Microsoft extends Office 365 ProPlus education benefits

benefitsLast year Microsoft announced it would give students free access to Office 365 (O365) through its Student Advantage program. Now the software giant is extending these benefits to school faculty and staff, and revealing a self-enrollment model that makes it even faster and easier for all parties to take advantage of these benefits.

Effective Dec. 1, 2014, any educational institution purchasing Office for its faculty and staff can now include an O365 Professional Plus (ProPlus) subscription at no extra cost for all students, faculty, and staff. Anyone with an active school-specific email address from eligible schools can sign up and install the following versions of Microsoft Office on up to five machines and five tablets of their choice:

  • Office 2013 Professional Plus
  • Office 2011 for Mac (and the new Office for Mac when it comes out next year)
  • Outlook for Mac (next generation)
  • Office for iPad (full featured)
  • Office for iPhone (full featured)
  • Office for Android tablet (when available)

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Tablets in education: Why one Texas school district turned to the Surface RT

The tablet landscape is crowded with iPads, Galaxy Notes, Kindles, and Surfaces, each including a different blend of features, that IT managers must carefully evaluate to select the tablet that best the needs of thousands of users. Unfortunately, there is no “best” tablet for any industry or organization — it all depends on what systems you’re currently using and what functions you need to achieve defined goals. That’s exactly what a Texas school district recently discovered as it navigated this exact situation, vetting the many tablet options to find the one that best fit its teachers’ needs and its existing IT infrastructure. Here’s how the school district narrowed down the tablet field and what option they ultimately settled on.

The Challenge

The district sought to equip its 2,200 district teachers with tablets to aid in classroom activities and increase mobility and productivity throughout the school year. But many tablets could achieve those objectives. The district was unsure which tablet would offer the greatest benefits, and needed to narrow down the choices. It turned to longtime partner SHI to dig into its true needs and match the district with the right device.

SHI defined the district’s six key device needs as follows: Continue Reading…

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Microsoft gives students free access to Office 365 through new Student Advantage program

Of the 20 most needed future job skills, Microsoft Office ranks as the third most required skill, explicitly requested in 15 percent of positions, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Designed to explore the technical and cognitive skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s high-growth, high-salary occupations, the study also found that Microsoft PowerPoint and Word hold the number 11 and number 13 spots, respectively.

With this data in mind, Microsoft will roll out a new program called Student Advantage on Dec. 1, 2013 to equip students of qualifying academic institutions worldwide with the latest version of Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft introduced the program as a way to help students gain the skills and technical acumen necessary to pursue future occupations in high-growth career fields, such as medical support, sales, marketing, computer programming, and others.

Student Advantage also benefits academic institutions, namely in the form of huge cost savings. Mark Hachman of PCWorld estimates that a large institution such as Pennsylvania State University could save upwards of $2.9 million per year by using Student Advantage to equip students with Microsoft Office.

Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 A3 or A4, or Office Professional Plus for its faculty and staff and does so via Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES); Open Value Subscription for Educational Solution (OVS-ES); or School Agreement will be eligible to provide Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost. To take advantage of this program, institutions must order the $0 Office 365 ProPlus SKU for students through their large account reseller (LAR) or a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). Student Advantage will not be available through the Microsoft Online Services Portal. Continue Reading…

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