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The following post is from Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp..
Today, President Obama is shining worthy attention on his ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age within five years and to ensure the best use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages. Microsoft heard the President’s call on our industry to step up, and we are privileged to participate in ConnectED by making a significant commitment today.
Microsoft is stepping up to the plate with a significant offer that equates to a billion-dollar response.
Together with our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners we created a new offer to all U.S. K-12 public schools. This not only has the potential to inject $1 billion in savings into the system, via the purchase of Windows-based tablets, laptops and devices, which we are providing at substantially lower pricing on devices and services through our partners Dell, Lenovo and others. But this offer is now going to be available to the entire U.S. public schools system. That means our partners will bring to market a multitude of great device offerings, at pre-priced levels, specifically for schools to choose from. Schools are going to have amazing choices to ensure their students have the best products and experiences in their classrooms.
On top of that, students will have access to top-notch services and programs to help prepare them for college and career. A recent IDC study found that modern skills such as communication, problem solving, and self-motivation mixed with the technical Microsoft Office skills like presentation, spreadsheets, and analysis are necessary to secure a job in a high growth, high wage occupation now and through 2020. With Microsoft IT Academy, which we will provide for free to the roughly 2,000 designated high-risk schools in the U.S., educators, students and staff will have access to the digital curriculum and certifications to gain fundamental technology skills and be successful in today’s best jobs. On top of that, we will also donate $1 million to cover certification exams for students from these schools.
With new competitive pricing coupled with the programs and services we’ll provide, schools can’t afford to not put these technology tools in the hands of their students. Officially available this week, the offer includes an extensive array of Microsoft software, services, and programs that will help teachers and students transition to digital environments and prepare the innovators of the future.
The offer includes:
A Long-Term Commitment to Education
No company invests as heavily as we do in youth around the world. I can’t stress enough, education is the single most important investment we can make in our future, and technology is the tool for the greatest return. Technology has the power to enhance the work of our educators and create a more immersive and engaging learning experience for students.
This is such an exciting time to be a student and a hopeful time to be a school. With this new offer, we’re arming students with the tools they need to have an impact and thrive in the unknown future. Though our OEM partners, these tools are now more affordable than ever for schools facing tight budget constraints.
To take advantage of this offer, schools should contact its Microsoft and our reseller partners for full details. For more information, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/education/ww/products/Pages/connected.aspx.
And to find out more about our global commitment to creating opportunities for 300 million youth around the world over three years through partnerships and a range of new, existing and enhanced programs help students realize their greatest potential, check out our YouthSpark initiative.