Just in Time for Back to School, Microsoft Brings The 21st Century Classroom to Life

NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2001 — A 10-foot live volcano erupting in Grand Central Terminal became an eye-catching symbol of the extraordinary changes taking place in education today.

Microsoft Corp., joined by Bill Nye, America’s favorite
“Science Guy,”
and students from District 6 in Harlem and local colleges, gave New York commuters a glimpse of the 21st Century Classroom. Four larger-than-life vignettes, depicting a school classroom, a volcano, a diner and a home, demonstrated the reality of anytime, anyplace learning. That reality is being driven by innovative technologies that allow students to learn and teachers to teach in bold, new ways.

“Talk about interactive learning, any time, any place,”
said Nye.
“Today, kids on the side of a miniature volcano were receiving notes and facts from classmates, and they were sending information back from the field to their classroom. Smart tools, like this software, can enrich the learning experience not just when kids are sitting in a classroom. Now, that’s pretty cool.”

Using the latest Microsoft software — Office XP, Encarta® Class Server and the upcoming Windows® XP operating system — to expand the limits of their learning, the message was clear: With the appropriate tools, immediate, interactive and accessible learning is a
21st century reality.

“We wanted to dramatize our vision of a Connected Learning Community, where new computing devices, powerful software and global Web services combine to enable learning without limits,”
said Mark East, worldwide general manager for the Education Solutions Group at Microsoft.
“This collaborative environment makes learning any time, any place and on any device a reality for students, teachers and parents.”

To bring Microsoft’s vision of a Connected Learning Community to life, the four vignettes, featuring Pocket PCs and notebook computers from Compaq Computer Corp., showed students getting a hands-on experience with cutting-edge learning scenarios. Connectivity, communication and collaboration were put to the ultimate test with a multimedia-rich collaborative learning experience, a research field trip to an active volcano, a technology-driven learning experience at home with a parent, and a demonstration of homework done not at home, but in a diner.

“We are fusing the expertise of the technology and education worlds to set the stage for the 21st Century Classroom where students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to explore endless opportunities throughout their lives,”
East said.

Following is a closer look at the 21st Century Classroom experience:

  • Collaborative work and learning. With sophisticated collaboration tools, students of the 21st Century Classroom are able to work with and learn from classmates down the hall or students across the country. Microsoft Windows XP will offer Windows Messenger, which is a rich, real-time communications tool allowing students to communicate with one another using text, voice and video. Office XP provides a multitude of ways that students and educators can collaborate, including a new Send for Review feature and Reviewing Tools in Word , Excel , and thePowerPointpresentation graphics program, SharePoint™ Team Services Web-based collaborative environment, as well asMSN Messenger integration into theOutlook messaging and collaboration client. In addition, MSN Web Communities makes it easy for students with similar interests to connect anywhere in the world

  • Learning any time, any place. With 21st century technology, students can learn wherever they are and whenever they are ready. The Pocket PC and its wireless capabilities make it easy for students to take notes, share their work via e-mail with attachments, and access learning resources beyond the school walls and the school day. Using technology that enables any situation to become an educational opportunity, students of the 21st Century Classroom are always learning.

  • Active, exploratory learning. Teachers can empower students to follow their curiosity and interests in an environment that supports inquiry-based learning. Interactive Office XP smart tags enable students to access information with a click of a mouse, while Windows Search Companion makes it easy and safe for students to find information on the Internet. MSN Research and Learning and Encarta Reference Library 2002 provide students with reliable and engaging learning resources and tools such as Encarta Researcher that help students create great reports and projects.

  • Hands-on learning. Teachers can put tools in the hands of every student that enable them to apply their knowledge in creative and exciting ways. Students can present their knowledge through rich digital media enabled by the new Windows Media Player for Windows XP and Windows Movie Maker in Microsoft Windows XP , and rich animation in PowerPoint in Office XP .

  • Parental involvement. Parents can stay informed on how and what their children are doing in school using Encarta Class Server , which gives parents access to their child’s assignments and allows them to see what has yet to be completed, as well as teacher feedback on work already done.

  • Real-world tools. In the 21st Century Classroom, real-world tools such as Office XP applications, including Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel, as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer give students the ability to explore what excites them, apply what they learn and share their learning — wherever they are, whenever they want.

  • Connected classroom.
    Windows XP will make it easier for teachers to set up a small network in the classroom, allowing students on multiple computers to share printers, devices, pictures and other files. Schools even will be able to take the connected classroom a step further, linking classrooms within a single school, sharing the same network with other school districts and networking with schools across the state or the country.

New Office XP Smart Tags Help Students and Educators Access Learning Resources

Microsoft also demonstrated Office XP smart tags customized for the education community for the first time. These smart tags, developed by Gale Group and Scientific American, serve as additional resources for students and educators, enabling them to seamlessly access the Web-based information they need from the familiar Office applications they work in every day.

The Gale Group, a unit of the Thomson Corp.’s Thomson Learning, has committed to integrating customized smart tags in its Resource Centers, which are a series of online research services for schools, colleges, universities and research libraries. Gale Group, the world’s largest reference and research publisher for public libraries and the educational market, produces its own reference materials in electronic and print formats, and also gathers content from thousands of other publishers to include in its portfolio of online databases.

Scientific American has committed to create custom smart tags for SCIENTIFICAMERICAN.com, Scientific American’s Web site that provides news and information on science and technology. These smart tags will recognize terms like
in the Office XP applications and offer options to link the user to relevant information on SCIENTIFICAMERICAN.com.

Working with educators, administrators and industry partners, Microsoft helps schools and campuses build Connected Learning Communities — modern learning infrastructures that integrate technology into classroom instruction and school administration, and provide students, educators, administrators and parents with anytime, anyplace access to learning. More information on the wide spectrum of Microsoft education programs, resources and products for learning can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/education/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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, Encarta, Windows, PowerPoint, SharePoint, MSN and Outlook 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.

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

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