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  • Latest from IT Academy

    Jump on the 2013-2014 Webinar Circuit! Attend Our May 8th "1:1 Learning" Season Finale!

    This year’s webinar season is winding to a close, Thursday, May 8th, with “1 to 1 Learning and IT Academy Program Road Ahead.” Register today to take advantage of these final, exclusive insights from the technology teaching trenches.

    In this program, we’ll explore answers to these common questions:

    • Are we collectively into the “next phase” of 1-to-1, and should we stop calling it 1-to-1?
    • What if you’re just starting out: What should you watch for and expect?
    • If you’re in a mature program, what is the four-year slump, and could it be happening to your school?
    • What questions should teachers ask themselves when they’re designing units for their device-equipped students?

    Author Pamela Livingston started researching 1-to-1 in 2004, when she was running a laptop program and researching a book. She’s kept up with developments through two editions of her book “1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work,” plus writing, blogging, tweeting and visiting many schools in the U.S. and internationally. Join in a conversation on 1-to-1, “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), and more.

    Don’t miss out—take a moment to register!

    Bravo, Model High School MOS Graduates!

    Model High School in Rome, Georgia is celebrating the success of 51 IT Academy students (and their instructor, William Hosmer) who recently earned Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certificates. Ninety-six percent of those who tested passed.

    “I am glad that the program could add some substantial bullets to our students’ academic and career résumés,” said Hosmer. “These industry-recognized credentials will help these students stand out in today’s highly competitive job market.”

    Read the story.

    Sanya Qiongzhou University Launches IT Academy

    A new IT Academy at Sanya Qiongzhou University in Hainan, China is aiming to foster innovation and “high quality graduates,” particularly in support of the region’s international tourism industry. Read more.

    In Other News...

    Microsoft in Education Global Forum (and Why One Teacher Can’t Get Enough of It)

     Middle School STEM Coordinator and Microsoft Expert Educator Todd LaVogue makes no secret of the thrill he felt in representing the U.S. at the Global Forum in Barcelona in early April. Read his account of the international delegation he sat on, tackling poverty as a project-based learning activity, on the daily edventures blog.

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  • Latest from IT Academy

    Don't miss this Thursday's ITA webinar: Making Learning Come Alive with Office 365 in the Classroom - Register today!

    With just two webinars remaining in the 2013-14 series, we've lined up two fantastic speakers you won't want to miss....

    Thursday, April 10: Making Learning Come Alive with Office 365 in the Classroom

     Discover how Office 365 is changing the way teachers work with students through new ways to communicate, collaborate and create.  Mark Garcia, Cloud Architect for Microsoft US Education, will step us through classroom based scenarios including co-authoring, lecture capture, storing and more, demoing Office 365 along the way.  Find out how IT Academy is providing teachers the Microsoft Office curriculum, lesson plans, and certification exams to teach and use Office 365 as well as the curriculum students can use to build their Office skills. 

    Thursday, May 8: 1 to 1 Learning and IT Academy Program Road Ahead
     Are we into the next phase of 1-to-1 yet? Should we stop calling it 1-to-1? What if you’re just starting out – what should you watch for and expect? If you’re in a mature program, what is the 4 year slump and could it be happening to your school? What questions should teachers ask themselves when they’re designing units for their device-equipped students? Author Pamela Livingston started researching 1-to-1 in 2004 when she was running a laptop program and researching a book. She’s kept up with developments through two editions of her book “1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work” plus writing, blogging, tweeting and visiting many schools in the U.S. and internationally. Join in a conversation on 1-to-1, “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and more. In addition get a sneak peek into the IT Academy program’s road ahead.

    Don’t miss out—take a moment to register for both live virtual events today!

    MOAC Print Books—Did You Know?

     Did you know ITA members can purchase print versions of MOAC student ebooks? Print books are durable, efficient student aids in the lab, and all texts available in digital format with your membership also are available at a 50% discount. MOS 2010 and 2013 titles also are bundled with the WileyPLUS online teaching and learning environment and practice tests. See “Additional resources from Wiley” on the MOAC tab for product and ordering information.

     Purchase 25 or more MOS 2010 or 2013 print books for your lab and receive Wiley OfficeGrader at no additional charge. The OfficeGrader program automatically grades your students’ Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access projects. It scores them, marks them up, and reports the results. Video demos are available in “Additional resources from Wiley” on the MOAC tab. To order, use the promotion code on the order form on the MOAC tab.

    In Other News...

    New Digital Literacy course teaches coding basics with TouchDevelop

     “Build Your First App” – a free two-hour eCourse – has launched on the Digital Literacy website as the newest addition to the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum. Students start on a path to learning computer science and are inspired to use Microsoft tools and platforms as they build their first apps.

    • Learn the layout and elements of the TouchDevelop programming environment, and create your own account.
    • Learn programming principles that apply across all target devices – including lines of code, loops, variables, and conditional statements.
    • Create physics-based games that include sprites, touch input, and use of a device’s accelerometer.

    Rally Your Students to Compete in the 2014 MOS World Championship!

    All students have a chance to show off their Microsoft Office skills at the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) National and World Championships, this June and July. To qualify to participate in the MOS U.S. National Championship, a U.S. student (age 13-22) must pass one of the following exams before May 2, 2014:

    • Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2010 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2010 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2010 Exam

    The top five students in each of these exam tracks (based on exam score/time) will be invited to compete in the MOS U.S. National Championship in Atlanta, GA, June 20-22. Top students from around the world will be invited to represent their country and compete in the World Championship in Anaheim, California, July 27-30. 

    Learn more!

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  • Latest from IT Academy

    Watch the March “Bing for Schools” Webinar—and Get Inspired!

    Did you miss our March webinar, “The Future of Asking and Answering Questions”? In this valuable discussion, Bing Behavioral Scientist Matt Wallaert explored how educators can use Bing for Schools as a teaching tool to add context and inspiration to everyday inquiry. Watch it now!

    A search visionary of sorts, Wallaert claims that “freeing people up from having to memorize rote information has created increased space for solving problems of increasing size and complexity."

    "The better we can organize and retrieve that information, and transform it into a useable form, the more interesting the social problems we can solve," he says.

    Read more about Wallaert’s ideas and Bing for Schools on Anthony Salcito’s daily edventures blog.

    Final Two Webinars Coming Up: Register Today!

    This year’s program of webinars is winding down, with just two virtual events left to take advantage of, to enrich your technology education perspectives:

    • April: Making Learning Come Alive with Office 365 in the Classroom: Discover how Office 365 is changing the way teachers work with students through new ways to communicate, collaborate and create; and how ITA is providing teachers the Microsoft Office curriculum, lesson plans, and certification exams. Featured guests will include Mark Garcia, Cloud Architect for Microsoft US Education.
    • May: Setting a Successful Path to 1:1 Learning: Explore how 1:1 learning experiences can enhance and personalize your IT Academy and general curriculum. 

    Don’t miss out—take a moment to register!

    Set Up a Test Fest on Certiport

    Want to promote Microsoft technology courses and certifications at your institution, drive awareness and registration for classes, and draw new students? Host a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Test Fest. Visit Certiport to get tools and resources, including a Test Fest Starter Kit and templates for participant registration and tracking, event promotions and more.

    In Other News...

    Announcing the Relaunch of YouthSpark Hub!

    Based on user feedback, Microsoft has created a new YouthSpark Hub as the single point for finding Microsoft programs and offerings for youth. New functionality guides users to the programs that align to their interests and goals; and the site calls out resources that teachers can take advantage of to support their students. Check out the new Hub!

