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Schools in the cloud

Educational technology at students’ fingertips


Ask any tablet-wielding child whether they'd rather do homework on the magical device in their hands or boring old paper, and you can guess the response.


It's no different in Russia. Take thirteen-year-old Olga, for instance. When she gets home from school, she often has trouble remembering all her assignments. As a result, her grades are nearly the lowest in class.

Her story is just one of many, all across Russia. Which is why a local company named Webzavod released the School of Digital Age (SoDA). SoDA uses the cloud to put educational technology at students’ fingertips.

With its CloudSchool SharePoint integration, for example, Olga can not only find what that pesky assignment was, she can find a digital bookmark in the specific chapter from her teacher. All through her own tablet or smartphone.

Olga's school, Moscow High School No. 548, was the first to implement the program, which uses an array of education-specific Microsoft platforms called CloudSchool to bring the entire educational experience online. It's a perfect extension of the school's mission statement: “To construct a school environment which is interesting and attractive for students, teachers, and parents.”

So the next time Russian teachers tell their students to get their head out of the clouds, they might want to think twice.

Every parent knows kids take to technology like ducks to water (just ask one who has used a tablet to quiet a fussy kid). The same goes for education. With SoDA, students can use tablets and mobile devices to find details about their classes.

In a place where the freezing weather often keeps kids home from school, this online integration can be a lifesaver.

CloudSchool uses Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync to let students, teachers, and administrators stay in constant contact. All they need to do is log into the CloudSchool Windows 8 app to access school news, class schedules, a grading center, e-books, and much more.

Now, if Olga has a presentation due on orcas, she can use the CloudSchool app to browse and order books in her school library. The secrets of the ocean are within her reach!

“Our solutions proved school principals, teachers, students, and parents with a single tool to access relevant information regardless of where it is stored.”

-Sergey Polyakov, Webzavod Vice President of Business Development

Webzavod started in 1990 in Samara. This city is one of the major Russian science research centers, where aerospace industries thrive. In fact, Samara's aerospace industry is one of the most advanced in the world. Their preliminary tests with SoDA found that students are able to adapt and learn faster—not a surprise since technology is many of these kids' first language. SoDA was first tested at Moscow High School No. 548 and included 50 teachers, 100 students, and 50 parents.

But it's not just students who are reaping the benefits. Teachers can prepare classes, attach rich media, upload supplementary materials, and share lectures.

Gourmet tech, cafeteria prices.

When it comes right down to it, all the fancy electronic doo-dads in the world won't do a lick of good if it costs a fortune. But CloudSchool actually reduces costs by automating routine admin stuff, saving them from having to buy expensive boxed software.

Plus, a school on the cloud has far fewer technical demands, so administrators can give huge IT departments and expensive specialists the boot, and save mountains of rubles.

"In global terms, our solution allows each education customer to optimize their costs, which, in turn, saves a significant amount of federal funds for innovation and modernization of education."

What does the future hold for this pioneering company? "In the long run, we plan to expand our solution to a federal level," Polyakov says, "delivering our solution to various levels of educational institutions."

The flexibility and scalability of Webzavod's cloud solution gives it the freedom to expand across Russia's massive education market.

Not content with upgrading a single school, Webzavod has its sights on transforming education across the Russian Federation itself.

Webzavod will soon expand their network to include 14 new schools. Increasing the number of kids who use SoDA will help them understand and improve the program at a whole new level. After the next set of software plug-ins are implemented, the teachers and students will be able to select the most suitable SoDA components and tools.

And Olga? She's just happy to finally be able to complete her algebra assignment on time.

Partner Spotlight

Webzavod


Webzavod has grown to be a substantial player in the Russian IT market, offering a variety of products and solutions that allow customers to improve productivity and decrease expenses.


View partner profile

Watch the video

Microsoft and Webzavod for the educational sector in Russia

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