Microsoft Launches Free Electronic Forms To Help Schools Streamline Workflow and Increase Collaboration

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 19, 2000 — When Kim Greer, senior Internet administrator at the Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, gets a written note reading
“My computer doesn’t work,”
it can take as many as two visits and four phone calls before she has the information she needs to fix the problem.
“I lose a lot of time before I can start troubleshooting,”
Greer said. She is one of a team of educators working with Microsoft to help schools better manage information and streamline administration processes with easy-to-use, customizable electronic forms.

The new Education E-mail and Collaboration Forms, which are built on the Microsoft® Outlook® messaging and collaboration client and Microsoft Exchange Server, help schools manage a wide range of information, including requests for maintenance service, absence reports, school facility scheduling and substitute teachers. The forms are free, downloadable from the Microsoft Education Web site and easy for schools to customize (connect-time charges may apply).

“Schools are busy places with a lot of information to collect, manage and share,”
said Mary Stephenson, director of Microsoft’s K-12 programs.
“Electronic forms based on familiar e-mail and messaging technology will help schools get the right information to the right person at the right time and greatly reduce the administrative burden of paper forms.”

Lynn Richart, technology coordinator for the Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, Fla., agrees.
“In my school, we are required to save student information for 50 years. That is a lot of paper,”
Richart said.
“The greatest benefit to using these forms is transforming our record-keeping process from paper to electronic storage.”

Documentation is another advantage.
“We now use a paper note or a voice-mail message when we need something. Without a permanent record, it is difficult to keep track of and follow up on requests efficiently,”
Richart said.
“These forms will help provide us with electronic documentation for everything ranging from maintenance requests to employee information.”

For example, using the Quick Survey Form, a teacher can get feedback from students on a topic relevant to the day’s lesson, or an administrator can ask students to vote on a new school mascot. As students respond, their replies can be easily routed to and saved in a public folder so teachers or administrators can view and sort the results. Microsoft Outlook also automatically tallies the results.

More than 15 forms are now available for free download from the Microsoft Education Web site at . Additional forms are slated for inclusion. More will be added throughout the school year. To use the Education E-mail and Collaboration Forms, users must be running Microsoft Outlook 97, 98 or 2000 for the Windows® operating system on their desktops. To use the forms across the school or district network, the network must be running the Windows NT® Server operating system or the Windows 2000 Server operating system with Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 or greater. Each form download gives specific user requirements that should be reviewed before downloading, as requirements vary for some forms. Schools that want to try the forms but are not currently using Exchange can request a free Microsoft Exchange Evaluation Kit from the Microsoft Education Web site.

The Education E-mail and Collaboration Forms are part of Microsoft’s commitment to help every school build a Connected Learning Community in which all students and teachers have access to learning any time and any place.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Outlook, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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