    Microsoft’s “Big Dream Movement” Inspires Girls to Pursue STEM

    A new program, called the Big Dream Movement, aims to help motivate girls worldwide to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

    Anchored by Big Dream, a documentary film that follows seven young women as they break barriers and overcome personal challenges to follow their passions in STEM fields, the program connects girls with organizations, academia, and resources. BigDreamMovement.com will go live next summer to serve as an information hub.

    Learn more and watch the program trailer on daily edventures.

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  • The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification is a tried-and-true career springboard, according to Zeshan Sattar. As Head of Curriculum Development for U.K.-based Agilisys Arch Apprenticeships, Zeshan has seen the MTA certification help lead students to careers as technicians, IT admins and tech-savvy chefs.

    Hear Zeshan’s tips and case studies in this clip from February’s “College and Career Readiness” virtual event, and get a clear understanding of how your IT Academy can leverage the MTA as a foundation for growth.

    Zeshan’s top five tips:

    1. Use your ITA benefit to implement an MTA-focused curriculum.
    2. Get your instructors certified.
    3. Provide fundamental classes for non-IT students.
    4. Host MTA “test fests.”

  • This month, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the 9th annual Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain. You’ve probably gathered that there’s a lot of PR around this event—it’s for good reason. Global Forum is an unparalleled opportunity for educators and school leaders to come together to celebrate and be recognized for their leadership in embracing technology in the classroom.

     To call this year’s event “vibrant” would be an understatement. It was phenomenal. Attended by 1,200 attendees from over 100 countries, it included groundbreaking keynotes and presentations by leaders from Microsoft and schools and governments from around the world. Attendees collaborated and showcased their technology innovation through Expert Educator competitions, Microsoft Innovative Schools Pitch competitions, and the Digital Transformation Challenge.

    With a keen focus on technology innovation, the forum truly raised the bar for years to come.

    Most of all, it underscored the value and depth of ingenuity of educators, recognizing and thanking education “heroes” for enabling technology integration in their schools and nations.

    The 1:1 strategy panel I sat on lent a sharper understanding of the strengths and challenges of this pedagogical approach across cultures.* The insights and connections gained will ultimately reinforce the Microsoft in Education ecosystem of people and programs, which includes you, the educators and leaders of IT Academies across the globe.

    For those of you able to attend Global Forum, I hope you were as energized and inspired as I was, and that you had the opportunity to visit the Microsoft IT Academy team at the Partner in Learning booth! And to all of you reading this, thank you for being among the heroes.

    *If you’re interested in 1:1 strategy, be sure to attend ITA’s May webinar: Setting a Successful Path to 1:1 Learning. Register today!

    Want in on the Global Forum excitement? Watch this recap.

    This Year’s Highlights

    • 260+ Microsoft Expert Educators; 150+ governmental education leaders; 300+ school leaders; 50+ sponsors; 30+ media.
    • For the first time, 34 students participated, supporting the Education Leaders track and Learn-a-thon, and helping as pitch/presentation coaches.
    • Expert Educators competitions: 19 awards were announced recognizing Microsoft Expert Educators for innovative teaching practices and effective use of technology. Learn more about the winners.
        • Individual project competition exemplifying 21st century teaching practices in 5 categories: Collaboration, Knowledge Construction & Critical Thinking, Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom, Cutting Edge Use of Technology for Learning, Educators Innovator and Change Agent.
        • Learn-a-thon competition displaying innovative use of technology aligned to the three Millennium Development Goals: Poverty, Sustainability and Gender Equality.

    • Microsoft Innovative Schools Pitch Competition: Six finalists presented their business ideas to transform learning and student outcomes in their school. Each winner received a share of US$50,000 to invest and further develop their ideas. Additionally, in partnership with the British Council, all six projects will be incorporated on YouthSpark on Global Giving to help them continue raising funds for their ideas. Learn more on the Microsoft Citizenship blog.
    • Hot Topics panel discussions: ‘Hot Topics’ panels attended by sponsors (Pearson, Dell, YouthSpark, Promethean, Intel, Discovery Communications, Crayola, Edmodo, LinkedIn, JP Sa Couto, Acer, British Council, Pricewaterhousecoopers) provided open dialogue on important topics and challenges, and insights from global education experts.
    • 40 “champion” education leaders joined contest judges for the last two days of the Education Leaders Track. Together the leaders designed holistic reform plans for their regions and collaborated on the “Digital Transformation Challenge” that incorporated all the elements needed for effective digital transformation, from devices to pedagogical capacity-building and policy change. Read more.
    • A dedicated Spanish track gathered 150 K-12 educators, school leaders, BDMs, TDMs from Spain to work on further promoting and improving the education opportunity in Spain.

    Read more about the Global Forum on Anthony Salcito’s Daily Edventures blog.

    Interested in 1:1 strategy? Be sure to attend ITA’s May webinar: Setting a Successful Path to 1:1 Learning. Register today!

     As Senior Director of the Sales, Marketing & Programs team within Microsoft Learning Experiences (formally MSL), Carrie Francey oversees worldwide sales, marketing and programs for Microsoft’s Learning Experiences team, responsible for building Microsoft’s reach with learning partners & customers. 

  • Latest from IT Academy

    Register for the April and May IT Academy Webinars

    Register today for the final two virtual events in the 2013-14 IT Academy webinar series, taking place on April 10 and May 8. Education technology experts will share valuable insights into hot topics in education today, and answer your questions live.

    We’ve packed the April and May webinars with valuable information. Learn how 1:1 learning experiences can enhance and personalize your IT Academy and general curriculum; discover how Office 365 for education is modernizing communication and productivity to help keep students, teachers and faculty connected and productive; and hear from educators on how best to prepare students now for college and careers.

    Learn more and register today

    Showcase Your Microsoft Certification on LinkedIn!

    Is certification on your radar? We're pleased to announce that you'll soon be able to highlight your new Microsoft certification on your LinkedIn profile in a few quick steps.

    After earning your certification, you’ll receive an email from Microsoft with a link that presents you with a profile update form with an automatically populated certification field, complete with the details of the certification you just completed. Simply click “Save,” and the certification will be added to your LinkedIn profile. 

    Get details.

    In Other News... 

    "Education has the power to transform the world" -- Anthony Salcito, VP, Worldwide Education

    "I have often said that education has the power to transform the world," says Anthony Salcito on his daily edventures blog. "After the incredible week we had at the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, I know this adage could not be more true."

    Watch a video recap of the event that was recently attended by more than 1,100 educators, school leaders, government officials, education leaders and students from 97 countries.

    Read Anthony's full report on the forum. 

    Video: 2014 Microsoft In Education Tech Showcase   

    Glimpse one of the highlights of the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum: the Technology Showcase, where partners demoed apps, programs, products and services in education. "Cross-pollinating," or sharing ideas, is what makes the Global Forum such a valuable event.

     

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  • Do your students break out their mobile devices whenever you introduce a new topic? Do you encourage them to do so? If your answer to either question is “yes,” you’re part of a growing trend in technology integration in the classroom—that is BYOD (bring your own device).

    Learn more about this and other trends in technology integration in this segment from last month’s “College and Career Readiness” event. In it, I explain how IT Academy can factor in as schools worldwide make the transition from traditional to digital and blended (a.k.a. hybrid) learning.

