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Microsoft’s Office 365 now free to schools

It’s the one-year anniversary of Office 365 and Microsoft’s VP for Education, Anthony Salcito just released some big news in his blog:

Starting today, Microsoft Office 365 for Education is available, providing the world’s best productivity, communications and collaboration experiences to schools at no cost. Office 365 for education is a cloud-based suite that includes the familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications, as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online. It provides educators with powerful tools to create anytime, anywhere learning opportunities across multiple devices in addition to email, calendars, Microsoft Office Web Apps, video and online meetings plus advanced document creation features for curriculum planning and student projects.

Salcito believes the Office 365 for Education’s free offer of enterprise quality technology for educational institutions will be game changing.  He notes that Dartmouth, Cornell, and Gonzaga Universities, and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, and the Tennessee Department of Education are already onboard.

While three plans are offered, the free A2 Office 365 for Education plan offers:

  • Cloud-based email, calendar and contacts
  • Use your own domain name
  • Instant messaging, voice and video chat
  • Online conferencing with desktop sharing
  • Web-based viewing and editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files
  • Financially-backed 99.9% availability
  • Live 24 x 7 customer phone support for advanced IT issues
  • Single sign on using latest federation technology
  • Configurable anti-spam filtering
  • Free Active Directory synchronization

I got my trial today and I am eager to play around and report back.

For more information:

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza