Global Content Solution Professionals Back New Microsoft Education Platform for Rich Media

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 3, 2009 — At its fourth annual Global Education Partner Summit, Microsoft Corp. announced a lineup of prominent educational content publishers, developers and software vendors from around the world that intend to use the Microsoft Semblio Software Development Kit (SDK) to contribute to the creation and packaging of content solutions for educators. Built upon the Microsoft .NET Framework, the Semblio SDK will enable developers to reach new audiences and help create new business opportunities and revenue streams.

The Semblio SDK is the first release of three components that make up the Microsoft Semblio platform. Formerly known under the code name “Grava,” Microsoft Semblio consists of an SDK for developers to create and package content; an assembly tool for educators to combine multiple types of content into a single, multimedia package; and a runtime media player that students and educators can use to view and interact with the lessons and presentations. The assembly tool and player will be available with the next version of Microsoft Office.

“Feedback from the education community regarding where the content marketplace is headed has been clear,” said L. Michael Golden, corporate vice president for the Education Products Group at Microsoft. “In today’s digital reality, Microsoft Semblio will help content providers adapt and thrive as they build more dynamic and engaging educational material and reach new consumers with fewer resources.”

Publishers, developers and software vendors using the Semblio SDK include the following:

  • Cambridge University Press in the United Kingdom is the founder of the Global Grid for Learning and is working to make it simple for educators to search for digital resources directly from the Semblio environment.

  • Editis in France, a leading French publisher of educational textbooks, educational games, pedagogical manuals and preschool manipulatives, is developing digitally enhanced textbooks and learning resources using the Semblio environment.

  • Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the United States, a leading assessment company, is using the Semblio SDK to develop a suite of activities and quizzes that will help students (and their parents) determine their individual learning styles and then provide them with tailored guidance.

  • Intel Performance Learning Solutions in Ireland, a division of Intel Corporation, USA, has collaborated with Microsoft to build tools that let teachers and students easily utilize the interactive skoool™ learning and teaching content, and edit the lesson text, lesson sounds and assessment questions to create professional, customizable projects.

  • SMART Technologies Inc. in Canada

    is the leading provider of interactive whiteboards. Through SMART Notebook software, the company offers native support for Semblio-generated content on its whiteboards, thereby enabling Semblio content to be easily accessible to teachers and students in the classroom.

  • Wolfram Research Inc. in the United States, makers of Mathematica®, is creating the opportunity for teachers to easily add interactive visualization elements built from Mathematica to projects supported by Semblio.

Other companies using the Semblio SDK include Agilix Labs Inc., United States; Cornelsen Publishing, Germany; The Educational Company (EdCo), Ireland; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., United States; Leszynski Group Inc., United States; and Young Digital Planet SA, Poland.

“While content solution providers in education realize that the digital landscape is continually evolving, it is hard for many to keep up,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Inc. “Incorporating interactive multimedia in teaching and learning materials serves to enhance the value of their educational assets and extend their reach among a variety of audiences.”

The Microsoft Semblio SDK is a collection of .NET-based application programming interfaces, samples, tools and associated documentation for ISVs, developers, designers and content professionals. The SDK is available today and can be downloaded for free by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/semblio

Additional information about Microsoft’s products, programs and solutions for education is available at http://www.microsoft.com/education.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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