    Some key points:

    • Schools are grappling with how to leverage BYOD in a viable way that improves learning.
    • We're seeing that students prefer a blended learning environment to a traditional one.
    • Countries across the globe are using blended learning in their classrooms 50 to 77 percent of the time.
    • IT Academy includes traditional e-learning and lesson plans structured around four buckets: Digital Literacy, Productivity, Developer and IT.

  • It’s not always easy to tell what’s what in the world of technology certifications. Get clear on which Microsoft certifications are best designed to help students prepare for the workforce, by watching this clip from our February “College and Career Readiness” virtual event. In it, Shelby Grieve, Director of Content Product Management for Microsoft Learning Experiences, goes over:

    Learn why so many IT positions are going unfilled and why employers care about certifications.

  • Want to help your students get noticed in today's crowded and competitive job market? Watch this clip from last month's “College and Career Readiness” event, in which Jeff Johnson, Academic Solutions Specialist at Microsoft, shares tips on how students can get their foot in the door at companies they like, and on soft skills (interpersonal, verbal, written, etc.) that are in demand today. See how Microsoft technology skills factor in globally.

  • Latest from IT Academy

    Congratulations, Willowcreek Middle School MOS Students!

    Kenny Assmus, a first-year technology teacher at Willowcreek Middle School in Lehi, Utah, has announced that nearly all of his 60 students, all freshmen, have passed their MOS exams and earned certifications. He's showing off their accomplishments with a "Wall of Fame" and printed certificates for the students.

    "The pride and confidence of those that have passed the test is higher than ever," Assmus says. "Thank you for this opportunity."

     

    New Curriculum Resources Now Available
     

    We’ve refreshed the IT Academy member site with new Lesson Plans and Microsoft Official Academic Courseware (MOAC) content.

    The Lesson Plans have two versions, one that is mapped for U.S.-based Common Core, and another is international version that does not include this mapping information. The team has also released several localized versions. Check out the updated content, including the following courses in the listed languages:
     
    Lesson Plans: located here on the member site.

    • Intro to Office (non-mapped, English)Office for Mac (course # 70150, English)
    • Office for Mac (non-mapped, course # 70150, English)
    • MOS-ITA Excel and PowerPoint (Arabic)
    • MOS-ITA Excel and PowerPoint (JPN, CHS, CHT)
    • MOS-ITA Excel and PowerPoint (FRN, DEU, DUT)
    • Windows 8.1 (non-mapped, course # 70144, English)
    • MOS-ITA Excel and PowerPoint (PTBR, RUS, ESN)

    Microsoft Official Academic Course content: located here on the member site.

    • MOAC Project 2013 Resources (English)
    • MOAC Access 2013 eBook (English)
    • MOAC Outlook 2013 eBook (English)

    Students Get a Free MCP Exam Retake with Second Shot

    Now through June 30, 2014, students can retake a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam at no cost if they don’t pass the first time. The Second Shot offer is a prepaid voucher, limited to all MCP (073 series) exams, attached to all single exams and Volume Licensing. Offer expires June 30, 2014 for single Second Shot exams, the standard 12-month expiration applies for Volume Licensing. Get more details.

    Teacher Starter Kit: Have You Activated Yours?

    Every 12 months, your IT Academy can request 10 Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), 10 Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), and 10 Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) exams for Staff or Educator use. This benefit is aligned with the expiration date of your IT Academy membership. Individual educators can request exam vouchers, or a Certiport administrator can request vouchers for an Institution and distribute them to their Educators.

    To redeem your vouchers, click here and expand the Certification category. Activate your Teacher Starter Kit now!

    Activate Your Exclusive IT Academy E-Reference Library

    Your ITA membership includes five annual faculty subscriptions to the exclusive IT Academy E-Reference Library-an online selection of more than 800 Microsoft Press e-books on topics that you can both teach in the classroom and learn from, for your own professional development. Microsoft Press e-books are hosted by Safari Books Online. Activate your subscription.

    Updates to the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Program

    Membership in the MCT Program offers a unique set of resources and benefits along with the ability to be part of a program with strong worldwide recognition.  Every IT Academy receives one voucher that covers one MCT membership and allows your employees to be part of the MCT Program.

    As part of the move to strengthen the MCT Program, a number of changes and additions have been announced since October 2013:

    MCTs have been provided with information on these changes and were encouraged to take action to support their ability to renew in the MCT Program starting March 1st, 2014.

    As an IT Academy program Administrator, we encourage you to review this information and reach out to your MCTs to encourage them to understand how the changes affect them.

    If you have concerns with your MCTs ability to meet the renewal requirements based on organizational rules or operations, please reach out to your Microsoft Regional Service Center.

    Important: Check Your Certification Site License Expiration

    Does your Institution have a site license for certification exams, such as MOS, MTA and/or MCP? Please be aware that certification site licenses expire one year after purchase. If you’re not familiar with your school’s site license, or don’t know when it expires, inquire through your ITA Program Administrator. Make sure you take advantage of the ITA certification exam benefits available to you before they expire.

    In Other News...

    Announcing the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship!

    All students have a chance to show off their Microsoft Office skills at the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) National and World Championships, this June and July.

    To qualify to participate in the MOS U.S. National Championship, a U.S. student (age 13-22) must pass one of the following exams before May 2, 2014:

    • Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2010 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2010 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2010 Exam

    The top five students in each of these exam tracks (based on exam score/time) will be invited to compete in the MOS U.S. National Championship in Atlanta, GA, June 20-22.

    Top students from around the world will be invited to represent their country and compete in the World Championship in Anaheim, California, July 27-30. Learn more!

    Thanks for Participating in a Record-breaking “Hour of Code”

    On December 9, at the start of Computer Science Education Week, code.org kicked off “Hour of Code,” a new global campaign that asked teachers to help introduce students to the basics of Computer Science through coding programs and tutorials.

    In just two weeks, more than 20 million students across 170 countries collectively wrote more than 675 million lines of code. 51% of participants were girls—in fact, more girls participated in computer science in US schools than in the last 70 years! Kudos to all participating Microsoft IT Academy members!

    New Digital Literacy Course Teaches Coding Basics with TouchDevelop

    “Build Your First App” is a free two-hour course-initiates students to computer science while inspiring them to use Microsoft tools. This newest addition to the Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum was created by Microsoft Learning experiences, Microsoft Research, and Microsoft YouthSpark.

    We now have five new Digital Literacy courses available on the Digital Literacy website. These new courses will also be released on the new IT Academy online learning platform, so, Instructors can assign the courses to students and track student progress. In the coming months, we will also add a downloadable version and additional classroom-support resources. Learn more and get started.

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  • In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama announced major progress with a trailblazing initiative called ConnectED. Launched in June 2013, ConnectED sets out to standardize technology access and training in public education; and it calls on the private sector to “dig deep” in support of the program—to enrich K-12 education, expand opportunities for students, and train a 21st century workforce.

    In answer, Microsoft and other private donors are contributing more than $750 million in programs for education. IT Academy is providing digital curriculum and certification for fundamental technology skills to educators, students and staff at roughly 2,000 designated high-need schools, as well as $1 million to cover certification exams for students at these schools. Read more about Microsoft commitments for ConnectED.

    Other topline ConnectED measures include:

    • Internet connectivity at 99 percent of all U.S. schools within five years.
    • Teacher training to ensure that “every educator in America receives support and training to use technology to help improve student outcomes.”
    • Integration of learning technology including digital textbooks and apps and platforms that individualize learning.

    These and other ConnectED objectives are seen as vital for equalizing opportunities for all students and for infusing tomorrow’s workforce with skills needed for the U.S. to remain a leader in innovation. And ultimately, for helping to close the worldwide tech skills gap.

