Microsoft Makes US$75 Million Commitment to Unite With Global NGOs and Tackle Education Inequalities

Microsoft Makes US$75 Million Commitment to Unite With Global NGOs and Tackle 
Education Inequalities 
Recipients of 2012 Global Forum Educator Awards announced. 
PRAGUE, Dec. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Microsoft Corp. today marked the close of its 
Partners in Learning Global Forum 2012 by announcing an investment of up to 
US$75 million to bring digital access to youth and educators in developing 
nations. The commitment was sealed by signing memorandums of understanding 
with six global humanitarian organizations. Along with the US$250 million, 
five-year renewal of the flagship Microsoft Partners in Learning program, the 
company has further strengthened its commitment to bring holistic 
transformation of education systems around the world through digital access to 
youth and capacity building for educators. 
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The initiative is led by strategic alliances with World Vision Inc., the 
British Council, SOS Children's Villages International, Catholic Relief 
Services, Plan Ltd. and the International Rescue Committee. It is aimed at 
helping ensure that teachers get the digital training they need and students 
gain critical skills vital to finding employment, starting their own 
businesses and contributing to their local communities' economies. 
These commitments are part of Microsoft YouthSpark, a companywide initiative 
to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world, helping 
transform education and expand digital inclusion to empower youth to change 
their world. 
"Today's young people face an opportunity divide — a gap between those who 
have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do 
not," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education for 
Microsoft. "We firmly believe in the power of technology to help close this 
gap. But we can only achieve our ambitions with the help of these kinds of 
partnerships. Together, we can help bring digital access to youth and support 
to educators in developing countries worldwide." 
Reaching Underprivileged Youth in Africa 
An example of this initiative — Spark a Child's Digital Future — will begin in Kenya, scaling across 
sub-Saharan Africa and beyond during the next five years. 
Spark a Child's Digital Future, which launches today, is a collaborative 
effort that unites World Vision, the British Council, Microsoft and Intel, and 
it links African youth with more than 1 million potential donors in the United 
States alone. World Vision, the world's largest nongovernmental organization, 
will generate donations through its child sponsors. Microsoft will donate 
software and apply the experience it has gained through Partners in Learning. 
Together, Microsoft and Intel will offer information and communications 
technology expertise and training, while the British Council and World Vision 
bring on-the-ground expertise in education program execution and content 
development for teacher and school leader professional development, as well as 
measurement and evaluation. 
"We recognize that once a child's basic needs are met, digital skills 
development can be vital in securing economic growth," said Rich Stearns, 
president, World Vision U.S. "This program is essential in helping children in 
developing countries succeed in a global world." 
2012 Global Forum Educator Awards 
The announcement was made ahead of an award ceremony at the Global Forum in 
Prague, bringing together more than 500 of the most innovative teachers, 
school leaders, education leaders and government officials from 80 countries. 
Teachers who attend the Global Forum are regional finalists selected from more 
than 250,000 teachers registered across national and regional forums 
throughout the year. 
Teacher projects were awarded across six categories: 

    --  Winner: Pauline Roberts and Rick Joseph (United States), "Doing
        Business in Birmingham." A Sciracy project promoting scientific
        literacy. Students developed informational brochures to educate
        business owners on sustainability.
    --  First Runner-Up: Chen Siyun (Singapore), "Impactful Online
        Service Learning." The project led a group of Singapore and
        Indonesian students through a journey of collaboration to solve
        the issue of the lack of clean water.
    --  Second Runner-Up: Holger Frohlich (Germany), "Creating
        Fairytale-Radioplays." Using digital media, the students
        created a fairytale-radioplay building an audio visual

Knowledge Building
    --  Winner: David Allan Young (Northern Ireland), "Infinity
        Architecture." Students from the local primary school developed
        an architecture project to serve students with special needs.
        The project is now in early stages of full-scale modeling.
    --  First Runner-Up: Zamimah Binti Azaman (Malaysia), "The
        Journalist." The students developed a simulator to assess
        content and skills learned in the classroom.
    --  Second Runner-Up: Youssr Chediac (Lebanon), "The Warak Warak
        Method." This project is a teaching methodology that builds and
        enhances students' subject knowledge and skills, increases
        engagement and keeps the momentum going beyond the classroom.

