Education is increasingly becoming more of an indispensable necessity than a luxury in almost all corners of the world, but as we make advances in technology that we use in all aspects of our lives, education often finds itself slow to adapt. While there have been numerous cases of individual educational institutions that have adapted, this is one of the few cases where a large governing body takes drastic measures to upgrade its education system to 2015 standards.
As part of a commitment to provide the latest educational tools to students, the state of Maryland is providing free access to Office 365 to all its K-12 public school students. The students can then use Microsoft’s latest productivity and collaboration suite both at school and at home.
“The Microsoft Office 365 tools and IT Academy programs provide Maryland students with new opportunities to learn marketable skills and acquire an edge as they prepare to compete for careers in a global marketplace. We chose Microsoft tools because their programs enable every student access to the tools for learning, collaboration and creativity in school and also at home.” – Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools
This is without a doubt a massive commitment from both Microsoft and the state of Maryland that will see over 1,400 schools with almost 870,000 students gain access to the latest Microsoft productivity tools, regardless of a students’ economic background, where they live, or which school they go to. It gives all students in the state an equal chance to succeed as well as giving them valuable first-hand experience with world-class software solutions that they will almost certainly come across in the future, be it at home or in the workplace.
“We want every student to have the opportunity to graduate high school with in-demand career skills that lead to jobs or postsecondary education. Our students should be prepared to succeed on whichever path they choose.”
The state is also very pleased with the Obama Administration’s ConnectED initiative which is working on providing “next-gen broadband” to 99% of American classrooms by 2018. The Initiative is also calling on private sector companies like Microsoft to support the vision and aid in making it a reality.
“Leading technology companies can produce feature-rich educational devices that are price-competitive with basic textbooks. And a robust market in educational software can unlock the full educational potential of broadband investment…” – The White House
In addition to Microsoft’s collaboration with the state of Maryland, the software giant has also made Office 365 Education free to American students enrolled at qualifying schools and their teachers. You can read more about that here, or find out about the other Office 365 subscription plans over at Office365.com
Microsoft efforts to improve education systems around the world is clearly gaining more traction as more educational institutions – and hopefully more governments – continue to demand its services and software solutions.