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Office 365 in Education – Top Benefits for Students

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Office 365 is a cloud based offering that includes Microsoft Office Professional Plus, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft Sharepoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online. But it is not just for business – it is for education, K-12 and universities.

Office 365 brings not only a completely new way to work, but also a completely new way to educate. With the workplace technologically progressing further and further, schools are struggling to provide students with the education for the tools they’ll need in the future. Because of this (and a host of other perks), Office 365 is the ideal match for any school looking to provide a world class, future-proof education. In this post, we’ll focus on how Office 365 directly benefits the students.

The first reason we’ve already hinted at: cloud computing is the future. Schools have struggled for decades to keep pace with advances in technology and science. This used to take the form of merely providing updated textbooks, but revolutions in technology have made this race more competitive than ever. Office 365 is the next evolution of office tools, and is undoubtedly what students will move to once they enter the working world. If the role of school is to prepare students for work, then it stands to reason they should be working on the very tools they will use once they graduate. Because of this, Office 365 should be in the hands of every student today so that they can use it tomorrow.

That’s taking the long-term view, though. There are concrete advantages that today’s students can benefit from on day one. First, thanks to Office 365’s home in the cloud, students can learn anywhere. Files and programs aren’t tied to any one computer, and thus can be accessed from any computer. This means a student can easily access his/her assignments from home using the same tools. On top of this, students can no longer rely on the handy fallback of hungry dogs to explain their tardy term papers. If they’ve done the work, it will be there.

Office 365 also provides the next generation in collaboration. Schools have recently moved to group projects over individual work, trying to instill the value of teamwork and collaboration at an early age. Office 365 provides a spectrum of functionality, allowing students to collaborate in ways we never dreamed. Students can view and edit the same document simultaneously, create websites to share and collect information, and even conduct impromptu meetings with video, audio, and screen sharing with Microsoft Lync. Calendars and activities are all easily visible and – most importantly – easily coordinated. In our day, it might have been difficult to arrange a time for everyone to meet at the library. With Office 365, within the time it takes to send a text message, students could be chatting face to face in real time.

And finally, Office 365 provides all of the above functionality with a single log on.  It may be possible to cobble together the above functionality from different third party systems today, but each one would come with a different UI, a different tool set, and most problematically, a different authentication. Guiding one student through multiple logon windows with user names and passwords is difficult enough. Getting a whole classroom on the same page is not only nearly impossible but a huge time sink. With Office 365, every student need only remember one set of credentials and the whole suite is at their fingertips.

Office 365 is the best tool for today’s (and tomorrow’s) student, but that’s only one side of the situation. School staff, administration, and IT can also benefit from Office 365, meaning that the latest and greatest will not only provide a superior experience, but cost a lot less as well. In a coming entry, we’ll look at how Office 365 can be a godsend for a school’s infrastructure.

Office 365 for Education – Get More Info & Sign Up for Beta

By CRM Software Blog Editors, Directory of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Experts

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