Microsoft Solutions Briefings Help K-12 Educators Nationwide Face the Challenges of Technology Integration

REDMOND, Wash., April 9, 1997 — Integrating technology into K-12 schools is a complex and time-consuming challenge. Now educators making technology decisions can get practical advice from technology and education experts by attending free Education Solutions Briefings offered nationwide by Microsoft Corporation. These three-hour seminars introduce K-12 educators and school and community leaders to the
“Connected Learning Community,”
Microsoft’s vision for technology in K-12 education, and showcase complete technology solutions for school districts of all sizes.

“Educators recognize the value of technology as a tool for teaching and learning,”
said Kathryn Yates, director of Microsoft K-12 programs.
“However, when it comes to integrating technology into their schools they are faced with funding, training and day-to-day management challenges. The Microsoft Education Solutions Briefings are one way that we are helping educators tackle those obstacles and make informed decisions so that their schools can be a part of the Connected Learning Community.”

Technology expenditures are sizable annual budget items for school districts. A recent national survey conducted by IDC/LINK, Framingham, Mass., in conjunction with QED, Denver, Colo., shows that on average, school districts will spend nearly $300,000 in 1996-97 for instructional technology, ranging from $50,000 in smaller school districts to as much as $1.6 million in larger districts. Microsoft Education Solutions Briefings provide educators with information so they can make wise spending decisions.

By highlighting actual schools, Education Solutions Briefings give educators a first-hand look at how their students and schools can benefit from a technology enriched learning environment. The workshops feature multimedia presentations that take participants on a virtual field trip to schools across the country. They learn how easy it is to set up a network with Microsoft BackOffice family and Windows NT operating system; how to begin using the Internet and to develop district Web pages with Microsoft Internet Information Server; and strategies for integrating software, such as Microsoft Encarta 97 multimedia Encyclopedia, in their schools.

Presented by Microsoft representatives and Solution Providers, the Education Solutions Briefings offer suggestions on how schools can get the most out of their technology dollars using volume licensing alternatives and academic pricing. Education Solutions Briefings also connect educators to local Microsoft Solution Providers who can work with them to determine and implement the best technology options for their schools. Solution Providers are experts on Microsoft technology and products. They provide a wealth of services for K-12 schools ranging from support and training to developing technology plans and solutions that meet each school’s unique educational requirements.

“Education Solutions Briefings provide educators with the opportunity to learn how technology can benefit their schools and an overview of what Microsoft has to offer,”
said Mike Cloud, a Microsoft Solution Provider with Peters and Associates in Elmhurst, Ill.
“The briefings also are a great way to introduce educators to Microsoft Solution Providers who can work with them to develop technology plans to suit their immediate or long-term needs.”

For Michael Walls, business manager at Chicago’s Rudyard Kipling Elementary School, attending a Microsoft Education Solutions Briefing gave him new ideas for his school’s network and provided options for the school’s long-range technology plan.
“We’re starting from scratch with our technology plan,”
said Walls.
“The education solutions briefing offered a valuable, big picture view of what we can work toward – online lesson planning, e-mail, Intranets. I hope we will be able to incorporate all of this at our school.”

Educators and technology decision makers attending the briefings take away free Internet software and details for obtaining the free Communications Tools for Schools CD-ROM, designed specially for K-12 schools using Windows NT Server 4.0. Incorporating innovative technology from Microsoft and other industry leaders, Microsoft Communications Tools for Schools is the only communications solution available that incorporates education-specific templates and wizards, e-mail, video conferencing software, and Internet publishing tools to help schools achieve the Connected Learning Community vision. In addition, the workshops also offer schools the opportunity to participate in a free, no obligation, comprehensive evaluation of all Microsoft products through the Microsoft Solutions Pilot Program.

Dowling High School, a West Des Moines, Iowa, parochial school with about 1,100 students, coordinates its network with 12 feeder elementary schools and maintains the e-mail and Web server for the schools. The information from Microsoft Education Solutions Briefings helped educators at two elementary schools install their Windows NT networks and assisted high school administrators in choosing Microsoft Windows 95 and Office 97 for their students.

“Microsoft Education Solutions Briefings provided important information that helped us make our hardware and software decisions,”
said Ann Richards, technology coordinator at Dowling High School.
“We truly appreciate the free advice and valuable information about academic pricing and purchasing programs. The briefings have shown us that Microsoft is truly committed to helping the education community make technology in schools a reality.”

Nearly 5,000 individuals from K-12 schools, colleges and universities attended Education Solutions Briefings this school year. Technology decision-makers from the higher education community, especially community colleges, attend the workshops to help strengthen the bridge between high school and college. For more information on the K-12 Education Solutions Briefings go to http://www.microsoft.com/education/partner/ .To register for one of these events online go to http://www.microsoft.com/events/ and do a search on Education Solutions Briefings or call 800-550-4300.

In addition, throughout the spring Microsoft is hosting Higher Education Executive Briefings. These seminars for college and university senior administrators and faculty provide a comprehensive overview of Microsoft’s latest technologies and their applications for higher education. The Executive Briefings are designed to help institutions increase administrative productivity, define new learning opportunities, improve collaboration and communications, and reduce the cost of technology ownership. To register for the Higher Education Executive Briefings, visit http://www.microsoft.com/education/training/ebhe.htm or call 800-550-4300.

The Education Solutions Briefings are part of Microsoft’s continuing efforts to help create a global Connected Learning Community in which all students and educators have access to technology and information online to support learning today and for a lifetime. For its ongoing work in the education community, Microsoft received the 1996 EdNet Pioneer Award for its significant contribution to the advancement of educational technology.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

This press release is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft, Windows, Encarta and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other product or company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Joelle McGinnis, Marcy Monyek and Associates, 312-263-2135, joellem@MSN.com

Lisa Wolfe, Marcy Monyek and Associates, 312-263-2135, lisaawolfe@MSN.com

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