50,000 teachers and 800,000 students in all 1,000 primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong can freely use Office 365 for self-directed and collaborative learning anytime anywhere
Hong Kong, July 25, 2013 – Information technology (IT) has always been an integral part of the sustainable economic development for Hong Kong, and using internet for academic research, social networking and collaborative learning is a common trend nowadays. To prepare students for the 21st century thinking and skillsets, Microsoft has been empowering students, educators and schools through technological innovations, a whole new eLearning model and professional development for the ever-changing demand in the market. Since 2004, Microsoft has been collaborating with the Hong Kong Education Bureau on the Partners in Learning (PiL) Initiative. By harnessing the power of information technology and next-generation eLearning practices, educators and students are empowered to stay competitive for building a sustainable knowledge-based economy.
“The Hong Kong Education Bureau has been working with Microsoft Hong Kong on Partners in Learning (PiL) Initiative in order to promote IT in education and eLearning development in Hong Kong. I am very pleased to see the fruitful outcomes of PiL in the past decade, and we truly appreciate Microsoft Hong Kong for their great support and contribution to the local education sector, “said Eddie Ng Hak-kim, SBS, JP, Secretary for Education, the Hong Kong SAR Government. “The Education Bureau will continue to work closely with Microsoft Hong Kong in PiL 3.0 to empower teachers with the latest IT knowledge and skills, especially on cloud computing. Together with relevant learning applications and digital resources, we can further enhance the qualities of both teaching and learning in Hong Kong. We believe that the cloud-based learning model and practice will help teachers to prepare more interactive and collaborative learning programs for the students, thus enabling the local education sector to harness the power of modern IT and meet the increasing need of knowledge management in the society.”
“Microsoft believes that education is the key to increasing competitiveness at both individual and societal level. As a market leader of innovative technology, we launched Partners in Learning around the world, investing over USD$500 million in the support of schools and teachers to embrace the adoption of information technology in education and to provide the technology platform and training resources for the participants. Microsoft believes that education is no longer limited to classroom learning, and we have been working with governments and education leaders worldwide to provide schools, educators and students with the best tools and equipment for eLearning. To date, more than 7.9 million teachers and school officials and 180 million students worldwide have benefitted from PiL and gained new learning practices and experiences. The outstanding result is encouraging and we are eager to bring this international experience to the Hong Kong education sector,” shared Ken Wye Saw, Vice President of Asia Public Sector of Microsoft.
“Microsoft’s vision is to inspire one to develop his or her potential and empower youth to become the pillars of Hong Kong’s future with information technology. As an industry leader in the local ICT sector, Microsoft Hong Kong is very proud to be the one who contributes in transforming education with technology innovation. We are pleased to join hands with both the Education Bureau and the local education sector in driving the evolution of IT in education in Hong Kong. We listen to the opinions of schools, teachers, parents and students, so as to help educators, school administrators and students to better connect, collaborate, create and share through the Partners in Learning (PiL) Initiative. Our ultimate aim is to empower everyone and maintain Hong Kong’s position in the global competitiveness landscape,” said Horace Chow, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong.
In 2004, Microsoft’s first stage of PiL (PiL 1.0 ~ 2004-2008) was launched with the Education Bureau. In the five-year plan, over 11,000 educators and 80,000 students benefited from the software and training support from Microsoft, successfully improving education quality with technology.
The second stage was launched in 2008 (PiL 2.0 ~ 2008-2013), which continued to promote innovative technology in education and provide IT support for the participants in five years’ time. More than 8,000 educators joined the training provided by Microsoft, which accumulated a total of 2,500 hours of training. Most Valued Teachers (MVT) Program was also introduced, with 50 valued teachers selected for further training and teachers with outstanding performance were rewarded. Moreover, Microsoft Hong Kong has also helped Fung Kai Innovative School to implement a comprehensive e-learning pilot programme, and developed The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School and Salesian School as Microsoft Pathfinder Schools. By providing them with e-schoolbags and e-learning platform, these schools have achieved effective information management, communication and collaboration for better quality in education.
This year, PiL is entering its third stage (PiL 3.0 ~ 2013-2018). Microsoft Hong Kong will continue to provide innovative technology for the next generation of e-learning. With the new cloud technology (Microsoft Office 365 services), schools can deploy cloud computing, which enables an integrated cloud-based learning platform fit for the next-generation of e-learning development. The service will provide support for educators and students to teach and learn anytime, anywhere, and accommodate the trend of adopting mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones in education. Details and objectives of PiL 3.0 are as follows: –
- The Education Bureau and Microsoft will empower schools to develop their school-based plans, covering both pedagogical and technological solutions, inspiring the schools to nurture a new generation of eLearning practices.
- Microsoft will provide Office 365 cloud service to 1,000 primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong over the course of three years for free, benefitting 50,000 teachers and 800,000 students.
- Build up professional capacity of teachers to enable self-directed learning opportunities for students with information technology empowered by Microsoft. While The Hong Kong Education Bureau will support the PiL initiative by connecting with the schools and teachers and providing training venues.
- Offer online training to 50,000 teachers in Hong Kong and promote overseas exchange through the PiL Network
- Provide 10,000 educators with more than 2,000 hours face-to-face eLearning solutions training
- Expand the Most Valued Teachers (MVT) Program and further develop 100 MVTs to participate in train-the-trainers with their peers. More than 10,000 teachers will ultimately be benefited through the Program
- Provide 500 IT technicians with more than 200 hours of hands-on technical training
PiL 3.0 enables teachers and students to achieve self-directed learning with better interactivity and flexibility. The cloud learning platform accommodates the needs of schools and students by allowing them to teach and learn anytime, anywhere with seamless communication and collaboration between the teachers and students, realizing the new education vision in the 21st century. Benefitting from the subscription model of cloud computing technology, schools no longer have to worry about the hardware resources, while parents can now monitor and share the learning progress and success of their children. The brand new cloud-based learning model can help the schools in Hong Kong achieve the vision of sustainable development, while meeting the expectation of our society for greater knowledge management needs and to embrace the trend of social networking. In the coming five years, PiL 3.0 will invest a total of USD$250 million globally, extending its benefits to a wider community.
In response to the need for collaborative teaching and learning tools and streamlining teachers’ administrative work, C&MA Sun Kei Primary School is eagerly looking for a cloud-based education platform to enhance efficiency. “As technology advances, application of technology in education is becoming more and more important so as to cope with the challenges we see in the 21st century. We truly appreciate Microsoft in providing Microsoft Office 365 to us for free. With the strong collaboration capability of Office 365, teachers can upload teaching resources to cloud anytime, anywhere for better diversity and flexibility as they prepare for the lessons, which also greatly eases their management of student assignments. Students can learn, discuss and collaborate on group projects, engage in instant discussions and co-edit their documents online, which teachers can mark and share more timely feedback on their assignments. Office 365 also simplifies school administration, for instance keeping our school calendar updated and providing meeting documents and records, thus greatly easing our administrative burden“, said Kenneth Cheng, Kin Man, Principal of C&MA Sun Kei Primary School.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.