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Back to School with Microsoft:

Student focused, teacher inspired innovation with Office 365 Education


By Tony Prophet as written on blogs.microsoft.com
Microsoft is “All In” for Education. Today, we’re highlighting some exciting new features of Office 365 Education for the upcoming school year – Microsoft Classroom, School Data Sync, Microsoft Forms, OneNote ink and Learning Tools. And remember, Office 365 Education is free for students and teachers.

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Microsoft Classroom is your workflow wizard

Every minute an educator spends on administrative tasks is a minute they aren’t able to spend time with their students. Microsoft Classroom is designed to be a single experience in Office 365 Education for managing all class and assignment workflows for teachers and students.
With Microsoft Classroom, teachers can use the Office documents and class materials they already have –  or create new ones using familiar Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as exciting new applications OneNote Class Notebook and Sway. With this one-stop destination, educators get back precious instructional time so they can focus on what they’re truly passionate about – transforming the lives of students.

Easily set up your class with School Data Sync

School IT administrators have similar challenges. Keeping up with their connected campuses often takes time away from more strategic work. School Data Sync helps IT administrators connect existing school systems to Office 365 – enabling single sign on for teachers and students while automating Microsoft Classroom set up.
IT administrators can get started with Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync with Office 365 Education by going here.

Microsoft Forms are anything but formulaic

Developing assessments like quizzes and surveys takes time, and often involves a trip to the copy machine. With Microsoft Forms, now generally available worldwide in Office 365 Education, teachers and students can create custom surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more. As educators move to more personalized teaching, Microsoft Forms is a powerful way for teachers to customize their lessons, leveraging individualized instruction and responses, question branching, and image support.


Laura Stanner, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, is already using the new features in her classroom. Read more about how these new tools are helping her here.

OneNote ink unleashes your inner Picasso or Pythagoras

Most technology in the classroom relies on keyboard inputs, but research has shown that digital ink can increase the quality of instruction, save teachers time and improve scores among students solving science or math problems. OneNote has supported digital ink (or handwriting with stylus, finger or mouse) for over 10 years on Windows PC. It’s also available on Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
Today, we are announcing that OneNote ink now includes new features exclusive to Windows 10, like ink effects and ink math assistant, that not only support student creativity by letting students shade, sketch, draft, save and share ideas with their favorite rainbow colors (a student’s request), it recognizes math equations.
InktoMath_Commercial (1)
This sets the stage for a revolution in math instruction, allowing students to show their thought process, and teachers to identify gaps in understanding. Check out the new ink page at OneNote.com/ink and learn more about the power of digital ink in this new era of computers, straight from students.

Learning Tools support readers and writers of all levels

Educators strive to support learners at all levels, and classrooms are often comprised of students with a wide range of capabilities. Learning Tools for OneNote, now available in many new languages, helps everyone improve their reading and writing skills, including gifted learners, students with learning differences or a combination of any of the broad range of unique student abilities.
We have seen overwhelmingly positive reactions from students, teachers and others from around the world. Many have shared stories of their students’ successes, such as dramatically increased reading speeds like those in Special Education teacher and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Lauren Pittman’s classroom.

Explore Skype Virtual Adventures – this year with hundreds of new guest speakers and field trips

The Skype in the Classroom community is free. Teachers and students can reach out to connect with more than a thousand amazing destinations – people and places all over the world.  A simple Skype call connects students to collaborate with experts and each other through a live conversation from their classroom.  Just a few of our new virtual adventures include Antarctic Penguins, Central American Baby Sloths, and the Intrepid Space Shuttle.
Skype Sloth

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Find out more on how Managed Solution and Microsoft help Educators with the tools they need to succeed.



CDI: Training the next generation of tech-savvy leaders

As written on microsoft.com
CDI (Center for Digital Inclusion), an international technology literacy organization headquartered in Brazil, doesn’t merely train youth to search the internet, say, or create a Word document; it also teaches problem-solving skills and social tools that empower its young participants to thrive in our hyper-connected world.
Yet a disjointed IT system hindered communication, slowed down operations and ultimately held back the Rio de Jainero-based nonprofit. To upgrade, CDI applied for and received Office 365 Nonprofit, the full-spectrum tech solution provided for free or at a drastic discount to qualifying nonprofits, as well as help implementing it. In just a handful of months, Office 365 has supercharged the nonprofit, helping CDI to
  • get more done—in less time and for less money,
  • deepen its training and education,
  • strengthen an ever-expanding network of local partners,
  • create consistency across a global brand, and
  • build relationships through tech-powered communities.


