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Microsoft, ED Collaborate To Boost Teacher Recruitment Efforts

Microsoft has begun collaborating with the United States Department of Education, the British Council, and the Smithsonian Institution in projects designed to help prepare educators to use educational technology in the classroom. The announcement was made at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum 2011, a program for improving teaching and learning through the effective use of technology in the classroom.

Microsoft will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education on the government's TEACH campaign to recruit new teachers. Microsoft will assume management of the TEACH Web site, which will move to, and it will recruit private-sector companies and other organizations to support the campaign.

Microsoft also entered into a new, five-year partnership with the British Council, an international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Microsoft and the British Council will work together to foster the innovative use of educational technology in teaching and learning with the goal of providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in tomorrow's workplace.

The first project of this partnership will be to build 80 digital hubs at schools in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda using Windows MultiPoint Server. The goal of the project is to train more than 20,000 educators and provide digital access to more than 100,000 students and their communities. The project also aims to improve literacy throughout the region. Microsoft and the British Council have each committed $1 million to this project.

"I welcome our new partnership with Microsoft, which will enable us to create opportunities for millions of educators and students around the world," said Martin Davidson, chief executive, British Council. "By working together to harness technology for education and training, we can make a powerful contribution to preparing young people throughout the world for life and work in the 21st century."

The third collaboration involves Microsoft Partners in Learning, the Smithsonian Institution, and TakingITGlobal. These three organizations will work together to expand the Shout program, which connects educators with the knowledge and tools they need to help get students to take action on global issues. This year the Shout program focuses on the global issue of water quality and quantity.

In other Microsoft-related news, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has issued a grant of $250,000 to Startup Weekend EDU. Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization powered by the Kauffman Foundation and Grockit, a social learning Internet startup. Startup Weekend EDUs are 54-hour events where educators, entrepreneurs, developers, and designers come together with the goal of bringing new solutions to the education and learning markets.

"The Kauffman Foundation is excited to have the Gates Foundation support this important initiative that will help entrepreneurs with innovative education business solutions learn how to execute their ideas," said Nick Seguin, manager of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. "Startup Weekend EDU builds upon the Kauffman Foundation's interest in teaching entrepreneurs how to build successful education ventures that have the potential to be some of the next great high-growth companies of the future."

Three Startup Weekend EDU events were held in October in Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, and another one will be held in London in November. Additional Startup Weekend EDU events will take place around the world over the next year.

Additional information about Startup Weekend EDU is available at the Startup Weekend site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].