On Sunday, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, Microsoft Corp. announced that the Pasadena Independent School District (ISD) in Texas is adding to the growing momentum of schools choosing Microsoft technology and resources to help transform the student learning experience in the classroom. After a two-year pilot at schools around the district, Pasadena ISD will give students and teachers 12,900 Dell Venue 11 Pro Tablets with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 365 with OneNote. A primary consideration in the district’s decision was the innovative digital inking technology available in Windows 8.1 that is brought to life with OneNote and a touchscreen device like the Dell notebook.
“There is a massive transition to digital happening across the country and around the world in education, and schools looking to prepare their students for the world beyond the classroom are empowering their students and teachers by providing devices, services, training and other elements needed for improved student outcomes,” said Margo Day, vice president of U.S. education at Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we are proud to be a partner with so many great schools that are leading the way forward for education and in preparing our youth for tomorrow’s workforce.”
After carefully evaluating its device options, Pasadena ISD concluded that the inking capabilities in Windows 8.1, combined with the power of OneNote, gave students and teachers the most engaging experience possible. The district originally looked at a Windows 7-based netbook, but when it saw how digital inking on a tablet can duplicate the pen-and-paper experience, it captured peoples’ imaginations. The district saw the possibilities for things like real-time note taking, art projects and annotations, and determined that was the best option for students.
Pasadena joins a growing list of schools around the country that have recently chosen Microsoft devices and services to help bring technology and Microsoft YouthSpark resources into the classroom to improve student outcomes and opportunities, including the following:
Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). As part of Baltimore County Public Schools’ Students & Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) initiative, the district is rolling out 150,000 HP Elitebook 810 Revolve devices running Windows 8.1 to all students and teachers over the next four years. The initiative is aimed at fundamentally shifting teaching and learning in the district. Also, through the Microsoft Student Advantage offer, the district, which is already providing Microsoft Office to faculty and staff, will also offer the productivity suite to students at no additional cost. BCPS has developed a thoughtful approach to all the critical components to an effective one-to-one computing (1:1) initiative that also includes ongoing training for educators. Its curriculum offices are currently developing a framework and template for use in BCPS One, the new digital portal for curriculum and instruction, assessments, student data, reporting, and analysis.
Bureau of Indian Education: In support of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative and to accelerate the speed at which students in Bureau of Indian Education schools in the U.S. experience the benefits of a move to digital environments, Microsoft is working with Verizon Wireless to bring 10 tribal K–12 schools to digital 1:1 environments, which will include digital textbooks, content filtering and device management. The devices provided as part of the initiative are Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets. Data plans, network build-out, and appropriate educator and student training are included in the agreement. Build out of the network and implementation will take place in the coming months.
Chester County School District. This South Carolina district is in a close-knit, rural community, yet the school district also wanted to ensure that its young people had a global perspective. The district worked with local Internet providers to create Wi-Fi hotspots in strategically placed locations, such as parks and libraries, and provided students with Windows 8 devices. The devices were selected based on the district’s education priorities, a long battery life and durability.
Cincinnati Country Day School (CCDS). One of the first schools in the nation to go 1:1 in 1996, CCDS has been on the cutting edge of the digital transition for a long time. The school is now deploying Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices for its students in grades 5–12 and faculty. According to the school, these devices meet all three critical elements for technology in the classroom: the importance and value of reading and writing to the way students learn; the school’s focus on the creative process; and tools that are versatile enough to support a variety of projects and experiments, regardless of subject.
Fresno Unified School District (FUSD). The fourth-largest district in California with 75,000 students is currently rolling out 15,000 ASUS Transformer T100 devices running Windows 8.1 to third through eighth graders. The district chose the Windows platform to meet Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s requirements for testing and the district’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) vision.
Houston Independent School District (HISD). The largest school district in Texas and seventh-largest in the U.S., HISD purchased Microsoft solutions to help it improve student outcomes, solve privacy concerns and amend manageability worries that plague many other education technology implementations. Microsoft Office 365 and HP Elitebook Folio 9470m Ultrabooks running Windows are helping to support HISD’s more than 14,000 students and 1,200 teachers in the first phase of its PowerUp initiative to transform how teachers teach and how students learn.
Leon County Schools. The Florida district has been deploying Windows 8.1 devices to its 34,000 students, allowing them to keep the business-class tools already in use today and provide maximum flexibility for both elementary and high school levels.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DPS). The nation’s fourth-largest school district, initiated its digital convergence project, rolling out 150,000 HP devices running Windows 8.1, with tablets for seventh-grade civics and ninth-grade world history classes, and laptops at the elementary level. In addition, more than 10,000 interactive boards will be added to classrooms across the district, and all 350,000 students will receive Microsoft Office Professional Plus for free as part of Microsoft Student Advantage. One-third of MDCPS schools will also be Microsoft IT Academy schools, receiving specific IT skills training and certification testing. Finally, the first wave of M-DPS teachers have begun training with Microsoft Expert Educators.
West Virginia. West Virginia Department of Education, as part of a statewide agreement is allowing all its public schools to upgrade to Windows 8.1, as well as providing Office 365 and Office 365 ProPlus to students, teachers and staff, resulting in lower costs and broader access for schools and families in the state.
This digital transition is not just happening in the U.S., but also in schools around the world where technology is empowering students. In Thailand, for example, the Office of the Basic Education Commission recently signed a memorandum of understanding that will provide all 8 million students and 400,000 teachers in the country with access to Microsoft Office 365 for Education.
About Microsoft in Education
Microsoft is deeply committed to working with governments, communities, schools and educators to use the power of information technology to deliver technology, services and programs that provide anytime, anywhere learning for all. Since 2003, Microsoft has partnered with educators to impact more than 207 million students in 119 countries. Through TEACH.Org, Microsoft and other partners, candidates are provided with free access to the online tools and resources necessary to pursue a career in teaching. For more information: http://www.microsoft.com/education.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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