K-12 Schools and Microsoft
North Carolina is the first of the U.S. states to offer Microsoft certification and training courses in every high school. The certifications that the students have the opportunity of achieving are a Microsoft Office Specialist or a Microsoft Certified Professional. These certifications can only be earned as long as the student has completed all course work and passed all tests. In the courses the students have access to official Microsoft course materials, instructor resources, online learning content, software licenses, lesson plans and professional certifications.
This Microsoft designation program is called the Microsoft IT academy and it is featured in schools with over 9000 students taking the course in 100 different countries and just now the United States is beginning to offer this in our schools. The rest of the world is so far ahead of the United States technology wise and this is a reason why. We adopt new technological education courses or recourses much later than the other countries, that’s why they are so many technology engineers in other countries and the United States science and technology jobs are dwindling because not many people show an interest in it. If all schools were to offer this Microsoft IT academy program, students would become more familiar with the computer, internet and Microsoft programs and this could spark interest in students that otherwise wouldn’t have known they were interested in pursuing such a career.
What’s great about this program is that is almost all online. It consists of virtual notes, video lessons, interactive activities, lab activities, self tests and it is all combined on windows live. By having all of the materials connected with windows live, students can access their Microsoft training programs from any computer, as long as they have Internet access. What is great about having constant access to the material, students can take their classwork home and work more on certain projects that spark their interest. They also will constantly have access, as long as they have an Internet connection, to any material they might need for homework, or just to study in general.
This program helps a lot with students who want to acquire certain job skills to put on their resume and help land them a better paying job right out of high school. Not that they will become a lawyer right away, but they have the opportunity to make more money, as either a receptionist or an assistant with these skills than a burger flipper and pay their way through college. The only argument that people have about this program is that it is designed too much around one company, Microsoft. It makes sense that smaller companies would feel that it should showcase all brands, but Microsoft is the biggest company and more companies in the world use Microsoft products on a daily basis so it is important to retrieve skills from the company itself. By having a designation or certification right out of high school, students will feel accomplished and be able to make more money to go to college and stimulate the United States economy more as well.
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit North Carolina School Ratings and Public Schools