Friday, 26 May 2017

Mahala launched - all students in South Africa get Microsoft Office for FREE!


Did you say FREE Microsoft Office?
Yes, with Mahala you can get Office free for your kids. If you are a parent or a teacher this is an opportunity you can't afford to miss out on!


What exactly is Mahala?
If you are a learner reading this - did you know that just by being a learner in South Africa you can get free Microsoft Office? Microsoft South Africa and 2Enable are partnering up to offer all South African school learners (ages 8 – 25 years) free access to Microsoft Office across all your devices as well as 1TB of OneDrive. It is obtained through signing up at

What does this mean?
Yes, it means free Office across all devices for your kids. YES they can use all the apps they know and love across all their favourite devices. They can get Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Excel and use them on their PC or MAC, Mobile Phone or Tablet. How is that!

This offer includes free Microsoft OneDrive
This includes free OneDrive and the free 1TB allows enough FREE space to store 200,000 songs, 17,000 hours of music, 250 movies or 310,000 photos. It is huge!

How to go about getting this offer
Here are the steps to taking advantage of this great offer:

Step 1

Step 2

  • Scroll down to register & complete all the fields.
  • When choosing a password, ensure it is between 8 – 16 characters and contains letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Read the Terms and Conditions, tick the box indicating you have, and that someone older than 18 has completed or assisted in registration.
  • For security reasons, tick the “I’m not a robot” reCAPTCHA.
  • Click “SIGN ME UP”

Step 3

  • You’ll receive your welcome email to your Personal Email Inbox, with your username and password. Use these details to get your copy of Office and OneDrive.
  • The email contains links to the Mobile Apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. You can also download them directly from your phones App Store.
  • Windows and Mac users can log into and click “Install Office 2016” to get the Desktop & Laptop versions of Office and OneDrive.

CuriosITy Dinner – an opportunity to share a passion for IT

Brescia House School held its second annual CuriosITy dinner on 17 May 2017 which was attended by more than two hundred people – mostly women and girls – who enjoyed an evening intended to inspire girls to pursue careers in IT.

Grade 11 girls who are taking either Information Technology or Computer Applications Technology as subjects were invited to the dinner from schools around Gauteng – with some schools travelling from other provinces to attend. During the course of the evening the girls moved from table to table, having opportunities to sit with a range of women who work in the technology industry. This led to lots of networking and sharing of ideas about succeeding as women in the technology industry; advice on which courses to pursue at a tertiary level and tips for landing a job in a competitive industry.

The keynote speaker was Sonja Delafosse – Microsoft’s Worldwide Senior Education Manager. Sonja’s inspiring keynote emphasised the theme of #Makewhatsnext – which involves encouraging students – especially girls - to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Sonja showed the employee statistics of the major technology companies and emphasised how important it was for more women to be employed, considering that women comprise half the people who use technology, but only a small percentage of people developing the technology.

Bravo to Brescia House School – whose Microsoft Student Ambassadors initiated this project as part of their Microsoft Showcase Schools commitment last year, and who built on the success of last year’s event to include even more girls this year. Bresica House School does an amazing job of inspiring its own teachers and learners to fulfil their potential and to strive for excellence, but through events such as the CuriosITy Dinner and their termly TeachMeets, they continue to generously share opportunities for professional development with the wider community.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Class Hack contest and the Hack the Classroom Event are coming up...join in

Here is some exciting news from Microsoft:

1. Did you know that the Class Hack Contest is Back?
During the September 24th Hack the Classroom event, in 2016 Microsoft showcased Sway as a fun and easy tool for sharing content. To carry the momentum forward, Microsoft is running a competition to see who can develop the best lesson that includes the use of Sway as a creative method for delivering content to students. Closing date is 7th June. Find out more on the Microsoft Educator Community The winners will be announced live on June 27 during our live Hack the Classroom online event.

