new Term.

In short, AutoPilot is designed to make your life easier!

Configuring Autopilot

For my demo and testing, I’m using an Acer B117 laptop, something that is available in the NZ Education Right Device Campaign, a low cost, low spec Win10 device with 4GB RAM and options around 64/128GB SSD storage. One of the beauties of AutoPilot is that supported OEM devices can send the unique Hardware Identifier (HWID) to the purchasing organisation / school in advance of receiving the devices, allowing for the configuration of the entire environment in advance of even receiving the hardware.

An obvious upside for this would be the ability to ‘drop ship’ devices to remote employees directly from purchase, without the need for IT Admins to even site the device.

In my case, I needed to manually extract the HWID from the Acer laptop, which can easily be accomplished with some basic PowerShell (run as local Administrator):

md c:HWID Set-Location

c:HWID Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

Install-Script -Name Get-WindowsAutoPilotInfo

Get-WindowsAutoPilotInfo.ps1 -OutputFile AutoPilotHWID.csv



Basic PowerShell commands will allow you to extract the unique Hardware Identifier (HWID) for your existing device – this is required for AutoPilot to run

With the HWID obtained, the process to complete the configuration of AutoPilot is easily followed by these step by step instructions here, but largely consist of the following steps:

  1. Add your devices (HWID) into Intune
  2. Create an AutoPilot Device Group (tells Intune which devices in your organisation should be managed by AutoPilot). Note you can do both static and dynamic rules for adding devices here.
  3. Create an AutoPilot Deployment Profile – this is the configuration settings you want to choose and allows you to skip a number of the standard Win10 decisions that need to be made when a device is being set up for the first time.
  4. Assign an AutoPilot Deployment Profile to a Device Group – this matches what you’ve created in Step 2 with Step 3
  5. Assign a user to a specific AutoPilot Device – this optional step allows you to match a user in your organisation with a specific device. The net result of this is the first time the user turns on the computer and connects it to the internet their name and email address is pre-populated in the setup process, meaning they only need to confirm their password during the setup – very cool!

The documentation I’ve linked to is pretty clear – it took me about thirty minutes to follow along and set the above up the first time I ran it.

Enrolling Your Device

Now the fun really beings. With the configuration completed, you can take your brand new ‘out of the box’ device and enroll it using AutoPilot for a truly streamlined, managed experience.

I took some photos of the experience using my phone camera (photo quality is average) and anyone that has ever set up Windows 10 will be familiar with this process:

2019-03-01 15.09.13

2019-03-01 15.09.13

A user must always choose their region

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2019-03-01 15.09.31

Keyboard preference remains a requirement

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2019-03-01 15.09.41

2019-03-01 15.10.17

2019-03-01 15.10.17

At this point, once the device is connected to the internet it will automatically join AzureAD and enroll into Intune because the HWID is registered with your tenant. Further Win10 setup steps can be optionally skipped at this point based on the Autopilot Profile configuration.

2019-03-01 15.10.30

2019-03-01 15.10.30

The device immediately starts to configure based on AutoPilot Deployment Profile you’ve created and assigned to the Device Group

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2019-03-08 11.43.43

This screenshot shows AutoPilot busily configuring the device and giving progress updates – the time this takes varies based on how many apps you’ve chosen to push to the device.

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2019-03-01 15.12.38_LI

Done! Note the following: 1) School logo is displayed 2) User is greeted by name if the device is specifically assigned to a user 3) The school/organisation name is displayed; 4) The user’s email address is displayed 5) A customisable welcome message is displayed with contact details for assistance.

At this point, the device settings and applications are installed (or possibly still coming down over the internet) but the device is ready for us.

The end user had minimal choices and actions required of them:

  1. Choose their country
  2. Choose their keyboard
  3. Connect to the internet (this could even be their home WiFi)
  4. Enter their organisation password (Office365)

My Thoughts

Modern deployment relies on the cloud for identity and provisioning of devices – there are no on-premise servers in the above model. This allows for fast, flexible and lower cost management of devices – something that appeals to education institutes where every dollar counts!