    Microsoft is proud to acknowledge that you, Microsoft IT Academy schools and educators, have established such strong momentum in teacher and student skilling. For years, Microsoft IT Academies have been laying the groundwork for progress, bringing students and teachers up to speed on ever-evolving technologies. Not just in the U.S. but globally, and at all levels of education, you’ve been successfully equipping students with skills that help them break into higher education and good jobs.

    We’re thrilled to be at the frontline with you, the educators who make it happen. Stay tuned to this blog and our social channels—Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—for updates.

    Interested in learning more about the global technology skills gap and IT Academy’s role in eliminating it? Watch this clip from last month's IT Academy "College and Career Readiness" event, in which I address the topic.

    More resources:

    Would you like more information about ConnectED? Read the White House fact sheet.

     As Senior Director of the Sales, Marketing & Programs team within Microsoft Learning Experiences (formally MSL), Carrie Francey oversees worldwide sales, marketing and programs for Microsoft’s Learning Experiences team, responsible for building Microsoft’s reach with learning partners & customers. 

  • During February’s “College and Career Readiness” virtual event, Kathy Schmidt, a teacher at Kalama High School in Kalama, WA, shared how the town of 2,500 is on the tech-skilling fast track at the high school level, thanks to IT Academy. Watch this clip to hear Kathy’s tips on teaching with MOS certification and keeping students motivated.

    Also hear from James Willman, a Kalama High School junior who won the 2013 FBLA National Championship for Microsoft Office 2010 Excel Core and Expert, about the confidence he’s gained through certification.

    “Certification has given me an amazing amount of confidence,” James says. “I go out and apply for jobs that I never would have applied for. I’m certified and I’m confident.”

    Watch more interviews, discussions and presentations on our YouTube channel. And be sure to register for our upcoming monthly webinars—live virtual events where IT Academy team members and special guests provide insight into skills development, certification, employability, and job opportunities for college and career-bound students.  

  • Anthony Salcito, Microsoft VP of Worldwide Education, addressed an audience of 1,100 educators, school leaders and government officials from nearly 100 countries during his Global Forum keynote in Barcelona, March 12th.

    The speech highlighted Microsoft’s end-to-end education solutions, with an emphasis on student success and career and college readiness. Salcito also addressed Microsoft’s firm stand on student data security amid the rapid integration of technology in teaching.

     

    Anthony Salcito at the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum

     

    Student Data Security—We Got That

    Microsoft’s role in protecting student data is not small, since 98 percent of schools worldwide use Microsoft technology. The good news is our education solutions are end-to-end, minimizing risk while addressing educators’ most pressing challenges with programs like Microsoft IT Academy, which is currently bringing technology skills to more than 8.5 million teachers and students in 130 countries.

    Other solutions enriching technology education while keeping data security in the mix:

    • Productivity and creativity. Microsoft Office 365 Education, the enterprise-grade communication and collaboration tool available in the cloud, is currently used by 110 million students, faculty and staff.
    • Safer, more private search. Bing for Schools ensures students don’t see search ads when using Bing and also enhances their privacy by preventing the use of data to create ad profiles.
    • Management. Windows Intune is a cloud service that allows school IT administrators to manage Windows, Windows Phone, Android and iOS devices connected to their network over the Web.
    • Professional development. Microsoft offers resources to train teachers on new technology, including the Partners in Learning Network that reaches nearly 1 million educators worldwide.
    • Device choice. Microsoft works with its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners to provide smart investment choices in terms of quality and cost.
    • Microsoft YouthSpark. Microsoft’s focus on privacy in education is part of its overall commitment to empowering youth through opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. In its first year alone, YouthSpark created new opportunities for more than 103 million young people in over 100 countries around the world.

     

    Students joining the excitement at the Global Forum YouthSpark picture booth

     

    About the Microsoft in Education Global Forum

    Now in its 10th year, the Microsoft in Education Global Forum brings together more than 1,100 of the most innovative and committed educators, school leaders and government officials from around the world, including more than 250 Expert Educators and 75 Mentor School leaders.

    Each year, the Global Forum provides an opportunity for education’s best and brightest to learn from their peers, share classroom triumphs and challenges, and collaborate to help transform education for the 21st century.

     

    Senior Director for Microsoft Learning Experiences Carrie Francey in a panel discussion on successful 1:1 strategy

     

    Wish you could attend? See photos and videos posted throughout the conference on the Global Forum Facebook page.

  • “Cloud IT is booming and, quite honestly, today there are over 1.7 million jobs in the marketplace that are going unfilled, and they anticipate that that's going to be upwards of 7 million in 2015,” says Carrie Francey, Senior Director, Worldwide Sales, Marketing & Programs, Microsoft Learning. “It's a big issue for employers out there in the marketplace, from a global perspective.”

    Hear more of Francey’s perspectives on the worldwide tech skills gap in my discussion with her during last month’s “College and Career Readiness” virtual event. We covered marketplace trends driving tech training initiatives, such as ConnectED in the U.S., and broadscale rollout of digital and blended learning curricula—all serving to equip students for higher education and the workplace, and to drive innovation. 

    You’ll hear about global issues such as:

    • IT skilling of students and teachers.
    • How schools can best implement innovative teaching and curricula.
    • How governments can get support tech training and blended learning initiatives.

    Watch the recording below or on our YouTube channel, where you’ll find an archive of interviews, discussions and presentations. And be sure to register for our upcoming monthly webinars—live virtual events where IT Academy team members and special guests provide insight into skills development, certification, employability, and job opportunities for college and career-bound students.  

  • Latest from IT Academy

    Explore the Future of Search in the Classroom: Register for This Week’s Webinar 

     Search as a learning tool? That’s right. Search can be used by teachers to add context and inspiration to their lessons.

    Hear Bing for Schools creator and former middle school teacher Matt Wallaert share his new, “old” wave of education technology during Thursday’s ITA webinar, “Beyond Search: The Future of Asking and Answering Questions” (March 13, 8-9 A.M. Pacific Time).

    Bing for Schools offers daily lesson plans designed to teach search skills, as part of Microsoft’s ongoing focus on promoting digital literacy in education.

    Want to learn more? Register for the webinar!

    Rally Your Students to Compete in the 2014 MOS World Championship!

    All students have a chance to show off their Microsoft Office skills at the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) National and World Championships, this June and July.

    To qualify to participate in the MOS U.S. National Championship, a U.S. student (age 13-22) must pass one of the following exams before May 2, 2014:

    • Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2007 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2010 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist Excel 2010 Exam
    • Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2010 Exam

    The top five students in each of these exam tracks (based on exam score/time) will be invited to compete in the MOS U.S. National Championship in Atlanta, GA, June 20-22.

    Top students from around the world will be invited to represent their country and compete in the World Championship in Anaheim, California, July 27-30. Learn more!

    In Other News…

    U.K. Student App-Building Project a Success in Flipped Learning

    As an extension of the Hour of Code initiative, students at Uppingham Community College in Corby, England have been collaborating with teachers to build apps for teachers. Participants were hand-picked to take part in the coding project and used TouchDevelop to store their work in the cloud.

    Many of the finished apps are now being used by teachers. Four are on Windows Store, and one has been downloaded more than 300 times.

    “It is such an achievement for the students seeing their name in the Windows Store, and they're now leading a group of students who are coming up to the school, to help them be the next generation of coders within our school,” says technology teacher Ray Chambers on the Partners in Learning “Student Voice” blog.

