At this week’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum, the over 1100 attendees are getting a crash course on education innovation. They’re learning new teaching approaches and tools from peers and experts. They’re hearing about the most pressing issues in education through our Hot Topics Panel Discussions – like understanding the value of student data and deploying a successful 1:1 strategy. And they’re test-driving the latest Windows 8 devices from Microsoft and many others at our Tech Showcase. But once they leave Barcelona and return to their home countries and day-to-day routines, what then?

Professional development has always been critical for teachers. To a great extent, it’s mandated by school systems and governments, and tied to job advancement and pay increases. But beyond meeting basic certification requirements, educators increasingly need professional development to master new approaches to pedagogy, enabled by technology. Microsoft has long understood this need.

Teachers and school leaders cite insufficient training and too little time to prepare as some of the main reasons that technology deployments can fail. In fact, many schools, like Microsoft Innovative School Williston Northampton in Massachusetts, cite Microsoft’s professional development program as the foundation of their schools’ technology programs. School CIO Andrew Shelffo recently noted, “We want to be very deliberate about linking that professional development to the strategic goals of the school, because this is not just a curricular initiative, it’s also a strategic initiative.” 

We believe that teachers are the single most important force in transforming education, and Microsoft works hard to deliver training and support to help them teach in the new era of digital learning. With that objective in mind, we provide product-specific training with ongoing, integrated professional development to ensure that teachers and school leaders have the skills they need to deliver exceptional student outcomes. 

And professional development for educators and school leaders available free of charge because we know it’s the foundation to scalable improvements in teaching and learning. For educators, we offer Peer Coaching, 21st Century Learning Design, Teaching with Technology and Digital Literacy.

For school leaders, we provide coursework that helps them manage the changes that come with classroom technology (Case for Change, Redesigning Teaching and Learning, Making Change Happen, Implementation, and Evaluation). For educators, we ensure access to ongoing peer collaboration and learning through the Educator Network, providing mentoring, feedback and inspiration from education innovators throughout the world.

Microsoft has been dedicated to creating meaningful change in education for more than three decades, with $750 million invested in teacher training and professional development in just the last 15 years.  It’s part of our commitment to those who are leading education transformation, and to ensuring that sustainable change is a reality throughout the world. It's true that we can give students technology and enrich their minds today. But when we also equip and support teachers with technology – and the training and support they need – we enrich students for a lifetime.

- Anthony

Teachers