Microsoft helps boost digital literacy among Canadian students

Shape The Future program provides digital devices at a reduced cost to public school boards across Canada

TORONTO, June 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Microsoft Canada announced today the launch of Shape the Future, a program which provides access to leading-edge digital devices, software and applications to public school boards (with students from Kindergarten to secondary school) across Canada at a reduced cost. The program will help Canadian schools bridge the digital divide for all of their students and help them prepare for today's job market.

Shape the Future enables school boards and administrators to purchase a variety of devices, including laptops, tablets and 2-in-1 units from Microsoft partner manufacturers, at reduced cost.

The program is designed to help boost digital literacy, a critical job skill in the information age. In fact, in its Digital Canada 150 strategy, the Government of Canada identifies a sound grasp of information and communication technologies (ICT) as fundamental to engagement in society, the foundations of which must be laid in elementary school.

"Today, digital literacy is just as important to a student's future success as reading comprehension, writing and math skills," said Shann McGrail, National Director, Microsoft Education Segment. "The support school boards across Canada, marks a major milestone in Microsoft's ongoing investment in bringing students into today's digital world"

Employers increasingly expect digital literacy and other 21st century skills including communication, collaboration, creative thinking, and problem-solving. This drives the demand for a highly-equipped teaching force with ability to personalize instruction and address the needs of every student. Digital Canada 150 teaching ICT skills as a core responsibility for today's educators.

Through their Partners in Learning program, Microsoft also provides professional development for teachers at no additional cost to schools or school boards. The program trains educators on technology, digital literacy and the integration of 21st century skills in the classroom.

"Digital technology and a quality education go hand in hand in the 21st century. This partnership with Microsoft will help enable Saskatchewan students to learn the skills that will let them compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world," said Gerry Craswell, Executive Director of the Information Management and Support Branch, Ministry of Education, Province of Saskatchewan.

Over the past three years, Microsoft's Shape the Future initiative has helped bring the latest technology to more than 12 million people in 42 countries around the world. The program makes it more affordable for schools to access Windows devices, plus software including Microsoft Office, which allow students and their teachers to interact and collaborate on assignments both inside and outside the classroom. Overall, Microsoft has invested $750 million in a variety of public education initiatives globally in the last 15 years.

Shape the Future also provides access to Microsoft's DreamSpark suite that enables students to create and build skills with developer technologies, which further enhances programs currently taught at the high school level.

In addition to Shape the Future, Office 365 Education provides students, teachers, and staff with the productivity and communication services they need – free email, calendar, sites, online document editing and storage, instant messaging and presence, web conferencing and more. With the Student Advantage program, students have access to the most current and complete Office applications at no additional cost to the school board.

For more information about Microsoft's Shape the Future program, visit http://www.microsoft.com/publicsector/ww/programs/shape-the-future/Pages/index.aspx

About Microsoft Canada:

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.



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