Microsoft in Education Blog
I’m delighted to officially announce the launch of our revamped Partners in Learning Network here at the BETT Show in London. Originally launched in 2009, the new community site is now open to teachers and school leaders in over 115 countries, and has been enhanced with many new features and resources all designed to encourage collaboration and the spread of ideas for improving education around the world.
If you’re not familiar with the Partners in Learning Network, this is a free community resource designed to provide educators with a place to engage with other like-minded professionals to enhance their personal development and classroom experience for their students. . This is not just a networking site; it is a treasure chest of resources, lesson plans, and invaluable learning content from the world’s best teachers. To kick things off, we’ve already populated the site with over 40 different tools such as lesson plans, learning activities and tutorials that are available for immediate download for use in the classroom.
We started beta testing the new site back in November, and we’ve already received some encouraging feedback from teachers.
“There is importance in how the Partners in Learning Network can work to offer teachers an online community filled with product downloads, tutorials, activities and discussions. What I am excited about is the opportunity to share with teachers some ideas and resources that ALL our students could use effectively and easily in and out of the classroom.” --Nicole Lakusta, Educational Technology Facilitator, Parkland School Division, CanadaMore on Nicole’s blog here.
“As a professional development opportunity, the Partners in Learning Network is unparalleled. The more teachers and schools that we can get involved the more innovation and corresponding results will follow.” --Louis Zulli Jr., Network Administrator, Center for Advanced Technologies, Florida
Here are some new features our early users are most excited about…
1. Using Microsoft Translator, the site is available today in 36 different languages. That means members can not only communicate with others in their own language, but any user can translate any content into one of these supported languages, or make suggestions and edits to previously translated pages. This is incredibly exciting because it allows us to offer educators a truly global community.
2. New achievement badges help members identify the community’s mentors, teacher trainers and experts, to encourage collaboration and the sharing of ideas and best practices. A new tagging infrastructure ensures that as teachers upload content such as learning activities, tutorials about incorporating technology, sample projects and other ready-to-use educational resources, that the content is quick and easy to find.
3. We know there are a lot of choices for social networking sites, and that many educators may already have established profiles and followers on other sites. That’s why Partners in Learning Network members are able to promote and link to their other social media properties. We also make accessing all of the resources easy by allowing members to sign-in using Windows Live ID, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, or Yahoo, instead of having to “start over” on a new site or just choose one. They can also use pre-existing log-ins from these accounts to sign-in to the Network.
To sign up now, visit http://www.pil-network.com and start spreading ideas to make education worldwide better!
We’re having a great time engaging with some of the best and brightest in the education community this week in London, and have made a few other exciting announcements. Please see my earlier blog post here to learn more.