    Read more about the project on Ray’s blog.

    Catch the Inspiration! Read Interviews with Education Technology Thought Leaders

    Kelly Walsh, CIO and Founder of EmergingEdTech, an online resource for learning about new education technologies, is running a monthly interview series with education technology visionaries. Gain insights into how technology can be used to open new possibilities in teaching and learning.

    Read February’s interview with Terry Heick, the founder of Teachthought.com and a self-described “education dreamer.”

    Stay Informed & Join the Discussion

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  • Are you going to the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona next week? Be sure to attend “Deploying a Successful 1-to-1 Strategy,” featuring Carrie Francey, Senior Director of Sales, Marketing and Programs for Microsoft Learning Experiences, March 12th, at 5 P.M.

    Panelists will discuss ways to maximize opportunity and avoid potential negative impacts of 1:1 implementation plans. They’ll also explore different technology solutions that can support your pedagogical goals.

    Panelists include:

    • Moderator John E. Davies, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group, General Manager, Intel World Ahead Program. This program enables access to modern technology, connecting millions of people to improve education and healthcare, stimulate economies, and enrich lives.
    • Jakob Jersild Olsen, Vice President, Acer EMEA Commercial Channel in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Jakob oversees the strategy and execution of sales activities, marketing & channel programs to support sales of all Acer products through distributors and resellers. This includes the SMB market, Government & Enterprise accounts and Acer's focus industry: Education.
    • Carrie Francey, Senior Director, Worldwide Sales, Marketing & Programs, Microsoft Learning Experiences. Carrie is responsible for building Microsoft’s reach with learning partners and customers.
    • Chris Gerry, CEO, The Skills Lab, in international educational consultancy. A former high school principal in England, Chris has rebuilt 4 1:1 schools.
    • Kurt Soeser, Math and Physical Education teacher, Austria.  Kurt aims to incorporate the latest technologies in his teaching, consistently and meaningfully.

    Learn more about the Global Forum.

  • Latest from IT Academy

    March 13th Webinar—Beyond Search: The Future of Asking and Answering Questions

    Join us March 13 (8-9 A.M. Pacific Time) for an engaging discussion about using search as a learning technology. Bing for Schools creator and former middle school teacher Matt Wallaert will share how you can use Bing as a contextualizer, connective fabric and classroom aid for inspiration.

    Register today!

    In Other News…

     101 Students Celebrate MOS Certification at Georgia High School

    Chestatee High School in Gainesville, Georgia—one of the state’s highest ranking public high schools in number of Microsoft certifications awarded—recently honored 101 students who earned Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification.

    Georgia School Superintendent John Barge paid a visit to congratulate the students. “In this day and time, you all need every advantage that you can get to compete for the positions in the top schools, to compete for the scholarships and to compete for the jobs that are out there,” Barge told the students.

    Chestatee is aiming to award a total of 8,000 certifications by the end of this school year. Read more.

     Early Opportunities Lent by Microsoft Programs, Says Jason Brown

    This year-11 student in Norfolk, England professes to have many passions—technology hardware and software, photography, web design and multimedia, to name a few. Though Jason Brown is headed for an A-Level Computing program, he still asks: “Why wait?” Read Jason's detailed account of opportunities students can take advantage of right now through Microsoft IT Academy, DreamSpark, and Office 365 including Yammer.

    Commandments of Innovative Teaching?
    Yes, according to Tony Bryant, principal of Silverton Primary School, a Microsoft Worldwide Mentor School in Melbourne, Australia, successful innovation in the classroom is contingent on teachers getting a few things right.

    1. Offer choice.
    2. Allow for failure.
    3. Invite mentorship in all forms.
    4. Implement technology with a purpose.

    There are—you guessed it—ten commandments in Tony’s post on the Partners in Learning Blog. Read up, and innovate on!

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  • Latest from IT Academy

    “College and Career Readiness” Event Now Available on Demand

    If you missed last week’s "College & Career Readiness Day," our special two-hour live virtual event, take the time to watch it on demand. You won’t want to miss this engaging, one-time event that’s literally packed with tips on guiding students to successful careers and insights into the latest career prospects for technology-focused students.

    Mini-sessions include:

    • The Global Skills Gap and Job Market Landscape
    • Extending Today’s Technology Curriculum in the Classroom and Online
    • Technology for Everyone:  Validating your students’ success in Microsoft Office
    • Entry-level technology for your college and career-minded students
    • Technology Endorsements that Get Recognized
    • The Last Mile: Résumé Building and Interview Techniques

    Watch it now!

    In Other News

    Adaptability Defines Great Teachers Who Use Technology

    They always start with why. They’re malleable and can easily adapt. They embrace change. What else? See the top habits of great teachers who use technology in this infographic from Always Prepared, an organization that aggregates and analyzes education data. The infographic is republished on Anthony Salcito’s “daily edventures” blog. 

     

     

    Social Media Use on the Rise Among Teachers
    Use of social media by educators rose 21 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to research by Pearson, a learning company that promotes effective use of technology. While 79 percent of surveyed faculty said communication had increased thanks to technology, teachers shared concerns about privacy and other issues. See the infographic, also republished on “daily edventures."

     

    Stay Informed & Join the Discussion

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  • Latest from IT Academy

    Don't miss the College & Career Readiness Virtual Event, today (Feb 18)!

    Join Microsoft IT Academy today, February 18 (12:00 - 14:00 Asia/Singapore | 15:00 - 17:00 Sydney) for an informative, free, two-hour virtual event showcasing the latest best practices technology educators can adopt to effectively guide college and career-minded students, and foster a new generation of innovators in the IT and developer technology fields.

    This virtual event will consist of six mini-sessions hosted by industry experts and drilling down into the topics that matter most to you. Sessions include:

    • The Global Skills Gap and Job Market Landscape
    • Extending Today’s Technology Curriculum in the Classroom and Online
    • Technology for Everyone: Validating Students’ Success in Microsoft Office
    • Entry-level Technology for College and Career-minded Students
    • Technology Endorsements that Get Recognized
    • Resume Building and Interview Techniques

     Register now to receive your access link and reminder by email. 

    Wondering whether you should attend? Here are five reasons you need to be there!

    Program Updates

    Educators receive free Big Data Practice Exams for a limited time

    You have the tools to prepare yourself and your students for a career where Big Data plays a Big Role. Whether your student becomes a consumer of Big Data in a business or operational capacity or an IT Professional planning data strategy, having that fundamental understanding of how data is stored, secured and used will be of benefit. Prepare yourself to prepare your students by including Database Fundamentals in your professional development plan. For a limited time you can register here to receive a free Measure Up Practice Test for MTA Database Fundamentals. This practice test is complementary to your IT Academy professional development benefits that include full Microsoft Official Academic Course Curriculum, learning tools, and a teacher starter kit with MTA exam vouchers.

    Strengthening the MCT Program

    The changes being made to the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) program adjust requirements for new MCT applicants and renewing MCTs. MCTs provide high quality training through skilled instruction of current course content - which is key to both MCT professional success as well as student success. Ensuring effective course instruction will be the primary focus area for the strengthening of the MCT program.

    Effective March 1st, 2014 several new requirements will be in place for the MCT program. Additional information about these changes can be found by viewing the 10/28 MCT Quarterly Update or the MCT Changes Podcast. Questions about these changes can be directed to the MCT Program forum on MCT Central or your Regional Service Center.

