Office 365 for Education was launched in June 2012, all in a direction to helping transform education. Teachers were asking for a holistic collaboration platform that would allow them and their students to access the knowledge and tools required for 21st century learning easily and safely. They needed a way to communicate, with each other, within their communities, with other teachers and the students around the world, with shrinking budgets and increasing demands on their time.
Changes in teaching and learning are happening at a literally “break-neck” speed. Students are coming into the classroom with new ideas about communication, collaboration and the role of technology in their lives. Office 365 could do more in transforming the education, it will help bring educators and students together to embrace the ever-increasing opportunities of this new era of digital learning.
Educators expect to be architects of their own classroom experience, they understand that technology must integrate seamlessly with pedagogy and that it must deliver measurable outcomes in terms of student experience and teacher efficiency. The new Office 365 Education enables all of that and more. These are just some of what the new Office 365 Education does:
Your classroom on any screen
Whatever devices and interfaces you use in your classroom: PCs, tablets or smartphones; touch, pen, mouse or keyboard, Office 365 for Education will make the experience faster and more fluid. Office 365 is optimized for Windows (demonstration can be seen: here), but it also supports non-Windows devices.
Regardless of the fact if the students work on shared PCs in a lab, have access to their own laptops or tablets in a 1:1 environment, or use their own devices in class, Office 365 will remember each user and their work, and will enable students to instantly access projects or research wherever they are.
With cloud-enabled storage and accessibility, Office 365 is a cloud service that follows you and your students wherever you go. It is a personalized experience that roams with you, and when you sign in your settings, custom dictionaries, and where you left off in your documents, it is right there with you. All of your Office tools are available on-demand and on every device you use: at school, at home or when you’re mobile. The cloud, with SkyDrive Pro, ensures you always have the latest versions of every application and that you can access your work both online and off.
Integrated, responsible, social
We know that social networking is revolutionizing societies and with it the way we teach and learn. The new Office 365 for Education brings social into the classroom, supporting newsfeeds, micro-blogging, multi-party HD video and Skype communication. It allows students and teachers to easily follow people, documents and sites. Social runs seamlessly throughout Office 365 applications, and enables educators to explore the many benefits of social in encouraging 21st century skills – especially collaboration, which we know advances both student learning and educators’ professional development.
Comprehensive control and management
Ensuring safety and privacy is a must in schools, therefore without these safeguards, even the best technology tools have little value. Office 365 Education features improved data loss prevention, allowing schools to set policy, so that users are flagged when sensitive information is included in an e-mail. Discovery tools are unified, and with this the administrators can search across Share Point Lync Exchange and file shares, helping to ensure policy compliance and investigate potential issues. Administrators will benefit from a streamlined admin console, bringing Exchange, SharePoint and Lync into a single user interface.
With Office 365 Education, data loss protection, data retention, deployment and day-to-day management become more effective and cost-efficient. Office 365 opens up a world of new possibilities through the partner ecosystem. With the addition of partner apps and solutions, Office 365 Education becomes a powerful platform for teaching innovation. (more about this exciting capability at Max’s Toolbox for Microsoft Office). This has been described as “training wheels for Microsoft Office” – a great way to introduce kids to tools they’ll use throughout their school, work and home lives.
Due to Microsoft’s commitment to education, Office 365 Education is available for free. Schools can access all of the features and benefits of Microsoft Office, apps and services, by signing up at Office 365 Education . With free access to the transformative innovations built in to Office 365, teachers are unleashed to fully embrace the possibilities offered by technology. Educators who felt boxed in by the rigid demands of their curriculum, can explore new ways to engage and motivate their students. Young people can have at their fingertips the tools they need to become productive global citizens, using a platform that has already been embraced by universities, businesses and governments around the world.