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The following is a post from Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft.
After only a decade, Partners in Learning (PiL) has reached millions of teachers and students, empowering them with technology and resources. The goal in 2003, when the program was first introduced, has not changed dramatically – we set out to provide educators with the resources for teaching 21st century skills and to effectively prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. Our focus is true to Bill Gates’ vision, in that the program continually tackles complex issues with creative problem solving. Here are some ways PiL has made a difference in education and educators everywhere:
1. In celebration of 10 years, Partners in Learning has reached 12 million educators in 134 countries. The school impact is just as great working directly with over 20,000 schools around the world to bring technology, resources and more into the classroom.
2. Through this impact the program has reached over 207 million students – 20 percent of the world’s population.
3. Microsoft continues to invest in Partners in Learning and recently announced an additional $250 million, 5-year extension. This brings the program total to $750 million over 15 years. Future goals of the program are to grow the PiL community to 20 million of the 75 million teachers worldwide by 2018, and to continue preparing students for the changing global workforce.
4. The annual Partners in Learning Global Forum hosts over 700 of the world’s most innovative educators and school leaders. The event focuses on professional development, collaboration and more.
5. Partners in Learning Network (PiLN) is a great extension to our Partners in Learning community. This global network of educators is actively collaborating, downloading and learning from like-minded peers from around the world. The site is growing 25 percent month over month. Local content is reaching more than one-fifth of the world’s countries – 37.
6. Working with ICT professionals from around the world the PiLN offers a treasure chest of resources – lesson plans, templates, tutorials and more – and everything on the network is free for teachers to download and use.
7. Partners in Learning is focused on developing opportunities for teachers to grow their skills through professional development programs. Whether it is on the network, through collaboration with like-minded professionals, or participating in the Virtual University Seminars, all of our educators are equipped with the tools they need to succeed.
8. Countries around the world recognize the need to prepare their youth for the 21st century. As part of our commitment to education transformation, Partners in Learning has initiated the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research to contribute information and policy insights on where and how effective education transformation is taking place. We’ve also created the Teaching with Technology eLearning Curriculum, which offers ICT skills and resources for educators globally.
9. Educators in the Partners in Learning program get updates on the latest hardware and software promotions that help stretch school budgets further, such as the recent Surface RT Special Offer and Bing for Schools.
10. Ten years ago Microsoft and the School District of Philadelphia opened the School of the Future. The high school served as a model for 21st century learning. Knowing a technology driven high school would be hard to replicate globally, the team at Microsoft developed Partners in Learning. The early lessons from the school helped build the PiL program for educators and schools around the world. In the high school’s first graduating class, all the seniors were accepted into post-secondary programs, community colleges and universities.
I am thrilled to be celebrating 10 amazing years of Partners in Learning and look forward to many, many more anniversaries! We will continue to focus on innovative teaching and learning, ensuring that the educators of today have the tools they need for the success of the 21st century workforce.