Microsoft is just wrapping up a blog series across all their public sector verticals. With the blog series, Microsoft is hoping to inspire visionary and transfomative ideas across the public sector. Microsoft stated:
Our goal with this series is to create inspiration across public sector with visionary ideas, fueled by technology. We aim to encourage public sector and healthcare industries to think long-term and holistically about technology infrastructure and how they can set themselves up to drive revolutionary change in the future—the kind of revolutionary change that occurred when we went from oil power to an electrical infrastructure.
Throughout the series, Microsoft covers a lot of great content. In the blog post, New Programs, Data Show Progress in Bridging the Digital Divide, we learned that there have been great strides made in closing the digital gap. Closing this gap requires numerous initiatives, and touches on many different elements of the public sector. In line with the theme of the blog posts, Microsoft identifies the closing the digital divide requires a holistic strategy. It's not just a technological challenge - it requires education and related initiatives. Some data that the post presents is that the 2009 economic stimulus package allotted $7.2 billion for national broadband expansion, and that broadband use is at all time high, as 68% of US households have used broadband.
As I previously mentioned, closing the digital gap also means improving educational policy and the education system in the United States. In the post, Redefining Access to Education and Training, Microsoft highlights how technology is being leveraged to improve education and training across the United States:
For K-12 students, a small but rapidly growing non-profit organization called Khan Academy is changing the world of education with technology. Supported by Bill and Melinda Gates and other philanthropists, they offer access to online lessons, interactive practice exercises, and assessments to anyone with Internet access. A recent article in The Economist shows how Khan Academy is being used both internationally and in U.S. classrooms. Teachers are using the solutions to make learning more social and are taking advantage of visual dashboards that allow instructors to see exactly where pupils are struggling or excelling, so they can refine their teaching methods and place attention where it’s needed the most.America remains the world’s center of innovation. New advancements in revolutionary technology offer unprecedented access and can be the tools to eliminate geographic and socio-economic barriers to world-class education, so we can prepare our citizens for jobs in the short term and lead the world in modernization in the future. And it’s beginning to happen already—both in expected and unexpected places. One solution we’re seeing – the democratization of learning through online methods.
There is a lot of great information from the blog posts to check out, and shows the impact that Microsoft is making beyond just producing technology. It's interesting to consider how interacted technology, education, and health care are - and finding technological solutions to connect people efficiently and effectively to work towards improve service delivery in the public sector.
Blog Series Posts
Jan 26: Highlight's a problem statement for each industry vertical.
Federal government blog: Redefining Access to Education and Training is Crucial to Economic Recovery
State & local government blog: Redefining Access to Education and Training
Microsoft in Education blog: Redefining Access to Education and Training
Microsoft in Health blog: Redefining Access to Healthcare
Feb 2: Asks, what is holding us back?
Federal government blog: Building the Case: Providing Access for Economic Growth
State & local government blog: Building the Case: Providing Access for Economic Growth
Microsoft in Education blog: Five Reasons We Have Not Closed the Digital Divide
Microsoft in Health blog: Digital access and healthcare: What’s holding us back?
Feb 10-13: Where are we making progress?
Federal government blog: New Programs, Data Show Progress in Bridging the Digital Divide
State & local government blog: New Programs, Data Show Progress in Bridging the Digital Divide
Microsoft in Education blog: The Digital Divide Underattack
Microsoft in Health blog: Are advances in healthcare access on the horizon?
Feb 20: Future vision and technology to help make it happen
Federal Government Blog: Overcome the digital divide, and unleash the future
State & Local Government Blog: Overcome the Digital Divide and Unleash the Future
Microsoft in Education Blog: Driving STEM Excitement Through Video Game Design & Development
Microsoft In Health Blog: Digital access to better, more affordable healthcare: What’s on the horizon?