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Partners in Learning

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Partners in Learning


We believe that ICT in education is a powerful catalyst to improve teaching and learning efficiency. Ultimately, education changes lives, families, communities, and nations. Partners in Learning is a global initiative designed to help increase technology access for schools, foster innovative approaches to pedagogy and teacher professional development, and provide education leaders with the tools to envision, implement, and manage change. 


Partners in Learning delivers on the Microsoft promise to transform education by inspiring, identifying, sharing and scaling practices and behaviors that improve learning outcomes. Microsoft’s 5-year investment in Partners in Learning has been over USD$250 million, underscoring the company’s commitment to making technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for everyone through technology, training, and partnerships.


Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 90 million teachers and students in 101 countries, encouraging worldwide economic and community development through education. In the past 5 years, we’ve created a variety of programs worldwide including: Fresh start for donated computers, ICT curriculum, Grants program to provide access to technology and Affordable software licensing through School Agreements.


Through the Partners in Learning initiative in Sri Lanka we envision to drive digital literacy in to our K-12 education system by empowering schools to integrate technology into teaching, and learning. The scope of PiL initiatives is defined under a non commercial MOU signed between Microsoft and the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, Microsoft partners with the Ministry of Education to drive the benefits of the Partners in Learning initiative to schools, and contributes to the ministry’s vision to achieve an IT literacy of 50% within the country by 2010.


The K-12 space covers teachers, administrators (principals) and of course students within the primary and secondary education structure in Sri Lanka. In this segment the primary partner is the Ministry of Education and of course administrators and teachers in the various schools across the island.


Visit: http://www.microsoft.com/education/partnersinlearning.mspx for more details on the global Partners in Learning Programme.



The Innovative Teachers’ Competition


The national teacher competition under the Microsoft “Innovative Teacher” flagship was launched to recognize and reward teachers who use ICT in their teaching methods as bid to ensure ICT inclusion in education in Sri Lanka. Through the competition we aim to motivate and encourage teachers to use ICT as an effective tool in teaching, and lose their fear and hesitation to do so, by highlighting and rewarding exemplary efforts. Microsoft Sri Lanka partnered the Ministry of Education, the National Institute of Education and Associated Newspapers Ceylon Limited (ANCL) to design and conduct this competition in 2005. As the competition progressed and gained momentum, Microsoft partnered with the Secondary Education Modernization Project II (SEMP II) of the Ministry of Education, to bring the competition to greater heights. The competition now in its 4th consecutive year sees the 3 top winners each year being sent to the Regional Innovative Teachers’ Conference with Microsoft patronage, were the teachers are provided with a platform for exposure and form networks with teachers in the Asian region to share their experiences and teaching methods.


Innovative teachers’ network is a worldwide community interested in education focused on 21st century learning. For more information visit: http://www.microsoft.com/education/innovativeteachers.mspx


The Innovative Students Competition


Commencing as of 2008, Microsoft is partnering with the Ministry of Education and the Secondary Education Modernization Project II, in conducting a student competition which focuses on students demonstrating their ICT skills through creating a lesson plan based on a subject of choice. Students compete in four categories, namely: Grade 1 – 8, Grade 9 – 11, Grade 12 – 13 and A/L streams.


East Reawakening


Sustainable social and economic integration of the Eastern province is one of the key policies of the Sri Lankan government subsequent to its liberation. The main objective of the key programmes launched in the East is to bring about rehabilitation and reconstruction. In uplifting the quality of life in the East, quality and relevant education plays a pivotal role in empowering its citizens to be on par with the rest of the country and the world. More over due to the era of digital inclusion, IT education too takes on great importance in this province. In bringing about heightened levels of IT literacy in the East, Microsoft together with the Ministry of Education and the Secondary Education Modernization Project II is embarking on an initiative to equip teachers with the International Computer Driving License (ICDL).


Since the Eastern Province was liberated from terrorist activities, the government has initiated many development projects under the Eastern Province re-awakening programme. Many humanitarian projects are in progress to re-settle the displaced people back in their homelands and the schools used as refugee camps are starting their day to day teaching/learning process. Under this programme Ministry of Education has given its best contribution to strengthen both the physical infrastructure Development and Human Resource Development in their bid to enhance capacities of the educational facilities and schools in Eastern Province.


Under the "Isuru Schools Development Programme" the Ministry of Education has started developing physical infrastructure of selected 19 schools by providing new teaching appointments in the Province while empowering them with required new knowledge.