    IT Academy E-Reference Library

    Each ITA membership includes five annual faculty subscriptions to the exclusive IT Academy E-Reference Library—an online selection of over 700 Microsoft Press books (in e-book format) published on topics that you can teach in your classroom as well as leverage for your own professional development. Microsoft Press e-books are hosted by Safari Books Online. Click here to activate your subscriptions.

    In Other News...

    Tablets in Education: Devices in Education eBook (Updated)

    Following on from the launch of the Devices in Education eBook last year, the Microsoft UK team has just created an update to the eBook that covers some of the new devices that great for an education audience. The updated eBook showcases devices such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Surface 2 and can be viewed/downloaded in full on the UK Schools Blog

    Stay Informed & Join the Discussion

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  • In late January, I joined colleagues from Microsoft Learning Experiences in London to attend the 2014 Bett Show—the premier global conference for those in academia who are passionate about the transformational power of learning technology. In this dynamic environment—attended by more than 36,000 educators and academic leaders from around the globe—our team not only experienced first-hand the scope of technological progress in education, but gained a clear perspective of how important Microsoft IT Academy program is in facilitating that change.  Microsoft IT Academies are helping to prepare students for college and careers in technology and in the process making strides in filling the technology skills gap that employers face across the globe.

    This insight was reinforced during our attendance at the Education World Forum (EWF), the largest gathering of education ministers in the world, which runs simultaneously. EWF is a vibrant event attended by more than 92 education ministers from around the world.

    Our team had the opportunity to discuss the vision of Microsoft education and particularly IT Academy—how the program has enriched the lives of so many students and served as an offering to help reskill workers through workforce development programs.

    Indeed, the challenges posed by global youth unemployment and the technology skills gap are not small ones, and conversations at both events reflected this.

    Talk of new technology programs and the progress they promise was matched by concerns about the challenges of implementing these new programs, starting with instructor skilling. For example, some U.K. participants shared that they were struggling with mastering skills built into the country’s fledgling Computing curriculum.

    England is in fact taking a leading role in discussions around computer science in schools. In his BETT keynote, the nation’s Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, pleaded for “an education system which is open, creative and adaptive—which is open to innovation, which can use technology creatively to advance learning and which is structured flexibly to adapt to change.” England’s answer, “computational thinking,” echoes the IT Academy program efforts to foster a global education system that’s “open to innovation.”

    “In our lifetimes, traditional industries, markets and workplaces have been totally transformed; new products, new technologies and new applications…develop and become mainstream parts of our lives with breathtaking rapidity. Which is why we need an education system which is open, creative and adaptive - which is open to innovation, which can use technology creatively to advance learning and which is structured flexibly to adapt to change.”

     – Michael Gove, U.K. Secretary of State, 2014 Bett Ministerial Keynote

    England’s answer, “computational thinking,” echoes the IT Academy program efforts to foster a global education system that’s “open to innovation.”

    Overall, through our listening and interactions at BETT and EWF, we learned that IT Academy is relied upon globally to continue the drive to assist schools and governments worldwide by skilling and preparing students for success.

    Bett Show 2014 Highlights

    The BETT show is always a highlight of the year for the Microsoft Education team. Not only does it let us meet and learn from inspiring educators, IT directors, administrators, academic leaders and head teachers, but it’s now more progressive than ever with the addition of an interactive classroom.

    Our theme, “Microsoft in Education. We are partners in learning,” focused on how devices, services and a rich collection of applications can come together to help transform learning.

    Our stand focused on two key areas—thought leadership and devices. A group of inspirational teachers joined us to share how they are using our products and services within their schools to create amazing experiences for their learners.

    Our topics were far-ranging and timely. They included:

    • The Future of Collaboration: How Windows 8, Lync and SharePoint is helping to transform learning within Broadclyst Primary School
    • Using Skype to Create the Global Classroom
    • A is for Algorithm: Your first steps in primary computing
    • Flipped Learning: How Wymondham High Academy Trust is using Office 365 Education, Yammer and Surface to transform teaching and learning
    • My Digital BFF - How a Windows 8 devices is the perfect teaching and learning companion for all ages
    • How IT has helped transform teaching and learning and support a new culture of learning excellence at Twickenham Academy
    • Inspiring the developers of the future: Everything you need to light up the imaginations of young developers
    • IT Manager of the Future - Where do you want to go tomorrow?

    We showcased more than 100 devices, all configured with a curated start screen featuring a selection of more than 50 apps across a variety of categories, such as creativity, learning resources and classroom management.

    The Road to 2015

    Every week, we hear amazing stories from IT Academy members about successes in the classroom. As we set our sights on next year’s BETT Show, we’ll keep you posted on triumphs and milestones IT Academy program members achieve to reach the goals set out by Michael Gove in his keynote address and others in academia around the world.

    Many thanks to the thousands IT Academy institutions that reach 8.5 million teachers and students in 130 countries! You are doing admirable work, and we are proud to partner with you as the evolution of learning continues. 

    Want to build and validate your tech skills? Find out about Microsoft certifications you can earn for free by using the certification exam vouchers included in your ITA membership: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), and Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE). Learn more.

     As Senior Director of the Sales, Marketing & Programs team within Microsoft Learning, Carrie Francey oversees worldwide sales, marketing and programs for Microsoft’s Learning Experiences team, responsible for building Microsoft’s reach with learning partners & customers. 

     

  • With just a few days until our special two-hour College and Career Readiness virtual event (Thursday, February 13), we want to remind all educators and education advocates to register to attend. Join educators from around the world online as we help you prepare students for success in college and careers through skills development and certifications that are needed in today’s workforce. You’ll walk away with a resounding understanding of the critical role of technology education and resources available to help you in your role.

    Register now to attend the event on February 13 and February 18 (Asia/Singapore and Sydney).

    Our diverse roster of speakers—educators, leaders, and industry experts—are preparing to deliver their key insights on the interrelationship of skills development and youth employment, and how IT Academy is preparing students for college and career success across the globe. Let us introduce the latest addition to this fantastic lineup, Jeff Johnson.

    Jeff Johnson, Solution Specialist, Skills & IT Academy, Microsoft Global Academic Team

    As a solution specialist for the Microsoft Global Academic Team, Jeff works with educators and government leaders worldwide to drive adoption of the Microsoft workforce skills agenda at K-12 and higher education levels. This experience has granted him a unique “on the ground” perspective of what it takes to be successful in higher education and the workforce as a young person today. His views are reinforced by previous experience as a teacher and administrator at Bellevue (WA) College and the University of Maryland. He also served as executive director of the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies at Bellevue College. Be sure to join his culminating session before the Q&A: “The Last Mile: Résumé Building and Interview Techniques.”

    Meet the other presenters.

    Learn more and register today! Here are five reasons you need to be at the event!

    Sessions

    8:00 – 8:10 A.M.: The Global Skills Gap and Job Market Landscape - An overview of the technology skills development landscape and roadmap for guiding students to success.

    8:10 – 8:28 A.M.: Extending Today’s Technology Curriculum in the Classroom and Online - Explore the value and best practices for adopting technology curriculum and certification in the classroom and online learning platforms, including Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate, and Microsoft Certified Professional certification tracks.

    Entry-level Technology for Your College- and Career-Minded Students (two sessions)

    8:28 – 8:46 A.M.: Technology for Everyone:  Validating your students’ success in Microsoft Office - The right mix of tools, training, and certification is essential to inspire entry-level students to set a course for a future career using the latest business technologies. We’ll review the best practices for getting students started on a productive path, including the value of Microsoft Office training and certification options. This session will feature Katherine Schmit, Business and Technology Instructor, Kalama High School, Kalama, WA.

