“At the end of the day, people want friends,” Cullinane said. “No matter what your job is, it’s great to know there are other people out there with the same challenges, concerns, and opportunities.”

The launch of ITN accompanies news that Microsoft is beefing up funding and support for its PiL core programs–Innovative Teachers, Innovative Students, and Innovative Schools. PiL is a key education initiative under Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the company’s commitment to making technology more affordable, relevant, and accessible for everyone through equipment, training, and partnerships that focus on transforming education, fostering local innovation, and creating jobs and opportunities.

PiL does not represent a one-size-fits-all approach to education. Microsoft officials say the initiative’s goal is to satisfy the diverse needs of everyone involved in education–from policy makers and ministries of education to teachers, students, and parents. Much of the program’s focus is on holistic reform and examining how school stakeholders can help create cultures of change and support innovative teachers.

This renewed commitment will bring the company’s total 10-year investment in PiL to approximately $500 million and will reach an estimated 259 million additional students and teachers around the world by 2013, Microsoft said.

Links:

Innovative Teachers Network

Microsoft Partners in Learning