CASHING IN: Remember back in February, when President Obama announced that he had rounded up technology donations worth more than a $1 billion from U.S. corporations for schools as part of the government’s ConnectED initiative? Yesterday, Maryland acted on the Microsoft offering. Maryland State Superintendent Lillian Lowery announced that Office 365 will be available to all students and teachers across the state at no cost. But the access doesn't just happen at home--students will also have free access to 365 at home. According to Microsoft's blog:
"Digital inclusion is a priority for us, no matter if students live in high-poverty inner city areas or rural communities, we believe they can have the same opportunities to succeed as anyone else if given appropriate support. Initiatives like ConnectED and the Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Benefit help to level the playing field by putting the tools for learning in the hands of teachers, students and their families to use at school and at home."
Additionally, Maryland plans to offer 25 new Microsoft IT Academy programs in 10 county school systems for 1 year, intended to teach students key technology skills like coding. Under the Microsoft IT Academy program, schools will also receive receive free digital curriculum and professional development for teachers and administrators. Check out the Maryland Public Schools press release for more information. Which statewide education systems will be next in taking advantage of ConnectED's free offerings?