Whilst I’ve gone through the configuration pretty quickly above, along with a high level ‘rationale’ of why you’d want to do this, the next post will go a bit deeper into when to use Intune vs Intune for Education, and a couple of tweaks to make your devices run even faster at sign in and have key applications appear instantly whenever a new user signs in. I’ll likely post this in the next week or so.


Immersive Reader comes to OneNote iPhone; Mac and iPad now support Math in Immersive Reader

In March we released a set of inclusive updates to enable students of all abilities to more easily access content.  These updates are across both OneNote and Word, and have rolled out broadly and for the most part are available today.

  • Immersive Reader for OneNote iPhone – we brought the Immersive Reader to OneNote for iPhone, making content even more accessible on the go. This is at 50% rolled out worldwide, and going to 100% next week (March 11th)iPhone.jpgiPhone.jpg
  • OneNote iPad and Mac support for math and equations – if a student has math equations on a page, when launching the Immersive Reader, the math and equations are recognized, and all immersive reader capabilities work, including Read Aloud, Line Focus, Page Theme Colors, and more. Great for story problems as welliPad.jpgiPad.jpg
  • Word Online support for Math equations in Immersive Reader – this capability has now rolled out to 100% worldwide!

Thanks for your continued feedback, and if you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out! 🚀

Mike Tholfsen

Microsoft Education


This post was originally published on this site.


Educators: Get tips on Minecraft, OneNote, Teams and PowerPoint in ‘You Can in :90’ videos

Welcome to the second season of You Can in :90, our simple video series that cuts to the chase with great tips on using tools from Microsoft Education. In this handy little playlist, you’ll hear from experts and students on useful activities you can bring into your classroom right now – and it’s faster and easier than you might think.

Let’s find out what you can do next!

You Can amplify student voice

Flipgrid is a free online video platform that offers students a place where they can share and reflect on ideas with other students and with their teachers.

Flipgrid provides the perfect space for students to take part in classroom discussions and to share their thoughts and to hear their classmates’ ideas.

It is easy to use for teachers and students. Teachers post topics to initiate the conversation and students respond with short videos. Students join Flipgrid with a code provided by the teacher, without the need for them to remember user names and passwords. Grids can be password protected to comply with GDPR regulations and to deal with any privacy concerns.

You Can use Office Lens with Immersive Reader

Any educator with a mobile phone can put Office Lens, a convenient app that acts as a point-and-shoot document scanner, to good use in their classroom. Office Lens can cut paper clutter by digitizing your classroom, help organize your note taking and make it simple to share documents with students and other educators.

You Can narrate the world with Seeing AI

This free app narrates the world around you. Designed for people with low vision, this research project harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text and objects. Download it here.

You Can use Immersive Reader in Flipgrid

Immersive Reader is now built into Flipgrid. Within Flipgrid Topics, Immersive Reader can:

  • Read text aloud
  • Change text size, font, spacing, and color
  • Highlight parts of speech
  • Break words into syllables
  • Provide line focus
  • Improve word understanding with picture dictionary

You Can create lessons in Minecraft: Education Edition

Explore hundreds of lessons created by educators around the world, for students of all ages!

Learn more about the impact Minecraft: Education Edition is making in classrooms around the world.

You Can document student work in Minecraft: Education Edition

Explore hundreds of lessons for inspiration and activities to start using Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom.

Find an educator near you who can provide support, advice, and camaraderie as you start using Minecraft: Education Edition. Search our community of more than 300 mentors in 70 countries.

You Can manage classroom settings in Minecraft: Education Edition

Know where to go if you need help. For more information, visit the Help Center and search the Knowledge Base, engage with our Community in the forums, or submit a request.

You Can make a narrated PowerPoint video

Have your students present like a pro!

Tell your story with confidence with slide-by-slide notes only viewable by you. Easily translate your slides into the preferred language and use the built-in accessibility checker to be sure your audience doesn’t miss a thing.

You Can add background music to a PowerPoint video with Photos

If you need some more help, check out this training on PowerPoint for Windows.

You Can organize thoughts in OneNote Class Notebook in Teams

Practice, practice, and you guessed it, more practice!

