Education Insights

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

Why Microsoft cares about education and what we are doing about it

Why Microsoft cares about education and what we are doing about it

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Sharing my blog post published on The Official Microsoft Blog from today...

With the release of "Waiting for 'Superman,'” the topics of education reform and the quality of U.S. public schools are getting mainstream attention. A lot of news headlines and opinions abound about what are the right and wrong solutions to fixing our classrooms and raising student outcomes and who to blame for the problems. It’s what the education community has been talking about for decades, and I’m pleased to see that the importance of education has finally elevated and entered the national dialogue.

At Microsoft, we believe every child has a basic right to an excellent education. The challenges of education are too big for any one institution to fix. We believe it will take a broad range of private and public partnerships to contribute to this effort and Microsoft is committed to doing so. As a business leader, our future is dependent on a competitive workforce, equipped to succeed in the 21st century.

Across the company, we are invested in improving education in a variety of ways. We empower, train and connect innovative teachers and schools through our Partners in Learning program. We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into state partnerships across the country to not only bolster innovation, but to help those organizations working on curbing the drop out epidemic. And with programs like DigiGirlz, Imagine Cup and EduConnect, we are providing opportunities for kids to learn about careers in technology, to get interested in STEM, and for our own employees to volunteer in local schools.

This week, Microsoft is one of the sponsors of NBC’s Education Nation and rolling out a number of vehicles that foster the dialogue on the remedies to the current quality disparity in education across the United States.  Our hope is that millions of people will come together to discuss the challenges schools are currently facing, learn about best practices and then, finally, engage people to take action.

New Teacher Map App. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the launch of a new teacher resource, http://www.teach.gov, the Bing team is showing off the Teach Here map app that provides a simple way to search for teacher prep programs, teaching-related scholarships, certification offices, and local job opportunities. Learn more about it here.

Ask Arne. On Friday, October 1st, MSN.com and Whitehouse.gov will be hosting a live webcast with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to encourage the national conversation around education reform. Anyone who cares about the state of education in America is encouraged to submit a question and vote on the questions you want Secretary Duncan to answer at ask-arne.msn.com.

Our School Needs. Starting today, schools across the country can begin to submit their entries in the Bing “Our Schools Need” contest. Whether your school needs a new gym, new laptops, or a new photo lab, the finalist will win the grand prize of $100,000. In total, Bing is donating over $500,000 to schools in the form of prizes and donations to DonorsChoose.org.

MSN Tastemaker on education. During the weeks of Sept.27 and Oct 4, contestants in the MSN social reality show “The Tastemaker” will be creating—and inspiring their social networks to create—Public Service Announcements in favor of education reform. The contestants will be judged on their ability to rally the web, and one of those audience-generated videos will be chosen by Viacom for distribution across its properties.

This week, the Microsoft News Center will also feature a daily Q&A series called, “The Education Community Speaks Out,” where we will hear from representatives from different parts of the education community to understand their perspectives, frustrations and hopes for the future. You can read the stories here.

And don’t forget to join the conversation at www.bing.com/redu and to learn more about the education transformation movement in the U.S. and see how you can get involved and bring long-term meaningful change to our local schools.

Comments
  • Apple has an Itunes University.  You guys don't have a Zune University.  My feedback and suggestion is to create a Zune University.  ZUniversity has a nice ring to it.

  • I work for a large educational company in the US with a rather significant amount of branding. We've been approaching a technological solution for some time to really move education into the 21st century, but unfortunately we've been plagued by ridiculously high costs. There's hardware costs, engineering costs, and software costs.

    I had mentioned Microsoft's commitment to education as a means to try and help lower our costs per device but was told that we couldn't leverage Microsoft's Education pricing because we are a for-profit entity.

    Due to this, we've been researching many technologies to try and help reduce the cost of infrastructure. Unfortunately, due to the fact that every different team of people that designs it has a different perspective on what should be done and at what cost, we end up in development hell redesigning the project over and over.

    It would be great to get Microsoft's help with whatever resources we could to help get the project on-track. As far as I can tell, the kids love what we've been doing with our currently deployed solution. And having come from a background where I had gotten an old computer (a 386 in 1996) from my Aunt which helped me to be the only person in my house to earn a college degree, I have always felt that on a personal level technology is the way forward for a large amount of children.

  • There's No Quick Fix For Our Failure To Educate America's Children    I've witnessed the issues arise, the problems surface, the approaches and philosophies change, principals withdraw from the teacher association, textbook publishing become for profit with fewer researched scientifically to teach a skill, textbooks with readability rarely at grade level, fine administrators and ones that degrade, bully, threaten,  disliked, unwanted staff members, many, too many children that have failed school either through bad behavior or too many bad grades before sixth grade, yet passed until they hit the inevitable wall, foreign language learners, who eventually are labeled special needs, become rebels, dropouts, feel unequal.                    

  • There's No Quick Fix For Our Failure To Educate America's Children    I've witnessed the issues arise, the problems surface, the approaches and philosophies change, principals withdraw from the teacher association, textbook publishing become for profit with fewer researched scientifically to teach a skill, textbooks with readability rarely at grade level, fine administrators and ones that degrade, bully, threaten,  disliked, unwanted staff members, many, too many children that have failed school either through bad behavior or too many bad grades before sixth grade, yet passed until they hit the inevitable wall, foreign language speakers, who eventually are labeled special needs, become rebels, dropouts, feel unequal.   To Be Continued....                  

  • While there is not a quick fix, there is simple solutions. In order to get to those solutions, we must bring about a more old fashion approach to education while bringing about innovation like microsoft products to our students. More community focus. You almost fix the community in some cases for the schools to be effective.

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