Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Middle School Students Can Learn Computing, Technology From Microsoft


Dunbar technology student demonstrates hardware to middle school students.

If you want to learn about the latest in computing and other advanced technology, it’s tough to find a better source than a company that helped revolutionize the industry.

That’s one reason why Florida is becoming the first state to offer the Microsoft IT Academy to middle school students.

The academy provides students with technology skills that will ultimately help them compete in a global economy. Students receive hands-on experience with the latest Microsoft software and hundreds of web-based E-Learning courses.

214 Florida high schools already have access to the program.

“The Microsoft IT Academy program makes education more relevant to students so they can move from learning to earning,” said Sig Behrens, general manager for U.S. Education at Microsoft Corp. “Through this partnership, Florida public schools, teachers and students can now stay ahead of the curve with changing technology and curriculum demands.”

The program gives a boost to Gov. Rick Scott’s goal of getting more students interested in STEM subjects.

He’s been pushing for more college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Scott says those are the degree programs that will lure more high-tech, high paying jobs to Florida.

The program includes industry-focused technical training and certification on Microsoft products. Students can get certified in business productivity tools, programming, web development, workplace collaboration software, and database development technologies.

At Dunbar High School in Ft. Myers, more than 850 technical certifications have been awarded. In 2008, Dunbar became the first school in the world to have 100 percent of its IT Academy students achieve Microsoft Certifications.

The program helps teachers, too. They can integrate Microsoft technologies into their lesson plans. They also have an opportunity for professional development by becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer.

The Microsoft IT Academy program is used in more than 160 countries.


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