With the aim of empowering Eastern province, whilst upgrading the ICT skills and capacity of students and teachers, the Secondary Education Modernization Project II started providing International Computer Driving License to 1300 teachers in the Province in 2008. This special ICDL scholarship programme came under the partnership between Secondary Education Modernization Project II of the Ministry and Microsoft Sri Lanka. These trainings will be held in Microsoft certified training centers located in IDM and Gateway in the Eastern Province with the part sponsorship of Microsoft and will be fully coordinated by the Eastern Provincial Office of the Secondary Education Modernization Project II. The trainings will be carried out in Kalmunai, Batticaloa, Akkraipattu, Trincomalee, Kalmunai and Ampara.


Multipoint in Sri Lanka


As the role of computers grows in schools in the developing countries, a new computer-based teaching tool helps make optimal use of a country’s scarce technology resources. Teachers from such countries are being trained to use an innovative yet simple Microsoft beta technology that enables dozens of students to work together on a single computer, collaboratively learning and problem solving as they develop their computing skills.


Multipoint is a technology developed by Microsoft Research India that allows multiple mice to access to 1 PC. Microsoft released a software development kit to enable new applications and curricula to be created using Multipoint. Mouse Mischief is the most mature application that uses the Multipoint concept based on PowerPoint. Tests have been run with up to 30 students but the system supports 256 simultaneous students.


The hardware requirement is simple; monitor, projector, mice, USB hubs, wires and power strips. With regard to software Mouse Mischief runs on 1 computer with PowerPoint and is Windows Genuine. So it only requires 1 license of Windows and 1 License of Office. Mouse Mischief runs on Office 2003 and 2007.


We have run pilots in Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Bangladesh, Malaysia in elementary schools using MultiPoint in 1 classroom to teach Math, English and Science, where the latest addition is Sri Lanka. Key criteria of selection of the schools are the number of PCs in the schools. This solution will be positioned to schools with limited resources that will not be able to afford buying more than 5 – 10 PCs for the entire schools. For the pilot phase, Microsoft provided each country with a CD-ROM including a set-up and installation guide, ready to use lesson plans in local language, troubleshooting and a video of Multipoint usage in classrooms as part of the Multipoint package.


In Sri Lanka, the pilot was conducted in the three schools chosen in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and the Secondary Education Modernization Project II namely: Abatenna Pushpadana Maha Vidyala - Abatenna, St. Bernadett’s Maha Vidyalaya – Polgahawela and Kiridiwela Central College – Kiridiwela. A hands-on training session for these teachers was conducted on the 21st and 22nd of October 2008 by two experienced Microsoft trainers from Thailand.


Curriculum Integration Support


Microsoft works closely with educators and administrators from the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education to ensure that Sri Lankan students will not be left behind in ICT education, and will have access to world class curricula. Microsoft has acquired 6 globally used curricula developed by leading universities and reputed curriculum development entities, and provided free of charge to the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education (NIE) to be localized and used as they feel fit in the schools. Part of this initiative is for Microsoft to support the training of Master teacher trainers on these curricula to ensure that the implementation transcends to the schools effectively.


Find more information on Microsoft resources available for students and educators including  lesson plans and product tutorials at:  http://www.microsoft.com/education/lessonplans.mspx


Navalova Schools Initiative


The Navalova Schools initiative was focused on training school teachers in the use of IT, in a bid to encourage the use of ICT as an effective tool in education. Its objective was to build capacity of students to utilize IT effectively and be more competitive when they enter the workforce. The initiative was designed to support schools to enhance their IT facilities and make optimum use of the resources by developing teacher skills, whilst focusing on teacher training, curriculum and software support. The Navalova initiative successfully created a resource pool of teachers and school leaders who are confident in the use of IT, and the concept of incorporating ICT to teach other subjects more effectively by making the world class “Partners in Learning” curriculum available to these schools to supplement teaching.


Exposing Students to Latest MS Technologies


Microsoft will offer a suite of complimentary Microsoft hosted services which provide students with online storage, workspaces, email, calendars, instant messaging and blogs under the Live@Edu program.  This would provide students the opportunity to interact with the latest technologies and products which would make them aware of the possibilities that exist in terms of integrating ICT into their school work as well as lifestyle. Programmes such as DreamSpark which offer free developer software such as Visual Studio, Expression Studio, Windows Server and XNA Games Studio will also be made available.


Microsoft products and solutions


Please visit http://www.microsoft.com/education  for information on special Microsoft products available for teachers and students. Microsoft offers scalable, interoperable solutions that abide by open standards to meet the demands and challenges of modern education. Please visit http://www.microsoft.com/education/solutions.mspx to learn more about Microsoft solutions in Education.


How to purchase


Visit http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/programs/education/default.mspx to understand the many ways qualifying Academic institutions can purchase Microsoft products.


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