Beyond the Classroom
    --  Winner: Ghadeer Obiedat and Rania Obiedat (Jordan), "Glimmer of
        Hope." These teachers aimed to equip students with the skills
        needed to innovate and be productive in life, with a project
        focusing on the early detection and screening of breast cancer.
    --  First Runner-Up: Devon Caldwell and Leah Obach (Canada),
        "Little Hands Big World." This collaborative project links two
        classrooms of learners to form one community of change agents.
        These young learners from ages 4 to 7 are identifying,
        investigating and developing solutions to important issues
        affecting the planet.
    --  Second Runner-Up (joint): Margarida Telles da Cruz (Brazil),
        "Ecoweb." This project challenges special needs students to
        develop sustainability activities. Using different technology,
        students collaborated with neighboring schools to focus on the
        reuse of different materials and how residents should take care
        of their local area.
    --  Second Runner-Up (joint): Katie Boothman (United Kingdom), "The
        H.I.T. Squad." Students embraced new technologies to connect
        and engage communities and learners across generations. Primary
        schools and local residents have benefited from learning
        resources created by the Squad in their ongoing mission to
        share the past with the future.

Cutting-Edge Use of IT
    --  Winner: Nicki Maddams (United Kingdom), "Kodu in The
        Klassroom." This project takes Kodu Game Lab and uses it to
        enhance learning. From aiding literacy for primary school
        children to focusing on programming with game design in
        secondary schools, the versatile and engaging software has been
        used to teach, learn and inspire.
    --  First Runner-Up: Robin Lowell and Sherry Hah (United States),
        "'LYNC'ing Distance Learning Math Classes to Blind and Visually
        Impaired Students." Using the audio/videoconferencing
        functionality in Microsoft Lync, the team created an
        unprecedented distance learning mathematics program tailored to
        the unique needs of blind and visually impaired students.
    --  Second Runner-Up: Alice Leung (Australia), "Playing. Designing.
        Learning. Using Games and Project-Based Learning to Develop
        Creative, Innovative and Independent Learners." Combining
        commercial video games and games design with in-depth class
        projects, students form their own investigations to develop
        skills in higher order thinking, collaboration, problem solving
        and self-regulation.

Teaching a Change Agent
    --  Winner: Munazza Riaz Butt (Pakistan), "Aqua Crunch." Teaching
        students to address water problems through technology.
    --  First Runner-Up: Ayodele Odeogbola (Nigeria), "Rescue Mission."
        This project used a mixture of hardware and software to help
        tackle the challenges (such as examination malpractice,
        vandalism, bullying, drug abuse and truancy) currently being
        faced in Nigeria and other countries of the world.
    --  Second Runner-Up: Maria Loizou Raouna (Cyprus), "Online and
        Community-Based Research on Recycling Practices." Using a wide
        range of technology, including Windows Internet Explorer and
        Skype, students collaborated on online research around waste
        minimization to inform new recycling programs in their own
        community and the development of shared "green" multimedia.

Educator's Choice
    --  Winner: Joao Carlos Ramalheiro (Portugal), "Oratio Classroom."
        This software concept for a future educational app was created
        by students for teachers, responding to the child's creative
        mind and offering teachers the opportunity to improve music
        lessons, using a dynamic, content-rich and attractive
    --  First Runner-Up: Darko Taleski and Sofija Grabulovska
        (Macedonia), "Fun, Education, Stop-Motion Animation." This
        project makes stop-motion animations for all school subjects in
        primary education, proving that stop-motion animation is
        adaptive to all school subjects, age and levels.
    --  Second Runner-Up: Todd LaVogue (United States), "What's Up
        Egypt." By combining what students like (television and music)
        with their curriculum, this project created a television news
        show and music video to help improve understanding of life in
        ancient Egypt.

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software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their 
full potential.

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-0- Dec/01/2012 21:00 GMT

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