To those of you who are IT Academy members, the following may not come as a surprise. Word is spreading about IT Academy’s ability to engage faculty and students in successful technology training, and our reach is growing. To date, there are more than 15,000 IT Academies in dozens of countries around the world. Tens of thousands of Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certificates have been awarded, sending students off to higher education and the workplace better equipped.
The global scope of IT Academy’s benefits is one measure of its strengths. Another is the specific accomplishments of individual programs and their students. Let’s take a look at Queensland, Australia. In 2004, the state’s Department of Education, Training and Employment launched a program called “Smart Classrooms,” aiming to use IT to transform education at every level. The initiative set out to automate record keeping, streamline instructional materials, improve teacher technology use, and provide virtual learning environments for anytime student access and collaboration.
Nine years later, Smart Classrooms is soaring. Among other dramatic improvements to its infrastructure, the program has implemented IT Academies for all of its secondary schools. Students get access to the Microsoft IT Academy online courseware, and both teachers and students have the opportunity to develop skills recognized on a global scale.
Within this paradigm is a specific victory I’d like to shine a light on: a student named “Aidan” who goes to Springfield Central State High School in Queensland. Aidan recently won the state title at the 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist Worldwide Championships. Like other students in his state, through IT Academy, Aidan receives not only the chance to get certified but the opportunity to receive Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) credit toward graduation.
Watch this video to hear what Aidan and his business teacher have to say about the program.
Congratulations, Aidan and Springfield Central State High School! We look forward to hearing about your continued success.
Keith Loeber is the Director of the Microsoft IT Academy program for Microsoft, overseeing strategy, benefits, operations and policies. An 18-year Microsoft veteran, Keith has spent the last several years in education with the majority of his career focused on training and certification on Microsoft technologies.