Microsoft Offers Windows, Office to Schools, Supports Obama Initiative
Microsoft joins other tech titans to bring affordable computing and broadband access to public school students under the White House's ConnectED initiative.A new CEO isn't the only big news Microsoft is sharing today. Microsoft announced Feb. 4 that it is improving access to its technology and cutting the cost of acquiring Windows-based products for U.S. public schools in support of ConnectED, an Obama administration initiative that seeks to align the nation's K-12 educational system with the digital age. ConnectED encourages participation from private-sector tech companies as well as training for teachers in leveraging technology to improve education. The program also aims to "connect 99 percent of America's students to the digital age through next-generation broadband and high-speed wireless in their schools and libraries," according to a White House FAQ. Microsoft is doing its part with a new education offer that will inject "more than $1 billion in savings into the system over the course of this year," the company said in a statement. Judson Althoff, president of Microsoft North America, said "We are responding to the president's challenge to ensure all students have access to the technology devices and services they need to succeed." In terms of Microsoft products, the offer will encompass Windows 8.1 Pro and Office 365 Education. "U.S. K–12 schools can access Office 365 online for free," noted the company, while schools that license Office 365 for their staff and faculty can offer their students free access to Office 365 ProPlus, which includes "locally installed, full Office applications."
Microsoft is tackling teacher training via the Partners in Learning Network, which is made up of 1 million educators across the globe. For students, the company offers its Microsoft IT Academy.