As schools around the world respond to COVID-19, the need for remote learning tools has accelerated dramatically. To make the transition to distance learning easier for everyone from K-12 to higher education institutions, Microsoft partners specializing in education responded with some truly innovative offers and solutions. Here are some of their stories!

AppArmor 

AppArmor develops custom branded safety apps, emergency notification systems, and internal command and control apps for hundreds of organizations across the globe. Millions of people trust AppArmor to help keep them and their people safe in a crisis. 

Over 250 educational institutions across North America used AppArmor to notify and keep their students and staff updated on COVID19 content. AppArmor mass notifications reached over five million endpoints, helping countless people stay informed during their response efforts. 

In collaboration with educational partners, AppArmor developed a COVID19 Self Assessment tool to help ensure students can return to school safely. They are now rolling out this tool at numerous education institutions across the country. 

Compugen 

Compugen helped students and educators across Canada reengage learning quickly through several very innovative programs, starting with Learn@Home. This program combines webinars, tutorials, and blogs to show students, educators, and administrators how to deploy IT infrastructure and use Teams effectively. 

Compugen also collaborated with Citrix to provide colleges and universities with Windows Virtual Desktop. This solution provided students and faculty essential access to campus applications and labs that they couldn’t otherwise access. 

They also enabled Windows 10 multi-session for all their educational customers running Microsoft 365. The Windows 10 multi-session feature gives students the ability to login securely from any device, regardless of operating system, and allows educators to reach every student. 

Finally, Compugen provides managed services to organizations that need more assistance. Their architects and specialists consult with school boards across the country on projects to accommodate spikes in demand, downtime, or changes.  

Edsby 

The Edsby digital learning and data platform complements classroom education with safe, effective online instruction purpose-built for the unique needs of K-12. With education moving exclusively to online learning this year, schools and whole regions now rely on Edsby more than ever. 

Headquartered in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Edsby serves K-12 customers globally, helping school districts and states/provinces in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and around the world to continue learning remotely using Edsby and Microsoft Teams. This integration extends and enriches the Edsby experience with secure voice and video communication. 

Frequency Foundry 

Frequency Foundry develops and implements a full life cycle constituent relationship management solution for higher education called greymatter. This student relationship management solution addresses all aspects of a student’s journey: from recruitment to promotion. It provides a true, 360-degree view of a student’s lifecycle.  

greymatter allows institutions to track, measure, and manage interactions from first contact as a prospect, through to alumni fostering recruitment. This continuity enables retention and creates engagement across all constituent types. Several colleges and universities using greymatter plan to extend the platform to provide COVID-19 health and wellness information and support for students, staff, and faculty. 

Kivuto 

Kivuto Solutions streamlines the management and distribution of software, e-textbooks, and other digital resources in education. As a long-time Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Kivuto has helped schools around the world get the best possible products into the hands of those who need them for teaching and learning.  

Now, in response to COVID-19, Kivuto has equipped students, educators, and academic institutions with the tools they need to enable remote education in the face of campus closures. Kivuto partnered with Pearson Canada to provide students nationwide with free access to curriculum-based digital books so they can continue their studies at home. This initiative has seen over 144,000 books accessed so far! 

Kivuto is also offering schools free use of the Kivuto Cloud platform to provide at-home access to course software in a simple, secure, and compliant fashion. 

Orbis 

Orbis is an innovation company that partners with higher learning institutions and employers to connect students and graduates with relevant work-integrated learning, skill development, and job opportunities. Through its two key technologies, Outcome and Outcome Campus Connect, Orbis has worked with campus partners to positively impact over one million students and 350,000 businesses. 

Outcome is a completely configurable, brand-ready, and integrated experiential learning solution. Post-secondary campuses use Outcome to easily quantify, track, and catalogue all experiential learning offerings in one streamlined and searchable digital library. Through extraction of proprietary data sets, Outcome allows institutions to understand their student engagement, skills, and unique growth opportunities. 

Outcome Campus Connectis a work-integrated learning, skill development, and job opportunity network free to all post-secondary students and recent graduates across the country. Delivered in partnership with Magnet, the network is composed of government, employers, post-secondary institutions, and opportunity delivery partners committed to supporting today’s post-secondary students and graduates. 