“Imagine a world in which individuals use technology to build a more free and just society. CDI is extremely grateful to Microsoft for working with us to build a big utopia, which we see as an e-topia.” - Marcel Fukayama, CEO of CDI Global and leader within Brazil’s B corporation


Technology builds a “more free and just society”

Channeling stronger relationships

“The adoption of Yammer has was an extremely inspiring process for us, of connection and engagement with our community of educators,” says the CEO, who has also written two books about using business for good.
Librarians in 46 cities across Brazil have turned the internal social media hub Yammer into a thriving network. Users post news, take polls, publicize events and share best practices—all activities that create a supportive and informative online community. The result: more engaging programming for the youth CDI serves. What’s more, Yammer provides a central location for CDI employees to communicate with program participants and even applaud the most active users in the group, encouraging others to dive deeper into the organization’s offerings, too.
Just as the nonprofit teaches educators and young people to use tech to achieve their goals, the updated IT solution of Office 365 powers CDI’s mission. “Imagine a world in which individuals use technology to build a more free and just society,” Fukayama says. “CDI is extremely grateful to Microsoft for working with us to build a big utopia, which we see as an e-topia.”

Plugging in to efficiency

CDI employees know a thing or two about efficiency: In just two decades, the organization has reached more than 1.6 million young people. But its leadership knew they could make an even bigger impact with a streamlined, cloud-based IT system.
Now they can. Office 365’s storage has given the nonprofit control of its data—and its budget. “The implementation of this technology has helped us to maximize time and resources,” explains Marcel Fukayama, CEO of CDI Global and leader within Brazil’s B corporation community. In fact, the cloud storage alone (to the tune of 1 terabyte per user) saves the IT department $15,000 a year—funds better spent on lifting up teens through tech.
Plus, they trust Office 365’s financially backed, guaranteed uptime to always have access to its lesson plans, training modules, fundraising spreadsheets and just about everything else that makes the organization run.

Offering long-term support

“Skype is used broadly across our programs, overcoming limitations of distance and time”— boosting the amount of ongoing support CDI can offer to employees and partners throughout Latin America and Portugal, says Fukayama. For example, CDI will use video conferencing for one-on-one mentorship in its new program that trains public school teachers, which will help the nonprofit serve an additional 15,000 students in technology-poor schools.

The face-to-face contact via webinars and online meetings also strengthens relationships among employees spread out over thousands of miles, who don’t often have the opportunity to meet in person.

Forging a stronger network

Fukayama calls OneDrive—the cloud-based storage and collaboration tool—a “catalyzer of co-creation.” Sharing documents through the platform encourages employees to work together on automatically synched files, integrating more people’s insights and leading to a more cohesive team.
What’s more, “Local facilitators and NGOs now have free access to learning content and methods from an international network, which would normally require huge investments in infrastructure.” That way, satellite offices and partner organizations use CDI’s tried and tested methodology so anyone working remotely doesn’t have to invent their own approach.

Establishing consistency

With more than 800 offices across 15 countries, maintaining consistency in methods, message and operations is vital. Office 365 helped CDI rise to the challenge. All employees access the same files and training curriculum in OneDrive no matter where they work, and facilitators easily tap into the materials they need from the community centers and schools where they teach. That way, leadership in each country’s home office knows the instruction meets the same high standards, Fukayama says.
Another benefit: The centralized database ensures permanent access to important files that may otherwise be lost when employees move on.



Obama seeks $4 billion to reboot tech education

2016 by Michelle Meyers as written on cnet.com

Part of the president's 2017 budget, the "Computer Science for All" initiative would bolster state funding for technology classes in public schools.

President Barack Obama on Saturday announced a $4 billion plan aimed at making sure all kids, especially girls and minorities, get a chance to learn computer science.

The three-year initiative, called "Computer Science for All," would provide states with money to train teachers, equip classrooms and develop new classroom materials. It's part of the president's 2017 budget and would need approval of the Republican-led Congress.

"In the new economy, computer science isn't an optional skill -- it's a basic skill, right along with the three Rs," Obama said as he announced the plan in his weekly radio address. "9 out of 10 parents want it taught at their children's schools."

And yet right now, only a quarter of kindergarten through 12th grade schools offer computer science, Obama said. 22 states don't even allow it to count toward a diploma.

The initiative is just the latest to help bridge a well-documented tech education gap. In the fewer than 15 percent of all high schools that offered any Advanced Placement computer science courses in 2015, only 22 percent of those who took the exam were girls, and only 13 percent were African-American or Latino students, The White House said.

Being prepared for jobs of the future isn't just about working with computers, Obama added, but also developing analytical and coding skills to power "our innovation economy."

"Today's auto mechanics aren't just sliding under cars to change the oil; they're working on machines that run on as many as 100 million lines of code. That's 100 times more than the Space Shuttle," he said. "Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records. Machinists are writing computer programs."

Obama's plan, which will be unveiled officially on February 9, also calls for sending $100 million directly to school districts to help launch computer science programs. In addition, it directs the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service to spend more than $135 million in existing funds on teacher training over a five-year period beginning this year.

The plan is also a call to lawmakers, governors, mayors and business and tech leaders to join the tech education cause.

Microsoft is an early supporter of the initiative, with company president Brad Smith reportedly telling reporters on a call set up by The White House that his company is launching a campaign to further push its computer science education programs.

Source: http://www.cnet.com/news

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