Remarks by Steve Ballmer
Connected Learning Community Technology Summit
February 11, 2002
STEVE BALLMER: Well, thanks. Its a real honor and privilege for me to have this opportunity to speak with you here today. Im very excited. Its been a number of years since I had a chance to sit down with this group and Im real pleased for the opportunity.
What I want to talk with you about today will run the gamut, but I think there are sort of a couple big themes. Number one, I want to talk to you a little bit about how we see our overall mission as a company and perhaps some of the overall parallels between the way we see our mission and I think many of you would see your mission.
Second, I want to talk to you a little bit about some of the things were doing, which sort of deeply involve us in the business of education and our deep commitment to education and then well have a chance to show you a couple things that I think should stimulate you and I hope excite you in terms of things were working on.
If you were to ask me what the one thing is, the one thing that the personal computer has really been about for the almost 21 years that the personal computer has been in the marketplace, Id say its been about empowerment. Its been about helping people realize their potential. And the computer has been different things at different times. It started out as a programming machine. It became a spreadsheet machine, a word processing machine, a gaming machine, a learning machine, a reference machine, an Internet machine, a communications machine. But the computer, the personal computer has always been a tool of empowerment. Its a general purpose device that extends the ability of human beings to work with information, to access the world beyond that, which is physically accessible to them at the time. And in that sense its been all about helping people realize their potential.
Its very different, of course, than the work that all of you do every day in many senses, but in many senses we also share that in common. Were all about in some ways helping people realize their potential.
Sometimes people say to me, Well, is the personal computer now at the end of its road? And I say, No, the personal computer is really at the beginning of its road. We may be 20 years into this transformation, but if I think of all of the ways in which the personal computer has yet to help people realize their potential, it is indeed large.
Heres a simple way to think about it and model it. How many hours a day does the average person use a personal computer? And depending on who you ask, it could be an hour, it could be half an hour, it could be four hours. If you talk to some real hard core people they might say, Oh no, I use my computer six hours a day or seven hours a day. And if you were to ask me how many hours a day should we hope people have needs or have benefit is probably a better way to say it from using some device, which helps them realize their potential, Id say Im not sure why that shouldnt be more like 11 hours, 12 hours a day.
A guy like me, I sleep eight hours so I guess those are out, and I exercise an hour or so and at least for me that means outside, but the rest of the time if Im reading, if Im working, even if Im attending a meeting and taking notes, theres barely a time of day when I couldnt use an extension, something to help me further process information, be my aid when Im trying to work with information, to learn new things; heck, even to be entertained Id like a little interactivity in that television set. Id like it to have voice recognition and instant messaging software so when I yell at it, Hey, Shelly, it will look it up, figure out that Shelly is my sister and send her a voice mail about sort of the great thing we just saw on the Winter Olympics.
So I think about the personal computer as really quite a broad tool to help individuals realize their potential.
I also think that the personal computer as server, if you will, has become a broad tool to help businesses and other organizations realize their potential.
When I think back to when I started at Microsoft 22 years ago, there was hardly a school that could afford to own a computer. There was hardly a small business that could afford to own a computer. These were big, expensive items. And today we can think about computers as very low-cost devices, which not only help the individual but help the institution and help the organization also realize its potential.
I think in many ways there is some sharing of vision between the computer and technology industries and the education community in terms of what it takes to help people realize potential, how do we help people be individually excellent and how do we help people collaborate better in teams and learn more and grow more together.
Inside Microsoft today these are big themes. We need people who are individually excellent performers, who can write great software, who can design great software, who can support software. But for us to really be effective as a company serving you we need to be a company in which the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts and people work well together.
And if you think about some of the challenges in the education field, yes, you want teachers to be able to be individual excellent but how do teachers work with other teachers, how do teachers work with parents and others in the community. How do we get great educators from around the globe to be able to help one another? We need tools that allow the educational community to realize its potential.
We also share very much a passion for the job that you do. Not only is it very important to us as individuals in society, but its certainly very important to us as a company to see an increasingly literate, educated populace, both in terms of having a base of people to draw from, to come work in companies like ours, but also if were going to sell tools that help people deal with information and knowledge, our market is well served to see more and better trained kids coming out of school today, and those are both excellent reasons for us to commit significant resources to this notion of education and training.
