As institutions and individuals cope with the implications of the current economy, there are new obstacles to overcome and new challenges to be met.  These hurdles will require our schools and school leaders to bring new thinking to all aspects of learning and effectively embrace opportunities made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). 

And while the stimulus efforts will help buoy hope and provide the ability to rapidly address the most critical needs across our schools…we need to balance the short-term possibilities the new funds will provide with the ongoing and long-term mission of our educators. 

Microsoft shares this mission and envisions an exciting future for education. It’s a world where students are empowered to explore new ideas and learn to collaborate, analyze and solve problems. Teachers create and share compelling, individualized lessons that open students’ eyes to new knowledge and insights. And institutions harness the power of technology to work more efficiently, forge stronger connections with their communities, and effectively prepare students to compete in the global economy.

The ARRA will provide broad options for schools to think holistically about addressing the needs of our educators, students, buildings, classrooms…and while only a component, Microsoft believes that software and services can be a powerful catalyst for significant transformations in the way we learn.  It can enable teachers and students to share in richer, more motivating and productive learning, wherever and whenever it suits them.

Technology solutions can also help schools do more with less…saving schools money by improving inefficient processes, using data more effectively, respecting the environment with better energy consumption, etc. 

There are many implications and options to consider. To help schools sort out the options and provide a perspective on Microsoft’s shared commitment, we’ve created a website to help sort through the stimulus package, identify how Microsoft can support school system efforts, and help connect with long-term holistic reform thinking and action.  It includes information on a variety of solutions available and tools you can use today to help plan and respond to tight timelines required by the ARRA.

As I’ve traveled across the country over the last few months, I’ve been inspired by your continued commitment and passion. Our leaders are responding to real pressures with innovation and optimism... two things that have and continue to make our country great.  I'm very confident our schools and students will rise to the challenge presented by the current economy and Microsoft is prepared and eager to help you move forward.
 
I sat down with Mary Cullinane, Director of Innovation and Business Development, to discuss the stimulus, share our thinking, and hopefully sort out some options. Hope you find it valuable...


Education Stimulus Interview