DISCOVER Partners in Learning Transforming Education. Creating Opportunities.
Transforming Education. Creating Opportunities. At Microsoft, we recognize education as critical to the social and economic development of every nation, and to the ability of individuals everywhere to reach their full potential. Today, the acquisition and transfer of knowledge is the most powerful driver of the global economy. And while information and communication technology is creating exceptional opportunities for people around the world, it also has contributed to a widening skills gap–a “digital divide”– across communities, as well as between countries. Through our global Partners in Learning initiative, we strive to actively increase access to technology and improve its use in learning. We work closely with the Unlimited Potential team, a Microsoft citizenship program which provides technology access to developing segments. Through Partners in Learning, we foster new approaches to pedagogy and teacher professional development, and we provide the tools for educators to collaborate and share their findings and best practices within their region and worldwide. We offer education leaders the tools to envision, implement, and manage change. Since its launch in 2003, Partners in Learning has touched the lives of more than 90 million students, teachers, and education policymakers in 101 countries. Our goal is to create educational experiences that remove limitations and bring students and teachers closer, worldwide. Building on these efforts, Microsoft has renewed its commitment to Partners in Learning, increasing the company’s investment to nearly US$500 million over 10 years.
Together with our partners around the world, we are focusing on three key areas that have the greatest potential to empower students and teachers and transform education:
Innovative Schools helps schools around the world
to move beyond the limits of the classroom and traditional learning models. Through shared experiences and goals, the program aims to create models that any school, any system, can use to prepare children for success in an evolving global economy.
Innovative Teachers connects and empowers educators worldwide. The Innovative Teachers Network enables teachers to learn from one another and work collaboratively on new approaches to learning through national or region-wide portals. The Innovative Teachers Forums are a set of national, regional, and worldwide events that identify and reward exceptional examples of technology use in the classroom.
Innovative Students aims to provide students with access to programs and curriculum that help fully integrate technology into the learning process, both in school and at home. It also enables qualified governments to provide used computers and affordable software to underserved primary and secondary student households that aspire to own a PC.
Ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to learn is an enormous challenge that requires participation by both the public and private sectors. Microsoft is deeply committed to collaborating with education partners around the world to enable the kind of transformations in teaching and learning that will help students and teachers realize their full potential.
Global Partnerships at Work Partners in Learning is unique, not only in its scope, but also in its structure which is based on collaborative agreements with governments and nongovernmental organizations. The initiative is notable for its engagement at every level of the education sector—from ministries of education to school leaders, teachers, and students. Although Partners in Learning is a global initiative, its programs are implemented primarily through innovative local partnerships between Microsoft and the education community to ensure that they are relevant and locally appropriate. These partnerships allow us to address a wide range of educational challenges and opportunities in meaningful ways. For instance, in Argentina’s highly decentralized education system, Partners in Learning is helping to establish a longterm approach for teachers throughout the country to make better use of technology through regional peer review as well as through Neodocentes, a collaboration and resource Web portal. In Estonia, which is striving to deepen its
connections to the global economy, Partners in Learning supports the work of the Tiger Leap Foundation, an organization launched by the Estonian government, to help teachers challenge students to solve real-life issues through the use of technology. In two schools in the town of Bristol, a US$2 million grant from Partners in Learning is helping explore alternatives to traditional teaching and learning methods in the United Kingdom, with the goal of enabling children to become more effective researchers, innovators, and creators of knowledge. In regions throughout the world, academic program managers for Partners in Learning work with local agencies, governments, and educational institutions to identify needs, create measurable solutions, and effectively manage change.
“ Our partnership with Microsoft is an excellent example of how public and private sectors can powerfully combine to help address major issues such as literacy and poverty affecting entire communities, societies, and countries. Information and communications technology is a vital tool for extending educational inclusion, quality, and efficiency, and also for promoting science, culture, and sustainable development in education.” – Sheldon Shaeffler, director of the Asia and Pacific Regional Bureaus of Education for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization)
Innovative Schools: Achieving Universal Education Goals Microsoft’s Innovative Schools program is helping schools around the world to move beyond the limits of the classroom and traditional learning models. By contributing our most valuable resource—our people—we help by making education more engaging, inspiring, and relevant. The Innovative Schools program assists 12 schools by providing intellectual property, technology expertise, experiential knowledge, and the support of our community. We work with them to inspire big thinking and discover best practices. Through our shared experiences and goals, we are creating models that any school, any system, can use in the future to prepare children for success. The schools already are making a difference in their communities and in the way we view education. In Singapore, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Microsoft have initiated BackPack.NET, an ambitious fiveyear program which encourages inquiry, creativity, and student-centered learning through advanced applications of technology in the classroom. It includes a pilot project that puts Tablet PCs into the hands of every student at a number of “pioneer schools.”
project-based teaching methodologies, innovative uses of technology, and a focus on developing lifelong learning skills. In its first year, daily attendance at the school has averaged 90 percent, compared with 75 to 77 percent for other nearby schools. As Thailand prepares for a long-awaited decentralization of its public school system, Microsoft has helped more than 13,000 education leaders throughout the country attend workshops where they have learned strategies to help create a sustainable culture of leadership, collaboration, and innovation in their schools. “We have a very happy relationship with Microsoft. They’re always thinking one step ahead of us, anticipating our needs, and stepping in to help when they’re needed,” says Dr. Kasama Varavarn, secretary-general, Office of Basic Education Commission, Thailand. Innovative Schools serve as important laboratories in the evolution of education. In the next five years, Partners in Learning will invest in new Innovative Schools and help extend the discovery tools and best practices learned through these model programs to serve the wide ranging needs of educators throughout the world.