Were trying to provide a certain level of leadership on how training is done. If you take a look sort of after high school, after college, after its all said and done, and you say, What industry today perhaps has the highest level of ongoing, on-the-job training and education? — the computer field. The computer field changes so fast, so quickly, the demand for new people in the computer industry is growing. And our industry is asking how do we provide a level of ongoing education for people inside our industry. And so the work that we do pioneering with you serving the kids of the world is incredibly important also as a laboratory for learning, for leadership. And I think theres a lot our industry can exchange with one another.
So I think this is a set of visions that we share, and some of the issues that we see are in common. And certainly for our success as an industry, let alone as a company, we know we need to commit the resources and really get on with the business of helping you take greater and greater advantage, and helping students take greater and greater advantage of the computer as a tool, that right from the get-go you get them started with so that they can realize their potential.
A number of years ago we started talking about our premise for all of this as Connected Learning Communities, and I think that vision or that articulation is as valid and appropriate today as it was when we first started talking about it. We see this interaction of schools with students at home, with parents, with the community, with higher education. We see that connection as incredibly important. Schools within themselves, schools outside of the community, teachers to one another; that sense of connection is very, very important.
Weve announced a number of initiatives: The Schools Interoperability Framework; were a big participant there. Our Zone Integration Services; well talk a little bit about that. But its all about connection, how do you help systems talk to systems and people talk to people in a much richer way.
Where the goal is, if you get that to happen and really work, you can really talk about a world in which the computer facilitates learning any time and any place, in which the learning that comes to me or the learning that I could access through my computer is really individualized for me in a relevant and interesting way, and a world in which we can hold parents and teachers and students highly accountable for the learning and advances that theyre making.
I have to say that the ingenuity that I see amongst teachers and amongst folks in the K-12 educational systems broadly, in terms of using computers to stimulate student interest and learning, remains unbelievable.
And I dont know if Im a little out of touch or not a little out of touch, but we were running around with my eldest son. Were looking at different private schools, public schools for him, looking at all these places. And we went to an open house at one private school and the teacher is an 8th-Grade algebra teacher whos conducting this open house, and he did this brilliantly exciting thing for the kids to teach them a little bit about geometry. The thing that was fascinating to me was he did it all on the computer and he did it all in some programs that he had built himself in Excel.
You know, you want to prove that the three line segments that bisect each side of a triangle, intersect in a point, he had a program that would let you do that. You could play with it in Excel and change the triangle and it all still works.
You know, then he said if you trisect the opposite sides of the triangle it, in fact, forms an equilateral triangle.
Well, Ill tell you a little secret. I was a math major in college and I thought I was pretty good at math and this was like nothing I had ever learned, and Im sitting there saying, Wow, man, yeah, it really works. Hes drawing this thing around, just drawing you in, fascinating you, animating the things that you want to learn. And it may be commonplace but even for me whos familiar with the technology, even for me who sometimes I think, Yeah, Ive seen it all, I say, Boy, isnt it amazing the kinds of things that people can do just using what we now would call simple tools like Excel to animate, to involve, to help people learn, to adapt and to really make these things interesting and relevant in the utmost way.
And its the ability to let people be ingenious, teachers, district technology coordinators to be ingenious and then to share that ingenuity quite broadly around the world that I think is a key part of this notion of Connected Learning Communities.
Winston Churchill said something in 1942 that I think is relevant to say in the technology industry today. Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.
Now, obviously this meant one thing in the context of World War II and where Britain was in 1942, but what I think it means today to us, to all of us who are involved in helping people realize their potential through technology, is equally valid.
The opportunity for all of us to help students achieve their potential and to have the computer be an important aspect of that, were not even near the beginning of the end. And maybe it is the end of the first chapter. The first chapter may have been written. But all the ideas are certainly not out there and when we look back as a community 20 years from now, the way in which students learn and the importance of the computer as a tool for that, the way in which schools operate and the importance of the computer as a tool of that will again be three quantum leaps forward from where we are today.
You can mark my words.
Its hard for us. We look back 20 years and we say, Wow, 20 years ago there essentially was no computer. There was no personal computer really. There were a few Apple IIs, a couple IBM PCs but there were no computers.
When we look back 20 years from now, people have a hard time even envisioning the notion that it can be that much more different 20 years from now than it was 20 years ago, but it will be.
