MS Touts Education Wins For Windows 8, Office 365

Microsoft brags about 10 school and university adopting Windows 8, plus three new university customers for Office 365 Education.
12 Open Educational Resources: From Khan to MIT
12 Open Educational Resources: From Khan to MIT
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Microsoft says 10 school systems and universities have signed up for major initiatives with Windows 8 and also reported picking up three new university customers for Office 365 Education, the education-specific edition of its cloud service.

Windows 8 is coming to Atlanta Public Schools, Barry University, Fargo Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, Jackson-Madison County School System, Pace University, San Antonio Independent School District, Thomas College, Tuckahoe Common School District and Apollo Group, the online education company behind University of Phoenix.

The scope of these projects varies. The Jackson-Madison project in Tennessee is based on using Windows Multipoint Server 2012 to set up thin clients and stretch resources, so that a single desktop computer can serve up to four students. The Apollo Group has Windows 8 in its testing and validation lab, with plans for a bigger rollout in the future.

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But Barry University plans to move its full inventory of 2,815 desktops and laptops to Windows 8 as a complement to its bring-your-own-device program and will be using the computers in combination with Office 365. The Atlanta schools are planning to make Windows 8 available to 48,000 students across 25,000 virtual desktops, according to Microsoft.

Cameron Evans, Microsoft's chief technology officer for U.S. education, said these technology choices aren't simply a part of the routine technology refresh cycle -- most of our schools haven't upgraded their technology since Y2K, he said -- but rather a matter of education officials thinking harder about how to obtain the benefits of technology for education. "These are deliberate, well-thought-out decisions, and we're happy to see that Windows 8 is part of them," he said.

New university customers for Office 365 Education include:

-- University of Miami. More than 40,000 students, faculty and staff will move to the cloud, putting everyone on a common platform. Microsoft emphasizes this includes the Miller School of Medicine, which had additional privacy requirements mandated by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for sensitive health data. Microsoft is the only cloud vendor offering a "business associate agreement" that allows universities to minimize their HIPPA risk, Cameron said.

-- University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). Students at UCCS were unhappy with the old in-house email. Now, 29,000 student and alumni accounts are on Office 365 for education, and the university is in the process of phasing in Microsoft SharePoint, Office Web Apps and Lync. Because of budget cuts, the school would not have been able to afford on-campus Exchange servers.

-- Sacramento State. Exchange and Office are already the most-used software applications on campus. By moving some 50,000 accounts to the cloud, Sacramento State says it will be able to greatly reduce the cost of providing email and related communications services without compromising the quality of service.

Other new public sector customers for Office 365 include the City of Kansas City, the City of Seattle, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Dupage County, Ill., and King County, Wash.

Follow David F. Carr at @davidfcarr or Google+, along with @IWKEducation.