Microsoft, Houghton Mifflin Team for Education

The partnership will help deliver Web-based educational material to students.

Microsoft is partnering with publishing house Houghton Mifflin to better enable students to learn using Web-based resources.

At the 2007 National Educational Computing Conference June 25 in Atlanta, Microsoft and HMLT (Houghton Mifflin Learning Technology), a Boston-based division of Houghton Mifflin, announced a partnership to make it easier for pre-K—12 and higher-education students, parents, teachers and administrators to access HMLTs educational resources.

The companies will be delivering personalized Web experiences for teachers, students, administrators and parents by providing a central point for accessing curriculum, lesson plans, communication, collaboration and best practices for use on a daily basis.

As part of the agreement, HMLT will develop its next-generation flagship Learning Village instructional Web portal on the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 and use Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the Microsoft Learning Gateway. The partnership enables teachers to integrate all of their content, applications and resources from one central source, using technology to manage and monitor their Web content needs across an entire geographic district, the companies said.

Fundamentally, Microsoft and Houghton Mifflin are looking to bring the Web in as a more integral part of the formal educational experience. While the classroom remains the primary source of a students educational experience, it is no longer the only one, according to Microsoft officials. The Web is facilitating education in all sorts of ways, and not just as a means of delivering homework assignments—although homework is a key issue of the partnering solution.

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For instance, this partnership enables students to access homework assignments and late-day additions or requests from teachers, communicate with teachers and other students, and file projects. Parents can have a more immediate role in their childrens education because they can sign into the portal and check on the status of their kids grades and progress they have made on specific projects. They can also use the portal to interact with teachers on how their children are conducting themselves in school.

With Learning Village on the Microsoft Learning Gateway portal, students will need to log on only once to access their homework assignments, Microsoft officials said. And after the students have completed their work, they can then drop it into a "virtual backpack" for their teacher to grade.

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