New Orleans, February 22, 1999 — Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates today shared the company’s vision for how school districts can use technology to create more effective and efficient schools, and announced a new industry-wide initiative to improve the performance of school software. Speaking to more than 4,500 U.S. public school superintendents at the American Association of School Administrators’ 131st Annual Conference, Gates envisioned a future where school districts will develop digital nervous systems – powerful information and collaboration tools to meet their instructional and administrative challenges.
By combining PCs and Internet access with powerful email, productivity and collaboration software, Gates said that schools can empower students, teachers and administrators to help districts become more efficient, improve decision-making and set the stage for improved student learning. “The PC and Internet are catalysts for reaching the educational goals that parents, educators and government have set for K-12 schools,” said Gates. “School leaders who embrace technology as a new teaching and learning tool will shape education in the 21st century.”
Gates showcased three school districts – in Costa Rica, Laurel County, Ky. and Lemon Grove, Calif. – that are committed to building digital nervous systems that will provide broader access to technology and build strong computer skills for even their youngest students. He also affirmed the education software industry’s commitment to software interoperability by announcing the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), an initiative by Microsoft and 17 other leaders in the education software industry to ensure that school software applications – such as library, cafeteria, transportation and student information management programs – will work together seamlessly and effectively.