Excerpt from our Office 365 Education supplement developed in association with PC Pro Magazine.

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#1 You’ll never lose homework again

Each staff and student account comes with 50GB of free storage for emails, documents, presentations and associated photos and media. That’s more than enough to last any student throughout their life at school. What’s more, this space is a repository for all their vital files, always available, always online. Saving to the cloud is just as easy as saving to a local hard disk. As the account is accessible from laptops and PCs at home and school – not to mention tablets and smartphones on the move – both staff and students can work wherever and on whatever they like. Students can start a document from school and finish it at home, or vice versa, and the latest version is always within easy reach. There’s no reason to mess around with USB memory sticks or emailed attachments, and no excuse for not bringing homework into class. Frankly, you don’t even have to think about it.

#2 Worry-free IT to suit your school

Office 365 Education is incredibly flexible, and how your school uses it is up to you. If you simply want free email with a 50GB inbox, then that’s fine. If you want to make SharePoint Online the platform for a new all-signing, all-dancing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), then that’s great too. If you want all your data in the cloud, then Office 365 is safe, secure and reliable. If you feel more comfortable with local email and storage systems, then Office 365 Education supports a hybrid approach, synchronising local and cloud-based data and giving you the best of both worlds. Office 365 Education is simple enough to manage within the school, but if you want worry-free IT you can outsource setup, management and support to a Microsoft partner. Office 365 doesn’t force you to use one specific piece of hardware, operating system, browser or application (although some requirements naturally apply). The choice is always yours.

#3 Collaboration within and without the school

Collaboration is part and parcel of Office 365.Education. Using just the Office Web Apps, teams of students can work on a single version of an online Word, Excel or PowerPoint document, viewing and making edits simultaneously with all changes synchronised. Teachers and students can also work on the same document at the same time, enabling new styles of teaching and learning. SharePoint Online, meanwhile, provides an ideal platform for group activities and larger projects. Yet Office 365 Education takes collaboration even further. With Lync Online, it’s easy to set up real-time video chats, instant messaging and screen-sharing with students across classrooms, schools and even around the world. Teachers can use it to foster relationships between different schools and communities, or call in experts without needing to physically bring them into school. Office 365 Education helps staff and students work together – and bring in the wider world.

#4 Office 365 Education works on anything

Office 365 Education is the perfect fit for Windows, whether you’re running Windows 8 or Windows 7, and whether you’re using PCs, laptops or tablets. Yet it’s not in any way limited to Microsoft technology. Office 365 Education’s email will work perfectly well with Macs, iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones and tablets. The Office Web Apps will run in a browser on Mac OSX, Linux and Chrome OS PCs and laptops, and you can view and edit documents on a wide variety of devices, either using native apps like those for iOS and Android, or in the browser. Even when schools want to centralise on Windows as an OS across all devices, Office 365 Education is ready to embrace a diverse ecosystem, covering just about every computer and device staff and students come into contact with, whether at home or at school. It doesn’t shut anyone out.

#5 It can inspire new ways of learning

With the power of the cloud behind you, you can investigate new approaches to teaching and learning. Create team sites for staff and students. Manage cross-class projects with SharePoint Online and get everyone involved. Use video chat and instant messaging to let ideas develop and thoughts run wild. Harness Office Web Apps for collaborative activities that  might involve teachers and teams  of students. Plus, because Office 365 Education works just about everywhere and on almost everything, you can use it to engage students at school, at home and anywhere in-between. Carry learning  outside of the classroom, and take full advantage of mobile technology, whether it belongs to the school or to your students. With a little imagination, Office 365 Education might just transform the way you teach.

#6 It has the power of Microsoft Office behind it

Some cloud-based services make you  work with unfamiliar apps and tools. Not Office 365 Education. The Office Web Apps, covering Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Excel, have the familiar look and feel of their desktop versions and many of the same features. Accessible on almost any laptop or PC with almost any browser, they enable students and staff to work anywhere, even if they don’t have an Office license or Office installed. Yet if you need more power, Office 365 Education works hand-in- hand with the desktop Office applications. Staff and students can start  projects using Office Web Apps then polish them in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Teachers can set up documents in the desktop Office applications before handing them off  to students to continue the  work in the Web Apps. OneNote has become an invaluable tool for gathering ideas  and information, and with Office 365 Education it works across PCs, tablets and smartphones, while Outlook remains the most efficient way of  handling emails, calendars and contacts. With Office 365 Education, there’s no need to compromise on less  familiar or less functional apps. 

The full Office 365 Education Supplement can be viewed/downloaded for free below.