When President Obama issued his ConnectED Challenge to make sure all students have access to the technology and devices they need to succeed, Microsoft took action.
In early 2014 the company committed to contribute more than $1 billion in technology savings to schools across the nation. Since then students, teachers, schools, districts and even a few states have taken advantage of these unique offerings that will prepare our students with the 21st century skills needed for success.
Today, when the White House released momentum data on the ConnectED Challenge, the results show that the effort to make Microsoft's technology available to schools is working. In fact, Microsoft's impact exceeds the combined efforts of all other ConnectED Challenge participants with our no-cost Office 365 ProPlus generating the majority of the 3 million students impacted by the ConnectED Challenge.
In the little more than a year since Microsoft joined the ConnectED initiative there has been great progress. For example, over 3 million students have received access to Office 365 in K-12 schools across the U.S. Since inadequate teacher training is one of the key reasons technology deployments fail, Microsoft has provided in-depth technology training to nearly 150,000 educators, with more training sessions scheduled for this summer. In partnership with Acer, Asus, CTL, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba, and others, Microsoft has deployed 2.9 million affordable, Windows-based devices in classrooms. With IT Academy, students and teachers have access to industry-recognized certifications, and we have enrolled 594 additional schools into the IT Academy program, reaching an estimated 60,000 students. Finally, Bing the in Classroom offers ad-free search for students, creating a safer environment for learning–and over 13,870 schools and 9.62 million students have enrolled in the program. Examples of schools that have taken advantage by signing up for Office 365 ProPlus and bringing Windows 8 devices into their classrooms include the following:
- Chester County Public Schools, a rural district in North Carolina with 5,526 students, is using Windows 8 devices, Office 365 and other learning tools to turn around its low-performing schools and give students the skills they'll need in college and career. The resulting impact of the technology in the classroom goes beyond the district and into the community: The county has recently attracted the attention of GiTi Tire, which plans to open a plant there, partly due to the tech-savvy graduates entering the workforce.
- Detroit Public Schools is working to bring updated technology to its students and teachers and is adding to the district's existing technology with some Windows 8.1 devices and access to Office 365.
- El Paso Independent School District in Texas, where 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, knew that its students would be left behind if it didn't provide access to the latest technologies. As part of its "Power Up" initiative, the district is deploying a Windows-based laptop to each of its 20,000 high school students and teachers, as well as access to Office 365 and e-textbooks.
- Manteca Independent School District , a district in central California, has launched a strategic initiative to bring a one-to-one device environment to all students and teachers. The district has deployed Windows 8 devices with touch and inking capabilities running Microsoft Office and Office 365 to all 23,000 students and 1,200 teachers in the district.
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth-largest school district in the country and has a high number of low-income and English-as-a-second language students. As part of its multi-year strategic plan, the district trained its 11,000 teachers and brought its 350,000 students and more than 50,000 devices onto the Office 365 platform. These initiatives are already making a difference in the lives of students.
- In a joint effort to best provide the students of New York City with the skills and tools to succeed, the New York City Council and the New York City Department of Education are making the Office 365 benefit available to all 1.1 million teachers and students in the city.
- A few states have also taken huge steps to bring equal opportunity to their students: The state of Maryland laid the groundwork and set up the technology so that each of the 1,400 schools in the state could easily adopt the no-cost Office 365 offer, insuring equal access to all 870,000 students in Maryland. The state of North Dakota also took steps to make Office 365's learning tools available to all 102,000 students in that state. The state of West Virginia was one of the first states to create the opportunity for all of its 280,000 students to benefit from the state-wide Office 365 initiative.
The offerings, which are still available to schools around the country, include the following:
- Communication and collaboration tools with Office 365 ProPlus
- A powerful and flexible operating system with Windows 8.1 and free* upgrade for students, educators and schools to Windows 10 on July 29
- Teacher training and resources through the Microsoft Educator Network
- Ad-free search with Bing in the Classroom
- Student training and skills development via Microsoft IT Academy
- Broadband as a critical component to connected learning through Microsoft's nonprofit partner EveryoneOn
* More information about the free upgrade offer can be found at Windows.com.
School participation and eligibility
All U.S. public schools are eligible for these education benefits and can contact their technology reseller or Microsoft for additional details or to access an official letter of eligibility. More information on the offer can also be found at http://www.microsoft.com/education/ConnectED.