Like so many things in life, math takes practice (another not-so-secret secret that teachers know well).  Math assistant in OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote Online is a great practice helper. From basic math to calculus, you and your students can convert handwritten equations to text you can edit with ink to math, or simply type them as text and get them nicely formatted using Text to Math. Then the math solver provides step-by-step instructions to the solution.

Breaking down a complex problem into steps allows students to build understanding of the solution process. This immediate feedback can help to reverse-engineer the math problem as well. Students can then apply their understanding to similar questions.

Read more about math reimagined on the Education Blog.

You Can easily use math tools in Office 365

When teachers create and distribute an assignment in Microsoft Teams, they can do a lot to customize it for their students: add rubrics, attach a Class Notebook page, even queue it up to be assigned later … the list goes on.

Today, we’re adding even more power to your assignment workflow by integrating Microsoft Forms directly into Teams! Assessments just got easier than ever to distribute and grade.

Dive into how this works here.

You can also learn more about Class Notebook in Microsoft Teams on the Education Blog.


Teacher Supriya Shivgunde: How Skype in the Classroom brought penguins to my school in India

In my state of Maharashtra, India, the school year starts in June. I was teaching 1st grade class in the village, a rural area, between 2016 and 2017. By the time it was July, we only had three admissions in my classroom.

I started to visit parents and discuss the issue with them: Why are you not sending your child to my school? I came to learn and understand that parents were disappointed with teachers. They believe that teachers from the government school, such as mine, are not well educated and that sending their children to these schools would not lead to sustainable development. Well, all teachers here are post graduates – they completed a professional degree, and yet parents hesitate to send their child to my school. And despite a lack of transportation to schools, parents started sending their kids to the school far away from this village, about two to three kilometers. If I could convince them, parents could bring 14 kids to my closer classroom instead.

I started working with Microsoft tools like PowerPoint. I started to prepare animations on our syllabus. I prepared animated videos. I started to record students’ activities and prepared interesting videos. I started to send these classroom activities to parents.

As a result, kids were happy and started to come to school regularly. In the village area, we are always facing electricity problems and, at times, the internet connection can’t be counted on. Thankfully, I was able to keep working on my laptop. In 2017, I started working with the Microsoft Educator Community, earning my first badge and Certificate of MIE (Microsoft Innovative Educator).

Next, I started a journey with Skype in the Classroom and connected classrooms all over the world. In a textbook, we found a picture of a penguin – my students had never seen penguins before! We had to see more of the, so I looked up a virtual field trip through the Microsoft Educator Community. Using Skype, our class was able to visit a Penguin Park, located in Scotland. It was a great experience for us and my students were excited to see a penguin in their classroom. They started to dance! Meanwhile, parents became convinced and happy that teachers from the government school were trying to develop themselves.

Skype in the Classroom activities helps us explore my classroom activities with other schools. We’ve been arranging lot of classroom activities, including one focused on protecting the environment. We learned to recycle plastic, in a way, by making a lotus out of waste spoons. We did a Skype Lesson related to plastic, in which my students learned how plastic can be harmful to living beings.

The programs also helped me to explore and advance my own skills and interested. I prepared a lesson plan in English and Marathi and published it through the education portal. Now, hundreds of countries and more than 500 schools have virtually traveled through that lesson. It’s my pleasure to teach not only my classroom, but to reach out globally. Technology and social media is making a powerful impact on education and helping to change the minds of parents and students alike. Skype In Classroom helps me to collaborate, communicate, present creativity and pursue critical thinking.

Are you a changemaker like Supriya? Share your story here.


‘Minecraft: Education Edition’ offers new standards-aligned math lessons

We have launched a new series of Math activities aligned to all grade 3 Common Core math standards. The first collection of resources features over 30 activities including lesson plans, rubrics, student worksheets, and downloadable worlds. Learn how to round numbers, find variables, use fractions and more, all in immersive and creative Minecraft: Education Edition lessons.

Download the guide to discover a list of applicable standards along with links and descriptions of Minecraft: Education Edition activities that focus on each objective.

Educators can access these lessons for free at any time via our math subject kit. (Hint: Control+F, or Command+F on a Mac, is the perfect tool to help you search for a specific standard or math topic.)

