We are likely all familiar with Microsoft Office. Most of us have used Word, PowerPoint, and maybe dabbled in Excel. When Microsoft went to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365, they changed the Office landscape completely. Office 365 allows one to use the full version of the micosoft products on his/her local machine, but also allows users to use a "light" version of the product online as well. Since the online version operates via the web browser and not the local device, many office products are now available on devices they were not pervioulsy availavle on. For example, one can use the cloud-based version of Word on an iPad, iPhone, or Android device. Additionally, several new products were introduced, and some strictly for education. Most noteably, Microsoft OneNote Classroom can trnsform how your teachers and students work collaboratively.
Is Office 365 Free for Education?
Put simply, no. Microsoft charges per teacher for Office 365; however, if your district already has an EES license (like volume licensing), then you can use Microsoft Office 365 for your staff and students at no additional charge. An EES license is currently about $27 per staff memeber. So, is it free? No, but if you already have an EES license, then it won't cost anything more. Check with your Microsoft representative for details about archiving to determine if there is any charge for staff and/or students.
Which is better for our district, Office 365 or Google Apps for Education
Sorry, there are no convienient answers to this one; however, there is a way to make a logical choice. It all has to do with long-term planning. You should consider what type of devices you will be purchasing in the future. You will also want to consider how staff and students will be using it. The list of questions goes on, but we can help. Contact the ESC and we can help you make an informed and thoughtful decision.
We've decided to move to Office 365 or we have moved to Office 365. What now?
Two things are vital for this transition to be successful. First, districts should not think of this transition as a matter of technology. Instead, districts should look at this transition as a strategic plan for curricular delivery. Secondly, districts must invest in professional development. If classroom teachers are to make the most of the educational value derived from the Office 365 platform, they will need a great deal of professional development. This training should include how to use the applications and how to integrate them into the curriculum.
The ESC can provide assistance with strategic planning as well as comprehensive professional development on the entire Office 365 suite. For more information, please contact Mike Corcoran.
We are in the process of developing Office 365 training videos. If there is something specific you are looking for, please contact Mike Corcoran directly.
We are in the process of collecting traiing documents for Office 365.
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