Congratulations to our hardware partner, HP, who was just announced by the State of Idaho as its mobile computing devices contractor to supply HP Probook Notebooks to all K-12 teachers and high school students in the state! Microsoft is proud to partner with HP to bring universal access to digital learning and the required technology to Idaho’s schools, including Windows, Office and Office 365 for education. We believe Idaho’s Students Come First initiative represents an ambitious opportunity to take a holistic approach to transforming education, and we support the State, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, and State Superintendent Tom Luna in this bold endeavor.

At Microsoft, we believe education is what fuels a great nation. The health of our economy, our national security, and our ability to compete globally all hinge on an educated citizenry. We believe that today we have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the future of our country and in our educational system. We can’t educate tomorrow’s leaders with tools and practices from the past. Working with governments, schools, educators, communities, and businesses, we can better engage students and prepare them for the information-based world we live in. We can equip educators with tools to help make them more effective. And we can gauge the most successful programs so we can replicate them to where they are needed.

While technology alone is no silver bullet, the strategic application of technology can improve classroom experiences and help prepare students for what lies ahead, whether their chosen path is to enter the workforce or to move onto an institution of higher learning. Employers expect and demand skilled IT workers and IT job-ready hires that can succeed in the dynamic tech savvy global marketplace. Higher education institutions expect incoming students to be prepared to work in a technology-enabled environment.

By selecting the Microsoft and Windows platform, K-12 schools and districts will not only be able to better leverage their current investments in Microsoft technologies, but students and teachers will have powerful devices that let them multi-task, create and collaborate on projects and class assignments, and consume rich content real-time. Microsoft delivers enterprise manageability and security that allow schools flexibility and choice in their technology and learning environment while keeping IT maintenance costs down.

Effective teachers are an important predictor of student success, and therefore technology can only be effective when surrounded by professional development and services. To support the State of Idaho in creating 21st century classrooms and great teachers and leaders, Microsoft will be delivering many different kinds of trainings and seminars all across the state to help educators deepen and expand their skills on how to effectively integrate technology into their pedagogy to positively impact teaching and learning. The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) workshops are just one example of the hands-on, project-based learning sessions that will be available to teachers.

Access to the global Partners in Learning Network will also give teachers the opportunity to share advice, discover best practices, post examples of student learning projects, learn new ways to utilize technology in the classroom, and gain unparalleled access to education experts. They will be able to connect with peers around the world and create new communities dedicated to innovative teaching, learning, and professional development.

The State of Idaho is leading the way in positively transforming education.  Microsoft welcomes the opportunity to partner with the State, HP and other local technology partners to improve student outcomes through better utilization of technology and better training for teachers to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. We can’t wait to see what happens next…