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School District Ramps Up Technology


BRADENTON – The Manatee County School District is taking a giant step forward in technology by going live with Microsoft Office 365 for all students and employees. Microsoft Office 365 consists of a complete suite of state-of-the art business software programs that will now be available to students and employees while they are at school, at home or on tablets, laptops or other mobile devices.

In addition, Microsoft Office 365 will dramatically increase the amount of available storage capacity to 1 terrabyte (TB) per individual in the school district via the cloud.

Some of the integrated software programs available in Microsoft Office 365 include Word (word processor application), Excel (spreadsheet application), PowerPoint (slide show presentation program), Outlook (email and personal information manager), OneNote (electronic notebook), Access (a database management system), Publisher (desktop publishing) and Lync (instant messaging/meeting/video and voice).

“This represents a monumental leap into the future in terms of technology for the school district,” said Superintendent Rick Mills. “Office 365 will enhance instruction for our students and provide the best software programs available for our teachers and other employees to support our classrooms.”

Microsoft Office 365 was obtained by the district through the Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES), which provides qualified academic customers, of all sizes, a simplified way to acquire Microsoft software and services under a single, subscription agreement. The Manatee District has more than 37,000 computers.

Training for the new Outlook email system and other features of Microsoft Office 365 has already begun and will be offered in a variety of formats including online, self-paced tutorials, Moodle, daily tips from the district’s Professional Development and Information Technology Departments as well as in-person training. Employees will still have access to the previous email system and other previous software applications while the transition is being made to the programs.

Teachers and other employees who are off for the summer can start their training from home so they can be ahead of the learning curve when they return in August for the 2014-2015 school year by accessing the Garage Series: Office 365 in education–putting IT, teacher and student advantages to the test here.


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