Even working at Microsoft, where in many senses I can tell you we have people who can see the future — or at least theyll tell you they can see the future — (laughter) — and sometimes theyre even mostly right, but nonetheless thinking 20 years out is really quite unbelievable.
Just take the power of this whole notion of XML as a basis in which computers and people can interchange information in new ways. We think we know what it means. Were working on the basic plumbing, the basic infrastructure. But when those tools are really in the hands of folks like you, what it will mean for the nature of education we have really yet begun to see.
We refer to this decade as the Digital Decade. Well, what was last decade, you might say. I dont know. It was also the Digital Decade, I suppose. But theres still so much more to do.
Were going to show you today the tablet device, and what I think you ought to expect for breakthrough hardware in the PC, in the television set, in form factors that fit in your pocket; its truly amazing. What this whole notion of XML and Web services opens up for interconnection again will give us some breakthroughs.
The great breakthroughs in our industry come when you get to leverage the work of other people in a much stronger way. Thats where the real breakthroughs come. They dont come because one programmer can write code 20 times faster than they could before. The great breakthroughs have come by letting people build so significantly on the work of others.
Windows was a great breakthrough, because everybody had a chance to share a common infrastructure for printers, for screens, to share the screen at the same time, and then people built on it.
The Internet was a great breakthrough because one simple protocol allows literally millions of Web sites and hundreds of millions of people to access and share information in a different way across the Internet.
This XML Web services decade is about taking that information and letting us build on the work of others to the next level.
When there is an infrastructure that is great for really helping designing course materials, all of us will be able to build on it in newer and richer ways and simpler ways.
This is a decade in which certainly I think we all have to put what we call Trustworthy Computing as a top-level objective for our industry. This means security. This means privacy. This means really helping shield particularly kids from the bad stuff while letting them get at the good stuff thats available for them electronically, and helping them understand their further obligation to protect the intellectual property, to share it appropriately, et cetera. Its a big, big theme for us.
And we think this is a decade for software to empower all of us in new ways. When I talk to teachers particularly I think teachers are still frustrated might be overstated, but teachers still want to know when its going to be easier and easier to have the software empower them to do unique things in their classrooms.
When I talk to people in school districts, people still say, Hey, these computers are too hard to manage. Theyre too hard to take care of. And Im spending all of my time on lower-level issues instead of really adding the kind of value that Id like to add to the educational process.
And so in every sense weve got to, by the end of this decade, be in a position where more of all of our time is going into the job were trying to accomplish, the empowerment were trying to get, helping us help others realize their potential instead of dealing with low-level plumbing and infrastructure and technology and blah, blah, blah.
And our industry has been saying this for a long time but it remains true. If you think back 10 years ago, 10 years ago it used to be a big deal just to get a networking protocol stack designed into an operating system. People used to pay a hundred bucks an hour for somebody to install TCPIP for them. Weve come a long way and yet our industry has not come far enough in terms of letting people focus in one realizing their potential.
Ive talked about this XML Web services revolution a couple times. I want to make sure that the fundamental basis for our enthusiasm is well understood.
The world of the Internet today is a world of HTML. Thats the format that we exchange around the Internet. And HTML is essentially a description of a picture of information on the screen; you know, this picture goes here, this far away from this picture. This text flows here. Somehow it all works and we all go to our browsers and we see information on the Internet. Its a wonderful thing.
But all you get when you access a Web site today is a picture of the information. Youre not getting sent the information itself; youre getting sent a picture.
Why is that important? Because if you want to take that information and transform it, re-present it, write a program that works on it, manipulate it, you want your students to be able to go get, I dont know, geological soil data from Eastern Washington, theyll get a picture of that information. But if they actually got the information itself back somehow, then they could pop it easily into a spreadsheet, write a program against it, et cetera.
If your computers could talk seamlessly to the states computers through XML, youd be able to exchange data instead of having to craft clever custom solutions for passing information about students and enrollment, et cetera, back and forth, so the applications of this concept apply institution to institution, if you will, not just person to person.
XML is a format in which you essentially send people the underlying data and then the browser can either present it, as we expect today, or a program on the other side can take the data and manipulate it, manage it, et cetera. Thats why we call XML essentially the lingua franca of the Internet. It will be the basis on which everything communicates, because its a way of sending information instead of a picture of information.
