When I attend events and meet with customers and partners, people are often surprised to hear about the wide range of programmes and products we offer to the community we serve.

With this in mind, I thought it might be useful to share a summary of these initiatives via the blog.

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The following initiatives are part of our dedication to bringing the benefits of technology and technology skills to all with a view to help improve education, create opportunity and raise living standards. Furthermore, we believe that technology can accelerate insight and impact and that immersive learning experiences inspire improved outcomes. This is where our products, services and programmes comes into play.

Our products and programmes for the academic sector include:

Microsoft IT Academy

The ITA program provides industry-leading technology skills to help bridge the skills gap. With Microsoft IT Academy, institutions get digital curriculum and certifications on fundamental technology skills, as well as courses critical for students to be successful in today’s technologically evolving world, all at significantly reduced pricing for academic institutions and their educators, students and staff.

More specifically, for educators and staff, ITA offers a complete curriculum for teaching technology courses combined with a full set of and learning tools.

Additionally, for students, ITA helps to provide both technology skills and certifications to be college and career ready for today’s technology- centered job market.

Professional Development for Educators

Become truly innovative by bridging the gap between technology and teaching. Microsoft Partners in Learning offers a range of professional development programs to bridge the gap between technology skills and innovative teaching while also giving you the recognition of the unique skills you have developed.

Office 365 Education

Office 365 creates experiences that help students easily connect with each other, faculty, and experts to inspire, research and form new ideas.

With Office 365 Education, staff, faculty, and students at your academic institution can get access to free email, sites, online document editing, storage, IM, and web conferencing.

Student Advantage

As part of our ongoing commitment to education, we are thrilled to announce Student Advantage, a new benefit to qualifying institutions which will make it easy for students to use the latest and best version of full Office at their education institution and at home.

So what does this mean? From 1st December, 2013, any institutions worldwide that licenses Office for staff and faculty can provide access to Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. As a result, more than 35,000 institutions worldwide are automatically eligible to deliver the Student Advantage benefit to their students.  Office 365 ProPlus includes all the familiar and full Office applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and offers the ability for these to be locally installed on up to five devices and available offline.

Xbox 360 for Education

The new school year is dawning, get your school or college up to date for the upcoming IT curriculum change with an Xbox 360 console + a 3 Year standard DreamSpark subscription.

Xbox 360 with DreamSpark is the ideal course complement for educational institutions who are interested in making programming, coding or game development part of their curriculum program.

Make coding fun with Xbox 360 for Education!

We encourage you to visit the Microsoft Faculty Connection portal, which provides information on course materials, learning activities, presentations, and reference information; as well as Xbox for Education. Link to Microsoft Faculty Connection Portal

DreamSpark

DreamSpark supports technical education by giving students and educators professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost. Through DreamSpark, educators can also get top-notch resources to ensure their classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenge, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways. Be part of the next big thing in phone and game development with DreamSpark!

Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the classroom is a free and easy way for teachers to open up their classroom. Meet new people, talk to experts, share ideas and create amazing learning experiences

Technology Access Programme

The technology access programme, formerly referred to as Shape the Future, is a global programme from Microsoft that provides a comprehensive approach for governments exploring a transformation of their education system to prepare students for the 21st century. These solutions achieve whole system change – from access (devices and connectivity) to capacity (educator professional development) to outcomes (skills for tomorrow’s workforce).

Kodu Kup

The Kodu Kup is open to any child enrolled as attending a UK school and who is aged between seven to fourteen years of age at the date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher and must be entered for the competition as a team of three people. Please note, children cannot enter themselves and must, therefore, be entered by their teacher as both the Kodu Game Lab and PiL Network are subject to age restrictions (see Kodu Game Lab, Project Spark and PiL Network terms of use for more details). Follow @KoduKup on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KoduKup) to receive regular updates.

'Get On'

Microsoft UK’s ‘Get On’ programme is a flagship citizenship initiative, aimed to help 300,000 young people in Britain take meaningful steps towards work. ‘Get On’ creates opportunities through a variety of programmes to help students: Get Inspired, Get Skilled, Get a Job. The interns at Microsoft, all in their third years at university run the program and provide insights, skills and advice on the first steps into the working world. A webinar will be scheduled soon. More details will be shared via the UK Schools Blog.

Power BI for Office 365 Education

Power BI for Office 365 is a collection of features and services that enable you to visualise data, share discoveries and collaborate in intuitive new ways. Power BI works seamlessly with Excel and allows you to create compelling content, data models and visualisations and then share and collaborate around those insights with your colleagues, teams and study groups.

Where to go for more information and advice

This is a top level overview of a selection of the education products, services and programmes we offer to the education community. We will be providing additional content around these areas on the blog over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any questions or keen to learn more please leave a note in the comments below.