NYC schools to deploy free eMail, collaboration tools

Parents will now have a way to interact with teachers and school staff in any language. Image copyright ICG.
New York City parents will have a way to interact with teachers and school staff in any language. (Image copyright ICG)

In what could be a huge sign of change in how students learn, New York City Public Schools has begun implementation of communication and collaboration software from ePals and Microsoft—education technology tools that not only will connect students to other classrooms across the world but also will connect teachers to parents, regardless of the language they speak.

The New York City Department of Education (DOE)—the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in more than 1,600 schools—chose ePals in a competitive-bidding process. The DOE was looking for a cost-effective, secure, and private space where students easily could communicate and collaborate as part of their learning.

ePals won the bid, providing the DOE with free access to its SchoolMail product—secure eMail software that is hosted on the web and integrates technologies from Microsoft’s Live@edu, so the district does not need to maintain its own software, hardware, or server-side technology for the deployment.…Read More

Business school swaps Google Apps for Microsoft Live@edu

A French business school plans to trade Google Apps, used by around half its staff and students, for Microsoft’s rival Live@edu service, IDG News Service reports. Skema Business School’s 6,250 students, 500 administrative staff, and 128 teaching staff will have access to Microsoft’s Live@edu hosted eMail service, which includes calendar and contact management, instant messaging, video conferencing, and 10GB of storage space, the school announced June 23. Staff and students also will be offered Microsoft Office 2010 under a site-wide licensing program, and access to Sharepoint Online, giving them each 25GB of storage space for documents, whether shared or their own. The applications will run in Microsoft’s European data centers. The school is making the move as part of a three-year collaboration agreement with Microsoft, which will also see the company offer internships to Skema graduates and supply staff to teach elements of a course on social networking, the school said. Skema was created last November from the merger of two French business schools, CERAM and ESC Lille. ESC Lille, with around 3,000 students, adopted Google Apps Education Edition in April 2008, one of the first schools in France to do so. Switching to Live@edu will allow Skema to harmonize the IT systems used by staff and students of the two schools, and will enable it to integrate them with the software used to run the school…

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Kentucky offers cloud-based software to 700,000 school users

The deployment is not only one of the largest in the world, but also one of the fastest, Microsoft says.
The deployment is not only one of the largest in the world, but also one of the fastest, Microsoft says.

In what state officials are calling one of the largest and fastest-ever deployments of cloud computing in the world, the Kentucky Department of Education has chosen Microsoft’s Live@edu service to bring 21st-century communication and collaboration tools to more than 700,000 students, faculty, and staff statewide.

The cloud-based service, in which the software is hosted on Microsoft’s servers and delivered to users via the internet, already has been rolled out to more than half a million users, officials said—and they expect the project will save them about $6.3 million in operating costs over four years by not having to install or maintain the software themselves.

Live@edu is a no-cost suite of online software, based on familiar Microsoft communication and productivity tools. With Live@edu, students and educators can access their files and information in the cloud virtually anytime, anywhere, through popular web browsers and from any internet-connected PC or mobile phone, Microsoft says.…Read More