And every industry will have to have its own set of standards around XML, how do you send student data, how do you send contact information, how do you send in some other business inventory information. Those will all be so-called standard schemas built on top of XML. But XML itself will be the standard basis for information exchange across the Internet. And so we think it has tremendous possibilities then for being the backbone of this next generation of advance where everybody can build much more easily off the work of others.
When we talk about our .NET platform, we are talking about a platform to enable, to empower all of us to build and use XML oriented applications over the Internet. .NET is a platform that we will embed in Windows, we will embed in Windows Server, we will also have available in the cloud. It is not a way for us to take all of your proprietary information. It is a set of interfaces designed to standardize some things across the Internet and let people take advantage of XML.
If you want to pull together a portal for your school district with student information, standards information perhaps that come from the state, rich applications, data sources off the Internet and pull them all together in one place, the answer will be, we hope, .NET supporting the important XML standards of the education industry. And so we see this world of .NET and .NET as a platform that helps you really leverage and gain the advantages of the XML Web services revolution.
We want to make sure that those concepts are applied to helping you build great learning environments, and Ill talk about great learning environments, but essentially every one of these points drives a set of thinking about things we need to do technologically.
You want a continual learning environment. That means people have to be able to learn when theyre, so to speak, online and offline. That means a lot to us technically. So people have to be able to learn when theyre connected, when theyre disconnected, when they have a machine, when they dont have a machine with them, when they have an occasional interest. Theres a lot of work that needs to happen there.
A relevant learning environment — relevant, relevant, relevant: Bill Gates says that one of the great advances we should expect to see in the XML Web services generation is a focus on what we call the Information Agent. And the Information Agent will be a program that sits on your machine and looks at incoming XML information, whether its e-mail, whether its notifications from your bank, notifications from anyplace you choose to get them, and it processes those intelligently and brings that which is relevant to you to the fore.
My Agent might screen new Web sites, for example, for me and, based upon criteria I set, help point me towards those things, which are most relevant and most interesting to me.
And last but not least an adaptive and agile learning environment: To be adaptive we have to have tools that facilitate you being able to change — change the environment, change the application, change the back-end systems in the district quickly. And that too has a range of technological implications.
So each of these things means a lot to an educator, but each of these also winds up meaning a lot to us as a technology supplier.
What Im going to do now is invite Jigish Avalani from our Education Solutions Group to come on stage and join me. Jigish is going to demonstrate for you some of the concepts that we are experimenting with for a Connected Learning Community and help share some of the enthusiasm we have specifically for technologies applied to education. Jigish.
JIGISH AVALANI: Thanks, Steve.
Its great to be here. You know, as Steve mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges schools face today is in deploying technology, due to the pressing need of interoperability out there. And in schools today, the applications available in K-12 schools and their districts are either closed systems, or systems that allow access only through proprietary interfaces and data exchange and data formats out there.
What this essentially creates, Steve, is significant challenges for schools out there because of the islands of applications and their data that dont communicate with each other and create the need for the redundant data entry and also, coupled with the fact that they increase a lot of the support costs out there, data is not instantaneously available to the critical decision-makers in schools and the districts for data reporting and a lot of those other activities that they need to perform to create a Connected Learning Community in a school environment.
So what .NET does with the schools interoperability framework in the education industry standards that Steve talked about earlier is give the ability of pulling together a lot of this information and a lot of these integrated approaches for a lot of the applications out there.
Lets take an example of Sandra Martinez, whos being enrolled in a 7th grade school, the JFK Middle School out there. We enter her information only once and as soon as we enter it, its available instantaneously and seamlessly to the student management system, which can choose to add additional information thats appropriate for this particular application, and its also available to the network management system that has the ability of assigning a secure user ID for her and also some e-mail address and additional information for her to access a lot of the network resources.
And, most importantly, it is now available in a seamless fashion in the transportation management system. The transportation management system did not have to go out and enter all the information about Sandra Martinez over and over again. But whats increasingly important, as well as you notice in here, Steve, is the transportation management system was able to pull up Sandras address and automatically route the best bus schedule for her to be able to go and attend the school and be on the bus schedule.
And lastly the library system also has available Sandras information through this seamless interoperable framework that can be pulled in, and she can check out her books, and, in a nutshell, shes just ready to learn.
So what youve seen here so far as applications at the back end, applications on the administrative side, critical information for data entry seamlessly available to these variety of applications, but this is just one of the many components. The other piece about the teaching and learning is also extremely critical for the whole Connected Learning Community and the student learning environment, and thats where Microsofts Class Server comes into play.
