Microsoft announced today that Portland Public Schools, the largest school district in Oregon, plans to first move faculty and staff to Microsoft's Live@edu cloud computing platform, followed by their high school students.

So far, more than a third of the state of Oregon has enrolled in Live@edu. Along with Portland Public Schools, the following school districts are also reaping the benefits of Live@edu: Ashland Public Schools, Columbia Gorge, Coos Bay School District, Phoenix Talent School District, McMinnville School District, Redmond School District, St. Cecilia School and Sisters School District. You can read more about how the Coos Bay Public School District is using Live@edu’s Web-based tools to enhance its IT instruction and learning environments, and to help students improve their study skills.

The announcement was made at the 9th annual U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit, which began today in Redmond, Wash. At the summit, more than 300 federal, state and local government and education leaders are meeting to learn more about Microsoft's vision and technology roadmap, and to showcase innovative solutions designed for public sector organizations to be more effective.

I had a chance to speak with Nick Jwayad, CIO for Portland Public Schools, about the reasons they were looking to the cloud and why they ended up choosing Microsoft Live@edu over Google Apps for Education. Take a look at the video below. For more on what’s happening at the U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit, check out our blogs here and here.

We are talking a lot about cloud computing at Microsoft and how early adopters are reaping the benefits. In addition to Portland, we announced new public sector cloud customer wins in both the government and education space, including, Vanderbilt and two new customers since we announced our university system wide agreement with the State University of New York (SUNY) – the University of Albany and the Fashion Institute of Technology. These schools join more than 15 million people in more than 10,000 education institutions around the globe using Live@edu for communications and collaboration.

We are starting to see a great uptick in momentum on the K-12 side as well. Education is changing with anytime, anywhere access to coursework, lecture notes and online learning becoming more of the norm. Students work collaboratively more than ever before – at school, from home and at all points in between – using a wide range of devices to communicate and share information. With drastically shrinking budgets, Live@edu enables schools to reduce costs and drive improved teaching and learning in the classroom. Live.edu also helps students become familiar with productivity tools like Office, which they are likely to encounter in their future careers.

Posted by Sig Behrens
General Manager, U.S. Education, Microsoft