Microsoft has launched a new program that will help train teachers and
students to integrate technology into the curriculum. The Partners in
Learning program will provide $250 million in cash grants, discounts on
Microsoft software for participating schools and free software to some
developing nations. It will also establish Microsoft IT Academy Centers,
which will provides services such as IT skills certification, teacher
professional development, curriculum and assessment tools, school-based
technology support and research. Microsoft will specifically target
disadvantaged primary and secondary schools. According to Microsoft,
India, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, and Italy have already signed up for
the program. Although it seems most support is favorable, some critics
consider the program just another strategic business decision for
Microsoft. "I can't believe Microsoft has anything but profit in mind as
it rolls out the Partners in Learning program," said Doug Otto,
superintendent of the Plano, Texas, Independent School District. "If the
company was so intent on helping schools, it would have provided deep
discounts for school districts and also not been so Scrooge-like with
its licensing agreements."

SOURCE:eSchoolNews; AUTHOR: eSchoolNews staff and wire reports
(requires free registration)

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