Microsoft Class Server is integrated into the school environment and makes it extremely easy for schools to support, so Sandra Martinez in this case is also available again using the same exact standards and the schemas in the Class Server.
Lets take a look at Mr. Evans, Sandra Martinezs 7th grade Social Studies teacher. He uses Microsoft Class Server to find and locate a bunch of learning resources for his grade and school. He can download it and he can start working on it to review it, but its getting kind of late in the day and Mr. Evans really doesnt want to sit around and spend an extra couple of hours at school to try and finish reviewing this. Hed much rather have the ability to use this from home, from the comfort of his own home.
So Mr. Evans can just go ahead and take this home and log on to his system from home. Whats interesting is Mr. Evans really doesnt need to be online at home. He can be offline. He doesnt need to be connected to the school server nor to the Internet. He has access to all the learning resources. He can even grade the students work that has been submitted. And he can also go ahead and assign an additional activity if he wants to for this particular learning resource that he downloaded earlier. He can assign it just to Sandra or he can assign it to the entire class.
And so what weve seen here is the ability for Mr. Evans to be not only flexible but much more productive with his environment and be able to work with Microsoft Class Server.
But this is all available here and now. What I also want to do, Steve, is take a couple of seconds and give you folks a peek at whats coming down and what we are doing with some of the innovations we are making in establishing and taking all of our assets in the portal and the online space, and all the assets in our .NET My Services out there, and bringing it all together so in the future with an education portal Mr. Evans will not only have all of his resources available to him instantaneously but also resources around professional development, accessing school libraries and also his grade books.
Class Server will also be integrated with performance accountability systems, so Mr. Evans has the ability and visibility to look at students that need additional help around curriculum standards and finding a specific learning resource to supplement these particular students and be able to provide that much richer experience to the students.
So this is all about the teacher all that we have seen and how the teacher is able to be much more productive with Class Server today and innovations were making in the future.
Lets take a quick look at the things that were doing for the student as well. So Sandra Martinez, for instance, today Sandra has the ability of logging in with her secure identity that was issued to her by the schools from pretty much any place, anywhere that she has Internet connectivity, either at home or at school, at the library, at grandmoms place, anywhere. All she needs is a browser and the ability to be able to sign in with her secure identity, and she has a view into all her assignments. She can look at the assignment that Mr. Evans just assigned to her, pull it up, work on that assignment and she can go ahead and provide the right set of answers.
The nice part about doing this demo is I know the answers to these questions. (Laughter.)
And she can go ahead and submit that assignment as well, again all from the comfort of wherever she is, an anytime/anywhere, learning experience without having to be tied to a specific location.
But also I want to do the same thing I did from the innovations that we made for the teacher side, the innovations were making for the student as well. I want to give you guys a peek as to what we are doing down the road for students. Again, combining our rich assets around the .NET My Services and the rich assets we have, Sandra will be able to sign on to an MSN Web portal, and again she has access to all of her reference links, all of her teaching resources that she just saw. She also has the ability of getting access to Encarta Online, a rich set of tools out there.
But most interestingly, because this is a 7th grade student, as Im sure you guys can all relate to, having access to her contacts online with our instant-messaging technology gives her the ability of collaborating with her buddies on school assignments, on other things in her social calendar, and an integrated, rich calendar. This is extremely important —
STEVE BALLMER: Im not sure anybody believes what the collaboration would be about. (Laughter.) Just a small piece of feedback. I heard some skepticism that they were going to be collaborating on school material. (Laughter.)
JIGISH AVALANI: We can always hope. (Laughter.)
STEVE BALLMER: We can.
JIGISH AVALANI: We can always hope the technology brings the right sort of collaboration to this.
But this is where the interesting piece comes in on the calendar, Steve. Its an integrated calendar. Sandra now has a view of her entire social calendar, and we all know what a 7th graders social lifestyle looks like. She has the ability to view her family schedule that her parents have the ability of providing and inserting these events. Again, in an integrated secure fashion, she has the ability to view school-related information that the school was able to provide on the calendar, and obviously she has access to her own social calendar as well. This is extremely powerful, extremely important for students to be able to pull this all together in a rich and a secure format out there.
