ORLANDO, Fla., March 7, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the next generation of its Microsoft® Class Server, the Web-enabled K12 teaching and learning solution that helps school districts, administrators and teachers individualize and improve learning for every student. Unveiled to school representatives attending the Florida Educational Technology Conference 2002 in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft Class Server provides system flexibility and digital efficiencies to support fulfillment of the school accountability and assessment standards mandated by the recent federal education reform act. The solution will be available in May 2002.
National Education Debate
The national education debate has reached heightened levels as administrators and teachers consider ways to meet the expectations set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Signed in January 2002, the bill reforms the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and redefines federal and state roles in K12 education to help bridge the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers. The bill addresses four basic tenets: stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and teaching methods that have been shown to work.
Helping School Districts Achieve Their Academic Goals
An electronic teaching and learning tool that can help educators meet the challenges of the new federal and state mandate immediately, Microsoft Class Server delivers best-of-breed educational resources to help students achieve academic goals and addresses each of the four basics in the No Child Left Behind Act. Teachers and school administrators can easily link learning and assessment to specific regional curriculum standards; access high-quality lessons, create new projects and share best practices; customize instruction for individual students due to flexible technology; and increase parental involvement with a digital window into the classroom.
One of the significant enhancements in the new version of Microsoft Class Server is a link to a searchable learning resource database of more than 5,000 lessons, tests and assignments from national and international publishers that teachers can easily download, edit and assign to students. In addition, Microsofts new relationship with McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning, which provides a comprehensive guide to assessment standards and benchmarks for state and local educators) enables educators to quickly determine online whether the lessons culled from the learning resource database meet both federal and state curriculum standards.
Microsoft Class Server is maturing with the K12 market and is adaptive as a
needs-based solution. Weve been working with schools for the past year to more directly satisfy the needs of educators and deliver a class server that will serve as a foundation for real standards-based teaching, learning and performance tracking,”
said Mark East, worldwide general manager of the Education Solutions Group at Microsoft.
“We are committed to bringing the power of Microsoft technologies to schools to help them tailor learning for every student, and offer anytime, anyplace access to teachers, students and parents.”
Microsoft Class Server Benefits Teachers, Students and Parents
The release of this latest version of Microsoft Class Server (renamed from the original Encarta® Class Server, to avoid confusion with Microsofts leading reference product) is one more step toward Microsofts vision of the Connected Learning Community, in which technology in the hands of students, teachers and parents can improve student learning, create more agile and accountable schools, increase parent and community involvement, and help bridge the digital divide.
Microsoft Class Server can enhance the educational experience for everyone involved:
Teachers benefit with easy-to-use, time-saving tools to organize teaching materials, create digital records of students work and individualize assignments. They will have electronic access to all their files and resources whether working online or offline.
Students can complete projects digitally, organize their work and be more engaged in learning through more relevant, tailored curriculum.
Parents can become more involved in their childrens education through access to their childs assignment and graded papers.
“From supporting the creation of digital portfolios that can move student history from teacher to teacher to enabling better organization of instructional resources, the initial Encarta Class Server has exceeded our expectations in harnessing the capabilities of technology to advance student learning and increase administrative efficiencies,”
said Joe Kitchens, superintendent of Western Heights School District in Oklahoma City.
“We are excited about leveraging Microsoft Class Servers newest capabilities to further increase communication and collaboration among our teachers, students and parents.”
Schools Make Plans for Deployment of New Class Server
The Hillsboro Independent School District in partnership with the Hillsboro Community Network in Hillsboro, Texas, has already started to implement plans for its new Microsoft Class Server System. Students and parents in the community have after-school access to Community Network computer labs, which are found in underserved areas where home Internet access is virtually nonexistent. Using Microsoft Class Server, in conjunction with the homework center labs, allows students to work on their Class Server projects outside of school hours and facilitates more parental involvement with increased access to viewing their childrens work.
“This kind of Web-based connectivity through 24×7 access to Microsoft Class Server is helping us support progressive approaches to learning, develop a new way to bridge the digital divide in our district, and improve communications to enable parents and faculty to share in the job of helping the students that we serve,”
said Janice Trompler, technology director at Hillsboro ISD.
“As the project administrator of the Hillsboro Community Network, I am always looking for ways to use technology to bring the community together in a meaningful and educational way. The Microsoft Class Server is a great way to do just that,”
said Debra Reymundo, project administrator at Hillsboro Community Network.
A Team Committed to Improving Learning
To provide the high-quality learning resources associated with Microsoft Class Server, Microsoft has teamed with respected textbook and digital content publishers, leading independent software and hardware developers, and top industry consultants. Partners offering easy access to standards-aligned content include Ancept Inc., Barrett Kendall Publishing Ltd. (BKP), Broad Education Inc., Crocodile Clips Ltd., ExploreLearning, McGraw-Hill Learning Network, PLATO Learning Inc., Reality Based Learning (RBL) Co., Spark Learning Ltd. and XSIQ. Partners helping teachers easily integrate data collected from Class Server assignments with systems to manage and monitor student performance include EDmin.com, EdVISION Corp. and Stagecast Software Inc. Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., JES & Co. and Viglen Ltd. are assisting districts and schools in installing, running and maintaining Microsoft Class Server, in creating a framework for IT interoperability, and in providing support to help administrators meet accountability demands.
Microsoft Class Server Availability
Microsoft Class Server will be released in May 2002. Educators can go to http://www.microsoft.com/education/?ID=ClassServer to experience the power of Microsoft Class Server through an online demonstration; view sample content; find a full directory of Microsoft Class Server content, hardware and services, and software and tools partners; explore free professional development resources; and sign up for a free evaluation copy. For more information, educators can contact their local Microsoft authorized education reseller. To find a local reseller, they can visit http://www.microsoft.com/education/ .
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