Microsoft Launches Partners in Learning Network

At its annual Worldwide Innovative Education Forum (IEF) in Salvador, Brazil, Microsoft announced the launch of the Partners in Learning Network (PLN), a social network for education professionals that serves as the next generation of its earlier Innovative Teachers Network (ITN).

PLN currently operates in the English and Ukrainian languages, but the company reported it expects to add many more languages in the coming months, and current ITN members will automatically have access to the upgraded functions of PLN as their respective languages become available. Microsoft also said it expects the network to serve more than 2 million teachers and education professionals worldwide by 2010.

Among the new features offered by PLN are the capabilities to:

  • Connect with peers around the world based on professional interests, teaching subjects, or location;
  • Create communities dedicated to innovative teaching and learning and professional development;
  • Find new content and curricula such as peer coaching and the Innovative Schools Toolkit; and
  • Become content creators by sharing the latest thinking, tips and tricks, lesson plans, and recommended links.

The Microsoft Partners in Learning project is described by the company as "a 10-year, nearly $500 million commitment by Microsoft to transform education systems around the world. Announced in 2003, Partners in Learning helps schools and teachers more effectively use technology to advance teaching and learning, provides leadership and change management information to school leaders, works to strengthen teachers' capacity to use technology effectively in the classroom, and provides greater access to technology for teachers and students."

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.