    8:46 – 9:04 A.M.: Entry-level technology for your college and career-minded students - Aspiring technologists thrive when immersed in the IT and developer technologies they’ll work with every day in future roles. Learn about Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) training and certification, and how it helps students get hands-on with the latest technologies. This session will feature Zeshan Sattar, Head of Curriculum Development, Agilisys Arch.

    9:04 – 9:22 A.M.: Technology Endorsements that Get Recognized - Helping students develop solid technology skills is just part of the learning equation. Validation is a critical, ongoing need to ensure students stay motivated, focused, and empowered. Learn from IT Academy educators and learning experts on ways to endorse and validate students’ skills.

    9:22 – 9:40 A.M.: The Last Mile: Résumé Building and Interview Techniques - Standing out in a crowded job marketplace requires sharp self-promotion skills. Join a panel of hiring experts on the very latest hiring trends and best practices for successfully landing entry-level technology roles. We’ll discuss tips for creating résumés that can’t be ignored, and interview preparation tips that you can share with graduating students. This session will feature Jeff Johnson, Solution Specialist, Skills & IT Academy, Microsoft Global Academic Team.

    9:40 – 10:00 A.M.: Q&A – Get your questions answered live!

    Register today!

    Related:

  • Latest from IT Academy

    The "College & Career Readiness" Event Is Just Around the Corner!

    We're 10 days away from College & Career Readiness Day, our special two-hour live virtual event on February 13 and 18. If you haven't done so, mark your calendar and register today. You won’t want to miss this informative, engaging and interactive event featuring educators and experts who will deliver insights into guiding your students to successful careers and will discuss the latest career prospects for technology-focused students.

    Choose the event time that fits best for your location in the world. Register today! 
    Thursday, February 13 | 8:00 – 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time 
    February 18th | 12:00 – 14:00 Asia/Singapore / 15:00-17:00 P.M. Sydney

    Learn more and register today!

    Wondering whether you should attend? Here are five reasons you need to be there!

    In Other News...

    "Build Your First App" Course Teaches Coding Basics with TouchDevelop

    “Build Your First App”—a free two-hour course—launched today as the newest addition to the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum. Created in collaboration by Microsoft Learning eXperiences (MLX), Microsoft Research, and Microsoft YouthSpark, the course initiates students to computer science and inspires them to use Microsoft tools.

    Currently available online, Build Your Own Apps will soon be available on MLX for IT Academy teachers to assign to students and track their progress. A downloadable version and additional classroom-support resources will be released shortly after.

    About the instructors:

    • Presenter Steven Edouard guides learners through the course. Steven is a Software Development Engineer in Test for Microsoft Visual Studio, where he works on infrastructure and validation tools for the .NET runtime.
    • Author Peli de Halleux is a Senior Research Software Development Engineer in Microsoft Research, where he works on TouchDevelop, Moles, rise4fun, and Code Digger.

    Both Steven and Peli teach Computer Science at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle as part of the TEALS program and have facilitated several live TouchDevelop workshops. Read more about their work with TEALS.

    Explore Build Your First App.

    Puerto Rico Launches New IT Academy Program to Empower and Retain 9th Graders

    Microsoft Puerto Rico has announced the launch of “My Credential to Success." This new ITA program aims to strengthen the 21st technology skills of 9th grade students by  preparing them to earn Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification before they finish middle school. It also supports the Puerto Rico Department of Education goal of leveraging innovative offerings to promote retention among middle school students, who represent the country’s greatest number of dropouts. Graduating with a middle school diploma and MOS certification is expected to help students compete more advantageously and contribute to the nation’s economy. Read more (in Spanish).

    Stay Informed & Join the Discussion

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  • Keith Loeber is the Director of the IT Academy Program for Microsoft Learning Experience. He and his team oversee the strategy, benefits, operations, and policies for the program. An 18-year Microsoft veteran, Keith has spent the last several years in education with the majority of his career focusing on training and certification.

    In just under two weeks, Microsoft IT Academy will host the College & Career Readiness virtual event, a two-hour interactive webinar for all educators dedicated to helping them prepare students for success in college and careers through skills development and certifications that are needed in today’s workforce.  The interest in this event has been fantastic, so be sure to mark your calendars and register if you haven’t yet done so.

     You'll probably recognize me if you've joined any of our monthly webinars. My team and I oversee the strategy, benefits, operations and policies for the IT Academy program. Each month, I share the latest program updates, benefits, and the value educators get as IT Academy members.  This event is extra special because it is two full hours packed with valuable information and a great line-up of educators and technology education experts.  

    Carrie Francey, Senior Director, Worldwide Sales, Marketing & Programs, Microsoft Learning Experience

     I'm thrilled to introduce my co-host, Carrie Francey. Carrie oversees worldwide sales, marketing and programs for Microsoft Learning Experience.  She will share her global perspective on how skills development and youth employment are interrelated, and why IT Academy is preparing students for college and career success across the globe.   

     

    Our Special Guests

    Katherine Schmit, Business and Technology Instructor, Kalama High School, Kalama WA

    I’m excited to welcome Katherine Schmit to the event. Katherine runs a fine-tuned IT Academy program at Kalama High School in southern Washington State. In 2013, three of Katherine's students clinched first place at the Microsoft Office Specialist National Championship, earning a coveted spot to compete at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Washington D.C. (Don't miss her blog post about the experience!).

    Katherine came to teaching through the Washington State Career and Technical Education Business Route. She was employed as a library assistant when the school recognized her technical skills and asked her to become a teacher. In her own words, "I used my 20+ years of business experience to quantify my college experience in conjunction with two years of CTE teacher courses and am in my seventh year of teaching Business and Technology. If you have ever seen the pay difference between classified staff and certificated staff, you already know why certification is important!"

    At the College & Career Readiness event, Katherine will present "Technology for Everyone: Validating your students' success in Microsoft Office." She'll recommend the right mix of tools, training, and certification to inspire entry-level students to set a course for a future career using the latest business technologies; and she'll illustrate the value of Microsoft Office training and certification. 

    Watch Katherine Schmit's December webinar presentation on YouTube: "Using IT Academy for Professional Educator Development."

    Zeshan Sattar, Head of Curriculum Development, Agilisys Arch

     IT Academy educators know that aspiring technologists thrive when immersed in the technologies they'll work with every day in their prospective careers. Our special guest Zeshan Sattar will share how Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) training and certification gives students the hands-on experience they want and need to succeed at college and in a career. 

    Zeshan is the Head of Curriculum Development at U.K.-based Agilisys Arch. This new division of Agilisys tackles the challenge of the ever increasing technology skills gap by providing workforce development training.  Zeshan is responsible for designing apprenticeship and professional training programs which are delivered by a network of trainers across the U.K. He has worked on the MTA component since its inception, and is an advocate Microsoft certification within academia.  

    Don't miss this informative, engaging, and interactive event!

    Have questions during the event?  You’ll have opportunities to get your questions answered live. Our virtual event platform lets you interact with the presenters, other attendees, and Microsoft IT Academy team.

    Register today

    If you haven't registered yet, choose the event time that fits your schedule and register today. 

    Thursday, February 13 | 8:00 – 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time 
    February 18th | 12:00-14:00 Asia/Singapore / 15:00-17:00 Sydney

    Learn more and register today! Here are five reasons you need to be there!

