Microsoft Australia Announces Full Agenda For 2013 Education Partner Summit

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March 11th, 2013 No Comments Other

Microsoft Education Partner Summit

Microsoft Australia has announced the date of its annual Education Partner Summit: Sunday, March 25,th 2013.

Each year Microsoft Australia holds a Global Education Partner Summit (GEPS), described by Education Industry Market Development Manager Ray Fleming as “a critical business planning and development opportunity for our key education partners around the world.” Attendance has increased every year since the summit’s inauguration.

This year’s agenda will brief partners on how Windows 8 and Office 365, among other desktop and cloud products and services, help education customers transition to new models of teaching and learning.

The first half of the day will include an Introduction by Microsoft Australia Education Director George Stavrakakis; a Keynote Address from Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Education Worldwide; and a discussion of the Future of Education led by Fleming. The second half of the summit will feature Scenario Workshops focused on three specific education topics common amongst schools and other education institutions: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in Education, Competing in Education, and Collaboration and the Cloud in Education.

Partners will end the day equipped with the value proposition of Windows 8 and Office 365 in education, and be able to share this information with customers in order to encourage conversations focused on products, services, and devices in education.

Australia is just one of Microsoft’s 119 actively contributing Partners in Learning. The Partners in Learning program began in 2003 with a ten-year plan to foster community, develop networks, and allow educators to share innovations on a global level. Last November Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to education with a US$250 million five-year renewal of the program, cranking up its total investment in the program to US$750 million over 15 years.

Since its initial launch ten years ago, the Partners in Learning program has reached over 210 million teachers and students worldwide, and has become one of the world’s largest global professional networks for educators. Microsoft hopes to extend its reach to 20 million of the 75 million teachers worldwide by 2018.

Microsoft partners may have some convincing to do, however, in light of Google’s own first annual Education Summit, held at the MLC School in Sydney last month. Google, hot on Microsoft’s tail, offers a cheaper and, in many cases, more user-friendly alternative for school systems across the globe: Google Apps for Education. In 2010, 1.2 million NSW school students adopted Google Apps for Education, reducing DET costs by 66%. Similarly, in Chicago, USA, Google Apps recently outpaced Microsoft 365 as the number-one applications suite in the third largest public school district in the United States.

Microsoft USA has responded to recent developments by backing a bill that targets Google Apps, claiming that its cloud-computing services “collect data from schoolchildren for the purpose of creating better advertising or other commercial means.”

The March 25th Summit will be a chance for Microsoft to focus its efforts on reclaiming the spotlight.

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Saga Briggs is Managing Editor of InformED. You can follow her on Google+ or @sagamilena

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