Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Education is the core focus of any country’s national agenda to drive student achievement and global competitiveness.

This week, we’ll participate in BETT, an education event taking place in London, dedicated to showcasing how technology can improve education all over the world. Our education vice president, Anthony Salcito, summarizes the conference news here.

From a Windows perspective, we’re really excited to be part of this effort in our quest to deliver technology that gives students a competitive edge.

At BETT, we’ll talk about Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 a Windows product developed to give teachers and students increased access to technology at a lower cost of ownership. We hear quite often from education leaders there is a huge need and desire for technology, but often schools are cash constrained and don’t have the money to spend on computers.

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We also hear that they often lack necessary IT support. Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is designed to address these challenges so teachers and students can tap into a single computer that supports multiple users. This eliminates the need to buy more computers, cutting down on hardware purchasing costs as well as ongoing operational costs for things like support and energy usage.

This also means that students and teachers have a customized Windows 7 computing experience –using their own keyboard, mouse and monitor that are either directly connected to a host computer or through the school’s LAN.

We’ve been testing the product out in some schools in our own backyard including the Bellevue and Sultan school districts.

We recently sat down with Jason Golec, manager of network operations for the Bellevue school district, and Dave Moon, Technology Coordinator, Sultan School District to get their perspective. Jason faced these exact issues and said his biggest challenge is budget.

He evaluated multiple solutions and ultimately chose Windows MultiPoint Server based on the cost savings and how easy it was to set up and manage.

Budget constraints are also making it difficult for Dave to get students off of old hardware and give them access to the latest applications.

Dan Chaplik, superintendent, from the Sultan school district told us that Windows MultiPoint Server has had a positive impact on their technology vision. Similar to Jason, Dan emphasized that from a cost standpoint, “it’s been just phenomenal.” I absolutely love hearing this.

The other aspect of the stories I love is the breadth of Microsoft solutions used to foster the best learning environment for kids.

A powerful combination of Microsoft technologies including Windows 7, Office 2010, Windows MultiPoint Server and Application Virtualization technologies are providing them a “full meal deal.”  For example, through the use of technologies like App-V, they’re able to load one image across multiple computers, saving them time and headache.

What all of this ultimately translates into is some really powerful cost savings. Jason determined an estimated cost savings of up to $135,000, including saving on computer hardware, network switches, and cabling for their elementary school, money that can instead be used for other teaching and student needs.

He also said the teachers have provided positive feedback because Windows MultiPoint Server provides them with the familiar Windows 7 experience.

You can check out more of Bellevue and Sultan’s story here.

We also encourage you to visit the Microsoft Connect site and download the Release Candidate. MultiPoint Server 2011 will be available for purchase in March through volume licensing and through our OEM partners in the second quarter of this calendar year.

We too, truly believe that education is the most powerful thing to change the world and we’re passionate about delivering technology to help our teachers and students thrive.