Randy Dorn, Washington state superintendent of public instruction, along with officials from Microsoft Corp., announced the launch of the statewide OSPI-Microsoft IT Academy program.
The Microsoft IT Academy will be available to staff and students in more than 700 public high schools, skills centers and tribal schools across Washington state, making the deployment the largest statewide Microsoft IT Academy Program.
"Training and certification will be provided to 300,000 students and 19,000 staff members across Washington."
"Access to online courses will allow participants to work at their own pace. The program also provides instructors with a flexible learning environment since lesson plans can be folded into existing curricula or can stand alone as new curricula. Once students have completed the Microsoft IT Academy training, they can become certified in their areas of study to earn industry-recognized Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications. These credentials can help give students an edge in today's competitive job market," Microsoft stated.
Benefits to schools participating in the Microsoft IT Academy include access to many programs, including the following:
- IT Academy Members' website.
- E-Learning curriculum, with more than 1,500 online, multimedia courses to choose from, including games, simulations and videos to provide students with a hands-on learning experience.
- E-Learning course management tool for teachers to manage their students' E-Learning courses, send class communication and monitor student performance.
- Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum for students who are new to computing skills.
- Lab licenses, providing as many as 50 Microsoft Office lab licenses (2007 or 2010) for lab usage per Microsoft IT Academy.
- Live@EDU/Office 365 Education, a program offering free access to Microsoft hosted Exchange email, 25 GBs of cloud storage and online Microsoft Office Web Applications.
- Microsoft E-Reference Library, a searchable library of more than 120 Microsoft Press books. Each school will receive five subscriptions.
- MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDN AA), a program providing students and teachers in STEM disciplines with access to Microsoft software developer tools and platforms under the MSDN AA license.
- EduConnect, a program in which a Microsoft employee volunteers in schools to help teachers and students learn about improving learning outcomes, careers in technology, helping stay safe online, getting excited and prepared for the future, and much more. Microsoft is creating a formal mentor program to link a Microsoft employee to each of the 703 Washington high schools, skills centers and tribal schools.
- Regional trainings for teachers and faculty.