REDMOND, Wash., April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cloud computing has the power to change the way students learn and staff teach, especially in rapidly transforming regions such as Central and Eastern Europe. To prepare students for a world based on technology, education institutions across the region, including School Center Skofja Loka (Slovenia), EDUCATIVA (Romania), TEI Kalamata (Greece), Kozminski University (Poland), University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business (Slovenia), and Vaikystes Sodas (Lithuania), are adopting Microsoft Office 365 to serve a variety of their cloud-computing needs for students and staff alike. Goals met through their focus on technology include the following:
Improved communication. Office 365 enables students and staff to communicate across time zones and countries with the click of a mouse. As more and more young people become accustomed to real-time communication and "always on" technologies, Central and Eastern Europe schools are using Microsoft Lync Online to enrich their learning environments and student outcomes.
Increased productivity. Office 365 helps schools eliminate inefficiencies in email management with Microsoft Exchange Online and improve knowledge-sharing, internal collaboration and document management with Microsoft SharePoint Online.
Cost benefits without compromise. Office 365 enables IT departments to spend more resources focusing on mission-critical projects instead of performing costly maintenance. Since Office 365 offers the rich capabilities and familiar experience of Office as a cloud service that's backed by Microsoft, IT administrators aren't forced to compromise on privacy or security.
"Technology is a powerful engine of economic growth and competitiveness, enabling innovation that creates new companies, industries, opportunities and jobs around the world," said Don Grantham, president for the CEE region at Microsoft. "We are honored to work with so many educational institutions, helping them to use technology to improve student outcomes as well as address their staff and faculty IT needs through enhanced collaboration, communications and productivity."
School Center Skofja Loka Streamlines Management and Broadens Visibility
School Center Skofja Loka wanted to boost its visibility in the education field and find a solution for both students and staff that would be familiar, secured and cost-effective. Not only did Office 365 fill those requirements, it also provided the school with a streamlined way to manage its PCs and provide enhanced communication and collaboration among students and teachers. The school was also able to consolidate its global address list, which includes over 2,000 contacts.
EDUCATIVA Boosts Efficiency
After implementing Office 365 and eliminating IT inefficiencies, employees at EDUCATIVA, a provider of specialty counseling and education services to students in Romania, were able to efficiently respond to more than 25,000 email requests for information about its products and services and provide educational counseling services to 3,200 students during the 2011–2012 academic year. With Office 365, each EDUCATIVA consultant can now support 600 students with counseling services at a time — twice as many as before.
"The integration between Exchange Online and our existing Microsoft Outlook client is seamless," said Bogdan Kochesch, business manager at EDUCATIVA. "Not only do we have a reliable email solution, we also have access to tools, like SharePoint, that help us manage documents, host our internal team sites, improve knowledge sharing and effectively organize internal collaboration."
TEI Kalamata Upgrades Educational Services
Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Kalamata is one of the first public higher-education institutions in Greece to use Office 365. With the technology, the institution can now devote more funds and resources to research and education, all while upgrading to a secured, more reliable communication and collaboration platform. Office 365 enables the IT department to better focus on mission-critical projects as well. This includes two European Union-funded projects that aim to provide digital services, ranging from personnel management to administrative task support for the entire academic community of TEI Kalamata.
Students were familiar with the Office suite before the Office 365 deployment, which paved the way for an easy transition. Now, Office 365 has become an integral part of how students and academic staff communicate about homework assignments and other related activities.
Kozminski University Realizes Long-Term Vision
Kozminski University has a long-term vision for the development of and cooperation with its graduates. Office 365 has enabled the university to provide students with more secured email accounts that stay with them after graduation, which helps maintain their connection with the university. The ability for current students to consult with both lecturers and other students alike regardless of location via instant messaging and video calling with Lync Online extends that vision even further.
University of Maribor Increases Collaboration
The University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business, implemented Office 365 to increase communication and collaboration between its nearly 4,000 students and professors. In addition, Office 365 provides a consolidated solution that is cost-effective and has the potential to scale as the faculty continues to grow.
"Office 365 has provided all of our students and professors with centralized tools to effectively communicate and collaborate, and they are using it for a variety of tasks," said Dr. Samo Bobek, dean at Faculty of Economics and Business. "Conferencing, open office hours, calendars, document sharing and email notifications to students are just some of the benefits we've already taken advantage of."
Vaikystes Sodas Improves Communication
Good communication between educators and the families of children attending Vaikystes Sodas, a kindergarten alternative in Lithuania, is critical to providing quality services to their youth. The school chose Office 365 to help streamline the management of its internal documents and the school's intranet to generate strong communication between teachers and parents.
"Parents of preschoolers need to know that their children spend their days safely and purposefully all while having fun," said Austeja Landsbergiene, Ph.D., founder and director of Vaikystes Sodas. "The involvement of parents in the education process can only be ensured through daily communication, liaison and information sharing. The possibility to find all the information that they need, and to check it virtually anywhere, anytime on a computer, cellphone or tablet, will allow parents to be significantly more involved."