By Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education, Microsoft
Students and teachers are often looking beyond the classroom, thinking about what’s next – specifically, how today’s education will translate to tomorrow’s most sought-after jobs. Recent Pew Research found a skills gap in education, concluding that today’s education system is not adequately preparing students for the jobs of the future. In fact, IDC research commissioned by Microsoft found that this skills gap could be closed by focusing on communications, knowledge integration and presentation skills; combined with a solid competence in the productivity tools of Microsoft Office that facilitate 21st century work. And with the job market beginning to tighten, having the right skills translates to finding the best jobs.
To that end, I’m pleased to share that beginning today, millions of students across Europe and around the world are now eligible for free Office 365 ProPlus from their school that gives them all the benefits of Office 365 ProPlus including all of the familiar (and professional grade) Office applications like Word, PowerPoint and OneNote. Included is 1TB of storage on OneDrive for Business, Office Online and more.
Also, eligible students and teachers in Europe can now sign up themselves to get Office 365 and install free Office*. This self-service sign-in is quick and easy for students and teachers, but still allows school IT managers to maintain all the control, flexibility and security that Office is known for while reducing the amount of administrative work needed to provide these free services to students.
The Office 365 ProPlus benefit was created to address the very real needs of our fast-changing global economy and millions have downloaded Office since the benefit started in the U.S. last fall. Now, Europeans will also have easier access.
According to the IDC data, the high-growth/high-salary occupations of the future consistently require a high level of competence in communication, knowledge integration and presentation (CIP) skills. And many 21st century employers specifically require Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office-related skills. In fact, the only software package called out within the top 20 skills across all occupations is Microsoft Office.
For today’s digital natives, Office 365 Education matches their anywhere, anytime learning style, putting them on a path to succeed. With tools like Lync, they can seamlessly collaborate with students in classrooms around the world. And with OneNote, students can keep class notes, photos, and important information in one, easy-to-find location that’s available on all of their devices (PCs, Macs, Windows Phone, iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, Android Tablets) and now even wearables. Students can type directly into their notebooks, capture and convert photos of whiteboards and handouts, even record meetings or voice memos, and they’re all available from any device with a simple search.
Faculty and staff around the world are also able to now access the same Office 365 ProPlus benefit as students. This means that any organization purchasing Office for all their faculty and staff can now include an Office 365 ProPlus subscription at no extra cost for all students, faculty and staff. Extending the Office 365 ProPlus benefit to teachers and staff ensures that educators have access to all their Office documents across all their devices, at work or at home. It also means that teachers are using the same technology and features as their students. With Office 365 ProPlus, teachers get continual updates, which means they are always using the latest, best version of Office. They can install Office on up to five PCs or Macs and can unlock the editing capabilities of Office apps for iPad. Using their Office 365 ID also means they can access the same Office content while on the go with the mobile apps on Windows Phone, iPhones and Android Phones. Teachers can take advantage of great Office apps and add-ins like Office Mix to record and publish class lectures. They also get plenty of storage space with the 1TB of storage on OneDrive for Business.
Eligible educational institution employees around the world can now sign up at office.com/teachers.
At Microsoft, we are committed to making both the technology and the programs needed for college and career readiness available to as many students as possible – an imperative in today’s market, where worldwide youth unemployment is continuing to rise. This worldwide Office 365 ProPlus benefit, along with the more than 30 programs included in the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative – which was developed to close the opportunity gap between those who have access to the skills and training they need to be successful, and those who do not – are just some of the many ways Microsoft works to inspire and prepare students for success in the global workplace of tomorrow.
Many European schools have already invested in Office 365 and other technologies, with invaluable impact on student learning outcomes. From upper Austria’s largest business college to an all-girls college in Northern Ireland, schools all across Europe are using these new tools to create engaging classrooms and support STEM and ICT curricula.
Take a look at how some schools have revolutionized education for their students, using Office 365 together with Microsoft Surface devices and Windows 8.
Why students at Twickenham Academy in the UK think Microsoft technology at their school is “the best thing since sliced bread”:
How KAD Business College in Austria uses technology to support the learning experiences their students need for future employment:
Why St. Mary’s College in Northern Ireland chose Microsoft technology to transform their classrooms and “break down the classroom walls”:
Now with Office 365 ProPlus Benefit, even more schools across Europe can access Office 365 to positively impact their students’ learning experiences through technology.
To check your eligibility and learn more about Office 365 ProPlus go to office.com/getoffice365. For more information on the benefits of Office in education visit Microsoft in Education. Students can also explore additional deals and resources Microsoft has to offer specifically for them on the Microsoft Student Page.
*Hebrew and Arabic languages available Mid-March, self-sign up not available in China.