Microsoft Hosts School of the Future World Summit

This month, in Seattle, educators and policymakers from over 30 countries attended Microsoft's fourth annual School of the Future World Summit to discuss issues surrounding worldwide educational systems. Topics included organization, instruction, and technology, as well as the challenges of initiating new policies to keep up with educational trends in the 21st century classroom. Mary Cullinane, director of Innovation for U.S. Public Sector Education at Microsoft, said that today's educators are faced with "many economic and political challenges, including decreases in funding in tough economic climates as well as the pressure to generate performance results that allow students to compete on a global stage." She believes the summit helped people collaborate on "new ways of thinking" and to present strategies that the attendees could "implement within their local context." The U.S. delegation at the summit presented a new approach to make sure students understand and are prepared for the 21st century jobs that await them. One noteworthy project discussed was CareerForward, a partnership between the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Virtual University and Microsoft Partners in Learning. The program is available to U.S. schools free of charge, and can be used at both individual and classroom levels. This online-learning program helps students explore types of careers they might find interesting and how to get there. The program includes information on globalization, career planning, financial advice and entrepreneurship.