Microsoft has opened its tenth annual Microsoft in Education Global Forum, which is taking place in Barcelona, Spain, on 11-14 March 2014.
Microsoft has emphasised the importance of student privacy at the event, and reaffirmed its commitment to helping ensure that student data is never mined for advertising and marketing purposes. The opening keynote speech, which took place in front of an audience of 1,100, including innovative educators, school leaders and government officials from nearly 100 countries, also saw Microsoft highlight its end-to-end solutions that have been designed specifically to keep student data safe.
Used by 110 million students, faculty and staff, Microsoft Office 365 Education was highlighted as guaranteeing that student data will never be mined for advertising. Student Advantage, available for free through qualifying institutions, includes the entire Office suite and more than four million students are already getting Office 365 Professional Plus from their schools since it was launched in December 2013.
"Privacy concerns are holding educators back from making the most of modern technology and preparing students to succeed in today's workplace. At the same time, many solutions being used in the classroom are unintentionally putting student data at risk," said Anthony Salcito, vice president, Worldwide Education, Microsoft. "The private sector has a responsibility to give educators the tools and resources that inspire real learning and have a real impact, while ensuring privacy isn't a barrier to bringing new and innovative technologies into the classroom. This is why Microsoft is committed to taking every measure it can to ensure student information remains safe around the world. We will not, under any circumstance, mine student's data."
It was also announced at the forum that Pearson and Microsoft are joining together to create new applications and advance a digital education model that prepares students to thrive in an increasingly personalized learning environment.
A number of Windows 8 app developments were also announced at the forum. Interactive education technology company Promethean World announced that it has committed to developing innovative Windows 8 apps and Office 365 integration for its platform ClassFlow. Similarly, BrainPOP has released its third Windows 8 app, BrainPOP ESL, while Wolfram|Alpha has announced it will deliver 22 Windows 8 apps for tablets, including the Wolfram|Alpha App, 16 Course Assistant Apps, and 5 Reference Apps.