Microsoft Collaborates With Colleges and State Departments of Education To Teach Educators Innovative Ways to Use Technology in the Classroom
REDMOND, Wash., March 30, 1998 — In Atlanta, one third-grade teacher and self-proclaimed technophobe used to be intimidated by the computer “on switch” and mouse. Today she is the school’s technology coordinator and hosts weekly Internet workshops for the teachers and parents at her school. A suburban Seattle middle-school teacher overcame his aversion to technology when he finally became acquainted with a PC in a hands-on technology training session. Now his math students use Microsoft® Excel to create charts and graphs illustrating the new concepts they are learning, such as fractions and geometry.
How did these K-12 teachers and more than 150,000 others across the country overcome the No. 1 barrier to the effective use of technology in the classroom? They participated in professional development workshops at more than 850 [email protected] locations at colleges and state departments of education nationwide.
Microsoft Corp. developed [email protected] in response to educator requests for help and research, including a 1997 report from the Benton Foundation, “The Learning Connection: Schools in the Information Age.” This report cites inadequate teacher training as “perhaps the biggest bottleneck limiting effective use of computer networking in many of the nation’s classrooms.” Many classrooms now have PCs and network connections, the study noted, but teachers need training and opportunities to work with their colleagues to develop best practices for using this technology.
[email protected] gives these professional development sites the latest versions of Microsoft software products applicable for K-12 classroom instruction, self-paced training materials, lesson plans, instructional videos and Microsoft Press® books and tutorial materials at an estimated retail value of more than $30,000 per site annually. Software products provided free to the training centers range from Microsoft Office 97 Professional Edition and the Microsoft FrontPage® Web authoring and management tool to the Microsoft Encarta® Reference Suite and the Microsoft Bookshelf® 1998 CD-ROM reference library.
“We know that great teachers are central to the learning process and key to the effective integration of technology in K-12 education,” said Elizabeth King, general manager of the education customer unit at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to giving local sites the software and training tools they need to help teachers develop strategies for using technology to enrich the learning experience for their students.”
Microsoft Helps K-12 Educators Understand Technology’s Educational Potential
In Texas, more than 30,000 teachers at the state’s 20 education service centers have participated in [email protected] . Workshops using Microsoft Office in the classroom are the favorites of teachers in the west central region, reported Steve Simoneau, technology consultant at the Region 14 Education Service Center in Abilene.
“Our teachers want kids to learn how to use the software that will give them a leg up in the job market,” Simoneau said. “We have to help our teachers take the first step by showing them the possibilities for using these technology tools in the classroom. The workshops we host using the [email protected] software and materials help us demonstrate to Texas teachers the creative ways that technology can enrich learning, such as using Microsoft Excel to graph plant growth in science class, or the PowerPoint® presentation graphics program to present a book report.”
Helps Colleges Graduate Tech-Savvy Teachers
Many colleges of education are aggressively blending technology into their teacher education curricula. At Georgia State University, an urban university in downtown Atlanta and the alma mater of many Atlanta public school teachers, that effort encompasses basic computer and software training focusing on infusing technology into every classroom activity. Georgia State became a [email protected] site in 1993, and today 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in all the early childhood, elementary and secondary education courses learn how to use Microsoft software to teach their students concepts as diverse as how to tell time and understanding weather patterns.
Diane Stephenson, technology specialist at Barnwell Elementary School in Fulton County, Ga., has hosted Georgia State student teachers in her classroom for three years and is impressed with their technology skills. “Georgia State University’s students are not only willing to use technology and knowledgeable about how to use it, they also have a firm grasp of how to integrate it into the curriculum,” Stephenson said. “Georgia State student teachers understand that computers and related equipment are extremely effective tools for helping their students understand difficult concepts.”
Microsoft Offers Teachers Free Software Training Guides and Lesson Plan Ideas
Teachers need the opportunity to participate in technology professional development activities as well as support materials for practicing what they have learned. Microsoft offers several free resources through the Microsoft K-12 Education Web site (connect-time charges may apply) to help educators continue to develop their technology skills and learn how to use them in class:
“In and out of the Classroom with Microsoft,” a series of practical guides to help teachers and administrators learn and use software such as the Microsoft Windows® 95 operating system, Microsoft Office 97 and FrontPage 98 for instruction. The booklets highlight software features that teachers use most often and offer step-by-step instructions so teachers can learn at their own pace.
Microsoft’s “Productivity in the Classroom,” curriculum-based workbooks designed to integrate computer applications into the classroom. The classroom-tested lessons included in each workbook are for a variety of grade levels and use software tools such as Microsoft Office 97, Greetings Workshop, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, Encarta and Publisher 98.
A free online tutorial allows teachers to work at their own pace to learn how to use Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 to find Web sites, use the history feature, create safe zones on the Web for student use and download information from the Web.
Microsoft Supports AACTE’s First Innovative Use of Technology Award
To encourage and reward colleges and universities providing technology training to education students, Microsoft also supports the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Innovative Use of Technology Award. The first award was presented to the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, during AACTE’s annual conference in February 1998. The Curry School was honored for its 15-year commitment to the integration of technology into its programs, including interactive multimedia case studies, integration of technology into school methods courses, and the development of a strong technology infrastructure. Honorable mentions went to the College of Education at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and the College of Education and Human Services at Western Illinois University in Macomb.
For more information about Microsoft’s teacher training initiatives , visit the Microsoft K-12 Education Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/education/k12/training.htm . Microsoft’s commitment to providing teachers with technology training and resources is part of its
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.
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.
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