  • Have You Registered for the Upcoming "College & Career Readiness Day"? Don't Delay!

    We're just over two weeks away from College & Career Readiness Day, our special two-hour live virtual event on February 13 and 18. If you haven't done so, mark your calendar and register today. The Microsoft IT Academy team is gearing up for an informative, engaging and interactive event, featuring educators and experts who will deliver insights into guiding students to successful careers, as well as discuss the latest career prospects for technology-focused students. Your questions will be answered live, so don’t miss this special opportunity! 

    Choose the event time that fits your schedule and register today! 
    Thursday, February 13 | 8:00 – 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time 
    February 18th | 12:00-14:00 Asia/Singapore / 15:00-17:00 P.M. Sydney

    Learn more and register today!

    Wondering whether you should attend? Here are five reasons you need to be there!

    Monthly Webinar Videos Now on YouTube
    You can now watch excerpts from past monthly webinars on YouTube, right from your desktop or mobile device. The ITA Webinar Series playlist features presentations from the IT Academy team and guests about topics that matter most to you. Be sure to check out the three newest videos from our December webinar on professional development resources and opportunities for educators: 

    Professional Development for IT Academy Instructors
    Heidi Johnson, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft IT Academy, provides an overview of training, certification, and other valuable professional development resources available to IT Academy instructors.

    Using IT Academy for Professional Educator Development
    Katherine Schmit, Business and Technology Instructor at Kalama High School (Kalama, WA), provides an overview of professional development resources available to IT Academy instructors. Learn how certifications such as Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) validate technology skills for teachers and students, and find out about training materials ranging from Microsoft e-learning to official courseware.

    MTA: Foundations of Knowledge
    Justin CromptonInformation Technology Teacher/MCT, Academy at Central High Point, NCshares the value of Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification, the foundation for technology training. Justin shares how MTA helps students prove their passion and fundamental technical skills as they explore academic and career options, and sets the course for advanced Microsoft training and certification. 

    Subscribe to the Microsoft IT Academy YouTube channel to stay updated when new videos are posted. 

    In Other News...

    International Education Forums Promote Knowledge-Sharing, Honor Visionaries

    The 2014 Education World Forum (EWF) and British Education Technology & Training (BETT) Show are wrapping up. This year's EWF theme, Empowering Ministers of Education with Transformational Change, an invitation-only event targeted at national ministers of education and their delegations, is designed to inspire top-down change. Last year’s EWF included over 100 education ministers, representing over 90 countries. Read about the event in this TechNet blog post by Anthony Salcito, Microsoft VP of Worldwide Education.

    "While education reform requires hard work and support from many fronts—students, teachers, administrators, parents and policy makers—the national ministers of education have very specific and unique pressures and perspectives," Salcito says. "EWF exposes them to the ideas of global education visionaries, and then empowers them to advocate for change."

    The annual Microsoft in Education Global Forum, taking place in Barcelona, March 11 to 14, will recognize and celebrate the achievements of educators who are preparing students for life in the 21st century. Attending educators, school leaders, and education and government leaders from 75 countries will honor this year's recipients of Microsoft Expert Educator and Microsoft Mentor School awards.

    Stay Informed & Join the Discussion

    Shine a Light on Your Success!

    By highlighting your IT Academy accomplishments on the IT Academy Blog, you can help lead the way for other IT Academy members and students around the world. Send a brief summary of your success and any accompanying images or videos—along with your contact information—to the IT Academy team. We look forward to hearing from you!

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  • Five Reasons to Attend the Career & College Readiness Virtual Event

    On February 13 and 18, Microsoft IT Academy will host a special 2-hour “Career & College Readiness” virtual event. Here are five reasons you and your colleagues in education should register today to attend:

    1. Get insight on the state of youth employment. Tune in to hear first-hand from educators and technology career experts on current and projected trends on the technology job landscape—critical insights that will affect not only how your students prepare for college and careers, but also how you tailor curriculum to guide them to success in the workforce. 

    2. Get a clear roadmap for guiding students to college and career success. We’ve formatted this 2-hour event as six 20-minute sessions that cover the full breadth of content you need to know, delivered by the experts working to solve challenges new technologists face in an increasingly-competitive workforce: 

    • Get a big picture view—and plan of action—of the most critical technology skills students need to succeed
    • Learn the best practices, content, and hands-on training for a technology curriculum that sets students on the right course
    • Discover tips you can share for creating resumes and preparing for college and career interviews, brought to you by technology hiring experts

    3. Discover the value of certification to validate employable skills. College and career recruiters increasingly demand real-world experience for aspiring college and career-bound students. Learn how to effectively incorporate Microsoft certification in your curriculum, presented by Microsoft education experts and educators.

    4. Hear real-world success stories from educators. Microsoft IT Academy instructors from schools across the U.S. will share tips, success stories, and techniques they use every day in the classroom—learn what works best directly from your colleagues!

    5. Get your questions answered! Our virtual event platform lets you interact with the presenters and other attendees. Ask questions in an easy-to-use chat module, and get immediate answers from presenters and the Microsoft IT Academy team.

    Choose the event time that fits your schedule and register today!
    Thursday, February 13 | 8:00 – 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time
    February 18th | 12:00-14:00 Asia/Singapore / 15:00-17:00 PM Sydney

    Learn more and register today!

    In other news...

    What Skills Future Employees Need to Learn Now: A Student’s Perspective

    Critical skills for workplace success is a hot topic. In our upcoming College and Career Readiness event (above), you’ll hear from experts in the field on what it takes to prepare students from success. Before then, you can get an undergraduate student’s perspective on the topic.

    On the Partners in Learning Hot Topics blog, Haas School of Business student Steven Yang shares his view on the importance of learning the ‘Four C’s’-- Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity—and the discrepancies in the classroom between what students need to learn vs. the traditional learning methods many schools continue to practice.

    Read Steven’s insightful blog post

    Educators receive free Big Data Practice Exams for a limited time

    You have the tools to prepare yourself and your students for a career where Big Data plays a Big Role. Whether your student becomes a consumer of Big Data in a business or operational capacity or an IT Professional planning data strategy, having that fundamental understanding of how data is stored, secured and used will be of benefit. Equip yourself to prepare your students by including Database Fundamentals in your professional development plan.

    For a limited time you can register here to receive a free Measure Up Practice Test for MTA Database Fundamentals. This practice test is complementary to your IT Academy professional development benefits that include full Microsoft Official Academic Course Curriculum, learning tools, and a teacher starter kit that includes MTA exam vouchers.

    Making the Grades – The Evolution of Teaching Methods


    Teaching methods have certainly changed over the past few generations. From a profession where you were once referred to as a ‘schoolmaster’ to the current modern teacher, a lot has changed. The daily edventures blog presents an infographics that offers a visual view of just how far education has evolved in recent years.

    View the infographics here.  

    Everything you need to know about Office 365 Education

    Office 365 Education gives students, faculty, and administrators in your school reliable cloud-based web services, including document collaboration, shared calendars & more. Whether you’re using Office 365 at your school now, or want to learn how Office 365 helps students learn, a new, free guide provides everything you need to know.

    View the free guide on SlideShare

    Stay Informed & Join the Discussion

    Shine a Light on Your Success!

    By highlighting your IT Academy accomplishments on the IT Academy Blog, you can help lead the way for other IT Academy members and students around the world. Send a brief summary of your success and any accompanying images or videos—along with your contact information—to the IT Academy team. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Follow Us

    Keep up with the latest updates from IT Academy:

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