LONDON–Jan. 10, 2007–As technology continues to evolve and change the way people learn and acquire information, the Education Products Group at Microsoft Corp. is committed to developing products that support discovery and lifelong learning. By using technology to impact education, the goal is to help people realize their potential. This commi™ent to technology is manifested in a new set of tools from Microsoft that will allow the education community to create and assemble materials that help increase discovery and will engage learners at their own pace and in their own learning style. This set of tools, which is currently code-named “Grava,” will be unveiled at this week’s British Education and Training Technology Conference (BETT) in London.

“Grava” is being developed to provide publishers, software developers, educators and learners with the tools they need to be more efficient and effective in building and using educational material. “Grava” will allow for rich content creation and will transform static educational content into engaging multimedia learning experiences that can be customized to the unique styles of every learner in the classroom. “Grava” is designed to help publishers build enhanced materials for less money and fewer resources, shortening the content creation life cycle, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs. In addition, educators have the power to modify their existing materials, providing them with maximum control over the instructional content creation process, which can result in time savings and the ability to provide personalized learning.

“As technology evolves and penetrates our lives in more ways, we would like to assist the educational community in reaching every learner in the classroom,” said Kapil Thombare, product manager for the Education Products Group at Microsoft. “Our goal with Grava’ is to provide an integrated set of tools that will serve as a resource for the education community, ultimately helping educators customize and develop relevant content that will appeal to the unique styles of every learner in the classroom, thus enabling them to be more successful.”

An Equation for Learning Excellence

“Grava” will include a set of tools that publishers, software developers, educators and learners can all benefit from. The product will offer developer tools; simple authoring tools; rich playback; and the ability to do assessments, log results and create intelligent learning solutions:

*Publishers can use “Grava” to create rich content that educators can easily customize based on specific needs.

*Software developers can create powerful learning materials that combine seamlessly with “Grava” to make learning more fun and engaging.

*”Grava” puts the power of content creation in the hands of the educators, who can quickly and easily incorporate content specific to their curriculum, making it more relevant to the needs of individual learners.

*”Grava” helps learners to learn more effectively while creating stunning projects that express their individuality and impress their educators and peers.

To help parents and educators better understand how a child approaches learning, there will be a new offering currently in joint development by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Microsoft. Built on “Grava,” the service will be launched later this year, transforming a child’s responses to games and quizzes into an individualized report for the child and his or her parents. With repeated gameplay, the report changes dynamically, suggesting study techniques, activities and additional resources to help make learning more effective for that child.

“‘Grava’ gives us the flexibility we need to produce truly individualized results for learners in an information and media-rich environment,” said Chuck Cascio, vice president for the ETS Family Market Initiative. “The service will help kids better understand themselves as unique individuals, and thereby create the opportunity for them to be more successful academically.”

About ETS

ETS is a nonprofit institution with the mission to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and related services for all people worldwide. In serving individuals, educational institutions and government agencies around the world, ETS customizes solutions to meet the need for teacher professional development products and services, classroom and end-of-course assessments, and research-based teaching and learning tools. Founded in 1947, ETS today develops, administers and scores more than 24 million tests annually in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. Additional information is available at www.ets.org.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About the Author:

eSchool News