Below are a few lessons to get you started teaching math with Minecraft:

Repeated Addition With Parkour
Standard: 3.OA.A.1
Students analyze math models and build their own parkour course in Minecraft using arrays to demonstrate understanding of multiplication.

Round Number Video
Standard: 3.NBT.A.1
Students will learn how to round to the nearest 10s and 100s by building math models in Minecraft and recording a video.

Fraction Pixel Art
Standard: 3.NF.A.1
Students design pixel art images in Minecraft then discuss number patterns and unit fractions to develop an understanding of fractions as numbers.

We will be sure to update you as content for additional age levels are released. In the meantime, share your classroom creations with us on Pinterest or Twitter via @playcraftlearn and #MinecraftEDU.

The post Announcing new standards-aligned math lessons appeared first on Minecraft: Education Edition.

This post was originally published on this site.


What’s New in EDU: The best of Bett, plus new ways to inspire love for literacy and STEM

The What’s New in EDU crew is back from Bett, the world’s biggest education technology event where educators, ideas and edtech solutions came and left us with inspiration to spare – and share! If you’d like to catch up on all the Microsoft Education from the show (there was kind of a lot), check out our big Bett episode or the individual links below:

We can’t all go to London for Bett, but there’s still a trove of help, information, and useful technology waiting for educators at their local Microsoft Store. That’s where Microsoft Innovative Educators spearhead digital literacy programs that include coding and free field trips.

Our latest addition is FREE STEM Saturday learning experiences: to help teachers ignite students’ interest in STEM, while saving time and money in the classroom.  Students learn how to code in Minecraft, build a robot using inexpensive household items, and manage cyber-bullying.

Learn more about fun, teacher-tested STEM workshops at your local Microsoft store.

There’s another event we’re celebrating in this episode of What’s New in EDU: Skype in the Classroom’s Literacy Month! Our global community of educators and their classes will connect virtually to read books and share stories with one another over with Skype in the Classroom, and many will even get the chance to talk to real-life authors and storytellers.

What kind of authors? Well, how about Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the hugely popular “How to Train Your Dragon” series? Skype in the Classroom is partnering with Little Brown Young Readers for a free broadcast event and live Q&A with Cressida Cowell on March 6th. Cressida will inspire students to tap into their boundless imagination and will show how using character development and details in stories make them more believable and fun.

Learn more about how students can meet the author of “How to Train your Dragon” and hundreds of authors for Skype in the Classroom’s Literacy Month.

We can’t wait for you to connect with others around the world and help inspire a love of reading and writing for your students.

We’re always looking to bring new features and sources of delight to our collaborative tools, so we also have an update for Flipgrid, the leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families around the world. Flipgrid promotes fun and social learning by giving every student an equal and amplified voice on the topics you define!

We all know that #StudentVoice is 🔮MAGIC 🔮and the Flipgrid design team has conjured up loads of new selfie stickers! Search and choose from hundreds of stickers (including emoji!) when you decorate your Flipgrid selfie!

If you’ve watched this episode of What’s New in EDU you’ll also have seen that it’s almost time for Microsoft Education Exchange (E2). We’re inspired by educators who innovate in the classroom and provide the best learning opportunities for their students. For this year’s E2, educators from all over will come to Paris. Paris is home to many of the world’s top-rated schools and educational facilities and France is committed to public schooling as a free service to its citizens, providing equity to all residents.

The theme for this year’s E2 discussions is the importance of ensuring all students have a voice, and how educators can address the social and emotional well-being of students. If you’re unable to join, here’s some info on how to participate online:

  • Facebook Live – We will be hosting a live stream from E2 on both Wednesday, April 3rd and Thursday, April 4th on Facebook Live! Please amplify this with your educators and networks.
  • Share your #Road2E2 story on Twitter!
    • Have a Twitter account (if you haven’t used Twitter yet, this is a great time to get started)
    • Share a video of yourself and the town/country you are from along with a message about how you feel about coming to E2
    • Post to using #Road2E2 and #MicrosoftEDU
    • Once we have everyone registered for E2 and assigned to their Challenge Teams, we will create a Flipgrid of everyone coming to E2!

Get more details on Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) 2019.

To cap off the episode, we also covered our recent announcement for IT professionals: We will be bringing the BrightBytes Data Management platform, DataSense into the Microsoft Education family. With both Azure and the DataSense platform your school can better collect, manage and control your data to help drive the best possible learning outcomes for students.

Learn more about BrightBytes coming to Microsoft Education’s family of products.

Phew, and that’s another episode done. Thank you for watching, sharing and being inspiring. Stay tuned for the next episode of What’s New in EDU soon by following @MicrosoftEDU or the Microsoft Education Blog.

Find the right technology for your schoolFind the right technology for your school


Feb. 28 webcast offers lessons on securing education data

Explore how to use Microsoft Threat Protection to transform digital security for education organizations while enabling IT teams to combat modern phishing attacks.

It’s every educational institution’s goal to successfully get students to graduation and prepare them for the future—and it’s a lot of work. The last thing busy school administrators and faculty want to worry about is the digital security of their classroom technology.

Adopting technology that is easy to use and functions seamlessly allows IT administrators to focus on addressing the needs of their organization and securing the digital infrastructure in and outside of the classroom. With limited school budgets and already hardworking school staff, it’s important to develop a technology strategy that is easy to implement and enhances their work in the classroom while providing administrators peace of mind. And in today’s digital-first world, a big part of that peace of mind includes reliable digital security.

Essential security challenges facing today’s education organizations

More organizations each year are realizing the value of having strong digital security measures in place. The cost of cybercrime to the global economy is projected to be $8 trillion by 2022.

Education organizations face their own unique set of challenges when it comes to data security. For example, the high visibility and public nature of most education organizations means that valuable information is more readily available to potential bad agents. The date for a school’s new location opening, plans for a new university-wide technology initiative, important dates for student FAFSA processing, are all at risk. In addition, a potential bad actor can often view organizational leadership and staff online to identify key employees to target directly. For education organizations, data breaches could compromise bank account information and result in thousands of dollars in stolen stipends or paychecks, or could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost technology.

One of the most common kinds of security breaches comes in the form of phishing attacks. These malicious cyberattacks present low risk for bad actors combined with the possibility of very high reward. As cyberattacks become more advanced, technology to successfully combat them must do the same.

Transformative approach to modern digital security with Microsoft Threat Protection

Microsoft’s cutting-edge cybersecurity solution, Microsoft Threat Protection (MTP), is designed to enhance data protection with a smarter, more comprehensive technology strategy. Powered by the cloud and built on Azure and Microsoft 365, MTP uses machine learning and other digital innovation to improve how the system recognizes and prevents phishing attacks. Rather than relying on a singular, siloed security solution, MTP leverages capabilities and insights from a collection of Microsoft solutions. For example, MTP runs on Microsoft 365’s all up security solutions stack to maximize its security offerings and ensure world class protection. The system can also expertly identify and consider comprehensive attack signatures, including location, specific behaviors, and recognizable patterns. As a result, MTP acts as a smart security tool that is versatile and agile enough to successfully combat even the most calculated phishing attacks.

One of the most valuable parts of the Microsoft Threat Protection software is its education and learning component. Because of its machine learning technology, the system has the capacity to evolve as the threat evolves—rather than building a whole new security measure each time a new threat arises. IT leaders and administrators can use the cloud-powered technology to learn how to adjust and develop the MTP solution to best fit the security needs of their specific organization. IT experts can take ownership of the overall tech strategy for their team to gain valuable insights into modern phishing trends. So, in addition to leveraging a cutting-edge digital security solution, education organizations can also empower and grow the skills of their in-house IT team.

Powering a secure organization with a better enabled IT team

Enabling IT teams to focus their energy and efforts on securing the classroom is top-of-mind for school administrators and IT leaders in education. Ensuring valuable personal data and digital interactions are secure and protected across technology platforms is critical. While phishing is estimated to have originated in the mid-1990s, this kind of data breach will likely be around well into the future—and education organizations need to be prepared. With Microsoft Threat Protection, IT decision makers and school administrators can feel more confident their technology infrastructure is being protected. And with the system’s strategic technology, education organizations can also benefit from IT staff that leverages relevant insights to expand their skills, grow their knowledge, and better protect their investments.

To learn more, register for the webcast and download the full infographic with more details.


Spark a love for literacy with February’s #MSFTEduChat TweetMeet

In celebration of World Read Aloud Day and February Literacy Month, we’re making literacy the guiding star for this month’s TweetMeet. With the help of our global education experts – and our invitation to you – we’ll discuss a range of aspects of literacy: How have you incorporated literacy in your lessons, and how do you spark the love for reading and writing in your students? What strategies work best to overcome daily challenges in the classroom?

We’re also getting some help this time around from Skype in the Classroom Literacy partners like Little Brown (@lbschool), Penguin Young Readers (@PenguinClass), LitWorld (@LitWorldSays) and others. Thank you for joining us!

The #MSFTEduChat TweetMeet will take place on Tuesday, February 19th, at 10:00 a.m. PST (check your time zone here). (Sounds great, but what’s a TweetMeet?)

We offer 5 simultaneous language tracks this month: English, French, Polish, Romanian and Serbian. Here’s a quick look at all language tracks and their corresponding Twitter hashtags for the February TweetMeet:

For each language track, we have one or more hosts to post the translated questions and respond to educators. As always, we’re super grateful to all current and former hosts who are collaborating closely to provide this service.

The #TweetMeetXX hashtags for non-English languages are to be used together with #MSFTEduChat so that everyone can find the conversations back in their own language. For example: Polish-speaking people use the combination #TweetMeetPL #MSFTEduChat. English-speaking educators may all use #MSFTEduChat on its own.

Learn how to spark a love for literacy in the next #MSFTEduChat TweetMeet! Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PST. #MSFTEduChat #Literacy Click To Tweet

TweetMeet fan? Show it off on your Twitter profile

Every month more and more people discover the unique flow and characteristics of the TweetMeet events and become passionate about them. Show your passion for the TweetMeets right from your own Twitter page by uploading this month’s #MSFTEduChat Twitter Header Photo to the top of your own Twitter profile. Besides English, this same Twitter Header Photo is also available in each of this month’s additional language tracks.

Looking back on the January TweetMeet on Transforming Classroom Time

Last month’s #MSFTEduChat TweetMeet generated fascinating and practical conversations and insights from educators around the world. We captured some highlights from this broad discussion in this @MicrosoftEDU Twitter Moment.

Why join the #MSFTEduChat TweetMeets?

TweetMeets are monthly recurring Twitter conversations about themes relevant to educators, facilitated by Microsoft Education. The purpose of these events is to help professionals in education to learn from each other and inspire their students while they are preparing for their future. The TweetMeets also nurture personal learning networks among educators from across the globe.

We’re grateful to have a support group made up exclusively of former TweetMeet hosts, who volunteer to translate communication and check the quality of our questions and promotional materials. They also help identify the best candidates for future events, provide relevant resources, promote the events among their networks, and, in general, cheer everybody on.

When and how can I join?

Join us Tuesday, February 19 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PST on Twitter using the hashtags #MSFTEduChat, #Literacy and #MicrosoftEDU (which you can always use to stay in touch with us). To find the event time for your specific location, use this time zone announcer.

From our monthly surveys we know that you may be in class at event time, busy doing other things or maybe even asleep – well, no problem! All educators are most welcome to join after the event. Simply take a look at the questions below and respond to these at a day and time that suit you best. You can also schedule your tweets in advance. In that case, be sure to quote the entire question and mention the hashtag #MSFTEduChat, so that everyone knows the right question and conversation to which you are responding. Mark the exact timings – they are different this month.

How can I best prepare?

We also have a special Minecraft: Education Edition resource from two of this month’s hosts:

Verona Adventure

Explore this Minecraft: Education Edition world made by hosts Ben Spieldenner and Simon Baddeley. Take your students through an argumentative writing adventure set against the background of the classic story of Romeo and Juliet, staged in the city of Verona.

Plus, get ready Skype in the Classroom’s Literacy Month:

We are partnering Little Brown Young Readers and will be wrapping up our celebrations with a free broadcast event and live Q&A. Classrooms and families are invited to join us on March 6th to meet Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the hugely popular “How to Train Your Dragon” series. Cressida will inspire students to tap into their boundless imagination and will show how using character development and details in stories make them more believable and fun.

