At the Microsoft 2011 Partners in Learning Global Forum, the Microsoft Corp. today announced new and continuing collaborations with the U.S. Department of Education, the British Council and the Smithsonian Institution to engage educators from their initial desire to enter the profession to successfully inspiring students in their classrooms. Microsoft believes that well-prepared educators can help today’s youth overcome the emerging opportunity divide and can help put students on a path toward the education, skills and opportunities they need to prosper in the 21st century.
The Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum is the culmination of a year’s worth of country and regional events honoring teachers and school leaders who are creatively and effectively using technology in their curriculum. The event provides these exceptional educators with an opportunity to compete and gain recognition at the global level and to share and collaborate on best practices, key learnings and how to implement creative ideas.
“The Partners in Learning program is one of the many investments Microsoft is making to help educators more effectively prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of education at Microsoft Corp. “At Microsoft, we believe that magic happens when business needs merge with social responsibility, and in an increasingly competitive global economy, bringing together organizations that are equally passionate about education can be a successful formula for preparing the next generation of leaders.”
Talented educators are critical to ensuring that students are better prepared to compete for the higher-skilled jobs demanded by today’s economy. To help fulfill the growing need for educators in the United States, Salcito announced in today’s keynote that Microsoft will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education to support a campaign aimed at inspiring and recruiting young people to enter the teaching profession. As part of this, Microsoft is assuming overall management of the TEACH website. In the coming months, Microsoft will be taking the lead in developing a coalition of private-sector companies and other key organizations to further support the campaign and will be moving the site to teach.org.
Microsoft also announced a new, five-year partnership with the British Council, an international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations, to increase quality and access in education and training around the world. This partnership will combine the assets of Microsoft and the British Council to nurture the use of information communications technology for innovative practice in teaching and learning in order to equip millions of students with the knowledge and skills they need for life and work in the 21st century. Microsoft and the British Council have each committed $1 million (U.S.) to the partnership’s first project, which will build 80 digital hubs at schools across Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda using Windows MultiPoint Server. The project is expected to train more than 20,000 school leaders and teachers and provide more than 100,000 learners and communities with digital access, while promoting literacy throughout the region. The project was inspired by similar work already underway in Africa by the British Council and by a commitment that Microsoft and other partners made at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 to build labs powered by Windows MultiPoint Server in 40 “lighthouse” schools in Haiti, serving 24,000 students.
“I welcome our new partnership with Microsoft, which will enable us to create opportunities for millions of educators and students around the world,” said Martin Davidson, chief executive, British Council. “By working together to harness technology for education and training, we can make a powerful contribution to preparing young people throughout the world for life and work in the 21st century.”
Microsoft Partners in Learning, the Smithsonian Institution and TakingITGlobal are continuing to expand the Shout program, which was announced at last year’s Global Forum in South Africa. The partnership harnesses the power of technology to connect research and education resources with teachers and their students so they can act as a driving force for significant, positive contributions to the environment. This year’s program will focus on water quality and quantity, to ensure that water is safe for both people and the environment, as well as managing the crises of too much water and not enough water.
The 2011 Partners in Learning Global Forum is being held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 7–10. Winners of the 18 Global Forum Educator Awards will be announced, and 18 new Mentor Schools will be recognized at a gala dinner at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. More information about the event can be found at http://bit.ly/pu4GSO or https://www.facebook.com/partnersinlearning and by following #PILGF on Twitter.