So weve seen what we have been able to do today, what were doing today and what we will be able to do for the teachers and for the students. But being parents — Steve, Im sure you can relate to this as well — its extremely important for us to be involved in our childrens education, and we hear this consistently from educators that parent involvement is the single most important predictor for students success.
So today, as a parent, Mr. Martinez, for instance, Sandras dad, has the ability of signing in, again with a secure identity, and viewing Sandras assignment, viewing the graded assignment, also reading the teachers comments. So he has the ability of participating in Sandras performance and Sandras work, regardless of where he may be.
And just like you, Steve, Mr. Martinez seems to travel quite a bit, so he would prefer to be able to not have that impact his involvement with Sandra. And looking at this particular assignment, while he was in Chile he realized he has a picture about this particular desert that hed like to be able to convey to her and encourage her. So he creates this e-mail message, and for the sake of the demo you guys can see I have wonderful typing skills out here, but he can create this particular e-mail message encouraging her and include that particular item that he had in here and go ahead and send it off to her, showing that he cares, showing that hes involved in this, encouraging her throughout her entire process.
So what weve seen here, Steve, is hopefully a preview that Ive been able to give about what we are doing today with this integrated approach, what we are doing today with our standards work and our activity, what were doing today with our partners; all of these applications that you saw are real and live available to our partners and will be available later on throughout all the workshops that Ill highly encourage you all to go take a look at, take it apart, see how we have built this, see how we have developed this and gain some perspective around that and obviously provide us some great feedback around it.
And lastly I want to mention two items in here. There are two of the many schools, for instance, Hillsborough, Texas Independent School District and Fife, Washington School District just down the road are implementing this .NET solution for this school year.
And one of the other items that you saw as part of our anytime, anywhere learning vision that we have in the Connected Learning Community is all about the devices, how do we bring the devices together to be able to provide the right set and the rich set of experiences. And to that end I want to bring Mary Cullinane up here to show you guys our new devices. Mary.
Mary Cullinane: Thanks, Jigish.
Steve, you may not know this, but I think I have the absolute best job at Microsoft.
STEVE BALLMER: I am glad to hear that.
MARY CULLINANE: Good. And you want to know why I think I have the best job?
STEVE BALLMER: Sure.
MARY CULLINANE: Because for 10 years I got to be in a classroom and I got to teach kids and I got to see the power of technology. And I got to see it make a difference in the culture of our schools.
And now at Microsoft Im able to actually look at the great innovations and the great software that were producing and the great story that were drawing and I get to think about how is that going to improve the teaching and learning process. And I get to do that every single day.
And one of the great opportunities that Ive had recently is to see the new Tablet PC and to see how this is truly going to transform the way that we use devices in education.
When you walk into a classroom, kids might have laptops in front of them if they go into a computer lab. Whats the first thing that you notice? You notice that theres a barrier there, right? Theres a barrier between the teacher and between the students.
STEVE BALLMER: I hate that at Microsoft when I see those screens up in front of the faces and you cant see the eyes of the people.
MARY CULLINANE: And youre not quite sure whats going on.
STEVE BALLMER: Youre really not. (Laughter.)
MARY CULLINANE: Exactly. So imagine if what we were able to do is we were able to remove that barrier.
STEVE BALLMER: Thats a regular old laptop.
MARY CULLINANE: Thats a regular old laptop. So you have the opportunity for a keyboard and yet you also have the opportunity to remove the barrier.
STEVE BALLMER: You mean I could tell the kids they just have to take notes like they do on a piece of paper?
MARY CULLINANE: If thats what you wanted to do, Steve, you could do that.
STEVE BALLMER: Im talking about the kids at Microsoft now. (Laughter.)
MARY CULLINANE: Oh, those kids, absolutely. (Laughter.)
So here we have a new form factor. But lets take a look at what that form factor can do for you in regards to the software thats on it.
So if you look at on the screen you see you have a traditional Windows XP environment. The Teletubbies, right, we all recognize it. (Laughter.)
So now when you look on the screen you have to think to yourself, this is not a companion device. This is my laptop. This is my notebook. Everything that we do on a Windows XP box well be able to do on the Tablet PC.
So lets take a look at some of the unique features to that Tablet PC component thats built on top of Windows XP.
The first thing were going to take a look at is the journal. Imagine youre in economics class talking about a little supply-side economics, a little supply, demand, how that has a bearing on price, something Im sure you know a lot about.
