The Delaware Department of Education today announced it is working with Microsoft Corp. to bring Microsoft Live@edu, an innovative suite of online communication and collaboration tools, to students, faculty and staff in district and charter schools throughout the state. The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) initially will migrate about 20,000 faculty and staff to this no-cost platform in June 2011, with the goal being to move everyone to Microsoft Live@edu, as well as offer it to the more than 129,000 student population, over the next two years.
Microsoft Live@edu is a cloud-based suite of easy-to-use services, based on the familiar Microsoft tools many already use today. It will provide Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Outlook email and a host of other services, including Microsoft Office Web Apps. This means educators and staff will be able to access their information in the cloud virtually anytime and anywhere through popular Web browsers and from any Internet-connected PC or mobile phone.
Microsoft Live@edu will allow Delaware schools to help reduce operating costs by migrating away from their current on-premise email systems. The Microsoft cloud services also will foster improved productivity, better learning and skills development to help students prepare for their futures.
"With Live@edu, every school district and charter school in the state will have access to the latest programs and innovations, helping to close technology gaps between schools,” said Lillian M. Lowery, secretary of education. "This gives students the tools to collaborate more with their educators, as well as access to applications necessary for 21st century skills.”
The DTI will be implementing the cloud-based mail service in June and Microsoft Office Web Apps later this year. In addition, DTI will be managing the implementation and covering the costs for message archiving.
"Beyond just email, the services provided through Microsoft Live@edu will allow the state to reduce overall support costs and eventually provide a seamless interface with the existing Microsoft platform to access tools such as Microsoft Office and Excel,” said Jim Sills, Delaware chief information officer and secretary of DTI.
"This is a great example of how the private and public sectors can work together to improve education and support student and teacher success,” said Sig Behrens, general manager of U.S. Education at Microsoft. "Microsoft Live@edu will enable Delaware schools to redefine collaboration and extend learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom walls. At no cost, schools will have the most current versions of Microsoft software that they know and trust and the enhanced privacy and security features that K–12 schools require.”
The state began working on the deal with Microsoft after Lake Forest School District Information Systems manager Ron Usilton investigated a Microsoft Live@edu pilot.
"Resources, such as interactive whiteboards and mobile computer labs, along with online learning programs, provide our students and educators the tools for a 21st century education, but a method to provide better staff and student collaboration still was needed,” Usilton said. "The robust email and collaborative services, Microsoft Office applications, and online storage made Live@edu the best candidate for what we sought.
"It also offers control over domain accounts and security, requirements the state’s technology department felt were necessary in the educational environment. That Live@edu is provided at no cost to educational institutions was icing on the cake, especially in these budget-conscience times.”
Lake Forest successfully piloted a staff email service through Microsoft Live@edu in August 2010. The district now plans to add accounts for all students at Lake Forest High School.
"This is an example of how a great idea on the district level was shared and expanded to benefit all of our schools across the state,” Lowery said. "We’re thankful for the forward-thinking and collaborative nature of our local personnel.”
About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information
The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is the state’s central IT organization. It is responsible for delivering a full range of information and communication services to the Executive, Judicial, Legislative Branches, and K–12 School Districts, totaling about 33,000 employees. It is led by Secretary Jim Sills who was appointed by Governor Jack Markell.
About the Delaware Department of Education
The Delaware Department of Education provides resources and guidance to Delaware’s 19 school districts and 18 charter schools as they implement the state’s education requirements. The department also serves as the state liaison for federal education requirements and funding opportunities. It is led by Secretary of Education Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, who was appointed by Markell.
About Microsoft Live@edu
Live@edu is a no-cost hosted platform for student communication and collaboration, providing industry-leading services to the global education market. Email and calendars with a 10GB inbox, 25GB of additional file storage, document sharing, instant messaging, video chat and mobile email are just part of the feature set. Live@edu provides students with the professional tools to prepare them for college or work from day one. Live@edu is accessible through popular Web browsers for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems — and easy to set up, administer and manage. More than 10,000 schools in more than 130 countries have enrolled in Live@edu, serving 15 million people worldwide. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/liveatedu.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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