Microsoft New Zealand has announced the launch of Office 365 for Education, which permits students and educators to leverage cloud-based communication and collaboration tools at no cost. Office 365 for Education is a cloud-based suite incorporating the well-known Microsoft Office desktop applications, as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online.
The service provides educators with powerful tools to create ubiquitous learning opportunities across multiple devices and/or from any location, in addition to email it includes calendars, Microsoft Office Web Apps, video conferencing and online meeting features. Advanced document creation features for curriculum planning and student projects are also available.
"The cloud and online learning are key trends in the transformation of how we are learn and teach. Office 365 for Education delivers a comprehensive and collaborative platform that will change the game,” says Evan Blackman, Education Sector Manager for Microsoft New Zealand.
"As schools face ever-tightening budgets and the pressure to innovate, we are offering enterprise quality technology for free that is set to modernise teaching practices and help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.”
After just a year of use in commercial settings, Office 365 is on track to become one of the most rapidly growing solutions in Microsoft’s history. Kiwi organisations including Icebreaker, Child Cancer Foundation, Au Pair Link and Plunket are some of the businesses that have migrated in the past 12 months.
As part of the first anniversary, Office 365 for Education is being introduced. As part of the offer the University of Otago has already migrated thousands of student email accounts to Office 365 for the start of the 2012 academic year. Mike Harte, Director of Information Technology Services at the University of Otago, says Office 365 for Education has developed into a key driver of the campus experience. "We now have a world-class email and calendaring solution for our students. Office 365 for Education fits in with our ‘anywhere, anytime, any device’ strategy, enabling students to access services on the go, wherever they are.”
According to Microsoft, Office 365 for Education enables schools to teach from virtually anywhere, reach more students, teach software skills and provide enterprise-class tools that reduce IT costs.