STEVE BALLMER: I know a little bit. (Laughter.)
MARY CULLINANE: Good.
Now imagine as a student youre taking your notes in your class but all of a sudden you realize, Gosh, I just wanted to add something right there. So what do kids today do? They start drawing arrows. They start adding little words down here. And by the time they get home they have absolutely no idea what that means.
Wouldnt it be neat if all we had to do was click on Tools, insert some space and make the paper grow? So now Im able to actually have the simplicity of the pen, paper like environment but with the power of the PC behind it, so I would be able to add —
STEVE BALLMER: Now, you didnt delete that text, right?
MARY CULLINANE: I did not. And if I go to the second page there it all is.
STEVE BALLMER: OK. You just made a little space in your notes.
MARY CULLINANE: Just made a little space in my notes.
Now, one thing when I came to Microsoft I noticed, Steve, is that people really like to use white boards in meetings. I think you give out extra points. I do. I think maybe you get maybe a few extra shares of stock or something, but I think when youre in the middle of a meeting and you get to go up and youre making your point and you use a white board, I think you and Bill are watching us and you give us extra points. So I like to take my laptop into meetings and Id be ready to go, new Microsoft employee, very excited, and all of a sudden people would start getting up to white board. What do you do? How do you get that information into a notebook computer when people start drawing? Its much of a challenge.
But now imagine being able to create those graphs, being able to do that in an environment and still have it within your text? Thats a very powerful thing for a student to be able to collect that information.
What was your favorite subject in school?
STEVE BALLMER: Math.
MARY CULLINANE: Great. Its not mine. (Laughter.) Sorry. But one of the things that we need to realize is math is a very, very difficult thing, when you start getting into algebraic equations, to get that in using a notebook computer, isnt it?
STEVE BALLMER: It can be.
MARY CULLINANE: It can be. So how can we actually do that and still keep that all within the context in our information?
Well, its easy when you use this. Now for a student its easy for them to actually take that information as its presented in its original form and put it onto a notebook computer and recall it later.
Were very concerned with the knowledge worker at Microsoft. What we also realize is that tomorrows knowledge worker is todays student. And so we need to make sure that we address that issue by showing these resources in schools and how theyre applicable to that environment.
But how does this help the teacher? What I just pulled up is Sandra Martinezs assignments that she did at the desert and what we asked Sandra to do was to create her top nine lists of what she would need if she was go to on vacation for one week in the driest place on earth.
STEVE BALLMER: Shes a bright student.
MARY CULLINANE: You noticed! (Laughter.)
And number nine, she just happened to put that she needed an Xbox. You know, something just to brighten her day.
So now she e-mails this back to me as a feature and I need to make a comment. That’s all I want to do. I want to make a little comment and get it back to Sandra.
So what do we usually have to do? We either have to print it out, maybe insert some comments, but what I would really like to do —
STEVE BALLMER: Screw up her report by typing into it.
MARY CULLINANE: Exactly. What I would really like to do is right within the document I would just like to say, Great job.
STEVE BALLMER: And that’s just a comment. She can still see her basic report. Thats just my comment, the teachers comment in the middle of the report.
MARY CULLINANE: Exactly, and now Im able to take that document with that comment written as it is written and e-mail it directly back to Sandra.
So what were able to do is were able to take some of this great functionality and build it into tools that teachers and students are all very much aware of.
STEVE BALLMER: There are a couple key concepts. Not only do we have essentially recognition of ink and drawing as basic data types in this version of Windows XP, we also respect the pen essentially as an input device, which weve never done before, and weve improved the way you can annotate.
So the things were showing here we think of as initially just in the form factor, the Tablet form factor, but we expect those same capabilities to be in desktop machines or machines that get built into desks in addition to the portable form factor.
MARY CULLINANE: So, Steve, thanks very much for letting us take a look into the future right here.
STEVE BALLMER: Okay. Thanks, Mary.
STEVE BALLMER: I hope the demonstrations give you something of a sense of our enthusiasm for some of the specific applications in education, and hopefully an appreciation of how some of the general technologies that were working on can be directly applied to helping people realize potential inside the educational sphere. And whether thats the new form factors, the Class Server technologies, the version of MSN for schools that were working on, the new .NET My Services and all of these venues, we think that the core work that were doing we have a chance to have a great impact on education and to build specific applications that really are related to the educational environment.
