Bridging the gap to 1:1 computing – from Microsoft to Mozambique

From time to time we at Microsoft Education invite our partner community to guest blog on Microsoft in Education, David Yunger, CEO at Greenbridge Computing, Inc is here highlighting the benefits of Windows Multipoint Server and how it’s positively impacting schools around the globe!

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By David Yunger, CEO, GreenBridge Computing, Inc.

My third grader’s classroom is a stone’s throw from Microsoft, in Bellevue, Washington.  Given the relatively strong tax base here, it’s perhaps not surprising that Bellevue’s schools rank among the best-resourced in the nation. This is a district that passed a half a billion dollar school levy in the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. In its most recent rankings, US News and World Report ranks four of Bellevue’s high schools among the top five in the state for reading, math, and college readiness – with all four schools listed among the top 200 schools nationwide.
What is surprising: Bellevue is investing in precisely the same education technology Microsoft is deploying in Haiti, Africa, and across the developing world: direct virtualization via Windows MultiPoint Server.

Bellevue can afford the very best.  And yet they choose to deploy direct virtualization.

Why?  Because it offers their students the finest technology money can buy… it just happens to also be one of the most affordable, greenest, and easiest to deploy technologies on the planet.

As I write this blog, I am enroute back to Seattle from Maputo, Mozambique’s burgeoning capital.  I visited some of the most rural and under-resourced schools on the planet.  Despite significant funding challenges, the Ministry of Education in Mozambique has an innovative strategy to bridge the opportunity divide.  The plan includes holistic school leadership and teacher professional development – as well as a plan to bridge the gap towards 1:1 computing with 3,000 secondary schools over the next five years.  The technology: Windows MultiPoint Server.
In 2010, as part of a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment, I had the privilege of leading a Microsoft partnership with Iveneo, World Vision, and others to invest in 40 schools in Haiti.  Each school received broadband connectivity, solar power, and a computer lab – powered by Windows MultiPoint Server. 

I find it amazing – and incredibly inspiring – that the same technology enjoyed by students right here in Bill Gates’ backyard is transforming learning for tens of thousands of future leaders across Haiti and Africa.  I’ll never forget one student – a 12th grader named Fabiola – from Leogane, the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and 1.5 million people homeless.
On the day we installed the computer lab, Fabiola and her friends were already excitedly waiting to explore the new devices.  The moment we finished, she rushed to a workstation and immediately began conducting a search on Wikipedia on the human reproductive system.  Fascinated, I asked her what was driving that interest.  What she said next changed my life:

“Ever since I was young,” Fabiola explained, “I dreamed of becoming a doctor… but there was nowhere I could turn – not one book – where I could get the information I have here at my fingertips.  This lab will help me with my research… not only to see my studies in a book, but live them on the Internet.  For the first time, I believe my dream can become a reality.”

I still get goose bumps every time I share that story.  And that’s why I left a great job at Microsoft and launched GreenBridge – a Microsoft partner which is helping young people around the world cross the opportunity divide and bridge the gap to 1:1 computing.

Education leaders globally want to create a nation of “Fabiolas”.  They want to provide a computer for every student, but most schools cannot afford it.  Further, right here in the USA, online testing will soon be required for 60 million students nationwide, yet most schools are not ready.
So how do schools deliver a 1:1 experience for all students today, by leveraging the investments they have already made in hardware, all while providing a 21st century learning environment?

You don’t have to be Bill Gates to afford a world-class private cloud with dedicated 1:1 / BYOD management.  To learn more, visit us at GreenBridge Computing – or attend at a live Microsoft education webcast, Thursday, April 18, at 9am Seattle time (the event will also be available anytime, on-demand).

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