TweetMeet questions

In response to your feedback, we’ve reduced the number of discussion questions to just 4. This will give everyone more time to engage with one another.


We’re excited to introduce the 13 hosts for this month’s TweetMeet. They’re all passionate about literacy and thrilled to talk to you and offer their insights. You can see them all and follow them with a click on our TweetMeet list.

  • Ben Spieldenner @BenSpieldenner (MIE Expert, Minecraft Global Mentor, Co-Director Cross Pond Collaborations, High School English Teacher & Educational Technologist – Ashland OH, USA)
  • Bushra Anis Naqvi @banaqvi (Teacher, trainer, researcher, speaker, futurist and active enthusiast working to prove how technologies can change educators and education – Lahore, Pakistan)
  • Claudia Daniels @ClaudiaRDaniels (Aspiring for Better – making a difference in the life of a child through reading, writing, poetry, Flipgrid, ClassDojo, MIE Expert – Cobb County GA, USA)
  • Dyane Smokorowski @Mrs_Smoke (2013 KS Teacher of the Year, 2009 NSBA Top 20 to Watch, Google Certified, Skype MT, ECET2KS, Inst Tech Coach, EdCampKS, Speaker, Global Collaboration Evangelist – Andover KS, USA)
  • Hammed Abdulazeez @hammedabdulaz (MIE Expert, MIE Master Trainer, Skype Master Teacher, EduTech Expert, Member British Council Liberary of Experience for Diversity and Inclusion – Lagos, Nigeria)
  • Holly Holland @HollandEdTech (Reading Coach, MIE Expert, Skype Master Teacher, OneNote Avenger, Seesaw Ambassador, Flipgrid Ambassador – Tampa FL, USA)
  • Jacek Zablocki @JacekZablocki (Primary school teacher of English and ICT, MIE Expert passionate about Mystery Skype – Wasilkow, Poland)
  • Linda Edwards @LindaEdwardsi (Special Needs Educator, TDSB, Seesaw Ambassador, Buncee Ambassador, Class Dojo Mentor, Flipgrid GridGuide & Ambassador, MIE, Go Bubble Ambassador, Wakelet Member – Toronto, Canada)
  • Martha Bongiorno @Mrs_Bongi (MIE Expert passionate about future-ready libraries, embedding technology within literacy campaigns, and student voice in the library – Atlanta GA, USA)
  • Milena Vojinović @voj_milena (Elementary/Middle School ESL Teacher from Serbia, MIE Expert – quite passionate about using ICT tools in class – Leskovac, Serbia)
  • Mirela Tanc @MirelaTanc (Secondary School teacher, TEDx Speaker, Let’s do it Ambassador, MIE Expert & Trainer, member of Harvard Learning Community, TeachSDGs Ambassador, Skype Master Teacher – Oradea, Romania)
  • Natacha Camus @litteratum1 (College and High School Literature Teacher, MIE Expert, passionate about art and its transmission through digital technology – Dijon, France)
  • Simon Baddeley @SimBadd64 (Director of Cross Pond Collaborations, Minecraft Global Mentor, Minecraft Certified Trainer, Content Creator, Innovator, English Teacher – Castleford England, UK)

What are #MSFTEduChat TweetMeets?

Every month Microsoft Education organizes social events on Twitter targeted at educators globally. The hashtag we use is #MSFTEduChat. A team of topic specialists and international MIE Expert teachers prepare and host these TweetMeets together. Our team of educator hosts first crafts several questions around a certain topic. Then, before the event, they share these questions on social media. Combined with a range of resources, a blog post and background information about the events, this allows all participants to prepare themselves to the full. Afterwards we make an archive available of the most notable tweets and resources shared during the event.

TweetChat expert Madalyn Sklar recently published this helpful introductory guide:
Your Complete Guide to Twitter Chats: Why You Should Join & How to Make the Most of It

Please connect with TweetMeet organizer Marjolein Hoekstra @OneNoteC on Twitter if you have any questions about TweetMeets or helping out as a host.

Join for next month’s topic: #MakeWhatsNext with STEM