Since Microsoft’s early days, we’ve been 100% committed to help educators around the world leverage technology in the classroom.  Two great examples are the Unlimited Potential program, which aims to help educators use technology as a catalyst for change in emerging markets and our Imagine Cup and DreamSpark initiatives, give students free access to our IDE’s like Visual Studio or XNA and platforms like Windows Server to learn hands on to build whatever they can dream up. Last week’s Mouse Mischief is really worth checking out as well. (There are many other programs you can read about on the Microsoft education page.) 

However as part of the Microsoft Online team, I am most proud of our Live@edu offering, which has had some great news coverage over the last several weeks. 

Global Momentum

The first bit of news was the strategic technical collaboration agreement signed between Microsoft and ePals which ZDNet Blogger Chris Dawson called a ‘Game Changer’.  If you aren’t familiar with ePals, it’s the world’s largest K-12 Learning Network reaching 600,000 educators, 25million teachers in 200 countries. So their decision to leverage Live@Edu as a platform for the future is a big deal for education.

The second bit of news was the announcement that three universities in the UK (University College London, Manchester Metropolitan and Royal Holloway) had selected Live@Edu as their strategic messaging and collaboration platform.  Chris Randle, IT director at UCL summed it up “Microsoft could tell the university exactly where its data would be held and said that it would keep the content of all emails private.”  Witness last week’s coverage of the University of California-Davis decision to suspend pilot usage (UPDATE:  and this weeks UMass similar decision) of Google Apps and you will understand why privacy and security are top of mind on campuses these days.

Five months - 1.3 Million Students & Faculty

These UK universities are part of a growing number of educational institutions on every continent that have selected Live@Edu.  In fact, 10,000 institutions have enrolled with Live@Edu in the last six months.  I wanted to provide an example of ten schools that have published a case study about joining Live@edu since January 1, 2010. Alone they represent over 1.3 Million students and faculty:  

Australia - Edith Cowan University is now the 13th university in Australia to move across to the Live@edu offering for their 36,000 students. Other notables of late (and not part of the 1.3M count) Queensland University of Technology (40,000), University of Sydney (46,000), Curtin University (190,000), Flinders University (16,000)

California, US - California State Polytechnic University at Pomona launches Live@Edu for 20,000 students citing support, “During evaluation, we found the Microsoft people a lot more available for answering our questions.”

Colombia - Marymount School Medellín Private K-12 Girls' School Enhances Student Educational Experience for 650+ students. With Live@edu, these communication tools are just part of the learning environment, and they are more focused on learning.”

Finland - Kello School in Finland Meets the Future with Online Learning and Collaboration for 700 students. “I tried using a Google solution for my class, but a major problem was that if I created Google accounts for my students, I didn’t have any control over where they went once they got onto the Internet.”

India - Modern School Vasant Vihar has adopted Live@edu for over 1,000 students/staff. “Live@edu has the potential to revitalize the teaching and learning environment at our school”

New York, US - City University of New York, 260,000 students strong, standardizes campus communications with Live@edu, “We chose Live@edu for the commitment that Microsoft made to ongoing product development and support and to addressing the university’s concerns about student privacy.”

Northern Ireland - University of Ulster Enhances Collaboration for 29,000 Students and Staff with Microsoft Live@edu. “We looked at solutions from others, including Google and Yahoo, and the key difference for us was that Microsoft provided a much larger range of vital services, particularly with collaboration.”

Oman - Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Education is responsible for coordinating the education of 500,000 K-12 students in more than 1,000 schools served by 42,000 teachers and 20,000 staff. “Live@edu is a great gift for educational communities around the world”

South Africa - University of South Africa (UNISA) University of South Africa Saves $900,000 a Year with Free E-Mail Using Live@edu for 400,000 students.  The Live@edu technology will change the way we engage with our students and the way they engage with the institution.”

Washington, US - Washington State picked Live@Edu for 25,000 students, 1,300 faculty, and 4,300 staff.