Find out more about Sway 
Sway is a free presentation web app - part of the Microsoft Office family of products. It is also available as a iOS app. All you have to do to get started is go to this RL and join up by creating a Microsoft ID. Then just explore! If you have Office 265 you'll find that Sway is included. Sway allows one to combine text and media to create an online presentation with a difference! You can pull content locally from your device, or from Internet sources such as Bing, OneDrive, YouTube, Facebook etc. One can add videos, text, images, sound…you name it. Before you know it you have a lovely presentation that you can enter into the Hack is back competition mentioned above. If you want to know more about Sway you can do a free course on the Microsoft Educator Community...and earn a badge at the same time. Find out more at:

2. Did you know that the Hack the Classroom event is back!


Hack the Classroom is an exciting, online, live event designed to show you what’s possible and ignite new ideas. This year, the event will be live from ISTE bringing you the latest tools designed to empower your students to create the world of tomorrow!

Live: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Live from ISTE: Empowering the students of today to create the world of tomorrow.

By attending Hack the Classroom online event, you will:
  • Hear Lisa Floyd, educator and thought-leader in STEAM education with Fair Chance Learning share why computational thinking is for everyone in our opening keynote
  • Learn from teachers by taking a glimpse into their classrooms to see how new tools are creating new possibilities
  • Engage, interact, and pose questions with speakers, product team members, and other educators
  • Gain access to professional development resources and tools to get started
Register here:

Great news! Claim your SACE Continuing Professional Development Points for badges you’ve earned on the Microsoft Educator Community

Submitted by Megan RademeyerAll South African teachers are expected to keep a Professional Development Portfolio (PDP) as a personal record of their professional development journeys and to achieve at least 150 South African Council of Educator Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) development points every three-year cycle.

SchoolNet SA is an approved SACE professional development provider and has been accredited by SACE to award continuing professional development points for certain activities and online courses that teachers have completed through the Microsoft Educator Community.

If you have earned any of the following badges on the Microsoft Educator Community – please complete this form by 15 June 2017 so that we can email you a PDF of your SACE endorsed certificate indicating which online courses you have completed. You will then be able to count these points as “Type 3 – Externally Initiated Professional Development Activities”.

· Teaching with Technology – Basics (5 SACE points)
· Microsoft in Education (5 SACE points)
· Microsoft in the Classroom (15 SACE points)
· 21st Century Learning Design (15 points)
· Teaching with Technology 2016 (15 SACE points)
· Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert – 2016 – 2017 (10 SACE points)

Top tips!
Make sure that your profile on the Microsoft Educator Community is set to “Public” so that we will be able to verify what badges you have earned. If we can’t see your badge, we won’t be able to issue you with a SACE endorsed certificate.

How to make your Microsoft Educator Community profile public:
· Log in to the Microsoft Educator Community.
· Left click on your profile picture.
· Click on “Edit Profile”.
· Select “Public” for your profile status (see indicated in red)


You will also be required to email us a link to your Public Profile so that we can verify which badges you have earned.

To find your “Public Profile URL” go into your profile and look under basic information. (see indicated in green)

Frequently asked questions:

Can I get SACE professional develoment points for other badges I have earned on the Microsoft Educator Community?
Yes. Whilst SchoolNet SA can only issue you with a SACE endorsed certificate for some badges, you can count your other badges as “Type 1 - Teacher Initiated Professional Development Activities” and can log these in your Professional Development Portfolio.

Will I get a hard-copy certificate?
No. We will email you a PDF of your SACE endorsed certificate which we suggest you save in your electronic Professional Development Portfolio. You are welcome to print this certificate out yourself if you want a hard copy certificate for your records.

What if I earn more badges after I have filled in the online form?
Please complete this online form by 15 June 2017 so that we can send you a PDF certificate indicating all the badges you have earned. If you earn more badges after you have filled in the form, please fill in the form again and we will send you a second certificate.

What happens if I want to claim my SACE points after the 15th of June 2017?
This form will remain active until 30 June 2017 – after that be on the look-out for a link to a new form if we are able to offer this service again.

I don’t know my SACE number. Can I still claim my CTPD points?
If you don’t know your SACE number – you can access it through the SACE website. If that doesn’t work please complete the rest of our online form and you will still receive a pdf certificate that you can use later as part of your Professional Development Portfolio.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #104

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at The link to the back-dated posts is: