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ISTE Works with Microsoft to Help Schools Adopt Technology for Learning

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Microsoft are teaming up on several programs intended to help schools and educators prepare for the use of technology in education. The initiative includes development of a plan for guiding schools through their digital transformations; contributions to curriculum for massive open online courses (MOOCs) in relevant topics; and development of tools intended to help schools incorporate ISTE's learning and teaching in a digital environment.

The announcement came during ISTE's annual conference, which is taking place this week in Denver. ISTE is a network of teachers and school leaders that see value in the use of technology in education.

The first effort expected is the "Blueprint for School Transformation," which requires mapping of ISTE's "Essential Conditions" with Microsoft's "Transformation Framework." The first item is a collection of 14 "critical elements" that ISTE considers necessary to succeed with a school digital conversion, such as "shared vision," "consistent and adequate funding" and "on-going professional learning." The Microsoft work serves a similar function by laying out the essential aspects needed to change up the learning experiences for students in a "holistic" way. The goal of the joint blueprint will be to provide a common vocabulary for educations as well as some direction for future work to be undertaken by the two organizations.

Microsoft and ISTE will also contribute to content for courses delivered through MOOC platform edX, which will be offered by edX university partners. The first course will open for registration in September 2016 and will begin in December. Additional courses will surface in the March 2017 timeframe.

Microsoft and ISTE also intend to work with schools that are part of the Microsoft Showcase Schools program to enhance current resources and develop new ones for helping schools work with ISTE's standards for teachers, students, administrators and others. They'll also look at how to integrate ISTE's "Lead & Transform Diagnostic Tool," a beta version of an online program that asks a series of questions about the school systems and reports back on how ready it is to move forward with its digital undertaking, and Microsoft's own "self-reflection tool." Showcase schools make up a professional community that helps its members use Microsoft technologies for educational purposes.

"This new collaboration between ISTE and Microsoft springs from our shared, genuine commitment to have a real impact on learners around the globe," said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis in a press release. "It will leverage our respective strengths and allow our substantive work on student empowerment, digital citizenship, education leadership and professional learning to be multiplied."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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