As the country moves towards economic recovery, Outcome Campus Connect will act as an always-on, always available resource to empower tomorrow’s leaders with the skill development and job opportunities critical to their long-term livelihood.  

Permission Click 

Permission Click delivers form automation and workflow management for K-12, providing a single, trusted platform to support parents, coaches, teachers, school staff, and district administration.  

School Boards use Permission Click for internal district forms and any forms (such as payment collection) sent to parents. With staff and parents distributed, many districts now rely on Permission Click to operate. 

Permission Click also developed several applications to help with the COVID-19 response, including HelpNextDoorMB.ca which pairs volunteers and vulnerable people in the community. Almost 7000 people in 175 cities volunteer at HelpNextDoorMB!   

Another innovation, B2BManitoba.ca, is an online marketplace to connect non-medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers with businesses who may need PPE to open and operate safely. 

And then there’s StudentJobsMB.ca, where government (and private sector) jobs get posted for students intent on finding or getting back to work. 

Softlanding 

Since 2000, Softlanding has provided technology solutions and services that’s been helping organizations be at their best and most productive. Softlanding specializes in Microsoft enterprise technology platforms, leveraging a combination of cloud, on-premises, and hybrid configurations to increase productivity from the data centre to end business users. 

This year, Softlanding quickly stepped up and created a series of COVID19 service offerings to support customers with learning and working remotely. Softlanding is helping both K-12 and higher education customers across Canada with their Teams deployments, Virtual Desktop, and Remote Lab solutions. 

Well, these are just some of the stories of our education partners and you can see the positive and pathbreaking impact that they are leading. In my next post, I will shift the focus to sharing some of the experiences through partner stories from the telecommunications sector. I now close this post with additional solutions for educators that you can explore and learn from, at your convenience. You can also read other inspirational partner response stories from the healthcare industry in my last post

Solutions for educators 

Please take a moment to make sure you know about the latest Microsoft offers for educators: 

1. Office 365 A1 (free for all EDU institutions) – Get started for free ​ 

2. A1 faculty licenses can host Live Events free from May to July 1, 2020: From May to July 1, 2020, Microsoft Teams live events host capabilities are automatically available to education users with A1 faculty licenses, at no extra cost. That means users with an A1 faculty license can hold a virtual event for up to 10,000 attendees. Here is a technical overview and how-to guide to learn more about Microsoft Teams live events. Explore the Office 365 Education plans for more on what we offer. 

3. Office 365 A5 Standard Trial: Up to 3 Months Trials are up to 10% of the faculty/staff count for an existing qualified opportunity and for up to 3 months with availability for this trial for all regions. 

Keep learning with these resources 

Microsoft has diverse resources available for education customers as well as partners: 

Remote learning solutions -> Get resources and guidance for Microsoft Partners to support education customers in communities impacted by COVID-19. Visit webpage 

Microsoft Education: Distance and Remote Learning page -> This section of Microsoft.com explains how schools can make the move to remote working. Includes resources for diverse educational stakeholders. Visit webpage 

How schools can ramp up remote learning programs quickly with Microsoft Teams” blog post -> Get the latest resources to enable an online classroom so students and teachers can keep learning. Read blog post 

Microsoft Teams is Free -> If you haven’t yet, make sure your educational customers know about the offer and how to take advantage of it. Get the offer details as well as more information about remote working. Visit webpage 

Yammer Group for education partners -> Join the conversation with other Microsoft partners specializing in education. Yammer, the internal social network, helps organizations make decisions, share milestones, and more. Visit Yammer Group 

Distance learning app showcase -> This page lists apps and content from Microsoft partners specializing in education. From accessibility and assessments to social and emotional wellness platforms, you’ll find all kinds of solutions here. Visit webpage 

Azure Lab Services – Education Sector -> This page provides guides for technical professionals using Azure services relating to the educational sector. Visit webpage 

What is Windows Virtual Desktop? -> This Microsoft docs article provides an overview of Windows Virtual Desktop, including an introductory video. Read article