Education Insights

Education news, trends, and highlights by Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft

Identity Is Key

Identity Is Key

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Sorry about the geekiness of the joke in the title of this blog post…but it’s truly the case that a school's journey to deliver personalized and adaptive learning to students starts with building a strong and integrated foundation on identity.  As students bounce between schools, subjects, and modalities…the need to keep experiences, grades, content, collaboration seamless…and INFORMED is driven by federated identity working to connect it all.  Identity can be the bridge between on-premise and cloud systems…the catalyst to drive predictive content based on education analytics…and the gatekeeper to help keep our children safe. Solutions like Live@edu may be known for providing safe and robust email and collaboration capabilities…but the richness of the solution set starts with the ability to provide and federate identity to students, faculty and parents.

Microsoft is working to make experiences more connected and safe via our End to End Trust vision.  Our progress was highlighted at the RSA Conference this week in San Francisco by Scott Charney, corporate vice president of our Trustworthy Computing Group.  One of the exciting areas he discussed was how people can now use technology innovations to share information about themselves while disclosing only as much of their identity as they choose.

A beta technology, currently code-named Microsoft “Geneva,” helps to simplify this process in an open and interoperable claims-based model. By combining this new, open and interoperable identity metasystem, people can be granted access to resources while minimizing the risk of providing information that may be compromised or misused online.  During the RSA keynote he delivered, Scott also demonstrated how this technology can work when combined with in-person proofing through a limited proof of concept with the Lake Washington School District, in Redmond, Wash. Like many school districts, Lake Washington is challenged with how to provide secure and private online access to staff, students and parents. Microsoft is working with the school district to deploy the “Geneva” claims-based identity platform, including Information Cards on small notebook PCs, across its IT infrastructure. Using this model, the district will equip students with these small notebook PCs so they can more securely access learning materials developed by the district and application providers from virtually anywhere.

As our students and schools embrace online collaboration and cloud services as important tools for learning and tracking progress, the need to keep the environment secure and protect against identity corruption is critical.

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