21st Century Learning | News

Microsoft Commits $250 Million to Partners in Learning

Microsoft is once again extending its Partners in Learning program, committing another $250 million to the program over the next five years, bringing the total commitment to about $750 million. The announcement came at the Partners in Learning Global Forum taking place this week in Prague.

Partners in Learning is a program whose aims are to improve the quality of education worldwide and to prepare students for careers requiring a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Among other things, the program provides funding for tools and training programs for students and teachers and offers collaborative environments for sharing best practices; professional development resources; a worldwide collaboration portal; peer coaching and mentoring; and research into the impact of various teaching practices.

It also hosts regional and global events where teachers and administrators come together in person to share their innovations in teaching. The event this week in Prague has brought together about 500 of those educators from 80 countries. According to Anthony Salcito, vice president of education for Microsoft, "250,000 educators applied to be a part of this event."

Founded in 2003, Partners in Learning has, to date, reached some 11 million teachers, 20,000 schools, and 200 million students across 119 countries.

According to Salcito, one of the goals of the next five years is to increase that reach to 20 million teachers and expanding external partnerships as well.

We see a significant opportunity to invest in the economy of tomorrow by working with educators today to teach 21st century skills," said Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector, in a prepared statement. "Studies have shown the measurable impact that a great teacher has on a student's potential, future earnings and contribution to a global economy. Our focus on PiL is the cornerstone of Microsoft's commitment to empower youth, spark innovation in the classroom and improve learning outcomes globally."

"Transformation in educational practice is one of the most difficult things for schools and educators to achieve," said Jeff Davis, executive principal, Varsity College, Queensland, Australia, also in a prepared statement. "Everyone talks of 21st century learning, but few have bridged the gap from theory into true innovative practice where students are actually using the technologies available on a daily basis and pedagogy shifts to a new domain. Microsoft's Partners in Learning program stands apart. Not only does this program support schools and educators in making great leaps in bridging both the technical and pedagogical gaps, but the Partners in Learning program brings together those who have made this transformation leap and builds in them further capacity to become world leaders. Without the support of Partners in Learning, the innovation, collaboration and achievement levels at this school would not have been realized as they are now. We thank Microsoft for its support and belief in our school."

Additional details can be found on the Microsoft Partners in Learning site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .