LONDON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Partners in Learning program is sponsoring the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project. This research, led by SRI International, will broadly investigate the effects that information and communications technology (ICT) has in transforming teaching and learning at the school and education system level.
Microsoft will make a $1 million (U.S.) investment each year in the multiyear longitudinal study in partnership with the governments of Finland, Indonesia, Russia and Senegal. The primary focus of this research, which is being guided by outside advisors from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNESCO, the World Bank, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and other organizations, is to assess teachers' adoption of innovative classroom teaching practices and the degree to which those practices provide students with personalized learning experiences that promote the skills they will need to work in the 21st century. This will complement the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ACT21S) research that Microsoft announced on Monday, which focuses primarily on identifying those 21st century skills, and developing ways to measure them by providing new methods of assessing students.
"Education and political leaders worldwide have recognized the need to prepare their youth for the 21st century, a goal that we believe requires the transformation of educational opportunities and more effective integration of technology into teaching and learning," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education for Microsoft. "We are making a significant investment in the Innovative Teaching and Learning Research program to provide the data and the clear evidence needed to inform and measure that transformation."
Teams of national researchers from universities, think tanks and other institutions will work with SRI International to conduct the research in each country.
"SRI is tremendously excited to be a part of this ambitious global project, which offers a unique opportunity to develop a common platform for discussing educational innovation across many diverse country contexts," said Linda Shear, ITL Research project director at SRI International. SRI led the ITL Research design phase and will manage the worldwide data collection and analysis.
The multiyear research program, which Microsoft hopes to expand to more countries in the future, will make use of parallel case studies for deep investigation of the national and school-level factors that shape teaching practices within particular country contexts. It also will look across the cases to provide education stakeholders with a rich set of information on how effective teaching and learning takes place when technology is present in the classroom.
"Education policymakers in countries around the world have invested heavily in ICT over the last decades, and they want to see significant impact on student learning. The ITL Research is designed to examine exactly this issue of what factors most contribute to the effective integration of technology into teaching and learning, combining a systemic approach with a careful insight into daily practices," said Francesc Pedro, senior analyst for OECD's New Millennium Learners project and advisor to the ITL Research project.
The primary focus of the ITL Research is innovative teaching practices that provide students with learning experiences that promote 21st-century skills.
The innovative teaching practices in the ITL model are characterized by student-centered pedagogy, learning opportunities that transcend the school walls, and the integration of ICT into teaching and learning.
Methodologies, data and reports are open to researchers around the world, and will be free and publicly available each year. In addition, the research project will develop a set of evaluation tools that schools and education systems can adopt to measure their own progress. Results and reports from the first year of the project are expected in summer of 2010, with annual results in the years to come.
"This is an ambitious research project that will help build a better understanding of how teaching practices supported by technology can become more effective tools for teaching and learning," said Tarek Shawki, director and global coordinator for partnerships and ICT capacity building projects at UNESCO. "UNESCO fully endorses the significance and necessity of this research. We expect that the insights gained from this project will help inform education policy directions to better meet the evolving educational needs of today's technology-engaged educators and students."
More information on this project is available at http://www.itlresearch.com.
About Microsoft Partners in Learning
The Microsoft Partners in Learning program is a 10-year, nearly $500 million commitment by Microsoft to transform education systems around the world. Announced in 2003, the Partners in Learning program helps governments envision a new future for education in their countries; provides leadership and change management information to school leaders; works to strengthen teachers' capacity to use technology effectively in the classroom; and provides greater access to technology for teachers and students. Microsoft believes in expanding the power of education through personalized learning.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.