At the Philadelphia School of the Future, a state-of-the-art public high school in the United States, students benefit from a progressive learning environment that incorporates
“ I can’t wait to come here because I don’t know what we’ll be doing next—I’m on the edge of my chair every day.” – Jessica Nichols, ninth-grade learner, Philadelphia School of the Future
Innovative Teachers: Sharing Success In order for today’s students to acquire the skills needed to be competitive in an evolving world, the learning environment within schools must understand and emulate the characteristics and behaviors of the outside world. At Microsoft, we believe that a learning environment which fosters these critical skills must support not only the students, but also the educators tasked with preparing the students. To achieve this, our Innovative Teachers program is committed to supporting educators as they develop and share successful methodology and protocols, incorporate them into their own professional learning, and then into the student learning environment. Around the world, we work with our partners to build community among teachers and help them collaborate with their colleagues, provide access to quality content, and challenge educators to use technology in new ways. For example, in India, Microsoft is working with education departments, colleges, and universities to incorporate pre-service information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum in a sustainable and scalable model. It is unprecedented in its scope—in India or elsewhere in the world. Already, 160,000 teachers and hundreds of teacher educators have been trained in ICT skills. “ICT is playing an increasingly key role in education today. It has the potential to have widespread impact in every aspect of education. It is important for us to equip our teachers to effectively leverage ICT to improve the teaching and learning process, and we are thankful to Microsoft for supporting this endeavor,” says Ananda Kishore, director of the State Council of Educational Research and Training for the government of Andhra Pradesh.
In some of Brazil’s most economically challenged areas, three Microsoft programs—Student Help Desk, ICT for Principals, and Peer Coaching—are helping schools to better maintain and use their computers, while inspiring teachers to embrace technology as an empowering tool for teaching and learning. The impact is far-reaching. More than 7,000 students now maintain their schools’ computer labs for nearly 500,000 fellow students. Nearly 25,000 public school principals have been reached through the ICT for Principals program. And localized versions of the Peer Coaching program are growing throughout 18 states. Across the globe, Microsoft’s Innovative Teachers program supports the creation of communities of teachers who share a passion for innovative teaching practices. Most recently the forum met in Cambodia, where 180 teachers from 65 countries gathered to share ideas and explore new ways of collaborating. During a visit to the nearby temples of Angkor Wat, educators were challenged to develop a teaching module that draws on the history of the site to help students understand the impact of caste and class structure on societies. The power of Microsoft’s fast-growing Innovative Teachers Network is just beginning. Today, on a daily basis, more than 400,000 teachers on 52 local networks connect and share ideas, practices, and professional development resources. As their numbers, ideas, and ability to exchange learning tools continues to expand, so does their impact on classrooms around the world.
“ Every school in the world has at least one teacher who is an inspiration to their peers, who is always exploring new ways to engage, challenge, and inspire their students. Yet all too often their innovations and insights never make it beyond the classroom walls.” – Vincent Quah, director of Public Sector Programs for Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific region
Innovative Students: Cultivating Critical Skills The shifting demands of the global economy require that students everywhere be well-educated, creative, and flexible enough to take advantage of its countless opportunities. Today’s students are unique in that they belong to the first generation in history that knows more about a significant new innovation than adults do. As a result, they require a new set of learning tools. Microsoft is committed to helping students gain access to important technology and, working with our partners, providing proven curricula to spark their imagination and facilitate meaningful learning inside and outside of the classroom. Through discounted software, Microsoft works with eligible governments to help bring technology into the homes of families with school-age children. The Innovative Student program also helps deliver technology curricula directly to students, to engage the minds of budding software developers and technicians around the world. For instance, the Student Helpdesk curriculum is designed to provide students with a solid theoretical foundation and the accompanying technical, and communications skills necessary to perform as help desk technicians. The curriculum integrates technology and learning while empowering students and schools to provide an effective on-site technical support system.
In Australia, Partners in Learning grants are supporting efforts by educators in the eastern state of Queensland to understand how computer games, spatial technologies, and other digital innovations can enrich teaching and learning, particularly for students who don’t respond well to traditional teaching methods. The Junior Developer curriculum was created in Egypt through a Partners in Learning collaboration. Now nationwide in that country, the Junior Developer Program teaches middle-school students programming and Web design skills in middle school, planting the seeds for a more capable workforce in the future. In the next five years, each region will be working with teachers, districts and non-governmental organizations to identify and support new ways of reaching, engaging and educating students with innovative uses of technology in both formal and informal learning environments.
“ The Junior Developer Program has sparked a revolution in our schools. Before, the computers weren’t used very often…but now everyone is using them.” – Wafaa Mohamed Anwar, chief IT inspector for the governorate of Alexandria, Egypt
Building a Partnership for the Future At Microsoft, we are committed to learning from and building on the important lessons of Partners in Learning in the coming years. Together with our partners around the world, we are working to make a measurable difference in closing the digital divide and unleashing the potential of students and teachers around the world.
To find out how Partners in Learning can work with you and your education community, go to www.microsoft.com/ education/partnersinlearning.
DISCOVER © 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. These reports are for informational purposes only. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied in this summary. Microsoft Corporation • One Microsoft Way • Redmond, WA 98052-6399 • USA 0308 Part No. 099-94813