Microsoft Gives Teachers Free Resources to Address Classroom Challenges Due to the Impact of H1N1 Flu Virus

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 16, 2009 — It’s the start of the school year, and there are already empty seats in classrooms and lecture halls because of unfortunate outbreaks of the H1N1 flu virus. Today, Microsoft Corp. is furthering its commitment to the U.S. Department of Education and schools and universities across the nation by offering a free technology resource that will help educators stay connected with their students and continue the learning process if they are forced to stay home from school or miss class. Microsoft Office Live Workspace allows educators to create an online class workspace where they can share assignments, handouts and manage collaborative group projects so that students can access course work virtually anytime and anywhere with just an Internet connection. This tool and other H1N1 resources are available today at http://www.microsoft.com/education/h1n1.

“We can all work to keep ourselves healthy now by practicing prevention, close monitoring and common sense,” said Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. “We know that some students may be affected by H1N1, and our top priority is making sure that they have a way to get well, stay well and to keep learning. We’re providing a menu of strategies for educators to help ensure that the learning process will continue.”

Microsoft’s H1N1 resources for educators include access to Office Live Workspace, how-to videos for training and to see how other educators are using the software in the classroom, tips to spur collaboration, and other free and simple technologies to make classroom content more engaging online.

Learning Goes Online in Alabama When H1N1 Strikes

There have already been cases of the H1N1 flu virus at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala., since the opening of school this year. Kelli Etheredge is the school’s Tech & Learning Resources Director and a World Literature teacher and says a few students are absent from her class each day due to the virus. Following Etheredge’s success using Office Live Workspace last year, she immediately set up a class workspace so her students could collaborate to create virtual tours of ancient medieval epic heroes while away from the classroom. The online tool not only connects her students in various locations but also teaches her students about what it means to work as a team and how to accomplish goals together.

“This resource has helped my students stay connected to me and to the rest of their class,” Etheredge said. “Through collaborative projects and online resources, my students have been able to continue their learning of the ancient and medieval epics as well as work on their museum projects in a team environment and not miss a beat.”

Educators and students can access documents on their class workspace from virtually any computer with Internet access — even if not connected to the school network. Educators and students can work collaboratively on projects in a safe environment that is password-protected and invitation-only. Even if they don’t have a desktop version of Microsoft Office at home, they can still view and work on documents in a browser.

“We’re concerned for the students and families impacted by the H1N1 virus and understand this could be a difficult time for students worried about their health and that they could fall behind in their studies,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Education at Microsoft. “We are happy to be able to provide affordable and accessible technology solutions that educators and students can use to mitigate any disruptions in the classroom due to a possible outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus.”

More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/education/h1n1.

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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