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Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 3:23am

Microsoft, Ga. Schools Launch Tech Courses

Georgia is the sixth state in the nation to offer the Microsoft IT Academy to all its high school students. The state is putting up just over six hundred thousand dollars, while Microsoft is putting up 23 million dollars for the project.

State Superintendent Dr. John Barge says the online academy offers students training on a wide variety of programs from basics like Excel and PowerPoint, to more complex tasks like programming.

“Literally over a hundred different Microsoft credentials that they can earn while in high school to apply towards either technical college or college or to a career. And really make them a much more marketable employee.” he says.

Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators says this especially helps smaller school districts which have less money to provide advanced training.

He says “You know, when you think about it, we will be preparing most of our students for jobs that may not even exist right now.”

Barge says it is a precursor to Governor Deal’s effort to increase digital technology in all schools.

He says “For example, I know many districts have not bought textbooks in years, because the resources are just not there with budget cuts. Is there a way you can leverage technology and then provide the content digitally at a significant cost savings to districts?”

60 school districts individually were paying for the Microsoft IT Academy. The state got a better deal which now expands the program to all 180 school districts in Georgia.