California Educational Data Processing Association
DataBus - Vol. 38, No. 2
February-March, 1998
SIGs Offer Service and Support for Education

Networking: December meeting hosted by Microsoft; February meeting at WestEd covers Erate and Digital High School.

Warren Williams, Ramona Unified School District

Microsoft's Group Vice President for North America, Jeff Raikes, detailed a vision for education that could profoundly alter the teaching and learning process. At Microsoft's Orange County headquarters, he expressed his personal and corporate view for the future of education and how technology will be inseparable from its delivery models. He cautioned about a potential crisis for teachers as the world enters a new Information Age. Traditional interactions between teacher and student will be altered by worldwide connectivity. This connected and virtual world will link schools to schools, schools to homes and schools to limitless on-line resources. He said that Microsoft is developing technology to provide access for classrooms at reduced costs and that is integrated to help forge a new teaching and learning dynamic.

The Microsoft commitment is backed by a $2.6 billion R&D budget. One goal is to provide a range of products from servers to set tops to assist families and students at successful academic preparation. He offered the AATP (Authorized Academic Training Program) as an example of the need Microsoft sees to allow high school students to come away from graduation with marketable skills. The program provides training and certification for Microsoft products.

Raikes mentioned Microsoft partners including Jostens, McGraw Hill and others as evidence for a commitment to education. In addition, he commented on the current initiatives to lobby California legislators to invest in technology funding. Raikes was followed by a technical presentation of NT 5.0 upgrades. A Microsoft Senior engineer previewed the new product to the more that 50 attendees.

The day began with a discussion of topics of interest to those in the standing-room-only gathering. Of particular interest was an E-rate discussion that could have taken the entire day.

Because of the interest in E-rate and the numerous questions about the theme of this year's forthcoming conference--"Reaching the Classroom"--the next CEDPA SIG meeting will be devoted to E-rate and the Digital High School initiative. The SIG meeting will be held at the WestEd offices in San Francisco on February 12. CEDPA will provide statewide experts to moderate both discussions. Look for the flyer if you are interested in attending. In addition to the two discussion groups, a general discussion will follow. The final two SIG meetings will be on April 17 in Northern California and a return to Southern California on May 15.

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