Back-to-School Necessities Expand Beyond Pens, Notebooks and Erasers

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 26, 1999 — With families heading out for the back-to-school shopping ritual, many tough decisions are being made about which supplies are most relevant and beneficial for enhanced learning. At the top of the list of
“must-have” school supplies is a computer with access to the Internet. Students can get the most out of the Web with the recently released Microsoft® Windows® 98 Second Edition operating system, which features Internet Explorer 5 browser software.

Windows 98 Second Edition also includes enhanced hardware support, making it simpler for parents to add devices such as digital cameras, printers and scanners to inspire their children’s curiosity and creativity when working on school projects. While students still face such age-old challenges as difficult homework assignments or a long walk to school, today’s educational experience is now enhanced with the benefits of technology.

According to American Demographics (August 1999), more than 16 million kids and teens currently use the Internet, a resource that will likely increase in importance as these young people head back to school. Parents applaud the overall benefits of computing as well, as indicated by a FamilyPC online poll of 615 families (posted Aug. 2, 1999). Conducted by Digital Research, the poll asked parents whether they think computers have made their children smarter or more creative. The results demonstrate that parents believe technology is extremely beneficial; 68 percent responded that computers have made their children smarter, and 61 percent reported that computers have made their children more creative.

Windows 98 Second Edition, featuring Internet Explorer 5, offers the latest in full-featured Internet technology that will help students find greater success on the Web. Internet Explorer 5 offers the fastest, most reliable Internet experience. Improved Search functionality simplifies and automates the most complex browsing tasks and makes it possible for students to type common-sense phrases rather than Web site URLs in the Address Bar to be connected automatically. With Internet Explorer 5, students are ultimately able to spend more time being productive on the Web than worrying about how to get to the sites they’re seeking.

“Today’s young people with access to computers and information technology can expand their worlds in real time,”
said Pam Berger, educational technology consultant and author of
“Internet for Active Learners: Curriculum-Based Strategies for K-12.” “With a comprehensive operating system like Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, students have a superb tool for learning enhancement. Their many alternatives include the ability to research subjects on the Internet or to utilize special technology that allows virtual discussions with classmates. This learning process is an entirely richer experience.”

Windows 98 Second Edition offers consumers enhanced hardware support, including improved support for Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology. As their technology interests expand, families will find it easy to enhance their personal computer with additional, simple-to-install USB devices such as state-of-the-art keyboards, mice, scanners and printers.

Windows 98 Second Edition also includes Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), a set of advanced technologies that enables multiple computers in a household to share a single connection for simultaneous Internet access. ICS offers families a first step toward enabling easily networked homes and empowering them to get the most from multiple PCs. While Mom or Dad pays the bills or dials in to their company’s network in the evening from a Windows-based PC in the den, the students in the family can simultaneously research on the Internet, print their homework assignments, or share files with family members from a second computer.

In addition, Windows 98 Second Edition includes Windows Media TM Player 6.1, which enables playback of popular multimedia formats, including streaming audio and video – digitized files that reach the student’s computer for playback in real time – such as Windows Media and MP3. Students can access popular music and video and audio clips of news and cultural events being broadcast on the Web.

An additional feature of the Windows 98 Second Edition operating system is NetMeeting® 3.0 conferencing software, which enables chatting and online collaboration. Some educators are already taking advantage of this feature in classrooms, helping students participate in such things as online common projects, real-time exercises with experts in the
“outside world,”
and virtual field trips.

Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition is available at major computer retail outlets for an estimated retail price of $109 (U.S.) for users of Windows 95 and Windows 3.1. Current users of the Windows 98 operating system can receive the updated functionality by ordering Windows 98 Second Edition updates on CD-ROM for $19.95 (U.S.) plus shipping and handling. Windows 98 Second Edition is also available preinstalled on a wide range of popular new personal computers.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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