Microsoft Showcases New Academic Products

Microsoft has some new academic offerings for students and teachers they think will enhance the classroom experience as well as their bottom line. These new products, Learning Essentials for Microsoft Office, Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP, Microsoft Student 2006 and Microsoft Encarta Academic Online, were unveiled today at the National Education Computing Conference in Philadelphia.

Learning Essentials, according to a Microsoft press release, runs atop Office XP or Office 2003. It creates a customized Office environment with tools designed to help start and complete assignments. The Shared Computer Toolkit meanwhile is a combination of software tools and documentation designed to help optimize Windows XP computers running in shared environments, such as school libraries and computer labs.

Student 2006 is a new software product available in July which looks to help middle and high school students complete homework assignments and projects. It guides students via subject-specific tools and offers features like a graphing calculator, access to Encarta Online content and tools found in the Learning Essentials for Microsoft Office such as tutorials on subjects ranging from history to science.

The other new product is Encarta Academic Online, which is an academic specific version of Encarta.

“U.S. schools are spending more than $5 billion a year on technology, and there are now nearly 13 million instructional computers in schools. It is imperative that an investment of this magnitude result in improved teaching and learning,” said Craig Bartholomew, general manager of the Education Products Group at Microsoft. “By working closely with educators, students, parents and education partners to better understand the kind of work they do, how they use technology and how their everyday experience with technology can be improved, Microsoft has made academic-specific innovations designed to bring relevant, immediate and unmatched value to schools.”

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