State of Washington and Microsoft Address Technology Skills Gap Through U.S. Partners in Learning

SEATTLE, May 10, 2004 — To succeed in today’s increasingly digital society, students must learn to use tools essential to everyday life and the workplace while schools face the challenge of adapting current education models so they can give students the skills they will need. Today, Gov. Gary Locke’s office and Microsoft Corp. announced their intent to work together over a five-year period to develop and implement long-term sustainable education models as part of Microsoft’s U.S. Partners in Learning.

“The revolution of technology has created a new field of opportunities for our students and, in turn, new challenges for our educators,”
said Gov. Gary Locke.
“By working with an innovator such as Microsoft we believe we can deliver on the promise of technology in education and institute teaching models that can be used in Washington and across the nation.”

The joint project will research, develop and implement a technology education framework consisting of two parts. Through the College of Education School of the Future model, teachers and administrators will be empowered with access to teaching methods that facilitate development of 21st-century skills among students. For a designated K12 at-risk student population, Microsoft and the state of Washington will use existing and emerging technologies to develop a technology-rich plan to help raise student achievement and graduation rates.

“The education of tomorrow demands that we innovate today and invest in this effort as a community,”
said Sherri Bealkowski, general manager of the Public Sector Solutions and Programs Group at Microsoft.
“U.S. Partners in Learning is a long-term commitment from Microsoft to work with state governments, local schools, teachers and partners to establish a sustainable foundation for continued advances in education and learning.”

U.S. Partners in Learning will be investing $35 million over five years to supplement and create sustainable education models nationwide. Microsoft will be working with select states such as Washington to develop projects that combine teaching and technology in innovative ways to serve as blueprints and models for other educational institutions. The initiative also will be delivering a national offering focused on providing administrators and faculty with access to high-quality development of professional information technology (IT) skills.

“It is critical that we improve how we teach and learn by effectively using technology in K12 education and teacher education,”
said Don Knezek, chief executive officer, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
“U. S. Partners in Learning will help in creating an educational experience that not only removes limitations but also creates opportunities through access to and use of technology.”
ISTE will be contributing standards-based curriculum and professional development to U.S. Partners in Learning.

In addition to working with states such as Washington that are leaders in technology, Microsoft has collaborated with key members of the education community, including MOUSE, ISTE, the MarcoPolo Education Foundation, the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Institute of Computer Technology and JES & Co. to develop the U.S. Partners in Learning curricula and tools offerings.

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