Starting today, Microsoft Office 365 for education is available, providing the world’s best productivity, communications and collaboration experiences to schools at no cost. Office 365 for education is a cloud-based suite that includes the familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications, as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online. It provides educators with powerful tools to create anytime, anywhere* learning opportunities across multiple devices in addition to email, calendars, Microsoft Office Web Apps, video and online meetings plus advanced document creation features for curriculum planning and student projects.
”The cloud and online learning are key trends transforming education today. Office 365 for education delivers a holistic collaboration platform that will change the game,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education, Microsoft. “As schools face ever-tightening budgets and the pressure to innovate, we are offering enterprise quality technology for free that will modernize teaching practices and help prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Announced as part of the one-year anniversary of Office 365, prestigious K–12 and higher education institutions around the world are moving to Office 365 for education.
- Dartmouth College. The move to Office 365 will provide secure and reliable communications for over 10,000 students, faculty and staff on campus and across departments. After the conversion is complete, collaboration on learning and research projects across campus will be easier with everyone using the same tools, and students will also benefit from using the same technology they will be required to use in the business world.
- Cornell University. Cornell will begin onboarding 7,000 faculty and staff to Office 365 in fall 2012, taking advantage of the cloud-based email and calendar support. In the future, they plan to roll out SharePoint Online and Office Web Apps, and give students the option to use Office 365.
- Fresno Unified School District. Utilizing Exchange Online, the district’s email will operate in the cloud for the district’s 74,000 students and 12,000 faculty and staff. Protected by Microsoft Corp.’s built-in antivirus and anti-spam filters, Fresno USD expects to save $50,000 to $100,000 per year in costs. Nearly one-third of students currently utilize Microsoft Office and SharePoint to create documents and presentations and collaborate on class projects, which is expected to increase three-fold with the move to Office 365 when students will be able to access school portals at home.
- Gonzaga University. Leveraging SharePoint Online and Lync Online will allow Gonzaga to maintain its leadership in the online learning space and provide its distant learning population (which composes nearly 20 percent of its total students) with seamless access to an online resources portal and anytime* collaboration tools. Office 365 will support 8,000 students and 1,200 faculty and staff.
- Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Eighty thousand students will switch from Google to the Microsoft solution while 9,500 faculty and staff will be moving to the cloud from on-premises solutions, saving the district $400,000 annually in IT services costs.
- Tennessee Department of Education. Office 365 will allow the department to offer a single platform to its 136 districts and 1,677 schools across the state, increasing opportunities for collaboration and tapping into an enormous amount of teacher potential both outside and inside the classroom that was not there before.
Schools Benefiting From Office 365
“It’s important we have a consistent toolset across the district so people can work together effectively. With Office 365 everything from the features and functions in the applications to the way the toolbars look exactly the same no matter where or how it’s being accessed, helps improve both teacher and student productivity,” said John Williams, executive director, Technology and Information Services, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. “This consistency, combined with the collaboration capabilities of Office 365, will be essential in supporting the blended learning environment we’re striving for across our district.”
“After extensive research, we chose Office 365 for education because it allows us to leverage the benefits of cloud-based services while readily meeting our security and accessibility requirements for email and calendar support. The shift to the cloud allows us to focus more directly on our core missions related to education, research and outreach,” said Ted Dodds, chief information officer, Cornell University.
Classrooms Without Boundaries
Office 365 allows schools to teach from virtually anywhere,* reach more students, teach software skills employers are looking for and provide enterprise-class tools that reduce IT costs.
- Students can engage in ad-hoc instant messaging or video chats to collaborate on class projects in real time, regardless of where they are working or on what device. They can create documents with Office Web Apps that provide the same features as the desktop version of Microsoft Office, share class notes by synchronizing OneNote notebooks, and create digital portfolios.
- Teachers can create curriculum, record lectures and publish them on online class sites in the cloud where students are able to view, open, produce, edit and share their homework. Office 365 provides new ways to extend classroom teaching time and distance learning, tutor students online, and whiteboard ideas.
- Educational institutions and parents will get peace of mind knowing students’ content and personal data are protected and won’t be scanned for advertising purposes, thanks to a rich set of privacy, security and protection capabilities that adhere to federal laws.
- School IT departments can save money and free up more critical time by counting on Microsoft to manage routine tasks such as applying server updates and software upgrades. With the influx of digital content, data center demands and lessened and with 25GB mailboxes, people won’t be forced to purge files.
Education institutions currently using the Microsoft Live@edu platform will be upgraded to Office 365 beginning this summer. More about Office 365 for education is available at http://www.microsoft.com/education/office365.