Starting today, Microsoft Office 365 for education is available, providing the world’s best productivity, communications and collaboration experiences to schools at no cost.

The cloud and online learning are key trends transforming education today. Office 365 for education delivers a holistic collaboration platform that will change the game,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education, Microsoft. “As schools face ever-tightening budgets and the pressure to innovate, we are offering enterprise quality technology for free that will modernize teaching practices and help prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”

At BETT 2011 we announced that Office 365 would be coming to our education customers – an upgrade for the current Live@edu service used by over 22M users worldwide. Over the last few months some of our early adopter customers, including University of Dundee, Westminster University and The Schools Network (formerly SSAT) have been deploying this upgraded service and they’re really happy with the results.

The university selected Office 365 over Google Apps because it gives us a robust enterprise-class platform for developing a radical new approach to collaboration and communication that goes far beyond email

Tom Mortimer, Director, Information and Communication Services, University of Dundee

As of right now education institutions can sign up for the Office 365 for education 30-day trial for free via the Office 365 website.

image

Classrooms Without Boundaries

Office 365 allows schools to teach from virtually anywhere*, reach more students, teach software skills employers are looking for and provide enterprise-class tools that reduce IT costs.

Students can engage in ad-hoc instant messaging or video chats to collaborate on class projects in real time, regardless of where they are working or on what device. They can create documents with Office Web Apps that provide the same features as the desktop version of Microsoft Office, share class notes by synchronizing OneNote notebooks, and create digital portfolios.

Teachers can create curriculum, record lectures and publish them on online class sites in the cloud where students are able to view, open, produce, edit and share their homework. Office 365 provides new ways to extend classroom teaching time and distance learning, tutor students online, and whiteboard ideas.

Educational institutions and parents will get peace of mind knowing students’ content and personal data are protected and won’t be scanned for advertising purposes, thanks to a rich set of privacy, security and protection capabilities that adhere to federal laws.

School IT departments can save money and free up more critical time by counting on Microsoft to manage routine tasks such as applying server updates and software upgrades. With the influx of digital content, datacentre demands and lessened and with 25GB mailboxes, people won’t be forced to purge files.

*An appropriate device, Internet connection, supported browser and/or carrier network connectivity are required. Data charges may apply.

What should I do now?
Go over to the Office 365 for education site and sign up for a 30-day trial!

http://education.office365.com

Education institutions currently using the Microsoft Live@edu platform will be upgraded to Office 365 beginning this summer.

Originally posted on UK Education Cloud Blog