Stephanie Boyett, Microsoft IT Academy Teacher, Ferry Pass Middle School, Pensacola, Florida, USA

Stephanie Boyett, Microsoft IT Academy teacher at Ferry Pass Middle School in Pensacola, Florida shares how her middle school students are embracing certification and how IT Academy resources enrich her lesson plans.

First, I want to thank Microsoft for the opportunity to be a member of the Microsoft IT Academy.  To date, 55 Ferry Pass Middle School students have earned over 120 individual Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) industry certifications in Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010, and Outlook 2010, due in large part to the resources of the Microsoft IT Academy! 

Is MOS Industry Certification a Good Fit for Middle School Students?

As a former high school teacher of MOS industry certification (prior to using the Microsoft IT Academy resources) and as a former and current District trainer in MOS industry certification, I asked myself, as we were rolling out certification to the district middle schools, “Can middle school students handle the rigor of the Microsoft IT Academy program, and ultimately, pass MOS industry certification?”  Currently, as a first-year middle school teacher, my previous hesitation has now turned into a resounding, “Yes, they can!”  Middle school students are capable and the sense of achievement that a Microsoft endorsed certificate provides to a student is enough to keep many students motivated to work and learn more about the Microsoft Office Suite, and ultimately, earn more certifications. 

What Does It Take? 

The Microsoft IT Academy resources are second to none in test preparation and an excellent resource for a true introduction to the Microsoft Office Suite.  

As I moved into the IT Academy e-learning program, I found a gold mine!  I found that e-learning 'hit all the high points' for my students and we could move at a pace that was comfortable for everyone.  I used e-learning for both Word 2010 and PowerPoint 2010 as a reintroduction to the Microsoft Office Suite.  I used e-learning as my primary teaching tool in the classroom for several months, not simply as a supplemental resource.  I projected e-learning on my pull down screen and the students followed along on their computers. E-learning is great for diversified teaching strategies and it includes tutorials, short clips, interactive games, quizzes, and more!  Also, a study guide is provided at the beginning of each course, which is great for keeping the students on task.  

After I finished e-learning, we jumped into the certification test alignment e-reference book, MOAC.  MOAC stands for the Microsoft Office Academic Courseware and aligns closely with the MOS industry certification exams.  Students complete hands on assignments using the software program they are studying.  In addition to the MOAC book, the e-reference library includes hundreds of other Microsoft software specific, digital textbooks with data files and answer keys.

The Resources are Vast, The Value is Priceless…

Microsoft IT Academy resources don’t stop there!  In addition to lesson plans, e-learning, and e-reference materials, the Microsoft IT Academy member site also includes marketing materials, digital certificates, and news and support features.  The Microsoft IT Academy can provide a teacher with a school year worth of relevant workforce-ready and certification preparatory material, thus reducing lesson preparation time.  Microsoft IT Academy…vast, valuable, priceless!

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