Microsoft, AACTE Develop Training Program; Corporation Releases New Class Server

Microsoft Corp. and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) are developing a program to address the training and retention of K-12 teachers, as well as educators' abilities to translate their districts' technology investments into learning benefits for their students.

The Innovative Teachers grants program allocates $50 million in software grants for schools, colleges and departments of education, as well as regional training centers. The program is expected to establish local online learning communities for educators. Grant funding is expected to bridge the divide between preservice and in-service teachers to assist them in using technology in their classrooms, with the goal of developing high-quality teachers. Officials say this will be done around the country through small online teaching communities, giving local teachers access to more specific information based on their individual areas of expertise or need.

In a separate announcement, Microsoft recently introduced the next generation of its Microsoft Class Server, the Web-enabled K-12 teaching and learning system that seeks to help school districts, administrators and teachers individualize and improve learning for every student. The system lets teachers and school administrators link learning and assessment to specific regional curriculum standards; gain access to high-quality lessons, create new projects and share best practices; customize instruction for individual students; and increase parental involvement with a digital window into the classroom. A significant enhancement of the new version is a link to a searchable learning resource database of more than 5,000 lessons, tests and assignments from national and international publishers that teachers can easily download, edit and assign to students. Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, (425) 882-8080, www.microsoft.com.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.

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