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Microsoft Shapes the Future of US Students

Client Computing | Posted on June 16, 2014 by Angela Cope

Back in November 2013, I came home to find my monthly issue of Wired waiting for me. The cover featured a young girl in a school uniform with “The Next Steve Jobs” in big bold text. The article told an amazing story about a teacher who introduced new classroom methods to his students in an impoverished city in Mexico. Those methods resulted in unprecedented national test scores for the school.

In true Wired fashion, the article covered additional topics including research that questioned current curriculum learning standards in place, and schools/individuals around the world who are conducting research on how children learn, grow, and develop. Of all the topics covered, what I related to the most was the mention of Sugata Mitra’s tests, in which he provided children in India with access to a laptop connected to the Internet and watched as they developed intellectually in a short period of time.

A laptop with Internet access has the power to unleash the potential of individuals young and old. But technology costs money. For some schools, even in first world countries, budgets limit the access to that technology. Thankfully, Microsoft is doing all it can to provide students with the latest Intel-based laptop and desktop devices.

Shape the Future

Microsoft’s Shape the Future program, launched in May 2011, aims to help governments, schools, teachers, and students invest in education technology to create jobs, drive economic growth, and increase competitiveness.

This year, the program has expanded, forming partnerships with many leading Intel-based PC vendors—including Dell, HP and Lenovo—to drive more than $1 billion in savings to help implement Windows and Intel-based Processor tablets, laptops, and devices in classrooms across the nation

This new extension of the Shape the Future program helps solve issues of access and affordability in education for K-12 schools looking to transition to more technology-enabled, data-driven academic environments.

As outlined in the press release from Microsoft, “Through this program, access to unique offerings that before were only available to financial need-based institutions will now be available for all U.S. public schools. This includes hardware, collaboration software, and teacher training resources. The offer includes access to the latest Windows 8.1 devices and also includes essential software and services necessary to create immersive, personalized learning environments for today’s classrooms.”

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What this Means for our Customers

You can now access and deploy affordable Windows and Intel-based devices to the classroom, with heavily-discounted prices. For example, the Lenovo ThinkPad X140e Laptop, designed specifically for the school environment, is discounted by $200 through the Shape the Future program. This is just one of many devices from multiple vendors available through the program.

Your classrooms and computer labs can feature the most up-to-date technology available, providing students with the best tools for learning.

What’s also great about this program is the fact that it doesn’t just end at discounted devices. If you do purchase devices through the Shape the Future program, you’ll also get access to an array of popular software and services from Microsoft. This includes Bing for Schools, Office 365 Education (making more than 12 million copies of Office available to students for free at qualifying institutions) and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning teacher training resources.

On top of the program’s discount, and depending on the nature of an order, Softchoice provides our clients with additional cost savings through our vendors’ volume discount pricing programs. And if any help is needed with deploying, managing, or imaging the devices, we have our Technology Deployment Service in place to do just that.

Determine if you Qualify

The Shape the Future program has pre-approved pricing for U.S. Public K-12 schools. You can confirm that your school is on Microsoft’s list of approved U.S. Public K-12 schools by using our Shape The Future Qualifier tool or by talking to your Softchoice Account Manager.

Softchoice is thrilled to be a selected channel partner for this visionary new program. Connect with us today to learn more about Shape the Future, the PC vendors involved, the discounted devices available, what devices are right for your school, and how we can help you provide students with the latest and greatest in Windows-Intel devices.

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