Whether its our Class Server product, the ways in which SQL Server and Exchange Server and our BizTalk Server, particularly with the new Zone Integration Services, for XML integration of educational applications, Windows 2000 Server, the Active Directory, which can be used to propagate information from application to application via XML, the Content Management Server for authoring Web sites at the school district level, Office XP and the SharePoint Collaboration Services or the .NET framework itself, which provides XML integration capability — we think all of these tools provide really a rich foundation for helping you and helping you to help students and teachers realize their potential.
We realize in this industry, as in all industries, our work is insufficient. We cant do everything. We need to partner with a broad range of companies that build applications specifically for the industry. Im pleased to announce that even as were just this week shipping our Visual Studio .NET toolkit, we already have three key partners in the educational sphere signed up to support .NET: Chancery Software with their Student Management Systems, Edmund.com with their accountability and performance management solutions, and KPMG with their consulting services are all signed up not just to support Windows and Windows Servers but are really getting on with the business of supporting XML Web services through .NET in the educational environment.
At the partner pavilion here at the conference youll be able to see solutions from a variety of other companies as well — special education solutions, data management, library, multimedia, hardware, transportation, Internet filtering — particularly for CIPA we know theres a lot of work we need to do — interactive learning, learning aids, content development, network management, and I encourage you to go look at the work of a variety of companies shown here on the slide who really have I think some very clever solutions that can help you put together an empowering environment for the schools and teachers that you support.
Our approach is pretty straightforward. We are committed to the educational customer. Were committed to the K-12 students. We know we need to focus in on trust, security, privacy, ease of use, ease of support. Were going to innovate with XML, with new form factors. Were going to make continuous improvements in the products that we have in the marketplace and in the education market specifically. Great partners, great collaboration, great products from Microsoft and were also committed to investing in helping you and the teachers that you support with a set of professional development resources.
With that I want to make a couple of announcements here today. First, were announcing a program we call HOPE — Helping Others Promote Excellence. And the goal of this program is to help facilitate the sharing of best practices in the education environment and uses of technology in the education environment across this country. And youll hear more later on today about HOPE, and its a set of Web sites and tools designed to promote this notion that you can collaborate with your peers around the country to see the latest and greatest and best in approaches to using technology and education.
The second thing I want to announce is an innovative new teachers grant program that were announcing today in association with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Its a $50 million program, roughly, of software grants. It adds on to the work that weve already done to the tune of about $350 million over the last six years to promote professional development for teachers and educators to learn more about the applications of technology in education. And to talk a little bit more about this innovative new program Id like to invite on stage with me Dr. David Imig, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Please welcome Dr. Imig.
DAVID IMIG: It is good to be here today, Steve, and to be a part of this. I had the opportunity this past weekend to spend some time with a 3-year old granddaughter whose favorite thing in life these days happens to be spiders and worms and an interesting picture book, the one about, Mommy, Theres a Monster Under the Bed.
We have a monster under our beds today, this audience and the education community, that we want to deal with, and that monster happens to be something that was enacted by the United States Congress, which promises all sorts of wonderful things for schools and school districts in the immediate future.
“No Child Left Behind” is what its called and it will be coming to your school and to your school building very soon, with the promise, I think, of dramatic changes in the way we do schooling in this country.
The Congress and the President hope through an infusion of $25 billion that theyre going to make major changes in the way that we do schooling. And the focus of this is going to be professional development. The focus of this is going to be to change the way we think about professional development, to, if you will, move professional development into the schools in meaningful ways.
And what this initiative with Microsoft is about is ways to connect higher education and the schools to help to deliver on this vision. I think this vision is really powerful. It is powerful because of the connectedness between higher education, schools and school districts that are promised. It is promised in the form of new kinds of partnerships, such as the one that AACTE and Microsoft are pleased to announced today, but it is a partnership thats going to involve each and every one of you, because what we want to do is connect schools of education in your school districts and in your neighborhoods with the work that youre doing in powerful and new ways. Because the critical piece of this new initiative has to do with enriching the lives of teachers and enriching the subject matter content or the content knowledge of teachers and figuring out smart ways to do that I think is what this is about.
Your Greg Butler has been enormously helpful to us in getting this off the ground and I think that this is a promising initiative and I look forward to working with you on it.