North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple announced on Monday that students in his state would get access to free, FREE! cloud computing ala Microsoft Office 365 and EduTech.
At what cost? I’m sure Microsoft is giving licenses away out of the goodness of their hearts.
From the press release Governor Dalrymple’s office sent out:
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined representatives from EduTech, the North Dakota Information Technology Department (ITD) and Microsoft Corp. to launch Microsoft Office 365, a standard productivity tool for K-12 students and educators to enhance learning and better prepare students for higher education and careers. The initiative will provide all North Dakota K-12 students and school personnel with access to Office 365 at no cost to school districts.
The launch kicked off a two-day information and training seminar at Microsoft’s Fargo campus for school technology directors and educators. Dalrymple was joined by state Chief Information Officer Mike Ressler, North Dakota Educational Technology Council Director Jody French, EduTech Director Robert Kaspari and Microsoft’s Fargo campus Site Leader Don Morton.
“This project is a major milestone in providing all K-12 schools in North Dakota with 21st Century, world-class technology tools to enhance learning and better prepare our young people for educational and career opportunities in the future,” Dalrymple said. “Ensuring access to innovative technologies in our schools not only strengthens the future of our students, but also the future of our state.”
EduTech, a division of ITD, and Microsoft are rolling out a statewide K-12 Active Directory and Forefront Identity Management tools and portal. The completion of this project paves the way for all K-12 schools in North Dakota to have Microsoft Office 365, a communication and collaboration package that includes email, calendaring, cloud storage, instant messaging and video conferencing capabilities.
The product will be used to help students create reports and presentations using Word, PowerPoint, Publisher and Excel; work with other students online and see each other’s changes in real-time with Office Online and OneDrive; and easily access information from a variety of devices while at school, at home or on the go.
“EduTech’s leadership continues to position the K-12 community to be at the forefront of deploying technology,” Ressler said. “The Office 365 roll-out highlights this leadership and the value of partnering with organizations like Microsoft to implement IT solutions in North Dakota.”
Anyone else suspicious about the terms “statewide K-12 Active Director” and “Forefront Identity Management”?
I’m a tech geek and I understand why this is appealing, but the data mining potential here seems pretty vast, not to mention Microsoft can potentially harvest future customers. Governor Dalrymple will have to explain how student data will be protected, how parents can have access to these accounts, and that he actually showed a little discernment before jumping at the shiny free stuff. Also do North Dakota schools have to participate?