With this investment, Microsoft is making a long-termcommitment to working with governments, education officials, developmentorganizations, teachers, students and parents globally to increase schools'access to technology and improve its use in the classroom to empower teachers,enrich instruction and enhance learning outcomes for students. In March 2008, the companyannounced $235 million of additional support to the initiative to bring itstotal investment over 10 years to nearly $500 million."With Partners in Learning, we're taking a realistic approach to educationtransformation that encompasses all of the key stakeholders and moves beyondabstract theory by putting innovative ideas into practice," said Ralph Young,vice president of Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. "Through theInnovative Schools program, we're implementing technology and tools in liveeducation settings to identify what works and what doesn't in an effort tohelp enhance learning outcomes around the world."Also today, Microsoft announced a partnership between the MicrosoftSchools Technology Center Brussels and the Lumiar Institute, a groundbreakingeducational nonprofit started by Brazilian industrialist and best-sellingmanagement thinker Ricardo Semler, and participant in the Innovative SchoolsPilot Program. Lumiar seeks to apply Semler's groundbreaking approach tomanagement to the field of education to reinvent schooling. Under the researchcollaborative, Microsoft and Lumiar will work closely with educators, schoolleaders, government officials and private partners to identify the key skillsand competencies students need in the 21st century and how schools can betransformed to support them."We're delighted to be joining forces with Microsoft on this importantpioneering initiative," said Semler, president of Semco SA and author of theinternational business bestsellers "Maverick" and "The Seven-Day Weekend.""Aligning education with the needs of the emerging global knowledge economy isone of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Microsoft bringsinvaluable vision, expertise, passion and entrepreneurial flair to the tablein helping advance this objective."The Innovative Schools program will bring participating schools togetherthrough a global digital forum, enabling them to discuss innovation models,disseminate best practices, exchange smart ideas with their peers worldwide,support one other and access professional development resources.
The digitalnetwork will be part of the next version of Microsoft's Innovative TeachersNetwork, which today connects more than 1.6 million teachers worldwide. Itwill be supplemented by a roster of global symposia and workshops that willspotlight individual school initiatives and tackle specific reform issuesaffecting individual schools.In addition to the expansion of the program to 72,000 schools, Microsoftwill select a group of 345 "developer schools" to work closely with thecompany, which includes 45 "mentor schools" that will help guide clusters ofother innovative schools in their regions.The Innovative Schools program seeks to foster improved globalunderstanding of how schools can help students acquire the skills required forsuccess in the global knowledge economy. To this end, Microsoft works withschools to examine how they can marshal technology to meet the educationalimperatives of the 21st century and how technological innovation can underpina comprehensive "whole school" approach to reform, spanning instruction,assessment, curricula, teacher training, school leadership and learning-spacedesign."Participating schools benefit from Microsoft's long-term commitment toeducation and exposure to insights captured from thousands of learningenvironments worldwide," Young said. "It's tremendous to see the bold, freshthinking by local schools and, in turn, offer them the help and support ofMicrosoft and our partner network to design and deploy great technology thatcreates opportunities for their students, educators and communities."By design, the 12 schools taking part in the Innovative Schools PilotProgram constitute a representative cross-section of the diversity found inschools worldwide, which helps identify the universal challenges schools faceplus those specific to particular countries. The ultimate goal is to generateviable, benchmarked and proven learning models for 21st-century education thatcan be cost-effectively replicated across entire school systems and easilyadapted to local conditions, to underpin wide-scale education transformation.The report being issued today will distill key insights gleaned from thefirst year of the Innovative Schools Pilot Program, including the following:The importance of strong school leadership and a collaborativeprofessional teacher community as part of a common commitment to goal-settingand innovationThe value of technology in support of innovative teaching practices,which involve students in higher-level thinking and regulating of their ownlearningThe separate white papers walk schools through the 6i process, a road mapfor envisioning, implementing and managing ICT-driven change, and the SchoolInnovation Framework, which gives school leaders a guide to effectingeducational change based on proven approaches, respectively.In addition, this week Microsoft is hosting a two-day Innovative SchoolsConference on Jan.
14-15 in London that will enable schools participating inthe Innovative Schools Pilot Program to compare notes, evaluate their progressand hear from leading thinkers. The event will also feature an opportunity toview the state-of-the-art New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone, Kent, anexample of the cutting-edge use of technology to enable new, more interactiveand personalized forms of pedagogy. Microsoft served as a technology advisorto the academy under Partners in Learning."Technology allows us to rethink how we educate children by opening uppossibilities that simply didn't exist before," said Chris Gerry, executiveprincipal of New Line Learning, UK. "But to truly realize its potential,technology needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive vision for change. Inworking with Microsoft, we've been impressed with how the company understandsthe big picture and that technology by itself is not a panacea. It has broughtto bear a refreshingly holistic approach to educational transformation, andwe've valued its strategic counsel every step of the way."More InformationAdditional background on the events occurring this week, including casestudies, fact sheets, executive biographies and other materials supportingMicrosoft's goal of enabling access to high-quality educational experiences,is available at http:// Unlimited PotentialMicrosoft, through its Unlimited Potential vision, is committed to makingtechnology more affordable, relevant and accessible for the 5 billion peoplearound the world who do not yet enjoy its benefits.